Speaking


Economy's problems are not new - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 3 MARCH 2020

My 85-year-old constituent Jean Carter has had it tough. Last September her granddaughter, who lived in the same Wreck Bay house, passed away. Then the fires came within five kilometres of Wreck Bay and she was forced to evacuate. Ms Carter is a member of the stolen generations. She prefers self-reliance to government handouts, but she struggles to access what little disaster assistance is available from the Morrison government.

Here in Canberra, the Belconnen Tennis Club applied for a grant to upgrade their 50-year-old lighting system. Their submission ranked 82 out of 100: it did better than hundreds of applications that were funded. As President Martin Klein said after they were knocked back, 'To play tennis, you need to be able to see the ball'.

But those opposite do their best work in the dark.

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Vale, David Yencken - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 2 MARCH 2020

I want to pay tribute to a great Australian.

David Yencken passed away on 21 September at home in Albert Park, Victoria after a 66-year career in the public service which earnt him praise and multiple awards. Before he went into the public service, David ran one of the earliest art galleries devoted to Australian painting. He opened Brummels Gallery in South Yarra in 1956. The following year he broke new ground again. He opened one of the first motels in Australia. In 1965, David co-founded Merchant Builders Pty Ltd, which went on to win three Victorian Architectural Medals and several other architectural awards, including the inaugural Robin Boyd Environmental Award for changing the face of residential Melbourne in 1972.

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Climate action needed now - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 2 MARCH 2020

In 2008 Ross Garnaut's climate change review said that unchecked climate change would lead to more hot days, droughts, extreme weather, hailstorms, thunderstorms and floods. Here in Australia we've witnessed a summer with much of that in abundance. It's been a brutal summer for the east coast. The city of Canberra was hit by severe smoke haze. On Thursday, after almost 40 days of continual operations by the ACT Emergency Services Agency, the Orroral Valley fire was officially out. That fire was the first fire to threaten Canberra since the 2003 bushfires. ESA Commissioner Georgeina Whelan, the first female commissioner of the ESA, has been honoured with the ACT Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership.

The recent bushfires have brought out the best in some, but for others it has led to the spreading of misinformation or even disinformation.

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Superannuation fees cost us more than energy bills - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 2 MARCH 2020

Australians spend more on superannuation fees than they do on energy: over $30 billion per year. According to work by the Productivity Commission, this amounts to some 1.1 per cent of total assets, which may not sound like much until you realise that the difference between fees of one per cent and half a per cent is the difference between a nest egg which is 10 per cent bigger or 10 per cent smaller.

As the Productivity Commission noted, ‘While some may be receiving exceptional investment returns or member services, the evidence indicates that funds that charge higher fees tend to deliver lower returns once both investment and administration fees have been netted off. Higher fees also persist over time.’ The Productivity Commission further concluded that ‘Superannuation fees in Australia are higher than those observed in other OECD countries.’

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Launch of the Australian Social Progress Index - Speech, Canberra

LAUNCH OF THE AUSTRALIAN SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX

PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDS OF SOCIAL SCIENCE

PARLIAMENT HOUSE

WEDNESDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2020

My name is Andrew Leigh, one of the three convenors of the Parliamentary Friends of Social Science, along with Dave Sharma and Adam Bandt. Thanks to my colleagues Pat Conroy and Matt Keogh for attending. I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, and thank Kristy Muir and Megan Weir for their fascinating presentations.

As you well know, the conversation we're having around better measurement of wellbeing is one that's been occurring around the globe - the OECD's Better Life Index, the Millennium Development Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission, the Australian Bureau of Statistics Measures of Australia's Progress publication (which came out from 2002 to 2014). There’s also New Zealand's move to wellbeing budgeting, which my colleague Jim Chalmers said last week he would pursue were he to become Treasurer, looking at a broader range of indices alongside GDP, such as environmental performance, suicide and homelessness.

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Closing the Gap: Words are not enough - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 25 FEBRUARY 2020

Once again, we look at the Closing the Gap targets with some sense of dismay. Once again, Australia notes that we are not on track to meet those important targets.

Five of the seven targets are not on track: the target to halve the gap in child mortality rates, which was on track two years ago but is now off track; the target to halve the gap for Indigenous children in reading, writing and numeracy; the target to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance; the target to halve the gap in employment outcomes; and the target to close the gap in life expectancy. These are not on track.

Only two of the targets are on track: the target for 95 per cent of Indigenous four-year-olds to be enrolled in early childhood education and the target to halve the gap for Indigenous Australians aged 20 to 24 in year 12 attainment or equivalent. And so it is a disappointing track record. For the work that has been done, we note that much remains undone.

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Coalition needs to take responsibility for poor decisions - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 FEBRUARY 2020

Imagine you're facing a heatwave and your city has just experienced the worst air quality in the world.

Now imagine you're facing those threats while living alone.

Now imagine that your only way of communicating is about to be cut off.

That was the situation that Canberra woman Jenelle Outhwaite faced last month when she learned the CapTel service that she relies on was going to be axed by the Morrison government. Like thousands of Australians, Ms Outhwaite has hearing difficulties and relies on this vital service for everyday communications.

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Canberra, the celebration capital - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 FEBRUARY 2020

It is festival season in Australia's greatest city and over the weekend around 200,000 Canberrans came to the National Multicultural Festival, enjoying Korean deep fried chicken with cheese, Croatian cevapi, Tibetan momos, South Indian puri, North Indian butter chicken, debating the critical question as to whether the German or the Serbian stall produced the better sausage and enjoying some 220kg of potatoes prepared by the Czech association.

This weekend it continues with the Canberra Show coming up. Around 50,000 people attended last year and, with this being the first year that Canberrans can take light rail to the Canberra Show, hopefully that record will be broken. We have a host of exciting activities coming up.

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Labor stands for integrity and transparency - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 FEBRUARY 2020

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

It is a pleasure to move this bill today, expanding the reach of the ACT Integrity Commission. The ACT Integrity Commission passed the ACT Assembly in November 2018. It reflects the Barr government's strong commitment to tackling integrity issues within the ACT.

Labor stands for integrity and transparency. We have zero tolerance for corruption. In the ACT, as in the rest of Australia, the public has a right to trust that their public officials can stand up to justified scrutiny. This was a bill which passed the ACT Assembly with support from the ACT Liberals and the ACT Greens. It is vital that the ACT Integrity Commission has the same coverage of bodies in jurisdictions such as Victoria. In Victoria, the Integrity Commission covers the police but, as a result of the way in which policing services are delivered in the ACT, this is not possible within the scope of the ACT Self Government Act as it presently stands.

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ACT Integrity Commission a small piece of much larger debate - Transcript, ABC Radio Canberra

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC CANBERRA DRIVE
MONDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2020

SUBJECT: ACT Integrity Commission.

ANNA VIDOT: Andrew Leigh has introduced a Private Member's Bill which would give the ACT Integrity Commission oversight of the Australian Federal Police. Now of course, the fun intricacies of being the capital territory within the Commonwealth means that ACT Policing will not fall under the remit of the new ACT anti-corruption watchdog, in part because they're a branch of the AFP. So to explain why he wants the whole of the AFP included in the ACT remit instead, Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh joins me from Parliament House. Andrew Leigh, what exactly are you seeking to do with this bill?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Anna. Great to be with you and your listeners. This is a bill which is aimed at ensuring that the ACT Integrity Commission has the same scope of powers as, say, the Victorian Integrity Commission. I think most people when they think about a body which is looking at corruption would imagine that that would cover public servants, politicians and include the police. But because of the way in which the ACT gets its policing services through a contract with the federal government, that's currently not possible under the Self-Government Act. I’d assume that the Morrison Government would have been quite happy to work with the Barr Government in ensuring that they had the integrity commission that the ACT wanted, that had passed the Assembly. But it turns out the Morrison Government doesn't want a full blown integrity commission here in the ACT, so I've needed to move this private member's bill in an attempt to put pressure on the government to do the right thing.

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.