State Bank Redundancies
STATE BANK REDUNDANCIES
Dr REFSHAUGE: My question without notice is directed to the Premier and Treasurer. Why did the State Bank sack 13 workers two days ago from one of its city offices, despite announcing an improved profit last week? Is it part of a plan to sack up to 200 employees? How does that action sit with the Premier's statement in June that there were no plans to cut jobs here, there or anywhere else for a period of at least one year?
Mr FAHEY: I have to ask where has the Deputy Leader of the Opposition been for the last few years? Obviously he has been wandering around, chasing that elusive dream that was referred to by the honourable member for Campbelltown in the local paper recently as being what the Left is about; chasing the elusive socialist dream. Because, if he was aware of what is happening in this State, he would be conscious of the fact that legislation was passed by this Parliament which separates the State Bank, corporatises the State Bank, gives the State Bank autonomy, and gives it an opportunity to operate in the market-place in a competitive manner.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to order. I call the Leader of the Opposition to order. There is far too much interjection from both
sides of the Chamber.
Mr FAHEY: They have demonstrated a resilience, with the result that was achieved last Friday. At a time when banks are in such difficulties, and when we see the results across Australia in regard to State banks in particular - and in respect of the private trading banks, disastrous results - the State Bank's result last week is a credit to its management and to the way it has anticipated the difficulties of a recession caused by the Federal Labor Government. They have managed to go through a process of not only keeping the service operating and, at the same time, have declared a dividend, from memory, of $27 million-odd. What the State Bank does is a matter for the State Bank Board, for its own operations. It is on the same footing as the Westpac Bank, the National Australia Bank or other bank in the autonomy it has to manage its affairs. That question is not a matter for this Parliament. It is not a matter for the public; nor does the Government have responsibility in this particular area. The statement in relation to the job freeze is in place. It has not been breached in the terms it was made. In typical fashion -
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Moorebank to order. I call the Leader of the Opposition to order for the second time.
Mr FAHEY: In the typical fashion of the Leader of the Opposition, who interjected, say anything, do as you like. I think his best this week has been the statement reported in the Sydney Morning Herald a few days ago -
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Leader of the Opposition to order for the third time. The Leader of the Opposition is now on three calls to order.
Mr FAHEY: As I was saying, say what you like; do as you like; never be accountable. That is the attitude of the Labor Party. It is on the basis that they never will have to be accountable. That is the only conclusion I can draw. They have obviously no plans to ever make government because they are not prepared to do anything or say anything that would mean accountability. The lies continue to be peddled.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Wallsend to order.
Mr FAHEY: I quote from the Sydney Morning Herald of 25th November:
That relates to the Court of Disputed Returns court cases:
The Leader of the Opposition, Mr Carr, said last night: "The Liberal Party should have funded this".
Let me indicate that the article was about the fact that the annual return of the Premier's Department disclosed that, in respect of the court cases relating to the election in May of last year, $286,701 was paid for legal fees in respect of cases for the Liberal Party. The fact is that the Labor Party took $350,000.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Minister for Justice to order.
Mr FAHEY: Should we get the Sydney Morning Herald to change that to -
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Ermington to order.
Mr FAHEY: - "The Labor Party should have funded the $350,000"? They put
their hand out and said, "Give us $350,000". The Liberal Party received only $286,000. They were not afraid to do it.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Minister for Finance to order.
Mr FAHEY: They were ordered to pay court costs in a couple of other cases, such as the Camden case.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Lakemba to order.
Mr FAHEY: I cannot recall the second one. I am not sure if that has been paid at this stage.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Ashfield to order.
Mr FAHEY: I suppose the simple fact is that when you are $10 million in debt, as the Labor Party is, propped up by the Labor Council, you cannot be too proud about putting your hand out. But do not let that get in the way of criticising the Liberal Party. The Opposition took more. They had no hesitation. No accountability! Say what you like! Do not worry about having to account for it. So go on telling your lies. The Labor Party knows if it was in government it would have to be accountable.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Before I call on the honourable member for Camden to ask a question, I ask for the co-operation of all members so as to get through question time in an orderly and proper fashion. There is far too much interjection from both sides of the Chamber. A disorderly and disruptive Chamber creates a bad impression on persons in the public gallery.
"When NSW families are doing it tough it is outrageous that the Government can find public funds to help the Liberal Party ward off challenges in court".