Standing up for Canberra

Senator Johnston must apologise

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Gai Brodtmann has called on the Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston to apologise after he called public servants in the Department of Defence “fat and happy.” (Senator Johnston speaking to ABC Riverina Morning Presenter Chris Coleman, Monday 19 May, 2014.)

“Senator Johnston’s comments are utterly offensive and show his complete contempt for the public service,” Ms Brodtmann said.

“Civilian defence staff are vital to the overall capability of the ADF, and are highly skilled and highly specialised. Senator Johnston has demonstrated yet again his total lack of understanding of their role.

“The fact is that following last week’s budget, public servants in the Department of Defence are anything but happy. They are currently in a state of uncertainty, not knowing if they have any job security after the Abbott Government promised to slash 2,200 civilian jobs and increase the efficiency dividend.

“Senator Johnston fails to understand that it is not just numbers he is speaking about – it is people with families, mortgages and responsibilities. They, like all Australians, are bracing themselves for the impact of the Abbott Government’s budget, and Senator Johnston’s flippant and offensive remarks implying that their jobs are disposable only makes their lives harder.

“He must apologise immediately.”