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ABC News 24 Australia Votes -

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(generated from captions) Now to some comments on how people outside Australia view the country's political landscape. On Twitter, Marcus says:

As speculation As speculation continues as
to when

held, the Opposition's calls to when the election might be for a poll date have been given held, the a bit of a for a poll date have a bit of a makeover. Fairfax's Rocco Fazzari and Denis Carnahan have given Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Malcolm Turnbull the One Direction treatment, taking off the British boy band song 'One Thing'. # Things are getting bad now # And we're dying just to know the date # And we're tired of phony campaigns # Please call the election #
# campaign
# #

That's MX Votes for today. We're online at its & it's over to Lyndal Curtis in Canberra.

This Program Is Captioned Live. The Government has conceded its decision to cut nearly $2 billion from the public service will cost jobs. From July next year, there will be an increase in the so-called efficiency dividend but the Finance Minister doesn't think there will be any forced redundancies flowing from the move. The Government has also identified $1.8 billion in savings over three years by increasing temporarily the efficiency dividend on the public service from $1.25% to 2.25% for the periods 2014, 15 to 2016/17 inclusive. The advice from the department of finance is most agency kz absorb the temporary increase in the efficiency dividend through a combination of non-staff cost savings, natural attrition and volary redundancies. The Government makes it clear it expects agencies not to resort to round of forced to meet these targets. They
have gone to for the old

scapegoat of the public have gone to for the service. This is Kevin Rudd scapegoat of the just taking over yet another of Tony Abbott's policies. Tony Abbott came out and said he'd slash the public service by at least 12,000, if not more, and here is Kevin Rudd saying, "Let's impose a further efficiency dividend," and that is doed for jobs lost and services slashed to the Australian community. Why? Because they didn't have the courage to take on the people who can pay. Their response in a structural sense is just more of the aim. It's the same old Labor. It is so flat-footed. Thaw have no imagination. They have got no understanding of what levers to pull to get this mess back in control. They've gone back to the public service efficiency dividend, back to that well. And so none of these things - all the things they've done in a structural sense, none of them are going to do anything about confidence, none of them are going to do anything about growth or jobs.The union representing public sector workers is furious with the increased efficiency dividend and is suspending all federal election campaigning in response. I spoke earlier to the national secretary of the community and public sector union, Nadine Flood.

Nadine Flood, welcome to ABC News 24. Your union represents public servants. What was your reaction when you heard the Government was increasing the efficiency dividend on the public service? It's an extra $1.8 billion cut and that could mean over 5,000 jobs going and it comes on the back of repeated savings measures as you've outlined.What will your union be doing? Obviously we'll be asking Government to reconsider this decision and we have made the decision this afternoon that we are suspending all federal election campaign activity ahead of further discussions and a crisis meeting on Monday. What does that suspension mean? Does it mean not spending any money? Does it mean not giving people to help campaign? We've got hundreds of delegates and members who are out volunteering in workplaces and communities around the country on our Cuts Hurt campaign, campaigning about the impact of the Coalition's plan to cut 12 to 20,000 jobs. Obviously, this decision today makes it very hard to continue that activity without rethinking and so we've asked people to come back in for discussions about what we do next.Does it mean - was the union going to give any money to the ALP in order to help with its campaign? Were you expecting people to be helping ALP members with their campaign? Are those discussions now on hold? All of our decisions are on hold in relation to the ACTU campaign in seats around the country. The ALP campaign and our own CPSU Cuts Hurt campaign. You CPSU did mention the CPSU Cuts Hurt did mention the Coalition has
its did mention its own proposals to cut public its own proposals to cut service jobs. Do you believe that either the Labor Party or the Coalition are promising the Coalition are anything that would help the public sector? Public-sector workers, I think, are looking to Labor to have a clear difference between what the Coalition is proposing and what State Governments like Campbell Newman's in Queensland are doing in cutting tens of thousands of public-sector jobs, but this announcement today is a slap in the face for those workers.There have been years of efficiency dividends on the public service from the Labor Government. What has been the impact of those decisions on the services that the public service offers on job numbers? The community has a right to expect that Government spends money efficiently and provides high-quality public services so we've always supported productivity and efficiency measures but what we've seen in recent years is cut after cut. If you want to look at the impact on services, the Department of Human Services with Centrelink and Medicare has a back-log of 425,000 Centrelink debts that haven't been processed. Centrelink has lost more than 4,000 staff in the last two years. That's not efficiency, that's just cuts.In purely political terms though, does it ever hurt a Government to cut the public service in terms of the impact or the reaction from voters? What we've been hearing in communities around the country is there is an enormous concern about the 50,000 jobs that State Conservative governments have cut, people are worried about those services and there's huge members do in Centrelink, support for the work members do in Centrelink, in customs, members do in customs, in members do in Centrelink, in customs, in quarantine and the Bureau of Meteorology and so on.You've said this cut might have an impact in terms of 5,000 jobs. The Government has urged heads of departments to look at non-staff cuts first before forced redundancies. In your view, is trying to save $1.8 billion mean that the will have to be job cuts? There absolutely will be job cuts and I think Minister Wong acknowledged that in talking about natural attrition and voluntary redundancies. Public service agencies have made the easy cuts and they have already been savings in everything other than jobs. IT, accommodation, procurement, travel, you name it, Penny Wong has found it. There are no easy savings left.So it will come down to job cuts? It will absolutely come down to job cuts. We think 5,000 is a conservative figure and that's based on agencies doing a very good job on finding other savings.Canberra is not the most popular town in the electorate. Will these jobs just have an impact in Canberra? Most of the public service is in communities around the country so these jobs will have an impact in places like Geelong which has already been hit hard on jobs, in Tasmania where the Commonwealth is the third-largest employer, this is not just a Canberra issue.You've already made the comparison with State Government job cuts. If the Federal Labor Government is really being compared to Governments like Campbell Newman's in Queensland, is there any reason why your union should be contributing any help to the re-election of a Federal Labor Government? Tony Abbott's plans will decimate public services. He plans to cut 50 to 70 billion of spending and at least 12 to 20,000 jobs and we think it will probably be more so, yes, there is still a point of difference but it's not good enough for Labor to say, "The other guys are worse." Were you given any warning that this announcement was going to be made? I don't tend to comment on who we talk to and have discussions with. I can tell you that this is not what public-sector workers were expecting from this Labor Government.So why should members of your union consider voting for this Government if they take your advice and not vote for the Coalition? What reason for there to vote for Labor if Labor is going to continue to apply efficiency dividends? Labor's got to convince working people, not just our members but all working people, that they are a bet party on rights at work, they are a better party on public services, they are a better party on jobs, they've made that job a lot harder today. I'm hoping they're going to do better. Nadine Flood, thank you to do thank you very much for thank you very much for your time. Thank you.That's Australia Votes for Australia Votes for today and this week. Stay with us on ABC News 24 for The Drum with Julia Baird. Goodnight.

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