House debates

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Statements by Members

JobKeeper Program

1:36 pm

Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | | Hansard source

Company profits are rising and so is unemployment. The share market is booming, yet households are battling. The government is right to say that workers would have been worse off without JobKeeper. In fact, that's why Labor urged them to put it in place. But that doesn't mean that the $100 billion program should avoid scrutiny. What we know is that some firms got JobKeeper, yet made more money than last year. Gerry Harvey says his company will double its profits, calling it 'the greatest boom I've ever seen in my lifetime'. Harvey Norman got $9 million in JobKeeper. 'Thanks, taxpayers.' The business 1300SMILES will double its profits, buy a new dental practice and pay a stonking dividend. Their founder says it's all down to his hard work, so maybe he can repay the $2 million he got from JobKeeper. The Business Council of Australia and the tax office both say it's wrong to use JobKeeper to pay CEO bonuses. Even insiders are uneasy. After Accent Group got $13 million in JobKeeper and paid its CEO a $1.2 million bonus, 54 per cent of shareholders voted against the remuneration report. After the National Golf Club collected $1.2 million in JobKeeper and paid out millions to its holding company, the president quit. How many large firms got JobKeeper taxpayer support, yet increased their profits? The government knows, and it's about time they told the public.