Tonight is budget night, and as the member for Canberra I have come up with a wish list for the Treasurer.
Wish 1: ditch the decentralisation plan. It is a thought bubble that has morphed into yet another attack on Canberra and underscores the government's complete disdain and contempt for our national capital. Sixty-two per cent of government agencies are already outside Canberra, so which part of the remaining 38 per cent do you want to get rid of, decentralise or take out to the regions? This is the seat of democracy. What is the government's plan for decentralisation of the remaining 38 per cent?
Wish 2: ditch the cuts to schools. Over a decade, $22 billion is being cut, which is $2.4 million for each and every school in Australia and here in Canberra.
Wish 3: ditch the health cuts. Canberra has one of the lowest bulk-billing rates in the country, if not the lowest. Canberrans should not have to pay yet more to visit their GP or optometrist.
Wish 4: ditch further cuts to the national institutions. We are not cutting into fat anymore and we are not cutting into bone; we are cutting into vital organs.
Wish 5: ditch further cuts to the Public Service. A favourite pastime of this government is cutting the Public Service and sacking public servants. Thirteen thousand jobs have already gone. How many more are to go tonight?
Finally, wish 6: back off Canberra...