Thursday, 18 June 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Why won't the Prime Minister admit that this recession is harsher and unemployment queues are longer because he designed JobKeeper that way? Why has the Prime Minister chosen to leave so many Australians behind?
What the Leader of the Opposition has said is simply untrue. That is not why we're seeing what we're seeing happen in this country. The Leader of the Opposition must be clueless when it comes to the reasons this country is in recession and why we have seen so many people find themselves out of work.
Our government, right from the outset of this crisis, understood that it was both a health crisis and an economic crisis. We knew there was a twin crisis to be faced here because of this pandemic. The Leader of the Opposition did not agree with that position. He did not believe that the economic crisis was worthy of the same attention as the health crisis as we set it out, and he criticised the government for seeing it as a twin crisis. But we always knew that we would have to deal with both. That's why we put in place, long before these terrible figures—this awful news of Australians being out of work—the income supports, starting with the safety net of jobseeker and then moving to JobKeeper to ensure that we could now be supporting more than 4½ million people between both of those programs. And again I want to commend Services Australia for the tremendous work they did processing some 800,000 additional Australians' claims to ensure that they were getting the jobseeker support that they need at this time—jobseeker support that was doubled through the COVID supplement.
Our government has been standing by Australians to ensure that they can get through this crisis. Importantly, we have a plan to ensure that not only do we get through this crisis but we come out of this crisis and regain the growth. Our plan is based on ensuring that we're getting unnecessary regulation out of the economy, that we're lowering taxes for Australians, that we're building the infrastructure we need, that we're getting the gas and the energy support needed for our manufacturing industries, that we're building the defence force we need in this important time. The Leader of the Opposition's great plan for the national economy, which we waited so long for, was a national drivers licence—so much for the light on the hill! At least Bob Hawke had the capacity to dream big. It may have been an ambitious claim to take children out of poverty, but what this Leader of the Opposition has descended the Labor Party into as their great plan is a drivers licence.