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Wednesday, 2 September 2020
Page: 6364

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:48): Nothing could demonstrate more clearly the priorities of this government than that contribution from that member. There are over 8½ thousand people in my electorate who have lost their jobs. The number doubled in the last three months. There is no comfort for them in the national account figures today. They know that that number is likely to double again between now and Christmas.

The government's case for election not 12 months ago was that it and it alone could manage the budget, it and it alone could drive down debt, it and it alone could drive growth, and it and it alone could manage employment in this country. Now we have a government deficit approaching $200 billion, government debt approaching $1 trillion, unemployment in excess of one million, and workers not knowing whether there is a plan for the future.

The first instinct of any decent government would be to put in place a plan. But what we have from this government, while unemployment is going up, is a plan to drop income support. In four weeks this government proposes to cut income support for those on unemployment benefits and those on JobKeeper. They're after a trophy every time something goes right and a scapegoat every time something goes wrong. Well, there's no trophy for economic management for this mob.