House debates

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Statements by Members

JobKeeper Payment

1:39 pm

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

The Morrison government's thrown a shroud of secrecy over the JobKeeper program, but a new report finds that half of the public companies that got JobKeeper saw their earnings go up, not down. One-fifth of the JobKeeper dollars went to firms that were more profitable than before the pandemic. This is waste on a colossal scale. The report suggests that $10 billion to $20 billion in JobKeeper payments may have gone to firms with rising profits—firms that never needed it, firms that gave it to billionaire shareholders and millionaire CEOs.

The sudden cut-off of JobKeeper at the end of March could cost a quarter of a million jobs. The Morrison government say that Australia can't afford to keep it going. But if they hadn't put JobKeeper into the pockets of billionaires, like Solomon Lew and Gerry Harvey, Australia could keep the program going. Racehorse and yacht sales might go down, but that $10 billion to $20 billion in wasted JobKeeper payments would sustain the program for another six months.

The Liberals like to talk about small government, but they've presided over the biggest blowout in corporate welfare in Australia's history. We're talking about hundreds of dollars for every single person in Australia. This is money raised from the taxes of hardworking Australians. Never before has so much been given by so many to so few.