Speaking


Facebook must act on misinformation - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 OCTOBER 2019

 For 15 years I have been a Facebook user. I was an early adopter, having studied at the university where Facebook was originally founded. Like many Australians I find Facebook a terrific way of staying in touch with friends and with constituents.

But Facebook has also been involved in more than its fair share of scandals. The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed huge amounts of personal data leaked to third parties. In Myanmar Facebook played a troubling role in the genocide of Rohingya Muslims. We've seen the use of Facebook by Russian troll accounts attempting to influence the United States election. We've seen, even after Cambridge Analytica, reports that data had been leaked to third parties from Facebook.

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Multilateralism, Plurilateralism and Bilateralism - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 OCTOBER 2019

I second the amendment. I spoke in the debate earlier this week about the specifics of the Indonesia free trade agreement, the largest of the three free trade agreements that we're discussing in this subsequent bill, the Customs Amendment (Product Specific Rule Modernisation) Bill 2019. Labor supported those free trade agreements, as we have supported trade liberalisation in Australia for nearly 50 years. This goes back to Gough Whitlam's decision in 1973 to cut tariffs by 25 per cent and to the decisions of the Hawke government to cut tariffs in 1988 and 1991. They did so not out of any ideological belief in free trade but because of a practical recognition that tariffs are a regressive tax and that the burden of tariffs falls more heavily on low-income Australians than on high-income Australians as a share of their income.

Just as it has been the Labor side of politics that has been sceptical about the benefits of consumption taxes, so too has it been the Labor side of the House that has been most sceptical about the benefits of tariffs, which are a consumption tax on overseas imports. We have recognised, too, that open markets benefit workers by creating more jobs. Exporting firms tend to pay higher wages and do more research and development. Multinational firms are more likely to pay higher wages. We recognise that openness is not an unmitigated good but, managed well, it can be one of the drivers of prosperity for Australia. Labor has always recognised that a strong social safety net must go hand in hand with trade liberalisation. Just as the Hawke government in the 1980s, through people such as John Button, worked with industries to engage in suitable restructuring packages, so too Labor today believes it is vital to have strong social supports and a cooperative relationship with industries to manage the impacts of trade.

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Government needs to face up to challenges in economy - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 22 OCTOBER 2019

Twenty-seven-year-old Robert Chang delivers food for work but it is his second job. He works long shifts as a postie and, after he's finished that, he works about 13 hours over the weekend for Uber Eats, delivering meals in south-west Sydney. He told the ABC:

'I am pretty much just no-lifing it—work, eat, sleep, rinse, repeat.'

That is reality for many Australians in the modern economy. We know what the other side is going to say over this. We know they will say there are no problems in the Australian economy, because the Prime Minister told their party room today that, unless you're facing down a nuclear Holocaust, things are doing alright. So, unless you're in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, no complaining. They will tell us on this side that we are irresponsible to point out the challenges in the Australian economy. But the fact is it is irresponsible not to warn of the storm clouds gathering on the horizon.

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Frydenberg needs to take responsibility for economic clouds - Transcript, Doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2019

SUBJECTS: The Government’s lack of economic leadership; COAG; Your Car, Your Choice; Government inaction on the need to fix fundraising; Syria.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Good morning everyone. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. We know full well that if the Australian economy was performing strongly, Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg would be claiming credit for every skerrick of economic news. But when we've got troubling economic indicators, they run a mile rather than take responsibility for the impact of their policies. We’ve seen Josh Frydenberg return from the IMF meetings claiming that the problems in the Australian economy are all someone else's fault, all have to do with global economic circumstances. And yet we know, repeated as recently as last week in the Deloitte report, that many of the Australian economy problems are home grown.

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Labor committed to better funding for research for Type 1 Diabetes - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 21 OCTOBER 2019

Kat Jeffress and her family used to have a dog called Banting, named after Frederick Banting, inventor of insulin. One night, Banting jumped up on Kat's bed, waking her up. Kat realised one of her children's glucose alarms was going off. Like its namesake, Banting had saved the life of Kat's son, Ethan. Kat and husband Stuart have three children: Amy, Ethan and Mia, and the youngest two have type 1 diabetes. Ethan and Mia showed me their small fingertips, each marked with dozens of pinpricks. They showed me their continuous glucose monitors and talked about how good it would be if in the future the monitors could connect with insulin pumps and make injections easier.

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Free trade agreement with Indonesia a long time coming - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 21 OCTOBER 2019

Selamat sore to those listening to this debate on the Customs Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019. When I was anak kecil I lived in Indonesia for three years. My father, Michael Leigh, was at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, funded by the Australian government to work in a special training program designed to improve social science research capability throughout Indonesian universities and Islamic institutes.

My mother, Barbara, was mostly looking after my brother, Tim, and me but also began the research into the Indonesian education system that became her PhD thesis, and wrote a book on traditional Acehnese textiles, Tangan-Tangan Trampil, or The Hands of Time.

Living in Aceh was a pretty extraordinary experience for an Australian boy to have. I attended the local school, where lessons were conducted in Indonesian and, where, in the face of a burgeoning Acehnese independence movement, we spent a large portion of the day singing nationalist songs to remind us all that we were Indonesian first and Acehnese second. The Suharto government was keen on that. We then played in the muddy playground—as the only white kid in the class, I was the only one whose white shirt had turned completely brown by the end of the day. My friend Niko Fahrizal and I would explore the local neighbourhood, playing by the river, watching the bigger kids at the volleyball nets, watching Scooby Doo at Niko's place. Niko is now an officer in the Indonesian military. When my mother, Barbara, visits, he calls her tante—auntie—Barbara.

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Strong and independent media vital - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 21 OCTOBER 2019

This is what the front page of today’s Canberra Times looks like.

This is what the front page of today’s Sydney Morning Herald looks like.

This is what the front page of today’s Australian looks like.

And it is a common feature of major papers right across Australia.

This is what it looks like when journalists say ‘enough’ to a government fighting against media freedom and the public’s right to know.

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Government not doing hard work on economy - Transcript, 2CC Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2CC AFTERNOONS
FRIDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2019

Subjects: The IMF downgrading Australia’s growth forecast; the Liberals mismanaging the economy; unemployment; ACT infrastructure plan; Labor declaring a climate emergency; the Liberals failing to act on climate change.

LEON DELANEY, HOST: Joining me in the studio now a very special guest - Andrew Leigh, Member for Fenner and Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon Leon. Great to be here in your brand-new studio.

DELANEY: Well, I was just asking you before why you wanted to come and visit today, and you said straight up ‘I just wanted to see the new place of business’. And I thought ‘well, you know you could have come on the grand opening on Monday’ but you weren't allowed to leave the Parliament, unfortunately.

LEIGH: We get locked up in the big house, I'm afraid. But it still has that new studio smell, which is your listeners are missing out on right now.

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Morrison pretending Australia doesn't have a joblessness problem - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 17 OCTOBER 2019

I rise to speak about the challenge of joblessness and poverty in Australia. This week is Anti-Poverty Week, and many community organisations are doing their best to help tackle the scourge of social disadvantage in Australia, and to help reduce the rate of child poverty, which is too high in Australia. There is, however, a difference in the philosophy that the two sides of parliament take towards joblessness. Those on the conservative side are more likely to refer to jobseekers as ‘leaners’ and to criticise them for not trying hard enough. We, on the progressive side of politics, recognise that the unemployment rate is, to a large extent, a function of the amount of jobs that are available.

If you go to Britain or to Germany or to the United States or to New Zealand, you'll find an unemployment rate that is around four per cent. That's the unemployment rate that the Reserve Bank of Australia thinks is possible in Australia and which would be consistent with starting to get wages growing again and starting to get inflation moving back into the target band. Yet, in Australia, we have a government that seems comfortable with an unemployment rate that sits above five per cent and has done so throughout the period in which the government has been in office. That means that there are hundreds of thousands of Australians who, if we had the same unemployment rate as the countries I've named—Britain, New Zealand, the United States and Germany—would have a job, but in Australia do not.

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Vale, Tim Fischer - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 16 OCTOBER 2019

It's not often that a Labor Party MP gets a call from a former National Party leader, but when Tim Fischer picked up the phone a couple of years ago I was delighted to take his call.

Tim was calling to speak about research that I'd done, with Christine Neill at Wilfrid Laurier University, on the impact of the firearms buyback on Australian gun homicide and suicide rates. We had found that over the decade before the Port Arthur massacre Australia had averaged one gun massacre every year—that is, one mass shooting in which there were five or more victims. We found that in the decade afterwards there wasn't a single gun massacre.

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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.