Page 1766 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013
our fathers—and as Mr Hanson said, you will not have to go far, because these are the people that live on our streets—and I want you to tell them that you do not think that the contribution of their work to our society is worth anything. I want you to tell them that you believe that they are a drag on our city and that their families are a waste and not welcome to be part of the Canberra community.
As the federal opposition and their colleagues across the country rely so heavily on the work of public servants, especially commonwealth public servants, it is a gross hypocrisy to then treat them as contemptibly as they are promising to do by making these cuts. Mr Abbott is far worse than the bogeyman that Mr Hanson has referred to today. He is more like the devastator of Canberra families.
I wish to conclude my speech with a call to all public servants in this town. Tony Abbott will not protect your jobs and he will not protect your interests. If you want to protect your rights, if you want to ensure that your jobs are protected, I strongly urge you to support the cuts hurt campaign and fight for your jobs, fight to keep the heart of the Australian public service in the ACT where it belongs.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.09): We have had quite a discussion this afternoon and it has been quite broad ranging. And I think it has moved quite a long way from the motion that Dr Bourke originally moved. We have had a very extensive discussion about relative numbers in the public service under both federal Labor and coalition governments, and I think that there have been a lot of claims and counterclaims on both sides.
The element of the discussion I would like to focus on and that Dr Bourke’s motion specifically focuses on is the comments that the federal Leader of the Opposition was reported to have made earlier this week in which, as I understand it, he observed that he felt that there would be great value in moving more commonwealth government departments outside the ACT and locating them in other parts of Australia.
I am concerned about those reported remarks. I think that they undermine the value of Canberra as the nation’s capital and the value that is placed on having a range of federal government departments in the same city where collaboration and cross-fertilisation might take place. I think there is great value in having all of those institutions in one place, from a governance point of view, having regard to the ability of the ministers to have their departments in the same city where the federal parliament is operating, and also—and in one of my former lives I worked for an NGO that sought to engage the federal government—from a community organisation point of view. Having all of the agencies in one city, there is an efficiency on offer there for often poorly resourced community organisations to be able to engage with the federal government in one place at one time. So I think there are a range of reasons for having the federal government concentrated in one place.
Earlier this week I took a walk to the air disaster memorial, which commemorates the 1940 crash of an airplane on the outskirts of Canberra, between Canberra and Queanbeyan, in which three federal government ministers were killed. Interestingly, there is the plaque that was installed in 1960 and there is a subsequent one installed about a decade ago. And on that one it observes the fact that that crash in 1940 in