Page 1756 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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Mr Hanson is here arguing that the federal Labor government has apparently cut public service positions. Yet Mr Hockey was out in the media on 29 April, only the week before last, confirming that there were in fact 20,000 extra public servants in Canberra compared with the last year of the coalition in government. So who is right? Is Joe Hockey right? Is his assessment correct that there are, in fact, 20,000 more public service positions in the ACT since the election of the Rudd-Gillard government in 2007? Or is it the position that has been put by the opposition leader here locally today that, in fact, there are 3,000 fewer positions? What is the correct position?

Mr Hanson: They are both true.

MR BARR: They are both true?

Mr Hanson: There has been a growth in the public service and now they are slashing.

MR BARR: So even if they are both true—

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MR BARR: So it grew by 20,000 and then reduced by 3,000. Is that the position?

Mr Hanson interjecting—

Mr ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, would you please stop interjecting? Minister Barr might then be able to refer his discussion to the chair instead of—

Mr Hanson: Certainly, Mr Assistant Speaker.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. What we have now established from the Leader of the Opposition is, yes, there was a growth of 20,000 and there has been a 3,000 reduction in the last year. Is that an agreed position, Mr Hanson?

Mr Hanson: Mr Assistant Speaker, on a point of order, I have responded to Mr Barr previously—and I accept that it was wrong for me to do so—but under standing order 42, I believe, he is required to direct his comments through you. If he repeatedly asks me direct questions in the chamber, it does make it difficult for me not to respond. I would ask you to bring him to order.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hanson. Mr Barr, if you can refer your comments through the chair.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. I know the Leader of the Opposition has no self-restraint at all and that is evident in that little performance. Let us be clear, Mr Assistant Speaker: even if you accept the position of the Liberal Party nationally and locally combined then we are talking about a net increase in public sector employment in the ACT of 17,000 positions over the last six years. Under no circumstance can it be argued that this federal Labor government has reduced the size of the federal public service in Canberra. But we do know what happens when—

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