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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3644 ..


It is difficult to pick out a particular sector, but we know that there were localised impacts last time. We can go back to 1996. We can go back and look at what happened to this town and specific parts of this town in 1996, when the then incoming Prime Minister kept the promises that he had made in the election campaign. He said that he would take the axe to Canberra, and he did.

The current Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the Liberal Party, has said the same. He has said exactly the same. He will take the axe. Of the massive promises that he has made, unfunded, in this election campaign—he will manage them by taking the axe to Canberra to the tune of a $25 billion reduction in commonwealth outlays. And he targets Canberra particularly.

It is relevant for us Canberrans to reflect on the ease with which he makes those promises. When we look at his response to questions about whether he would live in the Lodge, we see that he said, “No. I prefer to live amongst ordinary Australians, amongst real people,” essentially—not Canberrans. What an absolute final insult. That sums up his attitude to Canberra and to us Canberrans. We are not ordinary Australians in the view of the Liberal Party. (Time expired.)

MS PORTER: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, how will Canberra households be impacted by an Abbott-led coalition policy of 12,000 job cuts and a two per cent efficiency dividend imposed on the commonwealth public service?

MR STANHOPE: As I have been indicating, I think it is an issue we all do understand—most particularly, members of this place, including, of course, the Liberal Party. The impact will be massive. It was last time and it will be this time, if Tony Abbott and his colleagues take government.

With respect to the impact on Canberra, we cannot just brush this aside. We do need to be prepared for it, we need to discuss it and we need to understand it. We need to ensure that the people of Canberra understand it. I think one of the disappointing aspects of this relates to Tony Abbott’s party colleagues within this place—namely, Mr Seselja, the leader of the Liberal Party in the ACT, and Mr Brendan Smyth, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party in the ACT. Indeed, we should not ignore altogether, of course, the role of the great procrastinator, Gary Humphries. Gary Humphries sat in the Liberal Party party room, presumably, whilst Mr Abbott developed his policies to take $25 billion essentially out of this town through cuts to commonwealth government outlays. Gary Humphries is a part of the decision-making process that led to those policy decisions, just as Brendan Smyth was back in 1996.

We see history repeating itself again there, too. The elected Liberal representative in the federal parliament in 1996, who sat in John Howard’s party room and agreed to those devastating cuts to the federal public service, which impacted so grievously on Canberra, was of course the then member for Canberra, Brendan Smyth, who sat in


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