Page 1759 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013
those cuts saw the APS shrink to its smallest size since 1984. Those with a view to the long-running history of public service employment would note, though, that by the end of the Howard government in 2007 the numbers had, in fact, grown back. So it perhaps showed that those cuts were somewhat ideological in nature at the time and not based on good service or policy outcomes. Private sector employment in the ACT declined by 5.2 per cent, or nearly 5,000 people, in 1996-97. The unemployment rate rose to eight per cent—Mr Hanson was right—but that was as a result of those cuts in 1996-97. Population growth in the year ending December 1997 finished in decline. So for the first time in living memory the population of Canberra actually declined. It was a shameful period and should not be repeated. (Time expired.)
MR SESELJA (Brindabella) (4.44): I thank Mr Hanson for his amendment to this motion. When you are dealing with the Labor Party, the first thing you have to do is cut through the lies and misrepresentation that the Labor Party constantly put forward at a federal level and at a local level. We see it here again today even in their motion. We see it in every one of the Labor Party speeches today, in what all of their local members have had to say. At the same time as they are criticising the coalition, the Labor Party nationally is sacking Canberrans as we speak, having promised them that they would not. The thousands of jobs that are going from the public service right now under federal Labor are going even as they say that they are committed to Canberra and urge people to examine the opposition.
Let us examine the government and let us examine the Labor Party’s record. The Labor Party is the party of recession. The Labor Party is the party of job cuts. Mr Hanson referred to the last time the Labor Party delivered a surplus. It was in 1989-90. They built up such levels of debt towards the end of the Hawke-Keating government that even they realised it was unsustainable. We saw massive job cuts from 1993 onwards, the last term of the Hawke-Keating government. In the last term of the Keating government, we saw job cuts. We saw 25,000 jobs cut in the last term of the Labor government because they had run out of money.
Those are the facts. The Labor Party always fails to manage the budget and eventually it is Canberrans who pay for it. Eventually it is Canberrans who pay for the budgetary mismanagement. We saw it at the back end of the Hawke-Keating years. We are seeing it at the back end of the Rudd-Gillard years as we see Canberrans being sacked to pay for the Labor Party’s inability to manage finances. It is quite stark. The hypocrisy of the people on the other side is that they could not care less if the Labor Party is sacking people. We see it from the local Labor members who promised on numerous occasions that there would not be job cuts.
As we look at the motion from Dr Bourke, we need to look at what he is actually saying and what he is taking offence at. One of the things he is taking offence at is in paragraph (b), which notes:
(b) that Mr Abbott said it was important that service delivery agencies are located outside of Canberra “for them to be amongst the people they are seeking to help”
Yet he seems to have no problem when Julia Gillard, in opening the Climate Change Authority, said, “Locating the new authority in Melbourne will enhance its ability to