Page 1114 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 3 May 2022

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As part of that policy announcement the Labor Party said that, in lieu of the $3 billion here for principally the sorts of jobs doing policy work in federal departments, they will replace that with $500 million worth of public service positions, mostly in front-line service provider jobs—NDIA, Centrelink and so on. The bulk of those jobs will not be in Canberra. They are in the regions.

Can you imagine—and I can imagine it because I have lived this—where a federal political party says, “We’re going to rip $3 billion worth of jobs, about 5,000 jobs”—tell me what the figure is, please—“out of Canberra and we will replace that with about a fifth of that but not in Canberra”? Can you imagine what would be happening from those opposite if that announcement had been made by the federal coalition? I think you would see a very different reaction.

In many ways, this has been a test. It has been a test for the Labor Party to see whether they are going to stand up for Canberra, stand up for Canberrans, real Canberrans out there that have jobs, and stand up for our economy—and $3 billion over four years is not an insignificant amount—or whether they are just going to back the federal Labor Party, which is what they are doing. They are siding with the people that want to cut $3 billion out of our economy. They are siding with the people that want to cut in the order of perhaps 5,000 jobs out of Canberra.

The Labor Party make much of the fact that they want to see wage increases. We all do. So why then are they going to sack a lot of these people who normally are in well-paid positions here in Canberra and replace them with people who are, generally speaking, on front-line, lower paid positions out in the regions? It goes against everything they come in here and bleat about. They are always in here talking about these issues. I am a big fan of jobs in Canberra, let me tell you, and I do not support a single job cut being made. I will stand against and I will speak against anyone that is cutting jobs in Canberra, and we have in this place, but we do not pick a side. Here in the Canberra Liberals we will stand up for Canberra jobs, but what you see from those opposite is that Labor job cuts are good. If it was the coalition doing it, it would be bad.

It is pretty disgraceful from this ACT government that Mr Barr is just letting this go through to the keeper, because he knows it is the best thing for Albo and the best thing for Katy and the other Labor candidates perhaps locally to support them and their chances because it might play well out in marginal electorates somewhere else. They know that they have three pretty safe seats here. They do not have to worry about that, do they, Mr Deputy Speaker? They can treat the ACT electorate with contempt. That is what they are doing here by taking $3 billion out of Canberra jobs and replacing that with a fifth of those jobs, or thereabouts, not in Canberra. If that is not contempt for the ACT public, for this electorate, I do not know what is.

Now, where have the Labor Party been on this? Where have they been locally? Where is Mr Barr and his confected outrage that we see when it is job cuts that have been made by the federal government? Where are they? What this motion says, and it is pretty straightforward, is “call it out”. Do we support Canberra jobs or not? And $3 billion out of our economy, do we support that happening or not? It is clear that

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