Senate debates

Friday, 12 June 2020

Questions without Notice

JobKeeper Payment

2:57 pm

Photo of Anthony ChisholmAnthony Chisholm (Queensland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. Yesterday the member for Leichhardt called for an extension of JobKeeper beyond September for Far North Queensland. He said, 'I'm confident it will happen'. Has Mr Entsch been given any commitment by the Prime Minister about extending JobKeeper in Far North Queensland?

2:58 pm

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | | Hansard source

It sounds like a copy and paste from a question yesterday. It's Friday afternoon. The Labor Party has run out of questions—rinse and repeat.

Hon. Senators:

Honourable senators interjecting

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Gallacher, on a point of order?

Photo of Alex GallacherAlex Gallacher (SA, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes. My point of order is that, if the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate continues to replace substance with volume, you may need to revisit the social-distancing policy in this chamber!

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | | Hansard source

I absolutely agree with Senator Gallacher's observations of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. I fully endorse them. I understand that there's a great friendship between those two Labor senators from the great state of South Australia.

Getting back to the question: if you ask the same question, you get the same answer. Warren Entsch, the member for Leichhardt, is an outstanding member of parliament. He does a great job. The people in Leichhardt strongly support his efforts in standing up for his communities. Let me reassure Senator Chisholm, because I know he's concerned, we have not made any such commitment.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Chisholm, a supplementary question?

2:59 pm

Photo of Anthony ChisholmAnthony Chisholm (Queensland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

This morning the member for Braddon was asked if we will see separate rates of unemployment benefit in different parts of the country. He answered, 'It's being considered at the moment and we're not excluding anything.' Has Mr Pearce been given any commitment by Mr Morrison about a higher rate of unemployment benefits for Northern Tasmania?

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Braddon, of course, is another outstanding Liberal representative and is fighting hard for the people of Braddon, and that is why they gave him their confidence at the last election. Let me also say that of course the government is considering how we can provide the appropriate levels of support to Australians in need as we go through the COVID-19 crisis's impact on the economy. In relation to arrangements for jobseeker and JobKeeper in particular, moving forward, we will continue to provide appropriate levels of support all around the country and we will transition out of the current elevated levels of support in the right way at the appropriate time.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Chisholm, a final supplementary question?

3:00 pm

Photo of Anthony ChisholmAnthony Chisholm (Queensland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On Tuesday Senator Stoker criticised 'endless subsidies paid for using money borrowed from future generations'. Has Senator Stoker been given any commitment by Mr Morrison about government debt levels?

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | | Hansard source

It's great to see that Senator Chisholm goes through all these outstanding Liberal members and senators. We've got a few more! Senator Stoker is, of course, absolutely right: we should absolutely minimise the burden on future generations. The absolute commitment that Senator Stoker has from the government and every Australian has from the government is that debt will always be lower than it would have been under the Labor Party. Debt will always be lower under the Liberal and National parties than it would have been under the Labor Party. The Labor Party, of course, left behind a rapidly deteriorating budget position. They left behind ludicrous revenue assumptions like $120 a tonne for iron ore, which meant that the revenue they assumed they would collect was way above anything that was ever going to be realistic. And then, of course, they locked in spending growth that was for the forwards—

Opposition Senators:

Opposition senators interjecting

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! We're nearly there.

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | | Hansard source

We fixed Labor's budget mess and we're in a better position today as a result of the work we did. The Australian people know it. They know that you can't handle money.

I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.