Politics

All The Best Memes About The Government’s $60 Billion Jobkeeper Accounting Error

"The jobkeeper costing was only out by *checks notes* the entire Queensland state government budget."

Scott Morrison jobkeeper accounting error

Listen, we’ve all made mistakes. But have you ever made a mistake to the tune of $60 billion? No? Then you’re doing better than the Australian government.

On first pass, the Australian treasury announced that the jobkeeper payment was costing the government a whopping $130 billion. But yesterday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg sheepishly revealed that the number was more like $70 billion. Frydenberg’s chalked up the mistake to an “accounting error”. Wild use of words there, to be honest, given that accounting errors usually involve forgetting to carry the one, rather than adding an extra $60 billion that wasn’t there.

This morning, that “accounting error” was better explicated. See, it all came down to confusing paperwork. In the section of the form where businesses had to put down how many employees were to receive jobkeeper, some accidentally put down how much money they expected to receive through the program.

As the ABC have reported, that means in cases where businesses had one employee on the jobkeeper payroll, they put down “1,500” instead, the dollar figure that one employee was to earn every fortnight. That’s a difference of 1,499 real versus listed employees, and explains the inflated cost of the system.

Anyway, that explanation doesn’t necessarily make the mistake any less funny. Which is why the internet has been awash with memes and jokes since the error was first revealed.

Of course, there’s an undercurrent of real anger to these jokes. The government are refusing to help universities or the arts sector get through one of the biggest financial crises since the depression. Seems like some of that $60 billion could go to help such sectors. But nope. Frydenberg is sticking to his guns — no support will be given to either at risk industry.

So yeah, it’s more than just an error. It’s an attitude of cruelty and ignorance.

Let’s all strap in and prepare for the next colossal blunder this inept government makes, hey?