FAIRFAX BREAKING POLITICS
MONDAY, 17 AUGUST 2015
SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality; Tax transparency; Environmental Protection Act.
CHRIS HAMMER: Andrew Leigh, given that it appears that it's unlikely there will be a vote in Parliament on same-sex marriage and there's now a debate about plebiscites verses referendums before, during or after the election, where do you think we should head?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Chris, I think people are making this more complicated than it needs to be. When the Marriage Act was changed in 2004 to prevent same-sex marriage, none of the conservatives – Tony Abbott included – said that that should go to the people. The talk now of a plebiscite or referendum is just a delaying tactic, a blocking tactic which is, as today's polls show, against the wishes of two-thirds of Australians.
HAMMER: It's not a scuttling tactic?
LEIGH: It's probably that as well. But this is not a reform which ought to be threatening to Australians. This will strengthen traditional marriages, not weaken them. It will put us in the position of following the rest of the advanced countries in the English speaking world – countries like New Zealand, Britain, Ireland and the United States where the forecast plagues of locusts have not materialised since same-sex marriage has been allowed.Read more
JOE AND JOSH PRESS THE PANIC BUTTON AS TAX INACTION LAID BARE
Joint media release with Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen
The Abbott Government is a shambles on multinational tax, as ministers desperately try to hide their inaction on making multinationals pay their fair share.
Later today the Senate’s corporate tax inquiry will table a report which lays bare the worrying scale of tax avoidance by big multinationals.
Joe Hockey and Josh Frydenberg have been out spinning hard in response, but they can’t even get their own policies straight.
Teamwork the key to success, The Chronicle, 4 August 2015
In 1990, as the Voyager 1 spacecraft was leaving our solar system, astronomer Carl Sagan persuaded NASA to turn the camera around and take one last photo of earth. In the image, our planet appears as a pinpoint in the midst of space.
The photo – known as ‘Pale Blue Dot’ – hangs on the wall of my Parliament House office, as a reminder to keep things in perspective. But the fact of the photo is also an awesome reminder of what humans can achieve together.Read more
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.