Standing up for Canberra

MPI: Employment

We have heard from my colleagues this afternoon about the enormous impact that the Abbott government has had on jobs in this country and their failure to protect jobs and invest in jobs. We have heard from my colleagues from South Australia about the thousands of jobs that have gone in the shipbuilding and auto industries. We have heard from the Leader of the Opposition about the 800,000 who are now on the unemployed queue as a result of this government's complete disdain for workers and its complete lack of a jobs plan for this country. 

We have heard about the thousands of jobs lost in South Australia and the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost throughout the country, but nowhere has been more affected than here in Canberra. Since this government has been in power, 8,500 public service jobs have been cut in Canberra alone. In the two years that this government has been in power, 17,000 public service jobs have been lost across the country. The government have complete contempt for Canberra, complete disdain for the public service and complete disdain and disrespect for public servants—the servants of democracy. We have seen today the impact that that is having on my community. The government wears those 8,500 jobs as a badge of honour. There have been 8,500 jobs cut in the public service but they do not care about the Canberra community. To them the Canberra community is just a bunch of double-dippers, just a bunch of fat-cat bureaucrats. Canberrans are doing it tough and the figures today in the Financial Review underscore the fact that they are doing it tough. Of the top 100 postcodes at risk of mortgage default there are a number in my electorate: Kambah, another is Tuggeranong, another is Greenway, another is Oxley, another is Wanniassa, another is Erindale—people in my community, in Canberra, are suffering as a result of 8,500 public service jobs being cut by this government. That is just the beginning. There are so many reviews going on right across the public service, who knows where that figure will stop.

Coalition governments have form. We saw in 1996 what they did to my town. I was one of the people who lost their job—one of the 15,000 public servants who lost their job here in Canberra, with 30,000 losing their jobs across the nation. What did that mean for Canberra? It saw us go into an economic slump and it took us five years to dig ourselves out of the hole that was created by a coalition government in 1996—the same hole that they want to create for this community again by cutting 8,500 jobs in Canberra and 17,000 throughout the country. It is an absolute disgrace. They just do not care for the servants of democracy—the people who serve this government; the people who write the ministerial representations, the people who represent you overseas, the people who write your question time briefs and ministerial submissions. The government have shown complete disdain for these people. How do you repay them? You sack them! Eight and a half thousand of them! As I said, it is just the beginning.

I go back to my point about what happened in 1996. Fifteen thousand jobs were lost in this town. We went through an economic slump for five years. We saw business bankruptcies go up. We saw non-business bankruptcies go up. We saw house prices plummet. We saw the population fall. We saw people leave town. As I said, it took us five years to get out of the economic slump that was created by a coalition government. That is the same direction that this Abbott government wants to take Canberra in. Its 8½ thousand public service job cuts are just the beginning.

What does this mean? Look at the figures in the Financial Review today from a review on mortgage defaults by Digital Finance Analytics, whose principal said:

The most difficult thing for a mortgage holder is suddenly losing your job because income goes from a certain level to a lower level and it's quite hard to manage. …

Events across Australia impacting on employment are probably the best leading indicator of the probability of default.

What we are seeing now are these figures playing out in my electorate—in Kambah, in Greenway, in Oxley, in Wanniassa, in Erindale. They are all doing it tough as a result of the Abbott government. It is not likely to get any better in the near future while this mob is still in government. I say to Canberra: get rid of this Abbott government. They mean nothing but bad for you. They have nothing but contempt and disdain for you. Get rid of them!

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