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Indigenous Australians perhaps most incarcerated people on earth - Transcript, ABC News Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC NEWS RADIO
MONDAY, 26 AUGUST 2019

Subject: New research on Australia’s incarceration rates.

SARAH HALL: More Australians than ever before are in prison, with Indigenous Australians now more likely to be in prison than African Americans. That's according to a new report out by federal Labor MP and economist, Andrew Leigh. The Member for Fenner has found that since 1985, the Australian incarceration rate increased by 130 per cent, while the share of Indigenous adults in prison has more than doubled. For more on these findings, I’m joined by Dr Leigh in Canberra. Dr Leigh, thanks for joining us.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Pleasure, Sarah. Great to be talking with you.

HALL: Can you please break down these figures for us. What stood out to you the most?

LEIGH: Well, not since 1899 has Australia had such a large share of population in jail. The incarceration rate has been rising significantly since the 1980s, despite the fact that crime has been falling. You’re half as likely to be murdered now as you were in the 1980s, and the rates of robbery, car theft and assault have gone down markedly. But as a result of changes in policing practices and sentencing practices, a higher share of Australians are behind bars. 0.2 per cent of all adults are incarcerated, and 2½ per cent of Indigenous adults are incarcerated.

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We should listen to Indigenous perspectives this Father's Day - Op Ed, The Canberra Times

WE SHOULD LISTEN TO INDIGENOUS PERSPECTIVES THIS FATHER'S DAY

The Canberra Times, 27 August 2019

A few weeks ago, I spent time in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, meeting with people in remote communities like Bidyadanga, and learning from my Labor colleague, Senator Patrick Dodson.

Hearing their stories, I was struck by the way in which parenting and place are interconnected in Indigenous communities. In those places, your ancestors are part of the land, and the land is part of you. To be a good father is to take your children onto country, teach them the traditions, and listen to what they have to say. I asked Damien Crispin, a Broome-based stevedore who was part of the Indigenous Marathon Project last year, whether he’d ever consider living elsewhere. ‘No way - this is home’, he replied.

This Father’s Day, I’ve been thinking about what Indigenous traditions can teach non-Indigenous people like me about being a better dad. Living near the base of Mount Majura, I’m struck by the fact that when my three sons take a walk or a bike ride in the bush, they immediately become more animated, less focused on themselves. It’s like a switch has been flicked, and they become more engaged, gentler, and even more fun to be around.

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We need to be smart on crime - Transcript, Triple J Hack

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
TRIPLE J HACK
MONDAY, 26 AUGUST 2019

Subject: New research on Australia’s incarceration rates.

AVANI DIAS: You probably know that when Australia was first colonised, the UK transported thousands of convicts here to serve out sentences for their crimes. Well it turns out Australia's back to where it was in that time. In fact, a new report has found we're entering a second convict age and that's despite a drop in crime rates. Perhaps the worst part of this report is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are now more likely to be imprisoned than African-Americans. Federal Labor's Andrew Leigh wrote this research. He's also an economist and he's with us now. Andrew, Australia's incarceration rate is at the highest level in 120 years. Why is that?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Avani, it's more likely now that police will press charges, that judges will impose a custodial sentence. Compared with the mid-1980s, that  custodial sentence will be longer, and that while you are awaiting trial, you likely won't be out on bail, you will be behind bars. So we've had a whole lot of tweaks to the law, which have together caused our incarceration rate to go through the roof. What's striking about this is it's come at a time in which crime rates have fallen. The murder rate’s now half what it was in the 1980s. Car theft is down. Robbery rates are down. But incarceration rates are substantially up.

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More people locked up than ever before - Transcript, ABC Afternoon Briefing

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TV INTERVIEW
AFTERNOON BRIEFING
MONDAY, 26 AUGUST 2019

Subject: New research on Australia’s incarceration rates.

PATRICIA KARVELAS: I think we've got Andrew Leigh now, welcome.

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

KARVELAS: You just completed a research paper which identifies what you are calling disturbingly a second convict age. Take me through what you found and why you used that language? Because that’s quite alarming.

LEIGH: It is, Patricia, and so are the figures. Incarceration rates in Australia haven't been this high since 1899, in the tail end of the transportation era. We now have 0.2 per cent of adults in jail, but for Indigenous Australians, it is 2.5 per cent of adults behind bars. That’s up from 1 per cent when the Aboriginal deaths in custody report came out in 1991. And as you said in your introduction, it means Indigenous Australians are now perhaps the most incarcerated people on earth with an incarceration rate that exceeds that for African-Americans. If you look at the exposure over a lifetime since - an Indigenous man born in the 1970s has one in four chances of spending time behind bars. Research out of Western Australia suggests that as many as nine out of 10 Indigenous men born in the 1970s have been arrested, summonsed or charged in their lifetime. So increasingly, incarceration is becoming a normal life event for Indigenous Australians and that is having massively damaging impacts on our attempts to close the gap.

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Incarceration at highest level since 1899 - Transcript, ABC Canberra

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC CANBERRA
MONDAY. 26 AUGUST 2019

Subject: New research on Australia’s incarceration rates.

ADRIENNE FRANCIS: You know that of course Australia's states, with the exception of South Australia and Victoria, were first established as penal colonies. It comes as no surprise then that in the 19th century, a large proportion of the adult population were incarcerated. In fact, as many as 6.5 per cent of the adult population in the 1860s were in jail. So what might surprise you is that we currently imprison a greater proportion of adults than at any time since the late 19th century. That's the finding of some research conducted by federal parliamentarian and Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh. He says we're now in a second convict page. Andrew Leigh joins me on the line. Good morning, Andrew. What is the current rate of incarceration in Australia?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Good morning, Adrienne. Great to be with you. The current rate of incarceration is 0.2 per cent - so two in 1000 Australians are behind bars. As you say, the highest level since 1899.

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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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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.