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I am inclined to go the other way from the Chief Minister and say that we should try this. If you come up with a series of examples of its being abused, or even if we lose so much revenue that it indicates that we really do have a major problem with it, then come back to the Assembly and let us see about modifying it. What Ms Follett proposes does get to a particular group that it is appropriate that we target. The Chief Minister did speak about targeting. It is not just about targeting people who are on social security benefits. Often there are very good reasons to target women in particular, because that is the main group of people Ms Follett's amendments are going to pick up. I think there are very good reasons to target women at home, for example, who may have been left with children, have never been on social security, and - the issue you raised, Chief Minister - may be supporting a family and not have been on social security benefits at all because they have just had a separation or something along those lines.
I think there are very good reasons for us to work it the other way round. Let us try it and make an assessment of how far it is being abused. I think we will find that your fears are the fears of your advisers, who will always take a conservative view of this. However, considering our unemployment situation, I think it is better that we err in the other direction, and that is why I will be supporting the amendments put by Ms Follett.
MS TUCKER (5.25): I have listened to the discussion, and I do not feel comfortable in supporting the amendments, although I am absolutely in sympathy with their sentiments. There are some concerns, and I do not think we necessarily have to do this right now. We will not support them now, but we would be happy to look at them in detail and they could be introduced later.
MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (5.26): I would urge members to think very seriously about these amendments and I would urge them again to support them. It is entirely possible - indeed, I think it is entirely desirable - that people register as unemployed, regardless of whether they are eligible for social security.
When I say that the employment problems of many married women and young people are being hidden - the hidden unemployed - what I really mean is that they are not registered as unemployed because they know that they are not eligible for the dole. If they were registered as unemployed they would be able to take advantage of many training courses and the various opportunities that are sponsored by the CES for unemployed people, but often they do not know that. I think we should take every step we can to encourage people who are unemployed and who are genuinely seeking work to register and to try to get hold of as many of those advantages as they can. Another good reason for that is that it does make for much more accurate reporting of the unemployment problem. I have long been concerned that, for women in particular, unemployment was very much underreported, simply because most of them know that they will never get the dole so they do not bother registering.
I think the amendments I have moved are capable of implementation through the CES. Where people do register as unemployed and the CES is able to vouch in some fashion for the fact that they are registered as unemployed and have been for some time, those people ought to be able to take advantage of the payroll tax reform measures Mrs Carnell