ECONOMIC REFORM: AMBITION VERSUS ZUGZWANG
SPEECH TO AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS ANNUAL CONFERENCE
WEDNESDAY, 8 MAY 2019
(Check against delivery)
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and pay respect to their elders.
My thanks to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors for the chance to speak with you about Labor’s positive plans for the economy.
In an era of shrill soundbites, your organisation has a track record of producing careful research that shapes policy debates. Your research reports have dovetailed closely with our priorities, covering topics such as modern slavery, fossil fuel investments, and whistleblowing. I know this research is closely read by my colleagues Chris Bowen, Jim Chalmers, Clare O’Neil, Madeleine King, and Matt Thistlethwaite. Fresh ideas can help shape the policy debate for the better.
To take just one example, you publish an annual report on CEO Pay in ASX200 firms. Last July, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors reported that the best-paid CEO in Australia, Don Meij, received $37 million. Commentators were quick to note the contrast between this pay packet and the reported underpayment of Domino’s pizza workers.Read more
$2.9 MILLION FOR CANBERRA SHARED PATHWAYS
A Shorten Labor Government would invest $2.9 million in shared pathways to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians in Canberra’s suburbs, in partnership with the ACT Labor Government.
This election will be a choice between a Shorten Labor Government with a plan for the local infrastructure Canberra needs, or more of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos.
Investing in this network of shared pathways will make it easier for Canberrans to enjoy the Territory’s great outdoor lifestyle, improving public amenities and safety at the same time.Read more
LABOR TO LEAD THE WAY ON CHARITIES
The Liberals have waged a six-year war against charities. A Shorten Labor Government will have Australia’s first ever Charities Minister, who will fix the damage, and work with this vital sector to build a more connected country.
We need real change – because more of the same isn’t good enough.
The Liberals first attempted to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, a body respected across the sector. When they were blocked in the parliament, they instead decided to undermine the commission by putting a long-time charities critic in charge.
It is a mark of how little the Liberals care about charities that in six years, the Liberals have had six ministers responsible for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Labor has had one shadow minister responsible for charities and non-profits throughout our time in opposition.Read more
BABYSITTERS, CARS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Crikey, 7 May 2019
Ever struggled to find a reliable babysitter? Some years ago, a group of American parents reckoned they found the solution. They created a voucher system. The rules were simple: If you babysat someone else’s kids, they give you one of their vouchers. If someone else babysat your kids, you gave them one of your vouchers. The system ensured everyone was doing their fair share of babysitting. A perennial problem of parenthood had been solved.
Or so they thought. Problems arose when some couples in the group started to hoard their vouchers, worried they might need babysitters more frequently in the future. As the flow of vouchers slowed, other couples panicked and started hoarding vouchers themselves. The result was textbook economics. The babysitting cooperative went into recession.
These parents discovered a core tenet of macroeconomics: that my spending is your income and vice-versa. When some parents stopped spending their vouchers, they robbed other parents of the opportunity to earn vouchers. Those other parents, in turn, spent fewer of their vouchers. And so on.Read more
TAX HAVEN CRACKDOWN
Labor will introduce a Tax Haven Blacklist to appropriately vet investments from countries that fail to comply with international standards.
Under Labor, companies that operate out of the most notorious tax havens will be prevented from engaging in tax avoidance activities in Australia.
The following hot spots will be put on Labor’s blacklist: Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Guernsey, Monaco, Mauritius, Liberia, Seychelles, Brunei, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Montserrat, Panama, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands.
The Liberals have dropped the ball when it comes to taking action against international companies exploiting tax loopholes in Australia.Read more
BOOSTING GROWTH AND EQUITY THROUGH MEMBER-OWNED FIRMS: THIRD PARTY SUPPORT
A Shorten Labor Government will make Australia’s economy more productive and our society more egalitarian by creating a taskforce to streamline regulations and break down barriers for new competitors.
Since announcing our plan to create a Competition and Growth Taskforce to sit within Treasury on Thursday, many key groups across the cooperative and mutuals sector have voiced their support:
“The Customer Owned Banking Association has welcomed Labor’s announcement that it would establish a Competition & Growth Taskforce. The announcement is a positive move toward improving competition in the banking sector and accommodating the customer owned model.”
- Michael Lawrence, Customer Owned Banking Association CEO.Read more
BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
CHRIS BOWEN MP
JIM CHALMERS MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
LABOR WILL CRACKDOWN ON LOOPHOLES FOR MULTINATIONALS
A Shorten Labor Government will extend its comprehensive crackdown on multinationals not paying their fair share.
Today, Labor announces we will stop multinationals from getting a tax deduction when they unfairly funnel royalty payments to arms of their own company that pose a multinational tax risk.
Multinationals can currently ‘treaty shop’ and potentially funnel intangibles like intellectual property royalties into tax havens like the Cayman Islands.
Some transactions incur low-to-no tax rates because they use ‘patent boxes’ – where income from intellectual property is taxed very lightly or not at all. Some big companies can also get a ‘sweetheart deal’ when they are arbitrarily gifted a low tax rate.
The Liberals’ Diverted Profits Tax has not been effective in stopping this method of tax minimisation.Read more
TAX PIRATES: ACTION PACKED DRAMA NOW SHOWING IN REAL LIFE
The Canberra Times, 4 May 2019
It is common for forms of serial fiction such as comic books, or film or television franchises, to have a new start of that universe – often called a ‘reboot’. The one I’m encouraging is Tax Pirates of the Caribbean. In this action-packed drama, a buccaneering team of tax specialists travel to Jamaica.
Armed with their rapier wit and a brilliant knowledge of the tax code, they confront multinational firms, headquartered in nearby tax havens, who’ve been luring away the revenue that should be supporting Jamaica’s schools and hospitals.
The script should be easy to write, since the events are playing out right now. The Jamaican tax authority has ‘borrowed’ a bunch of expert tax auditors from Germany. The accountant equivalent of Captain Jack Sparrow is German auditor Steffan Scholze, who said he ‘jumped at the opportunity to … fight inequalities and give countries added confidence in their dealings with large taxpayers’. Within weeks, he was helping Jamaica take on multinationals who’d refused to pay their fair share of tax.Read more
RICHO, SKY NEWS
WEDNESDAY, 1 MAY 2019
SUBJECTS: Eastern Australian Irrigation, Clive Palmer, Facebook and Google tax bills, Adani, the Liberals’ literal decimation of public service jobs.
GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Our next guest is Andrew Leigh and he's in one of my favourite places, Townsville, or he's been there I think today. Welcome to the program, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks, Richo. Great to be talking to you from Townsville.
RICHARDSON: And how was it in the Deep North? Is it, have you had a good day?
LEIGH: It’s been terrific. Cathy O’Toole and I announced a tax clinic at James Cook University. This is an investment which will see James Cook University tax students reach out to the community to help low income taxpayers and small businesses with their tax affairs and also to try and build that culture of giving back to the community among tax professionals. And then, I’m Shadow for Charities and Not-for-Profits, so in the afternoon visited a number of co-operative businesses, including Defence Bank where I bought this pig here. The pig is sold by Defence Bank to raise money for their Defence Bank Foundation, which helps soldiers with PTSD. So any of your viewers who are looking for a piggy bank for the kids, jump on the Defence Bank website, pick up a pig, help out our soldiers.Read more
THURSDAY, 2 MAY 2019
Subjects: Labor’s commitment to help Indigenous students in remote and regional Queensland access quality education; Labor’s plans to create a fairer economy through the mutuals and co-ops sector.
CATHY O’TOOLE, MEMBER FOR HERBERT: It's really fantastic to be here today with the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh and Queensland Senator Murray Watt and Jeff Reibel the CEO of Cowboys and also in Melina from the cooperatives and mutuals association who will speak after with Andrew. We are at NRL Cowboys House, girls house specifically, which is a fantastic facility in this Townsville community providing education for young First Nations women and they do a fantastic job with young women from year 7 to year 12. The announcement that Andrew will make in a moment means a huge deal to this facility and to this community. So we'll hand over now to Andrew to make the announcement.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much, Cathy. Cathy has been at the forefront of addressing social disadvantage as Member of Herbert. She is somebody who is a passionate campaigner against inequality and for a fairer and more inclusive society. Terrific to be here too with my friend and colleague Murray Watt and Melina Morrison, who will say a few words in a moment about a separate announcement.Read more