Treasurer Wayne Swan
Treasurer Wayne Swan

Job cuts affect more than state: Swan

TREASURER Wayne Swan has criticised federal Coalition MPs for failing to speak out against the mass public service sackings in Queensland.

In his role as Acting Prime Minister - Julia Gillard was in Perth attending the funerals of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan - Mr Swan told the Labor caucus on Tuesday the 14,000 job cuts and slashing of programs and grants were being felt beyond the public service sector in his home state.

Mr Swan reported to the meeting there was a "good spirit" at the ALP state conference in Queensland, which came less than six months after the disastrous March 24 election at which Labor's representation in the Parliament was reduced to just seven.

He added Ms Gillard's speech at the conference on Sunday also had been well received.

While he made no particular reference to opinion polls during the address, he told his caucus colleagues "clearly there is some wind at our backs".

Two polls published on Monday showed Labor was continuing to claw back support, with one indicating it had drawn level with the Coalition on a two-party-preferred basis.

Mr Swan attributed this to the emergence of a "sharp difference" in values and policy and people looking more closely at Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

"The more people look at Abbott, the more dangerous they see he is," Mr Swan said.

He said Mr Abbott had injected more "venom and aggression" into politics than any other leader, adding this behaviour was a "substitute for a clear policy alternative".

Mr Swan urged Labor MPs to continue applying pressure to the Coalition, which he said would cause it to "splinter".

He said the Coalition's strategy of "destructive negativity" was "held together by chewing gum".



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