FRIDAY, 15 MARCH 2019
SUBJECT: Labor’s plans to give Australians hotels control over their businesses.
LEON BYNER: You've got in this country two large businesses - these are multinational companies - who control up to 85 per cent of online accommodation bookings in Australia. And do you know what they are able to do - I think the fact that they could even do it in the first place was outrageous - that they say to a hotel or motel, doesn't matter who it is, what size, ‘you will not in your advertising on your Facebook for your company, your business, yu will not undercut our prices’. Because the fact of the matter is. if you book through them you'll often get a better deal. Now you've got companies like Expedia and Booking.com that have got 85 per cent of this market. Now I've got Dick Smith on the line and Dick, before I get to you I want you to hear what a good policy is about to do. Okay, so you stay there and don't go away. I want to talk to the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew, I'm very glad to have you on today because one of my passions has been that for too long corporations have been able to bully small businesses and because they've got such market power they can get away with it. Now in this space of hotel bookings, tell us what you're proposing if you win the election.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Leon, we're planning to go straight to the problem you've talked about - getting rid of those price parity clauses that prevent small local hotels offering the best deal on their own websites. These large multinational booking providers have a massive share of the market and they're taking a whopping slice of booking fees. So if you book a hotel, coming to see WOMADelaide or the Adelaide Fringe, you might pay a $100 for a room and see $30 of that go overseas. A 30 per cent booking fee is a massive hit to a small operator.Read more
TUESDAY, 12 MARCH 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plans to give Australians hotels control over their businesses, Nationals chaos and LNP civil war over coal, Adani.
JO BRISKEY, LABOR’S CANDIDATE FOR BONNER: Jo Briskey here, Labor's candidate running at the federal election for the seat of Bonner, where I'm welcoming Andrew and Ed and also Richard from the Accommodation Association here at the Manly Marina Cove Motel down in Manly in the wonderful electorate of Bonner, talking about Labor's policy today around making it easier and fairer for customers and local businesses and importantly for families being able to get some really great local accommodation, good accommodation for those family holidays. So I'm absolutely thrilled to be here this morning, welcoming these lovely gentlemen to the wonderful Manly harbourside. Andrew, would you like to say a few words about today’s announcement?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION: Thanks, Jo. It’s a real pleasure to be here with my friend and colleague Ed Husic and Jo Briskey, a terrific candidate for Bonner, and with Richard Munro, who has been campaigning hard on behalf of the accommodation industry for these vital changes. Labor wants to put power back in the hands of Australian tourists and Australian hotels. Right now, the duopoly of multinational booking providers going under various names - Expedia, Hotels.com, Kayak, Booking.com, Priceline, Wotif - have been dominating the market for online bookings. They’re charging extremely high booking fees - they can range up to 30 per cent. They're able to maintain their market share through what's called price parity clauses, by requiring small hotels like this one to not offer a cheaper price to guests on their own website. The result of that has been that up to a third of the cost of accommodation is going offshore to these large multinational firms. In a time when we've got wage growth in the doldrums, we've got retail sales down, where we've got disappointing growth figures, we don't want to see more policies benefiting the top end of town over Aussie small businesses.Read more
ABC CANBERRA BREAKFAST
TUESDAY, 12 MARCH 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plans to support sustainable public transport in Canberra, federal ICAC, Labor’s plans to give Australians hotels control over their businesses.
DAN BOURCHIER: Although the date for the next election hasn't yet been set, it's largely seeming like it will be at some point in the later half of May. But we've seen lots of election promises on both sides of the aisle - everyone really make commitments right across the nation. Today Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will announce a $200 million investment towards stage two of Canberra's light rail track to Woden, if Labor's elected the next federal election. Federal MP for Fenner is Andrew Leigh, he's with us on the phone. Good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning Dan. You're sounding as though you’re a bit croaky at the moment?
BOURCHIER: I'm a little, a little bit congested, but I’ll persevere onwards and upwards.
LEIGH: I hope you’re on the mend soon.
BOURCHIER: Tell me, why is Labor making this commitment?
LEIGH: It's really important that we get going on light rail all the way through from Gungahlin to Woden. As you recall, Dan, when we were last in office Labor funded the Majura Parkway, an important piece of road infrastructure taking pressure off our roads. This is a vital commitment that a Shorten Government would make - $200 million towards to stage two. So that’s light rail from the city through to Woden. It'll create hundreds of jobs and it'll ensure that people are able to move swiftly through the city as modern light rail projects do. It's been championed by Alicia Payne, our candidate for Canberra, and I know she'll continue working on those issues with the route if she is elected.Read more
ABC RN DRIVE
TUESDAY, 12 MARCH 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s push to give Australians a living wage, Josh Frydenberg’s backflip on the recommendations from the Banking Royal Commission, Labor’s plans to give Australians hotels control over their businesses.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: Dr Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and he joins us. Welcome back to RN Drive.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thank you, Patricia. Great to be with you.
KARVELAS: So the Federal Government has abolished the plan to dump trail commissions for mortgage brokers because of concerns around competition. They're going to get the ACCC to review it and they've got another review in three years. Why not review it given so much of the sector says that they worried about competition and that this will favour the big banks?
LEIGH: You just have to look at Kenneth Haynes’ report, which said on the issue of trail commissions ‘to put it bluntly they are money for nothing’. Now that’s a pretty damning indictment on their system. Trail commissions have been removed in other contexts and we believe it's appropriate to follow the Hayne Royal Commission’s advice on this.Read more
WEDNESDAY, 6 MARCH 2019
SUBJECT: The Morrison Government asking the Tax Office to enforce an unlegislated tax amnesty to benefit dodgy bosses.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Last year, the Liberals introduced a bill into Parliament that would give a 12 month amnesty to employers who hadn't paid their employees superannuation. Let's be clear what this means. If you're a boss who failed to pay your required superannuation obligations to your workers, you wouldn't face any penalties. Those penalties are significant. They can be up to 200 per cent of the amount unpaid, reflecting the fact that when an employee doesn't get superannuation then they miss out not only on the money but also on the earnings – the compounding returns.
Labor didn’t back that bill. We said we didn't believe that employers who had failed to live up to their obligations to their workers should get off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. We said that it wasn't appropriate to be letting dodgy bosses off scot free at the same time as the government came down like a ton of bricks on any welfare recipient who did the wrong thing. Yet the Liberals went ahead and asked the Tax Office to enforce the amnesty. It turns out from reports today that hundreds of applications rolled in and the Tax Office continued to process them. Now, recognising that the bill won't pass parliament - it's been languishing in the Senate since June last year - the Tax Office is going to use its discretion to waive penalties against these employers.Read more
WEDNESDAY, 6 MARCH 2019
SUBJECT: The Morrison Government asking the Tax Office to enforce a tax amnesty on dodgy bosses that had not passed Parliament.
LEON BYNER: There’s $6 billion – yes, billion with a ‘b’ - outstanding of unpaid super. Now the Tax Office has admitted that it will waive penalties for hundreds of businesses that have admitted failure to pay super in the wake of what was an amnesty. Now the amnesty didn't get through the Parliament. It’s a year later that the policies being dumped and the Coalition have done a press release recently saying the 12 month amnesty will run from today. But it's not actually happening. So let's talk to the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for joining us today.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Leon.
BYNER: When this went through up into the Senate, didn’t you guys reject this?
LEIGH: Absolutely. We have said from the moment that the government announced this legislation, Leon, that we didn’t think it was necessary. There are penalties in place for not paying superannuation, as there should be. Just as an employer who chooses not to pay wages to their workers suffers penalties, so too there are penalties for not paying superannuation. And this bill said that employers wouldn't cop those penalties, which could be up to 200 per cent of the unpaid amount, going back 25 years. Of course, when they told the Tax Office to start enforcing the unlegislated bill, people came forward. But the government should never have been getting the Tax Office to do something that the parliament hadn't agreed to.Read more
ABC NT DRIVE
MONDAY, 4 MARCH 2019
SUBJECT: Labor’s Tradie Pay Guarantee.
LIZ TREVASKIS: Are you a tradie or perhaps you live with one or play sport with a tradesman. You probably know - I'm going to say you've definitely heard them complain that so-and-so was late paying them for a job that they've done and maybe that's why they can't buy the next round. But in the worst cases, you or your tradie friend may not have been paid at all because the company went bust. It's a serious problem in the construction sector and the Small Business Ombudsman says insolvencies are becoming more frequent, having a greater impact on family budgets. Federal Labor thinks it has the answer - a tradie guarantee, making companies who win Federal Government construction contracts put aside the money they owe their subcontractors in a trust. Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh drafted the policy. I spoke to him earlier and asked him to explain the plan for cascading statutory trusts.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: It's a complicated legal construct which delivers a very simple outcome. It means if you do to work on time, you get paid on time. It doesn’t how far down the food chain you are – whether you’re a contractor or a subcontractor or sub subcontractor - if you do the work on time, you'll get paid on time. We know, as you said, that this is a massive problem in the construction sector. We have people not only having struggling to pay the bills, but also then the cascading effect on their health, there’ll be stress on their relationships - sometimes marriages will breakdown as a result of this. Around half of the construction invoices don't get paid on time. We want to start with big federal contracts, and then work with states and territories to roll out the system of cascading trusts for state and territory projects and then onto private projects ultimately.Read more
3AW WITH NEIL MITCHELL
MONDAY, 4 MARCH 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s fairness fund; Banking Royal Commission; Labor’s support for domestic violence survivors; Labor’s plans to tackle tax havens and multinational tax avoidance; dividend imputation.
NEIL MITCHELL: On the line, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning, Neil. Great to be with you.
MITCHELL: Thanks for talking. We don't want Rupert Murdoch, what about a tax on him?
LEIGH: Neil, this is coming on the back of the Hayne Royal Commission which as you know has exposed some extraordinary behaviour. You've got the fees for no service scandal, you've got people losing their homes, you've got dead people being charged for financial advice-
MITCHELL: So how much of this fund will go to those victims?
LEIGH: Well, we've ensured that we're going to boost financial counsellors. We're going to put money into these flexible support packages for victims of family violence, but we've also announced-Read more
TUESDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2019
SUBJECTS: Franking credits, Labor’s Tradie Pay Guarantee.
LEON BYNER: Let's bring in the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for coming on. What do you say to what Gottliebsen had to say?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Australia is unusual in the world - in fact, unique in the world - in having a system of refundable franking credits. It's not the way franking credits worked when Paul Keating introduced it in 1987. It was changed in 2001. So there’s a group of taxpayers - 8 per cent of taxpayers - who don't pay the Tax Office, they get paid by the Tax Office. And at a time when we want to invest in solving the crisis in aged care, to put more money into schools and invest in reducing those hospital waiting lists and extend early childhood the three year olds, we have to look at tax concessions like this one. You have to ask yourself: if this is such a great tax arrangement, why are we the only country in the world doing it this way? More than half the benefits go to people with more than two and a half million dollars in their superannuation account. I don't deny that they worked hard and saved hard, but the question is whether they should be getting a cheque from the government at a time when the government says it can't afford to put in place enough home care packages for our older Australians.Read more
TUESDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plans to protect our tradies; Snowy 2.0; AAT appointments.
CATHY O'TOOLE, MEMBER FOR HERBERT: It's great to be here today at the Oonoonba State School with the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh, the Dawson candidate for Labor, Belinda Hassan and our candidate for Queensland Senator, Nita Green. We're here today to look at the school and the result of what's happened at the floods.
But what I would like to say to the people of Townsville, on top of these dreadful floods, we have had an incredibly horrible tragedy happen overnight with the loss of two little children - a three year old and five year old from one family. I am sure I can say on behalf of this whole community, our hearts go out to that family. And I would ask our community in the spirit of resilience and cooperation that we have seen throughout the floods, that we think about this family, and we do what we can do in our own communities to be as supportive as is humanly possible for this family at such a dreadfully difficult time.
But from that moving to our purpose of being here today, the announcement that Bill is going to make just folds in beautifully into the fact that our city is literally being rebuilt. That's what's happening now. The contractors and workers who are here are doing a magnificent job - as they are all over the city, and we just need to ensure that we protect them into the future. And I'll just hand over to Bill.Read more