Thursday, 3 September 2020
Questions without Notice
COVID 19: Economy
My question is to the Prime Minister. Australia is in the worst recession in almost a century. Does the Prime Minister take any responsibility for making the recession deeper and longer than it needs to be by cutting JobKeeper, cutting JobSeeker and cutting wages at the worst possible time?
These are the most challenging times we've seen since the Second World War. The COVID-19 recession that we are now in the midst of is a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. This seems to be a fact that escapes the attention of the Leader of the Labor Party in this country. The Leader of the Labor Party seems to think that what is occurring in our country now is the result of some sort of political action on behalf of the government. That defies the credibility of the Labor Party, to seem to be the only people in this country today who do not understand that there is a global pandemic with COVID-19.
It also defies credibility when the actions of the government have seen a commitment, not just for today but into the future, of more than $300 billion in economic supports—over 15 per cent of our economy. Not only did we see yesterday that, despite the terrible news of the impact on our economy of a seven per cent fall in the March quarter and a fall of just over six per cent through the year, other places that also confront this pandemic, whether it be Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and the list goes on across the OECD—Sweden, all of them—were all far more damagingly hit in their economy. The other factor is that, in this country, not only have we sought successfully to cushion what is a terrible blow more so than other countries, but equally, through our coordinated management and fighting of this virus, our death rate as a result of that terrible virus is lower than in all of those countries.
So, whether it is on controlling the virus and suppressing it in this country as best we can, or cushioning the blow for Australians going through this crisis, Australians know that this government has showed up for them, and we will continue to show up for them. And we will continue to guarantee the essential services they rely on. We will ensure that we protect their safety, which is the first duty of a federal government. We will continue to do all of these things as we make our way through this crisis, which the Leader of the Labor Party seems to be oblivious to.
Before I call the next question, I've already spoken about the high level of interjections at the end of the first answer. There are repeated interjections from people who've been warned for interjecting all week. Given it's the last question time for a while, I'm not going to detain the House with lengthy explanations. If you have been asked not to interject or been warned for interjecting, if I've pulled you up for interjecting, consider yourself warned, and the next interjection will result in an ejection.