One Nation supports this legislation being passed by the government, and I believe that it is a good step in the right direction towards addressing youth unemployment. Many areas that I travel to have a youth unemployment rate of about 25 per cent, or even more. Youth feel that they are forgotten, they are not being listened to and policies have not been put in place. What is also lacking are incentives to give them reasons why they should go and get a job or want to work. I think this legislation is a great incentive. Yes, they are getting the Newstart allowance, but it is also going to allow them $200 extra a fortnight to help them manage to get clothes and to present themselves well. Someone has to do something about it. Not only are kids finding it hard to get jobs; let’s be honest about it, a lot of them are unemployable. If some of these young people had walked into my shop looking the way that they do when I had a business, they would not have got a foot in the door with me in the first place.
Someone has taken the initiative to say: ‘Listen, guys, get your act together. Clean yourselves up. Presentation means everything to an employer.’ I have to acknowledge this and give credit to the government for doing something about it. I have seen photos where kids have been transformed from an appearance of looking unemployable to where they have taken pride in themselves—and now they have a job.
Senator Cameron makes the comment, ‘A business is going to rip off the system.’ That may be the case, but the biggest rip-off in the system under the Labor Party was the pink batts. Where was their accountability when businesses took on doing the jobs and ripping off the taxpayers for how many billions of dollars?
Senator Cameron interjecting—
The TEMPORARY CHAIR ( Senator Gallacher ): Order on my left.
Senator HANSON: When the Labor Party talks about the youth or the Greens talk about youth employment, wages and everything like that, why would you knock back something like this that has given the kids an incentive to go and work? Would you be happy enough to see them sitting on a Newstart allowance?
Senator Cameron interjecting—
Senator Hanson-Young interjecting—
The TEMPORARY CHAIR: Order. I remind all senators that interjections are disorderly and that senators are entitled to be heard in silence.
Senator HANSON: I hear the interjections. Of course, I do not know their backgrounds, but how many in this chamber have actually held a small business and employed staff? There are not very many in this chamber. I am speaking from a small business person’s point of view.
Senator Cameron: I employed 400.
Senator HANSON: I am not talking about a union rep or a union delegate who pushes the agenda of their own union ahead of what the workers really want and getting jobs. What I am talking about is that this is an opportunity for kids to have jobs. It is going to be reviewed in a couple of years time. It is a four-year program, but it will be reviewed. It is going to actually work. Isn’t it best to have kids out there, or our youth, who have the opportunity to get a job? Then they can go on to further employment. That is a start.
Senator Hanson-Young: Give them a job and stop using them for slave labour!
Senator HANSON: The whole fact is that I have spoken to businesses. They want to put it on. Small businesses are struggling, and until we address—
The TEMPORARY CHAIR: Senator Williams, on a point of order?
Senator Williams: You brought to the attention of the chamber that interjections are disorderly. I ask you to bring standing order 197 to the attention of Senator Hanson-Young. If not, please use standing order 203 in consideration.
The TEMPORARY CHAIR: Thank you, Senator Williams. I will repeat that interjections are disorderly and that all senators are entitled to be heard in silence.
Senator HANSON: Can I also express the fact that the interjection from Senator Hanson-Young—she is saying this is slave labour. What a load of rubbish! It is not slave labour. It is about getting to know a trade or to work in one. An employer is struggling these days, and a lot of people will not—
Senator Hanson-Young interjecting—
Senator HANSON: Excuse me, Chair. I am still getting interjections from Senator Hanson-Young and it is disrupting my speech to this parliament, which I think is very important because the Australian people are interested in what I have to say.
The TEMPORARY CHAIR: I reiterate my third call for senators to extend the right of all senators to be heard in silence. Interjections are disorderly—please desist.
Senator HANSON: As I said, having run my own small business, it is quite expensive to put someone on, especially if they are not very well equipped with the knowledge of how to do that job. There is a training period. This is also involved in a training period: if they are capable of doing the job, the employer will—in my instance, if they are capable of doing the job, I would have put them onto further employment.
Until we address the industrial relations in this country by allowing small businesses to employ a person they wish to without fear of discrimination, and sack that person freely without fear of discrimination because that person is incapable of doing that job, nothing will change in this country. That is why small businesses are stifling—not only small businesses, but also other industries—because they are strangled by legislation. So that needs to be addressed.
This is a step in the right direction to get the youth employed, especially in rural and regional areas. I know that businesses will take them on. They are giving them the incentive to put them on, and the youth are given an opportunity they would never have had. If those on the opposite side and the Greens are going to vote against this bill purely because of the $50, they are, I will say, not really considering the unemployed youth out there. They are not really considering giving them an opportunity. By giving them work like this, they are actually going to pick up an extra $200 a fortnight. If they do not have work, what are they stuck with? Unemployment; on the streets; probably on drugs; tied up in gangs; looking, possibly, at crime; no hope of ever having a job whatsoever in the future. This is, at least, going to give them an opportunity to possibly end up with employment. I am sure their parents would encourage them to take up these jobs.
I think it is a great program. Like I said, One Nation will be supporting this. Shame on those on the opposite side of this chamber, be it the Greens, be it Labor or whoever. If they do not vote for this, they are not interested in youth and they are not interested in getting them off the streets or off drugs, or giving them a future in employment. This is a helping hand up. That is all it is: a helping hand. And they are crying out for it.
Chamber Senate on 10/05/2017 Item BILLS – Social Security Legislation Amendment (Youth Jobs Path: Prepare, Trial, Hire) Bill 2016 – In Committee Speaker :Hanson, Sen Pauline
The Greens Senator Hanson Young Speech on this same amendment (Youth Jobs Path: Prepare, Trial, Hire) Bill 2016