Greens’ JobKeeper Payback Motion Narrowly Fails In Parliament
The House of Representatives has narrowly defeated a push by Greens leader Adam Bandt to force companies such as Harvey Norman that profited during the pandemic to repay JobKeeper funds.
The motion, which earlier passed the Senate, called on the Government to make big companies that received JobKeeper and turned a profit or paid bonuses repay either the profit or the JobKeeper, whichever was smaller. It went down in a 72-72 tie with the entire crossbench – including Bob Katter and Craig Kelly – voting with the Greens and Labor, forcing speaker Tony Smith to use his casting vote to uphold the status quo.
In exercising the casting vote, the Speaker was guided by the long-established principle that where no further discussion is possible, decisions should not be taken except by a majority. The Speaker therefore gave his casting vote against the amendment. 2/2
— Australian House of Representatives (@AboutTheHouse) June 16, 2021
Taking to Twitter after the vote, Bandt warned billionaires to “watch out” and vowed to keep pushing.
“Parliament is only one vote away from making JobKeeper profiteers like Gerry Harvey pay back their public handouts. After the Senate backed the Greens push, we just had a tied vote in the House too,” he said.
Harvey Norman has endured a PR fiasco over its refusal to return $22 million in JobKeeper money, made worse by its official Australian Twitter account blocking users who commented on its JobKeeper and labour practices. The account was shut down at the beginning of the month.
Premier Investments, owned by retail magnate Solomon Lew, earlier this year agreed to repay $15.6 million in JobKeeper funds after months of public pushback.