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Wednesday, 20 November 1974
Page: 2561

Senator SHEIL - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. In view of the reported high intake of Army recruits in the September quarter because of unemployment, has the Minister for Defence sought, by way of advertisement or statement, to attract recuits to the Services from the record number of retrenched workers? If not, will he do so as a means of providing jobs for some of these unfortunate people and for some of the 250,000 school leavers about to come on to the labour market? Are the high numbers of recruits an embarrassment to the Government in view of the low priority it places on defence?

Senator BISHOP - It is only a few weeks ago that Opposition senators were complaining about the Government not being able to attract recruits. For several months now the intake into the Army, as a result of revised recruiting procedures of the Services, has been satisfactory, as the senator notes. The recruits are people who wish to make a career in the Services. To try to turn that situation into a query about what the Government might not do about unemployment, to me, is a bit of a joke. Everybody knows that this Government has done more than any other government in relation to manpower policies. I have more than once recited the sort of attractions that the Minister for Labor and Immigration has had approved by the Government. These include the various training schemes, the structural adjustment schemes, the new career information centres in all the States and the retraining programs which for the first time were established by the Government. Yes, there is unemployment, as everybody knows, and it is not common to Australia, for the reasons that have been given by Mr Whitlam and our leaders. It is a matter which was well understood and recognised by the Minister for Labor and Immigration. He told the Parliament and the people about it. We are taking what measures we can in relation to unemployment, and we are providing specialised officers for the different systems. This year approximately 500 people have been specially recruited in the employment services, to cope with the situation about which I am talking.

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