It's time to crack down on phoenix activity in Australia - Op Ed, The Canberra Times

It's time to crack down on phoenix activity in Australia

The Canberra Times, 24 October 2018

When Megan was seven years old, her dad lost his job.

The factory where he worked closed and his full time job suddenly vanished, along with any payouts he may have been entitled to.

Megan told me that she loved her childhood with her father. Not having to work meant he could walk her to school every day and help her organise her toys.

To her, there was nothing wrong – but it was a different story for her parents.

Looking back as an adult, Megan realised the walks to and from school were because her family could no longer afford the petrol. They weren’t helping her organise her toys for pleasure - it was a way to sell some to pay household bills.

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Maths fun factor is highly probable - Op Ed, The Chronicle

Maths fun factor is highly probable

The Chronicle, 23 October 2018

‘Maths explains why a sunflower’s seeds spiral in the way they do, maths explains the sprawling shape of a river delta meeting the ocean, and maths explains why bees around the world build their honeycombs in such a perfectly hexagonal arrangement.’

Eddie Woo has been called the Kim Kardashian of Australian maths teaching. With more than 400,000 followers to his ‘WooTube’ channel, he specialises in making maths fun.

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Scott Morrison, Australia's angry dad - Transcript, Sky News Agenda





SUBJECTS: The Coalition loss in Wentworth, New Zealand resettlement offer, Kevin Rudd.

KIERAN GILBERT: Let's bring in now the shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh and Andrew it has been a long time coming, this apology, and of course I guess the process started under Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: It's a really important moment, Kieran, for the survivors to be told ‘we believe you’ and to hopefully begin that process of healing. But we will be judged not just by our words, but also on our actions, and it is vital that we implement the findings of the Royal Commission in full.

LAURA JAYES: Andrew Leigh, can I ask you about the results out of Wentworth now? Are there any lessons for Labor here because I note that your primary vote was only around the 9,000 mark - the Greens were only 2,000 behind.

LEIGH: Labor voters were following the strategy that Scott Morrison outlined for them in his press conferences the week before the by-election. He said it was important that Labor didn't come third because that'd give Kerryn Phelps the best chance of winning. Labor voters heard that message and many of them would have put Kerryn Phelps ahead of Tim Murray in order to make sure that the conservatives for the first time since Federation didn't hold this seat.

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Fifty years on, we should honour Norman’s courage - Op Ed, Herald Sun


The Herald Sun, 16 October 2016

Fifty years ago today, a young Australian did two extraordinary things.

At the Mexico City Olympics, Peter Norman won silver in the 200 metres, with a time of 20.06 seconds. In the half century since, no Australian has run faster. It is still our national record.

But the best was still to come. As he walked out to the medal ceremony with Tommie Smith (gold) and John Carlos (bronze), the two African-American runners told him that they planned to bow their heads and put their fists in the air in support of human rights.

1968 was the year in which Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated. Race riots in Washington DC, Baltimore, Chicago and Kansas City had represented the biggest upsurge in social unrest since the Civil War, claiming the lives of more than 40 people. Smith and Carlos decided to be a part of those protests.

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Driving a Better Deal for Auto Dealers - Op Ed, Business Insider


Business Insider, 5 October 2018

A few years ago, a multinational car manufacturer told 25 car dealers that their franchise agreements would not be renewed. They hadn’t broken their agreements. They were profitable – some for decades, but some had not yet made enough money to cover their upfront costs. The manufacturer didn’t bother giving the dealers an explanation: the Franchising Code didn’t require it.

Car dealers may not be at the top of your sympathy list. But it’s worth understanding the pressures that Australia’s automotive retailers are under. Car selling is one of the few industries in our economy where the top four firms account for less than one-fifth of the market. Many of the 3500 new vehicle outlets are owned by individual operators or family groups.

But while car retailing is pretty competitive, car manufacturing is a good deal more concentrated. The largest four brands account for almost half the market. Manufacturers are massive global multinationals, who aren’t averse to putting the squeeze on car dealers to maximise their profits.

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Australia needs a pay rise - Transcript, 3AW Drive





SUBJECTS: CEO pay transparency, housing.

TOM ELLIOTT, HOST: As I mentioned just a few minutes ago, the Labor Party's got a number of plans if and when they were elected to be the next government of Australia - and by the way I think they will be elected the next government so you get used to the idea that Bill Shorten will be our next prime minister. One of these plans is to require listed companies with more than 250 employees to disclose the ratio of their chief executive’s pay to that of a median employee. So the median is the middle employee in the list of employees from the lowest paid and the highest paid. They want to have a ratio of that person's salary to that of the CEO. Now, I’m just not sure what question this going to answer. However, the man who came up with the idea joins us right now. He’s the federal Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good afternoon, Tom. Great to be with you.

ELLIOTT: Well, thank you for joining us. Tell us, what is to be gained by calculating this ratio between the CEO's salary and that of the median employee's salary?

LEIGH: It gives you a sense firm-by-firm as to how that company is paying people. It gives you a sense as to whether the ratio of pay for people on the factory floor to the corner offer has gotten out of whack. This idea has a pretty long lineage. It goes back to people like Peter Drucker, the father of modern management theory, who says that in his view 20 to 1 was about what you needed in order to not have things get out of kilter. What we’ve announced does no more than to follow what United States and the United Kingdom have already put in place.

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Labor will require firms to report the ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay - Media Release


A Shorten Labor Government would promote fairness and tackle inequality in the workplace by requiring all listed firms with more than 250 employees to report the ratio of their CEO pay to the pay of the median employee.

The call for CEO pay transparency follows a report which found that the average total pay of ASX100 CEOs rose by 9 per cent last year - four times the speed of average wage growth. The median ASX100 CEO earned more than $4 million.

The best-paid Australian CEOs, Domino’s Don Meij, made $37 million last year. This was after a year in which the Fair Work Ombudsman publicly complained that Domino’s had failed to comply with requests to provide information into claims that Domino’s franchisees were paying workers as little as $10 an hour. Mr Meij made $10 every eight seconds.

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Scott Morrison needs to apologise - Transcript, Doorstop





SUBJECTS: Banking Royal Commission interim report, the crisis in aged care, troop deployment, free trade.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you very much for being here today. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. It was in April 2016 that Labor first called for a Banking Royal Commission. Scott Morrison opposed it, voted against it 26 times in the parliament, called it a populist whinge. And it took until November 2017 before the Government finally announced the Banking Royal Commission. If the government had followed Labor's lead, we wouldn't now be discussing the Interim Report of the Banking Royal Commission – we would be implementing the final report of the Banking Royal Commission. I want to commend the many victims who have come forward and told their stories to the banking Royal Commission. But because the Liberals delayed a Banking Royal Commission for more than 600 days, many of these victims were hurt who wouldn't have been hurt otherwise. If the government had acted when Labor called for a Banking Royal Commission, some of the egregious wrongdoing that we've seen wouldn't have occurred.

Now, this Banking Royal Commission is important to air the wrongdoing that's been occurring in the banking sector. The Royal Commissioner has said the problem lies in greed. We're never going to see greed in the banking sector tackled by a prime minister whose role model is Gordon Gekko. If you take a 'greed is good' philosophy to government, as the Liberals do, you're never going to be able to implement the reforms that are needed to tackle the wrongdoing in banking.

This royal commission is an important economic reform. The Royal Commissioner has gone to some of the fundamental issues within the sector, issues around vertical integration and conflicted remuneration. Labor's hope is that out of this will emerge a stronger banking sector. Finance is, after all, the lifeblood of the economy. We're committed to a royal commission implementation taskforce within Treasury under a Shorten Labor Government. We've said that if elected, Chris Bowen would report regularly to Parliament on the progress of implementing the royal commission's recommendations.

A Banking Royal Commission is not only about exposing wrongdoing - it's about strengthening the economic fundamentals of Australia. Again, Labor got the big economic call right and the Liberals got it wrong. Just as we saw during the global financial crisis, when the Liberals got the economic call wrong by voting against the second tranche of fiscal stimulus that helped save 200,000 jobs and tens of thousands of small businesses. Just as we saw in the past, when the Liberals opposed capital gains taxation and Medicare and universal superannuation. Labor has gotten the big economic calls right and Scott Morrison has gotten them wrong. It’s time Scott Morrison didn't just call on banks to apologize but apologized himself. Scott Morrison needs to apologize to the Australian people for standing in the way of this Banking Royal Commission, for delaying it in a way in which we've seen more victims hurt and a significant delay in the implementation of these important reforms.

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How the tax system can narrow (or widen) the gender gap - Op Ed, Ten Daily


Ten Daily, 26 September 2018

There are significant gender differences in Australia today. More large companies are run by men named John than by women. Women comprise fewer than one-third of judges and federal parliamentarians. Among full-time workers, women earn 85 cents for every dollar earned by men, which is like women working without pay for the first seven weeks of the year. Because mothers are more likely to take a career break to look after the kids, the lifetime earnings gap is larger still: a difference reflected in the fact that men have nearly twice as much in their superannuation accounts.

Yet when it was suggested a few months ago that we should consider the gender impact of tax changes, Scott Morrison called the idea ‘nonsense’. If you think that Australia has more work to do on the path towards gender equality, then it seems strange to rule out the possibility that the tax system could have any role to play on that journey.

The fact is, the tax system already exacerbates gender inequality in a number of important respects.

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We’re a policy-rich opposition and proud of it - Transcript, Sky News Agenda





SUBJECTS: Julie Bishop, the Coalition’s policy black hole, Newspoll. 

KIERAN GILBERT, HOST: Welcome back to the program. With me now is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Good morning and welcome to you, I want to play for our viewers some comments made by Julie Bishop on 60 minutes and then I'll get your thoughts on them.

JULIE BISHOP, LIBERAL MP: I think the question term probably does more damage to the reputation of the political class than any other issue. There's far too much throwing of insults and vicious behaviour, name calling and alike, and the public see that as no better than school children. In fact, not as well behaved as school children. As a minister and as a shadow minister, you are judged on your ability to strike a blow against your political opponent.

GILBERT: The former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop there with Chris Uhlmann on Nine Network. What do you make of those remarks? Do you agree that the tone of Question Time should improve?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Question Time’s a peculiarly Australian institution, Kieran, and it’s one in which there is a good deal more shouting than there is in the more genteel British equivalent. I think sometimes people do forget their old debating injunction that interjections should only be hurled if they are concise, witty and pertinent. But it's important that we make sure that Question Time does show us that our best. I'm not sure we always live up to that standard-

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