Page 2980 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 14 August 2013

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all on the first PowerPoint slide. The button was pressed and the second slide came up showing 110 positions, roughly, left in the media liaison section. If your position number was not on the second slide, you were made redundant. Death by PowerPoint was the name of the operation that occurred at Defence at that time.

Of course, that was only the media liaison section. There were many other sections that were hit at the same time. It was quite a dramatic turn of events for those of us that were employed in the federal public service in those years. I struggled to come back to terms after those cuts occurred.

As I mentioned, John Howard promised 2,500 cuts to the public service. The reality was 32,400 over the period 1996 to 1998. Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and their colleagues have begun, as we have heard from the Treasurer, at 12,000 cuts, with some of the opposition members in the federal parliament saying that there will be 20,000 cuts. If the ratio is going to be similar to the promises that John Howard made prior to his election, I think we are all in for a very tough time should the federal opposition win government in September.

We have heard some recent comments from Mr Seselja in particular in relation to those cuts. He provided almost the same description that I did in regard to house prices and the recession in an article in the Canberra Times most recently. He confirms the comments that I have made in regard to house prices between 1996 and 1997. In the article, in brackets, it says that, “We had the lowest median house price under the Howard government between that period.” So even the new opposition Senate candidate for the ACT, the Liberals candidate Zed Seselja, has indicated that that was a tough time for Canberra. My view is that maybe there is a tough time ahead.

That amendment to the motion has now been distributed. I support the amended motion.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.47): I will speak to the amendments and close the debate. We will be supporting the technical amendment that Mr Gentleman moved, but we will not be supporting the amendments from Mr Barr because he is missing the point of the motion. The point of the motion is quite clear. I do not think there is any dispute about what is happening. My motion notes the importance of the ACT and federal public sector employment to the ACT economy. I think we would all agree with that. It also notes that the federal Greens, along with Labor, plan to cut about 10,000 jobs. The irony is that I am quoting the CPSU and Andrew Barr is quoting Joe Hockey. It is a bit of an alternate universe that we find ourselves in.

The facts are there; the facts are clear. It has been very well documented and reported. The reality is that the federal government has cut jobs, and is planning to cut more jobs. The CPSU say it, the Canberra Times did some analysis, and it is quite clear that that is what is happening. So let us not pretend that these job cuts are not occurring.

This is the problem, and it is, I suppose, the nub of the next point in my motion, which is that ACT and federal Labor and ACT and federal Greens continue to be misleading about the extent of public service job cuts they have made and plan to make in the

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