IS THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY TOO SIMPLE?
INSURANCE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL FORUM
WEDNESDAY, 7 MARCH 2018
It is a pleasure to be speaking at the Insurance Council’s annual forum today. As part of Labor’s economic team, I have appreciated my engagement with the ICA over recent years. You have a strong working relationship with Bill Shorten, Chris Bowen, Katy Gallagher, Matt Thistlethwaite, Jim Chalmers and others on the Labor front bench. Smart oppositions use the time to engage with the community, craft policies, and prepare for the possibility of taking government. Regardless of your politics, I doubt anyone would disagree that this Labor opposition has produced more carefully crafted policy proposals than any opposition in a quarter of a century. We don’t just want to win the next election: we want to have a clear plan for growth in the decades ahead.Read more
It's no wonder we're questioning the value of private healthcare
The Age, 5 March 2018
In 1976, the Fraser government created Medibank Private to provide competition to private health insurers. As Malcolm Fraser himself put it: ''Full and open competition between Medibank and the private funds … will do much to cut down the total cost of healthcare.''Read more
LABOR COMMITS TO TIME USE SURVEY
A Shorten Labor Government will deliver the evidence-base to help us better understand how government policies impact women.
A Labor Government will provide $15.2 million in funding to the Australian Bureau of Statistics to conduct the Time Use Survey in 2020 and 2027.Read more
SKY NEWS AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2018
SUBJECTS: Show ponies; Squatters; Barnaby Joyce; Michael McCormack.
DAVID SPEERS: Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Thanks for your time this morning. We heard Michael McCormack quickly have a shot there at Bill Shorten, saying it would be the worst thing for Australia for him to become Prime Minister, indicating that he wants to work closely with Malcolm Turnbull to stop that happening. What does Labor think of this new Nationals leader?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: The Nationals are a party made up of squatters and show ponies. You’ve seen them over the years chose from those different groups to lead their party. The challenge has been that the squatters haven’t connected with the electorate and the show ponies haven’t been interested in public policy. So now they’ve gone back to a leader who I guess it’s more clearly in that Ian Sinclair, Earle Page, John Anderson style of leadership but somebody who comes to the role pretty fresh-faced. I shadowed Michael McCormack through the Census debacle and I felt sorry for him that he’d been handed an ill prepared Census by Alex Hawke and Kelly O’Dwyer who had had the job before him. But I didn’t feel as sorry for Michael McCormack as I did for the millions of Australians who lost time on Census night when the website crashed.Read more
THURSDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2018
SUBJECT/S: GST distribution, Malcolm Turnbull’s $65 billion handout to big business; IMF support for reforms to negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount; the Greens’ economic incompetence on housing.
CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Well, it’s good to be here in Adelaide and be joined by my friend and colleague Andrew Leigh. I’ll deal with just a couple of matters before handing over to Andrew to deal with housing and the Greens.
Firstly, here in Adelaide again, it’s important to note the Productivity Commission’s review into GST distribution would see $557 million taken away from South Australia – the equivalent of 5,340 teachers or 5,000 nurses employed by the South Australian Government. Of course, as I said in Hobart earlier in the week, I’ll say the same in Perth as I do in Hobart or Adelaide – the people of Western Australia have very legitimate grievance when it comes to GST distribution and the Labor Party is the only party with a plan to fix it by topping up West Australia’s Budget through an allocation from the Commonwealth Budget, without taking a single dollar away from South Australia or Tasmania.
I can come here to South Australia and say that, Scott Morrison cannot. I don’t know if the Treasurer is going to make a special guest appearance here during the South Australian election campaign, but he should be ruling out changing the GST distribution for South Australia and he should also be trying to fix Western Australia’s problems just as Bill Shorten and I have announced he will do.Read more
TURNBULL GOVERNMENT CUTS A RECURRING NIGHTMARE FOR AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS STAFF
The Turnbull Government’s handling of the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows their disregard for evidence-based policymaking.
In January, we learnt that the nation’s statistical agency was cutting staff. Almost a month on from that date, there’s worse to come.
Almost 100 hardworking public servants in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart are set to lose their jobs.
It’s like a recurring nightmare.Read more
'LUCKY BOY IN THE LUCKY COUNTRY
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MAX CORDEN, ECONOMIST'
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
MONDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2018
I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, the traditional owners of the lands on which we meet today, and recognise Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt, Professor Hal Hill, Professor Bob Gregory, and the extraordinary Max Corden.
As an empirical economist, I naturally prepared for today’s book launch by looking at the relevant datasets. Two big themes of this book are Max’s passion for migration and his research on reducing tariffs. So I opened up Stata, and looked through various datasets, hoping to find one on Australian attitudes to both questions.
Eventually, I struck digital gold. The 1998 Australian Election Study asked whether tariffs should be used to protect industry. Eleven percent disagreed, a view with which I imagine Max would broadly share. It also asked about the number of migrants that Australia should take, and 11 percent said Australia should take more migrants. Max holds both views, something that is true of 2 percent of Australians. So Max, I’m afraid that your Australian sales are unlikely to ever exceed half a million.Read more
How Many Kermits are in Your Wallet Now?
Business Insider, 19 February 2018
Do you have $3000 in your wallet right now?
Funny, because according to the Reserve Bank of Australia, that’s the average amount of cash on issue. So if you’re carrying less than $3000, someone else is carrying more.
Something else is funny about our money. If you’re like me, you haven’t seen many $100 notes lately. And yet nearly half of the value of all cash in Australia is in the big green notes affectionately known as ‘Kermits’. The Reserve Bank of Australia says that the number of Kermits has almost doubled in the past decade.
So who is taking all the cash?
United States economist Kenneth Rogoff, author of the book The Curse of Cash, has an answer – and it isn’t particularly pleasant.
According to Rogoff, tax evaders, human traffickers and drug runners are the main sources of demand for hard currency. So when we think about cash, we have to remember not only the convenience that it brings to law-abiding citizens, but also the benefits that it conveys to wrongdoers.Read more
THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP
LAUNCHING ADAM MASTERS AND JOHN UHR'S 'LEADERSHIP PERFORMANCE AND RHETORIC'
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
THURSDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2018
Words matter. That's truer now than ever before. In the age of Twitter and Trump, in the age of fast paced social media, the notion that leadership and rhetoric are inextricably tied together is a critical one.
I first came to think hard about the value of public rhetoric while working for Michael Kirby as his High Court associate in the late 1990s, then furthered that interest at Harvard, serving as teaching fellow to Michael Waldman, who had just stepped down as Bill Clinton's chief speechwriter. I have on the wall of my parliamentary office a large photograph of Barack Obama speaking in Manassas on the eve of the 2008 election – perhaps the best campaigning political speech ever given.Read more
ANDREW LEIGH MP, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
TIM HAMMOND MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS
GOVERNMENT ADOPTS LABOR’S POLICIES - TWO YEARS LATE
Two years after Labor called for an increase in anti-consumer penalties, the Turnbull Government has finally introduced a bill to Parliament.
On June 15, 2016, Labor announced a plan to reform competition, stating that we would increase civil penalties, increase penalties for anti-competitive conduct, increase the ACCC’s litigation budget and give a market studies function to the ACCC.
610 days later, the Turnbull Government finally introduced a bill to legislate part of that plan.
While we welcome Scott Morrison and his colleagues adopting our idea to increase in penalties for anti-consumer conduct, we’d also encourage them to take on the rest of our measures.Read more