WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT RUNNING SCARED FROM JOBKEEPER TRANSPARENCY?
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, 26 AUGUST 2021
The Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 6) Bill 2021 is, as the member for Bruce has said, an urgent measure which will bring on important changes to allow greater transparency of superannuation holdings in family law proceedings. Like the member for Bruce, I urge the Senate not to attach amendments to the bill that would slow its passage. Labor takes the same approach to this bill that we took to a bill that went to the Senate in the last sitting period which related to support for people in lockdown.
At the same time, we have the non-urgent Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 2) Bill 2021, which was recently considered by this House and is now under consideration by the Senate. But when the government realised there would be support from Labor and the crossbenchers to amend that bill so as to require the reporting of every JobKeeper recipient that had a turnover of over $10 million, they filibustered the debate and took the bill off the Notice Paper.
What have the Morrison government got to hide? Why are they hiding from the Australian people how taxpayer money was spent?
This wasn't Liberal Party money; this was taxpayer money. We know that some $13 billion went to firms with rising earnings. If you're in Britain or the United States or New Zealand then you get to see how your government spent wage subsidy support. That information is available through downloadable spreadsheets and searchable databases. In those countries taxpayers know precisely how their equivalent of JobKeeper got spent. But here there is none of that transparency. It's only through reporting through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that we know about the JobKeeper receipt for listed firms. But among unlisted entities we know very little and that is why this transparency amendment is so important.
The government is pursuing 11,000 people through Centrelink debt notices based on their having received JobKeeper in the work they were doing and that affecting their eligibility for the pension—people like Jan Raabe, who I spoke about in the House in the last sittings period—yet it won't allow the Australian people to know how JobKeeper was spent. Labor will fight for transparency against this cowardly government that, rather than support a transparency amendment in the Senate, has taken the bill off the Notice Paper and is running for the hills.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra