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Wednesday, 20 February 1980
Page: 155

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) - Normally I would not rise to speak in such a debate but the comments made by the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs (Mr Viner) certainly warrant some sort of response. This is the only occasion on which one can respond as he closed the second reading debate when he spoke. It ought to be noted that the Minister's portfolio is employment and youth affairs. Surely it is a function of the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs to ensure that unemployment in Australia does not rise any higher than the record levels to which it has now risen. He has told us of the different way in which Hansard and the Bills are to be printed. I understand the technical language he used. He justified the change on the basis that nobody could dispute the efficiencies that would arise from the new process. Surely this calls into question the whole concept of what the continual mechanisation of processes is all about. Surely the Minister understands that the change he spoke of from the hot metal process to the computerised typesetting process will surely mean a loss of jobs for some people.

Clearly the Minister does not think very much about that because he is very busy explaining to the Treasurer (Mr Howard) how to play ludo. Obviously neither he nor the Treasurer understands how to play ludo because the Treasurer is now walking away from him. I would have thought that in a matter of this magnitude where the Minister had the responsibility of caring for the future of those who earn their living by being employed he would have given some attention to what sort of effect this change in the process will have on the employment situation not only in Canberra but also in other places. The Minister did not elaborate very greatly on that in his response to the second reading debate. I would think he will respond to what has now been said.

I hope that he will elaborate to some extent on what effect this will have on the employment of people in Canberra. If it will have an effect on the employment of people in Canberra- in other words, if fewer people will be employed- is he concerned about that? Will the same number of people be employed? Can he tell us that? I think the House is entitled to that sort of explanation. I do not think it is good enough for the Minister to stand up and say that the Opposition in the Senate facilitated the passage of this Bill and then for him to expect it so slide through this place without question. A question has been asked and I think the House deserves an answer to it.

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