Wednesday, 2 August 2023
Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Safety Net) Bill 2023; In Committee
Thank you, Senator Hanson, for that question, and also outlining your position and One Nation's position in relation to the amendment. It struck me during your contribution about the wage rates for hairdressers that perhaps the frequency of visits that I would have to make to a hairdresser for them to be employed for an hour is actually quite high, and probably higher than for Senator Cadell's long locks. I'm a low-quality proposition for hairdressers around the place, I'm afraid.
The answer to the question, Senator Hanson—I'm happy to come back to you on the actual numbers because I don't have a 20-year figure in front of me. For a time, I did work supporting the work of long-term unemployed people who were re-entering the workforce in a role I occupied as part of the Working Nation program many, many years ago, as the then Keating government was seeking to support long-term unemployed people coming back into the workforce. I understand the barriers that sit in front of long-term unemployed people both from their perspective and from employers' perspectives. The best answer that the government can offer here, apart from the settings that there are in the social security system, is by generating more employment. And the government, since its election, has seen just under half a million jobs generated in the Australian economy—500,000 new jobs, most of them permanent jobs—and that is a very good thing.