Public Service

23 Sep 2004 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Industry and Trade, representing the Premier, questions regarding the structure of the South Australian Public Service

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In examining the most recently available report from the Commissioner for Public Employment, a number of interesting trends emerge in relation to the complexion of the Public Service since this government has been in office. The number of youth—who are classified as 15 to 24 years olds—employed has dropped from 5 629 to 5 211, or from 6.7 per cent of the work force to 6.1 per cent, while the number of trainees and apprentices has fallen by 23 per cent; and the number of those in graduate entry programs has decreased by a massive 55.9 per cent. The number of female executives employed under the Public Sector Management Act has fallen, with the equity index showing that ‘employment of women is skewed towards the lower end of the classification scale’. Also, casual employment across the Public Service has increased from 12.7 per cent to 14.2 per cent and, while the proportion of part-time employees in the South Australian work force has dropped relative to all employees, in the South Australian public sector it has actually increased. My questions are:

1. Why has the government allowed the recruitment of young people into the Public Service to fall to such alarming levels?

2. How is this consistent with the Premier’s claims that he wants the government to be the employer of choice for young people in South Australia?

3. What does the government expect to be the medium term implications for change and development of the South Australian Public Service as a result of abandoning the recruitment of young people to its ranks?

4. How will this contribute to the Economic Development Board’s vision of a dynamic and high performing public sector?

5. Is the government’s poor record in advancing women to senior levels of the Public Service a reflection of the Labor Party’s patronising attitude to women, as articulated in the second principle of its election policy, Women reaching equality, which states (get this, girls!) ‘Women have the right to work.’ Thanks!

6. Why is the government always preaching at employers about the so-called ills of casual and part-time employment, when it clearly uses the same strategy for its own work force?

7. Will the government provide a full report on the analyses of gender, age and classification in the Public Service?

8. What does the future profile of the Public Service look like, agency by agency, in the projections for five and 10 years’ time?

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY (Minister for Industry and Trade): It is always a dangerous thing to use raw statistics and draw conclusions from them without any proper analysis.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY: Yes, statistics; there are lies, damned lies and statistics. Several questions that were asked were clearly out of order, and I do not give any undertaking to refer those, because they claimed opinion.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: I rise on a point of order, Mr President. I think the Leader of the Government is reflecting upon your presidency.

The PRESIDENT: I have been extremely generous. Now that the Hon. Mr Lucas raises the point, it is worth noting that members should stick to the facts and not make comment or cast reflections when they are asking their questions. Your point of order is very timely.

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY: I was indicating that I do not believe that those questions that clearly contained opinion— and I think some rather false opinion—would need to be answered. However, I am sure the points in relation to the statistics are important and I will refer them to the Premier and bring back a reply.