PYNE: STOP THE PAYBACK AND PAY WHAT YOU OWE
Joint media release with Shadow Minister for Tertiary Education Kim Carr
The Abbott Government is vindictively withholding funding from the University of Canberra, despite being required to pay it under a signed contract.
In mid-2013, the university signed an agreement with the Commonwealth to establish a ‘Centre for Quality Teaching and Learning’ at the University of Canberra.
The role of the centre was to help Australia place in the top five countries globally in reading, maths and science by 2025 through increasing teacher effectiveness.
In 2014 – nearly a year into the agreement – Education Minister Christopher Pyne cancelled the contract for the Centre. The Government has since refused to pay the $4.4 million that the University of Canberra says it is owed.
FAIRFAX BREAKING POLITICS
MONDAY, 10 AUGUST 2015
SUBJECT/S: Entitlements; bracket creep; GST; budget.
CHRIS HAMMER: Andrew Leigh, six weeks of parliamentary break, the Government is still doing badly in the polls. Is that simply because of the entitlements issue or do you think there is more to it than that?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Chris, as many serious commentators are starting to ask: what is the point of the Abbott Government? Where is their serious reform agenda? Where are the things they want to put in place in order to create a better future for the next generation of Australians? We have got a Government which is so beset by internal infighting, so concerned with itself that it has lost touch with the concerns of everyday Australians. The importance of seeing more jobs, better paid jobs, has been lost in a context now in which we have got the highest unemployment rate in two decades. We have got sluggish wage growth, and according to the Climate Institute, we are not going to make our 2020 carbon targets. There is a range of really concerning intergenerational factors about the current state of play in Australia.
SKY AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 10 AUGUST 2015
SUBJECT/S: Speaker; tax rate competitiveness; emissions reductions targets.
KIERAN GILBERT: With me now is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh, and also Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Steve Ciobo. Gentlemen, good morning. Steve, after the Budget it looked like it was a more solid performance, things had started to turn around. But now the trend is back away from the Government. That's got to be a bit of a worry as we head back into the spring session of Parliament?
STEVE CIOBO, PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE: Kieran, in shocking news, I'm going to tell you of course we make policy decisions based on what we believe to be in Australia's national interest. None of us get particularly excited about polls that go up, polls that go down, there are polls done almost every second day. As far as I'm concerned, as far as the Government is concerned, we were elected to do a job and that was to stop the boats, to abolish the carbon tax, to make sure that as a nation we get our finances under control and every single day we work toward doing that. Our $89 billion announcement to make sure that both our defence industries and South Australia are on a solid footing going forward is an example of that. And we continue to pursue economic reform that is in Australia's best interest.Read more
PROJECT TETRIS ADDS TO UNCERTAINTY FOR IMMIGRATION
News this week that the Abbott Government is looking to fill over 30,000 square metres of vacant public service office space through ‘Project Tetris’ has only increased concern that the Department of Immigration will be moved out of Belconnen.
Parliament’s Public Works Committee has been told the Commonwealth plans to fill this space by moving agencies between premises and delaying new leases.
The leases on four of the office buildings in Immigration’s current complex at Belconnen expire in February 2016. Since putting the tender out for new facilities in October last year, the Abbott Government has resolutely refused to say whether it will keep the department in the spot it has occupied since the 1970s.
THE WRONG EFFECT (TEST) IS TO INCREASE PRICES
Joint Media Release with Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen
Australian businesses and consumers should be concerned by the news that the Abbott Government is rushing its response to the Harper report and announcing an effects test in section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act.
After weeks of lurching from news report to news report about the former Speaker’s travel entitlement abuses, the Prime Minister seems intent not only on making crazy economic policy, but making it on the run.
Families are already facing huge cost of living pressures as a result of this Government’s Budget cuts - and Tony Abbott is set to announce economic policy that will see Australians pay even higher prices at the checkout.
Today, Tony Abbott needs to answer a very simple question: how much will food and grocery prices increase as a result of this new red tape?
BUSINESS LEADERS HAVE THEIR SAY ON TASMANIA’S FUTURE
Joint Media Release with Julie Collins MP
Federal Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh today joined Labor’s Tasmania Taskforce to discuss the state’s economic future with locals and business leaders.
“Tony Abbott’s first two budgets cut support to Tasmanians and widened the gap between those on high incomes and those doing it tough”, Dr Leigh said.
“We have a Federal Government who has slashed $2.1 billion from health and education in Tasmania while Liberal Premier Will Hodgman looks on silently from the sidelines.
STILL NO NEWS OR PLAN FOR IMMIGRATION AT BELCONNEN
As the wait for news about the Department of Immigration’s future in Belconnen stretches into its 45th week, it is becoming increasingly clear the Abbott Government actually has no idea what to do with the department.
This week I received correspondence from Minister Peter Dutton linking Immigration’s future to the Abbott Government’s wider review of long-term public service accommodation requirements in Canberra. This suggests that eight months after the tender for new offices closed, the Government is still unable to commit to keeping Immigration in Belconnen.
Putting fairness first means protecting tax transparency, Business Spectator, 24 July 2015
What do the Watergate affair, Project Wickenby and Jeffrey Wigand’s revelations about Big Tobacco have in common? They are all instances where increased transparency identified dodgy dealings and put an end to practices that weren’t in the public interest.
Transparency can also keep people on the straight and narrow by letting them know in advance that their actions will be scrutinised. That’s why companies must register the names of their directors with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and why politicians like me have to provide public reports on our financial interests.
The last Labor Government saw that transparency empowered citizens, so we created the MyChild, MyHospitals and MySchool websites. For the same reason, we also introduced laws requiring the Australian Tax Office to publish information about the income and tax paid by companies earning more than $100 million. There has been growing concern in the past few years that some big firms aren’t paying their fair share of tax; improving transparency is one way to tackle this.
There are only around 2,000 companies in Australia that currently earn enough to be included in this reporting when the tax office releases the data later this year. But right now the Abbott Government is trying to exclude over 800 of them from the rules so that they can continue keeping their tax affairs secret.
SKY AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 27 JULY 2015
SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality; refugee policy; emissions trading scheme.
KIERAN GILBERT: The Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh, is my guest, to look at the various elements of this ALP conference. Andrew Leigh, first of all on the same-sex issue, wrapped up yesterday afternoon, a compromise deal with a binding vote now on the Labor platform. This is not really what Bill Shorten had hoped for.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, I think this is about how to get same-sex marriage done. Bill Shorten supports same-sex marriage, as does Tanya Plibersek and the vast majority of the Labor Party. We put it in our platform in 2011 and the question now is how to best marshal the numbers in the Parliament for a change which according to the polls has between two-thirds and three-quarters support of the Australian people. Tony Abbott just needs to give MPs and Senators a conscience vote.
GILBERT: So you're calling for him to give a conscience vote, just as you go to a binding vote, or at least plan one?
LEIGH: Kieran that question goes to exactly the considerations at play here. We'd like to see this done and in practical terms the best way to get this done is for Tony Abbott to unshackle his MPs and allow them to vote their conscience. So we're keeping open our conscience vote for this Parliament and next but if we can't get it done that way then the conscience vote will lapse.Read more
MONDAY, 27 JULY 2015
SUBJECT: ALP National conference, same-sex marriage, China Free Trade Agreement
MARIUS BENSON: Andrew Leigh, good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning Marius. How are you?
BENSON: I'm well. There was a lot of harmony at the end of the three days in fact throughout the weekend conference but there's plenty of reports of simmering tensions and divisions simply being papered over, is that the larger truth?
LEIGH: Marius, it ran the way in which a Labor Party conference should. I was the official conference spokesperson and I couldn't be prouder in the way delegates conducted themselves over the weekend. You would have been rightly horrified if there was no disagreement over anything because fundamentally Labor is Australia's party of ideas. And what the weekend showed is that unity doesn't require conformity. You can have a respectful debate over aspects of asylum seeker policy, over questions around same-sex marriage, over free trade - as great Labor Party conferences have had in the past. But fundamentally the things that unite Labor; our values of egalitarianism, opportunity and responsibility, remain extremely strong.Read more