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Tuesday, 12 September 1972
Page: 1129

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - 1 ask the Minister for Labour and National Service whether the September unemployment figures already are available and will be released on Monday of next week. Has he seen them? If so, can be confirm that they have increased by another 10,000?

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - It is totally irresponsible for the honourable gentlemen to raise in this House a reference to unemployment and expect me to answer him in a precise way which at the present time simply would add further confusion in relation to unemployment to that confusion which has long been sustained by honourable gentlemen opposite. Whilst the honourable gentleman is entitled to regard this as perhaps being a matter of mirth, the simple fact is that in recent months there has been among the ranks of front bench members on the other side of the House confusion as to the projection of unemployment figures. The honourable gentlemen will well recall that he, in company with the shadow Minister for Trade, has mooted the possi bility of an increase of 100,000 in the number of unemployed, bringing the total figure to 200,000. But, of course, his more moderate and more restrained colleague, the shadow Treasurer, has mooted an increase to 150,000.

I think that this matter does not lend itself to that type of speculation, because what these statements do - confused and divisive as they are - is simply to seek to destroy and undermine what is the critical question before the Australian economy, and that is the confidence of the business community and in particular of consumers in relation to their spending patterns. The Government's position on employment has been made quite clear. We expect that in the months ahead there will be a fall in relation to the raw figures, but that will not occur overnight. I will not comment at this stage on the figures that will be released next Monday. The final figures are currently being compiled in the head office of my Department in Melbourne. The honourable gentleman, with his long experience, should know far better than to ask a question of that type at this time.

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