House debates

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Economy

2:15 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. The government has said the economy is recovering so well that JobKeeper and JobSeeker are being cut but now says the economy is going so badly that businesses need to cut the take-home pay of working families to stay afloat. Which is it, Prime Minister? It can't be both.

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

The only person who has a bet each way on everything is the Leader of the Opposition. He's the only each-way in this House, and that's well known. Our policies are designed to put Australians into work, and that's what they're achieving. It is regrettable that the Labor Party once again, as they did before the last election, want to engage in the politics of division and seek to set one group of people against another. The claims made by the Leader of the Opposition in his question are false. They're designed to try to incite division in this country.

But we're used to this from the Labor Party. At the last election, they tried to set one group of taxpayers against another, one set of businesses against another. It is always the way of the Labor Party to seek to hold some down in order to advance others. That's not our view. It has never been our view. The leader of the Labor Party does not know what's going on in the economy, and his question betrays that point. What is occurring in our economy is that we need to continue to implement our plans and to transition our economy, as we see the recovery increase into the future. We have provided record income support, which those opposite on the one hand say they need to taper and on the other hand say they don't—an each-way position from the Leader of the Opposition, which he is becoming very well known for, all around the country. Whether it's on economics or on national security policy, this Leader of the Opposition will have an each-way bet on every single issue.

What we will do is get people back into jobs in successful businesses that can pay them better and better in the years ahead, by having a strong economy. Those opposite may want to engage in the politics of negativity. My government is focused on the economics of recovery, and a key part of that economic recovery plan is not just skills, not just affordable energy for heavy industries and getting the gas that is needed to fire up our manufacturing sector. It's not just about building the infrastructure that is necessary to drive our economy forward or the digital transformation plans or the 30,000 additional education places next year in universities, or the biggest rollout of communications infrastructure on this government's watch—the biggest ever. That's what we've achieved. And making practical changes for how workers and employers get together and make their way through this crisis is critical to our recovery plan.

The Labor Party are stuck in the past on these issues. They don't understand cooperation in the workplace. All they understand is conflict. Throughout this crisis, it's been conflict— (Time expired)