Michaelia Cash must have been hoping that everyone would keep looking at Barnaby when she chose to stick her head up today to spruik her take on the latest labour force survey but, thankfully, some journalists have memories that stretch back further than last week.
QUESTION: Senator Cash, is your office being investigated by the AFP over the media tip off of the AWU raid.
MINISTER CASH: No.
QUESTION: If your office isn’t being investigated why did you claim public interest immunity in Senate committee hearings?
MINISTER CASH: Because as an AFP investigation the AFP itself claimed public interest immunity.
QUESTION: But if your office isn’t being investigated wouldn’t releasing those internal communications demonstrate that you had, and your office had, no role in coordinating the media tip offs about the raids?
MINISTER CASH: Again, I have complied at all times with the law and the procedures of the Senate. We are here though to talk about jobs growth. Would you like to ask a question on jobs growth? Would anyone like to ask a question about jobs growth?
QUESTION: On Mark Lee’s attempt to get a job in your office, why was it inappropriate for him to no longer take that role?
MINISTER CASH: I answered these questions last year. Again, would anyone like to talk about jobs growth?
Well Michaelia, I’ll oblige.
Over the past year, trend employment increased by 394,900 persons while the labour force increased by 376,900 persons. A reasonable result. However….
Even though full-time employment increased by 8,800 persons between December 2017 and January 2018, and part-time employment increased by 14,200 persons, the trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased by 1.2 million hours.
Whilst trend employment increased by 3.3 per cent over the past year, monthly hours worked only increased by 2.7 per cent.
In August 2013, the last month Labor was in power, there were 712,400 people unemployed. As of the end of last month, that figure has grown by another 7,800. When we talk in big numbers that doesn’t sound like a lot unless you are one of the many thousands of families affected.
To show how confusing these figures are, the largest increase in trend employment last month was in New South Wales (up 7,600 persons), but NSW also suffered the largest decrease in seasonally adjusted estimates (down 21,200 persons).
Politicians have no consistency in which figures they quote. They cherry pick the ones that sound best which, as you can see, vary greatly.
Michaelia chose to single out the wonderful result in Tasmania.
ABS figures show that Tasmania’s trend unemployment estimates remained relatively steady over the last month, dropping from 5.8% in December to 5.7% in January, while seasonally adjusted estimates showed a spectacular result, with December’s estimate of 6.1% unemployment dropping to 5.3% in January.
Pick a number, any number.
So, having discussed jobs growth, why the hell is your department not under investigation when your own staffer admitted to having alerted the press?
Is this another case of “he is no longer my staffer so I did nothing wrong?”