House debates

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Statements by Members

JobKeeper Payment

1:56 pm

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

Australia has had bad governments before, but have we ever had a more mendacious, incompetent, thin-skinned, secretive, cowardly government than this one? Australians are furious that the Morrison government gave $13 billion of JobKeeper to firms with rising revenues. In Britain, Canada, the United States and New Zealand, the public knew every firm that got wage subsidies. In Australia, the only reason we know anything about JobKeeper recipients is that ASIC required listed firms to disclose to the stock market. But only three per cent of JobKeeper went to listed companies. That's why Labor moved to have a public register listing all JobKeeper recipients with a turnover above $10 million.

So what did the government do? They added a Clayton's transparency amendment that requires disclosure of the three per cent of JobKeeper given to listed companies. They're so scared, the only information they will give to people is what we already know. Privately, I know that many of those opposite are embarrassed by 'dividend keeper'. In her column today, Niki Savva points out that 'Liberals fear long-term damage to their brand' because the government lacks a 'commitment to any cause beyond surviving the news cycle', and because of the infighting between the Treasurer and the defence minister. If only they were as ambitious for the nation as they are for themselves.