The newly appointed Assistant to the Deputy Prime Minister, NSW Nationals MP Kevin Hogan in Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Gary Ramage
The newly appointed Assistant to the Deputy Prime Minister, NSW Nationals MP Kevin Hogan in Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Gary Ramage

Hogan too far away for JobKeeper vote

Page MP Kevin Hogan was one of a few who returned to parliament two weeks ago to help pass the first round of stimulus payments.

Mr Hogan again put his hand up to be in the recalled parliament tomorrow that will legislate the $130b JobKeeper package, but will not be part of the historic vote.

“Last time we went back there were 90 of us,” he said.

“Now they’re aiming at around 40 or so, and it’s literally all the people who can drive there, whether it’s Sydney MPs or the ones in northern Victoria.

“I said I was available, but they’re just taking the ones that are logistically easy to get there.”

A quorum of 31 is required for parliament, and the recall is possible only after a change to the standing orders at the last session.

“When we went back from the special sitting, the standing orders were changed that if manager of government business Christian Porter, and leader of opposition business Tony Burke agreed, this whole thing could be arranged, and this recall is the first example of this happening.

Mr Hogan said the $130b package was unprecedented, with the details being discussed by both sides over the past week.

“It has been discussed more openly than normal with the opposition,” he said.

“We obviously want to get this through as quickly and expediently as possible, and I know there’s been discussion with senior figures of the opposition to get their input so it does go through quickly.”

Mr Hogan said the issue of supporting the Australian economy was a separate one from ensuring the health of the nation, and one that was not unique to Australia.

“We are facing unprecedented times, and most people are living an economic scenario that is very sombre,” he said.

“This package is all about getting businesses to the other side until people aren’t in social isolation. It’s a massive undertaking.

“These are tough times, and it’s an emotional time for all of us in the community, and I’m very conscious of that. We’re in uncharted territory and the government is doing what they can to assist.”

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the JobKeeper wage subsidy would be passed tomorrow “no matter how late we have to sit”.

“The change will be happening next Wednesday; six million Australian jobs depend on it,” Mr Porter said.

He said he was “listening” to calls for the package to be expanded to include more casual workers, such as those flagged by union chief Sally McManus.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary said she wanted to see the wage subsidy expanded so that casuals who had worked for less than 12 months, and anybody who “reasonably expected” to be working, were covered.

“We’re worried that if you change the rights of workers unfortunately some employers might abuse that,” Ms McManus told ABC’s Insiders.



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