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Thursday, 31 October 1996
Page: 4870

Senator CAMPBELL (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Sport, Territories and Local Government)(12.12 p.m.) —No, I am happy to deal with that now. In relation to higher employment, I reiterate that in your own amendment you have higher employment as one of the objects that you wish—

Senator Childs —Because we support it.

Senator CAMPBELL —We have something in common, Senator Childs. I think we both support the concept of high employment. We do not, however, seek to define that. There is nothing in the bill that says we are trying to move towards part time and casualisation. There was—you are right, Senator Hogg—a significant move towards that form of work over the past 13 years or so. That occurred under Mr Keating. I am not seeking to make a political point here. It was a massive change. You would have known because of your own experiences in the labour movement that that has occurred.

That suits some people and does not suit others. There are many people who work casual and part time who would like to have full-time employment. I think it was back in 1993 that there were about a million people unemployed—that is the raw number. I think a number of reports said that there were at least another million who had casual or part-time work or only worked a couple of hours a week who would have loved full-time jobs. So hidden unemployment was nearly twice that again.

So your point is taken. We are not seeking to make a judgment about that in this bill. Our bill seeks to encourage higher employment. For many people that means full-time employment; for others it might mean casual or part-time employment. This bill does not seek to make a judgment or encourage people one way or the other.

The object of the act reflects the intention that the flexibilities and choices provided by this bill will have a positive effect on the economy which, in turn, will lead to higher employment. The form that that employment will take is the form of employment that is appropriate to particular employee needs. We hope that there will be a lot more choice. There is not a lot of choice out there at the moment. There are, as I said, a lot of people who do not work part time by choice. They work part time because that is all they can get. There are a lot of people out there who are in that situation. I have friends and family who are in that situation. They work casually at the moment but would love to have perma nent work. We would hope that all of those people have more realistic choices, partly because of the outcomes of introducing this new legislation.