(Job)Keeping up appearances

Publication Name

Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to critique the Australian Government's JobKeeper scheme and demonstrate how accounting rationalities were intertwined with the process of governing the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach: Adopting a Foucauldian perspective, the authors make use of public discourse to draw attention to the centrality of accounting and quantitative techniques that were used to support government interventions during the pandemic. Findings: The authors show that accounting numbers, techniques and quantitative information were mobilised by the government as a way of formulating and implementing the JobKeeper scheme, a program designed to minimise the economic impacts of COVID-19. Originality/value: The authors demonstrate the centrality of accounting concepts as a rhetorical device and their use by government in times of crisis.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access



Link to publisher version (DOI)