SENATOR THE HON KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
THURSDAY, 25 JULY 2019
SUBJECTS: Public service, the Government’s lack of vision for Australia, four year terms
JOURNALIST: Do you think there will be a bloodbath in the public service? Do you think these reports in The Australian today that the Government may look at cuts?
KRISTINA KENEALLY, DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS: Well, the Government should release the Thodey review – put out there the review that has been done into the public service and make available to the Parliament and the Australian people what that review says. You know this Government has been slashing public services; it has been slashing frontline services. And, quite frankly, they don't have a leg to stand on, when it comes to talking about the value of the public service. Nonetheless, they should put out the Thodey review so that people can see what that review says.
JOURNALIST: Do you think there is some dead weight in the public service that could be tightened up?
KENEALLY: What I know is this Government doesn't like the public service. They are continually looking for ways to attack it. They don't value the work that our public servants do. And quite frankly, I'm concerned that this Government will see this as just an ideological opportunity to wage war on the people work very hard to ensure that our Government works, our Parliament works, and that Australians can get the health, the education and all the other services, they rely on.
JOURNALIST: The suggestion of amalgamating Government Departments, should Department chiefs be perhaps polishing their CVs, do you think?
KENEALLY: You know what I think's going on here? I think this is a government without a legislative agenda. This is a government that has nothing else to do. So what do they do they turn to talking about administrative arrangements within the public service. Where is their answer to stagnant wages? Where is their answer to a sluggish economy? They've got the Reserve Bank right now calling on them to take action and what are they doing? They're talking about reorganising some Departments. That is not a vision for Australia. That is a Government that's run out of steam just a few weeks into its third term and has nothing to say.
JOURNALIST: How concerning do you think it is, Martin Parkinson's comments, that living standards could fall dramatically in Australia in the future?
KENEALLY: Well Dr Parkinson has belled the cat on the poor economic management of this Coalition Government and he's not alone. We've got the Reserve Bank putting these calls out there, we've got the business community. People sitting home know that their wages are flat lining, their bills are going up and they've got a Government that seems intent on cutting penalty rates, cutting public services, cutting health and education, making it harder for ordinary Australians to go about their daily lives, pay their bills and raise their families. Take energy, everyone knows the cost of energy is going up. This Government's had 13 plans on electricity. They have failed to do anything over six years to arrest rising electrical prices and yet, here they are, what's their big idea today? They're going to reorganise some Departments internally within the public service. That is not an answer. That is just a machinery of government thing you do administratively. Administrating the public service, that's not a big vision. Where's the big vision from this Government?
JOURNALIST: What do you think about the idea of four year terms in Australia rather than three?
KENEALLY: This is a matter the Parliament can consider through its usual processes. Some state governments have four year terms. The Federal government has three. I don't have particular ideological view on that. That's something that can be considered through the usual committee processes here in the Parliament. Thank you.