Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 3908..
DR FOSKEY (continuing):
So we are having those debates. But the most profound change involves a large number of people in the public service and those who used to work at Parliament House—the whole army of advisers that ministers have developed around them over the last decade and a half. We will see a changeover at the gates. We will see the Liberal and coalition advisers being forced to look for jobs elsewhere. Many people at the top of the public service will either choose to leave or be asked to leave by the incoming Rudd government.
I think that augurs well for Canberra. There has been talk about public service cuts, but we are aware that, when candidates speak in those terms, they are usually talking to the rest of Australia. It is foolish to do so in the ACT, where such news has very loud reverberations, but apparently it works outside the ACT. If there are cuts, we can expect, from the experience of other governments, that the cuts may be made but over time people will be replaced. The Howard government promised cuts but we know that by the end of its time there was a very swollen public service. Indeed, that was to the ACT's disadvantage, in a way, because we continually lose public servants to the commonwealth, and that is not necessarily a good thing for us.
I think we are looking at brighter days. I heard the term used, and I have used it myself, of the lifting of a cloud upon Canberra. I believe there has been a whole change in public discourse since the election. It is very interesting that the government and coalition were so pumped up with money for advertising and spin that they somehow or other inflated ministers and the Prime Minister so that they looked larger than they were. After the election they were very much diminished in size, without all the money for spin. It was a very sad coalition indeed. It became very obvious that it was a group of people electing a leader when they had very low morale.
It will become more obvious if Rudd enforces the changes to the freedom of information laws which he is talking about doing. Perhaps some of the stories will be revealed when some of the papers and documents come to light. I have just been reading in my copy of the Public Sector Informant that some of the things that will come to light involve especially the former Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. No doubt there are other departments about which some nasty secrets may be revealed. We will find out how much the previous government was held together by spin and perhaps by fear, to a large extent.
We can hope that Prime Minister Rudd keeps his promises. Perhaps Labor people are more optimistic about that than Green people. He will need to act very strongly on climate change. Perhaps he can save a few forests while he is at it. I would like to see more investment in our national infrastructure, such as railways and housing.
Death of Alma De Smet
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (6.12): I rise today to pay tribute to a Canberran who was 98 years old when she died on Friday, 9 November this year. Alma Veronica De Smet was born at Duntroon Station on 1 September 1908. Her parents were married in 1893 and they had nine children, with two dying in childbirth.