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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 May 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1781 ..


Mr Mulcahy took the opportunity today to repeat the furphy—now familiar—that public servants are overpaid and that if the Liberals had been in government the public service would not have received the pay rises they have received over the past three years. Of course, we know that to be true. We know it to be true from the money they included in the forward estimates when we took government. A one per cent provision for public service pay rises was made in the budget at the time we took over.

That comes from a history, in the last term of the last government, of 5 per cent total pay rises to the ACT public service over the term of that last Liberal government. Their contribution to, their acknowledgment of, the work and value of the ACT public service was pay rises of a total of 5 per cent over their last term, compared to the 13 per cent that we have delivered.

In the environment we were in at the last election, at the death, Mr Moore, the then Liberal health minister was negotiating with the nurses. He actually negotiated a 14 per cent pay rise without any allocation for paying it in the forward estimates. That is what we inherited at that time.

An interesting thing—and an interesting point to make—in relation to Mr Mulcahy’s $100 million cut to the health budget is, of course, that that essentially represents the quantum of the pay rise that we made to nurses and health professionals in the last round. I think that is essentially, perhaps, what Mr Mulcahy is saying: nurses and health professionals received a pay rise—which, over the period, was actually to the tune of $100 million—that was completely unwarranted.

The other intriguing and interesting issue about what we can expect of a Liberal government in the future is that Mr Mulcahy made it absolutely clear this morning that no pay rise should ever be made to public servants without offsetting productivity gains or concessions. That was the point today in this speech: pay rises should simply not be negotiated or agreed in any circumstance on the basis of no granted or conceded productivity gains.

Exactly what are Mr Mulcahy and the Liberals going to expect of our nurses? Which productivity gain or change or concession was to be made by our nurses? Which was to be made by our schoolteachers? Which was to be made by our fire fighters? What was it that Mr Mulcahy expected of them?

Mr Mulcahy: Mr Speaker, I wish to raise a matter under standing order 46. You indicated previously—

MR SPEAKER: I don’t know whether the Chief Minister has—

Mr Mulcahy: You said last time, Mr Speaker, to raise it at the time and not leave it to the end of question time.

MR SPEAKER: You can raise the matter when question time has concluded.

Mr Mulcahy: Right. I took it the other way.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Mr Gentleman?


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