Page 2346 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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Mr Smyth: I have a point of order, Mr Speaker. Standing order 118 (b) does not allow the minister to debate the topic. The question is about why he is employing two additional senior executives and not about what Mr Pratt said.

Mr Seselja: He should also address his remarks through the chair.

MR SPEAKER: Minister, stay with the subject matter.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Pratt asks why I put an ad in the paper for an additional two executives. It is about rationalising. It is about taking 13 or so SES positions down to four or five. That is what it is about, sir. There is nothing new about this and I have said that before in this chamber. These people laugh about this, but they laugh in their ignorance, because they do not listen and they do not understand. They do not understand that we are taking the Department of Urban Services with us. They do not understand that we have consulted with the staff, with the unions and with management. They do not understand that we have consulted with these people in a contemplative stage. What they have done is pick and choose. What I suggest will happen from here on is that Mr Pratt will pick a section out of the Department of Urban Services and then he will say, “Minister, can you guarantee everybody there is going to get their job?” And when I say, “Mr Pratt, we are talking about restructure,” he will go out there and say, “Oh, you guys are all gone.” He will do this just the way he has done with the Canberra Connect people. How abysmal is that? He is going to go section by section and say, “Hello, you haven’t guaranteed these people; so they are going to get it in the neck.” The quantum leap in logic is, I am afraid, staggering. In fact, I do not intend to go step by step through the Department of Urban Services with this abysmal and pathetic shadow minister, and I urge Mr Smyth to consider changing his portfolio.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Mr Pratt?

MR PRATT: Yes, I do. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Minister, why has the restructure of your department resulted in extra SES positions being filled when, at the same time, you will be cutting 82 positions providing services to the public?

MR HARGREAVES: Firstly, Mr Speaker, Mr Pratt proves once again that he cannot count—1,086 minus 80 is 1,006. That is the figure we have been talking about. It is not 82, Mr Pratt. It is 80. Secondly, there are no additional SES positions being recruited. Because Mr Pratt sees an advertisement in the paper, he immediately assumes it is an extra position. Wrong again, Mr Pratt. You are making a habit of getting it wrong. Mr Pratt needs to understand that in any restructure positions go and, because it is a restructure, the jobs have to be redefined and realigned. Then of course other jobs emerge. They do not necessarily emerge with a net plus. In this case we are going to end up with a net minus. This pathetic little man over here is frightening people unduly—

Opposition members interjecting—


MR HARGREAVES: I withdraw that he is a little man, Mr Speaker. He is still pathetic.

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