Senate debates

Wednesday, 11 November 2020


Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Coronavirus and Other Measures) Bill 2020; Second Reading

9:49 am

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

Prime Minister, you have the Commonwealth purse at your disposal. Use it wisely to invest in job-creating infrastructure. Schools, hospitals, manufacturing clean energy components—these are things that address issues but also create jobs. It just really irks us when the government try to claim that job creation is something that they can't do, that—gee!—they would love to but they're not able to. What an absolute crock. Instead of the $99 billion in corporate welfare that this budget represented, they should have invested in public services that create jobs and deliver the services that Australians deserve and rely upon. Rebuild our domestic manufacturing base, have top-quality public schools and hospitals, invest in 100 per cent clean energy, build some public housing so that we don't have a problem with homelessness and that people have somewhere to go—these are the job-creating initiatives and investments that could have been made by the Prime Minister. But, instead, the government chose the $99 billion to go to their big corporate mates through various different handouts and subsidies, often with no strings attached. There's still a refusal to increase JobSeeker to a rate that will allow people to live and have the ability to seek work, should work become available.

We welcome the parts of the bill that address some of those inequities. We welcome the adoption of the Greens' view that paid parental leave should have always been available to people who lost their job because of the pandemic. We welcome the fixing of the inequity in the stillborn birth payments. But we remain completely broken-hearted at this government's continued failure to see how desperate so many Australian families are and how much good it has done for those families to be able to put food on the table, to replace that broken toaster, to put petrol in the car or to buy a second-hand suit jacket to go to a job interview. These are the things that make a difference in peoples' lives. For the government to both wash its hands of job creation and still refuse to provide adequate support for jobseekers to live on is just an absolute abrogation of duty.


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