One Nation has sided with the Morrison Government, voting down the Senate’s bill requiring firms with more than $10 million in turnover to disclose their JobKeeper subsidies:
In the Senate, independent senator Rex Patrick moved an amendment to… require the Australian Taxation Office to reveal companies with annual turnover of more than $10m that received jobkeeper.
As the amendment was supported by Labor, the Greens and the crossbench, One Nation held the casting vote – and Patrick claimed leader Pauline Hanson had indicated she intended to support it.
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But on Wednesday evening One Nation lodged its own amendment, requiring publicly listed companies to report their jobkeeper receipts and for Asic to publish a consolidated report on these companies.
Patrick, Labor and the Greens labelled the amendment a “dud”, noting that public companies already disclose their jobkeeper receipts in their annual reports.
Patrick told the Senate One Nation had “sided with the looters”, reducing the number of companies required to disclose jobkeeper from 10,000 to just 2,090.
He said One Nation had excluded “hundreds of foreign-controlled companies” operating in Australia; the big four consultancy firms, which are structured as partnerships; clubs; private schools; political parties; and large private companies.
“There will be … big private companies clinking their champagne glasses tonight, toasting to Pauline Hanson,” he said.
Labor’s shadow assistant treasurer, Andrew Leigh, noted that 97% of JobKeeper went to private companies not listed on sharemarket and therefore not required to report their financial results. This is at odds with other advanced nations where wage subsidies received by private companies were disclosed to the public:
“We want the JobKeeper receipt by all firms with a turnover above $10 million to be disclosed on a public register, just like they do in New Zealand, Britain, and the United States,” Dr Leigh said.
“Australians want answers as to how the government allowed $13 billion, enough to deliver fibre-to-the-home National Broadband Network to every urban premises in Australia, to go to firms with rising earnings.
“That money didn’t save a single job.”
Meanwhile, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has been hard at work rallying business groups to issue statements critical of the push by Senator Patrick and Labor to disclose JobKeeper recipients.
They have a friend it seems in Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, which purports to represent ‘battlers’ while usually siding with the rentiers.