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Democrats warn: don't cut "fair go" numbers

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Senator Sid Spindler Australian Democrats Acting Parliamentary Leader

14 April, 1996 MEDIA RELEASE 9 6 /0


The Australian Democrats today warned against "razor-gang" cuts to crucial areas within the Commonwealth public service.

Acting Democrats’ Leader Senator Sid Spindler said there were certain public service functions which the Federal Government must regard as “no go" areas. .

These areas include the Office of the Ombudsman, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, as well as the Auditor General's Office, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Industrial Relations Commission.

Senator Spindler said it was not possible to make substantial budget cuts in these areas without affecting vital accountability and "fairness" functions.

He said it was curious that so far the only Federal Department which has apparently been excluded from the “razor-gang” review was Defence.

Senator Spindler called on the Prime Minister and Treasurer to give an assurance that the important accountability areas in the public service would not be cut.

“There is speculation that these areas will be dramatically slashed, to the point where they may not be able to perform their functions adequately," he said.

“These departments play a special role in ensuring that the Government is answerable to the people and that the public service is operating in an efficient and effective manner.

"These are the sorts of areas that we should expect to see more rather than less resources allocated if the Federal Government is truly committed to improving its performance and that of its public service.

“It is incumbent on the Federal Government to give an assurance that the role of offices like the Ombudsman and the Auditor General will not be cut.”

To arrange comment, contact: Senator Sid Spindler wk (03) 9416 1880, ah (03) 9859 5607 or mobile 015 311 362 or Cheryl Thurlow mobile 0418 630 137 or wk (07) 3844(3§MMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRA