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Tuesday, 15 August 1972
Page: 14

Senator JESSOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I direct a question without notice to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. It relates to the questions asked by Senator Murphy and Senator Douglas McClelland. Has the Minister noticed that the latest unemployment figures reflect the highest levels in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania? Has he also seen a report that 25,000 metal workers in South Australia are taking part in a halfday stoppage today which is symptomatic of trade union sickness in that State? Can the Minister say whether this type of activity creates uncertainty in the minds of employers with regard to productivity within their industries? Can he say also whether this is a significant factor in the creation of additional employment opportunities?

Senator WRIGHT - It is an unfortunate fact that in South Australia, Western Aus tralia and Tasmania the figures show unemployment at a higher rate than elsewhere.

Senator Keeffe - What about Queensland?

Senator WRIGHT - I will take into account any information that Senator Keeffe places before me in relation to Queensland, lt is obvious when one sees a development such as Senator Jessop referred to. in which 25,000 metal workers were not requested but were directed to cease work at the bidding of the union for consultation on whether they should strike, that there is a dislocation in industry that leads to economic waste. As the Chancellor of the Exchequer of England said in his Budget speech, the best way to put industry out of existence is to overprice its units. If wages are overpriced, obviously employers will go bankrupt or increase their prices or dissipate their businesses. These are the things that are bedevilling the economy, and if only those who organise these strikes could see that they are simply self-defeating we would then get a factor in the employment situation that would enable better figures to be produced.

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