Release type: Transcript


ABS labour force figures - January 2018


Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Jobs and Innovation
Senator for Western Australia

Subject: record jobs growth [non-portfolio material has not been included in this transcript]

MINISTER CASH: In 2013 when the Coalition was elected to govern Australia, we said to the Australian people we are going to be a government that creates jobs and in February 2018 that is exactly what we are doing. We are fulfilling our commitment to the Australian people. I’m very pleased today that with the release of the January labour force data, jobs are still being created. Sixteen thousand jobs were created by the economy in January. This is a record, a record for Australians — 16 months now. Every single one of those 16 months the economy has been creating jobs.

This is the first time in Australia’s history that we have had this type of consecutive, monthly jobs growth. Employment remains at a record high in Australia. In the last 12 months — so it’s January to January now — the economy created in excess of 400,000 jobs, and even though there was a slight dip in the number of full-time jobs in January, three-quarters of the 400,000 jobs that were created in the last 12 months were still full-time jobs. So, we have very strong full-time jobs growth.

But if you compare what occurred in the last 12 months of the former Labor Government, the economy under the Turnbull Government is creating jobs at five times the rate of the former Labor Government. And in terms of full-time job creation, I did note Brendan O’Connor’s comments. Someone might like to ask Bill Shorten and Brendan O’Connor [this question]. 'In the last 12 months of the Turnbull Government, in excess of 300,000 full-time jobs have been created. How does that compare to Labor’s record when, in their last 12 months, the economy lost in excess of 17,000 full-time jobs?'

So, Brendan, you can talk the talk, but your policies don’t walk the walk. This is a government that, when it says it is going to be a job-creating government, delivers the policies that enable businesses to go out there, prosper, grow and, at this point in time, over the last 12 months, create in excess of 1,100 jobs per day. I don’t know about you, but will you risk Bill Shorten with your job? Would you risk Bill Shorten with your kid’s job? Because I wouldn’t. Any questions?

[Non-portfolio related questions/answers]

MINISTER CASH: ... We are here though to talk about jobs growth. Would you like to ask a question on jobs growth? Would anyone like to ask a question about jobs growth?

[Non-portfolio related question/answer]

MINISTER CASH: I answered these questions last year. Again, would anyone like to talk about jobs growth?

QUESTION: Would the Minister [inaudible] that underemployment remains a problem?

MINISTER CASH: Brendan suggests that every month — we've had 16 consecutive months of jobs growth, and 300,000 of those jobs in the last 12 months are full-time jobs. That ultimately flows through to underemployment. The interesting thing about underemployment though is this: when you actually look behind the question that is asked: 'Basically, would you like to work?' Well, yes. But when you actually get behind that question and you ask people whether or not they have the capacity to work more hours the answer is no.

At the end of the day this is a government that is creating records - records when it comes to job creation: 403,000 jobs in the last 12 months, three quarters of them full-time. In the last 12 months of Labor the economy went backwards in terms of full-time job creation.

[Non-portfolio related questions/answers]

MINISTER CASH: ... When it comes to skilled migration, the Government has very strong policies. Our policy in the first instance, though, is if there is an Australian that is ready, willing and able to work, an employer must look to that person. But we also recognise that a business that that cannot employ a person may well be forced to close. That means guess what? No employer, no job for employees. So we are very happy to facilitate foreign labour where there is a need to do that.

[Non-portfolio related questions/answers]

MINISTER CASH: ... What I am focused on — and I can assure you when I leave this place and go and talk to the average person in the street what they are focused on is 'Michaelia, you are the jobs minister. Can you tell me how many jobs your government has created?' I have a good news story for them.

Can I say also that one of the things that unfortunately did not get the media it deserved this week was actually 'Science meets Parliament' week. I have spent my week talking to the Superstars of STEM — 30 of the most capable female scientists in Australia. On Tuesday I had the privilege of sitting down for an hour with Michelle Simmons, our Australian of the Year. She is globally recognised as a leading, if not the number one, quantum physicist. There’s a lot of white noise in this place, but I am not being distracted by it.

[Non portfolio-related question/answer]

MINISTER CASH: At the end of the day you guys report what you guys report. When I step outside this place, I can tell you that the questions we are asked are very, very different. If we replace all the journos here with the average man in the street, I just don’t think these issues that are in the bubble of Canberra would actually arise. I’m focussed on jobs, creating jobs and getting Australians off welfare and into work. As I said, in 2013 when the Coalition was elected to office, what did we say to the Australian people? We said to them we will be a government that backs you. We will be a government that ensures we put in place the right policies to create jobs.

Jump forward now to February 2018: sixteen consecutive months of jobs growth. Personally, I think that deserves a front page headline. How about this guys? 'First time in Australia’s history: record job creation — 16 consecutive months!' That’s what the Australian people want to hear.

[Non-portfolio related question/answer]

MINISTER CASH: As I said it has been white noise for me. I have been revelling in meeting this week with some of Australia’s top female scientists and talking to them about how the Government can work with them and put in place programs to ensure that we address the very serious issue of not enough women and girls going into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. That is what my week has been taken up with, and it has been an incredibly positive week.

Thank you.