Scott Morrison gifting taxpayer money to his business mates: Senator

Independent Senator Rex Patrick has today doubled down on his push for transparency about the highly profitable corporations that dishonestly pocketed taxpayer-funded JobKeeper payments and refuse to pay it back.

Private companies which significantly increased their profit (some have posted double or triple profits) have raked in large portion of the $70 billion support program, the single biggest government spend during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has so far refused to ask these companies to repay JobKeeper, more than tens of thousands of individuals on Centrelink who were slightly overpaid are being forced to pay back money.

Independent senator Rex Patrick previously moved a motion, passed by the Senate, ordering the names of all large profitable companies who received huge JobKeeper payments but the tax commissioner Chris Jordan backed the government’s position and defied the Senate order to release company names under “public interest immunity”.

“That harm outweighs any public interest in disclosing the information,” he said in a letter to Parliament.

Senator Patrick vowed to enforce the Senate’s authority to get the list, saying it would spark other companies recording profits and paying bonuses to executives to repay JobKeeper funds.

“Failure to comply with a final lawful order of the Senate is a contempt.”

Australians have a right to know which large employers have received taxpayer money and how much they received. Those companies that abused the taxpayers’ goodwill should pay it back.
Senator Patrick said.

However, although the amendment was supported by Labor, the Greens and the crossbench, the Senate failed to get sufficient votes to pass the amendment after One Nation backtracked to support it.

Senator Patrick told the Senate One Nation had “sided with the looters”.

“There will be … big private companies clinking their champagne glasses tonight, toasting to Pauline Hanson,” he said.