Senate debates

Tuesday, 1 September 2020


Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Jobkeeper Payments) Amendment Bill 2020; In Committee

12:47 pm

Photo of Mehreen FaruqiMehreen Faruqi (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move Greens amendments (4) and (8) on sheet 1009 together:

(4) Clause 2, page 2 (at the end of the table), add:

14. Schedule 9

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

(8) Page 33, at the end of the Bill, after proposed Schedule 8, add:

Schedule 9 — Extension of jobkeeper scheme to child care providers

Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Act 2020

1 In the appropriate position


7C Requirements for rules that provide for jobkeeper payments scheme—payments to child care 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 must ensure that payments are able to be made to entities that are approved providers (within the meaning of the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999) of one or more approved child care services (within the meaning of that Act), including in respect of:

(a) employees whose ordinary duties relate principally to the operation of one or more of those services; and

(b) individuals who are not employees but who are actively engaged in the business carried on by the approved provider.

These amendments are about expanding eligibility for JobKeeper to the workers who have been left behind by the government in this pandemic, and I want to talk about universities now.

Tens of thousands of workers in the universities have already lost their jobs and there are tens of thousands who are going to lose their jobs even before the end of the year—all during this pandemic. The government changed the JobKeeper rules three times to make sure that no public university was left eligible for JobKeeper. The government were warned that this was going to happen and that they could actually stop this from happening, but they didn't. Even worse than that, today, in the other place, the government brought forward a bill that will further cut funding from universities, hike fees for students and decimate our higher education sector. There is no shame at all in this government. They don't hide their hatred for universities at all; they have just accelerated their attacks on universities during the pandemic. Following years of funding cuts which we have seen in the sector under various governments of both colours, now they have denied this vital wage subsidy and are further punishing universities.

This is the time to actually invest in education. This is the time to fully and publicly fund universities, so that staff and teachers can educate our young people—our students—to the highest of quality standards, while also having job security. This is the time to make higher education, universities and TAFE fee-free so students can train and retrain in what the future of our country and the world needs. But what this government is doing is leaving universities completely abandoned, completely high and dry, with thousands of jobs being lost and little funding for research. There is nothing in this package that is being debated in the other place today that improves the situation for any university, or for any student or any staff member. It's an attack on universities and it must be stopped. I commend the amendments to the Senate.


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