FRIDAY, 11 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Unemployment figures; Abbott Government’s failure to plan for growth; Ministerial re-shuffle.
MARIUS BENSON: Andrew Leigh, good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning Marius.
BENSON: Just in broad terms, is it good news with the jobs figures?
LEIGH: I don't think we should spend a lot of time analysing movements in the unemployment rate that are well within its margin of error. But my concern more broadly is that the unemployment rate is still around the highest that it has been in 13 years and well above that of countries with which we compare ourselves, such as the UK and the United States. When the Abbott Government came to office the unemployment rate in Australia was a couple of points below where it was in the US and UK, and now it's about a point above those two countries. So our labour market is performing worse than theirs in absolute and relative terms.
BENSON: But if you look at the graphs of unemployment, the graph was heading down under Labor and continued to head down after the 2013 election. Now it's heading up, it's looking quite optimistic.
LEIGH: As I said, the unemployment rate – like opinion polls – is measured with a bit of error and yesterday's movement is well within that. But we do have figures which are the worst they've been in broad terms in 13 years. Youth unemployment is again sitting at around 14 per cent – that's one of the worst figures we've had in more than a decade. We know, Marius, that if we want to bring down the unemployment rate then we need growth probably above 3 per cent. Instead we've got growth of around 2 per cent and every quarter since the Abbott Government's first budget came down, the annual growth figures have been revised downwards. We did have growth around that 3 per cent level, now it's down around 2 per cent. If it gets worse and worse then it's going to be harder and harder to generate the jobs we need.
THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT’S “EXPORT AGREEMENT WITH CHINA”
The Abbott Government’s claim today that it had concluded an “Export Agreement with China” raises troubling issues about whether it has followed proper procedures.
As the Abbott Government undoubtedly knows, Export Agreements are contracts, arrangements or understandings that relate exclusively to the export of goods from Australia or the supply of services outside of Australia.
Export Agreements are listed as such on the ACCC website.
HOW CAN ERIC ABETZ FIX UNEMPLOYMENT WHEN HE DOESN’T EVEN UNDERSTAND IT?
Joint media release with Shadow Minister for Employment Brendan O'Connor
The man in charge of keeping Australians working has today revealed he lacks even the most basic understanding of the unemployment rate.
In his press conference defending an unemployment figure which stubbornly continues to have a six in front of it, Employment Minister Eric Abetz said:
“a 6, a 5, a 4, a 3, a 2 or a 1 in front of the unemployment figure is unacceptable.”
Eric Abetz - Press Conference - 10 September 2015
ENCOURAGING WORDS ON THE CHARITIES COMMISSION MUST BE FOLLOWED BY ACTION
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has today given the strongest signal yet that the Abbott Government has walked away from its plan to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
But the charities sector will not have certainty until Minister Morrison formally withdraws the abolition bill which is still before the House of Representatives.
This morning, Minister Morrison told the Philanthropy Meets Parliament summit that his Government had “consulted widely, and there is very strong support for the ACNC.”
He went on to admit that: “I don’t believe there would be support in the Senate for there to be any change.”
FAIRFAX BREAKING POLITICS
MONDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Syrian refugee crisis; Two years of the Abbott Government.
CHRIS HAMMER: Andrew Laming, Andrew Leigh, good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning.
HAMMER: Andrew Laming to you first. Should Australia be taking more refugees from Syria in total?
ANDREW LAMING, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BOWMAN: We will be taking more in total as a portion of all refugees, that number increases from 13,000 to 18,750 in 2018-2019.
HAMMER: That was always going to happen though so special circumstances, should Australia be taking more people?
LAMING: This is a major humanitarian catastrophe and I think Australia, by going to Europe and saying we're part of the solution, by offering to take more places that take months to process, we’re actually saying to Europe that by having intact borders we can do more. Australia is showing that we've sorted out our own borders and we can now be part of solution to the European exceptional circumstance like this.
HAMMER: So what are you suggesting?
LAMING: I think we will be taking more and I think we'll be taking more than the current 30 per cent ratio. I think that this is a holding position until a further figure is arrived at in a few weeks.
HAMMER: Andrew Leigh, how many Syrian refugees should Australia take?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: I think we should take more, Chris. But not because we're taking less refugees from other countries. It's not as though the situation in South Sudan or Iraq and Afghanistan has gotten significantly better over the past years. Yet one of the first acts upon coming to office was the Abbott Government cutting the refugee intake from 20,000 to 13,750. It's not good enough to send people up into Geneva with a plan of shuffling around refugees from different countries. We ought to be going over there saying Australia will take more refugees. Labor would like to see us take 27,000 refugees and the Government should immediately reverse its cut to the refugee intake.Read more
SKY AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Syrian refugee crisis; China Free Trade Agreement.
KIERAN GILBERT: Andrew Leigh, a lot to get across. First off on the issue of refugees and the Syrian intake particularly: what's your view on this? Should there be an extra contingent that the government takes in and what sort of number are you talking about?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Well Kieran, unless you think that the needs of other developed countries have gone down, the only way in which you can provide more assistance, be more generous, is to raise the refugee intake. I've consistently argued that it was a mean-spirited decision of the Government to cut the refugee intake from 20,000 to 13,750 when they first won office. Labor would like to see that go back over time to 27,000; doubling today's intake.Read more
TWO YEARS SINCE TONY ABBOTT'S 'LOWER TAXES' FALSEHOOD
Two years ago, Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey’s Liberals promised Australians that “taxes will always be lower under a Coalition government.”
– Real Solutions campaign brochure
It turns out that even when he writes things down, you can’t trust Tony Abbott. The Coalition are now running one of the highest-taxing governments in Australian history.
In Joe Hockey’s second bungled budget, Australia’s tax-to-GDP ratio rose to 22.3 per cent. The tax take is set to rise even further to 23.4 per cent over the forward estimates.
Don't cook the goose on tax reform, Huffington Post, 4 September
What does an efficient tax system look like? Economists will tell you that its one where we minimise the unwanted distortions on behaviour. Most taxes change what people do: if you tax chocolate bars at a higher rate than apples, people will be more likely to pack a Granny Smith with their lunch.
But some taxes lead to far bigger distortions than others. Insurance taxes discourage people buying insurance, which means they’re more vulnerable to risk. Stamp duty discourages mobility, which means we have too many empty-nesters rattling around in homes that would be better used by growing families. The result of inefficient taxes like these is underinsurance and higher house prices.
Efficiency isn’t the only thing that matters, but it has to be part of the debate. As 17th century French politician Jean-Baptiste Colbert put it, ‘The art of taxation consists in plucking the goose so as to get the most feathers with the least hissing’.
BELCONNEN COMMUNITY WELL ACQUAINTED WITH ABBOTT GOVERNMENT & FARCE
Last Friday, all of Australia looked on with open-mouthed astonishment at the Abbott Government’s ‘border farce’ debacle.
For Canberrans however, another farce has been unfolding for almost a year now as the Government has continually put off making a decision about where to base the merged Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Since September last year, the Government has been considering ripping the department out of the Belconnen Town Centre, where Immigration has been based for more than 40 years.
RADIO NATIONAL DRIVE
THURSDAY, 3 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: China Free Trade Agreement; State of the Australian economy; Canning by-election.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: Let's kick off with the China Free Trade Agreement, which the Coalition has been defending today. The Opposition has reservations about arrangements for foreign labour under the deal, but Trade Minister Andrew Robb says those aspects of the negotiations are the same as when Labor initiated negotiations 10 years ago. Dr Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer – nice to have you back on RN Drive.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks Patricia, lovely to be with you.
KARVELAS: The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, is pushing for changes to be made to the FTA. But as the Trade Minister told us yesterday, making those changes is likely to lead to the Chinese walking away. That's the risk, they say. Is the Opposition playing politics as the risk of losing a deal vital to the national economy?
LEIGH: Patricia, we simply want the Government to sit down with us and work through the real concern that many Australians have about the fact that this is the first trade deal that removes labour market testing for Chinese migrants in the trade and technical occupations. That's a threat to what free trade agreements ought to do, which is to create more jobs and better paying ones. I'm a free trader not from blind ideology, but because I know the evidence that bringing down trade barriers has been good for creating Australian jobs. It's the migration portion of this agreement that Labor has concerns about.