The correlation between the suicide and unemployment rates for men aged between 20 and 24 lends urgency to the debate over the role of government in the youth labour market. Lip service is paid to the notion that youth and trainee wages and conditions should have some flexibility, but in practice this is rarely the case.
There are something like 900,000 small businesses in Australia and most of their owners work 10 to 12-hour days, six or seven days a week. Each and every one of them would, I'm sure, love some help. However, employing people is no longer an option. It is complicated, expensive and fraught with danger.
And there is no point in looking to big business to solve the problem — they are actually spending big on new technology so they can cut their workforce numbers.
When I started in the home-building industry in 1973, Australia was building more than 100,000 homes a year. Apprentices' wages were extremely low (less than 15 per cent of an adult wage) and were, for all intents and purposes, "deregulated". As a result, just about every tradesman had an apprentice and most (but not all) lads came from lower socio-economic areas. Those lads have now long forgotten their lean times as apprentices and are doing well. They realised they were investing in their own future.
Australia is still building more than 100,000 homes and yet you would be lucky to find an apprentice anywhere.
(Excerpted from the article with same name by Mr. Bob Day AO. Mr. Bob Day AO is a businessman in South Australia. He is a former Liberal Party and Family First Party political candidate, and is the federal chairman of the Family First Party.)