Thursday, 18 March 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer remind the House of how the Morrison government's strong stewardship of our economy is delivering on our commitment to generate more full-time jobs for all Australians? Is the Treasurer aware of any credible alternative policies?
I acknowledge the experience of the member for Berowra in local government, in higher education and as a fierce advocate for mental health and Indigenous issues. I note that he is a real person of integrity.
We on this side of the House are witnessing an economic recovery that is occurring twice as fast as, and six months earlier than, was initially expected. Australia has been able to maintain its AAA credit rating. We've seen business and consumer confidence reaching pre-pandemic levels. We saw growth in the December quarter of 3.1 per cent—the first time since records began, back in 1959, of two consecutive quarters of economic growth of more than three per cent. We've seen more than 2.7 million Australians graduate off JobKeeper, including more than 20,000 in the electorate of Berowra.
Today, we've got another proof point about how the Australian economy is recovering and bouncing back strongly, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.8 per cent and 88,700 new jobs being created. Sixty-nine thousand new full-time jobs were created for women and, of the 360,000 full-time jobs created since May, more than 60 per cent have gone to women. Female full-time employment is now 1.8 per cent higher than pre the pandemic. Even with these job numbers, the former economic adviser to Julia Gillard Stephen Koukoulas couldn't hide his delight, saying: 'Some pretty good labour force numbers, whichever way you cut it. This recovery has been remarkably good.'
I'm asked about alternatives. The member for Rankin is the most sombre person in this place today, because, at every opportunity, Labor has been talking down the Australian economy. We know that they want to hit the Australian economy—
The Treasurer will resume his seat. The Treasurer is not able to go down the path he's going down in this answer, because he was asked whether there were any credible alternative policies. So, unless he's going to address that, he needs to confine himself.
Mr Speaker, there are certainly no credible alternative policies from that side of the House. But what we do know is that our record, unprecedented commitment of direct financial support—the equivalent of around 13 per cent of GDP, $251 billion—is helping to get Australians back into work much earlier than was initially expected both by Treasury and by the Reserve Bank of Australia. Our job is to create more jobs, and that is what we are doing for Australians.