House debates

Friday, 12 June 2020

Statements by Members

Jobseeker Payment

1:51 pm

Photo of Brian MitchellBrian Mitchell (Lyons, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

When asked on radio this morning if he thought the jobseeker payment should return to $279 a week, the member for Braddon, who is in the chamber, told Tasmanians: 'My focus is we want everyone to have a job. That's where we put our focus.' Well, that's laudable—wanting people to have a job—but he didn't answer the question. I want people to have a job. My colleagues on this side of the House want people to have a job. It's been a cornerstone of our party for more than 100 years—getting people into secure employment with fair wages and conditions. But, as much as we want people to have a job, the cold, brutal reality of life is that not everyone will be able to have a job.

Under this Liberal government, we enter Australia's first recession in 30 years, and many of those who have joined the jobless queue, especially those in their 50s, are unlikely to ever work again. Nearly a million Australians who are relying on jobseeker today did not need it just a few short months ago. Twenty-seven thousand Tasmanians are amongst them—employed and then unemployed overnight. But the member for Braddon seems content to tell them that when the payment they're receiving today halves from $550 a week to $279 a week, well, they can just go out and get another job—comforting words when the jobs are not there, with Australia's unemployment rate expected to double from six per cent in May to 12 per cent by July under this incompetent Liberal government!