HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 FEBRUARY 2020
It is festival season in Australia's greatest city and over the weekend around 200,000 Canberrans came to the National Multicultural Festival, enjoying Korean deep fried chicken with cheese, Croatian cevapi, Tibetan momos, South Indian puri, North Indian butter chicken, debating the critical question as to whether the German or the Serbian stall produced the better sausage and enjoying some 220kg of potatoes prepared by the Czech association.
This weekend it continues with the Canberra Show coming up. Around 50,000 people attended last year and, with this being the first year that Canberrans can take light rail to the Canberra Show, hopefully that record will be broken. We have a host of exciting activities coming up.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 FEBRUARY 2020
That this bill be now read a second time.
It is a pleasure to move this bill today, expanding the reach of the ACT Integrity Commission. The ACT Integrity Commission passed the ACT Assembly in November 2018. It reflects the Barr government's strong commitment to tackling integrity issues within the ACT.
Labor stands for integrity and transparency. We have zero tolerance for corruption. In the ACT, as in the rest of Australia, the public has a right to trust that their public officials can stand up to justified scrutiny. This was a bill which passed the ACT Assembly with support from the ACT Liberals and the ACT Greens. It is vital that the ACT Integrity Commission has the same coverage of bodies in jurisdictions such as Victoria. In Victoria, the Integrity Commission covers the police but, as a result of the way in which policing services are delivered in the ACT, this is not possible within the scope of the ACT Self Government Act as it presently stands.Read more
ABC CANBERRA DRIVE
MONDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2020
SUBJECT: ACT Integrity Commission.
ANNA VIDOT: Andrew Leigh has introduced a Private Member's Bill which would give the ACT Integrity Commission oversight of the Australian Federal Police. Now of course, the fun intricacies of being the capital territory within the Commonwealth means that ACT Policing will not fall under the remit of the new ACT anti-corruption watchdog, in part because they're a branch of the AFP. So to explain why he wants the whole of the AFP included in the ACT remit instead, Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh joins me from Parliament House. Andrew Leigh, what exactly are you seeking to do with this bill?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Anna. Great to be with you and your listeners. This is a bill which is aimed at ensuring that the ACT Integrity Commission has the same scope of powers as, say, the Victorian Integrity Commission. I think most people when they think about a body which is looking at corruption would imagine that that would cover public servants, politicians and include the police. But because of the way in which the ACT gets its policing services through a contract with the federal government, that's currently not possible under the Self-Government Act. I’d assume that the Morrison Government would have been quite happy to work with the Barr Government in ensuring that they had the integrity commission that the ACT wanted, that had passed the Assembly. But it turns out the Morrison Government doesn't want a full blown integrity commission here in the ACT, so I've needed to move this private member's bill in an attempt to put pressure on the government to do the right thing.Read more
MONDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2020
SUBJECTS: Australia’s stagnant economy; the cost of climate change inaction.
ANNELISE NIELSEN: Now we're joined by Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Andrew, thank you for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Annelise.
NIELSEN: Now we haven't been talking too much about an economy lately. It’s all been emissions targets, but it's obviously a huge issue especially leading up to the federal budget. You're saying that when you take a longer term look at the Australian economy, things aren't looking as good as we might be led to believe.
LEIGH: Annelise, I'm really worried not only about the fact that growth is down and wage growth is down and investment is down, but also that productivity actually declined in 2018-19. Australian firms are less innovative than they were. We're seeing less job mobility, less geographic mobility. All the signs are pointing towards an Australian economy that's more stultified and less dynamic than it should be.Read more
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2020
SUBJECTS: Prime Minister snooze; Economic stagnation; Cost of inaction on climate change; Integrity Commission; Coalition division; Bettina Arndt.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. The Australian economy faces significant challenges. Productivity fell in 2018-19. On many indicators the Australian economy is more stagnant than it was and is underperforming many advanced countries. We know we have challenges in meeting the Closing the Gap targets, on meeting our international commitments on climate change. On test scores, Australian school students are a full year of achievement behind where they were two decades ago.
Yet the government doesn't have a plan to deal with these issues. Scott Morrison had a plot to become prime minister, but no plan as to what to do when he got there. He doesn't have a plan for the economy. He doesn't have a plan for growth. He doesn't have a plan for climate change. Scott Morrison likes to talk about pulling the doona over your head, but when it comes to leadership, he is captain snooze. He has absolutely no ability to deal with the big challenges. He just wants to sit back, pull the doona over his head and not worry about the big issues.Read more
AUSTRALIA’S STAGNANT ECONOMY
JOHN CAIN FOUNDATION
19 FEBRUARY 2020
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people, on whose lands we meet today.
It’s less than two months since John Cain left us, and just over a week since the outpouring of public recognition that his memorial service evoked. As a child of the Cain era, his passing still feels raw. My parents grew up in Melbourne, and we visited regularly. I recall the sense of fresh possibility when the Cain Government’s 1982 election ended three decades of Liberal rule. The Cain Government was a reformist government – reforming liquor laws, investing in public health and education, taking on the gun lobby and the tobacco lobby.
Unlike the showponies and charlatans of today, John Cain took public service seriously. ‘It’s no good being in office for three years, or four, or five’, he said. ‘I want to see long-term change’. He drew on evidence, reformed the public service, and worked with the caucus and the broader labour movement. ‘It’s hard to make decisions on complex issues’, he noted. ‘It’s is more difficult if the process is defective.’Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 13 FEBRUARY 2020
It has been 17 years since the 2003 Canberra bushfires but the memory loomed large over the capital in the recent summer months. Emergency services battled multiple fires in record-breaking heat. My constituents in Jervis Bay were evacuated as the fires closed in.
One blaze still burns, despite the rain. The Orroral Valley fire, which started in Namadgi National Park on 27 January and burned out of control for more than a fortnight, is now contained, but it has burned more than 86,000 hectares, around 30 per cent of the land area of the ACT.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 12 FEBRUARY 2020
When Megan was seven years old her dad lost his job. Megan told me that she kind of enjoyed it at the time. Rather than having to go to work every day, he would stay home and help her organise her toys. She'd get to walk to school with him, which she only realised later was because the family couldn't afford the petrol. Megan's dad had been the victim of phoenixing in which a dodgy director had shifted the assets out of the company, shut the firm down and caused him to lose his job.
The impact of phoenixing on the Australian economy is massive. PwC estimated that in 2016-17 the impact was at least $5 billion a year. That's $3.2 billion in unpaid bills, $300 million in unpaid employee entitlements, $1.7 billion in unpaid taxes and compliance costs. The stories of phoenix activity are legion. There were suggestions that phoenixing was one of the reasons for delays in the building works recently conducted at Parliament House. I have spoken to tradies on the Gold Coast, in Canberra, in Melbourne, in Sydney and in Western Australia who've told me they've been the victims of illegal phoenixing activities.
Phoenixing erodes the very bedrock of business which is trust.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 11 FEBRUARY 2020
Periodically in this House, we have a serious conversation about who's standing up for consumers and who's standing up for vested interests. We had that conversation in 2012, when Labor moved the future of financial advice reforms, opposed by the coalition. As the Hayne royal commission highlighted:
There must be recognition that conflicts of interests and conflicts between duty and interest should be eliminated rather than 'managed' …
Yet, when it came to office, the coalition set about winding back the future of financial advice reforms, ensuring that no longer did a best interest duty need to be followed. It would seem to be fundamental that a financial advisor needs to act in the best interests of their client, yet the coalition somehow thought that that ought not be the law of the land. Part of this wind-back involved the creation of a loophole affecting units or shares in listed investment trusts and listed investment companies. That has led to a significant increase in the market, with the LIC and LIT market doubling in size to $45 billion since 2015.Read more
Coalition commitment on beneficial ownership register remains unmet - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 10 FEBRUARY 2020
The Hayne royal commission's final report observed ASIC's 'deeply entrenched culture of negotiating outcomes rather than insisting upon public denunciation of and punishment for wrongdoing.' Commissioner Hayne raised a number of concerns about the policies and culture of ASIC and these were issues that our committee's deliberations went directly to.
We spoke to ASIC about their optimal litigation success rate. They advise that in the five years to 2018-19 their enforcement litigation success rate has been above 90 per cent. That does suggest that while they're having a good record in court, they may not be sufficiently aggressive in taking cases to court. The conversation over the optimal litigation success rate will be an ongoing one between our committee and ASIC.Read more