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
2GB MONEY NEWS
MONDAY, 22 APRIL 2019
SUBJECTS: Barnaby Joyce’s $80 million water buy back; Labor’s plans to crack down on tax havens; Facebook scare campaigns; negative gearing; Labor’s plans to give everyday Australians a pay rise.
HOST: Somebody who’s always great with his time here on Money News, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, who is on the line right now. Many thanks for your time, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Always a pleasure, Ross.
HOST: Look. I want to start in regards to Labor today giving a hint that it might set up a royal commission into water buybacks under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. Now it's interesting, I had a yarn with Clive Palmer a week or so ago and there's two areas that he says he believes with all of his advertising he's gaining votes. One is in the very north of Queensland, in the coal mining areas where Adani is controversial, and of course the CFMEU is urging Labor to get on with building Adani. The other place he says is in the Murray-Darling Basin, where he believes he's actually taking votes off the Nationals. Why would a royal commission into water buybacks be so important for Australia?
LEIGH: We need to first see where the department comes back to with regard to the questions that we've asked. As Tony Burke said, we've put a number of questions to the department about why they seem to have paid Versace prices for a Reject Shop product. It looks as though they've been not only dealing with a company headquartered in notorious tax haven, the Cayman Islands, but also on the face of it significantly overpaying. We've said to the department we want answers on that within the next 24 hours and certainly a royal commission remains on the table.Read more
WEDNESDAY, 17 APRIL 2019
SUBJECTS: The Liberals’ cuts to health, Labor’s Cancer Plan, the environment.
ELIDA FAITH, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR LEICHHARDT: Good morning. My name is Elida Faith and I’m the Labor candidate for Leichhardt. I’m here today with Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh and Queensland paramedic Jen Miran. We’re outside the Cairns Hospital. Our hospital has seen $7.2 million in cuts from this LNP Government. Let's not forget that the Cairns Hospital doesn't just serve as the Cairns and the hinterland, it reaches as far as the Torres Strait and the Cape. We have dedicated doctors, nurses, hospital workers and paramedics that are under-resourced and overworked. Now, I've been hearing a lot of stories, people have been sharing with me what their experiences have been and they have been absolutely heartbreaking and infuriating. It is not okay that a 69-year-old woman has to sit in the emergency department for three and a half hours with her 91-year-old mother. It is not ok that our paramedics are sitting in the halls of the emergency department, waiting to transfer their patients, instead of being out in the community saving lives.
Now I know that Warren Entsch has been here this morning and I hope he looked every single worker and patient in the eye and told them why tax cuts to the big end of town is more important than their jobs and quality health care at the hospital. Now we know the LNP, in order to give tax cuts to the big end of town, has to cut services by $40 billion a year every year by 2030. And I want to know from Warren Entsch today just how much of that $40 billion in cuts is going to come out of our Cairns Hospital, because our hospital cannot stand any more cuts. I'd like to hand over to Andrew now.Read more
Diamonds, Dynamite and Distrust: How Transparency Can Help Rebuild Public Confidence - Speech, Melbourne
DIAMONDS, DYNAMITE AND DISTRUST: HOW TRANSPARENCY CAN HELP REBUILD PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
KPMG, THE GROUP 100 & WOLTERS KLUWER CONFERENCE: ‘WITHOUT TRANSPARENCY, THERE IS NO TRUST’
TUESDAY, 16 APRIL 2019
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, on whose lands we gather today and pay my respect to their elders. Thanks to Andrew Porter and Stephen Woodhill for bringing together this conversation and to KPMG Chairman Alison Kitchen and the team at KPMG for their hospitality. It’s great to be in Melbourne. I started my day running around the Tan this morning, and at one point realised that there were four people around me, all clad head-to-toe in black. A very Melbourne moment.
You’ve asked me to speak today on trust and transparency, so my focus will be not only on the choice ahead for Australia on May 18, but also on the long-term challenge for business and government of boosting the strength of our civic society.
Capital is a familiar concept to economists: it’s an asset that produces a valuable return. A return to capital is why governments look to encourage physical capital investment, it’s why Labor is going into the election with an Australian Investment Guarantee and an ambitious infrastructure plan. Human capital is another kind of asset that produces a return. It's why Labor is advocating stronger investment in early childhood, in schools, in apprenticeships and in universities.
A third kind capital is social capital. This is the notion that the ties that bind us together have an inherent value - that there is as a an economic return from those networks of trust and reciprocity. This is self-evidently true in our own lives. Each of us know that a life lived together is a better life. But it's also true in markets. One of my favourite examples is the diamond markets, which demonstrate the two polar extremes of trust.Read more