Monday, 15 June 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. I refer to his previous answer, when he said, 'The challenges of JobKeeper, as time goes on, are that businesses will form views about those employees who they will be able to keep on longer term and those who they will not.' Prime Minister, how many Australians do you expect to lose their jobs when JobKeeper is cut off in September?
As the Leader of the Opposition well knows, the government will make further decisions regarding ongoing fiscal supports in late July after considering the economic circumstances of the time and after having received the advice from Treasury.
But the Leader of the Opposition plays a dangerous game when seeking to raise expectations about Australians in this economy. It is true that JobKeeper has provided—together with jobseeker, the cashflow assistance and support and the many other assistances that the government has provided at unprecedented and record levels—the economic lifeline that Australians have needed. But we cannot say to Australians that governments or anyone else, ultimately, will be in a position to ensure that every job can be saved and that every business can be saved. That is unrealistic, and if the Leader of the Opposition wants to play politics with that then he would be negligent in his responsibilities and callous in his words to the Australian people.
We know we're in the middle of one of the worst recessions we've seen—certainly, the worst one we've seen since the Great Depression. And we know that in recessions there are terrible impacts had on livelihoods, on businesses and on people's jobs. We will seek to do all we can, as we have with the unprecedented support. But I'm not going to make false promises to the Australian people. We have cushioned the blow but we can't prevent the blow, and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that those who do lose employment gain employment again through the JobMaker program and the many reforms and changes we'll be introducing to see our economy grow again, see the businesses open again and see the jobs come back again—because that's where the jobs will come from.
This Leader of the Opposition thinks he can go around and guarantee everybody's job with someone else's money. You can't do that. He thinks government should be at the centre of the economy—
Yes, Mr Speaker, on relevance. It went to the Prime Minister's expectation, based upon his own quote, of how many would be expected to lose their jobs when JobKeeper is withdrawn in September. Surely the government has some modelling, some expectation? That was the question that was asked.
Mr Speaker, I made reference to the work that Treasury is doing currently and I made reference to the statement that will be delivered by the Treasurer in late July, when there will be further updates to what Treasury believes to be the economic situation on employment and many of the other key economic parameters. That's how budget processes work.
We are in June; July will tell a different story and, indeed, September will tell a different story. It has been our approach to take this step-by-step and cautiously, to get the best expert advice, to listen to the best health advice, to listen to the best economic advice and to make the judgements that Australia needs this government to make. That is how, and that is why, our government has ensured that Australia, working together with the states and territories, is in the top tier of countries that have been able to respond to this crisis on both health and economic— (Time expired)