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Wednesday, 4 December 1974
Page: 3097

Senator CARRICK (NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labor and Immigration refers to the address by the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Cairns, to the Canberra Press Club on 20 June 1974 and his response to the question 'What would you like the WhitlamCairns years remembered for most?', his response being 'I think the ability to be able to deal with an inflationary situation without causing unemployment'. In view of the abject failure of the Whitlam-Cairns duo to contain either inflation or unemployment, I ask: What are the latest figures of unemployment available to the Government? Is unemployment continuing to rise by at least 1,000 a day? Is this trend likely to continue and grow worse in the next 2 months? How many people are at present in receipt of unemployment benefits? Is there an accurate figure available to the Government of unemployed school leavers?

Senator BISHOP -The last figures which were revealed were for November. I understand that the Department of Labor and Immigration is making an investigation into the aspects which the honourable senator has raised. The investigation is being made not only in respect to school leavers but also, in collaboration with the Minister for Social Security, in respect of the real incidence of unemployment of people who are now registered for unemployment benefits. What Dr Cairns said in June of this year, it seems to me, was a statement of his own views. Mr Cameron's Department has given to him accurate forecasts of unemployment, as honourable senators know. As stated by me in this place and by Mr Cameron elsewhere, the Department has forecast fairly accurately the developments in unemployment which have occurred and which we, as a Government, say are characteristic of the mixed western economy that we have.

Only yesterday the Minister for Labor and Immigration forecast that towards the middle of next year the trend in employment will improve. I can only be guided by the fact that the figures given to the Minister for Labor and Immigration by his Department- at the time people thought they were extravagant- seem to have been proved to be correct. This is perhaps because of the Department's very ready access to industry. The Minister's forecast yesterday was that the unemployment position would improve in about June. The best thing I can do, because I accept that these things ought to be seriously surveyed and forecast, is to ask the Minister for Labor and Immigration to see whether he can get a quick reply to the matters raised by Senator Carrick.

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