Commission of Audit Report - Matters of Public Importance Speech

The confected outrage that the former speaker just mentioned reflects the genuine outrage that exists in the community. What we are doing today is calling on the Abbott government to end the uncertainty, to come clean on what is contained in the Commission of Audit before the WA election, to come clean on their plans for public servants, for Defence personnel, for DMO personnel, for those on pensions, for the ABC.

After the election last year the Treasurer said on 22 October 2013: Every area of government will be examined. There are no restrictions.

Every area. I send this message to Canberrans, to all Australian and, most importantly, to Western Australians. Remember: 'Every area of government will be examined. There are no restrictions.' I am calling on the Abbott government to end the uncertainty, to come clean.

You have also said that there are no cuts to pensions. Why is it that since the election you have had leaked reports of four or five different positions on the disability support pension? I have members of my electorate ringing me up in tears, fearful about what is actually going to happen to them—women, single mothers who are battling on their own with multiple sclerosis, wondering what their future is.

I am also asking you to end the uncertainty about what is going to happen with the ABC and SBS. Prior to the election the now Prime Minister said there would be no cuts to the ABC or SBS. There are very strong rumours that the Australia Network is going to be abolished by the Abbott government. The Australia Network is an important arm of our public diplomacy. I can imagine those sitting opposite will all be there tonight, hugging B1 and B2—in between the two of them hugging them. Are you going to tell B1 and B2? Are you going to tell the assembled ABC members tonight what their future is, given you have made this commitment that there will be no cuts to the ABC and SBS? There is very strong talk of the Australia Network going. The member for Wannon knows the importance of the Australia Network. He is a former foreign affairs and trade official. He knows the importance of public diplomacy. He knows the importance of having a footprint in the Asia-Pacific region. Those opposite are doing nothing about standing up for the Australia Network.

I am also wanting the Abbott government to come clean on the Commission of Audit, to end the uncertainty around the Public Service. According to the Parliamentary Library, there are about 7½ thousand Commonwealth public servants in Western Australia. What is their future? What is contained in the Commission of Audit about their future? Coalition governments have form in terms of axing public servants. In 1996, they got rid of 30,000 public servants nationally—15,000 in the ACT. What is the plan for the 7½ thousand public servants in Western Australia? What is the plan for their future? What is the plan for their families' future? Come clean on what is in the Commission of Audit.

Finally, I am asking the Abbott government to come clean, end the uncertainty and release the Commission of Audit to let Defence public servants know what is going on and, importantly, DMO public servants. According to the defence annual report, in Western Australia there are about 3½ thousand ADF personnel, nearly 400 Defence public servants and over 200 DMO public servants, totalling nearly 7,000 ADF and Public Service workers in Western Australia. What is their future?

What is the future for those public servants, particularly the partners of ADF personnel who have been posted to Western Australia and are working in civilian jobs there for the DMO and for the Public Service? Come clean on what your plans are for the Public Service, for defence, for the ABC, for pensioners, for disability pensioners and for women like the single mothers in my electorate who are battling on their own, trying to get through but are faced with the great uncertainty surrounding the disability support pension. You have to stop hiding behind this Commission of Audit. If you have nothing to hide then why don't you release it? Why don't you just do that and come clean?

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