Wednesday, 2 December 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Why is the government congratulating itself today when almost one million Australians are unemployed, 1.4 million Australians are underemployed and, for Australians who have jobs, wages growth is at record lows? Why is the government congratulating itself and using marketing slogans when so many Australians don't have a job?
The only person who's disappointed in today's national accounts is the Leader of the Opposition, because today's national accounts show that the economic recovery is underway—the economic recovery that every Australian has worked hard for, and the congratulations go to every Australian who has made sacrifices in order to see the resilience of our economy produce the result that we have seen today. That result in today's national accounts for the September quarter has seen a 3.3 per cent increase, the single largest quarterly increase in GDP since 1976. These national accounts numbers have been driven by households. Household consumption is up by 7.9 per cent after falling by 12.5 per cent in the June quarter.
Treasurer, if you could just pause for a second. I listened carefully to the question, and it wasn't about the national accounts. I appreciate they've been released today, and I appreciate he'll no doubt take questions on them, but he wasn't asked about them; he was asked about unemployment and underemployment.
Mr Speaker, we know that the national economic recovery is underway. One of the key indicators of that is the number of people who are finding a job. Last month 178,000 jobs were created. We have seen the effective unemployment rate, which takes into account those who have lost their job or seen their working hours reduced to zero, fall from a peak of 14.9 per cent to 7.4 per cent today. We've seen the participation rate increase to 65.8 per cent, near the level it was at the start of the pandemic. We have seen very strong labour market growth, even stronger than expected. The Australian economy is showing remarkable resilience. This is due to the achievements and sacrifices of millions of Australians across the country. These results—this better performance and these economic indicators—are a sign of their hard work, and the results belong to them.