HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 12 FEBRUARY 2020
When Megan was seven years old her dad lost his job. Megan told me that she kind of enjoyed it at the time. Rather than having to go to work every day, he would stay home and help her organise her toys. She'd get to walk to school with him, which she only realised later was because the family couldn't afford the petrol. Megan's dad had been the victim of phoenixing in which a dodgy director had shifted the assets out of the company, shut the firm down and caused him to lose his job.
The impact of phoenixing on the Australian economy is massive. PwC estimated that in 2016-17 the impact was at least $5 billion a year. That's $3.2 billion in unpaid bills, $300 million in unpaid employee entitlements, $1.7 billion in unpaid taxes and compliance costs. The stories of phoenix activity are legion. There were suggestions that phoenixing was one of the reasons for delays in the building works recently conducted at Parliament House. I have spoken to tradies on the Gold Coast, in Canberra, in Melbourne, in Sydney and in Western Australia who've told me they've been the victims of illegal phoenixing activities.
Phoenixing erodes the very bedrock of business which is trust.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 11 FEBRUARY 2020
Periodically in this House, we have a serious conversation about who's standing up for consumers and who's standing up for vested interests. We had that conversation in 2012, when Labor moved the future of financial advice reforms, opposed by the coalition. As the Hayne royal commission highlighted:
There must be recognition that conflicts of interests and conflicts between duty and interest should be eliminated rather than 'managed' …
Yet, when it came to office, the coalition set about winding back the future of financial advice reforms, ensuring that no longer did a best interest duty need to be followed. It would seem to be fundamental that a financial advisor needs to act in the best interests of their client, yet the coalition somehow thought that that ought not be the law of the land. Part of this wind-back involved the creation of a loophole affecting units or shares in listed investment trusts and listed investment companies. That has led to a significant increase in the market, with the LIC and LIT market doubling in size to $45 billion since 2015.Read more
Coalition commitment on beneficial ownership register remains unmet - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 10 FEBRUARY 2020
The Hayne royal commission's final report observed ASIC's 'deeply entrenched culture of negotiating outcomes rather than insisting upon public denunciation of and punishment for wrongdoing.' Commissioner Hayne raised a number of concerns about the policies and culture of ASIC and these were issues that our committee's deliberations went directly to.
We spoke to ASIC about their optimal litigation success rate. They advise that in the five years to 2018-19 their enforcement litigation success rate has been above 90 per cent. That does suggest that while they're having a good record in court, they may not be sufficiently aggressive in taking cases to court. The conversation over the optimal litigation success rate will be an ongoing one between our committee and ASIC.Read more
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 2020
SUBJECTS: Climate change; the economic benefits of renewable energy; Llew O’Brien quitting the Nationals; Scott Morrison’s lack of leadership.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Australia is the advanced economy that is most at risk from dangerous climate change. We know that if climate change is left unchecked, we could lose the Great Barrier Reef. We know the extreme weather events will get more and more frequent. Ross Garnaut’s report in 2009 warned of increased flooding, hailstones, fires, lightning strikes. So we know that Australia ought to be leading global efforts on climate change, that we have a unique interest in increasing the speed at which the world moves. This excuse that we’re a small share of global emissions misses the fact that if every country with less than 2 per cent of global emissions did nothing, a third of global emissions would not be acted upon.
Australia has been experiencing severe weather events already. We've gone from an extraordinary bushfire season to immediate floods. This is not normal. Extreme weather events like Australia has been experiencing are not normal. Here in Canberra we've been experiencing record temperatures. Successive days over 40 degrees. From the 1970s to the 1990s, we had a 25 year period in which the Canberra temperature never once went over 40 degrees. Now it seems to have become the new normal.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 5 FEBRUARY 2020
The Australian economy is in a bad way. In its latest business outlook, Deloitte Access Economics forecast below trend growth of two per cent in 2019-20 and 2.4 per cent in 2020-21. These figures are significantly below the Morrison government's midyear budget forecasts. Deloitte says:
The nation's growth won't lift that much from today's decade low and we don't expect unemployment to drop or wages to accelerate through 2020.
Retail, as they point out, is already amid its deepest downturn since 1990. You can see the collapse of the retail sector in the shuttering of so many household names among major Australian retailers. This sector is doing it tough under the Morrison government. Deloitte points out that construction is shrinking at its fastest rate since 1999. And, as the shadow Treasurer pointed out, ‘this is what happens when a Liberal government in its seventh year spends all its time spinning, pork barrelling and playing politics instead of actually coming up with a plan to meet the big challenges of the economy’.Read more
We can't talk about bushfires without talking about climate change - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 5 FEBRUARY 2020
Edward Ryan was born at Calvary Hospital on 20 January. A few hours later his parents' car was smashed by hailstones in the hospital car park.
As Edward left hospital with his parents two days later, Canberrans were being evacuated from their homes and workplaces as bushfires bore down.
When Edward was just a fortnight old, flames framed our southern skies, turning them red, as emergency services battled the Orroral Valley fire—the worst since the 2003 Canberra bushfires.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 5 DECEMBER 2019
This bill enjoys bipartisan support. It involves providing replenishment funds to six multilateral development organisations. But it comes at a time when aid has been savagely cut to the lowest level since records began. Since the government came to office in 2013, it has cut nearly $12 billion from Australia's aid program. That means aid as a share of national income is lower now than it was under Liberal prime ministers Menzies, Holt, Gordon, McMahon, Fraser and Howard. Those governments recognised the importance of overseas aid, not just in alleviating poverty but also in building trade in our region, and also in ensuring that our region is safer.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 3 DECEMBER 2019
In the 1980s, economist Gary Becker developed the theory of rational addiction. Rational addiction, which applies to any sort of addictive substance, is the notion that as an individual considers whether or not to take up an addictive substance they think rationally about the probability that they will get addicted to it and the costs and benefits of all of that—so, when a teenager takes their first smoke, they're thinking rationally about the long-term impact it will have on their lives if they become addicted; when somebody takes their first drink, they're thinking about the risk of addiction and, mathematically, quickly doing all the costs and benefits as to the lifetime impact; or, when someone gambles, there are also computing the costs and benefits and considering rationally the probability of addiction.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 3 DECEMBER 2019
Recently the House Economics Committee had the pleasure of hearing from Rod Sims, the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and his staff, to investigate a range of important issues surrounding competition and market dynamics within the Australian economy.
At the outset, as our report notes, there have been a number of worrying trends in the Australian economy, suggesting that it is becoming less dynamic. Sasan Bakhtiari has tracked the number of new start-up firms in Australia, going back to the beginning of the century. He finds that at the beginning of the century the Australian economy was creating new firms at a rate of about 15 per cent a year; now that's down to just nine per cent a year.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 2 DECEMBER 2019
The Christmas season can be hard on those who are down on their luck.
I thank organisations in Canberra who are doing their part to help the most disadvantaged in our community at this time. The Salvation Army in Scullin will be serving a Christmas lunch from 12.30, and St John's Care Reid will be serving its Christmas lunch from noon. St John's Care, UnitingCare Kippax and Canberra City Care are working together to make sure that they are helping as many people as they can during the Christmas season.Read more