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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 55


Senator BISHOP - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service and it follows the Minister's reply to a question concerning unemployment in Western Australia. Can the Minister explain why the Liberal-Country Party coalition Government has been unable in the 20 or so years it has been in control of the Australian economy to secure a policy of full employment to which allegedly it is wed or to prevent the current trend towards increasing unemployment? I also ask: Even in view of the latest Budget, does he consider that the current payments for unemployment benefits are sufficient?


Senator WRIGHT - The answer to the latter part of the question is, yes. In answer to the first part of the question let me say that I am pleased that Senator Bishop brought before the Senate the proud record of this Government of maintaining full employment for 23 years. There have been 2 periods in which the unemployment figures rose to a point where they gave concern. One was in 1960-61 and the other in the current period.

Our percentage of unemployment, even at the present rate of 2 per cent, is infinitely better than that of any other Western democracy, particularly the United States of America and the United Kingdom which have suffered unemployment to the extent of 5 or 6 per cent of their immense work force - in the United States now for several years and in the United Kingdom for 3 or 4 years. I would think that at least a senator of the percipience of Senator Bishop, with his acquaintance with the field of industrial employment, would acknowledge that the achievement of this Government in respect of a full employment policy is outstanding.







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