Media


SPEECH - HOW CAN WE REDUCE INEQUALITY? - ANU CRAWFORD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY

How Can We Reduce Inequality?*
‘Just Ideas’ Talk #3

Andrew Leigh
Shadow Assistant Treasurer
Federal Member for Fenner
www.andrewleigh.com

Crawford School of Public Policy
Australian National University
20 April 2017

This talk is dedicated to Tony Atkinson

On Sunday 9 April, a handful of well-heeled passengers boarded an eight-seater Cessna Citation Sovereign business jet.[1] Arriving at Chicago’s smaller Midway airport a few minutes before departure, they were whisked onto the tarmac and slipped into their leather seats. After take-off, the passengers on flight EJA342 tucked into their customised meals, along with wines chosen with help from Wine Spectator’s experts. Less than two hours later – quicker than a commercial flight – the twin-engine jet had touched down in Boston.

On the other side of the city, a doctor from Kentucky was sitting on board a plane at Chicago’s largest airport, O’Hare. The airport is one of the busiest in the world, and more than one quarter of all flights are delayed. After everyone had boarded United flight 3411, a flight attendant announced that four passengers would have to get off, to make room for airline employees. The airline initially offered $800 flight vouchers, then when no-one accepted, they announced that they would pick four passengers at random. Three of the passengers left the plane voluntarily. The doctor, David Dao, refused, saying that he had to see patients in Louisville the next morning. United Airlines staff called aviation security officers, who dragged him off the plane.

The contrast between flights EJA342 and UA3411 symbolises much of what has changed in society over recent decades. Over the past decade, the private jet market has doubled, with increasing numbers of Americans (and Australians, for that matter) being willing to pay up to $8000 per hour to charter their own plane.[2] Meanwhile, the flying experience for most passengers has become worse. Most passengers don’t end up with a broken nose and missing teeth like David Dao. But legroom has shrunk, while surcharges for snacks and baggage have grown.[3]

It is doubtless a good thing that flying to new places has become cheaper and more accessible. But in the process, a gap has opened up in how we get around. At the top, private jets abound and Emirates has introduces in-flight showers for first class passengers on its A380. At the bottom, United Airlines recently announced its ‘Basic Economy’ fare, which gives passengers no choice of seating, and allows them to bring on only one small tote bag. Inequality is everywhere – even in the skies.

* * *

This is the third and final of my ‘Just Ideas’ talks on inequality. The first talk, delivered at the University of Sydney, was focused on why inequality matters. The second talk, hosted by Per Capita, sought to explain the rise in Australian inequality. Today, my focus will be on what we can do to reduce inequality. It seems fitting to do this in Canberra, and I am grateful to the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy for hosting me.

Read more
3 reactions Share

"This is a government that makes Punch and Judy look like a love-in" - Sky News AM Agenda Transcript

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TV INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS AM AGENDA

MONDAY, 17 APRIL 2017

SUBJECTS: Liberal Party’s division; wages growth stagnating; housing affordability; Adani coal mine.

KIERAN GILBERT:  With me to discuss the issues of the day, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for your time. Tony Abbott says all politicians are on the nose. Is he right about that?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Certainly the Liberal Party is on the nose, with this extraordinary level of in-fighting. It makes you think the only reason they went to the polls early last year was so they could get back to the main job of ripping themselves apart. This is a government that makes Punch and Judy look like a love-in. They're far more concerned with fighting one another than they are with fighting for ordinary Australians. Challenges like climate change, housing affordability, economic growth going by the wayside while the Liberal Party engages in these internal squabbles.

GILBERT: Do you see it as a return of the Rudd-type behaviour or is this just genuine policy discussion on a range of issue? Where he is talking about the need to move - in his view - on renewable energy, on reform of the Senate, and so on. Are these not realistic and viable proposals from a backbencher? 

LEIGH: Tony Abbott is obviously fighting a rearguard action to return to the Prime Ministership. And clearly, a significant portion of the Liberal Party are dissatisfied. You chat to Liberal Party backbenchers and what's evident is that all they're looking for is a clear challenger to coalesce around in order to bring on the challenge to Malcolm Turnbull. The reason this has happened is that Malcolm Turnbull isn't the great centrist that he'd led people to believe but is in hock to the right wing. A man who previously said he supported our race-hate laws but is now going against them. Previously said he supported marriage equality, but now won't bring a vote to the Parliament. Previously said he supported strong action on climate change, but now doesn't even support an emissions intensity scheme that's backed by his own Chief Scientist. Previously said he supported the Safe Schools program, and yet is now trying to destroy this effective anti-bullying program in our schools.

GILBERT: One of the things that Tony Abbott also suggested is that on his pollie pedal he picked up a lack of support for Labor as well. Saying that they're certainly on the nose as well in terms of politicians more broadly being unpopular. What do you say to that?

Read more
Add your reaction Share

TURNBULL GOVERNMENT FINALLY WELCOMES PC’s CONSUMER REPORT AND…THAT’S IT - Media Release

TIM HAMMOND MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS

SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR RESOURCES

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PERTH

 

DR 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

 

TURNBULL GOVERNMENT FINALLY WELCOMES PC’s CONSUMER REPORT AND…

THAT’S IT

The Turnbull Government is unable or unwilling to commit to protecting consumers with higher penalties for dodgy operators, despite all the positive advice it is receiving.

In fact, it was nearly 8.30pm yesterday evening before Michael McCormack, the Turnbull government’s Minister for Small Business, finally managed to welcome yesterday morning’s public release of the Productivity Commission’s Consumer Law Enforcement and Administration report.

The Turnbull government had been given the report on the 29th of March, and it made no announcements on the report’s recommendations, beyond a facile explanation of what the Productivity Commission reported.  

Perhaps the Minister just missed its release?

This limp outcome is symptomatic of the Turnbull government’s refusal to take the lead on penalising shonks. With the release of Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand’s report into the Australian Consumer Law due next week, it is time for the government to explain what it will do to look after consumers.

We suggest that, instead of protecting multinationals, the government should listen to Labor and its own experts.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

"There's a value in having a national public service" - ABC Canberra Breakfast transcript

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC CANBERRA BREAKFAST WITH ADAM SHIRLEY

WEDNESDAY, 12 APRIL 2017

SUBJECTS: Decentralisation; Adani mine; jobs in the renewables sector.

ADAM SHIRLEY, PRESENTER: When a number of jobs get shipped out of the ACT for a questionable benefit, ACT residents get a little frustrated. So it has been with the Federal Government's forced relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. A controversial move that is currently the subject of a Senate inquiry. But the inquiry has shown it is not just the government that is keen to move Canberrans on. A number of Labor MPs are after some relocation action for their electorates.

Andrew Leigh is Labor's Assistant Treasury Spokesman and Member for Fenner. Dr Leigh, good morning to you on Breakfast.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good Morning Adam, how are you?

SHIRLEY: Not too bad. Have you spoken to many Labor colleagues who are keen to get Canberra public servants into their electorates?

LEIGH: Certainly none of my caucus colleagues have come up to me and said that they're keen to take policy-making roles out. Clearly there's a range of local councils – whether they be in Coalition or Labor-held areas - that have made bids under Barnaby Joyce's whacky inquiry. That's to be expected.

SHIRLEY: Would it follow they're whacky bids, Andrew Leigh, from some of your Labor colleagues?

Read more
Add your reaction Share

PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION BACKS IN LABOR’S CALLS FOR INCREASED PENALTIES FOR ANTI-CONSUMER CONDUCT - Media Release

TIM HAMMOND MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS

SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR RESOURCES

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PERTH

 

DR 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

 

 PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION BACKS IN LABOR’S CALLS FOR INCREASED PENALTIES FOR ANTI-CONSUMER CONDUCT

The Productivity Commission has today added its voice in support of Labor’s plan to increase penalties for businesses engaging in anti-consumer conduct under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

 The Commission’s report, Consumer Law Enforcement and Administration, found that

“Maximum financial penalties available under the ACL are small relative to the benefits that a business can accrue by breaching the ACL.” (Finding 4.5).

 “There are a growing number of voices supporting Labor’s policy of a significant increase in maximum penalties under the ACL,” Mr Hammond said.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

"It's not too much to ask in Australia that a couple on modest incomes can afford a home" - RN Drive Transcript

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RN DRIVE
TUESDAY, 11 APRIL 2017

SUBJECTS: Census data; Adani mine; native title changes; housing affordability

PATRICIA KARVELAS: Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. He joins me now to talk about these issues, and no doubt a couple of others, including housing affordability. Welcome back to RN Drive.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Great to be with you, Patricia.

KARVELAS: You continue to have doubts about the quality of the census data. The ABS does assess the quality of its own data post the Census. What will you be looking for in that assessment to give you confidence that this is good data that can be used?

LEIGH: Patricia, there's two things that are absolutely known for sure. One is that on Census Night last year, millions of Australians lost hours of their time trying to fill out the Census. And we also wasted millions of dollars in having to fix up the botched Census. As a result, rather than filling in the Census on Census Night, as has been the norm, many Australians ended up filling in the Census well afterwards. That creates the potential for duplication, which wouldn't necessarily always be picked up by the Bureau of Statistics. 

KARVELAS: The ABS says that they had a very, very strong number of people who participated – what, I think it was 98 per cent? An incredibly high participation rate. Doesn't that show that despite the bungle, and no one's contesting that there was a pretty extraordinary bungle, that Australians did participate even though they were clearly grumpy about the process?

LEIGH: They've done their best to fix this bungle, but let Australians be in no doubt as to how we got to this situation. The position of Chief Statistician was left unfilled for nearly a year. There were three ministers responsible for the Census just in the year beforehand. None of them willing to take responsibility. Basic due diligence around making sure that Australians were protected against the inevitable denial of service attacks wasn't done. The government dropped the ball, and then – immediately – looked around for someone else to blame. 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

CENSUS DATA RELEASE A REMINDER OF ANOTHER TURNBULL GOVERNMENT DEBACLE - Media Release

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

 

THE HON ED HUSIC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE DIGITAL ECONOMY

MEMBER FOR CHIFLEY

 

CENSUS DATA RELEASE A REMINDER OF ANOTHER

TURNBULL GOVERNMENT DEBACLE

The Australian Bureau of Statistics today revealed the “typical Australian.” Remember when the typical Australian couldn’t even log onto the Census website?

Today’s release of the Census data is another reminder that the Turnbull government fails repeatedly when it comes to managing digital government.

When the Australian Bureau of Statistics website went down on Census night 2016, millions of Australians lost hours of their time. Everyone remembers the frustration of being told to log on at home to a website that was crashing.

Many people had completed their form, but were unable to submit it. Fixing this bungle cost millions of dollars.

After the farce of Census night the Turnbull government spent days see-sawing about whether there was a hack, a distributed denial of service attack or just a mistake that caused the site to crash.

To be clear – the Census 2016 debacle was the fault of the government, which left the post of chief statistician unfilled for nearly a year, and had three different ministers responsible for the Census in the year leading up to it.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

"It's about taking away a set of tax rules which are not fair to ordinary Australians" - Sky News On The Hour transcript

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TV INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS ON THE HOUR WITH TOM CONNELL

TUESDAY, 11 APRIL 2017

SUBJECT: Housing affordability.

TOM CONNELL: There's another litany of stories about housing affordability today, with the Coalition seemingly wrestling over just what to do. We know Labor's plan – it's been settled since before the last election – they will reduce the Capital Gains Tax discount and keep negative gearing only for new homes. Of course, grandfathering both of those measures. We've seen house prices climb a lot higher since then – in Sydney, in Melbourne – is the policy still fit for purpose? Joining us now is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Thanks for your time today.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Tom.

CONNELL: The plan that you've got at the moment. The intention – we're talking about stalling house prices. Do you need more than that in Sydney and Melbourne given 15-19 per cent increases? Do you need prices lower?

LEIGH: Tom, let's just look at what happened at the end of last year where house prices in Melbourne and Sydney were rising nearly ten times as fast as wage growth. So you get this phenomenon – I've struck it with young couples in my electorate – where they'll come to me and they'll say, 'I nearly had the deposit and then a few more auctions went by and suddenly I was priced out of the market.' The challenge is not driving house prices down, it's just making sure we don't continue to see this massive mismatch – terrible wages growth and house prices going gangbusters because investors are now half of the new buyers. 

Read more
1 reaction Share

ONE YEAR ON FROM PANAMA PAPERS, WHAT HAS THE COALITION DONE TO STOP MULTINATIONAL TAX AVOIDANCE? - Media Release

ONE YEAR ON FROM PANAMA PAPERS,

WHAT HAS THE COALITION DONE TO STOP MULTINATIONAL TAX AVOIDANCE?

This week marks the first anniversary of the unprecedented Panama Papers leak that detailed the legal twists, turns and loopholes multinational companies and individuals use to avoid tax.

Multinationals who feared the Turnbull Government would be jolted into action will be popping corks on the Dom Pérignon.

Hard-working Australians who expected the Turnbull Government to close tax loopholes and increase tax transparency are left bitterly disappointed.

The past year has seen the Turnbull Government launch a phoney war on tax avoidance. They want middle Australia to think they’re getting tough with multinationals, while at the same time they give their mates a $50 billion tax cut.

The Turnbull Government’s failures on tax avoidance include:

Read more
Add your reaction Share

2017 IS THE YEAR FOR CHARITY FUNDRAISING REFORM - Media Release

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

 

THE HON MARLENE KAIROUZ MP

MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS, GAMING AND LIQUOR REGULATION

MEMBER FOR KOROROIT

 

2017 IS THE YEAR FOR CHARITY FUNDRAISING REFORM – BUT NOT IF YOU’RE MALCOLM TURNBULL

 Outmoded charity fundraising laws are holding back innovation, jeopardising trust and wasting valuable resources in the sector. 

At today's #fixfundraising event, leading voices in the sector made it clear that bringing charitable fundraising regulations under the Australian Consumer Law is the answer to the problem. 

As the sixth Coalition Minister to take responsibility for the charity sector in four years, Michael Sukkar must make it his first priority to be clear with the #fixfundraising alliance by answering one simple question: does the Turnbull government believe the Australian Consumer Law is the right regulatory framework for fundraising?

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

Search



8/1 Torrens Street, Braddon ACT 2612 | 02 6247 4396 | Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au