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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 March 2008) . . Page.. 557 ..

your man. He is the man to sell it to the people of Canberra, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. When the chief cheerleader did speak, he did not speak about the NCA cuts. He kept talking about the efficiency dividends. I wonder how the minister would classify cutting 33 jobs out of 87. I wonder whether that could somehow be classified as an efficiency dividend. That looks to me like the gutting of an organisation.

Mr Barr: It depends how inefficient the organisation is.

MR SESELJA: The minister interjects, and we can take it from that interjection that he supports what Senator Lundy has had to say—that it was a bloated organisation that deserved to be slashed. It is good that we can finally get that out of the government because the Chief Minister has been silent on whether it is a bloated organisation that should have been slashed. But Minister Andrew Barr has now confirmed that he believes Senator Lundy was right when she said it was a bloated organisation and she was—

Mr Barr: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker: I said no such thing, and the Leader of the Opposition should withdraw that statement.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is the point of order, Mr Barr?

MR SESELJA: There is no point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Mr Barr: The Leader of the Opposition has deliberately misrepresented me, Mr Deputy Speaker.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Resume your seat, Mr Barr. You may use standing order 46 at the conclusion of this debate.

MR SESELJA: That was a spurious point of order from the minister. From the interjection, we can only suggest that he approves of what Senator Lundy said, and that was a ridiculous attack on the hardworking men and women in the NCA—saying that it was a bloated organisation and that it deserved to be slashed. This went well beyond efficiency dividends. We always suspected that it was not just Senator Lundy who held this view but that it was held by many Labor figures, and I think we are now starting to see why this occurred—because ACT Labor asked for it to occur. That is why this is the first cab off the rank. That is why the NCA was slashed in the way that it was—because ACT Labor wanted it to be so. The federal government was looking for places to cut and the ACT Labor Party said, “Come here and cut the NCA,” with no regard for the impact that that slashing would have on the people of Canberra.

I do need to respond to the Chief Minister’s speech. It really was quite an embarrassing effort. He was so embarrassed at his inability to stand up to Bob Debus, and Peter Garrett, of all people, that he tried to turn the debate back to housing affordability. I am very happy to have a debate about that and about the impact on young families of this government’s actions. That is what the Chief Minister was arguing. The Chief Minister had the hide to do this when, with respect to the government he has led, no government in Canberra’s history has ever had such a negative impact upon young families.

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