The Australian Senate has narrowly voted down a Greens motion to disallow parts of the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 2) 2020 that have the effect of excluding universities from accessing the JobKeeper wage subsidy.
The vote was defeated 30 votes to 31.
The Greens, Labor and Centre Alliance voted for the motion; the government, One Nation and Senator Lambie opposed it.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Universities are being smashed during this pandemic and the government has refused to throw them a lifeline.
“The government is fully aware that 30,000 jobs are on the line, but they just don’t care, because this is an opportunity to destabilise and weaken the university sector and lay the groundwork for further marketisation.
“Scott Morrison and his minister's mistreatment of universities in this crisis is nothing but their ideology writ large. With a $60 billion underspend they don’t even have a financial justification to hide behind for excluding universities — or migrants and casuals — from JobKeeper.
“Shame on the Senators who claim to represent regional areas, but just voted to skewer any chance regional university workers in their states had of getting JobKeeper.
“The Greens will continue to fight the myopic, neoliberal corporatism that the Liberals use time and again to weaken public institutions and the communities which they are a part of,” she said.