Peter Khalil: Labor calls on the Morrison government to do its job, which is to support Australians doing it tough. We call on this government to maintain the $250 per fortnight JobSeeker coronavirus supplement. We call on the government to permanently raise the rate of JobSeeker and Newstart. We call on this government to have some decency towards vulnerable Australians who are disadvantaged through no fault of their own. There will be 1.8 million Australians relying on unemployment support payments over the Christmas season. As the chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service, Dr Cassandra Goldie, put it, there are a lot of things that are out of the government’s control, but the one thing they have control over is ensuring that everyone has enough to cover the basic costs of living.
I’ve heard from my own constituents. Some are forced to skip meals to make do. And what is this government’s response? They ignored Labor’s calls for a permanent increase to the JobSeeker/Newstart rate, and then they announced instead that, come this December, they’re going to be cutting the supplement by $100 a fortnight. People looking for work or struggling to support their families on JobSeeker don’t need cuts. Australians need a government that will support them during the tough times, not cuts. Australians need a Labor government with a plan for jobs—a Labor government with a vision for a fairer future.