HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 31 AUGUST 2021
Billionaire Gerry Harvey once said that donating to charity is 'just wasted', and that giving money to people who 'are not putting anything back into the community' is like 'helping a whole heap of no-hopers to survive for no good reason'. Gerry Harvey called the Victorian mental health levy a 'dreadful, horrible, stupid tax'. Earlier this year Gerry Harvey opposed a 3.5 per cent wage increase for his workers at a time when his profits had more than doubled. Yet even Gerry Harvey has now decided to repay his JobKeeper.
Why has he done it? One reason—public pressure. Harvey Norman might have blocked its critics on Twitter and threatened news outlets that ran stories with pulling its ads from their programs, but Gerry Harvey couldn't ignore the chorus of condemnation from the public, from the union movement and from Labor.
We only know that Harvey Norman got JobKeeper because ASIC required listed companies to disclose it to the share market. So far about $200 million has been repaid, almost all of it from listed companies. Transparency didn't come from the Treasurer; it came from the corporate watchdog. If the Treasurer had his way we would know almost nothing about who got JobKeeper. The Treasurer is still fighting for JobKeeper secrecy. He doesn't want Australians to know which large firms got JobKeeper. It says something about the Treasurer that he can't even match the ethical standards of Gerry Harvey.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.