HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 26 AUGUST 2020
We are now in the greatest economic downturn that Australia has seen since the Great Depression. Research from the Australian Treasury has revealed just how damaging this can be, particularly to young Australians. That research has looked at the so-called scarring effect, the long-term effect, of graduating in the teeth of a recession. I know this effect well, having finished high school in 1990 and seen some of my classmates who searched for work utterly unable to find it at that time.
We know now that there are 13 jobseekers for every job vacancy, so this problem is particularly acute.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 26 AUGUST 2020
The charity sector has a massive impact on our society and our economy. It is eight per cent of GDP, it has 1.3 million workers—about a tenth of the national workforce—and three million volunteers.
The charities sector is bigger than agriculture or manufacturing or retail, and yet the charity sector is under pressure like never before. Research from the Australian National University's Nicholas Biddle and Matthew Gray, commissioned by Volunteering Australia, found that two-thirds of volunteers were forced to cut back their hours as a result of COVID. A survey by Giving Tuesday found that nearly two-thirds of charities had a drop in volunteer activity and fundraising. Research by wealth management firm JBWere estimates that total donations will fall by seven per cent this year and 12 per cent next year.Read more
2CC CANBERRA DRIVE
TUESDAY, 25 AUGUST 2020
SUBJECTS: Google; the importance of supporting local Australian journalism; multinational tax avoidance; JobSeeker and JobKeeper.
LEON DELANEY, HOST: Have you noticed that when you open up Google Chrome or when you use Google search, these little yellow triangles pop up with warning signs saying ‘warning, warning, Will Robinson, danger’? No, they say something like ‘warning, the Australian Government is about to impose rules that will dramatically impact upon Google's ability to provide you with services’ or something to that effect. So in order to shed some light on just what damn hell is going on there, I thought I should consult with that well-known technology guru, the Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon.
DELANEY: I never knew you were a technology guru. When did this happen?
LEIGH: [laughter] Like almost everyone, I appreciate Google and make good use of their products, but I think they might have overreached in this case. This is simply an ask for a trillion dollar company to make a small contribution to keeping the news media going. And as you know, Leon-Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 AUGUST 2020
From 2006 to 2016, the number of journalists in Australia fell by nine per cent. Health reporting is down by 30 per cent, and science reporting is down by 42 per cent. In the past decade, more than 100 local or regional newspapers have closed, and the Liberals, in pursuit of their petty culture war, are cutting the ABC.
Never has the Australian media been under more pressure, and never have we needed quality journalism more.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 AUGUST 2020
Nothing I have done in my life has been as rewarding as being the dad to three little boys. Spending time with them, reading and playing games, is one of my true delights in life. But it's hard too. That's just dealing with one or two or sometimes all three of them. When I look at early educators and the work that they do every day, I do so with huge respect. This isn't babysitting; this is education.
As we learn more and more about neuroscience, we get the sense as to the importance of quality early education. That's why when Labor was last in government we pursued both a quantity and a quality agenda, ensuring that early childhood education was more broadly accessible but also raising the standards and the qualifications and ensuring that the ratios were right. That's vital not just for now but also in the future.Read more
SUBJECTS: The Liberal Party hosting fundraisers in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century; charities facing falling donations; stranded Canberrans returning home from the NSW/Victoria border.
LISH FEJER, HOST: In a couple of weeks, parliament will be sitting and already there are MPs and their staff quarantining here in Canberra. But there are preparations being made for three proposed Liberal Party fundraising dinners to make the most of the time with politicians back in town. Ben Morton, who represents the WA seat of Tangney, said the events were not being organised by his office but by the Tangney campaign, which is part of the WA division. A spokeswoman for Ben Morton and the Tangney campaign told The Guardian that the Australian Government advice is that Australians should comply with the relevant advice in the state or territory where they're located, as appropriate. These very small events, said the spokeswoman, will only go ahead if they strictly comply with the relevant COVID safe rules that apply for venues in the ACT. Dr Andrew Leigh is the ALP Member for Fenner and former professor of economics, and joins us this morning. Hello.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Lish. G’day, Adam.
FEJER: So, what have they done wrong here? You're taking them to task.
LEIGH: Yes. We've had a lot of parliamentary sitting days cancelled. Now that parliament is finally getting together, all politicians’ focus should be on the main game. And that shouldn't be on raising money for the Liberal Party. It should be on doing the work that our constituents want us to be doing. We need to be very careful and cautious about the spread of coronavirus. I know all politicians are being judicious in terms the number of face to face meetings they take. Our office is still doing phone calls and zoom where that works, just as a safer way of making sure we reduce any chance of the spread of the virus. I just don't think it passes the pub test to have a two and a half thousand dollar fundraiser at the moment.Read more
SUBJECT: Stranded Canberrans returning home from the NSW/Victoria border.
ROBBIE BUCK, HOST: It’s to do with those hundred or so Canberrans who was stuck at the Victorian border, and it appears after that conversation yesterday there's been some movement at the station. Dr Andrew Leigh is the federal Member for Fenner in the ACT. Morning, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Robbie. How are you?
BUCK: Very well. Things moved quite quickly yesterday.
WENDY HARMER, HOST: Yeah, you know we’re claiming credit for this one, don’t you Andrew?
LEIGH: I think we all should. It's a great result. It should have happened to week earlier, but the fact that finally the New South Wales Government saw sense is just terrific. And for those hundred Canberrans at the border, they will be very relieved to be back home and starting their two weeks of self isolation.Read more
ABC SYDNEY BREAKFAST
WEDNESDAY, 12 AUGUST 2020
SUBJECT: Canberrans stuck at the NSW/Victoria border.
ROBBIE BUCK, HOST: We’re going to take you to the New South Wales/Victoria border now. We have been talking about New South Wales travellers being stuck in Victoria, Wendy - a caller or texted - her tale of making a mercy dash because her mum was dying and then not being able to get back into New South Wales we’ve spoken about. But spare thought for a lot of the ACT residents who are stuck on the New South Wales/Victorian border, and they've been there for the last six days. They've been caught up in this rule change by the state government, requiring people traveling from Victoria to fly through the Sydney Airport before going to self funded quarantine. And Dr Andrew Leigh, who's the federal Member for Fenner in the ACT, happens to be one of those stuck there. Morning, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Robbie. Just to correct you, I’m not stuck there. I'm just trying to get my constituents back here.
WENDY HARMER, HOST: There's about 100 of them, I believe, Andrew.
LEIGH: It's a huge number, Wendy, and they're stuck in a sort of Kafka-esque nightmare where the ACT Government would be happy to go to the border with a couple of police cars and escort everyone back. It’s a three and a half hour drive, no one needs to stop, just a full tank of fuel and they’d go straight through. And what the New South Wales Government is saying instead is they should drive to Melbourne airport, abandon their cars, fly to Sydney, go into quarantine and then make their way back to Canberra. They’d endanger themselves and it'd come at a huge expense. Instead, they can come through New South Wales - endangering absolutely no one - and be back home. I just can't see what the New South Wales Government's problem is.Read more
2CC CANBERRA DRIVE
TUESDAY, 11 AUGUST 2020
SUBJECTS: Aged Care Royal Commission; Parliament sitting; ACT Liberal candidate dumped two days after replacing dumped Liberal candidate.
LEON DELANEY, HOST: Joining me now, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities and federal Member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon. Great to be with you.
DELANEY: Thanks for joining us again. Let's start with the Aged Care Royal Commission, because obviously that's been very important process in getting to the bottom of the deficiencies in our aged care system. And it was said yesterday that the pandemic has actually revealed all of the flaws that already exist in the aged care sector, in a way that has never been the case before. Some of the things that we've learned were shocking enough before the pandemic has struck, but the handling of the aged care system during the pandemic has also been extremely difficult and disappointing.
LEIGH: Certainly has, Leon. Labor called for a Royal Commission into aged care because we were aware of the significant problems within the sector, and the need for us as a nation to do better with aged care. But now we've found out of this Royal Commission that there was no plan to deal with COVID-19 in aged care, and that's just frankly scandalous, as Chris Bowen our Shadow Health Minister was pointed out. We know that aged care is a huge point of vulnerability for coronavirus. If you look at the deaths in Australia of COVID related deaths, 68 per cent have occurred in nursing homes. So the federal government's failure to better prepare aged care homes for coronavirus is a real scandal.Read more
ABC MELBOURNE DRIVE
THURSDAY, 23 JULY 2020
SUBJECTS: Budget deficit; Morrison Government failing charities; HomeBuilder failing to address economic inequalities.
RAF EPSTEIN, HOST: Andrew Leigh joins us. He is one of the MPs in Canberra. He's a Labor MP, he is part of the parliamentary committee called the Standing Committee on Economics. More importantly for this conversation, he is part of Anthony Albanese's finance team - he’s the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Raf, and thoughts from Canberra to you and your listeners. I know many Canberrans have been thinking of Victorian friends at the moment and all that you're going through there in Melbourne.
EPSTEIN: What number stood out for you today?
LEIGH: I think the real thing that stood out for me Raf was the lack of the long term plan. I mean, certainly we've got a lot of numbers around - we’ve got the figures on the the impact of the budget, the unprecedented - since the Great Depression - hit on the economy. But it was the lack of a long term vision for how we build back better, how we create those jobs that ensure we get to a full employment economy-Read more