Wednesday, 7 October 2020
Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers
That the Senate take note of the answers given by the Minister for Finance (Senator Cormann) and the Minister for Families and Social Services (Senator Ruston) to questions without notice asked today.
In question time today the responses that we received from these ministers confirmed what we already have come to know about this budget: it's a budget that leaves millions of Australians behind—Australians who, through no fault of their own, have lost their job or are out of work during the deepest and darkest recession we've faced in a lifetime.
In particular, this budget leaves behind Australian women. Women workers have been hit particularly hard by this recession, yet where are the measures put forward to get women back into work? Where is the plan for jobs in industries dominated by women—industries that we know have been hit the hardest by the Morrison recession? The government has put forward nothing—no new initiatives and no policies to deal with the gender pay gap or to tackle the retirement income gap. There is nothing in this budget to rectify the imbalance in women's super and nothing for domestic or family violence services—not one extra dollar for frontline services.
This is the government's eighth budget and their eighth budget deficit. Despite their endless rhetoric of the past decade, that mob over there have never been able to balance the budget. They haven't paid down any debt. In fact, they're clocking up a trillion dollars of debt—a complete repudiation of the decade of nonsense they have pursued as they bleated about debt and deficit. They are the masters of debt and deficit; they own every cent of it. Despite all of the spending, the budget still doesn't do anything near enough to creating jobs. It fails to build this nation, it fails to build our future and it fails to strengthen our nation by spreading equality and opportunity.
Despite what those opposite want the Australian people to believe, this budget quite clearly leaves far too many Australians left out and left behind. We know the government expects a further 160,000 Australians to lose their jobs before Christmas. We know that unemployment is forecast to be far too high for too long. This includes 928,000 Australians over the age of 35 currently on JobSeeker. These people are actively searching for work, and yet this government has chosen to exclude them from being able to access hiring subsidies. The government has chosen quite deliberately to sentence many of these Australians to long-term unemployment and all the terrible consequences we know that brings. To rub salt into the wound, they want to return JobSeeker to just $40 a day. How cruel, how heartless, how economically reckless. Australians need and deserve much better. Over a trillion dollars of debt, a track record of no delivery and no plan for the future—that's what this budget is. That's what this budget is.
This budget has quite clearly overlooked my state of Tasmania, and in particular the north and north-west of Tasmania. In fact, it looks like northern Tasmania has been left off the map. There is nothing in this budget to bust traffic congestion in Launceston, no progress on the Launceston eastern bypass, no progress on the Sideling and a pitiful underfunding of much-needed works on the long-neglected West Tamar Highway. There's nothing for the east coast, nothing for the Tasman Highway from Launceston to Sorell and nothing for the Arthur Highway. Once again, there's nothing in the budget for traffic congestion in Hobart. There is nothing to gear-up Hobart Airport to receive international flights despite the rhetoric from the assistant minister— (Time expired)