House debates

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Questions without Notice

JobKeeper Program

2:43 pm

Photo of Julie CollinsJulie Collins (Franklin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Agriculture) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Why is the government cutting JobKeeper for Tasmanian workers, but it can afford to spend nearly $1 billion on advertising and marketing?

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

JobKeeper has been the game-changing investment of this government—unprecedented. It has ensured that we have protected livelihoods in this country, and I also believe it has saved lives of itself.

In March of last year we were looking into the abyss of a pandemic that no-one in the world fully understood. The government moved swiftly, but also effectively, to ensure that we followed the principles that we set out before going into the pandemic measures, to ensure that we could achieve the results we have with the Australian people. Now, as we continue to transition out of the pandemic recession, it is important that we encourage businesses. As they are, some 450,000 businesses came off JobKeeper at the end of September. We expect more into December, as these figures are provided to the government, because the Australian economy is getting back on its feet. Australians understand that, when we put these measures in place, they had to be done as emergency measures. But Australians also know that you cannot run the Australian economy on taxpayers' money forever. Australians understand that. They know you have to be responsible about taxpayers' money. On one hand the opposition says, 'You're spending not enough,' and then they say, 'You're spending too much.' We're not going to take fiscal advice from the Labor Party. Our government has demonstrated its fiscal responsibility, as well as the urgency of fiscal action when it is necessary, which the Governor of the Reserve Bank has also commended.

For those sectors and those areas specifically that are continuing to contend with the effects of the pandemic, we have already demonstrated that we will continue to provide targeted support where that can be effective, and that is exactly what the government will do. What those opposite have done throughout the pandemic and continue to do here is seek to undermine the confidence of Australians as we work through this. Whether it's seeking to undermine the great work that is being done in rolling out the vaccine strategy or elsewhere, what we see from the opposition is an opposition addicted to politics and not solutions.

Hon. Members:

Honourable members interjecting

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Members will cease interjecting. I briefly refer them to my comments in the last week of last year. If you're interjecting, you know it: 94(a) does not require a warning at all. If you interject continually, you'll be asked to leave the chamber. There are a number of members on both sides that never interject.

Mr Snowdon interjecting

You're not on the list, Member for Lingiari!