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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4910


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 04/12/1978

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 4910

Prime Minister Interviewed on ABC'S
by Paul Davey
Report: Last week we reported on the new Department of
Employment and Youth Affairs, set up after
Mr. Fraser's Cabinet re-shuffle and the comments
by Sir William McMahon that the-Liberal backbench
was looking to the new Ministry for results.
Paul Davey asked the Prime Minister if the Government
would be placing more emphasis on the problem of
youth unemployment in 1979.
Prime Minister
Clearly there will be a greater concentration in that particular
issue because a Minister and a Department and a Permanent Head
would have very specific responsibilities in these areas.
I wouldn't want it to be thought that a great deal hasn't
been done in this area because probably not too many people
understand that 300,000 people have already been assisted,
are being assisted, under the various training programmes and
that's a very large number.
Question Does the Government have any new schemes in mind, though,
for the New Year?
Prime Minister
A number of initiatives have been suggested to us. Now what
comes out of this will depend upon the examination, which
the Government will be looking at in a few days time. There
will be no change in economic policy because we believe our
policy, as such, to be right. What we do want to do is to
make quite sure that people, young people particularly, aren't
missing out on opportunities because of some inadequacy
in the various training programmes.
Question Does your creation of this new portfolio in any way reflect
the fact that the Government is now admitting that moves in
this direction should have been undertaken earlier? / 2

itPM" 1 -2-
Prime Minister
No, I don't think I would put it quite that way because
the work of the Department of Employment and Industrial
Relations had grown enormously. Going back before the
Labor years created unemployment, it was then really an
Industrial Relations Department that had employment
responsibilities. Employment then wasn't a problem.
Industrial relations was a very significant part of the
total workload then. Over recent years the need to
tackle the employment issue in a constructive and productive
way has altered the balance and I believe it had got to
the stage where the division, the split, had become necessary.
You can always argue about whether that should have happened
three months ago or six months ago or two or three months later.
Question So, just briefly, can you explain how the difference is
now going to effect itself. How is youth, for arguments sake,
going to benefit from the split into these two portfolios?
Prime Minister
There will be concentration because you will have one Minister
specifically involved with the general employment issues and
that Minister will be able, by devoting his total time in
that area, keep a closer eye on the various training programmes,
make sure that industry registers the jobs that are available
with the employment service. That by no means happens in
all cases at the moment. Maybe the employment service doesn't get
more than about 50 percent of jobs that are registered,
before it. The Office of Youth Affairs is going to be expanded
very significantly. So it is not only an employment department,
it will be seeking to respond to the needs, the circumstances
and the concerns of young people in Australia. I think Ian Viner
is going to be very busy over the next few months.
Question You have, over the past 12 monthsI very strongly as a
Government pointed out the fact that inflation in the major
problem. In recent times, recent months, you've now put
forward a lot of emphasis on the employment and unemployment
problem. Do you think the electorate is going to accept the
fact that you as a Government are sincere, now that you have
taken over the unemployment position.
Prime Minister
I would certainly hope so and I can't see why not because
inflation is still the major problem in getting people back
to long-term productive work in Australian enterprises and
Australian businesses. That can be very simple. If you've
got people in a certain factory and wages go up too much
the goods in that factory will have to be made more
expensive and if the wages go up too much it can have
such an impact on the costs of the factory that whatever it
produces can be just priced out of the market. / 3

Prime Minister ( continued)
Now it can be priced out of export markets and that's
probably the first result, but it can then be priced out
of the domestic market and if that happens the jobs that
were once provided by that factory no longer exist.

Transcript 4910