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Address to the Institute of Public Accountants Federal Budget Breakfast - Speech

ADDRESS TO THE INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS FEDERAL BUDGET BREAKFAST 

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA 

WEDNESDAY, 9 MAY 2018

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks Steve. It’s great to be back at this budget brekkie. I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land the Ngunnawal people and pay my respect to elders past and present.

I know many of you here in the Great Hall are Canberrans. But for those of you who aren't, welcome to the best city in Australia - as certified by the OECD. I acknowledge our hosts, the Institute of Public Accountants, Canberra Business Chamber and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. And all of you for being here to engage in this important conversation about the Australian economy. 

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The top end of town doesn't need a corporate tax cut - Transcript, CNBC Squawk Box

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW

CNBC SQUAWK BOX

WEDNESDAY, 9 MAY 2018

SUBJECT: Budget 2018-19.

MATTHEW TAYLOR: We are joined by Andrew Leigh, he is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, out here in the courtyard of Parliament House this morning. Andrew, thank you so much for joining us.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: My pleasure, Matt.

TAYLOR: Let’s just kick off on what’s happening geo-politically, because I know we were just having an interesting chat about what’s transpired with the Trump administration and Iran and the implications for Australia.

LEIGH: The IMF has upgraded its growth forecasts and they’re baked into this budget. But one of the things that this morning’s announcement by the Trump administration has illustrated is that for Australia significant global risks remain. Fragility in the Middle East is just one of those. Domestically, I worry about the fact that our household debt-to-income ratio is at an all-time high. I fear that the budget doesn’t put in place enough supports against those risks.

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Government failing to meet Budget promises - Transcript, RN Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC RN DRIVE

MONDAY, 7 MAY 2018

SUBJECTS: Murray Darling Basin Plan; Budget 2018-19; Asylum seeker policy, Katy Gallagher. 

PATRICIA KARVELAS: It's going to be all about tax. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, welcome back to RN Drive.

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

KARVELAS: Before we get to the budget, Labor has struck a deal with the Government on the Murray Darling Basin Plan and it remains intact. What is that deal all about?

LEIGH: Well, we've determined that we won't allow an amendment to the Basin plan. That's because Tony Burke, our responsible Shadow Minister, has received sufficient assurances such as the allegations of corruption and water theft in the basin being properly dealt with, that the Government will deliver the 450 gigalitres of environmental water, and that there will be a new Northern Basin Commissioner.

KARVELAS: Okay, let's move to the budget. If we are going to see a surplus a year earlier than forecast, you'd have to hand it to the Government that that's a job well done, right?

LEIGH: This is a Government that said they would be in surplus in the first year and every year after that. As best I can tell, they've failed to meet that promise that they made before the 2013 election. What you're seeing from the Government is a budget which yet again will be great for multinationals and millionaires but not so good for schools and hospitals, not so good for Australia's pupils, not so good for those who depend on our social support system.

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Economics of the company tax cut simply don’t stack up - Transcript, Sky News Agenda

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS AM AGENDA

MONDAY, 7 MAY 2018

SUBJECTS: Budget 2018-19.

KIERAN GILBERT: With me now the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. What’s your reaction to this formalising that rule? It’s put Labor in a tough position.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, you can understand why the Government switched to talking about tax-to-GDP ratios, because when they were telling the Australian people they were going to take $17 billion out of our schools and give it to the big banks, that wasn’t very popular. But frankly, it’s the same argument.

GILBERT: How is it the same argument? In the sense that you’re going to be well over that 23.9 per cent cap which just a couple of years ago Mr Bowen said was a good idea – in fact he said lower, 23.7 per cent as a cap of tax as part of the economy. As an economist, do you recognise that you can’t let that get out of control?

LEIGH: There’s no hard economics that tells you that you need to have an arbitrary tax-to-GDP ratio. We put in place the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Australians were happy to pay a bit more tax in order to create that new social support pillar. But it’s also about how you raise the revenue. The Coalition’s tax-to-GDP ratio is effectively going to be used as their excuse for not cracking down on multinational tax loopholes and giving massive handouts to banks. It’ll be their excuse for running razor thin surpluses rather than the strong budget surpluses they were promising just a couple of years ago.

GILBERT: We don’t know yet, obviously we have to wait until we see the numbers tomorrow, but from the looks of it the revenue has been coming in very strongly the numbers a lot stronger than I think many people would have anticipated. So those razor thin surpluses might not eventuate as you warn and as Mr Bowen warns.

LEIGH: But Kieran, it’s a fundamental principal of economics that you shouldn’t make permanent decisions based on temporary changes in revenue. This is one of the real problems of the Howard Government, that they locked in unsustainable long term budget decisions based on the first wave of the mining boom.

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No excuses left on tampon tax - Op Ed, The Canberra Times

No excuses left on tampon tax

The Canberra Times, 7 May 2018

A tax on tampons and sanitary pads is a tax on women. But when our GST laws were written in 1999, they were mostly drafted by male public servants, reporting to a male-dominated cabinet, in an overwhelmingly male parliament.

As a result, tampons and pads were subject to a 10 percent GST. Yet incontinence pads, sunscreen and nicotine patches – even Viagra – are exempt from the tax.

In the nearly two decades since the GST has been in operation, this decision has come to seem stranger and stranger - and our state and territory leaders agree.

Scott Morrison’s go to excuse for his lack of action - blaming the states and territories - has all but dissolved with Labor leaders across the country backing in an axing of the tax.

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State and territory Labor leaders sign up to axe tampon tax - Media Release

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

TANYA PLIBERSEK, SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER

CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

STATE & TERRITORY LABOR LEADERS SIGN UP TO SCRAP “TAMPON TAX”


Labor leaders in every state and territory have signed up to Federal Labor’s plan to remove the GST on women’s sanitary products.

Less than a week after it was announced, the plan has received support from the Premiers of Victoria, Queensland and WA, the Chief Ministers of the ACT and the NT, and Labor leaders in NSW, SA and Tasmania. The leaders wrote to Bill Shorten in recent days.

For the first time there is agreement from leaders in every state and territory that this unfair tax on women has to go.

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SloMo misleading on tampon tax - Media Release

TANYA PLIBERSEK, SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

SLOMO MISLEADING ON TAMPON TAX, IT’S NOT A ‘SILLY ISSUE’

Scott Morrison was his normal charming and angry self today, refusing to engage on Labor’s proposal to scrap the GST on tampons.

Time’s up on this issue. It’s not only a tax on women, but it’s a tax that shouldn’t have been applied in the first place – there is no question that sanitary products are not a luxury item.

Australian women spend around $300 million on tampons and pads each year, including around $30 million in tax.

Mr Morrison pretending to hide behind Gladys Berejiklian on this issue is ridiculous.

The Abbott and Turnbull Governments have had a number of opportunities now to make the case to states and territories that additional GST revenue will be made available while removing the unfair tax on women’s sanitary products, but have failed each and every time.

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Liberals pay others to listen to the community and still don’t get the message - Media Release

LIBERALS PAY OTHERS TO LISTEN TO THE COMMUNITY – AND STILL DON’T GET THE MESSAGE

The Turnbull Government has been caught out wasting almost half a million dollars on focus groups less than a week out from the budget.

A report today detailed government tenders for two lots of market research totalling $446,850. That’s money which could be better used by schools and hospitals to provide the services Australians deserve.

Only Malcolm Turnbull would need a taxpayer funded focus group to tell him what’s fair and unfair.

They don’t need to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on market research when the message has been clear for a long time – voters want to see their tax dollars spent on Medicare, hospitals, schools and pensions, not multi-billion dollar handouts to the big end of town.

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Launch of Hugh Mackay, ‘Australia Reimagined’ - Transcript

LAUNCH OF HUGH MACKAY, ‘AUSTRALIA REIMAGINED’

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, CANBERRA

TUESDAY, 1 MAY 2018

In 2004, with three co-authors, I wrote a book called Imagining Australia. It took four of us two years. By contrast, it took Hugh just a single year to write Australia Reimagined. That makes him at least eight times more productive than me. Between his non-fiction books and his novels, Hugh Mackay has now produced a total of 19 books.

However, Hugh Mackay warns on page 100 that our culture has become one of ‘endless praise’. So naturally, I should start with my criticisms!

Hugh writes about the challenge of smart phone addiction. I’ve glanced around the room this evening and I’ve seen a few of you on your smart phones. I’m worried that this evening has only worsened the smart phone addiction. He’s written about ‘nature deficit disorder’ and, indeed, not a blade of grass in the room. I fear nature deficit disorder has only gotten worse this evening. He’s written about the importance of politicians stepping down after either one term or two because people would have clearly made their substantial contribution within their first two terms. Yet here you are, being forced to listen to a politician in his third term! I apologise profusely for this. Hugh has said that he wants us to become a less anxious society. I don’t know about you, but I certainly felt at certain points this evening, I was feeling a little more anxious about Australia.

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Parramatta Reconnected forum a success - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS

JULIE OWENS, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PARRAMATTA

PARRAMATTA RECONNECTED FORUM A SUCCESS

Today, we held a successful ‘Reconnected’ roundtable with Western Sydney charities and not-for-profits, exchanging ideas to boost social capital and community engagement.

While the Turnbull Government is working in Parliament to stifle the voice of our charities, we’re listening to charities to hear how we can ensure our communities have stronger bonds and louder voices.

Over the course of the last generation, we’ve seen some worrying trends. Australians are less likely to join community organisations or play organised sports. We’ve seen troubling drop-offs in volunteering rates and donation rates in recent years.

These are the trends Labor is trying to reverse as we hear from charities and organisations about what they’re doing to foster community spirit and build social capital at a local level.

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