Sep 16, 2004

Come on Minister, let’s be fair dinkum


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 16 September 2004

Today’s media statement from Minister Andrews on the subject of long term unemployment is a convenient use of statistics and a desperate attempt to conceal the true magnitude of entrenched joblessness within the Australian community.

Here are the facts the Minister conveniently fails to mention.

According to the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS):

  • Today there are 358,100 Australians who have been on unemployment benefits for more than 12 months. When the Howard Government was first elected in 1996 the figure was 350,000;
  • Since 1999 very long term unemployment – those on benefits for more than 5 years – has jumped by a staggering 68 per cent to 126,650;
  •  Since 2001 the number of Australians aged under 21 claiming unemployment benefits for more than 12 months has increased by 10.5% to 49,121.

After 13 years of continuous economic growth you would expect long term and very long term unemployment to be going down, not up. These figures are an indictment on the Howard Government’s policies and once again highlight their indifference to the most vulnerable people in our society.

A Latham Labor Government will make sure the benefits of a strong labour market are felt by all groups across all communities


According to the ABS’s definition a person can work as little as 1 hour per week over 2 consecutive weeks in the past year and not be counted as long term unemployed.

This much more liberal definition of long term unemployment was introduced in April 2001.

(Source: ABS, Australian Labour Market Statistics, 6105.0, July 2004, p89)