Senate debates

Thursday, 18 June 2020



12:52 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

That, at the end of the list of bills in paragraph (a), add:

  Coronavirus Economic Support and Recovery (No-one Left Behind) Bill 2020.

I will speak to the substance of our amendment to the motion, which is to add the Coronavirus Economic Support and Recovery (No-one Left Behind) Bill 2020 to the hours motion. The reason it's important that we deal with this bill before we leave here today is that, in fact, many people have been left behind by this government. They're the inconvenient ones and the ones that this government loves to stick the boot into.

Far from us being 'all in this together', there are in fact huge cohorts of people who have missed out on JobKeeper, on the coronavirus supplement to jobseeker and on other worthwhile funding they deserve. So the Greens have moved this bill, the no-one left behind bill, and we've moved it in both chambers. It would expand JobKeeper to everyone who is a casual worker. We know that a good 50 per cent of the people who are missing out on that support are young people and that many casual workers, a disproportionate number, are women. We think that casuals who have been working for less than 12 months should get that support. They should be allowed to access JobKeeper—and not only casual workers but temporary visa holders. We know that this government has a problem with people who have a different skin colour, but temporary visa holders deserve our support. They have come here, they are working to help support our economy and this government has left them out in the cold and excluded them from JobKeeper.

This would expand JobKeeper to universities. We've seen this government take billion after billion from universities. They have been hit incredibly hard by the economic fallout from coronavirus. University employees deserve to have JobKeeper available to them.

This bill would also extend the coronavirus supplement of $550 a week to people on the disability pension and to people on carer payment. These people are deserving anyway of additional support, but coronavirus has hit them particularly hard. It's really unfair and unjust that they haven't been able to access the $550 coronavirus supplement. They deserve it. This generosity needs to be extended to that cohort of folk. This bill would do that, which is precisely why we would like to bring it on for debate and for a vote today.

Lastly, this bill talks about funding particular industries, because we do have a chance to rebuild stronger than we were. We have a chance to rebuild in a more sustainable and a more economically fair way. The government has set up an overpaid commission to advise it to invest in gas infrastructure, because most of the people on that advisory board are in the gas industry and stand to benefit personally from some of those projects because this government doesn't have any conflict-of-interest rules for that body. We think that, unlike that proposal simply to pollute the climate and wreck our land and water with more dirty gas, we should rebuild in a sustainable way. We think we should be creating jobs for the transition to a low-carbon economy. So part of the reason for this bill is to say that the minister should have a manufacturing fund of $12 billion, the minister should have a $2 billion contribution to ARENA, the Renewable Energy Agency, and the minister should also invest $6 billion in the transmission network.


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