Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2019-2020; Second Reading
The debate on the appropriation bills gives us an opportunity to reflect on, in particular, through one of these principal arms of government, with respect to government expenditure and also the raising of revenue, broader considerations about how that's occurring within the economy. At this point in time we are seeing an economy that has not, for quite some time, been performing the way it should be, especially for ordinary Australians who have expected that government would be able to do something to make life easier for people.
In particular, I'm very conscious of the fact that the government talks a big game on issues around unemployment. They say, for instance, that when they came into office nearly seven years ago unemployment stood at 5.7 per cent at the end of the GFC. They make a big deal that unemployment has gone down from 5.7 per cent to 5.1 per cent. I have to say: while any reduction in unemployment is welcomed, are they seriously cheering about an unemployment rate that has gone down just over half a per cent? At the same time we have seen the rate of underemployment reach record levels—underemployment where—