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Time to axe the cosy deals and fix the labour market - Op Ed, The Sydney Morning Herald

TIME TO AXE THE COSY DEALS AND FIX THE LABOUR MARKET

The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 October 2019

When the Reserve Bank Governor is saying he’d like to see stronger wage growth, you know the problem has become dire. Over the past six years, real wages have grown at just 0.7 percent a year. In the six years before that – a period spanning the Global Financial Crisis – real wages grew at 1.8 percent annually. Among the likely culprits for the wages slowdown are poor productivity, declining union membership rates, wage theft scandals, penalty rate cuts, and public sector wage caps.

But another factor may also be to blame: constraints on job mobility. Standard economics tells us that wages increase when employees are in demand. If you have a dozen job offers, you’re likely to earn more than if you’re stuck with a single option. That’s part of the reason that people earn more in big cities, and less in one-company towns. Employees who switch firms tend to get a bigger pay bump than those who stay put.

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Morrison not doing hard work for the economy - Transcript, RN Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RN DRIVE
MONDAY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2019

Subjects: Australian economy floundering under the Liberals; Interest Rate Decision; Retirement Income Review.

TOM TILLEY: The Reserve Bank is widely expected to cut its official cash rate to the new historic low of 0.75 per cent. So is that actually going to solve our economic problems, or is it just going to push up house prices? We'll get to interest rates in just a moment. First, let's go to the Government's review of the retirement income system. This hasn't been done since superannuation was first made compulsory back in 1992. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Andrew, welcome to the show. The government started out by-

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Thanks, Tom. Great to be with you.

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Busting Myths about Cannabis Legalisation in Canberra - Op Ed, Ten Daily

CANBERRA'S CANNABIS CRITICS NEED TO FIND BIGGER PROBLEMS TO WORRY ABOUT

Ten Daily, 30 September 2019

This week, the ACT became the first jurisdiction in Australia to legalise small amounts of marijuana for personal use. The change is a modest one - Chief Minister Andrew Barr describes it as ‘evolution rather than revolution’. But you wouldn’t know it to listen to Scott Morrison and his Coalition colleagues, who have described the changes as ‘dangerous’, ‘madness’ and ‘unconscionable’. So let’s bust four myths about cannabis in Canberra.

Myth 1: Cannabis is currently criminalised in Canberra. Since 1992, people possessing small amounts of cannabis are not charged with a crime. Instead, they are issued with a ‘Simple Cannabis Offence Notice’, which typically involves a $100 fine. The same system applies in some other parts of Australia, including South Australia and the Northern Territory. The aim is to ensure that police can focus on violent crime, rather than having ACT law enforcement tied up prosecuting people caught in possession of a single joint.

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Cannabis laws evolution, not revolution - Transcript, ABC Radio Canberra

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RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RADIO CANBERRA

THURSDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2019

Subjects: ACT cannabis legislation.

ANNA VIDOT: On the line with me is the Member for Fenner, the federal Member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh. Andrew Leigh, what do you make first of all of the passage of this legislation through the Assembly yesterday?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Anna. Good to be with you. I think this is a modest change - as Andrew Barr has put it, evolution rather than revolution. It's been nearly a generation since the ACT first introduced Simple CannabisOffence Notices, which decriminalised possession of small amounts of marijuana. That's something that other jurisdictions in Australia have since followed, with South Australia and the Northern Territory among them. All they're doing is now saying in the ACT that those $100 fines will no longer be levied. There’s about 100 people a year, as I understand, who pay a $100 fine for having a small amount of marijuana and no longer will they have those fines. This means that the police can focus on frying bigger fish, focus on the offences that are of considerably more concern to the community.

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Government inaction costing Aussie drivers - Transcript, ABC Sydney Radio

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RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC RADIO SYDNEY

MONDAY, 23 SEPTEMBER 2019

Subjects: The Morrison Government's inaction costing Australian drivers big bucks. 

WENDY HARMER: Who we’ve got on to have a chat about this ‘Your car, Your choice’ is Andrew Leigh. He’s the Federal Labor MP for Fenner in the ACT and he's also Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. He has been on this case for a couple of years now. He says that really we should be looking at this issue really carefully. The ACCC, as Robbie mentioned, has been arguing that dealers should have to hand over this information to independent mechanic, they’ve been saying this for two years now but nothing has happened. Why not? We would like you to share your own experiences in dealing with this - 1300 222 702 is our number. Andrew Leigh joins us now. Hello, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Wendy. How are you?

HARMER: Good, good. Why have you taken this up as a cause?

LEIGH: It seems a basic issue of fairness to me, that if you're an independent mechanic you should have the data you need to fix modern cars. They’re extraordinarily complicated. The typical modern car has 10 million lines of software code. To put that into perspective, a Boeing 787 has only 6 million lines of software code. So if you don't have the software, it's pretty hard to fix a lot of problems.

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Why an unemployment rate of five per cent isn't good enough anymore - Op Ed, The Canberra Times

WHY AN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE OF FIVE PER CENT ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH ANYMORE

The Canberra Times, 10 September 2019

If you’ve ever been jobless, you know the truth: unemployment sucks. It’s not just the lack of money, but the hit to self-esteem. Being asked ‘what do you do?’ can be almost as dispiriting as the uncertainty of applying for job after job. Unemployment increases rates of depression, diabetes and even death. 

Yet it has become commonplace to regard ‘full employment’ in Australia as an unemployment rate of 5 per cent, or even higher. That’s effectively saying that at any point in time, 700,000 of our fellow citizens will have to put up with joblessness.

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The Government has no plan for right now - Transcript, Sky News First Edition

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TV INTERVIEW
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION

MONDAY, 9 SEPTEMBER 2019

Subjects: Cashless welfare card, mandatory drug testing for social security recipients, drug testing for politicians, the economy struggling under the government, the Morrison Government’s lack of plan for productivity.

LAURA JAYES: Let's go live now to Canberra. Joining me is Labor MP Andrew Leigh. Thanks so much for your time. Let's start on the cashless welfare card. Evidence has showed that it is working in some of these communities. Do you dispute that?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Laura, all the evidence that I've read suggests that this card won't create a single additional job, and there's concerns that it has adverse impacts on financial management and Aboriginal peoples’ sense of autonomy. When it’s rolled out on a compulsory basis, which is where Labor has our chief concerns, this seems to have more adverse impacts than positive benefits.

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Australia needs to step up on climate change - Transcript, 3AW Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
3AW MORNINGS
THURSDAY, 5 SEPTEMBER 2019

Subjects: Climate strikes, the Morrison Government’s inaction on climate change; the economy floundering under a floundering government.

NEIL MITCHELL: On the line is the Labor Member for Fenner, he’s a former assistant shadow treasurer. Some say the smartest man in the Parliament. He’s a professor of economics at the ANU - Dr Andrew Leigh, morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Neil. How are you?

MITCHELL:  I'm okay. So do you think - you’re the teacher in a sense, is it a smart thing for kids to go on strike?

LEIGH: Well, as you say Neil, I've spent painfully long in education. I barely missed a day of school and then went touniversity for another ten years. But not all learning happens in formal institutions, and I think getting together to campaign for an issue bigger than yourself is pretty important. We often talk about Generation Z as being self-centred, yet they’re anything but. It's an altruistic movement which is focused on dealing with the central challenge that the planet faces right now. And that's why it's gotten support from thousands of scientists, from firms like Atlassian and from many of those who've been carefully watching the climate debate, watching the planet warm and seeing Australia's emissions just going up and up under the Morrison Government.

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Treasurer playing blame game instead of taking action - Transcript, 2GB Money News

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2GB MONEY NEWS
WEDNESDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2019

Subject: National Accounts; The economy floundering under a floundering Government; Labor’s positive policies to take back control of the economy.

JOHN STANLEY: We've got problems with wage, we've got problems with inflation, we've got problems with jobs. So is it good enough for the government to just say ‘well look, we should wait to see the tax cuts flow through, we should wait till the September quarter’ or should there be action being taken right now? Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury from the Labor Party. He joins us now. Good evening to you.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: G’day, John. Great to be with you.

STANLEY: I'm assuming your answer is going to be that they need to be doing more.

LEIGH: I think that'd be the answer of every serious economist, John. I mean, we’ve had this per capita recession. So on a per person basis, the economy had been shrinking, not growing, and that's gone on for the longest period since the early 1980s recession.

STANLEY: Can you just explain that per capita recession for us?

LEIGH: The figure you talked about before is the total size of the pie. But if you look at the slice that each person has, that’s been shrinking rather than growing. The economy is growing because we're adding more people, not because individuals are getting better off.

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Incarceration becoming almost normal life event - Transcript, 2SER The Daily

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2SER THE DAILY
THURSDAY, 29 AUGUST 2019

Subject: New research on Australia’s incarceration rates.

HOST: Now with much talk about Closing the Gap, into the well-being of our First Australians, a new report into Indigenous incarceration suggests as a nation that the number of Australians incarcerated has radically increased over the last three decades. Now on the line we have the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, Dr Andrew Leigh, whose report discusses the drivers behind the sharp increase in Indigenous people being placed behind bars and what can be done to rectify this issue. Welcome to the show.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Thanks, Stephen. Great to be with you.

HOST: Now this report you've authored suggests that currently 2.5 per cent of Indigenous Australians are incarcerated, which is a higher share than among other disadvantaged comparable ethnic groups like African-Americans. Now if crime rates are substantially dropping among developing nations, what accounts for this rapid increase in the amount of First Australians being imprisoned?

LEIGH: It is worth just pausing on that figure, isn't it? Two and half per cent means that if you count up 40 Indigenous Australians adults, one of them will be behind bars today. It’s even worse over in Western Australia, where the indigenous incarceration rate is over 4 per cent, meaning that one out of every 25 Indigenous Australian adults are incarcerated now. Over a lifetime, that means that more than a quarter of Indigenous men end up spending time behind bars. Incarceration is becoming an almost normal life event. Among the factors driving it are that police are more likely to press charges, and courts are more likely to convict. The sentences tend to be longer, and while awaiting trial people are more likely to be behind bars rather than out on bail.

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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.