Page 1789 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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MR SESELJA (Brindabella) (6.22): You always know that Mr Barr is lacking facts when his voice goes high as he is trying to emphasise a point. Let us deal with what he just said very briefly because he has been spouting rubbish all afternoon. Let us go to some of what he said there and let us go to some actual numbers, which he did not want to point to.

We saw the report earlier this year that said the ACT’s jobless rate has jumped to its highest level in more than 11 years as 3,000 more people were listed as unemployed in the territory in January. It paints a very different picture from what Mr Barr has just been telling this Assembly with a straight face. The report states:

… the capital’s unemployment rate now sits at 4.5 per cent in trend terms …

It actually has a quote from Mr Barr and what he puts it down to. It said:

The new data puts ACT behind the Northern Territory and Western Australia … 

ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr said the rise in the capital’s jobless rate was expected on the back of spending cuts in the Australian Public Service

“That’s not surprising given what was forecast in the Commonwealth budget.

So what he was just saying was absolute rubbish. He was not prepared to point to any of the numbers because he knew they did not back up what he was saying. He interjected when I was speaking earlier, saying that I said that the unemployment rate was growing more quickly under this Labor government in the ACT than it has in the rest of the country, and it has.

Let us have a brief look at the numbers just to emphasise what Labor governments do to the ACT. When the Howard government came into office, the ACT unemployment rate that they inherited was eight per cent. The national unemployment rate at that time was 8.4 per cent—so roughly around the same. That is why we remember youth unemployment being so high. That is why we remember it was so difficult to get a job under the Keating government.

Howard inherited eight per cent, with an 8.4 per cent national unemployment rate. When the Howard government left office, the unemployment rate in the ACT was 2.5 per cent, a record low. The national unemployment rate was 4.3 per cent. That was also around record lows. In fact, we saw the national rate dropping rapidly and the ACT rate dropping even more rapidly under the Howard government. It now sits at around 4.5 per cent versus the national rate of 5.6 per cent

Andrew Barr, like all his Labor colleagues, is full of it, Madam Speaker; he is full of it. He is not prepared to put numbers behind what he says. He speaks in generalities and he talks rubbish. He has just been found out to have spouted absolute nonsense all afternoon and for the last 10 minutes.

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