Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann, Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh and Senator for the ACT Kate Lundy have called on ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja to admit that he has broken his natural attrition promise.
The three say that Senator Seselja’s pre-election promise that planned public service job cuts would be made through natural attrition alone is looking increasingly feeble, with the Canberra Times reporting this week that several departments have already offered post-election redundancies.
Senator Seselja repeated throughout the 2013 election campaign that the Coalition would only cut jobs from the public service through natural attrition, not through redundancies:
[The Coalition has] “been good enough to put their policies on the table and that policy is to, across Australia, reduce the size of the public service by 12,000 through natural attrition. Now, my job should I be elected to the Senate will of course be to hold the Coalition to that promise that it will occur through natural attrition.” (4 July 2013, 666 ABC’s Drive with Adam Shirley)
“the Coalition has said through attrition across Australia that they’ll reduce the size of the public service by 12,000... it would be through attrition that they would reduce the size of the public service… The Coalition has announced a plan to make savings. They’ve been very clear about that, that it will come through natural attrition…We’ve got one party, the Coalition that grows the economy, that has announced a plan through attrition.” (9 July, 666 ABC with Louise Maher)
“Our policy is stated. The policy is that the public service through natural attrition will be reduced over two years.”(5 August, 666 ABC’s Breakfast with Ross Solly)
“I think the positives about it are the natural attrition and it will be my job if I’m elected to the Senate to hold an incoming Coalition to account on that… if you’re going to make savings you should do it through attrition…” (31 August in the Canberra Times)
The Canberra Times analysis released this week shows that according to the Public Service Gazette, only 251 public servants have left their jobs since the Abbott Government was elected some two months ago, 182 of whom received a redundancy package. This is around one-sixth of the departure rate required for the Government to meet its target of 6000 job cuts by the end of June.
Natural attrition is typically achieved with retirements and resignations. As predicted public servants are holding on to their jobs in an uncertain and insecure job environment.
Ms Brodtmann, Dr Leigh and Senator Lundy have asked Senator Seselja to come clean with Canberrans by answering the following questions:
- Is the Government going to stick by its promise to only cut jobs through natural attrition, even if it means not meeting job cut targets?
- Are the redundancies currently being offered in various departments part of the Government’s plan for 6000 job cuts this financial year, or are these additional cuts?
- Will there be any forced redundancies, including in those departments affected by Machinery of Government changes?
- Will the Government increase its public service job cuts target or introduce forced redundancies if the Commission of Audit recommends it should?