TUESDAY, 24 MARCH 2015
SUBJECT/S: budget; Abbott Government’s broken surplus promise
EMMA ALBERICI: Joining me now from Canberra are the Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Gentlemen, welcome.
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: Good to be here.
ASSISTANT TREASURER JOSH FRYDENBERG: Hi, Emma.
ALBERICI: Josh Frydenberg, when did the budget crisis end?
FRYDENBERG: Look, we were left a fiscal nightmare by our opponents and we've spent the last 18 months trying to repair it. There's still a long way to go. The key point here is that we were bequeathed spending growth at 3.7 per cent by Labor, and we've reduced that to 1 per cent. We are starting to see green shoots across the economy. Housing starts are up significantly, job advertisements are the highest they've been in 28 months. We're also seeing a good result following the lower Australian dollar – it's a boost for our export industries. Interest rate cuts as well as lower fuel prices are putting more money in the hands of families. So there are some very good signs across the economy but we are still very much focused on fiscal consolidation.
SKY PM AGENDA
TUESDAY, 24 MARCH 2015
SUBJECT/S: Rise of the sharing economy; Budget; Abbott Government’s cuts to pensions
DAVID SPEERS: You'll be aware of things like Uber – instead of catching a taxi and AirBNB – instead of staying in a hotel. This is a huge growth area at the moment. Services like AirBNB where you can go on a website and find a place to stay in thousands of cities around the world and do it relatively cheaply, it has had incredible growth. It has gone from a company worth about $20,000 to now being worth about $10 billion and it's available in 34,000 cities, 190 countries, 25 million guests have used it. Here in Australia, AirBNB has generated $114 million in economic activity in one year alone in Sydney. But it is completely unregulated at the moment, and is it being taxed enough? A lot of taxi drivers will complain that Uber drivers aren't paying a thing for a taxi licence, and they're cutting their grass essentially. Today the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh, gave a speech about all this at the National Press Club. He's launched a Discussion Paper and he joins me now. Thank you for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good to be with you, David.
SPEERS: This is a fascinating area, because it's a growing part of the economy here and around the world. But potentially it's not really regulated at all at the moment.
LEIGH: That's certainly the challenge, David. And I thought you did a really nice job in your intro there in talking about the sheer growth of this sector.
SPEERS: Well, I pinched a lot of your numbers.
LEIGH: Just to give you a couple more: one in 10 Sydneysiders has taken a ride-sharing ride, despite Uber having launched there less than a year ago. One in 300 Australian homes are currently listed on AirBNB. So we see the possibilities of this being good for consumers. But Labor is also concerned to make sure that workers are looked after and that we have the appropriate public safety protections that really allow this industry to flourish.
TRIPLE J HACK
TUESDAY, 24 MARCH 2015
SUBJECT/S: rise of the sharing economy
TOM TILLEY: Labor MP Andrew Leigh stood up at the National Press Club today and said Labor supports the sharing economy. Let's find out if he really means it: Andrew Leigh, thanks for joining us.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: It's a pleasure, Tom.
TILLEY: What are your favourite sharing economy apps that you use regularly?
LEIGH: Overseas I've used AirBNB and Uber and found them both to be good services. I also use hotels and taxis – it's quite a mix. So I guess you could say I'm a combined user of traditional services and a bit of sharing economy as well.
TILLEY: Ok, well these markets seem like they're going to exist with or without government intervention. We heard about the battle for Uber but there's plenty of people still catching Ubers even though governments in the states are trying to crack down on them. Do governments really have a choice whether you support these markets or not? Isn't it more of a question of going with the tide?
LEIGH: Tom, I think you're certainly right that these applications are having a huge impact on traditional markets. You look at the market capitalisation of Uber at $40 billion, it's now bigger than Hertz or Marriot Hotels. One-tenth of Sydneysiders have used a ride-sharing service and it's less than a year since Uber launched. One in 300 Australian homes are now on AirBNB. But that doesn't mean that government doesn't have an obligation to make sure that we encourage innovation while also protecting public safety.
LABOR RISES TO THE CHALLENGE OF THE SHARING ECONOMY
Labor today launched a new Discussion Paper on the rise of the sharing economy to help release the in this innovative new sector.
Australia has a housing affordability crisis, yet there are nine million spare bedrooms across the nation.
Some of our major cities are in gridlock, yet the majority of cars carry only one person. Many people own a power drill, yet use it less than an hour a year.
Sharing economy services can help us make more efficient use of the world’s existing stock of bedrooms, cars, tools and more.
SKY AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 23 MARCH 2015
SUBJECT/S: Emissions reductions targets; Budget; Moss Review; Pyne the ‘fixer’
KIERAN GILBERT: This is AM Agenda, thanks very much for your company. With me now, the Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert and the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Good morning gentlemen. First on the carbon emissions target, is the nation on track to meet the 5 per cent reduction by 2020 despite all the warnings of the Labor Party and other critics that direct action would not be enough?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Well Kieran, from all the data I've seen, emissions have been increasing not decreasing under this Government, you look at the official emissions data and they fell under the period of the carbon price, reductions around the order of around 1 per cent a year clearly on target, since then emissions have been tracking back upwards. If the Government's getting any future reduction emissions it's probably through their goading the car industry to leave and overseeing the death of manufacturing in Australian rather than because they actually have good policies. We're still yet to find a credible economist who thinks that paying polluters is a better way of reducing emissions than a market based approach.
MONDAY, 23 MARCH 2015
SUBJECT/S: Government’s lack of budget strategy; Lee Kuan Yew; Homelessness funding; Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Today the Parliament will be honouring Malcolm Fraser, a prime minister whose record on multiculturalism and on issues like apartheid is certainly to be admired. He was somebody who helped thousands of Vietnamese refugees settle in Australia and when other countries were fragile on questions of race, he took a very clear stance on the moral issue of apartheid. We'll also be now just a few days away from the next budget coming down. Extraordinarily, Australia is still talking about the unfairness of the last budget. We've got Tony Abbott, who when debt was one-seventh of national income, thought it was appropriate to drive debt trucks around, now thinks it's ok when debt is heading to half of national income. To my mind, that would require a debt aircraft carrier rather than a debt truck. This is a government which has lost the confidence of the Australian people because rather than being focused on the long-term future of 24 million Australians, it is obsessed by the short-term political prospects of 20 Cabinet ministers. Happy to take questions.
LABOR’S TAX EXCHANGES NET $730 MILLION
Labor welcomes word from Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan that bilateral information exchanges signed under the previous Labor Government have added $730 million to multinational tax revenue over the past two years.
Commissioner Jordan will today tell the Tax Institute’s annual conference that information sharing with other countries about the tax affairs of big multinationals netted $480 million in 2012-13. A further $250 million was collected in 2013-14.
COALITION TO HELP BIGGEST COMPANIES HIDE FROM TAX SCRUTINY
Leaks out of today’s Liberal party room confirm the Abbott Government is gearing up to dump transparency laws which would let Australians seen how much tax big multinationals pay.
Because of reforms introduced by Labor in 2013, the Australian Tax Office is getting ready to release information about the taxable income and tax paid for companies earning over $100 million.
But in today’s party room meeting, Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg reportedly announced he is working on plans to roll back the transparency laws.
FAIRFAX BREAKING POLITICS
MONDAY, 16 MARCH 2015
SUBJECT/S: Abbott Government’s attacks on pensions; higher education cuts; Asian Infrastructure Development Bank
CHRIS HAMMER: We're joined by Andrew Leigh, Labor Member for Fraser and also the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, and Andrew Laming, Liberal Member for Bowman in Queensland. Good morning gentlemen. Now I really have to start, Andrew Laming, with you after your comments on this program last week where you raised objections to the Government's policy on indexing pensions. You said that there were missiles, Exocets and torpedoes lined up at the policy from within the Government itself. Now, on the weekend Scott Morrison has suggested some sort of compromise with a review body to be set up. What's your reaction to that?
ANDREW LAMING, MEMBER FOR BOWMAN: Well the military ordinance is still there but it has not moved. There’s positive signs, we are seeing movement and I think that's what was wanted – not just by backbenchers. The nation wants to see a reasonable compromise supported by the crossbench in a way that pensioners can support. So what we've seen in the last week is an indication that pensions will be looked after by a separate and more apolitical body, and secondly reviewed according to economic circumstances. Both of them seem fairly reasonable but for the moment, pensioners will be asking the question: have our pensions been cut already? The answer is no. Are they automatically going to go from a high to a low level of indexation? Not necessarily. But that's about as far as we've got in the last week.
I was fortunate enough to join the panel on ABC's Q&A, where things got lively discussing everything from inequality to the future of our economy. Take a look: