As members of the House will be aware, 2013 is a very important year for this city, the centenary of Canberra. And while Australians and Canberrans are celebrating this important milestone, the coalition is planning to devastate Canberra should it be elected in September.
Last week, the Leader of the Opposition proposed moving government agencies from Canberra to Tasmania. A few weeks before that, he was in favour of moving Public Service jobs from Canberra to Geelong. And who can forget the coalition's grand strategy leaked earlier this year to relocate entire Commonwealth departments from Canberra to Karratha, Darwin and Cairns. The truth is that over 60 per cent of the Commonwealth Public Service is already located outside of Canberra.
It was the vision of Sir Robert Menzies to 'build up Canberra as a capital in the eyes and minds of the Australian people'—and so he did. Robert Menzies created a capital worthy of this nation and he moved to consolidate government agencies in Canberra, and now the party he led plans to destroy that vision. In this, our centenary year, the coalition is promising nothing but pain and suffering for Canberra. Remember 1996, Canberra!