Media


What if Cash Refunds for Franking Credits Didn’t Exist? - Op Ed, AFR

WHAT IF CASH REFUNDS FOR FRANKING CREDITS DIDN’T EXIST?

Australian Financial Review, 11 March 2019

Suppose that Australia - like every other country in the world - did not provide cash refunds of franking credits to anyone except pensioners.  

Now imagine that a government decided to implement such a policy. 

How would it fund it? For starters, the cost would be significant - nearly $6 billion a year. That’s over $200 for every man, woman and child in Australia. So it might raise income taxes on middle-income earners or increase the GST. Or it could rip money out of the health or education system.

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Phoenixing is a bit like tax avoidance: you've got to constantly be updating the laws to keep up with the wrongdoers - Transcript, ABC Melbourne

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC MELBOURNE

THURSDAY, 7 MARCH 2019

SUBJECTS: Labor’s plans to crack down on dodgy directors; Australia’s per-capita recession; Labor’s plans to close tax loopholes.

JON FAINE: Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Treasurer from the Federal Opposition and he thinks he has found a formula for dealing with this. Mr Leigh good morning to you.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning Jon, great to be with you.

FAINE: I first reported on this 25 years ago when I was working on ABC TV's The Investigators, no one has been able to crack this nut for the decade since, what do you think you can do about it now?

LEIGH: Phoenixing is a bit like tax avoidance: you've got to constantly be updating the laws to keep up with the wrongdoers. But we've put together a pretty comprehensive plan: a Tradie Pay Guarantee with so-called ‘cascading trusts’ which ensure that on big Commonwealth projects people who do the work on time, get paid on time. We'll beef up the funding to ASIC to run cases going after dodgy phoenix directors, not only to catch them but send an example to the rest of the industry.

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Labor takes the wheel for mechanics in La Trobe - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY
SHADOW MINISTER CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE IN SERVICES
MEMBER FOR FENNER
 
SIMON CURTIS
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR LA TROBE
 
LABOR TAKES THE WHEEL FOR MECHANICS IN LA TROBE

Labor is driving a better deal for car owners and independent mechanics in La Trobe with a plan to make timely access to technical information a reality.

Whether you drive a Holden or Ford, Porsche or Prius, everyone should be able to choose where they get their car serviced. But independent repairers are struggling to get fair access to the standard service information they need.

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Dodgy builders under a spotlight - Media Release

DODGY BUILDERS UNDER A SPOTLIGHT

Dodgy building firms who deliberately avoid paying workers will be forced to face the consequences of their actions under a Shorten Labor Government.

If elected to government, Labor will work with states and territories to cancel the building licenses of companies which have been caught phoenixing, a practise where dodgy directors deliberately burn companies in an attempt to avoid their obligations to employees, government and honest businesses.

Not only does phoenix activity hurt hard working Australians, their families and their communities, but it costs the economy billions of dollars. On one estimate, phoenixing costs the Australian economy in excess of $5 billion per year, which is more than $200 for every person in Australia.

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The Liberals are a party of hubris - Transcript, Doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

MELBOURNE

WEDNESDAY, 6 MARCH 2019

SUBJECT: The Morrison Government asking the Tax Office to enforce an unlegislated tax amnesty to benefit dodgy bosses.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Last year, the Liberals introduced a bill into Parliament that would give a 12 month amnesty to employers who hadn't paid their employees superannuation. Let's be clear what this means. If you're a boss who failed to pay your required superannuation obligations to your workers, you wouldn't face any penalties. Those penalties are significant. They can be up to 200 per cent of the amount unpaid, reflecting the fact that when an employee doesn't get superannuation then they miss out not only on the money but also on the earnings – the compounding returns.

Labor didn’t back that bill. We said we didn't believe that employers who had failed to live up to their obligations to their workers should get off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. We said that it wasn't appropriate to be letting dodgy bosses off scot free at the same time as the government came down like a ton of bricks on any welfare recipient who did the wrong thing. Yet the Liberals went ahead and asked the Tax Office to enforce the amnesty. It turns out from reports today that hundreds of applications rolled in and the Tax Office continued to process them. Now, recognising that the bill won't pass parliament - it's been languishing in the Senate since June last year - the Tax Office is going to use its discretion to waive penalties against these employers.

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The latest example of arrogance from the Morrison Government - Transcript, 5AA Adelaide

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW        

5AA MORNINGS

WEDNESDAY, 6 MARCH 2019

SUBJECT: The Morrison Government asking the Tax Office to enforce a tax amnesty on dodgy bosses that had not passed Parliament.

LEON BYNER: There’s $6 billion – yes, billion with a ‘b’ - outstanding of unpaid super. Now the Tax Office has admitted that it will waive penalties for hundreds of businesses that have admitted failure to pay super in the wake of what was an amnesty. Now the amnesty didn't get through the Parliament. It’s a year later that the policies being dumped and the Coalition have done a press release recently saying the 12 month amnesty will run from today. But it's not actually happening. So let's talk to the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for joining us today.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Leon.

BYNER: When this went through up into the Senate, didn’t you guys reject this?

LEIGH: Absolutely. We have said from the moment that the government announced this legislation, Leon, that we didn’t think it was necessary. There are penalties in place for not paying superannuation, as there should be. Just as an employer who chooses not to pay wages to their workers suffers penalties, so too there are penalties for not paying superannuation. And this bill said that employers wouldn't cop those penalties, which could be up to 200 per cent of the unpaid amount, going back 25 years. Of course, when they told the Tax Office to start enforcing the unlegislated bill, people came forward. But the government should never have been getting the Tax Office to do something that the parliament hadn't agreed to.

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Liberals protecting dodgy bosses who don’t pay super - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH MP

SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY

SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE IN SERVICES

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS

MEMBER FOR FENNER

CLARE O’NEIL MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES

SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

MEMBER FOR HOTHAM

LIBERALS PROTECTING DODGY BOSSES WHO DON’T PAY SUPER

The Liberals are letting dodgy employers off the hook for failing to pay workers’ superannuation.

Last May, the Liberals introduced a bill to Parliament to give a 12-month “amnesty” to employers who pay superannuation guarantee payments that they have failed to pay since 1 July 1992. Labor opposed this amnesty, because dodgy employers shouldn’t get away with failing to pay their employees’ super.

Employers must obey the law. There are penalties in law which remain for ripping off workers and not paying superannuation – which is a fine equal to up to 200 percent of the amount of superannuation owed. These have remain in force and have not changed.

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Subbies will get best deal under Labor Government - Op Ed, Courier Mail

SUBBIES WILL GET BEST DEAL WITH LABOR GOVERNMENT

Courier Mail, 6 March 2019

Queensland One Homes collapsed in 2017, owing more than $5 million. Fencers, roofers, electricians and painters were left out of pocket. The liquidator’s report detailed debts of $380,000 to the federal government, $90,000 to the Queensland government, and millions of dollar of debts to Gold Coast small businesses.

Allegations of “phoenixing” have also been referred to the corporate regulator, ASIC. Phoenixing is defined by the Australian Taxation Office as when a new company is created to continue the business of a company that has been deliberately liquidated to avoid paying its debts. The practice is not illegal.

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Do the work on time, get paid on time - Transcript, ABC NT Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC NT DRIVE

MONDAY, 4 MARCH 2019

SUBJECT: Labor’s Tradie Pay Guarantee.

LIZ TREVASKIS: Are you a tradie or perhaps you live with one or play sport with a tradesman. You probably know - I'm going to say you've definitely heard them complain that so-and-so was late paying them for a job that they've done and maybe that's why they can't buy the next round. But in the worst cases, you or your tradie friend may not have been paid at all because the company went bust. It's a serious problem in the construction sector and the Small Business Ombudsman says insolvencies are becoming more frequent, having a greater impact on family budgets. Federal Labor thinks it has the answer - a tradie guarantee, making companies who win Federal Government construction contracts put aside the money they owe their subcontractors in a trust. Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh drafted the policy. I spoke to him earlier and asked him to explain the plan for cascading statutory trusts.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: It's a complicated legal construct which delivers a very simple outcome. It means if you do to work on time, you get paid on time. It doesn’t how far down the food chain you are – whether you’re a contractor or a subcontractor or sub subcontractor - if you do the work on time, you'll get paid on time. We know, as you said, that this is a massive problem in the construction sector. We have people not only having struggling to pay the bills, but also then the cascading effect on their health, there’ll be stress on their relationships - sometimes marriages will breakdown as a result of this. Around half of the construction invoices don't get paid on time. We want to start with big federal contracts, and then work with states and territories to roll out the system of cascading trusts for state and territory projects and then onto private projects ultimately.

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Labor promises fairer fees for money transfers - Op Ed, Australian Muslim Times

LABOR PROMISES FAIRER FEES FOR MONEY TRANSFERS

Australian Muslim Times, 4 March 2019

Every year Australians send billions of dollars overseas to family and friends. This might be taxi drivers working an extra shift to help out somebody who’s fallen on hard times back home. It could be someone who’s working a bit extra in a pharmacy in order to help put a nephew through school. 

Right now the pricing of remittances is bamboozling. It’s too confusing and it means you get an incredible spread of prices. Australians pay more for remittances than do people in the United States or in Korea.

Just to give you some sense of the size of what the fees look like, an Australian who wants to send $1000 overseas will pay according to the World Bank $77 in exchange rate mark ups and flat fees. 

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.