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"We don't believe that now is the right time for a corporate rate cut across the board." - ABC AM

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

ABC AM WITH SABRA LANE

RADIO INTERVIEW

THURSDAY, 30 MARCH 2017

SUBJECT: Government’s tax cut for big business; sugar industry Code of Conduct

SABRA LANE: Today's the last scheduled parliamentary sitting day before the main budget and it appears certain the Federal Government's plan to cut the tax rate for all businesses to 25 per cent won't get through the Senate. The Coalition's Enterprise Tax Plan was the centrepiece of last year's budget. Labor doesn't support it and it also lacks support from the entire Senate crossbench, although the government last night won over One Nation Senators for part of the tax plan, as Julia Holman reports from Parliament House.

JULIA HOLMAN: The government needs the support of a disparate group of crossbenchers in order to get its legislation through the Senate. One impasse was smoothed over last night – with a national Code of Conduct drafted for the sugar industry. The Treasurer Scott Morrison.

 SCOTT MORRISON, TREASURER: I wouldn't call it an expansive code. It's not controlling prices, it's not re-regulating the industry, or anything like that. It's our view that these issues should be sorted out commercially. But when they can't be sorted out commercially, we're not going to allow it to turn to seed. There is a mechanism to ensure that things get sorted. 

HOLMAN: Pauline Hanson and her One Nation Senators had earlier this week threatened to abstain from voting on government legislation until the sugar issue - which was affecting some Queensland growers - was sorted out. One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts is claiming victory for his party. 

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"Good tax reform needs to be efficient, equitable and simple" - Business Insider

Why Corporate Australia Should Care About Inequality, Business InsiderFriday, 30 March 2017

When we talk about tax policy, we often say that good tax reform needs to be efficient, equitable and simple. But too often, equity becomes the ugly duckling of that troika – forgotten as soon as it has been uttered. Unless we put equity at the heart of tax policy, our economic debates will fail to address one of the central challenges of our age. Just as no business today can afford to ignore climate change, human capital or social responsibility, so too no business can afford to ignore inequality.

Over the past generation, wages have risen three times as fast for the top tenth (people such as financial dealers and anaesthetists) as for the bottom tenth (people such as apprentices and hairdressers). According to research that I did with the late Tony Atkinson, inequality in Australia is now at a 75-year high. Compared with other countries in the advanced world, Australia isn’t the most unequal. But we are among the upper third for inequality in the OECD.

There are three reasons that business should care about inequality.

First, because more inequality means lower levels of wellbeing. Like the slow shifts of Arctic Glaciers, this can be hard to notice at first – but it’s obvious when you think about the extremes. If we took all the income in Australia and gave it to one person, the average would be unchanged.

But do we really think that we would all be equally happy? In a similar way, the past few decades in Australia have been good times for professionals with harbour views, but hard times for a school cleaner with limited formal education. In economic terms, we’ve seen a rise in both top incomes and relative poverty.

As economists intuitively know, our discipline isn’t about maximising the total amount of money in a society; it’s about maximising the amount of happiness, or utility. If you think that a dollar brings more pleasure to a battler than a billionaire, then you intuitively recognise the prime reason why policymakers should care about inequality. If you’re a utilitarian, you should probably also be an egalitarian.

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"Australia needs to do its part where the United States has failed." - Private Member's Motion

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA

MONDAY, 27 MARCH 2017

 I move that this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) the Global Gag Rule (GGR), as implemented by the United States, will prove detrimental to millions of women and girls around the world;

(b) the GGR has expanded to an unprecedented degree, applying to 15 times more funding as a consequence of its extension into all global health funding, which will result in roughly $9.5 billion dollars in global health funding being affected;

(c) the GGR will result in the targeting of some of the most effective health organisations in the world, operating in 60 low and middle income countries;

(d) a study by researchers at Stanford University found that after the GGR came into effect in 2001, the abortion rate increased sharply in sub-Saharan African countries that had been dependent on such funding;

(e) the funding cuts will likely prevent many global health organisations from offering HIV prevention and treatment services, maternal health care and even Zika virus prevention; and

(f) it is possible that as many as 21,700 maternal deaths could occur in the next four years as a consequence of this executive order, which is in addition to 6.5 million unintended pregnancies and 2.1 million unsafe abortions from 2017 to 2020, according to Marie Stopes International;

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Labor's fight for penalty rates - Press Conference Transcript

THE HON. BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

 

THE HON. BRENDAN O’CONNOR

SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS

MEMBER FOR GORTON

 

THE HON. 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


E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

CANBERRA

MONDAY, 27 MARCH 2017

SUBJECTS: Malcolm Turnbull’s cut to penalty rates; energy crisis; Government’s $50 billion big business tax giveaway; Tropical Cyclone Debbie; China Australia extradition treaty

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY: Well, thanks very much for coming along everyone to this centre in the middle of my electorate where we have had an opportunity today to speak to apprentices working in the beauty industry about two issues that are important for Labor. One is our support for apprentices, making sure that Australia has strong apprenticeship programs with high completion rates. 

And the other is Labor's fight for penalty rates. You can be pretty sure that none of the people that Bill Shorten and I spoke with today will be benefiting from Malcolm Turnbull's millionaire tax cut when it cuts in in the middle of the year, but many of them may well suffer from the cuts to penalty rates that Malcolm Turnbull and his team are championing. 

It's my pleasure now to hand over to Bill Shorten to say a few words.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning, everybody.

It's been a real privilege this morning to meet women training up in the beauty industry, getting the qualifications, working hard to make ends meet so they can pursue a career. But today, we're here to also talk about the fact that penalty rates in the hair and beauty industry are the next set of penalty rates which are on the chopping block. I think the apprentices and trainees today, who have been very well trained, they're working very hard, are really concerned to discover that if the penalty rate application is successful, that they could lose up to $77 as a fulltime worker on a Sunday. The young women here, the mature age women here who are retraining or training themselves for the future, doing everything this country expects of them, shouldn't have to face a cut to their real wages, to their real standard of living. 

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ACCC INVESTIGATION DOESN’T TACKLE IMMEDIATE ENERGY CRISIS - Media Release

THE HON MARK BUTLER MP
SHADOW MINISTER CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY

MEMBER FOR PORT ADELAIDE 

 

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 has been calling for the ACCC to investigate electricity prices for a long time, so we welcome today's belated annoucement - but it's not enough.

After four years in Government – and wholesale electricity prices more than doubling during that period – this is really the best the Liberals can come up with?

Under Malcolm Turnbull, the energy crisis is getting worse, and Australians are paying the price. Power prices are up, pollution is up, and jobs are down. 

Australians know this investigation alone will not solve the nation’s immediate energy crisis.

As the Australian Energy Council (AEC) has recently said, “In Australia, the lack of national policy certainty is now the single biggest driver of higher electricity prices.”

The Prime Minister’s failure to articulate let alone deliver a viable national energy policy is causing power prices to climb while reliability collapses.

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IT'S A SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUE - ABC Canberra Afternoons

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

ABC CANBERRA AFTERNOONS WITH LISH FEJER

RADIO INTERVIEW

FRIDAY, 24 MARCH 2017

SUBJECT: ‘Keep Me Posted’ Campaign

LISH FEJER: How full is your mailbox these days? Not your email, but your actual letterbox. The one the postie drops the mail into. What do you get in the post? We write letters less, but you’re lucky to even get a bill in the mail these days, unless – increasingly – you pay for the privilege. More and more companies such as banks and phone companies and electricity companies are streamlining their processes. They're moving away from paper bills to give them to you electronically. You can still opt-in to get the paper bills, but lots of companies are now charging for the service. 

I've got a list in front of me here for many of the companies that are charging for paper bills. Some of them up to $2 per bill. Or $2.20! Even more! $2.75 for some energy bills! Would you pay for a bill? Is that fair you have pay that to get the bill in paper?

Andrew Leigh is the federal Member for Fenner and Kellie Northwood is the Executive Director of the 'Keep Me Posted' campaign –looking at this whole idea of having to pay for paper bills and they join me in the studio.

Kellie, how many people don't realise that they could be paying – what looks like a small amount – but every month, and for a lot of people that's a large chunk? 

KELLIE NORTHWOOD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KEEP ME POSTED: We think more and more people are realising and more and more people are getting upset about it. We are looking at fees of $2.50, $2.75. We are also seeing $6.70! We're seeing $3.20. It's such a range that it's hard to understand what it's all about.

FEJER: What are they saying this money is for?

NORTHWOOD: Well, we have written to them all, and the general response is that this is the cost of doing business. We challenge that. We went back and had a look at how much it cost businesses to pay to post. They pay a lot less than you and I do. And also how much it costs to print it and put it in an envelope. It costs them about 88 cents a unit. So when we are looking at fees starting at a $1.25 and going all the way up to about $6 – averaging about $2.50 – we're arguing that they're maybe double-dipping.

FEJER: Why is there such disparity between the fees?                                     

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KEEPING CANBERRA POSTED - Media Release

Today, I was pleased to host the ‘Keep Me Posted’ team along with many Canberra residents at an open forum to promote the campaign for paper bills and statements to be issued to Australians without financial penalties.

With me at the campaign’s first Canberra forum was Colin Ormsby from Fair Go for Pensioners and Kellie Northwood, Executive Director of the ‘Keep Me Posted’ campaign.

In 2017, numerous banks, telecommunication companies and other service providers are pressuring their customers to accept electronic bills and statements, even though many Canberra residents find it difficult or impossible to access their papers online.

Keep Me Posted is challenging corporations to remove ‘pay-to-pay’ penalties for Australians who prefer paper communications.

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WORLD AWARD’S A LEAD TO WHAT THE ACCC COULD BE - Media Release

Labor welcomes the news that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been honoured with an international award from the World Bank and the International Competition Network.

The award recognizes the Commission for its role in making competition policy a key part of Australia’s economic agenda.

Which begs the following question….considering the Commission is working with one regulatory arm tied behind its back, imagine the honours with which it would have been showered had it the powers Labor proposed before the 2016 election?

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UMM, MALCOLM...SCOTT’S STARTED IMPROVISING POLICY AGAIN - Media Release

CHRIS BOWEN MP

SHADOW TREASURER

MEMBER FOR MCMAHON

 

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

 

UMM, MALCOLM...SCOTT’S STARTED IMPROVISING POLICY AGAIN

The Treasurer’s latest idea is a last-minute amendment to the Competition and Consumer Act that he will reportedly move today in the House of Representatives.

In the words of Monty Python’s Life of Brian: “He’s making it up as he goes along!”

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WHO’S LEFT AT THE ABS TO COUNT THESE CUTS’ COST? - Media release

Although the government’s budget cuts to the Australian Bureau of Statistics have already forced 120 staff members out of their jobs, reports this afternoon are warning that another 80-100 jobs will be cut from the agency.

If true, this is more unwelcome evidence of the Turnbull-Joyce government’s war on information.

The government’s ideological obsession with firing public servants has blinded it to the important work of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. ABS staff produce data and analysis critical to the delivery of hospitals, schools, housing and public transport infrastructure.

Just six months ago Chief Statistician David Kalisch admitted that, “the ABS does not have the resources to undertake all the activities that fall within our legislative mandate that our users would like”? 

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