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
ABC STATEWIDE DRIVE
WEDNESDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECT: Launch of the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control.
FIONA WYLLIE: Labor MP Dr Andrew Leigh is a member of the group and believes we shouldn't let our gun laws be eroded and joins us now on Statewide Drive. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks. Great to be with you.
WYLLIE: Your commitment to gun control stems from a very personal connection to the Port Arthur tragedy. Can you tell us what happened?
LEIGH: In 1996-97 I was working as a summer clerk at Minter Ellison, a Sydney law firm and each of us were assigned a mentor. Mine was a woman by the name of Zoe Hall, a young lawyer who was wonderfully energetic and incredibly thoughtful at looking after me. She went on a holiday down to Tasmania and tragically ended up being one of the victims of the Port Arthur massacre.
WYLLIE: That must have touched you very deeply and everyone who knew her. Did you start campaigning at that time?
LEIGH: I've always been concerned about getting gun safety right. Australia is a country which has managed to maintain a strong sports shooting culture but in the decade before Port Arthur we'd had an average of one gun massacre a year. Nearly 100 victims to mass shootings in that decade leading up to Port Arthur. What's striking is that in the decade after we had no mass shootings. I got interested when I became an economics professor in looking at whether we could actually measure the impact of the gun buyback on gun homicides and suicides. And the research I did with Canadian economist Christine Neill found that in fact the number of lives saved every year was about 200. Some of them were averted homicides but most were averted suicides – because tragically the person most likely to kill you with a gun is yourself.
When red tape strangles our charities, we all lose
The Herald Sun - 17 September, 2018
“It has been a nightmare”, reported one charity worker. “It was extremely time consuming to research all the different requirements state by state... each of the states need something different to satisfy the requirements for an application. It is such burden for organisations like ours who are doing our best to help those most in need of help.”
What nefarious activity was the charity involved in? Nothing more than a nationwide online fundraising campaign. Yet because our fundraising laws were written in the pre-internet era, they require charities to seek permission from six states plus the Australian Capital Territory (only the Northern Territory does not have fundraising laws).Read more
SKY NEWS AGENDA
MONDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: The Coalition’s civil war on climate change, US-China trade, Peter Dutton’ eligibility, the divided and dysfunctional Coalition.
KIERAN GILBERT, HOST: Joining me now is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Thanks so much for your time. Before we get into the politics of the day, I know Labor wants to focus on Peter Dutton quite a bit in terms of the various questions around the Home Affairs Minister. But in terms of Labor's policy questions right now, a challenge for you is where do you go to climate change and the mechanism that will be put in place, because the NEG as it was known - the National Energy Guarantee - is not only dead, it's been pronounced dead it seems you know a handful of times in the last week.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: It's a challenge for the nation, Kieran. This was a policy supported across business and its dumping by the far right of the Liberal Party again shows how extreme the Liberal Party has become. It's been nearly a decade now since the British conservatives and the New Zealand conservatives dealt with climate change in a sensible market based approach using the advice of the experts. The Liberals have had multiple chances – the emissions intensity scheme, the clean energy target, the national energy guarantee - and every time the far right has dragged them off into the wilderness. It's a real problem for households. The government's own modelling said that the NEG would see power prices go down by $550 and in its absence power prices would rise $300. So we'll be continuing to engage with stakeholders. Mark Butler is doing a series of roundtables, I've been part of some of those business roundtables to work out a policy which is detailed, carefully calibrated, brings down emissions and brings down power prices.Read more
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST
SUNDAY, 9 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Wagga by-election, GDP figures, migration debate, Labor's plan to level the playing field for first home buyers, gender pay gap, the Coalition's civil war over energy policy.
HOST: We're speaking with Dr Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Thank you for joining us this morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Absolute pleasure.
HOST: Before we touch on the issues relating to your portfolio, let's start with this morning's news and the likely loss by the Liberals in the state by-election in Wagga. What message do you think this sends to Canberra?
LEIGH: This was Scott Morrison’s first test and he’s failed it. A 30 per cent swing against the Liberals, they're certain now to lose the seat. It really does reflect the fact that the Liberal Party at a federal level now makes the Addams Family look like The Brady Bunch. So much infighting, focused on themselves rather than on the big problems facing the Australian people, whether it's energy prices or climate change, a squeeze on household expenditures or flat wages. There's all kinds of issues that Australians want their politicians to be focused on. This sort of shenanigans we have seen from the Liberals has now been punished at the ballot-box in Wagga.Read more