Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 2010) . . Page.. 3477 ..
Gary Humphries does not make an iota of difference to the Liberal Party’s willingness to use the ACT as a political football. That is the choice that Canberra voters face on Saturday. They can have a choice between an irrelevant Liberal Party backbencher or a Green frontbencher, who will be a part of the balance of power team in the Senate. That is what Joe Hockey’s comments made very clear when he joined the Liberal Party launch on Sunday.
Back to Ms Porter’s motion, I welcome the fact that Ms Porter brought it on today. I think it is important that we talk about the importance of the commonwealth public service to the ACT. I think members today have done a good job of outlining that, and I am glad there is an understanding across the chamber. I hope that understanding can be passed through to some of our federal colleagues, because we do see—I heard what Mr Smyth was saying before—on both sides of politics that Canberra bashing can be a sport. At the end of the day, the people who live and work here in Canberra are ordinary Australians. We do not have the good fortune of having marginal lower house seats—one day we might hopefully reach that point; certainly my colleagues and I are trying hard to make it that way. We do have the good fortune now of having a marginal seat in the Senate, and that is an improvement for the ACT; it puts us on the map and it means we can have a chance to be heard and to hopefully see an end to the Canberra bashing by the two old parties so that the ACT is not subjected to this in the future.
The Greens will be supporting Ms Porter’s motion today. We thank her for bringing it on, and we hope that, no matter what the outcome is on Saturday, the public service continues to be valued by our federal government.
MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (11.30): I thank Ms Porter for bringing this motion to the Assembly. I think the majority of people here agree that it is, indeed, important that we here in the ACT respect the commonwealth public service, and we do share a concern at the possibility that there will be such severe job cuts to the federal public service. As others have mentioned, it is not just the 12,000 jobs that are at risk and will be cut; it is recognition of the multiplier effect for each public service job cut across the private sector, the small business sector and the community sector. So 12,000 is indeed a multiplier. We can have various views on what the number will be, but there is no doubt it is a multiplier in large proportions that will have a significant impact on our community.
Mr Hargreaves mentioned 4,000 jobs that were lost in Tuggeranong in 1996 and the effect that that had on the community. Indeed, in my work as a local member for Brindabella, I talk to many in the community, and they have spoken to me about their memories of the effects of 1996—the effect on the community sector where St Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army had increased demand for services and support. There is anecdotal evidence that domestic violence and youth difficulties increased as families were devastated through these job losses in the public service, small businesses and the community sector. The impact is also felt in self-esteem, when people are no longer employed. We all understand the impact that that has, not