MONDAY, 22 JULY 2019
Subjects: The Morrison Government’s policy nudity and economic inaction, the Drought Future Fund, Newstart.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: They say that it’s only when the tide goes out you find out who's been swimming naked. As the tide goes out on the Australian economy, we’re increasingly discovering the policy nudity of the Morrison Government. We've got engineering construction down, new car sales down, retail sales in the doldrums and productivity flatlining. Unemployment in Australia is a full percentage point higher than it is in Britain or the United States or New Zealand. We've got productivity growth now, according to the Productivity Commission, which is ‘mediocre’.
And in the face of all of this, the Morrison Government is stubbornly refusing to bring forward the infrastructure investment that the economy needs. When we left here last time, it was after a vote in which the Morrison Government had failed to accelerate the schedule for tax cuts. Labor was calling for more Australians to get a bigger tax cut sooner, to provide that critical stimulus that the Australian economy needs. But instead the Morrison Government has failed to focus on the big challenges to the Australian economy. They don't have a plan for wage growth. They don't have a plan for boosting productivity. They don't have a plan for bringing down the jobless rate. We now have an unemployment rate in remote Australia of 10 per cent. For Indigenous Australians, 21 per cent. We’ve got 150,000 Australians who have been out of work for more than a year, 80,000 of them out of work for more than two years.Read more
ABC RN DRIVE
THURSDAY, 4 JULY 2019
SUBJECTS: Tax cuts, John Setka.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. Welcome.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Patricia. Great to be with you.
KARVELAS: Labor said it didn't want to stand in the way of badly needed economic stimulus, but this was going to pass with or without you. So why didn't you decide to back it earlier?
LEIGH: Patricia, we wanted to fight for what's right for the economy, which is ensuring that we got money into the hands of workers straight away. We moved amendments in the House of Representatives and in the Senate that would have seen the middle income tax cut brought forward from 2022 to 2019. The economy is really fragile right now. Just today we've had problematic figures come out on job vacancies and retail sales. Yesterday we had dwelling approval figures coming out that were of equal concern. Tuesday the Reserve Bank was cutting rates down to historically low levels. Wages have been flatlining for six years. Productivity, according to the Productivity Commission, is ‘mediocre’. We’re nine months into a per capita recession and economists think that there's about a one in three chance that will fall into a full recession in the next few years. So our priority was always on ensuring that the economy got the stimulus it needed now and that's why we moved those amendments in the House and in the Senate. And when they were unsuccessful, we ultimately had to make a decision as to whether to vote for or against the unamended package, and we took the view that we wouldn't stand in the way of getting money into the economy now.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 4 JULY 2019
The Liberals have become the party of procrastination. With the economy tanking faster than the leadership tilt by the member for Dickson, the government's entire focus has been not on today, but on five years time.Read more
CONDOLENCE MOTION – ROBERT JAMES LEE HAWKE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 3 JULY 2019
He drinks like a fish, swears like a trooper, works like a demon, performs like a playboy, talks like a truckie—and acts like a politician. Almost your cliche Aussie. Except in this case it's Bob Hawke, and the only typical thing about him is the way he's larger than average in almost everything. Bob Hawke is your typical Australian, oversize.
If you want to understand Australia's 23rd Prime Minister, you can do no better than to read Craig McGregor's 1977 profile. It's a time when Bob Hawke isn't Prime Minister, he's not even in parliament—he's running the ACTU—but it's an extraordinary insight into the man.
Craig McGregor follows Hawke for a few days, and in part of it he tells the story of Bob popping into a bar in Melbourne for a quick five-minute chat. Two hours and half-a-dozen drinks later, Hawke starts to leave.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 2 JULY 2019
The debate in this House comes down to one simple proposition. We on this side of the House are arguing for tax cuts for everyone now. The Coalition are arguing for inequitable tax cuts in five years time. And which of those arguments should prevail depends on one simple question: is the Australian economy weak or is it strong?
A few facts. Inflation is now virtually non-existent, new building approvals are drying up, new car sales are falling, unemployment is rising—our unemployment rate is now one percentage point higher than it is in Britain, the United States, Germany and New Zealand—real wages have been flatlining for six years and household savings are low. The Productivity Commission says productivity growth is ‘mediocre’ and notes that in farming, mining, construction, transport and retail labour productivity has been falling.
This year, for the first time on record, the amount of capital per worker went backwards. We have got fewer new start-ups now than we had in the early 2000s. Real GDP per person has been falling for the last nine months. We are in the longest per capita recession since the early 1980s.Read more
2GB MONEY NEWS
TUESDAY, 2 JULY 2019
SUBJECTS: Interest rate cut; tax cuts.
ROSS GREENWOOD: Great to have your company here on Money News, going right around Australia. Of course this interest rate decision we've heard about today from the Reserve Bank, cutting interest rates to these record lows, just 1 per cent for the cash rate. And tonight a series of lenders bringing out variable interest rates for mortgage borrowers at two point something per cent - some 2.89 per cent I’ve seen today. Then you've got some of our big banks - the ANZ, for example, clearly learned a lesson from the last time rates were cut. It didn't pass it on in full and gained the full wrath of our politicians and the community. Today said they would pass these rate cuts on in full. But what does it say about Australia's economy and indeed what more needs to be done? Let's now go to the Shadow Assistant Finance Minister or Minister for Treasury. That man is always great with his time and that is Andrew Leigh, who was on the line right now. Andrew, many thanks for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Ross. Glad to be with you again.
MONDAY, 1 JULY 2019
Subjects: Tax cuts, penalty rate cuts, the government’s bold economic forecasts, Christopher Pyne’s newfound camera shyness.
LAURA JAYES: Joining me now is Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh. He's always in town because this is your hometown. Where is Labor at? What is your position on the tax cut package at the moment?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Laura, we want to make sure that more Australians get a bigger tax cut sooner. The economy needs that additional stimulus and Australians need some support after years in which wages have been flatlining. Labor is encouraging the government to bring forward the stage two tax cuts and we want to get those stage one tax cuts done as quickly as possible.Read more
MONDAY, 1 JULY 2019
Subjects: Tax cuts, penalty rate cuts, the government’s heroic economic forecasts.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Today's the day when many Australians were meant to be seeing more money in their pockets. Instead they're getting less. Scott Morrison promised that on the 1st of July his tax cut would begin to flow. He lied. Many Australians will not get the tax cut today they were promised by Scott Morrison, because he ineptly failed to get the legislation through Parliament when Labor offered bipartisan support. But instead today we’re going to see 700,000 Australians on penalty rates getting less money in their pockets. As a result of the Coalition's cuts to penalty rates, these 700,000 Australians will lose up to $2000 a year through lower penalty rates.Read more
ABC NEWS RADIO
MONDAY, 1 JULY 2019
Subject: Tax cuts.
SANDY ALOISI: Let's speak now to Labor MP Andrew Leigh, who joins us from Parliament House in Canberra. Mr Leigh, good morning. Thank you for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Sandy. Great to be with you.
ALOISI: The Prime Minister says Labor's threats to block the package are an act of belligerent arrogance. Will you accept the election mandate and backed the Government's plans in full?
LEIGH: Our proposal is to ensure that more Australians get bigger tax cuts sooner. That's what the economy needs and that's what Australians need. It’s the 1st of July today and that’s a day that marks 700,000 Australians beginning to lose penalty rates under a Morrison Government. Some will lose up to $2,000. We know that the economy is having all sorts of problems. Forecasts out today show that twenty leading Australian economists universally disbelieve the government's household spending forecasts. You've got gold prices at record highs, bond prices at record lows, and you’ve got unemployment higher than it should be. The Australian economy needs stimulus now. Australians need tax cuts now, not off in 2024.Read more
FOUR REASONS FOR TARGETING FOUR PERCENT UNEMPLOYMENT
KEYNOTE ADDRESS TO THE INEQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY CONFERENCE, CO-HOSTED BY GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY AND THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND
28 JUNE 2019
My thanks to the organisers of this important conference for the chance to speak with you today.
I acknowledge the traditional Indigenous owners of the lands on which we meet today, and pay respects to their elders. Achieving equality of opportunity relies crucially on Closing the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Over the past generation, inequality in Australia has risen markedly. Whether measured by wealth, income, earnings or consumption, the gap has widened. As many of the presentations in this conference have highlighted, more inequality has meant more social immobility. I think of this using the analogy of a ladder: when the rungs are spaced a long way apart, it’s harder to climb up and down.
There’s also an issue of misperceptions. Many Australians think that the distribution of incomes is fairer than it really is. Surveyed on their perceived level of wealth inequality, the typical Australian thinks that we have a more equal distribution of wealth than in Scandinavia. In reality, Australian inequality is closer to inequality in the United States.Read more