ACT News


Insults traded over cuts to public service

Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury has labelled Jeremy Hanson a "lower case leader" in a Legislative Assembly showdown over public service job cuts.

Mr Rattenbury also called the recently installed Opposition Leader a "cipher" and a "zero" and accused the Canberra Liberals MLA of bringing a federal issue to the Assembly "at the behest of his former leader and wannabe senator" Zed Seselja.

The three parties clashed over the election issue on Wednesday in an hour of debate that Liberals Speaker Vicki Dunne described as "unedifying".

Mr Hanson had moved a motion calling for the Assembly to acknowledge the importance of public service jobs in the ACT.

While the three parties agreed the public service was important, they could not reach consensus on which federal party would slash more jobs, or who in the chamber had shown more hypocrisy.

Mr Hanson told the Assembly that "under the Rudd, Gillard, Rudd governments, supported by their mates the Greens, we've seen, or are seeing, about 10,000 jobs cut".


"The reality is that we are seeing a staffing purge under Labor and the Greens," he said.

The Opposition Leader also pointed out that "the reality is the Coalition's not actually in government".

Treasurer Andrew Barr said Mr Hanson had shown "more cheek than a sumo wrestler" and called his motion "laughable".

Mr Barr told the Assembly that both the ACT and the federal public service had grown in recent years.

Mr Rattenbury, meanwhile, accused Mr Hanson of hypocrisy for bringing a federal matter to the Assembly after "the shellacking" he dished out to the Greens MLA for doing the same thing a week ago.

Mr Rattenbury was called "pious" and "special" by the Opposition Leader last week for calling on the Assembly to write to each of the federal leaders about asylum seeker policy.

"This week, presumably at the behest of his former leader and wannabe Senator Mr Zed Seselja, he has decided that federal issues are the purview of the Assembly, and he has come here to muddy the waters on Liberal Party plans to get rid of thousands of federal public servants," Mr Rattenbury said.

"This points to the diminished role Mr Hanson brings to the role of Opposition Leader.

"He does not have his own ideas, he is a cipher, a zero.

"He is, by the colloquial definition of the Macquarie Dictionary, a zed.

"He is a lower case zed and he is a lower case leader."

Mr Hanson said that "even a simpleton" could see the difference between a debate about the public service and a debate about refugee policy.

"I think that even a simpleton could understand that one is a direct ACT-based issue and the other one clearly isn't," he said.