ABC RN BREAKFAST
THURSDAY, 7 NOVEMBER 2019
Subjects: Big banks appearing before the House Economics Committee tomorrow; Labor campaign review; Innovation + Equality.
HAMISH MACDONALD: The chiefs of Australia's biggest banks will be back in Canberra tomorrow for their twice yearly parliamentary grilling as they face pressure for not passing on the Reserve Bank's latest rate cut in full. The former Turnbull Government launched the hearings three years ago while fending off calls for a banking royal commission. The hearings have now been expanded in the wake of the Hayne Commission, and this time around it also examined the superannuation sector as well as smaller banks. Andrew Leigh is deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Economics. Welcome to Breakfast.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Thanks Hamish, great to be with you.
MACDONALD: We've had a royal commission. There's an ACCC inquiry into mortgage practices. So what will you be interrogating the chiefs of Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank about tomorrow?
LEIGH: At the heart of the Hayne Royal Commission was the notion that greed and short term profit had been put ahead of basic standards of honesty. The Hayne Royal Commission called not just for tweaks in procedure, but for deep cultural change in our biggest banks. So I’ll be asking the big banks how they're going about implementing those significant changes, how they're going about ensuring that customers are placed first and that there will never again be the sorts of scandals that we've seen.Read more
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
TUESDAY, 5 NOVEMBER 2019
SUBJECTS: The Morrison Government failing to manage the economy; the Morrison Government failing to step up on the world stage; Labor election review.
LAURA JAYES: Let’s go live now to the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, Andrew Leigh. He joins me now from Sydney this morning. Andrew Leigh, thanks so much for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Laura.
JAYES: First of all, the RBA is meeting once again today to consider a rate cut, if another one is needed. What’s your tip on what decision they’ll make?
LEIGH: The markets have the Reserve Bank keeping rates on hold, but regardless of whether they cut by another 25 basis points or keep constant at 0.75 per cent, the RBA is running out of monetary policy firepower. We know that there's limited impact that quantitative easing could have, and so really the question is: will the Morrison Government step up and do with fiscal policy what the Reserve Bank can't do with monetary policy? We need structural reform. We need fiscal policy, and we need it now more than ever, given that we've had the worst retail sales numbers in a generation coming out yesterday. On a per person basis, the economy shrank over the last fiscal year. We've got unemployment a percentage point higher than in Britain or New Zealand or the United States. And we've got problems with wage growth being in the doldrums, which is really at the heart of the retail sales problem.Read more
HONOURING THE BICENTENARY OF THE BIRTH OF THE BAB, CO-FOUNDER OF THE BAHA’I FAITH
CANBERRA, 3 NOVEMBER 2019
It's an honour to be here today, on the lands of the Ngunnawal people. I pay my respects to elders past and present.
The Bab is to the Baha’i faith as Jesus is to Christianity - a leading figure whose life was cut short in his 30s, but whose teachings live on in the world today. At this moment in history it couldn't be more appropriate to be celebrating the Bab, for three reasons.
The first is the emphasis on inclusion in a world in which exclusion is becoming all too common, in a world in which people are being split into communities and there are too many of us seeking to divide us. His teachings resonated broadly. As Leo Tolstoy observed ‘I therefore sympathise with Babiism with all my heart in as much as it teaches people brotherhood and equality and sacrifice of material life for service to God.’Read more
ABC NEWS RADIO
THURSDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2019
SUBJECTS: Identity-matching bill; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mark Zuckerberg; Facebook advertising.
SANDY ALOISI: Let’s get reaction to this now. Federal Labor MP Andrew Leigh is with me now. Good afternoon. Thanks for joining us.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Sandy.
ALOISI: A fairly rare bipartisan decision on a bill that one could say was controversial from the outset.
LEIGH: Yes, and I commend the six Liberals on the committee for standing up for the basic principle that we shouldn't allow Peter Dutton to set up a mass surveillance system. As the bill was drafted, the Australian Human Rights Commissioner noted it could contemplate intrusive surveillance of people who hadn't committed any crime. That's a concern in the abstract, but it's a particular concern when at the same time as this bill is before the Parliament, you've got Peter Dutton saying that there should be mandatory prison sentences for people who engage in peaceful legal protest activity and calling for protesters to be photographed. We need to ensure that this doesn't lead to the establishment of a huge database of facial images that would allow people to be identified that haven't committed any crime.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 OCTOBER 2019
For 15 years I have been a Facebook user. I was an early adopter, having studied at the university where Facebook was originally founded. Like many Australians I find Facebook a terrific way of staying in touch with friends and with constituents.
But Facebook has also been involved in more than its fair share of scandals. The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed huge amounts of personal data leaked to third parties. In Myanmar Facebook played a troubling role in the genocide of Rohingya Muslims. We've seen the use of Facebook by Russian troll accounts attempting to influence the United States election. We've seen, even after Cambridge Analytica, reports that data had been leaked to third parties from Facebook.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 OCTOBER 2019
I second the amendment. I spoke in the debate earlier this week about the specifics of the Indonesia free trade agreement, the largest of the three free trade agreements that we're discussing in this subsequent bill, the Customs Amendment (Product Specific Rule Modernisation) Bill 2019. Labor supported those free trade agreements, as we have supported trade liberalisation in Australia for nearly 50 years. This goes back to Gough Whitlam's decision in 1973 to cut tariffs by 25 per cent and to the decisions of the Hawke government to cut tariffs in 1988 and 1991. They did so not out of any ideological belief in free trade but because of a practical recognition that tariffs are a regressive tax and that the burden of tariffs falls more heavily on low-income Australians than on high-income Australians as a share of their income.
Just as it has been the Labor side of politics that has been sceptical about the benefits of consumption taxes, so too has it been the Labor side of the House that has been most sceptical about the benefits of tariffs, which are a consumption tax on overseas imports. We have recognised, too, that open markets benefit workers by creating more jobs. Exporting firms tend to pay higher wages and do more research and development. Multinational firms are more likely to pay higher wages. We recognise that openness is not an unmitigated good but, managed well, it can be one of the drivers of prosperity for Australia. Labor has always recognised that a strong social safety net must go hand in hand with trade liberalisation. Just as the Hawke government in the 1980s, through people such as John Button, worked with industries to engage in suitable restructuring packages, so too Labor today believes it is vital to have strong social supports and a cooperative relationship with industries to manage the impacts of trade.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 22 OCTOBER 2019
Twenty-seven-year-old Robert Chang delivers food for work but it is his second job. He works long shifts as a postie and, after he's finished that, he works about 13 hours over the weekend for Uber Eats, delivering meals in south-west Sydney. He told the ABC:
'I am pretty much just no-lifing it—work, eat, sleep, rinse, repeat.'
That is reality for many Australians in the modern economy. We know what the other side is going to say over this. We know they will say there are no problems in the Australian economy, because the Prime Minister told their party room today that, unless you're facing down a nuclear Holocaust, things are doing alright. So, unless you're in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, no complaining. They will tell us on this side that we are irresponsible to point out the challenges in the Australian economy. But the fact is it is irresponsible not to warn of the storm clouds gathering on the horizon.Read more
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2019
SUBJECTS: The Government’s lack of economic leadership; COAG; Your Car, Your Choice; Government inaction on the need to fix fundraising; Syria.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Good morning everyone. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. We know full well that if the Australian economy was performing strongly, Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg would be claiming credit for every skerrick of economic news. But when we've got troubling economic indicators, they run a mile rather than take responsibility for the impact of their policies. We’ve seen Josh Frydenberg return from the IMF meetings claiming that the problems in the Australian economy are all someone else's fault, all have to do with global economic circumstances. And yet we know, repeated as recently as last week in the Deloitte report, that many of the Australian economy problems are home grown.Read more
Labor committed to better funding for research for Type 1 Diabetes - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 21 OCTOBER 2019
Kat Jeffress and her family used to have a dog called Banting, named after Frederick Banting, inventor of insulin. One night, Banting jumped up on Kat's bed, waking her up. Kat realised one of her children's glucose alarms was going off. Like its namesake, Banting had saved the life of Kat's son, Ethan. Kat and husband Stuart have three children: Amy, Ethan and Mia, and the youngest two have type 1 diabetes. Ethan and Mia showed me their small fingertips, each marked with dozens of pinpricks. They showed me their continuous glucose monitors and talked about how good it would be if in the future the monitors could connect with insulin pumps and make injections easier.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 21 OCTOBER 2019
Selamat sore to those listening to this debate on the Customs Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019. When I was anak kecil I lived in Indonesia for three years. My father, Michael Leigh, was at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, funded by the Australian government to work in a special training program designed to improve social science research capability throughout Indonesian universities and Islamic institutes.
My mother, Barbara, was mostly looking after my brother, Tim, and me but also began the research into the Indonesian education system that became her PhD thesis, and wrote a book on traditional Acehnese textiles, Tangan-Tangan Trampil, or The Hands of Time.
Living in Aceh was a pretty extraordinary experience for an Australian boy to have. I attended the local school, where lessons were conducted in Indonesian and, where, in the face of a burgeoning Acehnese independence movement, we spent a large portion of the day singing nationalist songs to remind us all that we were Indonesian first and Acehnese second. The Suharto government was keen on that. We then played in the muddy playground—as the only white kid in the class, I was the only one whose white shirt had turned completely brown by the end of the day. My friend Niko Fahrizal and I would explore the local neighbourhood, playing by the river, watching the bigger kids at the volleyball nets, watching Scooby Doo at Niko's place. Niko is now an officer in the Indonesian military. When my mother, Barbara, visits, he calls her tante—auntie—Barbara.Read more