Page 1421 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 April 2005

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MR STANHOPE: Mr Tonkin was a senior and valued member of the ACT government’s—

Mr Quinlan: Appointed by the previous government.

MR STANHOPE: He was the head of the Chief Minister’s Department; appointed to that position by the previous government. At this juncture, one wonders—acknowledging that Mr Tonkin was selected and appointed by the previous government—why this Leader of the Opposition has embarked on such a personal and vicious campaign of vilification. One really does wonder.

But it is of course consistent with this government’s attitude to the public service and public servants generally: that they are fair game; that they are to be denigrated at every turn; and that they are to be denied fair and just wage increases. We now know the formal position of the Liberal Party in relation to pay for public servants is that, as a group, they are overpaid; that they did not deserve their last pay rise.

And here we have it again: we have the shadow Treasurer now proudly embracing, as his particular and personal policy and philosophy, that public servants in the ACT are paid too much; that public servants in the ACT did not deserve the last of the pay rises, which they justly received under this government.

Having regard to the history of pay and work justice that was the legacy that we inherited from the previous government, one wonders how Mr Mulcahy, in particular, could lead this charge on behalf of the Liberal Party against fair and just pay outcomes for public servants. We see it now adopted by his leader in relation to Mr Tonkin.

It is a matter of some wonderment to me that Mr Tonkin—appointed by the Liberal Party; selected by them—is now treated with such disdain. He is now singled out by the Leader of the Opposition for this personal campaign of continuing denigration of a public servant, and he cannot respond on his own behalf whilst he remains employed.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Under standing order 118(b) the Chief Minister is not to debate the answer. I have simply asked him what Mr Tonkin had done to earn the extra $12,000 of non-cash remuneration. I have yet to receive an answer.

MR SPEAKER: It is up to the Chief Minister to answer the question how he wishes, provided that he sticks to the subject matter of the question. You asked about an extra payment and that goes to the issue of levels of payment. The Chief Minister is responding accordingly.

MR STANHOPE: That is true. This is the denigration by the Leader of the Opposition, by the head of the Liberal Party, of pay being achieved by public servants.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The question was not about me. Under the standing orders, he is not entitled to debate it. It is specifically about an AWA and $12,000 worth of extra remuneration. I ask you to direct the Chief Minister to answer the question.

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