MONDAY, 13 MAY 2019
Subjects: Five years on from the Liberals’ horror 2014 Budget, Labor’s plans for affordable housing, the Liberals’ scare campaign on negative gearing.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much for coming out today. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Five years ago, the Liberals brought down their horror 2014 Budget. They said there'd be no cuts to health. They lied. They said there’d be no cuts for education. They lied. They said there'd be no cuts to the pension. They lied. They said there'd be no cuts to ABC or the SBS. They lied. The 2014 Budget was a horror show in Australian politics and if Scott Morrison is re-elected on Saturday it'll be his blueprint for the next three years.
Scott Morrison is a man bereft of ideas, a failed ad man who’s given up on reform. But he was as enthusiastic a backer for that 2014 Budget as you could find in the Parliament. Scott Morrison was a man who was very happy for the Liberals to go out and break their pledges to the Australian people to look after the social safety net. If the Liberals are re-elected on Saturday, you will see more tax breaks for the top end of town, tax loopholes for multinationals, and cuts to health and education – which we know from Grattan Institute modelling amounts to some $40 billion of secret Morrison cuts. Secret Morrison cuts that could be even worse than the 2014 Budget.Read more
CHARITY AND NOT-FOR-PROFIT SECTOR PRE-ELECTION DEBATE OPENING REMARKS
FRIDAY, 10 MAY 2019
Subjects: The Liberals’ war on charities, the Liberals’ no show at the debate, Labor’s 10 point plan for the charities and not-for-profit sector.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS: Well, thank you very much David and I’ll weave into my remarks the origins of this place, it will come up in just a moment. I acknowledge that we meet on the land of the Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation and pay my respects their elders. David [Crosbie], thank you for organising today and for your leadership. The charitable sector owes you a great debt for all that you do. I recognise Rachel Siewert and acknowledge the empty chair for a Coalition representative, with David’s invitations having been turned down by Zed Seselja, Kevin Andrews and Paul Fletcher. It's a pity not to have them here. I think the sector is owed the kind of charity debate that we had in the previous two elections, and it’s a shame the Coalition is a no-show today. I also acknowledge the range of charity and not-for-profit leaders here today, including Sue Woodward and Adrienne Picone.
When I think back to my teens and twenties, some of the most important memories are volunteering. I helped build walking tracks in Lane Cove and Nowra with the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers. I dressed up in a clown suit to sell juggling balls to raise money for Oxfam. I volunteered as a law student at Redfern Legal Centre, at the Welfare Rights Legal Centre in the ACT. When I think about my three boys and when they’re at their best, it's often when they’ve joined me on one of my regular park clean ups. Doing something for the community, rather than doing something for themselves. A life lived in service to others is a life well lived. In that, I'm following somewhat in the footsteps of my grandfather, a Methodist minister who worked here in Melbourne and who passed away in 1970 doing a run up Mount Wellington in Hobart to raise money for overseas aid.Read more
THURSDAY, 9 MAY 2019
Subjects: Labor’s plans to help vulnerable individuals and small businesses with their tax, and strengthen the volunteering culture among tax students and professionals.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thank you everyone for coming along today to The University of Canberra. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fenner.
We are here today to announce that if elected, a Shorten Labor Government would give $150,000 in ongoing funding to establish a tax clinic right here at the University of Canberra. We know that deep-pocketed billionaires like Clive Palmer can access an armada of accountants when it comes to navigating the tax system, but for many vulnerable Australians and small businesses, tax means late nights and worries about whether you've got it wrong. Too many Australians are struggling to try and sort out their tax affairs. Tax clinics have worked effectively in the United States where the low income tax clinic model is a proven success. At Curtin University, a tax clinic has been operating for a number of years now, serving vulnerable taxpayers and small businesses.
And that’s why a Labor Government has announced that if elected, we wouldn't just trial tax clinics - we'd put them in place. Ten tax clinics across the country and right here at the University of Canberra a tax clinic which would look to serve not just the ACT, but the region. We’ve even spoken about the possibility of the UC tax clinic taking to the road aboard a bus that the University of Canberra has used in the past to engage in outreach allied health care provision. So tax clinics are a great innovation for University of Canberra and they're also great for the outlying population, ensuring people have access to that first rate advice. They're going to be vital too as we look to build a culture of giving back within the tax profession. In law, we've got community legal centres where many law students will spend some time during their training. Many doctors will have an opportunity to engage in pro bono work. But we haven’t been quite as good in the past when it comes to tax and providing opportunities for tax professionals and tax students to put their altruistic urges into action. Tax clinics will do that. They’ll work with local tax practitioners and they’ll ensure that we build that culture of giving back among tax professionals.Read more
WEDNESDAY, 8 MAY 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s charity policy; the Coalition’s war on charities; News Limited’s attack on Bill Shorten’s mother; News Limited’s use of tax havens.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much everyone for coming along today. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits. I'd like to thank SANE Australia for hosting us here today. I'm joined by my colleagues Mark Dreyfus, the Shadow Attorney-General, Fiona McLeod, our candidate for Higgins, and Josh Burns, our candidate for Macnamara.
It's been a tough six years for Australia's charities. They have borne the brunt of a war on charities. We've seen the government go through six different ministers responsible for the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. Over the course of 2011 to 2016, the government's goal was to scrap the ACNC. When they couldn't succeed with that, they put a charity critic in charge of the charity regulator. The war on charities has prompted two open letters to successive prime ministers from the charity sector. A great deal of energy of Australia's great charities and not-for-profits has been chewed up in fighting against the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government's war on their work.Read more
2GB MONEY NEWS
TUESDAY, 7 MAY 2019
Subjects: Reserve Bank decision, Labor’s plan to crack down on multinational tax avoidance, climate change.
ROSS GREENWOOD: I thought I'd just bring here somebody who's really good with his time here on the program. That is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, who's on the line right now. Andrew, many thanks for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Ross. Great to be with you.
GREENWOOD: All right. I want to start there with the Reserve Bank and this decision to keep rates on hold and where it might go. Wages has been a big issue in this election campaign and clearly many Australians right now are feeling the pressure of not having had a wages increase yet their costs, their household bills, even now their supermarket prices are starting to rise. So your side of politics has said you want a living wage. The question is whether Australia can afford that living wage, as you've described it in the election campaign.
LEIGH: Ross, I think the question is whether we can afford to have wages growth still stuck in the doldrums. Wages growth under this Government has been lower every quarter than in any quarter under its predecessor. We've seen wage growth at 1.9 per cent since the 2013 election. Even in the global financial crisis wage growth didn't drop below 2.9 per cent. That matters because, as the adage goes, my spending is your income and your spending is my income. What doesn't go into workers’ wallets doesn't go back into the economy. One of the reasons we've seen this flat-lining of retail sales, the fall off in new car sales, has been that wages have been been stuck in the slow lane.Read more
ECONOMIC REFORM: AMBITION VERSUS ZUGZWANG
SPEECH TO AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS ANNUAL CONFERENCE
WEDNESDAY, 8 MAY 2019
(Check against delivery)
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and pay respect to their elders.
My thanks to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors for the chance to speak with you about Labor’s positive plans for the economy.
In an era of shrill soundbites, your organisation has a track record of producing careful research that shapes policy debates. Your research reports have dovetailed closely with our priorities, covering topics such as modern slavery, fossil fuel investments, and whistleblowing. I know this research is closely read by my colleagues Chris Bowen, Jim Chalmers, Clare O’Neil, Madeleine King, and Matt Thistlethwaite. Fresh ideas can help shape the policy debate for the better.
To take just one example, you publish an annual report on CEO Pay in ASX200 firms. Last July, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors reported that the best-paid CEO in Australia, Don Meij, received $37 million. Commentators were quick to note the contrast between this pay packet and the reported underpayment of Domino’s pizza workers.Read more
RICHO, SKY NEWS
WEDNESDAY, 1 MAY 2019
SUBJECTS: Eastern Australian Irrigation, Clive Palmer, Facebook and Google tax bills, Adani, the Liberals’ literal decimation of public service jobs.
GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Our next guest is Andrew Leigh and he's in one of my favourite places, Townsville, or he's been there I think today. Welcome to the program, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks, Richo. Great to be talking to you from Townsville.
RICHARDSON: And how was it in the Deep North? Is it, have you had a good day?
LEIGH: It’s been terrific. Cathy O’Toole and I announced a tax clinic at James Cook University. This is an investment which will see James Cook University tax students reach out to the community to help low income taxpayers and small businesses with their tax affairs and also to try and build that culture of giving back to the community among tax professionals. And then, I’m Shadow for Charities and Not-for-Profits, so in the afternoon visited a number of co-operative businesses, including Defence Bank where I bought this pig here. The pig is sold by Defence Bank to raise money for their Defence Bank Foundation, which helps soldiers with PTSD. So any of your viewers who are looking for a piggy bank for the kids, jump on the Defence Bank website, pick up a pig, help out our soldiers.Read more
THURSDAY, 2 MAY 2019
Subjects: Labor’s commitment to help Indigenous students in remote and regional Queensland access quality education; Labor’s plans to create a fairer economy through the mutuals and co-ops sector.
CATHY O’TOOLE, MEMBER FOR HERBERT: It's really fantastic to be here today with the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh and Queensland Senator Murray Watt and Jeff Reibel the CEO of Cowboys and also in Melina from the cooperatives and mutuals association who will speak after with Andrew. We are at NRL Cowboys House, girls house specifically, which is a fantastic facility in this Townsville community providing education for young First Nations women and they do a fantastic job with young women from year 7 to year 12. The announcement that Andrew will make in a moment means a huge deal to this facility and to this community. So we'll hand over now to Andrew to make the announcement.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much, Cathy. Cathy has been at the forefront of addressing social disadvantage as Member of Herbert. She is somebody who is a passionate campaigner against inequality and for a fairer and more inclusive society. Terrific to be here too with my friend and colleague Murray Watt and Melina Morrison, who will say a few words in a moment about a separate announcement.Read more
WEDNESDAY, 1 MAY 2019
Subjects: Labor’s commitment to fund an ongoing tax clinic in Townsville, Eastern Australian Irrigation, Clive Palmer, Facebook and Google tax bills.
CATHY O’TOOLE, MEMBER FOR HERBERT: It's really great to be here this morning with Dr Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, at James Cook University with Van as well. Andrew is going to talk to you this morning about a wonderful initiative that Labor has for a tax clinic. It will create an enormous opportunity for our students here to practice tax law. It will be with industry. It will be one of the best opportunities young people get to put their studies into practice and this is a valuable announcement for our community here in Townsville. And I'll just hand over to Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks, Cathy. There’s no more ferocious fighter for Townsville than Cathy O’Toole. She’s been arguing very strongly that James Cook University should receive this funding for an ongoing tax clinic. Labor's tax clinic policy was announced last year ahead of the government. It’s not for a set of trials - it's for ongoing funding, $150,000 apiece for ten tax clinics across Australia. We're delighted to announce that one of those tax clinics will be right here at James Cook University, headed by Van Le.Read more
MONDAY, 29 APRIL 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plan to help boost Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurship; Labor’s Pensioner Dental Plan; Labor’s plan to make childcare more affordable.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. I'm delighted to be here at the University of Canberra with the Labor candidate for Canberra Alicia Payne, who is also a former researcher here at the University of Canberra at NATSEM. And with Peter Radoll - Peter and I worked together at another university a bit down the road. Peter in spearheading the Indigenous programs here has been tremendously important not just for helping to close the gap within the University of Canberra, but also in playing a leadership role nationally.
The University of Canberra punches above its weight when it comes to Indigenous programs. Tom Calma, the Chancellor, has led a university which is looking to engage right across the spectrum. My youngest son Zachary was in the Wiradjuri early learning centre here in the University of Canberra. On the walls of the Wiradjuri centre are the photographs of two men, Gough Whitlam and Vincent Lingiari. No child leaves Wiradjuri without knowing the stories of both men. The University of Canberra also has important programs in ensuring that it attracts and retains more Indigenous students. This is absolutely vital as we look to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in areas such as employment and education when presently the Closing the Gap targets are not on track.Read more