BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
TANYA PLIBERSEK, SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
LABOR WILL AXE THE “TAMPON TAX”
A Shorten Labor Government will end Australia’s unfair and discriminatory “tampon tax”, partnering with the states and territories to remove the GST on women’s sanitary products.
This is a tax on women.
Australian women spend around $300 million on sanitary products – tampons and pads – each year.
Currently, every single one of these products is hit with the 10 per cent GST – around $30 million a year in tax – because they are not considered necessities.
SKY NEWS AM AGENDA
TUESDAY, 24 APRIL 2018
SUBJECTS: Debt reduction, Malcolm Turnbull’s zombie budget measures, health funding, Banking Royal Commission.
KIERAN GILBERT: I spoke to the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh earlier this morning about this Newspoll that shows that debt reduction is a bigger priority for many of those surveyed. I asked is debt reduction still a major priority for Labor heading into this budget season.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Absolutely it’s a priority for us. As Wayne Swan said when he was treasurer, you can’t be Keynesians in the downturn and not be Keynesians in the upswing. It’s really important that we pay down that debts, but it becomes so much harder when you’ve got a government which is determined to maintain zombie cuts in the books, some $2 billion of cuts that in some cases they haven’t even put to parliament, in other cases they know they’re not going to pass parliament. Things like raising the pension age to 70. The government needs to be fair dinkum with the Australian people, take those zombie cuts out of the budget and show the true state of the books, and then they need to rethink their daft position on some of these tax breaks. We can’t continue to be the only country in the world that provides cash refunds on dividend imputation. We can’t continue to have this uniquely generous system of tax breaks for negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount that are blowing up the housing market and making housing unaffordable for young Australians. We can’t keep on maintaining the systems around trusts which create what Bill Shorten calls a two class tax system in which one group of people are able to avoid paying tax, and another group of people have to pay their PAYG out of every pay packet.Read more
TIM HAMMOND, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER & SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY
$700,000 PENALTY FOR ‘FLUSHABLE WIPES’ CLAIM A DROP IN THE BUCKET
Labor has welcomed the Federal Court order that Pental Limited and Pental Products Pty Ltd (Pental) pay $700,000 for claiming that their toilet cleaning wipes were flushable, but we note the penalty pales in comparison to the cost of evacuating the blocked up sewers they cause.
Last year, we drew attention to the 500 tonnes of so-called flushable wipes that Sydney Water says are removed each year. Around the country, the cost to swipe wipes from pipes has been estimated at over $15 million. One veteran plumber reported removing a 12-metre block of wipes from a single home.
Labor has long criticised the penalties for anti-consumer conduct – only $1.1 million per offence. For large multinational companies, wee penalties like that could just be chalked up to ‘the cost of doing business’.
We are pleased the Government has taken our advice to increase penalties.Read more
ABC PERTH BREAKFAST
THURSDAY, 12 APRIL 2018
SUBJECT: National Disability Insurance Scheme; Income Taxes
PETER BELL: Dr Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer with the Labor Party. Good morning, Dr Leigh.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning, Peter. How are you?
BELL: Well, thank you. Why don’t you support an increase to the Medicare levy across all income brackets?
LEIGH: Peter, we think there’s a fairer way of ensuring that the national Disability Insurance Scheme is properly funded and that’s to constrain the increase in the Medicare levy to those earning more than $87,000 and then to put back that budget repair levy on the top income earners, people earning over $180,000. You take that approach and 7 million Australians, including most of your listeners, don’t get an income tax increase. We’re able to fund the scheme – we actually raise more revenue over the course of the decade – and it’s a good deal fairer.
PAULA KRUGER: So are you confident that with your budget repair levy and hitting people over $87,000 - is that enough to address the funding gap?
LEIGH: Absolutely. Both our approach and the Government’s approach raise $8 billion over four years. Our approach raises significantly more over the course of the decade. I also think we need to be careful, Paula, about his notion that there’s been a massive cost blow out. The Productivity Commission last October brought out a report on NDIS costs that confirmed the initial funding projections are correct and the scheme is being delivered on budget.Read more
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER OWN GOAL FROM THE TURNBULL GOVERNMENT
Reports today identify a “strange anomaly” in tax law stemming from the Turnbull Government’s $65 billion big business handout that may cause “fairly serious errors” because of how the changes interact with GST law.
The Tax Institute’s Bob Deutsch has identified a potential oversight stemming from the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Act 2017, which has already passed parliament.
If true, this would not be the first time the government had botched its company tax changes. Last year, the Turnbull Government was forced to go back to parliament with amendments to ensure that passive investment companies would not get the benefit of the tax cut for small and medium sized firms. That exercise ended in farce when the government had to amend its own amendments.Read more
INVESTIGATION INTO THE AUSTRALIAN TAX OFFICE
This morning, Bill Shorten called for an investigation into the Australian Tax Office, following matters raised by a joint Fairfax Media-Four Corners investigation.
This afternoon, the Turnbull Government has heeded our call, announcing that the Turnbull Government will launch an investigation into the Australian Tax Office.
Genuine concerns have been raised and Labor will ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted.
While an investigation into the tax office must be conducted, Labor also recognises that tax office staff have been left struggling as a result of staffing cuts by the Coalition.Read more
SENATOR DON FARRELL, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS
ANDREW GILES, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR SCHOOLS
LABOR STANDING UP FOR CHARITIES WHILE CLEANING UP DEMOCRACY
Labor welcomes the bipartisan support from the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for changes to protect charities and minimize the impact of the Turnbull Government’s lacklustre legislation.
The Committee’s recommendation to provide greater clarity for the sector and minimise regulatory and compliance burdens are a fitting result after months of Labor going into bat for our charities.Read more
LAUNCH OF THE CHINA STORY YEARBOOK
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
MONDAY, 9 APRIL 2018
I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, the traditional owners of the lands on which we meet today, and thank ANU’s Centre on China in the World for inviting me to speak here today. I also thank our hosts, Professor Brian Schmidt, Dr Jane Golley and Linda Jaivin, and their colleagues Dr Natalie Kohle, Dr Graeme Smith and Ms Wen Meizhen.
In the very early years of this century, the literary critic James Woods was trying to give a name to a new fiction genre that he recognised in the minutely observed, sprawling surveys of contemporary society. He called it hysterical realism because it had an edge of paranoia - seeing connections where there were only incidents, plotting causes and intention in fascinatingly random human activity.
These doorstop novels would take diverse threads of history, politics and popular culture and weave them together into intricate patterns. ‘Hysterical’ because these patterns emerge as the vision of a single organising intelligence – one mind, overfull.
But take away the angst and the overburdened pessimism of that single viewpoint and you get a different sort of tapestry.Read more
SKY NEWS AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 9 APRIL 2018
SUBJECT: Turnbull Turns Thirty
KIERAN GILBERT: Andrew Leigh, thanks very much for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure Kieran. Good to be with you.
GILBERT: You’ve been a critic of polls in the past. This loss of 30 Newspolls has been coming for some time. An awkward moment for the Prime Minister, no doubt?
LEIGH: Kieran, as you say, I’ve been a strong poll critic but this is Malcolm Turnbull’s own benchmark. He’s like a dog that’s spent its lifetime trying to chase a car. He’s finally managed to catch it and discovered he’s got to drive it. That’s not much good for the rest of the country, since we’re now sitting in the backseat of a car being driven by a dog. Malcolm Turnbull has said himself that this is the standard upon which Prime Minister should step aside. On that basis, this is the moment for him to step aside.
GILBERT: That’s a big call though, to suggest that he is someone that shouldn’t be there, given that he won the last election. The real election of 2016. This is just a survey and one of many surveys that you have been very critical of over recent years?
LEIGH: You don’t need a poll to tell you that Malcolm Turnbull is out of touch. This is a deeply problematic government. It’s lost eight ministers over its time. It’s seen its electoral majority wiped out. It’s a government which in the face of profits growing eight times faster than wages wants to cut penalty rates and give a big tax handout to big business. It’s a government which is taking money out of schools and hospitals-Read more
RADIO NEW ZEALAND
SUNDAY, 8 APRIL 2018
WALLACE CHAPMAN: Dr Andrew Leigh is a former economics professor at the Australian National University, a former London lawyer and has a PhD from Harvard. These days he's an Australian politician, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and while his political ideology flirted for a while with Tony Blair's third wave, he prefers these days to talk about a special duty to look after the most disadvantaged. He's in New Zealand this week as part of the Presbyterian Support Northern Speaker Series on improving child wellbeing. He's an author and his latest book is 'Randomistas', looking at how randomised tests are carried out every day to find out what works, what doesn't. The tests are done by supermarkets, search engines, online dating sites and also by political parties who use randomised trials to try to win elections. His book tells the stories of researchers who fight to have the findings from their research implemented. Dr Andrew Leigh has taken time from his packed schedule. Welcome.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks Wallace, great to be with you.
CHAPMAN: Tell me, how did your interest in randomised trials actually start?
LEIGH: Well, it came originally when I was doing my PhD at Harvard University and working with a range of people who were just as passionate as I was about addressing social disadvantage, but had far fewer prejudices about which programs worked and which didn't. And it made me reflect on my own philosophy on social policy. I think I’d been very attracted to solutions and much less scientific and critical than for example a medical researcher who was trying to cure cancer. I didn’t realise that actually no matter how idealistic you are, lots of things that sound good turn out not to work so well in practice. One great example is Scared Straight, a program that puts troubled youths in jail for a day in order to scare them onto the straight and narrow, but actually turned out in rigorous randomised trials to increase offending rates.Read more