Cait Kelly has looked at job agencies claiming falsely claiming ‘outcomes’ (helping unemployed people forced to attend the job agency as part of their mutual obligations into work) in order to receive payment from the government:
Australia’s outsourced job agencies have been forced to hand back more than $8.5m in government payments in one year – more than double the previous 12 months – after an apparent crackdown on faulty claims.
Under Australia’s employment services system, providers are funded with so-called “outcome payments” for placing their clients into employment or courses and they can claim reimbursements for money spent assisting jobseekers prepare for work.
The Workforce Australia scheme, which is under review by the Albanese government, is expected to cost more than $9.5bn over the next four years, amid sustained criticism that the privatised system is ineffective and prone to waste and rorting.
Switching gears now – Peter Dutton has vowed to scrap the ‘right to disconnect’ if the Liberal party win the next election.
If you think it’s okay to outsource your industrial relations or your economic policy to the Greens, which is what the prime minister is doing, then we are going to see a continuation of the productivity problem in our country,” Dutton told Sky News last week.
And as the Reserve Bank governor pointed out, if you don’t address it you’ll see interest rates continue to climb or you’ll see them stay higher for longer.”
Putting aside the fact that the nation’s productivity growth really shouldn’t be reliant on unpaid overtime, critics of the policy appear to be arguing that a) it’s not an issue, so it doesn’t need legislation and b) employees should just suck up being asked to do unpaid work because *reasons*.
The Greens won the right to disconnect provision in the latest round of IR bargaining with Tony Burke. Adam Bandt says if Dutton moves to scrap it, the Greens will fight back:
We’ve been overwhelmed by positive feedback from people who say – yeah, it’s not right that I should be on call 24/7 when I’m not getting paid for it.
And Peter Dutton wants you electronically bound to your boss, and having to answer calls 24/7, even if you’re not getting paid for it.
Peter Dutton would rather you answering emails rather than putting the kids to bed.
Now it’s Peter Dutton who wants to end your weekend by making you on call 24/7, even when you’re not getting paid for it. I think having the right to recharge outside of work hours is absolutely critical. The law hasn’t kept up. This is common-sense and if Peter Dutton wants to take it away and force you to be bound to your boss electronically 24/7, the Greens will fight him.
Greens leader Adam Bandt was also asked about the incident, while speaking to ABC TV:
He’s obviously got an explanation, and it will be up to people whether they accept that or not. But I do think that there’s a double standard here.
I think if a woman politician had found themselves in a similar situation, I feel like there would be widespread condemnation. Indeed, we have seen that previously.
And I think the fact that a lot of people are just going to shrug this off is a bit of a wake-up call as to whether or not we’re applying the same standards right across the Parliament here.
I’ll let Barnaby Joyce explain himself. What I would ask is that firstly, if we’re prepared to say – when people have issues, they need to get help and be upfront and we need to have a reasoned debate about it. That’s OK.
But secondly, let’s not forget that this has been the party and the side of politics that has tried to demonise many other people for health issues of their own that have said – you know, called for people to be kicked off welfare, or called for people to be kicked off out of their jobs.
So I’m asked for an equal standard to be applied across everyone – the whole Parliament and the whole society.
Bill Shorten was asked about the incident while speaking to ABC radio AM.
Q: If a Labor MP been filmed on their back in a public street, would they still have a job as a minister this morning?
It wasn’t. I won’t deal with hypotheticals. I’ve just seen the footage very briefly. I think Mr Joyce needs support, he doesn’t need he certainly doesn’t need a Labor politician piling in in a partisan manner. I don’t know what’s happened there. I’m not about to join in on any sort of lynch mob about what what has happened and what hasn’t. I think he needs support. That’s what he’s seeking
Barnaby Joyce has spoken to the Seven network this morning explaining what happened, amid calls he should be dropped from the shadow front bench.
Joyce said it was obvious he “made a big mistake” and while there was “no excuse for it”, “there is a reason”.
I’m on a prescription drug, and they say certain things may happen to you if you drink, and they were absolutely 100 per cent right. They did.”
Joyce said a taxi driver eventually came to his aid (there has been criticism of the person who filmed Joyce, for not offering assistance)
Nationals leader David Littleproud has told Brisbane radio 4BC Joyce would be offered support, but he would not be demoted over the incident:
There’ll be further conversations with Barnaby to make sure we put the environment around him that he needs to make sure whatever challenges he’s got,” he said.
Asked by Seven if he needed support, Joyce said:
I’m not looking for sympathy and I’m not looking for an excuse.
The other big topic of conversation in Canberra this morning?
The former deputy prime minister and current shadow minister for veterans’ affairs was filmed lying on a Canberra footpath late Thursday night, his feet up on a planter box, uttering profanities into his phone.
The spot where Joyce was filmed has been turned into a bit of a shrine in Canberra.
Mike Bowers wandered down to Lonsdale Street on Sunday and found a tin of diced beetroot had been added to the crude chalk outline. Since then, someone has mocked up a plaque marking the spot.
‘We’ve got renters in our party room’, says Bandt after question on Greens owning investment properties
Asked about why so many Greens MPs have investment properties if the Greens are so against the policy, Adam Bandt says:
Hang on – they’re arguing to phase it out, just as we argued that there should be no tax cuts for politicians, and billionaires. We will argue on principle.
But I just want to say – if you want to go down the road of looking at political parties, as you were saying – we now have a landlord Prime Minister with multiple investment properties.
We’ve got a Labor cabinet where they have, many of them have, multiple investments.
Politicians overall have far more investment properties than the general population.
Whereas the Greens – we’ve got renters in our party room and we’re fighting for the third of the country that, at the moment, doesn’t have a political voice, and is being overlooked.
And Labor’s plan at the moment – so-called plan – it’s a lottery scheme. And 1.2% of first home buyers we’ve helped at the expense of everyone else.
The Greens agree that you shouldn’t have to win a lottery to buy your first home.
Bandt says Greens will continue to push for negative gearing and capital gains tax changes
The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, said his party will continue to push for changes and is making its support of the help to buy equity housing scheme reliant on Labor agreeing to change negative gearing and capital gains tax.
Labor is unlikely to agree to those changes, so the deadlock remains.
On the question of what would happen if investors up and sold their investment if negative gearing was changed (which is a strange argument, because you can only negatively gear a property if it is making a loss) Bandt told the ABC:
One is that any homes that go on the market may well be snapped up by first home buyers and that will give them a chance to get into their home instead of the home being used as a way of trying to make off the back of a government subsidy.
And coming up with the rising population, you look at what’s there. They were all built in the 1960s or 70s, and many of them, Labor is now tearing down.
So build more public housing to ensure that there is enough rental stock for people.
But it just does not make sense to put billions of dollars of public money into the pockets of wealthy property moguls and push up housing prices out of the reach of first home buyers. That hurts.
Shorten says Labor have moved on from negative gearing changes
Tax reform continues as a lead agenda item – after the Coalition folded on the stage three tax changes, it is now trying a game of “rule in, rule out” (assisted ably by some sectors of the media) of every other tax in Australia, particularly when it comes to housing. The Coalition is trying to paint Labor as moving to increase taxes, even as the Coalition admits it is supporting the stage three tax cut changes because they will help give more money back to more people.
But negative gearing is once again back on the agenda. Labor says no, no changes, the Greens say “why not” and the Coalition says you can’t trust that Labor won’t.
Bill Shorten, who led Labor to the 2019 election loss with a platform which included radical reform of Australia’s tax system including negative gearing, told ABC radio AM that Labor had moved on:
We did take policies to the 2016 and 2019 election. And it’s clear since then, that Labour has decided to try other methods and mechanisms to support people being able to access housing. To the absolute best of my knowledge, it’s not something that the current government’s been working on or focused on or thinking about.
I think even the most reasonable critic of Labor would agree that we’ve got a full book about changes to the income tax scales to give all Australians a bigger tax cut.
We’ve got the reforms to the petroleum and reserve tax, super concessions multinational tax reform, tax compliance, and of course the changes with tobacco tax.
I think the sweet spot for housing reform is increasing supply and that’s what Labor’s working on.
Richardson review recommendations aim at fostering more open atmosphere around home affairs procurement
Paul Karp will be following the fallout from the Richardson review this morning and will have more for you very soon.
But in the meantime you can read the entire report here.
The first two recommendations are designed to create a more open atmosphere around home affairs procurement:
1. Home Affairs should enhance its integrity risk process and culture to better inform procurement and contract decision-making for regional processing arrangements by:
more carefully considering the environment in which a procurement is conducted or a contract is delivered, and the ethical conduct and integrity of tenderers, suppliers and supply chains; and
undertaking risk-informed due diligence activities throughout the procurement and contract management lifecycle.
2. Home Affairs should foster and promote an ‘ask and tell’ operating environment that encourages collaboration, cooperation, proactive enquiry and information sharing.
Welcome to week two of the House of Representatives sitting with an added bonus of estimates hearings, just as a treat.
To kick us off, the home affairs minister, Clare O’Neil, has released the Richardson review, which was an inquiry ordered into the money being spent on Australia’s offshore detention centres back in July 2023.
Dennis Richardson was asked to conduct a review into “allegations that contractors engaged by the Department of Home Affairs to deliver regional processing services were suspected of systemic misuse of taxpayer money in Nauru and Papua New Guinea”.
O’Neil says the report’s findings are “extremely concerning” and she’s pointed the finger straight at Peter Dutton, the former home affairs minister.
This is an extraordinary report that should have been commissioned years ago, under the former government.
The Parkinson, Nixon and Richardson reports expose Mr Dutton as a hypocrite who was overseeing a migration system that was enabling mass exploitation and abuse, and an offshore processing regime being used as a slush fund by suspected criminals, all while trading on his reputation as a tough guy on the border.
O’Neil said the government will be implementing all of the review’s recommendations in full.
The timing of the release of the report is no coincidence, coming on the first day of estimates hearings and after what could only be described as a bad parliamentary week for the opposition. Labor has started the parliament year on the front foot and on the attack, and after the last six months, is showing no signs of wanting to let go of its advantage.
It’s going to set up a pretty messy contest.
Ready to cover it as always are Paul Karp, Daniel Hurst, Josh Butler and Sarah Basford Canales. Mike Bowers is with you along with the entire Guardian brains trust.
You have Amy Remeikis with you on the blog for most of the day. I’m making coffee number two – but let’s get into it.