The Government’s talking points about the jobs-crisis-that-isn’t-yet-a-crisis are consistent — and meaningless.

“What we’ve done is protected jobs, acted to protect jobs in these difficult days. We are obviously standing ready as necessary to continue to invest, in keeping our economy moving, in stimulating growth in our economy, and in protecting Australian jobs”, said acting PM Julia Gillard in one interview. “We’ll stay focused on what’s important, and that’s putting in place the right policy mix to see Australia through this global crisis,” said Treasurer Wayne Swan in another.

“Protecting jobs” … “the right policy mix” … “investing in jobs” … “stimulating growth” … these lines are being trotted out like confetti by a government which apparently believes that rhetoric will placate an electorate that is watching in horror as jobs disappear like, well, confetti.

The official published Australian unemployment number is heading towards 7 per cent. The real unpublished figure, which includes people working fewer than 35 hours a week, is probably over that number already and headed way above 10 per cent.

It is now obvious that the government and its departments are not equipped, on their own, to deliver meaningful policies to stop the unemployment spiral. They need help from the business and industry leaders who actually create employment and unemployment. They need some kind of summit that, unlike the 20-20 weekend of hot air, produces specific policies that are implemented immediately.

And they need to stop spouting vacuous rhetoric.

Peter Fray

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