Release type: Transcript


Labour force figures media conference


Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment
Minister for Women
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
Senator for Western Australia


SUBJECT/S: jobs figures; domestic violence.

MINISTER CASH: Ladies and gentlemen, we have just had the release of the jobs figures for August 2016 and the Government is pleased that the unemployment rate has dropped 0.1 of a per cent from 5.7 to 5.6 per cent.

In terms of a 12-month comparison, 12 months ago the unemployment rate in Australia was 6.1 per cent. Today it sits at 5.6 per cent. This is also the lowest unemployment rate that we've seen in the past three years.

In terms of job creation, we are pleased that in the last month, business and the economy have created approximately 11,500 full-time jobs. In terms of the last 12 months, under this Government, we've seen the economy and business create approximately 180,000 jobs.

That compares to the last 12 months of the former Labor Government in which approximately 86-87,000 jobs were created. So, certainly on any analysis, when it comes to job creation, jobs are being created at a much more rapid rate under a Coalition government.

In terms of youth unemployment, we have seen the youth unemployment figure drop this month from 13.1 per cent to 12.8 per cent. But as I have always said, this remains unacceptably high and that is why the Government took to the election a comprehensive policy to give our youth a go, to get them ready and to give them a job. And that is of course our $840 million investment in the PaTH program.

In terms of challenges, there obviously remain challenges ahead. But that is why when we went to the election- almost every policy we took to the election was one that was focused on how do we grow our economy because when you grow your economy you enable businesses to prosper and grow and when businesses prosper and grow, you create jobs.

So in terms of the release of the jobs data today, we are pleased that we have seen a drop in the unemployment rate of 0.1 per cent to 5.6 per cent. Any questions?

QUESTION: There is also a drop in the overall employment [indistinct] part time and also the participation rate [indistinct]. That has got to be a concern, doesn’t it?

MINISTER CASH: And that’s why when you look at the last 12 months – because as we know and I’ve always said, the jobs figures on a month to month basis, they do jump around – so when you look at the last 12 months under this Government, you have seen a considerable decline in the unemployment rate: 6.1 per cent down to 5.6 per cent, the lowest it’s been since we came to office three years ago.

But if you also look at the overall job creation figures over the last 12 months, approximately 180,000 jobs have been created. If you compare that, as I said, to the last 12 months of the former Labor Government, the economy under them was only creating around 86, 87,000 jobs.

The statistics alone bear witness to the fact that under a Coalition Government, we are very focused on policies that will ensure that business is able to prosper and grow, because as we know, governments don’t create jobs. Businesses do, and we need to ensure that business has the right economic framework in which they can prosper.

QUESTION: As Minister for Women, do you support the idea that unless the Family Court is reformed, the men will continue to murder their ex-spouses because of the sheer frustration of dealing with the system?

MINISTER CASH: When it comes to domestic violence, this Government’s position is very clear, and in fact the first decision of the Turnbull Cabinet was to announce the $100 million Women’s Safety Package. I never underestimate the impact of domestic violence on anybody, but in particular the families concerned.

Are there issues with the Family Court system? Well certainly. Issues are raised. It is something that I know the Attorney-General is aware of and has been working with the states and territories in looking at how we can reform the system.

QUESTION: But surely that is an outrageous thing to say. I mean, that's what Pauline Hanson said in her speech yesterday. She said that men are- it’s understandable that men are murdering their ex-spouses because of the Family Court. Why then did you go up and wrap your arms around Pauline Hanson and embrace her after she made those comments?

MINISTER CASH: You will find that when someone gives their maiden speech, or their first speech, as when I gave my maiden speech, I remember the goodwill that was shown to me by all of those in the chamber, even those on the other side, who I know did not agree with the statements that I made. So in terms of ...

QUESTION: But as [inaudible] do you think that is a- do you think that that is a legitimate thing to say…

MINISTER CASH: As I said, this Government- this Government’s commitment …

QUESTION: … but I'm asking you what you think.

MINISTER CASH: … to domestic violence and my own passion that I bring to the portfolio in terms of tackling this, and ensuring that it was on the national agenda, it was on the COAG agenda. We have made considerable investment. I do not underestimate …

QUESTION: Then we have to juxtapose that with the image of you hugging the woman who excused murder as frustration with the Family Court.

MINISTER CASH: I don’t necessarily agree with statements made by people in the chamber. But as I said, it was Senator Hanson's maiden speech and I showed her goodwill, as I was shown by those on the other side. Who I do not agree …

QUESTION: Can we just clarify your views, right, do you think that there are extenuating circumstances, that its understandable that men are killing their ex-spouses because of the quote, unquote, sheer frustration with the- I mean, do you think that …

MINISTER CASH: I will never justify the murder of a female or a male. That is unacceptable and especially in situations of domestic violence. I have always maintained that the mere fact that you put domestic in front of the word murder should in no way mitigate what has occurred and my position remains.

QUESTION: What about her comments that you should strip single mothers of welfare if they have more than one child?

MINISTER CASH: As I said, I will leave Senator Hanson's comments to her. It was her maiden speech. The Government's position on a number of those policies is very clear.

I'm all about encouraging more women to go back into the workforce and that's why, you know, we had a Productivity Commission review into childcare, we have a jobs and families package which we look at getting through the Senate, and certainly from my own perspective, I wake up every day and I say to myself what more can I do to ensure that women in Australia are able to participate more fully in the workplace.

QUESTION: Well, then can you understand the confusion, because yes you expressed goodwill, but you walked up and you were one of the first people to give an enthusiastic hug and congratulations to a woman …

MINISTER CASH: I have to say if this- I will stand by my …

QUESTION: … who just excused violence and also said that she would strip welfare …

MINISTER CASH: … record, in relation to- I will stand on my record …

QUESTION: … so can you understand why …

MINISTER CASH: No, no actually I can’t- no I can’t because it was a split second in time. And as I said, it was her maiden speech and I offered her goodwill as I do every other person in the Chamber when they give their maiden speech.

In terms of my commitment and this Government's commitment to domestic violence, I can assure you, it remains unwavering. While there is still one woman in Australia …

QUESTION: So, you can't understand why anyone would be confused …

MINISTER CASH ... who is being subjected to the domestic violence …

QUESTION: … you can’t understand why people would be- people would be confused or upset …

MINISTER CASH: … that means our job is not being done. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Can I ask one last question on jobs?


QUESTION: The underemployment rate is quite high, how concerned are you about that one? What could be done to encourage employers to create full-time jobs?

MINISTER CASH: If you look at the last month, the employers in the economy did create 11,500 full-time jobs. So, that’s a good thing. I think Australians understand that we are a transitioning economy and in particular we are transitioning into a more services oriented economy. Services, tourism, hospitality, the health industry, a lot of those jobs are more focused on the part time basis so it’s not surprising that you are seeing a growth in part-time jobs. But when you look at the overall statistics over the last 12 months we have seen in excess of 180,000 jobs created. Under this Government certainly the economy, but also its employers are out there doing what we need them to do and that is to create jobs.