Budget 2014: Forced Redundancies Is Another Broken Election Promise from PM Tony Abbott; Treasurer Joe Hockey Calls Criticisms of Budget ‘Silly Populist Games’

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By Vittorio Hernandez | May 20, 2014 8:21 AM EST

It is not only in the area of increasing taxes that many Australians believe Prime Minister Tony Abbott broke his election promises. The Opposition charged that he also violated his campaign vow not to force redundancies on government employees.

Opposition industry spokesman Kim Carr said on Monday that the plan to cut 16,500 jobs under the proposed federal budget for 2014-15, presented on Tuesday, is forced redundancies. He warned that the Abbott-led government would make more similar moves of axing jobs in the future.

Ahead of the approval of the budget, which the Opposition promised to block, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that since September, just right after the Coalition won in the federal election, the Department of Industry had imposed involuntary redundancies on two public officials.

Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson told Carr, in response to a question on notice, that two employees of the Department of Industry were involuntarily made redundant, while 140 left the agencies on their own volition as of end of March 2014.

During the campaign, Mr Abbott said the Coalition would use natural attrition to reduce the number of government employees, meaning employees who resigned or retired would no longer be replaced.

In the last week of the campaign in August, Coalition member Christoper Pyne said they clearly stated of the plan to reduce government workforce by 12,000 via natural attrition.

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Meanwhile, Treasurer Joe Hockey continued to defend the proposed budget which was the subject of massive protest in key Australian cities over the weekend.

Hockey insisted that the Coalition is doing what is correct to provide employment opportunities and improve the quality of life for the next generation, saying, "That's why we are in the game. We are not in politics to occupy the space."

He added, "And we are not in politics to play silly populist games. We are about building a stronger future for our nation."

Hockey also rejected the call by the state premiers for an emergency meeting of the Council of Australian Governments to tackle the $80 billion that states stand to lose under the budget.

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