Senate debates

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers


3:16 pm

Photo of Alex AnticAlex Antic (SA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

We are now something in the order of 25 seconds in, which is not an unreasonable prelude, because the point I was going to make was that you would have to have been asleep for the better part of 12 months to not know that we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Obviously, that propensity to doze off has infected that side of the chamber, because we on this side of the chamber all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented event in our lifetime. It has sent a wrecking ball through the economy.

In fact, we heard earlier from Senator Watt that there were concerns about the suggestion that we are now seeing green shoots. Let me take you to the words of the RBA governor, who said yesterday, in relation to the situation that Australia finds itself in:

As difficult as this is, the downturn is not as severe as earlier expected and a recovery is now under way in most of Australia.

We know that side of the chamber loves evidence based politics. We hear it all the time: evidence based policy, evidence based politics. This is the RBA governor talking. We know this is a difficult time. We on this side of the chamber know this is a difficult period. We have seen COVID-19 do what nothing else in our lifetime has done. The IMF is actually expecting 157 economies to contract this year, and many will experience unprecedented falls. So the impact in the June quarter on GDP across the globe has been staggering. There is no other way of putting it: it's staggering.

Let's look at some more evidence based assessments for the other side. There was a 20.4 per cent GDP fall in the United Kingdom; 13. 8 per cent in France; 11.5 per cent in Canada; and 9.1 per cent in the United States. These are ostensibly the biggest economies in the world. The situation in Australia needs to be read as the facts show, and the RBA governor's comments are very, very relevant. While the market is expecting falls of less than what we've seen overseas, the national accounts will confirm what Australians already know: the economy has been hit hard. That is very, very clear. And we can't rule out, of course, the effect of the Victorian stage 4 lockdown. This has been an enormous drain on the economy coming, of course, from the Labor-run state of Victoria.

As part of our economic plan, the Morrison government are providing unprecedented support. The suggestion that there has been no support or that JobKeeper is being wound down unnecessarily is an absolute nonsense. It's a Labor-run furphy. The business—

Senator O'Neill interjecting—

There's the $314 billion in support to keep Australian businesses in jobs. We can run through some of that. Our jobs plan is, without question, sound and fundamental. We have the economic support packages.

Senator O'Neill interjecting—

I'm going to give Senator O'Neill some more evidence, because we know that, being a Labor senator, she loves evidence based policy. Our economic support package of $305 billion represents—

Senator O'Neill interjecting—


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