Yesterday, the Treasurer threatened the people of Australia with even harsher budget cuts, saying, 'There are other alternatives that we can take.' The Treasurer must come clean on what these other alternatives are. Specifically, can the Treasurer say whether its harsh Commission of Audit recommendations are on the table?
The Commission of Audit recommend reducing the staff at Defence headquarters in Canberra to 1998 levels, which means cutting over 2,100 civilian Defence jobs in Canberra alone. The Commission of Audit recommended outsourcing the entirety of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. The Commission of Audit recommended huge and sweeping changes to the Public Service, changes that will ultimately result in a significantly smaller APS and, therefore, a significantly smaller Canberra. It recommended outsourcing and privatising many functions of the Public Service.
It recommended devolving functions of the departments of health and education to the states and territories, something that would result in thousands of Public Service job cuts. The Commission of Audit recommended a GP co-payment of $15, more than double the government's current cruel co-payment. Are these the other alternatives the Treasurer is talking about? If they are and the Abbott government is so arrogant that it genuinely thinks it can threaten the Australian people into accepting its horror budget then it has another think coming at the next election.