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Government must crack down on dodgy phoenix operators - Media Release

GOVERNMENT MUST CRACK DOWN ON DODGY PHOENIX OPERATORS 

Labor welcomes the third and final report by the Melbourne Law School and Monash Business School ‘Phoenix Project’.

The Turnbull Government has been suspiciously silent on the harm phoenix activity has on employees, businesses, and their families. The Phoenix Project report is a chance for them to catch up on their responsibilities to small businesses and consumers.

Harmful phoenix activity – deliberate related-party asset transfers and insolvency – is a tactic used by some directors to explicitly avoid paying employees their entitlements, avoid paying taxes, and avoid paying creditors – particularly subcontractors and other small businesses.

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Labor working with the community sector - Media Release

LABOR WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY SECTOR

Today, I was pleased to bring together around 100 community leaders in Parliament House to discuss innovative ideas to strengthen community life.

Over recent generations, Australia has become more disconnected. We are less likely to join mass membership organisations, to attend church, to volunteer, or to be part of a union.

Government plays a role in strengthening civic life, which is why Labor fought hard to keep the Coalition from abolishing the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission. 

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WE NEED TO STAMP OUT "TANKING" IN BUSINESS - Sydney Morning Herald

Tanking in business is known as "Phoenix Activity", Sydney Morning Herald,                  21 February 2017

Perhaps my most famous constituent is Nick Kyrgios, Australia's top-ranked male tennis player. But despite his extraordinary serve and blasting forehand, there is one aspect of Kyrgios's game that I, along with other Australian sports fans, cannot condone.

Not trying. Failing on purpose. Tanking.                                 

Australians hate it when their stars don't play to win. So when Nick tanked a tennis match at the Shanghai Masters last year, he copped it from all corners (when John McEnroe is criticising your attitude, you know there's a problem).

It's not just in tennis. We've seen allegations of tanking in the AFL, as well as major league baseball, Olympic badminton, Asian soccer and the National Hockey League.

Tanking in sport lets down the fans. But when it happens in business, people can lose their jobs and companies. Tanking in business is known as "phoenix activity".

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"Let's get with the program": Renewable energy and housing prices - Sky AM Agenda TV transcript

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TV INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS AM AGENDA

MONDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 2017

SUBJECT/S: Renewable energy policy; housing affordability; sugar tax.

KIERAN GILBERT: With me now is Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. In regard to the mandate for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, should Labor open its mind to it given just a few years ago that Mr Rudd was one of the strongest advocates for pursuing carbon capture and storage?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, we'd all love it if carbon capture and storage worked, because it would mean you'd get to enjoy coal without having the emissions. The trouble is, like cold fusion, it's a technology that hasn't lived up to the promises of its boosters. Any solution is likely to be decades away and indeed it also costs quite a bit of the energy of the power plant in order to do the carbon capture and storage. Some of these models have suggested that carbon capture and storage might add another 40 per cent to the price, which then means that the cost advantage of coal would pretty much go away. This isn't a technology that the private sector is backing, it’s not a technology that the rest of the world is piling into, it's not a proven technology. Unlike wind and solar which really are. Let's focus on those and battery technology- 

GILBERT: That's right, they are proven in the sense that they can generate power but they can't sustain it in the baseload sense so that battery storage that you refer to is critical, is that there yet?

LEIGH: Battery storage, tidal, these are all technologies that are making incremental gains year on year rather than putting taxpayer money into a moonshot. This isn't a technology that I think ought to be the focus of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. 

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Labor is the party of competition - Press Conference Transcript

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

PRESS CONFERENCE

PARLIAMENT HOUSE

THURSDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2016

SUBJECT/S: Introduction of Labor’s Access to Justice legislation into Senate; Government’s wacky effects test.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY: Today, in the Senate, Labor's Small Business Spokesperson Katy Gallagher is tabling a bill to provide access to justice for Australian small businesses. 

One of the things that often deters small businesses from taking on the big end of town for their anti-competitive conduct is the prospect of being hit by a big costs order. They know they'll have to pay their own lawyers' costs but they are scared that if they lose, they might have to pay for the armies of QCs that the big end of town puts together to take them on.

So what Labor has said is that we ought to have provisions for when a small business is bringing a case – that doesn't just benefit them but benefits the entire economy – that small business know at the start of the lawsuit they won't be facing the prospects of paying the other side's costs. 

Labor's access to justice proposal is one which will see the Small Business Ombudsman tasked with providing no-cost legal advice to firms which are looking at taking on a case but are seeking a 'no adverse costs' order. It's an idea that was put to the Government in its competition review. It's an idea which has been put to Labor by a range of small business groups, who want to see a fairer deal. 

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Climate Change is happening. It's not a hoax and we need to deal with it - RN Drive radio transcript

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RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC RN DRIVE

WEDNESDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2017

SUBJECT: Funding the NDIS; Renewable energy; Emissions intensity scheme.

PATRICIA KARVELAS: Labor has struggled to put a dollar figure on their 50 per cent renewable energy target today. They've also claimed they fully funded the NDIS their 2013 budget. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Welcome to the program.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thank you, Patricia. Interesting to be having the questions asked of me rather than ask them of you as we did last time. 

KARVELAS: Yes we did. On your podcast. Let's not get into that right now, but yes you’re right I did answer your questions. Labor has suggested the Government drop company tax cuts to fund the NDIS. The Government is not going to budge on that so where should the money come from? Nick Xenophon has suggested defence. Would Labor support that?

LEIGH: As you said Patricia, we identified in our last budget exactly where the money would come from for the NDIS. Through things such as means-testing the private insurance rebate. But if the government's looking for more, we would suggest for example, that they look at a crackdown on multinational tax avoidance. Labor's had a plan on the table for nigh on three years that would return $1.6 billion to the budget over the next four years. Eight times more than they'll get through their paltry "crackdown" on multinational profit-shifting.

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LABOR WILL RESTORE BALANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESS WITH ACCESS TO JUSTICE REFORMS - Media Release

SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER

SHADOW MINISTER FOR SMALL BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL SERVICES

SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
         

ANDREW LEIGH MP

SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS

SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE IN SERVICES

MEMBER FOR FENNER

LABOR WILL RESTORE BALANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESS WITH ACCESS TO JUSTICE REFORMS

Labor will introduce legislation into the Senate today that will help small businesses take cases of anti-competitive behaviour to court.

Currently, small businesses are less likely to take up private litigation against anti-competitive behaviour.

This is because big businesses have deep pockets and armies of lawyers, so the risk of small businesses being overwhelmed and having to pay the big businesses’ legal fees is a significant obstacle.

The Turnbull Government has refused to address this inequity despite the Productivity Commission and the Government’s own Competition Review saying that small businesses are disadvantaged in the court process.

Labor’s Competition and Consumer Legislation Amendment (Small Business Access to Justice) Bill 2017 will restore the balance by letting a small business request a ‘no adverse costs order’ early in a court case.

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SUKKAR’S GAFFE ON COMPANY TAXES - Media Release

In a confused media release today, Assistant Treasury Minister Michael Sukkar suggests that we should ignore dividend imputation when discussing Australia’s company tax rate.

Dividend imputation reduces the revenue available to government. Most of the countries that the government likes to compare Australia’s company tax rate with do not have dividend imputation.

Research by Macquarie University Professor Geoffrey Kingston estimates that dividend imputation returns about one-third of the corporate tax revenue to taxpayers.

So a corporate tax rate of 30 per cent with imputation raises as much as a rate of 20 per cent without imputation.

Worryingly, Mr Sukkar seems not to understand this basic fact.

This latest gaffe comes just weeks after Mr Sukkar refused to rule out making all mortgage interest payments tax deductible, which the Grattan Institute estimates would cost the budget $19 billion a year.

With an economic team like this, it’s little wonder that Australia’s net debt will soon be twice as large as it was when the Abbott-Turnbull Government took office in 2013.

WEDNESDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2017  

MEDIA CONTACT: TAIMUS WERNER-GIBBINGS    0437 320 393

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The penalties for anti-competitive and anti-consumer conduct are too low - Sky News Transcript

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TV INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS ON THE HOUR WITH TOM CONNELL

WEDNESDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2017

SUBJECT/S: Petrol prices; Labor’s competition policies

TOM CONNELL: This won't come as a surprise to motorists. Petrol companies are effectively in cahoots on their price cycles. Hiking prices up on a set day each week. According to the University of Sydney the day of the hike used to be Thursday. But it's shifted to Tuesday. And it's when companies make an extra 50 per cent profit margin and it's costing drivers an average of nearly $5 a tank extra each time they fill up. Of course we know it all adds up. Joining me now on this is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Thank you for your time, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Tom.

CONNELL: I know Labor has a bit of a plan on this. They talk about more powers for example to the ACCC to police this type of behaviour. We're talking about tacit collusion, not phone-calls, but when everyone – sort of – follows the other. Can you really outlaw that? Would have to be a pretty broad law wouldn't it? And a dangerously broad one?

LEIGH: I think first it's useful just to step back and see what David Byrne and Nicolas de Roos have uncovered on this. This is really the econometric equivalent of an Agatha Christie novel. Whereas back in the old days firms – to collude – had to get together in smoke-filled rooms and have secret conversations, now they do it through big data. What they saw in Perth was that the dominant market player, BP, set the pattern for a price rise which originally used to occur on Thursday and then they shifted it to Tuesday. Prices would go up 15 cents and then every day they would steadily go back down. 

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No country's social safety net is as well targeted as Australia's - Sky News Trancript

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TV INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS, AM AGENDA

TUESDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2017

SUBJECT/S: Government threatening the NDIS; Government’s $50 billion company tax cut; Government lurches closer to One Nation

LAURA JAYES:  Andrew Leigh, thanks for your time.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure Laura. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your viewers.

JAYES: Thank you. Thank you so much. First of all I wanted to ask you about this Omnibus Bill. Labor's obviously not going to vote for it. But, is there anything you can salvage out of it that hypothecating of funds to the NDIS to ensure it will go ahead and there is that funding pool there? What about things like the carbon tax energy supplement? We don't have a carbon tax, what do we need it for?

LEIGH: Laura, this is a pea and thimble trick. As you well know, the budget has a single amount of money in it. And the notion that if Labor doesn't support cuts to families the government is going to take money away from people with disabilities is profoundly offensive. The government shouldn't be playing these sorts of political games, particularly not at a time-

JAYES: They're not saying they'll take money away, they're just saying that the budget will go deeper into deficit to pay for it. 

LEIGH: No, they have been threatening the viability of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. For a sleepless mum with a child with disabilities that's the last they need to be hearing on the news. It's particularly hypocritical too, at a time when the government wants to break the budget with a $50 billion dollar company tax cut.

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