Speaking


Audio Recordings

For audio recordings of my speeches and conversations at events across the country, please see this podcast below. It's also available on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.




Written Speeches

Below you will find transcripts of doorstops, speeches and media interviews.

Coalition Budget fails to forward plan - Transcript, ABC Radio Melbourne

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RADIO MELBOURNE
WEDNESDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2020

SUBJECTS: Federal budget; the Morrison Government’s lack of plan for full employment, for climate change, for universities, for older workers, for childcare, for productivity; the Government’s track record on Sports Rorts, Reef Rorts, HelloWorld, the Paladin scandal, Robodebt and Watergate.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI, HOST: I’ve left Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury waiting, and I apologise Mr Leigh for doing that. But I did want to get a quick response from you to the budget last night. Is it the right amount of money spent the right way?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Hello, Virginia. Great to be with you and your listeners. We’re concerned about the size of the debt that Australia is racking up and what we get for it. So a trillion dollars of debt, but there's no plan for full employment, for climate change, for universities, for older workers, for childcare or for productivity. So we think that if you're going to be racking up that much debt - no surplus until the 2030s at the earliest - you could have gotten more for the economy. We're worried that older workers are being left out, that there's wage subsidies for hiring under-35s but for nearly a million older workers who are on unemployment benefits there's no incentive for employers to bring them on.

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Budget must not increase inequality - Transcript, CNBC

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TV INTERVIEW
CNBC
TUESDAY, 6 OCTOBER 2020

SUBJECTS: JobKeeper and the risks of increasing inequality; Labor’s plan for an Australian Centre for Disease Control; the need to invest in education; proposed tax cuts; competition in Australia.

WILL KOULOURIS, HOST: Firstly, in terms of what we've seen from the government in terms of the COVID-19 response - and I suppose from a bipartisan perspective - what do you think that they've gotten right so far?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Australia’s put in place a wage subsidy scheme, which we call JobKeeper, in common with many other countries. It was something the Australian Government was initially hesitant to do. The Labor Party, the business community and the union movement pushed strongly for that to be in place and that's generally regarded as being the most effective measure to reduce the job losses. But we're still in our first recession in a generation, and we came into this off the backs of fairly stagnant economic performance over recent years. Productivity going down, wage growth very slow, problems in retail. So Australia approaches this from a macroeconomic position of weakness rather than strength.

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Budget needs to prioritise jobs - Transcript, 2SM Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 6 OCTOBER 2020

SUBJECTS: Budget Day; Proposed tax cuts; the need to prioritise jobs and education; Scotty from marketing earning his nickname; Reserve Bank meeting.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, was a professor of economics from the Australian National University and was a principal advisor at Australian Treasury from 2008 through to 2010. And he joins us on the program. Andrew, good morning, mate.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. Great to be with you.

PAUL: All right. Look, there's a lot of numbers, figures, all sorts of things being thrown into the mix. But how do you view tonight's announcement by the Treasurer?

LEIGH: I think your point before Marcus about ‘this isn't Scott Morrison's money’, this is money that is going to be paid for by future generations of Australians, is really the salient one. We've got debt going to a trillion dollars, we're going to remember that all this spending is borrowed spending and so it needs to do maximum good in getting the economy going. It's only stimulus when it’s spent, so giving tax cuts that end up being saved isn’t going to create jobs. The priorities have got to be to create jobs and to build back better through the recovery.

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A connected life is a happier life - Transcript, 2CC Canberra Live

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2CC CANBERRA LIVE
TUESDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2020

SUBJECTS: Reconnected; Deliberative democracy and mitochondrial donation reform; the precarious nature of a casualised workforce and the mental health of Australian workers.

LEON DELANEY, HOST: 26 to five on 2CC Canberra Live until six o'clock. You can join this circus anytime you like, 6255 1206. I guess I’m the ringmaster. My next guest is - I don't know - the lion tamer, I guess. Time to welcome to the program to celebrate the news of his brand new book, the Federal Member for Fenner in the ACT, Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon. Better a lion tamer than a lion, I suppose?

DELANEY: Well, I don't know exactly. I'm not entirely convinced on that one. But just be thankful I didn't say, you know, clown.

[laughter]

LEIGH: Exactly. Small mercies.

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Government has sad track record on technology - Transcript, Sky News First Edition

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TV INTERVIEW
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
TUESDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2020

SUBJECTS: The Morrison Government’s woeful track record on technology; the need to invest in education; Terminals/MUA dispute; Reconnected.

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Let's go to Canberra now. Joining us live is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, good to see you. First of all, let's get your reaction to this announcement coming up today from the Prime Minister.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES:  We've clearly seen rapid uptake in technology. We're probably at 2010 when it comes to globalisation, but at 2030 when it comes to technological uptake. What I worry about from this government though is their track record. You’ve just got to look back at the census fail and the robodebt disaster to worry about the government's ability to really get it right when it comes to technology. Rationalising business registers is something that Parliament passed previously, getting a director identification number is something that should have been done years ago. So some of these measures are reannouncements, to the extent that they’re fresh we’ll obviously look through them carefully. But the best way of getting Australians engaged with technology is to expand education, and right now you're not seeing that with universities. You're not seeing an expansion of universities, which should take place at an economic moment like this.

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From Morrison Stagnation to Morrison Recession - Transcript, 2SM Sydney

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2020

SUBJECTS: Cuts to JobKeeper and JobSeeker; Morrison Stagnation turns into Morrison Recession; the need to invest in education; firms treating JobKeeper like BonusKeeper.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Let's speak to Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury now on this issue, at 12 and a half minutes after seven. Andrew, good morning to you, mate.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. It's great to be with you. 

PAUL: Yeah. Nice to speak to you again. I spoke to Katy Gallagher yesterday and like Katy, you and I go back to Canberra days. How are things?

LEIGH: Canberra’s going well. We’re heading into the ACT election on October 17, and the place is starting to warm up. Spring has sprung. I was out running at 5.30 this morning with the light up and the kookaburras going and the beautiful bush. It's a great place. 

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Morrison stagnation came before Morrison recession - Transcript, Sky News First Edition

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TV INTERVIEW
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
THURSDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER 2020

SUBJECTS: Westpac’s record fine; Insolvency and government inaction on dodgy companies’ phoenixing activities; Paul Keating and the RBA; JobSeeker and the need to support our unemployed.

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Joining me now is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for joining us this morning. Let's get your take on this breaking news from Westpac. It's agreed to pay $1.3 billion.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Yes, I pushed Peter King the CEO of Westpac in the House Economics hearings a couple of weeks ago as to why Westpac had only put aside $900 million to cover the fine. I was pretty sceptical at the time that that was going to be enough, given that the regulator was asking for $1.5 billion and given that the Commonwealth Bank's breaches - which didn't see them lose their chair or the CEO, didn't involve the sorts of extraordinary misconduct that Westpac was engaged in - cost the Commonwealth Bank $700 million. I see now Westpac hadn't put enough aside and indeed the fine is much closer to what the regulator was calling for than what Westpac had provisioned. That’s appropriate, given the misconduct.

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Government needs to change tack to avoid entrenching poverty - Transcript, 2CC Canberra Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2CC CANBERRA DRIVE
TUESDAY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2020

SUBJECTS: JobKeeper and JobSeeker; Cuts to universities and job losses in Canberra; the Morrison Government’s lack of long term planning; the need to support unemployed Australians and maintain a liveable rate of JobSeeker.

LEON DELANEY, HOST: The battle over whether or not to reduce employment subsidies continues, although that reduction is due to take effect from the beginning of next week. New analysis shows that the ACT will lose almost $17 million a week when the payments are reduced next week. The JobKeeper rate is due to fall by $300 a fortnight from the start of next week for full time employees, by $750 a fortnight for part time employees, and further reduced again in January, Joining me now, Member for Fenner, Dr Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon. How are you?

DELANEY: Very well, thanks. Thanks for joining us today. JobKeeper - well, we've said all along it was a jolly good idea. It's done a great thing in keeping the economy supported. It could have been a little better, there were some cracks through which some people fell. But now of course the crunch time has come. We're about to see it start being wound back. There's been a lot of argument and discussion in recent times about whether or not now is the time to do this, but that's what's happening. What do you see will be the fallout when this proceeds next week?

LEIGH: It'll be twofold, Leon. First of all, we're going to have a range of people not getting the support that they used to have, either because their firms aren't eligible or because their amount of assistance is being scaled back from $750 a week to $600 a week. But we're then also going to see the spill over impact to the community, because JobKeeper money is going to people who are living paycheque to paycheque, and so it's all getting spent. It’s all going back into retail, into hospitality, into paying the rent. And so we're going to see millions of dollars ripped out of the ACT economy when JobKeeper gets cut at the end of the month.

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It's called JobKeeper, not bonuses for billionaires - Transcript, 6PR Perth Live

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
6PR PERTH LIVE
TUESDAY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2020

SUBJECTS: JobSeeker; Companies treating JobKeeper like BonusKeeper; October Budget; the Morrison Government’s lack of long term planning.

OLIVER PETERSON, HOST: Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Olly.

PETERSON: It looks like more than 3000 people have found a loophole with JobKeeper. They’re claiming unemployment benefits because the asset test was waived. Seems a bit odd, Andrew.

LEIGH: It certainly does, Olly, and the government could have dealt with this anytime in the last six months with just the stroke of a pen. The thing about the JobKeeper and JobSeeker changes is that the government had extraordinary discretion to be able to close this loophole, and seems to have chosen not to.

PETERSON: We're talking about people who may have assets such as cars, perhaps holiday homes, totalling more than a million dollars. Should they have to pay this back?

LEIGH: I think it’s a question for the government. They're the ones that chose not to close the loophole, they're the ones that have chosen to allow JobSeeker to be used in this way. So really, it's up to them how they deal with an issue that shouldn't have gotten to this stage.

PETERSON: They're going to be closing that loophole this Friday as the JobKeeper program is having a few nips and tucks, for want of a better term. The asset test will return later this week. So it's estimated 30,000 people will be affected by the asset limits. Is that some sort of acknowledgement or confession, do you think Andrew, from the government that this loophole should have been closed when the program was created?

LEIGH: Olly, I think it made sense at the time the changes were made [in March] that we relaxed the asset limit somewhat. The problem was that the government allowed it to go completely and then didn't keep an eye on who was actually claiming. We do need to make sure that the support’s available for people who need it. I know that the sudden snapback in JobKeeper and JobSeeker is going to take a lot of money out of local communities. One thing about the payments given to those who are earning very little is that they go straight back into the economy. So they're out there supporting retail, supporting hospitality, supporting childcare. And as that money gets taken out of communities, we can expect a follow on effect on the economy.

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More education means a more productive and equal Australia - Transcript, ABC News Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC NEWS RADIO
FRIDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2020

SUBJECTS: Australian universities facing job losses after missing out on JobKeeper; Companies treating JobKeeper like BonusKeeper; Charities facing a perfect storm.

GLEN BARTHOLOMEW, HOST: The ABC is revealed one of America's top universities, with revenue of 16 and a half billion Australian dollars, has received the JobKeeper payment at its Sydney campus. New York University is an elite institution with outposts all over the world, but staff at its Sydney campus were apparently able to access Australia's taxpayer funded JobKeeper program. Its eligibility could infuriate Australian universities, who missed out and where job losses have exceeded 11,000 with more to come. Federal Labor MP Andrew Leigh is the Deputy Chair of the House of Representatives Economics Committee. He recently asked why many corporations in receipt of millions of dollars in JobKeeper payments seem to be passing it on to their executives in the form of large bonuses, while the taxpayers cover their wage cost. Andrew Leigh, good morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Glen. Great to be with you.

BARTHOLOMEW: First, reaction to this news that a New York University was eligible for this taxpayer assistance.

LEIGH: Look, I don’t begrudge NYU getting it. I don’t begrudge a private Australian university - Bond University - getting it. But it is pretty extraordinary, isn't it, that the government's changed the rules three times to prevent public universities from accessing JobKeeper. We're now seeing 11,000 job losses. Universities Australia say it might go to 21,000 losses. And all this at a time in which young people are facing the worst labour market in decades, when we should be opening up university places. Now the smart thing to do during a downturn is to provide young people with a chance to study. We ought to be expanding universities, not contracting them.

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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.