Page 1966 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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I place on the record my congratulations to the re-elected members here in the ACT: Andrew Leigh for Fenner, Alicia Payne for Canberra, David Smith for Bean, and Katy Gallagher, who is the new minister in the federal Labor government. If David Pocock is elected as the second senator then I look forward to working with him.

I conclude by saying that it is a given—it is an absolute given—that any Chief Minister having the privilege of sitting in that seat over there, no matter what party they are from, would work in the best interests of Canberrans and work collaboratively with the federal government, no matter what political party the federal government are from. Certainly, I would hope that the Chief Minister would do the same.

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) (3.22): I thank Mr Pettersson for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. Like Mr Pettersson and like many Canberrans, I was delighted by the federal election result a few weeks ago. I can advise those opposite that our Chief Minister has full confidence from our bench, not like we see across the road.

The new government has committed to reforms that undo the years of neglect and disrespect from the former Liberal government. Neglect is what Liberal governments are best at. I am looking forward to seeing compassion from the government that cares about people. I am looking forward to the end of the cashless welfare card. It was a delight to see the Nadesalingam family return to Biloela. How those people ever supported their detention is beyond me.

Paul Keating once said, “When you change governments you change the country,” and change the country has. I think many Australian once again feel pride in the nation. We have a government that is committed to bringing people together.

I want to echo the Chief Minister’s comments from last week about the federal public service. The former government’s attack on the public service came in many forms: outsourcing, decentralisation and defunding. It was despicable and done for purely ideological reasons, because they think that Canberra-bashing will win them votes. Look at the disgraceful comments made by Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes about the new Minister for Finance last week. Her sneering and bitter comments about the nation’s capital showed just how much the Liberals hate Canberra.

The federal election result shows us that Canberrans do not take kindly to this kind of politics. They know, and we know, that a strong public service is good for our city and it is good for our country. The many thousands of Canberrans who work for the federal government will be better off under this government. Canberrans will be better off. They will be better off because this new Labor government has committed to engaging with them through proper bargaining processes. They will be able to work with their unions and their employer toward better and fairer working conditions. My long-time friend and colleague Senator Katy Gallagher will make an excellent minister for the public service. She will restore the public service, protect its integrity, and ensure that it can properly support the government and the people of this country.

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