Page 1367 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

that the Labor Party in the ACT would understand all this because their colleagues over in the UK years ago went down this road of giving away the farm. They were consigned to the scrap heap for a long time and it was a reflection of this sort of economic management.

Ms Gallagher: You guys paid nothing in wages. You guys paid the public service nothing.

MR MULCAHY: Those who do not learn the lessons of history are clearly condemned to repeat them and I think that will eventually happen again.

Ms Gallagher: One point seven per cent. A wage cut, that is what you guys did, a big pat on the back about—

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Ms Gallagher!

MR MULCAHY: It is very important to understand that productivity gains in return for pay increases do not necessarily mean a reduction in employment conditions. This is a wrong assertion by the minister, who sees it in such simplistic terms. Productivity gains usually arise from finding new ways to make work easier and more efficient. Those gains can be generally shared between everyone involved, so that employment conditions are improved and not reduced. I would respectfully suggest that possibly the Treasurer might want to invest some time in educating his colleague the Minister for Industrial Relations on the importance of productivity gains in lifting living standards and providing new opportunities for investment and jobs.

It is very interesting that the latest leader of the team up on the hill, Mr Beazley, whom we have seen in that role before, said only recently to the Melbourne Institute that productivity growth was our greatest economic need and urged smarter work practices. This is not the Liberal Party. This is Mr Kim Beazley, who has come back in to fix up all the mess that has been made in the hope that the people of Australia will forgive them and put them back into government. Mr Beazley went on to claim that he brought a certain hard-nosed pragmatism to leadership. He promised not to be cowed by ideological opponents in the ALP and pledged to work closely with business.

I reckon Mr Beazley could save himself an airfare by jumping in a car and popping down here, because there is plenty of work to be done with his Labor colleagues in the Assembly. He can explain to them that productivity improvements are not a bad thing, that they are actually good for the people, for the workplace and for business. In terms of the matter we are discussing here today, an appropriations bill, they are very good for the taxpayer.

I have included recommendations, which I suspect this government would not be keen to embrace, and suggested that they try in future negotiations to extract some productivity improvements. I have also suggested that there be some regard to the impact on private industry when the farm is given away, as it was in this round of negotiations. I am not advocating reductions in wages or employment conditions. What I am saying is that the people of Canberra, for this sort of outlay, are entitled to something better.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .