Page 1116 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 3 May 2022
In fact, when you read Ms Orr’s proposed amendment, it is clear that she does not go to the substance of what I am saying or what the Labor Party’s policy is. It is just a bunch of inaccuracies and fear and smear about what is happening, relying on the sorts of lines that get put out regularly from Labor Party headquarters. The consequence is that if the Labor Party is elected on 21 May, thousands of Canberrans are going to lose their jobs. It seems to me that the Labor Party does not care, because they are contractors. The Labor Party sees two classes of worker. One is the APS worker that they can try and entice into the union. I love them; I think they are great. We will support the APS. My wife is in the APS and I have many friends in the APS.
Equally, the Liberal Party values contractors, people who may have previously been in the APS or in Defence, while working and providing a valuable service to the federal government. But it is clear from this policy and it is clear from the actions of those here today that the Labor Party sees two classes of citizens and two classes of jobs. They want to sack you if you are a contractor and they will not be replacing you. That is what the Labor Party is going to do. I condemn it. I think we should all condemn it. We should all be working to make sure that $3 billion does not get ripped out of our economy. We should all be working to make sure that thousands of jobs are not lost in Canberra, whether they are APS workers or whether they are contractors.
If the policy announcement had been, “We’re going to swap these hardworking people one for one; we’re just going to put them in the public service; we’re going to go along and say, ‘You’re currently employed as a contractor; we’re now going to employ you as a public service servant,’ that would be okay. That is a different policy announcement. But that is not what the policy announcement was.
The policy announcement was to sack them: pure and simple; that is what it was. They are trying to put it out there, “No, it’s about augmenting the public service.” No, it is not; not in Canberra, not for those thousands of people currently employed as contractors. They will be sacked, unless they want to move to Dubbo, or perhaps Armidale. There was much criticism when a small public service element of a department was moved to Armidale. I agree; it should not have been. I fully support the fact that that and other public service belong in Canberra. There is much to be said about that.
Why is it that when Labor proposes, essentially, sacking a whole bunch of Canberrans and redirecting them and saying, “Well, okay, you can go and work for the NDIA or you can go and work for Centrelink out in Dubbo, Armidale or somewhere else,” you lot are cheering it? You lot are applauding that policy. You think it is great. Well, I do not. I think it should be condemned. I think it should be called out for what it is. I must say I am disappointed that, once again, you are backing your Labor mates on the hill as opposed to Canberrans right here in our city.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.51): This motion shows the desperation of Zed and his Canberra Liberals. They have been in opposition now in Canberra for 20 years and, as we have heard on