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Economic Reform: Ambition vs Zugzwang - Speech, Melbourne

ECONOMIC REFORM: AMBITION VERSUS ZUGZWANG

SPEECH TO AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS ANNUAL CONFERENCE

MELBOURNE

WEDNESDAY, 8 MAY 2019

(Check against delivery)

I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and pay respect to their elders.

Introduction

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.

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Tax havens being used to detriment of Australian taxpayers - Transcript, Richo

E&EO TRANSCRIPT
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
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.

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Helping the Cowboys help their community - Transcript, Doorstop

E&EO TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

TOWNSVILLE

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. 

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Havens bleeding the global tax system dry - Transcript, Doorstop

E&EO TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

TOWNSVILLE

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. 

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Labor has done the hard work and is ready to govern - Transcript, Doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
CANBERRA
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.

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Tax havens causing real problems - Transcript, 2GB Money News

E&EO TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

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.

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Australian healthcare will always be better under Labor - Transcript, Doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
CAIRNS
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.

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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’

MELBOURNE

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.

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Labor's bigger, better, fairer tax cuts - Transcript, RN Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

RN DRIVE

MONDAY, 15 APRIL 2019 

SUBJECTS: Labor’s plans for a fairer Australia; Healthcare funding.

PATRICIA KARVELAS: To talk through some of these issues I'm joined by a panel and you won't expect this, so keep listening. Nicki Hutley is a partner at Deloitte Access Economics, responsible for the report and the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh has agreed to join us to answer questions on what they've come up with. Welcome to both of you.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: G’day, Patricia. Great to be with you.

NICKI HUTLEY, DELOITTE ACCESS ECONOMICS: Thank you.

KARVELAS: So Nicki, I’ll start with you. Deloitte is arguing that Labor's policies would lower economic growth eventually by a third of a percent. Can you take me through the rationale that got you there?

HUTLEY: Yes, so I think it's important to know that there's a whole load of explanatory, you know, suggestions accompanying that number and what it is, what it is based on is saying that on the basis of tax policy alone that would be the impact on the economy. So compared to what the Coalition are offering, the Opposition are saying that they will have fewer tax cuts in the hands of people - so those tranches that the Coalition are promising to higher income earners, particularly further out at this stage not going ahead although they do have more at the lower end of the spectrum, and there are another raft of generous tax concessions that will be pulled back, in the form of negative gearing and franking credits and so on. And as a general rule of thumb when you take, you know - we are comparing two scenarios of one versus the other and saying that compared to the Coalition policies the higher amounts of tax collected have a negative impact on on the economy. But that said, there are a lot of other factors that are not taken into account and it's important to consider those things when we look at the picture as a whole. But of course people do tend to grab the headline.

KARVELAS: Andrew, what's your response to this analysis from Deloitte? Do you accept that there will be an economic cost from these revenue raising measures?

LEIGH: No I don't Patricia. This was a report that came out last month. There's no detail in the report as to how it's arrived at this figure of a third of a percentage point. That's just a one liner on page five and it looks only at the tax impact. So we don't accept that that's the impact of our bigger, better, fairer tax cuts in the economy - we actually think they'll have a stronger growth benefit. The report doesn't even look at the benefits for the Australian economy of Labor's spending on infrastructure, our spending on healthcare, our spending on education. If you uncap university places, get 200,000 more young people to university then that's got to have a productivity gain. If you put in place our competition reforms, that'll have a big gain. If you have a bit of stability in political leadership - not three prime ministers, three treasurers over six years but a stable, united government - then that will also have a growth gain. And if you ensure that you put aside those fiscal buffers which as Labor would do, paying down debt faster than the Coalition would, then you're better able to deal with a situation in which the world economy starts to wobble and we have to ensure that Australia doesn't go into recession - as the last Labor government had to do.

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Helping Melbournians navigate the tax system - Speech, Melbourne

HELPING MELBOURNIANS NAVIGATE THE TAX SYSTEM

THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE

MONDAY, 15 APRIL 2019

I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and pay respect to their elders.

Thank you to Provost Mark Considine and Melbourne University Law School Dean Pip Nicholson for your hospitality. I’d particularly like to acknowledge my colleagues. Labor’s Melbourne candidate Luke Creasey is an educator and somebody who is passionate about social justice and is enthusiastic about today's announcement. Peter Khalil, a Melbourne University alumnus, an internationalist and somebody with whom I've had many conversations about the importance of providing better supports to disadvantaged members of our community. Ged Kearney, who has spent her life standing up for working people and who is one of our most thoughtful voices in the Labor team about how to ensure that we have public services that work for all.

I’d especially like to thank Sunita Jogarajan and Kate Fischer Doherty, whose thought leadership is bringing the tax clinic project together at the moment. This is an enormously exciting announcement for us, an announcement that a Shorten Labor Government would provide $150,000 in ongoing funding for a tax clinic here at Melbourne University. Not a one off trial, but ongoing support.

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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.