ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER BUDGET BOTCH UP FROM FRYDENBERG
After bungling the Energy Assistance Payment, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has now bungled his promised tax offset.
As soon as the budget was handed down last week, Labor said that we would support immediate tax relief for low and middle-income Australians - it was Labor policy, after all.
With two sittings days following the budget, the government could have easily passed these changes into law.
Yet instead, the Liberals chose to sit on their hands, with Scott Morrison claiming “if the Labor Party says they support our tax cuts, then the Tax Office can administer it on that basis.”Read more
A FAIRER DEAL FOR TASSIE HOTELS
Today, Andrew Leigh joined Member for Bass Ross Hart in Launceston to talk about how Australian hotels benefit from Labor’s plans to outlaw ‘price parity’ clauses.
Price parity clauses prevent Australian hotels from advertising that travellers can get a better deal by booking directly. This has the effect of channelling bookings through the two major online booking platforms, which have a combined market share of 84 percent, and take up to 30 percent of the total hotel bill.
Price parity clauses would be banned under a Shorten Labor Government, giving local accommodation providers greater control of their own businesses and reducing the price of a weekend away.Read more
ABC TASMANIA MORNINGS
MONDAY, 8 APRIL 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plans to give Aussie hotels owners greater control of their business, Budget 2019.
CATHERINE ZENGERER: Tourism might be booming right across Tasmania, but if you are an accommodation provider and you are listed with one of the major online booking companies such as Expedia and Booking.com, then you may have had to sign a contract to say that you can't actually offer a discount for your own accommodation that undercuts what by the listing is on their pages. It's a contract known as a price parity clause and it's something that Labor is saying that they will get rid of if they're elected. We're certainly seeing a lot of politicians coming to Tasmania as we head towards a possible election. Andrew Leigh is one of them. He is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer for Labor and he's in our Launceston studio. Good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER:Good morning Catherine. Great to be with you.
ZENGERER: So what's prompted this policy review by Labor?
LEIGH: It's the situation you described in which many Australians are now booking through one of these multinational online platforms, such as Kayak or Priceline,Booking.com or Expedia. They go by a host of names, but there's two of them that control 85 per cent of the market and they're taking a whopping share of the accommodation bill. So if you use one of these platforms, then when you stay at a hotel, up to a third of the total bill can go to amultinational. One of the ways in which they managed to get such a large share of revenues is by telling hotels that they can't offer a better deal on their own websites. These so-called price parity clauses are banned in a host of European countries and we think that it's appropriate to ban them in Australia. It tilts the playing field too far away from our local tourism providers and too much in favour of the big multinational duopoly. It's fine to charge something for putting a booking in place, but 30 per cent - really? That's just over the top.Read more
FRIDAY, 5 APRIL 2019
SUBJECT: The Budget.
LEON BYNER: The Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for coming on today.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Leon.
BYNER: I want to, I want to start with a pretty obvious question and that is that you guys, if you get elected, are going to continue with the budget repair levy. Correct?
LEIGH: Indeed. We think certainly at a time when the Liberals have doubled the debt it’s important for us to have the same top tax rate that Tony Abbott had back in 2014 – when debt was half of what it is now.Read more
BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS & ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
MEMBER FOR FENNER
SENATOR DAVID SMITH
SENATOR FOR THE ACT
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CANBERRA
LABOR’S INVESTMENT PLAN FOR CANBERRA’S HOSPITALS
A Shorten Labor Government will boost health services in the ACT by building a new dedicated outpatient clinic, establishing a new palliative care in-patient unit and upgrading support services for new mums.
Federal Labor will invest an additional $20 million in these new services for the people of Canberra, while also honouring all existing Commonwealth commitments such as the upgrade to Canberra Hospital ICU.Read more
TALE OF TWO: COMPARE THE FIGURES
Daily Examiner, 4 April 2019
Susan is a primary school teacher, earning $67,000 a year. She pays $13,000 in tax. Susan would like to buy a home one day, but she’s struggled to break in to the property market. She doesn’t receive any government benefits, which she doesn’t complain about, given that she’s got a full-time job. Her main possession is a used car.
And then there’s John, a retired shareholder. When he was employed, he worked hard and saved frugally. He bought his home in the 1970s, when the average home cost about twice the average household income (today, homes cost about five times average income). John has all his investments in his share portfolio, which returns him $67,000 a year in income. On top of this, the Australian Government sends him a cheque for almost $29,000.
Is this fair? John’s cheque is a cash refund for excess franking credits, representing tax paid by the companies whose shares he owns. Because he doesn’t receive a government pension or allowance, Labor proposes to end this payment.Read more
ABC RADIO CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 3 APRIL 2019
SUBJECTS: The Budget.
ANNA VIDOT: With me now from Parliament House is Andrew Leigh, Labor's Shadow Assistant Treasurer and of course Member for Fenner. Andrew Leigh, welcome.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: G’day, Anna. Great to be with you.
VIDOT: The Coalition has now matched and it says slightly bettered Labor's low and middle income tax offsets and it says it will deliver a $7 billion surplus next year while also phasing in tax cuts over a decade. That's a pretty attractive proposition for the electorate, isn't it?
LEIGH: Let's go first to the surplus. This is a projected surplus, not a delivered surplus, from a government which promised that the budget would be in surplus in their first year and every year after that. They promised never to use the national credit card and then after six years of doubling net debt, they want a pat on the back for having put the national credit card back in the wallet. The fact is that net debt per person in Australia is now almost $15,000. That is twice as much as when the Coalition came to office. On income tax cuts, we welcome the fact that they backflipped. Last year they voted against similar tax cuts to the ones they are now apparently supporting. These tax cuts don't extend to people earning below $40,000. If we are elected in May, we will have to fix that up. We will certainly always support income tax relief for low and middle income earners. What we won't do is to back the Coalition's strategy of expanding tax loopholes for the top end of town. They’ve never seen a tax loophole for the rich that they won’t defend.Read more
AUSTRALIA DESERVES A BETTER, FAIRER BUDGET
INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS BUDGET BREAKFAST
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, 3 APRIL 2019
Thank you for inviting me along to what is now my sixth of these post-budget breakfasts. I acknowledge the traditional owners, the Ngunnawal people, on whose lands we meet today and pay my respects to their elders past and present. I thank host Leigh Sales and my counterpart Zed Seselja, the Institute of Public Accountants and Canberra Business Chamber. I started speaking at these breakfasts in 2014. Since that time, we've had three prime ministers, three treasurers. My opposing number today is the sixth person against whom I’ve squared off.
At the outset, I want to say something about where the overall economy is going, because we can get too focused on the fiscal situation and not think enough about the global and national economic context.
If you take global bond yields as a reasonable economic forecasting tool, you'd be pretty worried. They're negative in Germany, they're massively down in the US, the UK and Canada. The OECD last month downgraded its growth forecasts. In the US, fiscal stimulus is now fading. Just to listen to today's news, you've got the collapse of the Brexit talks again and suggestions that the US might pull out of NATO. China raises a range of challenges, including debt and political stability.Read more
ABC NEWS RADIO
WEDNESDAY, 3 APRIL 2019
SUBJECTS: The Budget.
SANDY ALOISI: To get an Opposition reaction, I'm joined now by the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Andrew Leigh, good morning. Welcome to the program.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: G’day, Sandy. Great to be with you.
ALOISI: Well, the Coalition has forecast a surplus for next year. It's taken the Coalition some time to get here. But you've got to acknowledge this is good news for Australia.
LEIGH: This is a Coalition that promised in 2013 that they would never use the national credit card. Then after six years of using it, of doubling the total debt, they're now promising that if you vote for them again they'll finally put the national credit card back in the wallet. During that period, debt has risen so it's now nearly $15,000 for every Australian. That's the Coalition's record on debt.
ALOISI: If you think back though to Wayne Swan, a previous federal treasurer, you'll remember that he announced a series of surpluses that never eventuated.
LEIGH: Which is what's happening tonight. This is a projected surplus. The difference between Wayne Swan and Josh Frydenberg was Wayne Swan was staring down the biggest global crisis since the Great Depression. Josh Frydenberg has simply no excuse for the appalling way in which the Liberals have managed the nation's finances. I mean, they've got this surplus - a quarter of it is based on underspending on people with disabilities. You've seen a massive increase in corporate tax take, due in part to unexpected events such as the mine disaster in Brazil which drove demand for our iron ore exports.Read more
A RANDOMISED ROUTE TO BETTER GOVERNMENT
The Canberra Times, 2 April 2019.
In the mid-1990s, researchers embarked on a massive clinical trial. Over 16,000 post-menopausal women volunteered to be randomly assigned to a treatment group, receiving hormone replacement therapy, or to a control group. Many had expected that the study would back the common view – basedon observational studies – that taking Estrogen plus Progestin was good for the health of these women.
Five years in, the trial’s data and safety monitoring board stopped the study. Not only did the research show no protective impact of hormone replacement therapy, but it those receiving the treatment were significantly more likely to have health problems. When the results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002, they had a seismic impact. Millions of women worldwide were taking the supplements. Thousands of GPs had to tell their patients: ‘sorry, we were wrong’. Better evidence bruised a few egos, but it also saved lives.Read more