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Liberal MP says ACT “cushioned from reality of where people actually make money”

Genevieve Jacobs 6 June 2019 95

Member for Goldstein Tim Wilson says Canberrans are “cushioned from the reality of where people actually make money…”. File photo.

In an extraordinary radio interview, Liberal MP Tim Wilson has claimed that Canberra is “a massive government bureaucracy” that is “cushioned from the reality of where people actually make money and make investments off their private capital”.

Wilson, the Member for the Victorian seat of Goldstein and the former Human Rights Commissioner, was being interviewed on ABC Radio Melbourne along with Member for Fenner and Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury Andrew Leigh in a discussion that began with the raids on News Corp and the ABC, devolved into why Labor lost the election but ended with Wilson claiming he had been “massively verballed”. Region Media is quoting directly from the interview transcript.

Referring to Mr Leigh’s Canberra seat, Mr Wilson said “…When you have a town that’s massive, a massive government bureaucracy in comparison to people who put their own capital on the line, put their own capital to employ people and grow jobs and grow the economy, that’s a bit distant from…”

Presenter Raf Epstein then asked “Why do you feel it necessary to insult a whole other batch of voters just to make a political point?”, adding later “I would like you to address the idea that simply because you’ve not invested in a business, you can’t make a decision about economic policy?”

Wilson denied he was making that inference, but continued “What I said was that Andrew comes from a town which is mostly government. If you want to pretend that’s not the reality that’s your choice. That’s 100 per cent reality, so that’s a pretty simple observation.”

The interview then diverted into whether a public servant was able to properly make decisions about economic policy. Wilson said “It is a government town. What I’m saying is people on the ground who invest, who grow jobs and create opportunity outside in other parts of, outside of Canberra in other parts of the country, have a different perspective.”

Andrew Leigh responded towards the end of the discussion. “Reluctant as I am to inject facts into this, I would point out that in the ACT 63.8 per cent of workers are employed in the private sector. It’s a two-thirds private sector town and I suspect my constituents would take a pretty dim view about being dismissed offhand by Tim Wilson.”

The exchange takes place following the ACT budget presentation and addresses by the Chief Minister, who pointed out to the Canberra Business Chamber yesterday that the ACT economy already outstrips those of Tasmania and the Northern Territory and is potentially set to exceed the South Australian economy within coming decades.

The Chief Minister says that the ACT receives less federal funding per capita than any jurisdiction other than Western Australia and NSW via the GST, a gap he says amounts to around $1215 per capita or $300 million across the city. The government’s aim over the past decade has therefore been to decouple the economy from over-reliance on the public purse and public service and to build a knowledge economy that capitalises on the city’s strengths in technology, innovation and research.

According to the Australian Public Service Commission in 2017, 152,095 people work for the Australian Government nationwide, excluding defence personnel. Almost 40 per cent of that workforce as a whole is based in the national capital in order to service the Federal government, while 19 per cent of the APS is based in NSW and 17 per cent in Victoria.

Around two-thirds of those jobs are in the Commonwealth public service, while the ACT Government’s own public service accounts for the remaining third.


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95 Responses to
Liberal MP says ACT “cushioned from reality of where people actually make money”
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7:17 pm 09 Jun 19

Karen Betts Tim should crawl back into the hole from whence he came..

7:08 pm 09 Jun 19

You know...I’ve always wondered why Canberra, which does have a lot of public servants...has always had a strong Labor following.

3:28 pm 08 Jun 19

Where are the ACT Liberals, leaping in to defend their city state? Sounds of silence. This is Zed's party.

7:24 am 08 Jun 19

And yet, there are some people who vote Liberal... who seemingly do not have any respect or understanding of our excellent city.

5:46 pm 07 Jun 19

Mr Wilson: you are conflicted: you set as a chair of a parliament committee while showing people a business called Wilson wealth or similar. This is s conflict of interest in my opinion. Also in my opinion you are not fit to sit in the parliament.

Capital Retro 5:14 pm 07 Jun 19

He needs Andrew Barr to counsel him.

4:55 pm 07 Jun 19

But hey I love this city, including the politicians in their bubble. It growing, it's dynamic, diversified and surrounded by nature unlike smoky polluted Melbourne and Sydney. Yes and I've lived in North Queensland, the Gong and southern Spain.

justin heywood 4:09 pm 07 Jun 19

News flash for ACT residents. Most of Australia has a similarly low opinion of the Canberra ‘bubble’.
The fact that so many Canberrans think he’s expressing some outrageous and controversial views indicates how right he is.

2:40 pm 07 Jun 19

I live in Queensland and I think Tim's a pillock too. He's becoming nastier as time goes by and it appears to me its more about Tim seeking to impress some of the, more naturally nasty beggars amongst the Lib power brokers, "hey, look at me I'm really just like you".

12:47 pm 07 Jun 19

Just another clueless politician.

11:23 am 07 Jun 19

someone with a big mouth and a little brain..!

10:31 am 07 Jun 19

Mr Wilson - you are welcome to live with us for a week and see the REAL Canberra’

3:43 am 07 Jun 19

Because as one of those fly in, fly out workers who spend their time here cushioned in Parliament House, he knows all about Canberra!

10:53 pm 06 Jun 19

For anyone who wants to check, Tim Wilson has no business experience at all. He’s trained in Public Policy and spent his whole career in “Think tanks” and Government jobs. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Wilson_(Australian_politician)

    3:24 pm 08 Jun 19

    Babs Mabbs the IPA isn't a think tank. It's a reactionary echo chamber, informed by social mores from the 1950s.

10:51 pm 06 Jun 19

Idiot ... doesn’t he realise that a lot of PS come from interstate, country towns and are in the job because they want to affect change through policies!

10:29 pm 06 Jun 19

Entirely correct though..

10:24 pm 06 Jun 19

And let me say, big city dwellers are also in a bubble, oblivious to the suffering we are enflicting on our natural environment and wildlife.

10:02 pm 06 Jun 19

I suspect the people who verballed him didn’t do it because they’re out of touch. I suspect they verballed him because they think he’s a pillock.

Pure conjecture on my part of course, and I’m probably wrong. Being a citizen of Canberra I am out of touch after all.

10:01 pm 06 Jun 19

Why would anyone vote Liberal in the ACT as they basically don’t like us!

9:26 pm 06 Jun 19

Yep in many ways he is correct

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