Monday, 15 June 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to his last answer and his repeated statements that he would not accept jobseeker being portrayed as some sort of second prize to JobKeeper. Isn't it the case that JobKeeper recipients maintain the work relationship between a worker and their employer, whereas jobseeker recipients do not? Isn't it true that a person is better off if they have a job?
Honourable members interjecting—
As time goes on, the challenge of JobKeeper is that businesses will form views about those employees who they will be able to keep on longer term and those who they will not. And, where there are not jobs for people, it is important that they become engaged with employment service programs and other forms of income support. The purpose of that is to get them back into new jobs—to have them trained for new jobs. That is the challenge going forward. Now, the Leader of the Opposition makes the point about the financial support provided to those on JobKeeper compared to those on jobseeker. Well, the actual level of benefits, when you take into account many others—
My question didn't go to that at all. It went to the relationship between a worker and the employer that's there with JobKeeper and is not there with jobseeker, and whether people are better off if they have a job. It's that simple.
I was simply making the point that those who are on jobseeker receive an equivalence in fiscal support because of the other programs that they have the ability to access. Those who are on JobKeeper do maintain that connection to their employment; that is the case. But what we are now interested in as a government is those who will be able to have that connection in six months from now, in 12 months from now and in two years from now. The reason we put JobKeeper into place all those months ago is that we did not want businesses to make decisions about the future of their employees when the issues were so uncertain.
This is a fast-moving crisis, and it's important that we remain agile to the changes in what we are seeing before us. JobKeeper has been doing its job. For part-time and full-time employees, it has been providing the exact support that we had designed for it to have. For equivalent casuals of 12 months or more, it has been doing the same thing. Those who haven't been able to access that program have been supported by jobseeker. These programs are in accordance with the Australian way of how we do things, where we don't provide some sort of a gradated level of income support based on what people's salaries used to be. The JobKeeper program was in a class of its own internationally, and it has been recognised as such.
Those opposite have sought to undermine JobKeeper despite supporting it from the day. They say they support it, and then they undermine it every day. Each-way Leader of the Opposition—everything he supports, he also opposes. He's for something and he's against something all at the same time. That's why they don't trust this Leader of the Opposition.
Dr Chalmers interjecting—