Wednesday, 10 June 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister won't reveal the results of his JobKeeper review until the end of July despite receiving the review in June. Can the Prime Minister confirm he will delay the release of his plan to leave even more Australians behind until after the Eden-Monaro by-election?
The introduction of the JobKeeper program, the single largest form of social support this country has ever seen in the most uncertain economic environment anyone of our generation could possibly imagine, and having rolled out that program in considerably rapid time, and as we have achieved a level of economic outcome well in advance of what we'd expected to achieve by this time, and having announced the fact that we would look carefully at the implementation when we announced the JobKeeper program before announcing any revisions that might be necessary—these are not things that can be done in a rushed or ill-considered matter.
Dr Chalmers interjecting—
The review is being undertaken in June. The review will make recommendations, I would imagine, to the government, as would be its purpose, and then the government would consider those recommendations. It would consider the fiscal implications of those recommendations and it will take advice on that, as cabinets work. I appreciate the member who asked the question has never served in a cabinet, let alone an Expenditure Review Committee, or had any sort of ministerial responsibility for working through such decisions of great importance, but he might be educated on this point: when you make decisions of this gravity and this seriousness in a situation like this, you are very careful about it. That is what the government will do, and we have announced—
Dr Chalmers interjecting—
The point of order was not in order. The question was certainly specific in one part, and then there was another part that certainly opened the question up. In listening to the Prime Minister, I think he has been directly relevant to the question.
As the government announced, we will make the decisions on the basis of the review that has been submitted by Treasury. That will be done in the third week or thereabouts of July, as is our anticipated time frame, to provide that further economic statement that will take into account the review that has been done of the JobKeeper program. That is the proper, responsible way to manage important financial decisions. I understand the Labor Party can only see things through a political prism, but the government is focused on the economic wellbeing of the country at a time of great crisis. That may be inconvenient for the political motives of the opposition, but that is not something that is going to factor into the government's judgement as we continue to provide the discipline and the responsible financial leadership that the government needs at this critical time. (Time expired)