Tim Wilson an ill-informed Canberra basher, say local members

Ian Bushnell 3 December 2019 28
Member for Goldstein Tim Wilson

Member for Goldstein Tim Wilson: “Canberra economy raiding taxpayer hip pockets.” Photo: File.

Local members of Parliament, including fellow Liberal Senator Zed Seselja, have rounded on Victorian Liberal Tim Wilson for “ill-informed comments” about the Canberra economy robbing Australian taxpayers.

The comments came during a debate in the House of Representatives on Monday on the Morrison Government’s proposed changes to the aged pension and Newstart Allowance.

Mr Wilson, the Member for Goldstein, responded to a speech by Member for Canberra, Alicia Payne, and claimed: “The whole basis of the Canberra economy is, literally, government. The raiding of taxpayers’ hip pockets for the benefit of the few.”

Ms Payne, Labor public service spokesperson and ACT Senator Katy Gallagher, ALP Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh and ALP Member for Bean David Smith issued a statement that Mr Wilson had gone rogue and devalued the important role that the Australian Public Service (APS) plays in our democratic system of government.

They were joined by Senator Seselja, who said many of these types of comments about Canberra were lazy and ill-informed, as well as a scathing Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

The Labor members said Mr Wilson’s comments showed a complete lack of understanding of the Canberra economy as well as the work that the public service does.

“Tim Wilson is at best completely ill-informed, or at worst deliberately misleading the Parliament – even accounting for the ACT public service, a majority of Canberrans work in the private sector,” they said in a joint statement.

They said Mr Wilson had form when it came to Canberra-bashing, saying that earlier in the year, during a panel interview with Mr Leigh, Mr Wilson referred to Canberra as “a massive government bureaucracy” that is “cushioned from the reality of where people actually make money and make investments off their private capital”.

The Labor members said the facts are that:

  • More than 62.5 per cent of the APS work outside of Canberra and 70 per cent work in service delivery or implementation roles.
  • Canberra has borne the brunt of the Liberals’ cuts to the public service – with 9,142 job cuts since June 2013 and 1,883 in the last financial year.
  • Canberra is a town of Government, but APS employment as a percentage of the workforce has decreased from 32 per cent in 2011 to 28 per cent in 2016. Over 5,000 jobs have gone and this doesn’t account for the recent 1,883 jobs cut.
  • 25,464 Victorians are employed by the APS, including 560 people in south-east Melbourne which covers Mr Wilson’s electorate of Goldstein.

“The APS is an impartial institution that not only enables his Government to implement its agenda but more importantly works every day to provide crucial services to Australians right across the country,” they said.

“Public servants perform a critical role in our democracy by developing policies and delivering services to help keep Australians safe, regulate corporate conduct and support vulnerable members of our community.

“He needs to stop sprouting the lines fed to him by the Institute of Public Affairs and do his job as a mature MP, as challenging as that might be.”

Senator Seselja said Australia was well served by a professional public service.

“Hard-working public servants in Home Affairs and ASIO help keep our nation safe, those in Treasury and Finance help balance our budget and set strong economic policy, and our public servants in the NDIA help to deliver support to the most vulnerable Australians,” he said.

“Other nations which have corrupt or weak bureaucracies suffer as a result. The public service is not above criticism, but blanket statements like this ignore the genuine, critical service to our nation these Australians provide.”

Mr Barr said he wouldn’t expect anything less from a Liberal MP that flys in, and flys out and sees more of the Chairman’s lounge at the Qantas Club than of Canberra.

“This is a Liberal Government that has a legacy of doing whatever they can to belittle the nation’s capital, and the people that work and live here,” he said.

Mr Barr said the ACT was one of the few economic success stories in this country, with one of the lowest unemployment levels in the nation.

“Contrary to Mr Wilson’s commentary, this is not exclusively driven by the Commonwealth Public Service,” he said. “Over 60 per cent of the workers in the ACT are employed by the private sector. In 2018-19, the growth in the ACT’s economy as measured by Gross State Product was driven by a significant increase in Health Care and Social Assistance, as the ACT Government invests more in public healthcare to support our growing population.”

He said the ACT Government continued to go it alone to support the local economy by investing in major infrastructure projects.

“Mr Wilson seems to be OK with the Commonwealth spending billions of dollars to support employment in other states and territories through infrastructure investment,” he said.

“Despite the ACT’s population growing at one of the fastest rates in the country, the federal Liberal government has largely ignored the infrastructure requirements of Canberrans and those living in the wider region. During the last two terms of the federal Liberal government, the ACT has received just 0.8 per cent of national infrastructure funding.”

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28 Responses to Tim Wilson an ill-informed Canberra basher, say local members
Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 12:35 pm 05 Dec 19

Astounding! This moron went so far that even the Rabid Right Seselja felt the need to contradict him.

Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 7:40 pm 04 Dec 19

Hey which party keeps sacking the public service them hiring them back as contractors at twice the price...

    Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 12:36 pm 05 Dec 19

    Hey, I don't remember posting this! :D

    Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 1:02 pm 05 Dec 19

    Mark Chapman I don't remember posting that?

    Martin McMaster Martin McMaster 2:24 pm 05 Dec 19

    I'm considering changing my name to Mark Chapman so I am not excluded.

    Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 7:10 pm 05 Dec 19

    Martin McMaster this would be for the greater good...

harcm harcm 9:36 am 04 Dec 19

It would help if lazy journalists stopped referring to the Federal Government as Canberra. After all, we have the fewest representatives there of all Australians. Tasmania is over-represented but you never hear about that anomaly.

michael quirk michael quirk 6:57 am 04 Dec 19

Tim Wilson given his past association with the Institute of Public Affairs has low credibility. The IPA is said to receive one third of its funds from Gina Rinehart, with funds also provided by others in the fossil fuel industry. He is guilty of putting ideology over the facts.

Bill Jackson Bill Jackson 11:10 pm 03 Dec 19

I really dislike this person.

Justin Watson Justin Watson 10:09 pm 03 Dec 19

Those franking credit payouts for people not paying tax however are under his definition perfectly ok and they also benefit the few, most of whom with share portfolios we could all only dream of.

Mark Goodman Mark Goodman 9:47 pm 03 Dec 19

Tim Wilson's comments regarding Canberra are hypocritical to the extreme. His salary is paid out of the great Canberra robbery.

Ps I am not serious about the robbery, Canberra is a nice town and full of good people, both in private enterprise and goverment work.

Canberra did not create Canberra. The children growing up in Canberra are being slandered by the type of talk that he is vomiting.

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 9:32 pm 03 Dec 19

... says the man whose pay is dependent on the raiding of taxpayers’ hip pockets.

John Elliott John Elliott 8:28 pm 03 Dec 19

Get rid of him. The man is dead set evil anyway.

Bek Clark Bek Clark 8:26 pm 03 Dec 19

Canberra’s FIFOs being flogs again are they?

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:15 pm 03 Dec 19

Mr Wilson …….. claimed: “The whole basis of the Canberra economy is, literally, government. The raiding of taxpayers’ hip pockets for the benefit of the few.”

That’s a bit economical with the truth, but the ACT economy without the regular influx of federal money for salaries (and payments for contractors who we presumably pretend are employed in the “private sector” for statistical jousting purposes), related non-salary costs and, not to forget, all those defined benefit pensions for the formerly employed, would be like the WA economy without mining – or parts of the Sydney and Melbourne economies without the financial sector spivery which flourishes in artfully rigged “markets”.

As to the spirited defence from our Chief Shop Steward, this gem is almost confirmation of the point which Wilson was, I think, trying to make –

“In 2018-19, the growth in the ACT’s economy as measured by Gross State Product was driven by a significant increase in Health Care and Social Assistance, as the ACT Government invests more in public healthcare to support our growing population.”

Mike Whitfield Mike Whitfield 7:09 pm 03 Dec 19

What an A-hole, Tim Wilson former human rights commissioner, you would have thought that he'd think twice before making divisive generalist comments about a group of people, I sure he would have had similar divisive and hurtful comments about his lifestyle and would know why you would make cheap political points at the expense of a particular group of people, but apparently once you become an LNP member you have that part of you brain lobotomised. Well done Tim you continue to meet expectations

Greg Miller Greg Miller 6:56 pm 03 Dec 19

Can we have a visa system so we can prevent unfriendlies coming to Canberra, much like China excluding Handy Andy and the Hitler Youth wannabe?

Hans Dimpel Hans Dimpel 6:55 pm 03 Dec 19

It's quite immature of Australians to attack the capital city They don't realise they are being manipulated by people like this one. It' doesn't happen in other countries. How dumb are people that think there would somehow be less politicians or less public servants if their was no Canberra.?

    Alison Brittliff Alison Brittliff 6:59 pm 03 Dec 19

    Hans Dimpel and better services, cheaper, little understanding of the work done on their behalf

    Hans Dimpel Hans Dimpel 7:04 pm 03 Dec 19

    Alison Brittliff I know! Most countries would be over the moon at having an effiicient and un corrupted public service. But not Australians. But they all want their medicare rebate paid right now and their pensions on time.

Hans Dimpel Hans Dimpel 6:53 pm 03 Dec 19

did he just admit that taxpayers get thier hip pockets raided to pay for Tim Wilson? how dumb are the people that voted for him!!!

Jason Ezra Jason Ezra 6:37 pm 03 Dec 19

One must question the self-awareness of a fellow who has happily drawn a paycheque from government since 2014 whilst badmouthing it...

Greg Simmons Greg Simmons 6:36 pm 03 Dec 19

Here we go again! Blow-ins to a town that puts food on THEIR tables for evermore! We don't knock their towns, so don't knock ours ! Angry local ! 😠

Joanne McRae Joanne McRae 6:34 pm 03 Dec 19

A FIFO who is an ignorant prat.

Peggy Rose Peggy Rose 6:25 pm 03 Dec 19

As if ,I get sick of Canberra being lumped in with the clowns on the hill .😡

Paul Kitson Paul Kitson 6:23 pm 03 Dec 19

Idiot. Self entitled member of the IPA commenting on CANBERRA. Who would have thunk it would positive. NOT.

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