MONDAY, 22 JUNE 2020
SUBJECTS: Liberal attacks on superannuation; JobKeeper.
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW TREASURER: Another day into this recession and the Liberals have found yet another way to leave Australian workers behind. This pandemic should not be used as an excuse to cut superannuation once again. The Retirement Income Review should not be used as a stalking horse for the Liberals to come after super and pensions once more.
The Morison Government has already done enough damage to super with their bungled plans for early access which have severely diminished people's retirement incomes and which have the fraudsters circling around it.
After years of stagnant wages and rampant underemployment, this Government now wants to pretend that they care about jobs and wages. I mean, give me a break. This attack on super is not something that the Labor Party or the workers of Australia will cop. We've already seen under the life of this seven year old Government that the Liberals have frozen superannuation again and again, and we've still seen stagnant wages and rampant underemployment after that.
Super could be a key part of our economic recovery, and it should be that, instead of just another target for the same old ideological attacks by a Liberal Party which has never believed in superannuation, and which has sought to diminish it at every turn.
There's a pattern of behaviour here when it comes to the Government's secret plans, whether it be superannuation, the review of JobKeeper, or the update for the budget. All of these things were due before the Eden-Monaro by-election and they've all been pushed back to after the Eden-Monaro by-election. It's time for the Government to come clean on their secret plans for super, JobKeeper, and the budget. It's not good enough for Australians to be kept in the dark by this Government for purely political reasons until after that Eden-Monaro by-election is done and dusted.
Last week's job numbers should have been a wake-up call for the Government. During this recession, they've left too many people out of JobKeeper and that means they've left too many Australian workers behind. The unemployment queues are longer than they need to be because of the way that the Government has bungled JobKeeper and left too many Australians out of the program and left too many Australians behind.
How many times do we have to read that the Government is about to say something about entertainment workers? If the Government really cared about workers in the entertainment industry they wouldn't have left hundreds of thousands of them out of JobKeeper and left them behind as they have done to date.
The reason the budget needs to be updated ASAP is that there is a welcome debate about priorities in the budget and what we need to do to save jobs, to bolster the recovery, and to create jobs into the future. It makes no sense whatsoever for the Government to continue to keep people in the dark about the budget. The priority here is supporting jobs but there will be a hefty price to pay for that in the budget. It will need to be repaid over time and that means we need to see what damage has been done to the budget under this Government, remembering that net debt had already more than doubled before this crisis. We're already set to pay something like $17 billion this year servicing that debt. Let's see the budget update. Let's see how much debt there is in the budget. Let's see what the impact of this crisis has been on the budget.
If the Government continues to get this recession wrong, if they continue to leave people behind and leave them out of JobKeeper, and if they continue to bungle the recovery then the unemployment queues will be longer, the recovery will be harder, the downturn will be deeper and all of that will have an impact on the budget in any case.
It's time for the Government to stop putting politics before people. It's time for them to stop putting politics and ideology before people and jobs. Too many Australians have been left behind during this recession as it is.