House debates

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Statements by Members

Coalition Government

1:35 pm

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

Last July, the Morrison government squibbed a chance to buy Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, because the price was too high. But they weren't so stingy when it came to JobKeeper, giving almost $20 billion to firms with rising earnings. Hedge funds, investment banks and expensive men-only clubs were among the lucky recipients. JobKeeper waste cost every Australian adult $1,000. In higher education, the Morrison government changed the rules three times to stop public universities getting JobKeeper. At least 17,000 jobs have been lost at public universities. Courses have been cut. Whole departments have been abolished. But, while public universities missed out, private universities could get JobKeeper. Bond University got $17 million, despite rising profits. New York University got JobKeeper for its Sydney campus, despite rising revenues.

So whose side is the Morrison government on? It's not on the side of a fast vaccine rollout, with its penny-pinching policies leading to a three per cent vaccination rate, at a time when more than half of all Americans and Brits have been fully vaccinated. It is on the side of giving taxpayer money to billionaire shareholders and millionaire CEOs. It might throw money at private universities, but the Morrison government is not on the side of public universities. In fact, the Morrison-Joyce government isn't on the side of the public at all.