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We'll cut public service jobs 'much better', says Abbott

Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood fears a harsh budget will affect Centrelink clients.

Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood fears a harsh budget will affect Centrelink clients. Photo: Lannon Harley

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says a Liberal government will cut public service jobs ''more effectively'' than Labor.

Mr Abbott said on Wednesday that revelations of thousands of jobs slashed in the service last year did not change his plans to shed another 12,000 workers through ''natural attrition'' if his party wins power in the federal election in September.

The latest snapshot of Commonwealth public service employment from the Public Service Commission indicates that more than 2600 jobs were lost between June and December 2012. Some of the larger departments cut heavily, with Defence and Human Services each shedding up to 1000 jobs and the Australian Taxation Office cutting 420 positions.

Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott Photo: Dean Sewell

But Mr Abbott said the latest numbers made no difference to his stated policy towards the public sector. ''The fact that under this government there has been a very slight reduction in numbers demonstrates that it can be done and it will be done much better and much more effectively under a Coalition government,'' he said.

The Opposition Leader's comments drew immediate criticism from the Community and Public Sector Union, with national secretary Nadine Flood comparing Mr Abbott's approach to the public service with that of hardline Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.

''Mr Abbott's comments confirm that, just like Campbell Newman in Queensland, the Coalition is determined to slash thousands of public sector jobs, regardless of the changing environment,'' Ms Flood said.

''And just like in Queensland, we are deeply concerned the 12,000 cuts Mr Abbott has promised will just be the beginning.

''Slashing jobs and services is in his DNA. Liberals always cut and the community always hurts.

''Mr Abbott needs to come clean - before the election - and tell the Australian people which services he will be cutting as he slashes $70 billion from government spending.''

The Canberra Liberals' Senate candidate, Liberal MLA Zed Seselja, took to Twitter to accuse Labor of hypocrisy.

Didn't @katelundy say efficiency dividend wouldn't cost jobs? Another Labor broken promise #auspol #canberra m.canberratimes.com.au/national/publi… — Zed Seselja MLA (@ZedSeselja) May 8, 2013

The size of the bureaucracy has emerged as a focus of this year's federal election campaign, after the opposition committed to reducing the public service by 12,000 staff through a hiring freeze.

11 comments so far

  • Whats got me flummoxed is that people will still vote Labor.

    Commenter
    Martin Says
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    May 08, 2013, 3:28PM
    • You're easily flummoxed. Why would anyone vote Liberal? Tony has said,as has Big Joe that they will shaft twenty thousand and do such intelligent things as send the CSIRO to Karattha Canberra will be in a deep recession by Christmas thanks to Abbott and many small businesses will go bust as a flow on. Labor's cuts are like comparing Mt Taylor to Mt Everest. Abbott wants to move whole departments. Liberals have an ideological hatred of the public sector and want everything farmed out to private enterprise, even when it costs more which it often does. Zed will watch thousands of jobs disappear and do nothing. Predictions of a twenty to twenty five percent drop in property prices are widespread.

      Commenter
      Eric Olthwaite
      Date and time
      May 08, 2013, 6:46PM
    • There will ALWAYS be people voting Labor.

      Commenter
      Peter
      Location
      Melbawne
      Date and time
      May 08, 2013, 7:33PM
    • @ Eric...People will vote Liberal because they are sick of the spin and lies coming from the Labor Government, just keep to your usual spin and ignorance of the 20,000, the article say 12,000 which will be through natural attrition.There is only one word to describe Labor..Shambles.

      Commenter
      Martin Says
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      May 08, 2013, 8:11PM
    • Mr Olthwaite, @ 6.46pm While the Tales of Ripping Yarn is great fiction, so is your comment.

      Commenter
      Ripping Yarn
      Location
      Denley Moor
      Date and time
      May 08, 2013, 8:22PM
    • Eric Olthwaite, if Canberra is going to be in recession by Christmas, its not going to be because of Abbott, its because this Labor Government since 2007 has ignored small business, and have completely stuffed the economy. .

      Commenter
      Small Buisness Owner
      Location
      Civic
      Date and time
      May 08, 2013, 8:44PM
  • bit rich from Zed considering what tony abbotts saying. but then again I guess he wouldnt break his promise if he won office and sack public servants and destroy the ACT economy.

    zed your better off shutting it

    Commenter
    yes
    Date and time
    May 08, 2013, 3:46PM
    • Don't forget to cut Politican's pensions Tony, they're a complete waste of taxpayers' money, with no productivity whatsoever. Tell Hockey to lose his sense of entitlement.

      Commenter
      T1
      Date and time
      May 08, 2013, 5:13PM
      • Public servants and Laborphiles seem at times outraged, at times puzzled or just plain indignant that the conservatives campaign on a platform of reducing public service numbers (and changing the geographical distribution). But surely this is the house the public servants (and the Labor government) built. If the coalition is correct in its perceptions of the electorate (that voters are dissatisfied with the performance of public servants and views the public service agencies as offering poor value for money in a range of ways) those perceptions are based on what public servants have been doing under commonwealth Labor governments for many years now. If public servants had delivered where it matters, then surely the coalition would be on a loosing wicket with this pitch - but who outside the public service has not, with some familiarity, had occaision to doubt the integrity of the public service agencies (jobs for the boys/girls/political cliques), the productivity and just plain old usefulness of these institutions? Does not the ongoing ComCare debacle suggest we are witnessing farce parading as tragedy here? Political granstanding alone will not restore the image of public servants - a genuine and dramatic change in the way public servants behave at work is required to restore voter confidence in public servants. I doubt that will happen under a Labor government, and a reduction in public service numbers will probably help.

        Commenter
        APSChickensComeHomeToRoost
        Date and time
        May 08, 2013, 8:54PM
        • Learnt from Queensland, watch Newman how he run the state, if you like to keep that way.
          Abbott would do more slicing and dicing like his mate. Then vote for him by all mean.
          Just make sure you have a roof over your head , a job to go aNd nation building for the next generation . Rock the boatt, if you can't stand Labor.

          Commenter
          Old Mary
          Location
          Westie
          Date and time
          May 09, 2013, 4:53AM

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