Page 710 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 March 2005

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“Call for government wage restraint”. In that media release, Mr Mulcahy used figures from the ABS showing that in the August quarter last year full-time ordinary earnings rose 1.7 per cent in the ACT, driven by a two per cent increase for men and a 1.5 per cent increase for women. Mr Mulcahy attributed this increase to the ACT government, saying:

the wage growth in the ACT public sector was adding to the pressure being felt by both large and small enterprises within the private sector.

Mr Mulcahy then went on to say:

I am calling for the Government to exercise restraint when it comes to wages demands.

Mr Mulcahy had read some ABS stats, grabbed them with glee and attributed the increases solely to the ACT government, when in reality the figures used in the August ABS data were solely attributed to the actions of the federal government, not the ACT government.

Members might be interested in an article in the Age newspaper last month entitled “Canberra Bristles with New Bureaucrats”. It details the increasing wages bill of the federal government as the cause for increasing statistics of average weekly earnings. The article states that the Howard government has increased its head office staff by almost 25 per cent in the last six years, increasing its Canberra-based wages bill by more than $1 billion a year. The article points out that the federal government has cut thousands of staff in regional areas and has centralised public service staff in Canberra, which we think is good. That is good for Canberra; we are not opposed to that. It is Mr Mulcahy who has a problem with decent wage outcomes in the public sector. The annual wages bill for Canberra-based public servants—around 59,000 public servants in the commonwealth public service in the ACT—has risen to $3.7 billion.

We know that Mr Mulcahy is good friends with the federal ministers because he is up at Parliament House all the time.

Opposition members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: He puts out a media release saying, “Oh, by the way, at 10.30 this morning—

Mrs Burke: You don’t like that, do you? You don’t like that.

MR SPEAKER: The opposition will cease interjecting—and that includes you, Mrs Burke.

MS GALLAGHER: When Mr Mulcahy goes up to federal parliament, he issues a media release to let us know that he is good friends with everybody up there. Based on the figures I have outlined today, Mr Mulcahy might best use his time to issue a media release asking his friends up at federal parliament to show a bit of wage restraint. But it is interesting because we are getting an idea from the current opposition about their views on wages policy. They are heading back to those mean days of Carnell and

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