LABOR LEADING ON REMITTANCES
This week, many Australians will be flying in and out of the country carrying suitcases of cash.
It may sound like a scene from a spy film, but the reason for it has more to do with banks than Bond. In short, excessive and confusing fees are making it too pricey to transfer money.
In Australia, many people work long hours to send money back to family overseas. According to the World Bank, remittances to developing countries are worth half a trillion dollars annually – twice the value of foreign aid.
These people deserve a safe and secure way for people to send money which doesn’t involve large portions being eaten up by fees from financial institutions.Read more
WHY ARE SO MANY AIRLINE PASSENGERS STASHING CASH?
The Herald Sun, 22 November 2017
When we were growing up, it seemed like every gangster movie featured suitcases stuffed with cash. These days, action flicks are more likely to feature geeks with laptops authorising money transfers. From mobile money to paywave to cryptocurrencies, our economy is going cashless.
Yet there’s one area where cash is making a comeback: international remittances. When migrant workers want to send money abroad to support their families, they often find that the cheapest way to do it is to pack the cash into a suitcase and take it with them on the plane.
This is, to put it mildly, nuts. Travel is stressful enough without having to worry about a suitcase containing thousands of dollars of hard-earned money. Yet in our community forums on this issue, we’ve heard from Pacific Islanders, Filipinos and Africans about their experiences carrying cash overseas. Even aid agencies are affected.
One reason people are carrying cash is that international money transfers cost too much. According to one analysis, the past decade has seen big banks quadruple the amount they charge for transferring money overseas. Despite a 2014 commitment by the world’s 20 largest economies to reduce the cost of foreign exchange, the problem seems to be getting worse.Read more
ABC NEWS RADIO
TUESDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2017
SUBJECTS: Malcolm Turnbull’s tax increases for middle Australia; Malcolm Turnbull’s tax cuts for big business; cancellation of sittings; banking royal commission; three AC/DC song references.
GLEN BARTHOLOMEW: For a response, we’re joined by Labor’s Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning, Glen. How are you?
BARTHOLOMEW: Not too bad. Sounds like an admirable task, or ambition at least, to ease the burden on Australians earning up to $87,000 a year. Would you support that move?
LEIGH: It’s downright weird, Glen, for a Prime Minister who has just said that he was going to raise taxes on middle Australia to then turn around and hope to be patted on the back for lowering them. One of the big differences in Australian politics is that Bill Shorten has said that he won’t support Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to raise taxes on those earning below $87,000. The increase in taxes on average workers was in this year’s budget. Malcolm Turnbull is a tax raiser for average Australians. The only people whose taxes he wants to cut are those earning over $180,000 and the biggest businesses.
BARTHOLOMEW: Presumedly Labor though also wants to ease the tax burden on middle income earners, those who could be squeezed by bracket creep, that move into a top or a higher bracket.
LEIGH: Absolutely. We supported the change in that second highest bracket. We also opposed Malcolm Turnbull’s attempt to raise taxes on middle Australia. But I don’t think it was coincidence, Glen, that on the very same day that the Prime Minister couldn’t remember the song ‘Back in Black’, the Treasurer is writing to CEOs asking for their help for a budget-busting tax cut. The tax cut for big businesses is the biggest promise that either side of politics has made on any issue. It’s just not affordable. And because Malcolm Turnbull is committed to that, he’s committed therefore to having to raise taxes on average Australians. His own Treasury has done the numbers on what this means for personal income and the impacts on household personal income of a big business tax cut funded by middle Australia tax increases is 0.1 per cent in the 2030s.Read more
SKY NEWS AGENDA
MONDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2017
SUBJECTS: Renewable energy, Bennelong by-election.
TOM CONNELL: Welcome back to the program, joining me now is Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. There's a report today by the Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel saying that an easy and painless way to get to your 50 per cent renewable target would be rooftop solar with batteries, what do you think about this?
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER, ANDREW LEIGH: 50 per cent renewables by 2020 is eminently achievable for Australia. It will mean lower power prices, lower emissions and more jobs in renewables. There's a range of ways we can look to get there. We need to bring on more wind and solar, we need certainty in the system – which we haven't had under the Turnbull Government – and then we need to be open to a range of generation options.
CONNELL: So, less about the grid and more about homes? And maybe some more subsidies there?
LEIGH: There will certainly be a role for batteries, there's a variety of ways of doing this of course. You can have typical batteries of the kind that Tesla is building in South Australia, you can have batteries which involve hydro which is a form of ‘wet battery’ or you can get the same effect by joining up to a national grid. The more interconnectors you have, the more you're able to have wind in one area making up for a lack of solar in another.Read more
ABC WEEKEND BREAKFAST
SUNDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2017
SUBJECTS: Marriage equality, Northcote by-election, Bennelong by-election, Queensland election, Labor’s calls for a Banking Royal Commission.
HOST: To discuss these and what else is on the political agenda, we're joined by Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Welcome.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Great to be with you.
HOST: We'll come to the forthcoming election and by-election in a moment. First though, I wanted to ask you about same-sex marriage and of course the poll, which was successful, as far as the yes case is concerned. Do you expect same-sex marriage legislation will pass the parliament by Christmas?
LEIGH: I certainly think it needs to, Andrew. We've got overwhelming support across the community for same-sex marriage, and a survey result which is frankly in line with what the opinion polls have been telling us for years. We need to move on this because many same-sex attracted couples who want to tie the knot as quickly as possible. People who have a grandparent whose health is failing don't want to be mucked around by conservatives putting in place a last ditch effort to hold off same sex marriage. Let's just get this done.
HOST: Do you expect the Dean Smith bill will get up in its current form?
LEIGH: I certainly hope so. It's got the support of the Labor Caucus. We considered that bill and we thought that was an appropriate way of handling same-sex marriage. There's a range of other issues in this space, but let’s not be distracted by those. Let’s get same sex marriage done. Frogs won't fall from the sky. The sun won't stop shining. The grass will still be green and the birds will still sing the day afterwards. We'll make some people happier and no-one's going to be worse off as a result.
HOST: There are concerns within the Government over religious protections. The Attorney-General has signalled that there may well be a need for some compromise as far as the bill is concerned. Are you willing to compromise on that bill?
LEIGH: I do find it odd Andrew that some of the same people who were saying that we need to weaken protections against racial hate speech are now saying we need to change laws in the opposite direction on religious discrimination. We can consider that issue. It's a pretty complicated one but it can be kept separate from same-sex marriage. No-one will be compelled to perform a same-sex wedding, just as churches today are able to choose which marriages they perform – and other religious orders likewise.
Halting the Havens - Speech, Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association Biennial Taxation & Commercial Conference
Halting the Havens
Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association
Biennial Taxation & Commercial Conference
17 November 2017
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We often say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But for some multinational firms, their tax affairs often do.
In May 2013, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook was being grilled by US Senators about the nature and structure of his company’s tax affairs.
Those Senators were scrutinising a complex corporate structure, and how Apple had come to amass billions of dollars of largely untaxed profits offshore. The current figure put on profits Apple has hoarded offshore is said to be around US$128 billion.
Mr Cook’s retort to the subcommittee was “We don’t depend on tax gimmicks… We don’t stash money on some Caribbean island”.Read more
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS
SHARON CLAYDON, MEMBER FOR NEWCASTLE
SHARING IDEAS TO BUILD COMMUNITY IN NEWCASTLE
Today Newcastle charities and not-for-profits gathered for a Labor’s ninth ‘Reconnected’ roundtable, where ideas to boost social capital and community engagement were exchanged.
We’ve seen some worrying trends over the last generation - volunteering rates and donation rates have fallen, while Australians are less likely to join community organisations or play organised sports.
Labor is working with Australia’s voluntary sector to reverse these trends.Read more
Infrastructure charges highlight need for government to unshackle ACCC to investigate - Media Release
INFRASTRUCTURE CHARGES HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR GOVERNMENT TO UNSHACKLE ACCC TO INVESTIGATE
Last week, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported its concern about stevedore price rises. The consumer watchdog also noted that infrastructure charges appeared to be shifting from shipping lines to transport companies as they are less able to respond to higher fees.
Just after midday today, DPWorld announced price rises for infrastructure charges levied on transport operators of 77.9% in Sydney. Melbourne (51.4%) and Brisbane (18.4%) also saw substantial increases.
Labor looks forward to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission undertaking a thorough analysis of the dynamics of this market, the level of infrastructure investment, to determine whether these increases are consistent with our competition laws, and the extent to which “revenue from the new charges is likely to more than offset cost increases associated with terminal rents, government taxes and rates” (p.10).Read more
BIG GAY OUT RESULTS PICNIC, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017
SUBJECTS: Marriage equality.
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER, ANDREW LEIGH: Thanks everyone for coming along. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fenner. Four years ago a couple by the name of Emily and Ellie tied the knot during the brief window in the ACT when same-sex marriage was legal. Those marriages were undone by a High Court decision. Emily and Ellie have now waited four years for the right to marry – for a right that other Australians enjoy.
Today's survey has just confirmed what poll after poll has reinforced. Australians want marriage equality. We didn't need to spend millions of dollars to find out that 62 per cent of Australians and 74 per cent of Canberrans want same-sex couples to enjoy the same rights as other Australians. The process of this survey has been damaging to the mental health of many gay and lesbian Australians. We've seen an increase in the number of calls to helplines such as Reach Out and QLife. That didn't need to happen. We could have had a free vote in Parliament and marriage equality could have been legal by now.Read more
Cooperative week for Australia’s most cooperative sector - Speech to the Business Council Of Co-Operatives and Mutuals Summit Dinner
ADDRESS TO THE BUSINESS COUNCIL OF CO-OPERATIVES AND MUTUALS SUMMIT DINNER
THURSDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2017
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Thank you Annabel [Crabb] for that characteristically double-edged introduction.
It’s been a cooperative week for Australia’s most cooperative sector. Politicians are not always famous for our ability to cooperate with one another. I trust if we do nothing else that Michael and I can help to assuage the stereotype tonight.
As Michael said, he was the only Coalition MP to come to my book launch recently – although it has to be said that precisely one week after the book was launched I got a telephone call from Liberal cabinet minister, saying ‘so I’m in the room, where is this book launch of yours?’
There’s a metaphor there. I’ll come back to it.
I acknowledge Melina Morrison, your extraordinarily hard working CEO, who recently encouraged the creation of the Parliamentary Friends of Mutuals and Co-ops. I acknowledge Chris Ketter – there is no stronger champion of cooperatives or Queensland in the room. Scott Emerson. Outgoing BCCM chair, Andrew Crane.Read more