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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2298 ..


MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement pursuant to standing order 46, with your leave.

MR SPEAKER: Very well.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, during question time the Chief Minister went to great lengths to criticise me personally in relation to a press release that I had issued. She said I had got it wrong. The press release I think she was referring to goes like this:

The trend towards part-time and casual work in the ACT is a disturbing background to the improved unemployment rate in this month's ABS Labour Force figures, Labor Industrial Relations spokesperson Wayne Berry said today.

"The figures show a fall of 200 in our unemployed - good news on the face of it," Mr Berry said, "however of the 600 new jobs that show up in the statistics, only 300 are full-time jobs.

Correct. I do not think there is any question about those figures. The press release goes on to state:

" This year only 600 of the 2900 new jobs in the ACT have been full-time jobs - that is 20% of new jobs. Nationally 57,200 of the 88,900 new jobs created have been full-time - that is 64% of the new jobs. This is a disturbing feature of what might otherwise have been described as good news.

I was drawing attention to the difference between what goes on in the ACT and what happens nationally. It is much better nationally. The press release continues:

"With the revelation that almost 8000 people are underemployed in the ACT these figures add another dimension to the unemployment rate published by the ABS.

I have never said that it was not good news that the unemployment rate had dropped. What I have always said is that there is another side to this story.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. I think you have gone far enough.

MR BERRY: I think it is a misuse of the statistics to complain that there is not another side to the story when there are people out there suffering from underemployment and concerned about their future.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Your personal explanation has been delivered.

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