TYRES AND TAX HAVENS
The Herald Sun, 29 December 2018
At its worst, Melbourne’s Stawell tyre dump held nine million tyres. The tyre recycling firm that owned the site was refusing to clean it up. Authorities were worried about the fire risk. Eventually, the Environment Protection Authority stepped in. Over two months, they took away 380 truckloads of tyres, at a cost to the taxpayer of $4.5 million.
But when they looked at where to send the bill, the Authority discovered something fishy. Ownership of the dump had been shifted from the Used Tyre Recycling Corporation to a firm called Internet Marketing Solutions Corp. It was based in Panama. That’s right - one of Melbourne’s ugliest eyesores was technically owned by an internet company based in a beautiful nation on the other side of the world.Read more
COALITION WAVES THE WHITE FLAG ON MULTINATIONAL TAX DODGING
Nearly three years after promising a register designed to crack down on multinational tax avoidance, the Coalition has put the reform into the ‘too hard for us’ basket.Read more
HOW THE FAT DUCK SLIMMED ITS TAX BILL
The Age, 19 December 2018
In the 1600s, Louis XIV’s finance minister famously described the art of taxation as being to get the maximum amount of feathers from the goose, with the least amount of hissing. At London’s Fat Duck restaurant, they’ve taken a different approach. By using tax havens, Heston Blumenthal’s restaurants appear to have goosed the tax authorities. By flying the profits to the tax haven of Nevis, which charges no company tax on the profits of foreign companies, the famous restaurant chain seems to have feathered its own nest at the expense of the rest of us.
Heston Blumenthal, who also operates the Dinner restaurant at Melbourne’s Southbank, isn’t the only one apparently using tax havens. By one estimate, four out of every ten dollars of multinational profits are now routed through tax havens. Dubbed ‘Treasure Islands’ by one expert, places like Panama and Bermuda have become infamous for their willingness to house companies and their unwillingness to share information about them.Read more
ABC MELBOURNE DRIVE
MONDAY, 17 DECEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: The Coalition’s debt-doubling debacle, Labor’s plans to close multinational tax loopholes and make big business pay their fair share, Labor National Conference.
PRUE BENTLEY: Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and is with us now. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good afternoon, Prue. Great to be with you.
BENTLEY: First, before we get to the National Conference, the Government released their mid-year budget update this morning and they’re crowing about - particularly about a projected surplus for next year of $4.1 billion. This is what Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said to Ali Moore this morning.
JOSH FRYDENBERG, TREASURER: Well, the results today are the product of more than five years of hard work - disciplined design making, including more targeted and restrained spending, as well as putting in place tax cuts for small business people and for households and for families. So today’s, the first job we need to do is to deliver a surplus and the seance job we need to do is pay back Labor’s debt and we’ve still got that to do.
BENTLEY: That was Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this morning. Andrew Leigh, a return to surplus, that’s good news for the Government. That’s good news for the Australian public, isn’t it?
LEIGH: It's certainly good news, but I think what you heard there it wasn't merely crowing - it was what George Orwell called blackwhite. This is a government that came to office in 2013 promising a surplus in their first year and in every year after that. And they’re on track, on their own numbers, to deliver six deficits and finally promising a surplus after having doubled net debt. As you know, Labor took on debt during the global financial crisis to save the economy in the teeth of the worst global recession that we'd seen since the greatest since the Great Depression. We managed to save 200,000 jobs. But what's the Coalition's excuse for having doubled net debt since 2013? They just don't have one.Read more
SKY NEWS AGENDA
MONDAY, 17 DECEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS; Labor Conference, MYEFO, IPSOS poll, negative gearing, asylum seeker policy, Newstart allowance review.
LAURA JAYES: Andrew Leigh is at the Labor Conference and he joins us live here this morning. Andrew Leigh, thank you for your time. We’re yet to see these figures officially but as we know the good news is selectively leaked out ahead of the budget update today. What do you make of the figures? Halving the deficit this year and a bigger return the surplus next year, good news and who do you credit?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Laura, what you just heard from the Treasurer and the Finance Minister was a rewriting of history that would have made George Orwell proud. This is a Government which came to office in 2013 promising that there would be surpluses in their first year and every year after that. They haven’t delivered a single surplus and they’ve doubled net debt. Gross debt has now crashed through about the half a trillion dollar barrier. They castigated Wayne Swan because he promised a surplus which then didn't materialise after the economy was whacked with the biggest downturn since the Great Depression. And now they're saying they’re delivering a surplus - well, they're not. They’re promising a surplus yet again, as they did before the election. Australians will reasonably ask why is it that the Coalition will stand up for every multinational tax loophole but not support fair funding of schools? Because when you hear them talk about a higher taxing agenda-Read more
MORE COMPETITION, LESS CHICAGO
Australian Financial Review, 17 December 2018
If you want to know whether firms are worried about competition, don’t just listen to what they say. Listen to what they don’t say. Trawling through thousands of annual reports of American firms, a recent study found that the use of the word ‘competition’ in those reports has declined by three quarters since the start of the century.
Another approach is to look at their books. In the 1980s, large listed firms charged prices that were 10-20 percent above their costs. Today, that’s risen to 60 percent. The problem is just as bad in Australia as in other advanced countries. A study by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission earlier this year concluded that the residential mortgage market looked more like ‘synchronised swimming’ than competition, with customers forced to keep switching lenders if they wanted to get the best deal.
Australia’s competition problem has deep roots. Under the Fraser Government, the test for companies to merge was weakened, in the misguided belief that we needed to let firms grow large in Australia if they were to compete overseas. The merger test was finally tightened up again under the Keating Government. But as former ACCC chair Allan Fels has pointed out, the lax test had by then allowed mergers between Coles and Myer, News Ltd and Herald & Weekly Times and Ansett Airlines and East West Airlines.Read more
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE IN SERVICES
MEMBER FOR FENNER
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CHISHOLM
THURSDAY, 13 DECEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor's plans to make remittances simpler and fairer; Labor’s plans to fund hospitals and schools and deliver bigger budget surpluses over the four years and over the medium term.
JENNIFER YANG, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CHISHOLM: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for coming to one of our media conferences today. I just want to quickly introduce Andrew Leigh – Dr Andrew Leigh is our Shadow Assistant Treasurer and today we're just going to talk about one of the policies Labor is adopting in terms of remittances overseas, sending money overseas. Now I’ll pass over to Andrew to talk to you more about this policy.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Terrific. Thanks very much, Jennifer, and thanks to all of you for being here today. As you know, Jennifer is Labor’s terrific candidate for Chisholm and she is somebody with whom I've been working extensively as Tony Burke and I have developed this policy to make remittances more transparent, cheaper and fairer.
We know that every year Australians send billions of dollars overseas to family and friends. This might be taxi drivers working an extra shift to help out somebody who's fallen on hard times back home. It could be someone who's working a bit extra in a pharmacy in order to help put a nephew through school. Remittances are larger in size than overseas aid. At a time when Australia's overseas aid budget has been cut by the Coalition, remittances are more important than ever.Read more
SHARING OUR LUCK
The Chronicle, 11 December 2018
When his employer closed the business, Sam lost his job. It didn’t take long before their savings ran out and his family of five couldn’t afford their $500 a week rental. They are now couch-surfing with another family of five, hoping that they are able to find stable accommodation before Natasha, Sam’s wife, gives birth.Read more
MARRIAGE EQUALITY – ONE YEAR ON
The Chronicle, 4 December 2018
One of the most magical moments I’ve experienced in parliament was on 7 December 2017, when we passed marriage equality.
In the galleries, hundreds of LGBT+ campaigners stood and applauded. Then they began to sing:
We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We'll share a dream and sing with one voice
I am, you are, we are Australian.Read more
SKY NEWS AGENDA
MONDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: World leaders’ game of guess who at the G20, Malcolm Turnbull’s call for an early election, encryption legislation, power.
KEIRAN GILBERT: Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, I want to start on encrypted technology, the new laws that the government wants introduced before Christmas because the agencies are saying we're heading into a season of increased threat. Labor needs to get something agreed to this week, don't you, in the interests of national security?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, as we understand it, this is an issue first raised with the government in 2014 and legislation was only brought forward in September of this year. It's important with any significant change we're making, particularly around issues such as encryption, that we get it right. As Law Council of Australia has said today, this kind of process shouldn't be rushed and that's the way in which this joint committee has in the past worked - making 300 sensible changes to 15 pieces of legislation to make Australians safer. But many experts are warning that the law is currently drafted to make Australians less safe, would open new opportunities for cyber criminals and terrorists. Labor is concerned, as are many experts, about the implications I could have for Australian security.Read more