The state of the economy is likely to take centre stage when the federal parliament sits this week after the government confirmed Australia is suffering its first recession in 30 years.
It's likely to stir a heated debate, particularly around measures the government is implementing to steer the economy out of the downturn.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann believes the 0.3 per cent contraction in economic growth during the March quarter - with much worse to come in the June quarter - is comparatively "good news" when a 1.8 per cent contraction was recorded across the OECD countries.
"What you can see here is how resilient the Australian economy continues to be. We had the drought, we had the bushfires and we had the impact of the coronavirus health crisis," he told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.
"Because of the work we have done for six and a half years, we went into this crisis in a stronger economic and a stronger fiscal position."
Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles disagrees, saying while the pandemic was not the fault of the government, it does own the state of the economy that went into the crisis.
"This was an economy in which we were seeing labour productivity going backwards for the first time in decades," he told ABC television's Insiders program.
The government announced a $680 million HomeBuilder package last week that provides grants of $25,000 to build or for a renovation project costing at least $150,000.
Mr Marles said the program needed to be improved, given there was expected to be a shortfall of 60,000 homes because of the pandemic, when the government scheme will only add 10,000 properties out of 27,000 projects.
"This should be done a whole lot better and we've been talking over the last few weeks about a range of measures about spending more on social housing ... around removing the cap on the first homeowner grant scheme," he said.
Senator Cormann said the government had no intention of extending the scheme beyond the December 31 deadline, nor would it change the means testing which requires singles to have an income of up to $125,000 or $200,000 for couples.
"If the means test was not there, more people would be able to access the scheme and the scheme would be significantly more expensive," the senator said.
"It is a program that is in place to help bring forward demand and get activity in the residential construction sector going throughout this period given our fears that there is cliff, a demand cliff, that is going to play out and cause harm to that particular sector."
However, raising the GST rate will not be part of the government's reforms in a post-COVID-19 recovery.
While media reports suggest NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet wants to pursue a lift in the 10 per cent GST rate to be able to get rid of less efficient taxes, Senator Cormann says the government is about lowering taxes, not raising them.
"When it comes to the GST, we did have a very thorough look at this not that long ago and the outcome of that work at the time was, that it wasn't in our interest to move in that direction," he told Sky News' Sunday agenda program.
"At this stage, I haven't seen anything that would change our mind."
Australian Associated Press