Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has denounced federal government cuts to pensioners and seniors.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has led a revolt against federal Treasurer Joe Hockey for cutting pensioner concessions.
A day after the state budget was handed down, Mr Newman introduced a motion in parliament to blame his federal government counterparts for the cost-of-living pain.
About $50 million a year is being ripped out of pensioner and senior concessions for electricity, rates and transport, and the state isn’t able to make up the shortfall.
The grey army took Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls to task on talkback radio on Wednesday morning.
Brad from Redcliffe summed up ABC and 4BC callers’ moods when he was put through to Mr Nicholls who was defending his government’s last budget before the 2015 state election.
“You guys don’t know what’s going on in the real world and the way you treat people shows that you don’t care,” he said.
“Why pick on the pensioners?”
Mr Nicholls insisted the state had increased its concession contribution by 10 per cent to help.
“We don’t like it any more than anyone else,” Mr Nicholls said.
Mr Newman said he’d like to do more, but the state was constrained by debt.
He introduced a motion, opening the floor of parliament to both sides of politics to criticise the federal reductions.
“Our federal member and senators, regardless of political persuasion, need to heed the message that it is time to do something,” he said.
“My heart goes out to them.
“My dismay and disappointment at the federal coalition for inflicting this will be made very clear.”
The opposition labelled the motion a stunt.
Yvette D’ath said if the premier really cared he would have protested last month, when the federal government budget was handed down.
“They are desperately trying to redeem themselves with the pensioners and seniors out there.”
Unions came out swinging a day after the state budget.
Electrical Trades Union state secretary Stuart Traill was escorted off parliament’s steps by police and security, after he confronted government MPs Vaughan Johnson and David Kempton.
Undeterred, and speaking off-site, Mr Traill said the union will campaign in enough seats to stop the LNP getting a mandate.
“We have thousands of electricity workers that today are concerned about their job security,” he said.
Public service union Together says there will be a second round of job cuts if the Newman government wins the next election.
Secretary Alex Scott says disability, health, housing, and corrective services have all been earmarked for outsourcing.
After 14,000 job cuts since winning office, Mr Nicholls wouldn’t guarantee there won’t be more.
“We are continuing to look at contestability and I’ve always said the public service will be something that will change to meet the demands of delivery,” he said.