Page 1784 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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trying to do. He wants to create some stir around it, just as the Labor Party is trying to do today, Madam Speaker. They are trying to create a lot of political noise. Maybe it was foreshadowed that something was going to appear in the Canberra Times today. Maybe they thought, “Quick, let’s move a motion to cover our embarrassment, our abject embarrassment, that it is actually federal Labor that is cutting these jobs.”

The problem I have with the amendment, as we have highlighted over here, and Mr Seselja made the point comprehensively in this speech, is that this is happening right now. The concerns being expressed are happening right now. I do not know whether they are not particularly bright on that side or whether they are just trying to ignore the fact. I think probably a bit of both. But let us remember that employment in the ACT was never better than under Howard. Any statement of commitment by Gillard is worthless. We have established that. The reason that this is an issue in the first place is that federal Labor has wrecked—has wrought havoc on—the federal budget. It gets worse day by day. I hate to think what the actual deficit is going to become by the budget next week.

As we saw, to December last year 3,000 jobs have gone, and God knows how many in the intervening period. But all of us who know people in the federal public service know that there will be a significant amount more. If this had been a genuine attempt by Mr Rattenbury to try and play the middle path, as he pretends he is doing, then this amendment would not have said, “Let us call on the Speaker to write to Mr Abbott.” It would not. It would say that it is an expression of support for the ACT or it would refer to writing to federal parliamentarians or even refer to writing to the Speaker of the federal parliament. It would have been along those lines.

But no, what he is doing is saying, “Let us kick Abbott. Let us have a go at Abbott.” That is what he is attempting to do. So we will not be supporting his amendment, because it is equally as disingenuous as the original motion. It is trying to score political points when the reality is that it is this mob, supported by the Greens federally and locally, who are giving the ACT a big kick right now.

As it would appear that this motion, as amended by Mr Rattenbury, is going to get through, this is the last point I make: if, Madam Speaker, you are inclined to write to Mr Abbott, I think it would be useful in that correspondence to highlight the fact that this was not supported by unanimous vote of the Assembly. Perhaps it would be useful to include the opposition’s amendment in that correspondence to reflect the somewhat disparate views that were expressed during the debate.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (6.11): I might start by referring to those particular concluding comments from Mr Hanson. Obviously, it would not be within your purview to make such alterations. The Assembly will determine, of course, the content of such correspondence by way of the formal motion that is moved. The text that is required is, of course, what the Assembly will determine. So any suggestion, Madam Speaker, that there can be some alteration to that, as determined by the Leader of the Opposition, is absurd.

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