Doorstop, Sydney – ABS labour force figures for December 2018

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Transcripts

Thursday 24 January 2019

Transcript
  • Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations
  • Minister for Women

E&OE

Subjects: ABS Labour Force figures, Labor’s $200 billion of taxes, electoral roll, Warren Mundine, Higgins electorate, Federal Budget, the CFMMEU announcing Labor policy

 

KELLY O’DWYER:

Today we have seen the latest labour force figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and they are very strong figures indeed. We have seen unemployment come down to five per cent –down from 5.7 per cent under the previous Labor government. This year has seen the most significant decrease in unemployment since 1994, which is an incredible achievement for the economic plan of our Government. We have seen employment increase by more than 21,000 in December of 2018. In fact, over the 2018 period we have seen more than 268,000 new jobs created. There are now more than 12.7 million Australians in work, which is a record high. There are more Australians in work than ever before. We have seen an increase in employment in Queensland, in New South Wales, in Victoria and in South Australia as well. And encouragingly we have seen an increase in full-time female employment as well, to also stand at a record high. But we can’t be complacent about our economy and we certainly can’t be complacent in the face of recent advice and data coming out from global institutions like the IMF. We certainly know from them that we face international headwinds and it means that the risks are so high for a Shorten-led government. Labor’s only plan is to tax every single Australian to the tune of more than $200 billion worth. That is not going to create economic prosperity; that is not going to create investment opportunity; that is not going to create jobs. It will do the opposite of that, it will risk jobs and it will put the incredible achievements that we have been able to achieve in this period of time at risk.

JOURNALIST:

How concerned are you by the drop in full-time workers?

KELLY O’DWYER:

We’ve seen an increase in full-time employment over the calendar year of 2018 by more than 162,000. So, in fact, the number has increased; not decreased over the year. We have seen incredibly strong jobs figures over our period in Government. In fact, more than 1.2 million new jobs have been created under the Coalition Government. This is all at risk if people were to consider Labor’s tax, tax, tax plan – more than $200 billion of new or increased taxes, whether you’re young, whether you’re old, whether you’re saving; everyone will be hit.

JOURNALIST:

The data shows that 3,000 full-time jobs were lost but there were 21,000 new jobs created. Is underemployment a risk here?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Underemployment has actually decreased, and that is very pleasing, to see that underemployment has actually decreased in the latest ABS data. As I said, the figures are incredibly strong, whether you’re looking at unemployment overall; even when you consider youth unemployment as well, we have seen a decrease under our Government. It’s still too high, being in the 11’s, and we are working very hard towards that. We’re making sure that in the jobs space we create pathways for people to be able to get a job – to get the skills, the training and the education that they need to get a job, but the job needs to be there and you need to create the right economic settings in order for business to have the confidence to create jobs. And that’s why we have cut taxes for small and medium-sized enterprises so they can reinvest in their business and so they have the confidence to be able to create those jobs.

JOURNALIST:

So you’re confident the balance is right even though 3,000 full-time jobs were lost?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Well, we’ve seen an increase in the number of full-time jobs over 2018. We’ve seen an increase of 162,000 full-time jobs. We have the most number of people in work than we have ever had, and the majority of those people are, in fact, in full-time work of the new jobs that have been created.

JOURNALIST:

Wage growth is still very weak though. Are you concerned about that among these figures?

KELLY O’DWYER:

As we see an increase in the number of people in full-time employment we know that we are seeing the slack in the labour market taken up. And as the Reserve Bank has indicated in its statements, we will see an increase in wage growth. Now, we want to see that. We want people to take more home of their pay, but we can’t forget that it’s not just the wage you get that sees the dollar in your pockets; it’s also what’s taken out by government taxes, and we know that Bill Shorten, Chris Bowen and the Labor Party have a very clear plan to tax you more, to leave you less in your pocket at the end of the day.

JOURNALIST:

Are you concerned about electoral roll data which was supposed to be used for anti-money laundering purposes, actually being used for marketing purposes by companies like Illion and ACXIOM?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Look, I’ve not seen reports of that. Obviously, electoral roll data is incredibly important. It needs to be kept very secure and it should be used for the appropriate and proper purposes. We have a fantastic democracy in Australia, we’re going to be seeing a federal election this year, we want to make sure the integrity of that data is strong because that is fundamental to our democracy.

JOURNALIST:

It was legislation passed by your government in November that gave greater access to this data, so why wasn’t that consequence foreseen?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Well look, I’m not aware of the reports that you’re talking about, and certainly I would suggest that you raise those questions with the Special Minister of State, who would be able to respond in detail.

JOURNALIST:

[Inaudible question]

KELLY O’DWYER:

Ann Sudmalis has made her own comments, both in the Parliament and outside of the Parliament. The Prime Minister has made extensive statements on this yesterday. The good news is we have got a fantastic candidate in Warren Mundine, someone who of course has been connected with the local Gilmore community over many, many generations, and I’m sure he will have a lot to offer the Morrison Government in the years ahead.

JOURNALIST:

Did the Liberal Party investigate the claims made by Ann Sudmalis that she was bullied?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Well look, as I’ve said, Ann has obviously made her statements; the Prime Minister’s also made his. I don’t really have anything more …

JOURNALIST:

But you’re the Minister for Women. Shouldn’t you know whether her claims were investigated?

KELLY O’DWYER:

… I don’t really have anything more to add to her statements. I’ve been very clear on these issues; I’ve been very clear that in any workplace, we don’t tolerate bullying or intimidation. It’s one of the reasons that the Government was so strong in bringing back the Australian Building and Construction Commission – to protect workers, small business owners, subbies on building sites and construction sites right across our nation. Something, of course, that we would see completely dismantled by any Shorten Labor government.

JOURNALIST:

Since your announcement to step down at the next election, what kind of feedback have you had?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Well look, I’m very fortunate that I have been able to represent – and still do until May – the most fantastic community in Higgins, and I’ve received some very, very kind wishes from people in my local community. I’m certainly going to miss sharing important moments in their lives – which I have been very privileged and gratified to be part of over an almost 10 year journey with them – and I’m very thankful for the support and understanding that I’ve received in making the very personal decision that I spoke about on Saturday.

JOURNALIST:

Minister, is the Government planning pre-election cash handouts for pensioners?

KELLY O’DWYER:

You know it’s Budget time when the Budget speculation begins. I’ve been here in Sydney with my colleagues, including the Prime Minister and the Treasurer, in Expenditure Review Committee meetings in preparation of a Budget that is 10 weeks away. There will be a lot of speculation between now and the delivery of the Budget, but the Budget will be handed down by the Treasurer not too far from now and all of those questions that you have about exactly what’s in the Budget will be answered on Budget night.

JOURNALIST:

What do you think of Labor’s idea to mandate an increase in Australian flagged ships working along our coastal waters?

KELLY O’DWYER:

What we heard from Bill Shorten today in relation to vessels in and around Australia was straight out of the MUA playbook. I think, really, he wasn’t entirely sure what was being proposed, he just knew that he was in favour of it because it was being dictated to him by the MUA that is now part of the militant mega union, the CFMMEU. I think what was most disturbing to hear was that Bill Shorten wouldn’t guarantee that any of the changes that they would propose to make wouldn’t cost Australians more. He won’t guarantee that if he makes changes to coastal shipping, that it won’t have a very direct impact on people’s wallets. And we certainly know that it can have a potential impact around the price of fuel; we know that it can have a potential impact increasing the price of goods. This is just another example of how Bill Shorten has said quite openly and quite honestly that he still thinks like a militant union leader and he’s certainly going to act like one and he’s taking instructions from the CFMMEU.

Thanks very much.

[ENDS]