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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3685 ..


A large and vibrant community is essential to maintaining the national capital and maintaining the public service is vital to supporting the community. In this regard I think it would be very useful for those opposite to take into account the considered views of their colleague, former Chief Minister of the ACT and current ACT senator, Mr Gary Humphries, who said in electioneering material recently distributed throughout Canberra suburbs:

If the Federal Government grows, Canberra benefits. If it contracts, Canberra suffers.

I do not believe that I can put it any plainer than that: if the federal government grows, Canberra benefits. If it contracts, Canberra suffers. That is what Mr Humphries said. He also said:

Protecting the Australian Public Service goes hand in hand with protecting Canberra. The public service is a critical national asset—and also one vulnerable to day-to-day decisions of the Federal government. But without a well-resourced public service, our national capacity to overcome challenges is undercut.

For once, I wholeheartedly endorse Mr Humphries’ sentiments and I strongly encourage those opposite to do the same.

Only this week Mr Smyth tried to score some cheap political points by quoting figures from the commonwealth budget papers and by trying to paint a picture of falling public service levels under federal Labor. He conveniently focused on those staffing levels that were estimated to decline from 2007-08 to 2008-09. However, Mr Smyth failed to include the predicted increases. There were a number of increases where, in fact, he said that the public service would decline.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.29): Madam Assistant Speaker, that is just an amazing speech from Ms Porter, making unsubstantiated claims and trying to present this picture of what a wonderful job the Rudd government has done for Canberra. She made the fabulous statement that the ACT needs a strong and stable federal government. I do not know of any strong and stable federal government that, six weeks out from a federal election, ditches, knifes and assassinates a first-term prime minister. It is unheard of in Australian political history.

That is neither strong nor stable. Perhaps the strong she meant was the bib and beanie approach of the gang of four that did him in. It was not the MPs and the senators, because we know Senator Faulkner did not know. Indeed, in some ways the current prime minister did not know. To present the current federal government as strong and stable is to defy the newspaper reports of the last six weeks.

You would think that a first-term government would be running on their record. But are they running on their record? No, we are moving forward away from that record. We are moving forward from the pink batt disaster. We are moving forward from the border policy. We are moving forward from the building the education revolution which has been such a disaster in most of the other jurisdictions. They are moving away from that record because they have not been a strong and stable government.


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