Release type: Media Release

Date:

Statement in response to false assertions by Shadow Minister O’Connor

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Eric Abetz
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for Employment
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
Senator for Tasmania

This afternoon a press conference was held by Mr Brendan O’Connor in relation to evidence given by officials of the Department of Employment to Senate Estimates today.

At this press conference, Mr O’Connor made a number of false assertions, claiming that “In Senate Estimates the Department has confirmed that they provided two sets of figures for this document before publication at the behest of the Minister's office. On one hand, there were a set of figures that were predicated upon the analysis of Treasury. On the other, it was a complete invention of the Government in order to pretend that they were going to match the one million jobs promised by the Prime Minister."

It is absolutely clear, from the evidence given by myself and the Departmental officials, that Mr O’Connor’s assertions are simply false.

Mr O’Connor made a number false assertions in a media release this afternoon:

 

  • to assert that the Department confirmed the Opposition’s claims is simply false;
  • allegations that the Government sought to “massage” employment figures are false;
  • at no stage did staff in my office request that figures be “scaled up”;
  • at no stage did staff in my office suggest that the Department’s figures be “dumped” and replaced with alternative figures; and
  • at no stage did any staff in my office suggest that figures be “massaged”.

Mr O’Connor’s release also included a serious – and utterly false – assertion that my office had sought to “coerce” Departmental officials. To make a statement such as this, in the face of clear and unequivocal denials from the Department today, is contemptible behaviour and an insult to the Departmental staff who have consistently stated that any such claims are not true.

Mr O’Connor has form in misrepresenting evidence at Senate Estimates and this is another regrettable example.

For the record, the public statements of the Department, endorsed by their evidence in Estimates today, are attached.