Thursday, 12 November 2020
Questions without Notice
I can confirm that 446,000 jobs have been created over the last four months and that the unemployment rate today is 6.9 per cent. And what we have done is: we have put in place $507 billion of economic support—
A point of order, Mr Speaker, on direct relevance: it is hard to think of a more specific question, and, while I appreciate rulings that they don't have to give a yes or no—
Government members interjecting—
Yes. I say to the Manager of Opposition Business, he makes a reasonable point. I was allowing the Treasurer a preamble, but this is a very, very specific question, and the Manager of Opposition Business is right—it might invite a yes or no, but it can't demand a yes or no answer. The Treasurer needs to be directly relevant to the question—that's in the standing orders—or wind up his answer.
I can confirm that the unemployment ticked up to 6.9 per cent and that it is expected, by Treasury and, indeed, the Reserve Bank, to actually increase between now and the end of the year, up to around eight per cent, but, by mid next year, to be 7¼ per cent.
The member for Rankin did refer to JobKeeper, and what was implicit, and actually explicit, in his question was the tapering of JobKeeper, and I need to remind the House, in that context, that the tapering of JobKeeper has been supported and advocated by the Leader of the Opposition and by the honourable member for Rankin. And I repeat: on ABC's The Business, he was asked how long the tapering should be, and he said: 'They should be looking at a kind of tapering.' And I refer to the Leader of the Opposition, who, when he was asked: 'Would you extend JobKeeper and extend—
Well, Mr Speaker, the question was put about the tapering of JobKeeper and the impact on jobs, and the message to those opposite is that we have seen the creation of jobs but we've also seen a tapering in JobKeeper, which is something that those opposite have advocated for.