Treasurer Josh Frydenberg held a press conference late on Monday night where he said the new stimulus package would continue to support Australians during the coronavirus crisis and they would continue to support business.
“The best way to keep Australians in jobs is to keep businesses in business,” he said.
Mr Frydenberg said the changes to deeming rates and draw down rates would “give retirees more control over their savings”.
“We know that the economic situation has deteriorated, as every day passes. And we know that the economic shock from the coronavirus and its impact will be deeper, will be wider and will be longer than first thought,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“But tonight, the Australian Parliament has acted in the best interests of the casuals and the sole traders and the retirees and those on income support and the Australian students.”
The Treasurer said those seeking unemployment benefits did not have to undergo a waiting period to access benefits and could apply for entitlements online after images of queues of people outside Centrelink offices.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann confirmed the coronavirus supplement would be extended to full-time students.
The government will no longer need legislation to make changes to welfare settings after passing an amendment to the package, giving the social services minister unprecedented powers.
There will also be two $750 payments for welfare recipients.
Small lenders will get a $15 billion boost from the government while businesses will get cash injections to encourage them to keep staff on during the crisis.
A range of other measures are included in the packages, including targeted support for the tourism and aviation sectors.
Labor supported the government in rushing legislation through Parliament despite raising concerns about some of the measures.
The opposition argued the payments would not be in people’s pockets until late April while also criticising the decision to allow people to access their superannuation early.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed a scaled-down House of Representatives on Monday, invoking the spirit of the Diggers.
“So we summon the spirit of the Anzacs, of our Great Depression generation, of those who built the Snowy, of those who won the great peace of World War II and defended Australia,” Mr Morrison said.
“For many, young and old, 2020 will be the toughest year of our lives.”
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said most Australians only knew stories of war, hunger and financial strife from their grandparents.
“This is a time for national leadership, consistent messages, clear directions,” he said.
Sign up to our Coronavirus Update newsletter
The pandemic has seen tens of billions of dollars wiped off share prices in the past few weeks.
Members and senators abided by new rules to ensure there are four square metres for each person, and no more than 100 people in a room at any one time.
The House of Representatives agreed on a new parliamentary sitting calendar, with politicians next due to return in August.
The next scheduled sitting was to have been in May for the federal budget, which has now been postponed until October 6.