House debates

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Questions without Notice

JobKeeper Payment

2:37 pm

Photo of Jim ChalmersJim Chalmers (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is also to the Treasurer: Why is the government cutting JobKeeper for the tourism industry but can afford to splash $100 million on sports rorts?

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Rankin will understand that the JobKeeper program was always a temporary program, and he also knows that the Leader of the Opposition himself said last year about JobKeeper:

… we haven't said to extend it. What we have said, though, is it would need a tapering …

So we have tapered this JobKeeper payment, and it was always temporary and to end in March. This is taxpayers' money, and more than $80 billion has gone through the JobKeeper program, helping to support more than 3½ million Australians. This has been a remarkable program. We have seen more than two million Australians graduate off JobKeeper and around 450,000 businesses graduate off JobKeeper.

The member for Rankin asked me about JobKeeper. Well, he was out there last Friday beefing himself up, claiming that JobKeeper went to dead people, and then the ATO put out a statement in fact denying that very accusation, in a huge embarrassment for the member for Rankin. So not only did he receive a slapdown from the RBA last year; now he's received a slapdown from the ATO. He's not fit to be the shadow Treasurer and he's not fit to be the Leader of the Opposition—the job he's really auditioning for.