DRIVING A BETTER DEAL FOR AUTO DEALERS
Business Insider, 5 October 2018
A few years ago, a multinational car manufacturer told 25 car dealers that their franchise agreements would not be renewed. They hadn’t broken their agreements. They were profitable – some for decades, but some had not yet made enough money to cover their upfront costs. The manufacturer didn’t bother giving the dealers an explanation: the Franchising Code didn’t require it.
Car dealers may not be at the top of your sympathy list. But it’s worth understanding the pressures that Australia’s automotive retailers are under. Car selling is one of the few industries in our economy where the top four firms account for less than one-fifth of the market. Many of the 3500 new vehicle outlets are owned by individual operators or family groups.
But while car retailing is pretty competitive, car manufacturing is a good deal more concentrated. The largest four brands account for almost half the market. Manufacturers are massive global multinationals, who aren’t averse to putting the squeeze on car dealers to maximise their profits.Read more
3AW DRIVE WITH TOM ELLIOTT
TUESDAY, 2 OCTOBER 2018
SUBJECTS: CEO pay transparency, housing.
TOM ELLIOTT, HOST: As I mentioned just a few minutes ago, the Labor Party's got a number of plans if and when they were elected to be the next government of Australia - and by the way I think they will be elected the next government so you get used to the idea that Bill Shorten will be our next prime minister. One of these plans is to require listed companies with more than 250 employees to disclose the ratio of their chief executive’s pay to that of a median employee. So the median is the middle employee in the list of employees from the lowest paid and the highest paid. They want to have a ratio of that person's salary to that of the CEO. Now, I’m just not sure what question this going to answer. However, the man who came up with the idea joins us right now. He’s the federal Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good afternoon, Tom. Great to be with you.
ELLIOTT: Well, thank you for joining us. Tell us, what is to be gained by calculating this ratio between the CEO's salary and that of the median employee's salary?
LEIGH: It gives you a sense firm-by-firm as to how that company is paying people. It gives you a sense as to whether the ratio of pay for people on the factory floor to the corner offer has gotten out of whack. This idea has a pretty long lineage. It goes back to people like Peter Drucker, the father of modern management theory, who says that in his view 20 to 1 was about what you needed in order to not have things get out of kilter. What we’ve announced does no more than to follow what United States and the United Kingdom have already put in place.Read more
LABOR WILL REQUIRE FIRMS TO REPORT THE RATIO OF CEO PAY TO MEDIAN WORKER PAY
A Shorten Labor Government would promote fairness and tackle inequality in the workplace by requiring all listed firms with more than 250 employees to report the ratio of their CEO pay to the pay of the median employee.
The call for CEO pay transparency follows a report which found that the average total pay of ASX100 CEOs rose by 9 per cent last year - four times the speed of average wage growth. The median ASX100 CEO earned more than $4 million.
The best-paid Australian CEOs, Domino’s Don Meij, made $37 million last year. This was after a year in which the Fair Work Ombudsman publicly complained that Domino’s had failed to comply with requests to provide information into claims that Domino’s franchisees were paying workers as little as $10 an hour. Mr Meij made $10 every eight seconds.Read more
SATURDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Banking Royal Commission interim report, the crisis in aged care, troop deployment, free trade.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you very much for being here today. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. It was in April 2016 that Labor first called for a Banking Royal Commission. Scott Morrison opposed it, voted against it 26 times in the parliament, called it a populist whinge. And it took until November 2017 before the Government finally announced the Banking Royal Commission. If the government had followed Labor's lead, we wouldn't now be discussing the Interim Report of the Banking Royal Commission – we would be implementing the final report of the Banking Royal Commission. I want to commend the many victims who have come forward and told their stories to the banking Royal Commission. But because the Liberals delayed a Banking Royal Commission for more than 600 days, many of these victims were hurt who wouldn't have been hurt otherwise. If the government had acted when Labor called for a Banking Royal Commission, some of the egregious wrongdoing that we've seen wouldn't have occurred.
Now, this Banking Royal Commission is important to air the wrongdoing that's been occurring in the banking sector. The Royal Commissioner has said the problem lies in greed. We're never going to see greed in the banking sector tackled by a prime minister whose role model is Gordon Gekko. If you take a 'greed is good' philosophy to government, as the Liberals do, you're never going to be able to implement the reforms that are needed to tackle the wrongdoing in banking.
This royal commission is an important economic reform. The Royal Commissioner has gone to some of the fundamental issues within the sector, issues around vertical integration and conflicted remuneration. Labor's hope is that out of this will emerge a stronger banking sector. Finance is, after all, the lifeblood of the economy. We're committed to a royal commission implementation taskforce within Treasury under a Shorten Labor Government. We've said that if elected, Chris Bowen would report regularly to Parliament on the progress of implementing the royal commission's recommendations.
A Banking Royal Commission is not only about exposing wrongdoing - it's about strengthening the economic fundamentals of Australia. Again, Labor got the big economic call right and the Liberals got it wrong. Just as we saw during the global financial crisis, when the Liberals got the economic call wrong by voting against the second tranche of fiscal stimulus that helped save 200,000 jobs and tens of thousands of small businesses. Just as we saw in the past, when the Liberals opposed capital gains taxation and Medicare and universal superannuation. Labor has gotten the big economic calls right and Scott Morrison has gotten them wrong. It’s time Scott Morrison didn't just call on banks to apologize but apologized himself. Scott Morrison needs to apologize to the Australian people for standing in the way of this Banking Royal Commission, for delaying it in a way in which we've seen more victims hurt and a significant delay in the implementation of these important reforms.Read more
HOW THE TAX SYSTEM CAN NARROW (OR WIDEN) THE GENDER GAP
Ten Daily, 26 September 2018
There are significant gender differences in Australia today. More large companies are run by men named John than by women. Women comprise fewer than one-third of judges and federal parliamentarians. Among full-time workers, women earn 85 cents for every dollar earned by men, which is like women working without pay for the first seven weeks of the year. Because mothers are more likely to take a career break to look after the kids, the lifetime earnings gap is larger still: a difference reflected in the fact that men have nearly twice as much in their superannuation accounts.
Yet when it was suggested a few months ago that we should consider the gender impact of tax changes, Scott Morrison called the idea ‘nonsense’. If you think that Australia has more work to do on the path towards gender equality, then it seems strange to rule out the possibility that the tax system could have any role to play on that journey.
The fact is, the tax system already exacerbates gender inequality in a number of important respects.Read more
SKY NEWS AGENDA
MONDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Julie Bishop, the Coalition’s policy black hole, Newspoll.
KIERAN GILBERT, HOST: Welcome back to the program. With me now is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Good morning and welcome to you, I want to play for our viewers some comments made by Julie Bishop on 60 minutes and then I'll get your thoughts on them.
JULIE BISHOP, LIBERAL MP: I think the question term probably does more damage to the reputation of the political class than any other issue. There's far too much throwing of insults and vicious behaviour, name calling and alike, and the public see that as no better than school children. In fact, not as well behaved as school children. As a minister and as a shadow minister, you are judged on your ability to strike a blow against your political opponent.
GILBERT: The former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop there with Chris Uhlmann on Nine Network. What do you make of those remarks? Do you agree that the tone of Question Time should improve?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Question Time’s a peculiarly Australian institution, Kieran, and it’s one in which there is a good deal more shouting than there is in the more genteel British equivalent. I think sometimes people do forget their old debating injunction that interjections should only be hurled if they are concise, witty and pertinent. But it's important that we make sure that Question Time does show us that our best. I'm not sure we always live up to that standard-Read more
INDEPENDENT MECHANICS WILL BENEFIT IF WE BREAK MANUFACTURER'S SECRET CODE
The Australian, 24 September 2018
Just imagine if your local plumber told you that they couldn’t fix your new toilet, because the manufacturer wouldn’t give them the instruction manuals. Instead, you had to go to an ‘authorised plumber’ - approved by the manufacturer.
Sounds farcical, doesn’t it? But this is the situation that tens of thousands of independent mechanics find themselves in across Australia, as they struggle to get software updates from vehicle manufacturers.
Modern cars are computers on wheels, with dozens of onboard computers controlling everything from the engine to the entertainment system. Like your smartphone, the software gets regular updates. When a part is changed, the system will sometimes ask the mechanic to enter a special code.
Independent mechanics are happy to pay a fair rate for these data, but right now some makers are outright refusing to share them. The result is that independent mechanics get less business, drivers get less choice, and everyone gets frustrated.Read more
ABC RN DRIVE
THURSDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: School funding, gender advocacy toolkit, women in politics, housing.
PATRICIA KARVELAS, HOST: Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Welcome to RN Drive.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks, Patricia. Great to be with you.
KARVELAS: The federal government announced it will adopt a new funding model that uses parental tax data to calculate the school's wealth. That means wealthier schools should get funding and needier schools would get more as well. Does Labor think that's a good idea?
LEIGH: Patricia, we’re certainly open to refinements that target need. Labor's the party that's founded on the notion of fairness and equity. So if we can improve targeting, then that makes sense-
KARVELAS: So you support it?
LEIGH: But the key question here is whether or not the government intends to put the money back into public schools that it's ripped out. I mean, you remember in the 2013 election Tony Abbott went to the election with signs at polling booths saying you can vote Labor or Liberal-
KARVELAS: That's some time ago. The government has actually funded state schools, has delivered on the Gonski model.
LEIGH: No, it hasn't. No. They have ripped $14 billion out of schools and I love the way Josh Frydenberg talks about how he's capping spending and then with the next breath says that he's not cutting from schools. And the fact is their first budget cut $30 billion from schools and then they reduced it to a $22 billion cut, now to a $17 billion cut. Now they've done a special deal for Catholic and independent schools. But 2.5 million Australian kids who attend public schools are still missing out.Read more
ABC RADIO HOBART
THURSDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECT: Launch of the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control.
HOST: Let’s go to Canberra now, where a new alliance has been launched to deal with protecting the firearms legislation – you’ll remember that was the legislation that was introduced with the agreement of State, Territory and Federal Governments after Port Arthur. This morning there'll be the launch of the Australian Gun Safety Alliance. There are two co-chairs, Andrew Leigh MP who is Labor of course and John Alexander Liberal MP and a number of other organizations joining with it and including Walter Mikac, founding patron of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. Of course, he lost his wife and daughters at Port Arthur and they join us now. Good morning.
WALTER MIKAC: Good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning. Great to be with you.
HOST: Thanks. Andrew, if we can come to you first of all. Why do you feel the need to have the Australian Gun Safety Alliance, such a formal launch?
LEIGH: The issue of gun safety has always been important to me. When I was a junior lawyer, my mentor was a woman by the name of Zoe Hall, who was visiting Tasmania at the time of the massacre and tragically became one of the final victims of Martin Bryant. I stayed interested in the issue of gun policy and as an economics professor I did some research on the impact of the National Firearms Agreement on gun homicide and suicide, estimating that around 200 lives were saved every year as a result of those visionary reforms. Then, as a parliamentarian, I saw the risks of backsliding. I greatly admired the bipartisan spirit which led to the National Firearms Agreement 21 years ago and thought that it was important to reinvest in that. Alongside John Alexander, who is the Australian of great distinction, we launched Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control.
THURSDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECT: Launch of the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control, TPP, Clive Palmer, strawberries.
TIM SHAW, HOST: I really want to commend the work of Dr Andrew Leigh and John Alexander. These are two federal representatives, one for Labor, one for the Liberal Coalition. But the bipartisanship that goes on in our parliament, we don't talk about it enough. Gai Brodtman has done incredible work with the women of the parliament on serious issues such as endometriosis. And so too John Alexander and Dr Andrew Leigh, they’re co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control. They’ll be joined today by Walter Mikac, the founding patron of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. You remember Mr Mikac, he lost his wife and two beautiful daughters in the horror of the Port Arthur massacre. They're meeting today in the Senate courtyard at the launch of the Australian Gun Safety Alliance. And this is such an important conversation to have and I'm pleased to have with Dr Andrew Leigh. Dr Leigh, welcome back to 2CC Breakfast.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSIATNT TREASURER: Thanks, Tim. Great to be with you.
SHAW: Why are you so passionate about this issue?
LEIGH: I have a personal connection to the Port Arthur massacre. When I was 24 years old, I was working at a Sydney law firm and each of us were assigned a mentor. Mine was a 28 year old woman by the name of Zoe Hall, who was the most wonderful, generous, caring mentor. She was tragically one of the final victims of the Port Arthur massacre while she was taking a holiday down in Tasmania. Now, it’s generally known we had a gun massacre a year in the decade leading up to it and none afterwards. But when I became an economics professor, I researched the impact so the gun buyback on firearm homicides and suicides with my co-author Christine Neill. We ended up finding out that the impact was huge, about 200 lives saved every year since then. This means over 4000 Australians walking around who would otherwise have been victims of gun deaths if we hadn’t had the buyback and the licensing and registration changes that followed Port Arthur.Read more