Tuesday, 1 September 2020
Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Jobkeeper Payments) Amendment Bill 2020; In Committee
by leave—I move Greens amendments (3) and (7) on sheet 1009 together:
(3) Clause 2, page 2 (at the end of the table), add:
(7) Page 33, at the end of the Bill, after proposed Schedule 6, add:
Schedule 8 — Extension of jobkeeper scheme to higher education providers
Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Act 2020
1 In the appropriate position
7B Requirements for rules that provide for jobkeeper payments scheme—payments to higher education providers
(1) If the rules provide for a kind of payment that is intended to assist businesses affected by the Coronavirus to cover the cost of wages of their employees (whether known as a jobkeeper payment or otherwise), the rules relating to that kind of payment (the jobkeeper scheme rules) must comply with the requirements in subsection (2).
(2) The jobkeeper scheme rules, in providing for the classes of entities to which payments in respect of employees are to be made, must comply with the following requirements in respect of entities that are higher education providers:
(a) the rules must not have eligibility requirements:
(i) that apply only to higher education providers; or
(ii) that apply thresholds to higher education providers that are different from the thresholds applied to other similar entities; or
(iii) that are substantially different in their application to higher education providers compared with other entities;
with the effect of making it impractical or unlikely that higher education providers will be able to satisfy the eligibility requirements;
(b) the eligibility requirements must not have the effect, whether directly or indirectly, of excluding all or substantially all higher education providers from the jobkeeper scheme.
I did expect the government to have no sympathy for casual workers and those on temporary visas, but it is pretty sad to see the Labor Party sitting again and again with the Liberals, working with them against the interests of workers. That is a very sad situation and a very sad scene to see.
These amendments are about reinstating JobKeeper for early education workers. It's quite inexplicable, and it really boggles my mind, that child care became the first and only sector to be kicked off JobKeeper. There's been report after report, day after day, telling us of the importance of that sector for children, for parents, for families, for women in particular—and for our society and economy—yet JobKeeper was taken away from them in July and the government keeps saying it will not be reinstated.
Everyone in the community knows that childcare support is a vital part of our response to the pandemic. Childcare workers have been on the front line providing essential support while also being on the front line for these horrible cuts. We know that axing JobKeeper for childcare workers will predominantly impact women. There's discussion after discussion about the pink recession that we are having—how women already make up the vast majority of the low-paid workforce; the gender pay gap that persists year in, year out; and how women have been left to pick up the bulk of childcare responsibilities at home, while juggling work, while this pandemic is happening.
We are in this for a while. The government keeps saying we're in this together, but obviously we're not in this together, because there are so many people who are being left behind and left out of support. The government should immediately reinstate JobKeeper for early education workers. I commend the amendments to the Senate.