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Tim Fischer's legacy - Op Ed, Herald Sun

TIM FISCHER’S LEGACY 

Herald Sun, 24 August 2019

‘G‘Day Andrew, Tim Fischer here’.

As a Labor politician, it’s not every day I get a call from a former National Party parliamentarian, but when he phoned me a few years ago, I was delighted to hear from Tim. I admired his military service, and shared his passion for trains. But the issue we most connected on was sensible gun control.

With hindsight, political reform often looks easy. But when the government of John Howard and Tim Fischer set about reforming Australia’s gun laws after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre, there were plenty of opponents. Opposition Leader Kim Beazley gave his full support, but Bob Katter and Pauline Hanson criticised the National Firearms Agreement. As Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fischer recalled being ‘hung in effigy, complete with Akubra’. To his credit, Fischer went out to regional communities to explain the policy.

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Productivity growth the key to wage rises - Transcript, 2GB Money News

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2GB MONEY NEWS
WEDNESDAY, 14 AUGUST 2019

Subjects: Interest rates, penalty rates, unfair dismissal protections, the need to boost productivity, the per capita recession, the Coalition’s lack of energy policy vision.

ROSS GREENWOOD: I think we might get on Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Shadow Minister for Treasury and Charities. He’s on the line right now. Andrew, many thanks for your time.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Always a pleasure, Ross.

GREENWOOD: All right. The big issue here right now is and it comes - it doesn't matter which side of politics you're on, this is you know trans political, I think - the nation has got to find a way in which we can actually get some wages growth, get some economic growth. We're not bad. I mean, let's be honest. In global terms, we’re actually in pretty good shape. But the fact is there's a spark missing right now to try and get the country going again. You tell me what that spark is.

LEIGH: It's about a federal government that's willing to step up and take actions that will boost wages and boost the economy-

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Mood shifting on gun control - Transcript, 2CC Canberra

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2CC CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 6 AUGUST 2019

SUBJECTS: Gun control and mass shootings in the United States.

HOST: The co-founders of the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control - Dr Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fenner, and John Alexander, the Member for Bennelong - are urging lawmakers in the United States to take urgent action to prevent further senseless death. Dr Andrew Leigh joins me on the line now. Dr Leigh, the most recent appalling massacres in the United States. When will the Americans do something about this?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Well, I hope sooner rather than later, Tim. I see the mood is shifting in the United States, but at a glacial pace. In Australia it was extraordinary how the Port Arthur massacre galvanized action among politicians from all sides of the political spectrum. We saw within a fortnight of that massacre, police ministers meeting, standardising laws in order to make sure that we toughened up licensing and registration, got the buyback into place. We still have a sporting shooting culture in Australia, as we should. I can take a run in the morning and it will take me past the pistol club and the rifle range, but we don't have the guns tucked into the back of the teenager’s jeans when they go out on Saturday night.

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Australia’s Unemployment Crisis - Op Ed, Crikey

AUSTRALIA'S UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS

Crikey, 2 August 2019

In 1932, at the peak of the Great Depression, Australia’s unemployment rate hit 20 percent. Today, that’s about the unemployment rate in Fairfield, where around one in five people who want a job can’t find one.

When we hear about unemployment, the picture too often focuses on the national rate, currently 5.2 per cent. This hasn’t changed much over recent years, so it’s easy to miss the fact that other countries are doing much better. When she visited Australia, Jacinda Ardern was polite enough not to mention that New Zealand’s country’s unemployment rate is around 4 per cent. That’s also the rate in Britain and the United States. Countries that underperformed Australia during the Global Financial Crisis are now outperforming us – and by a significant margin.

But when we look across regions, it becomes clear that averages can conceal as much as they reveal. Fairfield’s unemployment rate may be the worst in NSW, but it isn’t the worst in Australia. In Victoria, unemployment in the Geelong suburb of Norlane is 22 per cent. In Queensland’s Logan Central and the Hobart suburb of Gagebrook, unemployment is 28 per cent. In South Australia’s Elizabeth and Western Australia’s Halls Creek, it’s 34 per cent. On Palm Island and the Torres Strait Islands, unemployment is 46 per cent.

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Australians are poorer under the Liberals- Transcript, 2GB Money News

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2GB MONEY NEWS
THURSDAY, 1 AUGUST 2019

Subjects: HILDA, the Liberals’ record of stagnant wages and struggling productivity, the wage gap, Made in Australia.

ROSS GREENWOOD: One person I love to talk to about these types of things is Dr Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and also very prominent inside the economic thinking of the Labor Party as well. He’s on the line. Andrew, many thanks for your time.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Always a pleasure, Ross.

GREENWOOD: So off the back of some of these reports, you've done two things this week. You've written an op ed and basically looked at Australia's productivity crisis. We’ll come to that shortly, but you also gave a speech in the House of Representatives which was yesterday and that was in regards to the HILDA report, and what you see as being a widening gap between the haves and the have nots in Australia. Is it really as significant a crisis as you paint it as?

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Mediocre productivity performance from mediocre Morrison Government - Transcript, Doorstop

E&EO TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP
PARLIAMENT HOUSE
MONDAY, 29 JULY 2019

Subjects: The Morrison Government’s mediocre record on productivity, tax havens, Angus Taylor, the need to raise Newstart.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning. We've seen reports today that Australia's productivity performance is in the doldrums. After decades in which we had productivity growth averaging around 2 per cent, over the last couple of years we've seen it in just 0.2 per cent – a tenth of its previous level. The Productivity Commission has described productivity as being ‘troubling’ and ‘mediocre’.

We’ve got mediocre productivity performance from the mediocre Morrison Government.

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A progressive agenda for tackling Australia’s productivity crisis - Op Ed, Inside Story

A PROGRESSIVE AGENDA FOR TACKLING AUSTRALIA’S PRODUCTIVITY CRISIS

Inside Story, 29 July 2019

At the start of June, the Productivity Commission quietly dropped a bombshell. Australia’s productivity growth had basically stalled. Labour productivity — output per hour worked — was more or less flatlining. After a generation in which labour productivity had grown at almost 2 per cent a year, it had tumbled to just 0.2 per cent.

The commission called the results “mediocre” and “troubling,” but for some sectors they were downright appalling. In farming, mining, construction, transport and retail, labour productivity went backwards. In other words, workers in those sectors were producing less per hour than they had the year before. The latest numbers continued a trend of weakening productivity growth that the commission dates back to 2013.

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Superannuation is for all, not just the rich - Transcript, ABC News Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC NEWS RADIO
THURSDAY, 25 JULY 2019

SUBJECT: Superannuation.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: It’s a pretty extraordinary suggestion that we would take people earning under $50,000 out of the superannuation system. I don’t know why it is that when the Liberals sit down to go back to their basic philosophies, they're not talking about helping low income workers, they’re not talking about dealing with wage theft or climate change. It's all about saying ‘well I'm in a job with 15 per cent super contribution, but wouldn't be beaut if the poorest Australians didn't have anything in their super at all’.

HOST: Well, why don't you think Australians - I mean, particularly those on low incomes, like you say - why shouldn't they have the freedom to decide for themselves how to save?

LEIGH: Universal superannuation ensures that all Australians get the benefits of those compounding returns. Countries around the world look to Australia as an exemplar of a country that's managed to put in place superannuation for everyone. But the Liberals think that superannuation should only be for the rich, and they think instead the poor should be shut out of the system. It's just not the way to go. And if Scott Morrison is serious when he tells backbenchers they shouldn't be freelancing, then he'll crack down on this one.

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The Reserve Bank alone can't save our economy - Transcript, Sky News

E&EO TRANSCRIPT
TV INTERVIEW
SKY NEWS
MONDAY, 22 JULY 2019

Subjects: The Drought Future Fund; the Morrison Government’s lack of policy clothing; foreign fighters; protesters; superannuation.
 
HOST: Thank you very much for your time this morning. One of the bills - and great to be with you - one of the bills that will be debated this week is the future drought fund. Will Labor support it?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: If it’s got new money, we're very happy to back it. The problem is so far the government simply wants to do pea and thimble tricks, moving money from one fund to another. The money they want to put in this future drought fund comes from the Building Australia Fund, which is the fund providing infrastructure across the nation, including in rural and regional communities-
 
HOST: But the government-
 
LEIGH: So it's beyond me why you want to take money out of rural and regional infrastructure and put it in combating drought. What farmers need is new resources, not a reallocation of existing ones.

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Morrison Government's policy nudity clear to see - Transcript, Doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP
PARLIAMENT HOUSE
MONDAY, 22 JULY 2019

Subjects: The Morrison Government’s policy nudity and economic inaction, the Drought Future Fund, Newstart.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: They say that it’s only when the tide goes out you find out who's been swimming naked. As the tide goes out on the Australian economy, we’re increasingly discovering the policy nudity of the Morrison Government. We've got engineering construction down, new car sales down, retail sales in the doldrums and productivity flatlining. Unemployment in Australia is a full percentage point higher than it is in Britain or the United States or New Zealand. We've got productivity growth now, according to the Productivity Commission, which is ‘mediocre’.

And in the face of all of this, the Morrison Government is stubbornly refusing to bring forward the infrastructure investment that the economy needs. When we left here last time, it was after a vote in which the Morrison Government had failed to accelerate the schedule for tax cuts. Labor was calling for more Australians to get a bigger tax cut sooner, to provide that critical stimulus that the Australian economy needs. But instead the Morrison Government has failed to focus on the big challenges to the Australian economy. They don't have a plan for wage growth. They don't have a plan for boosting productivity. They don't have a plan for bringing down the jobless rate. We now have an unemployment rate in remote Australia of 10 per cent. For Indigenous Australians, 21 per cent. We’ve got 150,000 Australians who have been out of work for more than a year, 80,000 of them out of work for more than two years.

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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.