HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 27 NOVEMBER 2018
I rise to speak on behalf of the opposition in respect of the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017. It is 729 days since Senator Farrell introduced opposition legislation in the Senate to ban foreign donations from our political system. Labor believes that political donations from foreign sources are eroding our political system, and urgent attention is required to address this. If you care about foreign cybermeddling in elections, you should care about foreign donations affecting Australian election outcomes.
After the government opposed our bill in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition sought to progress this urgent reform here, in the House. The government again refused to support this change, so Labor made the unilateral step of saying that we would voluntarily refuse foreign donations. More than a year ago, we acted to say that we would not take foreign political donations, not because the law banned us from doing so but because it is the right thing to do.
I today join with my colleague Senator Farrell in calling on the Prime Minister and every Liberal and National party member of this House to immediately—this moment—stop taking foreign donations. Don't wait for this bill to become law. The member for Mitchell just said that he believes that foreign donations are ‘inappropriate’, yet if you went to his political party right now as a foreign donor with a cheque to give to the Liberal Party of Australia, they would take that money. I say to the Liberal Party of Australia: Say no to British citizens like Lord Ashcroft. Say no to American political donors like Peter Briger. Say no to foreign political donations from any noncitizen, and say it today. Do not take another dollar in foreign donations. Do not wait for this bill to pass the parliament. Act right now, while you can.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 26 NOVEMBER 2018
I rise to pay tribute to the life of Dr John Mark Beaton, who passed away in his sleep on 6 November 2018, at the age of 74.
A successful anthropologist, John joined the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 2001. As others have noted, he has not just been at the academy but was the academy. In my own experience with him, he was gentle and generous, warm and funny—somebody who brought life to an institution that could otherwise have been terribly stuffy.Read more
FEDERATION CHAMBER, 26 NOVEMBER 2018
I second the motion.
It is one of those things in sport: you at least expect the other side to take the playing field. But today we are seeing the coalition abandon the playing field. If you look at the speaking lists for the main chamber and for the Federation Chamber, it's like they've just given up and gone home, putting their tail between their legs. In the Federation Chamber today we're looking at a list with something in the order of 20 Labor or independent speakers and just a handful of coalition speakers.Read more
MONDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: The Banking Royal Commission; Victorian State Election; National Integrity Commission; Labor’s Fair Go Action plan.
ADAM SHIRLEY: Which bank should sponsor the Australian of the Year awards? For some time the Commonwealth Bank has been a corporate partner of the Australian of the Year Awards, which if you don't know celebrates some of this country's most dynamic, highly achieving and downright extraordinary citizens of this country. But some are grumbling about the Commonwealth Bank's involvement because parts of its behaviour along with other financial institutions have been anything but pristine. The Royal Commission into financial institutions has revealed this to be true. One of those placing a question mark on the bank's future involvement with the awards is Dr Andrew Leigh. He is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Member for Fenner and he's with us today. Dr Leigh, is it time the Commonwealth Bank stepped away?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning, Adam. Great to be with you. This is an issue that my colleague Matt Thistlethwaite has raised, based on a whole lot of the evidence that we've been hearing out of the first the parliamentary committees, where the government was fighting against the royal commission, and then of course the royal commission since then. And the point he's making is that the Australian of the Year awards are among our most significant awards in Australia and they’re a moment where the announcement is emblazoned with the marketing of the Commonwealth Bank. No one's saying here that the Commonwealth Bank shouldn't be engaged in good citizen corporate philanthropy, but the question is whether that crucial announcement for Australia ought to also be a marketing opportunity for the Commonwealth Bank.
SHIRLEY: And where do you sit on that? Do you see real merit in Matt Thistlethwaite’ s concept and his question?
LEIGH: Look, I do and I think Matt’s very thoughtful on this issue and has been there hearing a lot of the evidence coming forward against the Commonwealth Bank's bad behaviour. I think the Commonwealth Bank is stepping back from the marketing for a couple of years, so we don't have the Australian of the Year emblazoned with Commonwealth Bank logos, presented by Commonwealth marketing, I think that's probably where many Australians would sit. I think they'd say, look the conduct of the big banks is not such that we would necessarily want them to be tied at the hip to the marketing on Australia Day when we're making these announcements.Read more
MONDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2018
SUBJECT: Labor’s plans to right the economic wrongs of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Governments.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer.
If you're a millionaire or a multinational, then under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government, every day is your lucky day. You've got a government that will defend every single tax break, a government that will fight for the rights of tax haven users every step of the way.
But if you are a blue collar worker in Scott Morrison’s Australia, the past few years have been tough. As the Reserve Bank Governor told us last week, real wages have barely budged under the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison Governments. We've seen penalty rates cut, we’ve seen energy bills flying as high as Scott Morrison's jet on a bus tour. Over the last few years, the government has shown an inability to tackle climate change, an unwillingness to look at inequality, it’s been an absolute failure on the energy front.Read more
ABC RN DRIVE
MONDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Levelling the playing field for first home buyers, Labor’s commitment to a National Integrity Commission.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: As house prices in Melbourne and Sydney continue to fall, there are fresh calls for Labour to abandon its planned changes to negative gearing. The opposition has proposed limiting negative gearing on existing dwellings, although the change would not apply to those already using the tax break. The government says the policy would hurt mortgage holders who've already seen the value of their home drop and they’ve won the backing of Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond, who described the impact as a nuclear bomb this morning. Andrew Leigh’s the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Welcome back to RN Drive.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks, Patricia. Great to be chatting with you.
CRAWFORD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, 13 NOVEMBER 2018
In 1958, psychologist David Weikart took up the job of being director of special education in Ypsilanti, Michigan. At that time, schools were segregated, and all the African-American students in the town attended one primary school - the Perry School. Weikart noticed that the school was run down. Instead of a playground, it had a field filled with thistles. Many of the African-American students ended up repeating grades, entering special education or leaving school early.
Yet when Weikart gave a presentation to school principals about these problems, users responded defensively. One sat with arms tightly folded; others stood by the window smoking; a few left the room. When he pressed them to act, they said there was nothing they could do. Black students were just born that way. So Weikart came up with an alternative solution: 'Because I couldn't change the schools . . . well, obviously you do it before school.'Read more
BAHASA, BUSINESS EXCHANGES AND MATCH-FIT LEADERSHIP: DEEPENING THE AUSTRALIA-INDONESIA RELATIONSHIP
KEYNOTE ADDRESS, AUSTRALIA-INDONESIA BUSINESS COUNCIL
SURFERS PARADISE, 13 NOVEMBER 2018
Selamat pagi. It’s good to be with you today.
When I was anak kecil, I lived in Indonesia for three years. My father Michael was at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, funded by the Australian Government to work on a special training program designed to improve social science research capacity throughout Indonesian Universities and Islamic Institutes. My mother Barbara was mostly looking after my brother and me, but was beginning the research into the Indonesian education system that would become her PhD thesis, and her studies of traditional Acehnese textiles that would become her book Tangan-Tangan Trampil / The Hands of Time.
It was a pretty extraordinary experience for a child to have. I attended the local Acehnese school, where lessons were conducted in Indonesian. We spent most of the day singing nation-building songs (with a burgeoning local independence movement, the Suharto Government was keen to remind people in Aceh that they were Indonesian first and Acehnese second). Then we played in the muddy playground. As my mother recalls it, the sole white kid in the class was the only one whose white shirt had turned brown by the end of the day.Read more
THURSDAY, 1 NOVEMBER 2018
SUBJECT: Labor's plans to crack down on multinational tax dodgers.
ALI FRANCE, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR DICKSON: Good morning, it's really lovely to have Labor's Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh here today to talk to local businesses about how we're going to level the playing field and tackle multinational tax avoidance.
Small businesses like the ones behind us, pay their fair share of tax. But we know there are big multinational companies and wealthy individuals who operate in Australia, who don't pay their fair share of tax. Labor wants to put a stop to that. So I'm now going to hand over to Andrew to talk a bit more about how that's going to work.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Well thanks so much Ali and it's great to be here with Ali France, Labor's hard-working candidate, taking our message of fairness to communities like Dickson.Read more
LIONEL MURPHY LECTURE
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, 31 OCTOBER 2018
Australia has a competition problem: there is not enough of it. Our industries are concentrated. Our markets show signs of weak competition.
The way Australia’s experts think about competition is partly to blame. Although it has been less influential in Australia than in the United States, the Chicago School’s views on competition have shaped our laws, policies and enforcement practices. The Chicago School views market concentration as a virtue more than a vice. Barriers to entry are surmountable, market power tends to be temporary, most mergers are good, vertical restraints and predatory pricing are either benign or efficient.
These views run counter to those of Lionel Murphy. Murphy saw market concentration as a problem. He saw strong competition laws as necessary to protect the competitive process, protect consumers and support the creation of new businesses. He found the Chicago School’s arguments unconvincing. The growing body of research and experience shows Murphy’s concerns were well-founded. The Chicago School’s faith in the ability of markets to self-correct and deliver competitive outcomes was misplaced.
There is a strong progressive case for repositioning how we think about competition. Focusing more on the competitive process, the structure of markets and the incentives those structures create for firms will play an important role in reducing inequality.Read more