RADIO NATIONAL DRIVE
TUESDAY, 26 MAY 2015
SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality; GST on sanitary items; Budget fairness
PATRICIA KARVELAS: In the studio with me I have Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, representing the Labor party - hello Andrew.
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: G'day Patricia.
KARVELAS: And also Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos, welcome Senator.
SENATOR ARTHUR SINODINOS: Representing the Liberal Party.
KARVELAS: Representing the Liberal Party! Well, let's hear about that. Let's go to an issue which is just breaking. It is going wild on social media and no-doubt, I think, leading news bulletins as well: Bill Shorten wants to bring on the marriage equality debate. He is tabling his own bill in the lower house next week, bringing it on. Arthur Sinodinos, I'll start with you: does this mean that next week the Liberal party room will finally discuss this issue?
TUESDAY, 26 MAY 2015
SUBJECT/S: NATSEM modelling on Budget unfairness; Marriage equality
MARIUS BENSON: Andrew Leigh, the Prime Minister has called on Labor to release the research on which you are basing your claims that the Budget is going to damage low income families in particular. Are you prepared to release that research?
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: Marius, the model that we're using for this is the same model that the Government has used when it has asked NATSEM to do work for the Treasury and the Department of Social Services. It's the same model, indeed, that the Liberal Party had NATSEM use when NATSEM did work for the Liberal Party a couple of years ago, leading the PM to call them Australia's top modeller. So I'm really not sure what the puzzle is out of this. Labor has had to do this research because the Family Impact Statement that had been in the Budget going right back to Peter Costello's time was taken out of the last couple of budgets.
UNIVERSITY OF WOOLONGONG
WEDNESDAY, 20 MAY 2015
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: I'm here with my colleagues Stephen Jones and Sharon Bird, and we've just been touring the iAccelerate building at the University of Wollongong. Learning about their programs to encourage women entrepreneurs; engaging with companies producing 3D printers and pop-up ergonomic desks and potentially game-changing medical technology. It's really impressive to see the range of technologies and the extent to which firms are looking towards the future. It's exactly that future that Bill Shorten was looking to build towards with Labor's announcements in the budget reply about investment in science, technology, engineering and maths, and supporting Australian students to learn coding. I might just throw now to my colleague Sharon Bird to make a couple more quick comments.
VISIONLESS ABBOTT VACATES THE FIELD ON SHARING ECONOMY
The Abbott Government is ducking responsibility for leading a serious conversation about the sharing economy.
Today’s ruling by the Australian Tax Office shows the Government is leaving it up to line agencies to drive national policymaking on services like Uber.
These are not the actions of a future-focused government.
Internationally, some authorities have ruled that sharing economy apps represent a different type of service which requires a distinct regulatory approach. But the Abbott Government has been slow to recognise that new technologies may require the rules to be updated.
SKY AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 18 MAY 2015
SUBJECT/S: Budget 2015; paid parental leave; Renewable Energy Target; iron ore inquiry
KIERAN GILBERT: This is AM Agenda. With me now the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh and the Assistant Social Services Minister, Mitch Fifield. Gentlemen, good morning to you. Senator Fifield first to you on the polling: I know you don't want to get into too much commentary but I guess it's got to feel a lot better this year than it did last year in terms of how this has been received, the second Hockey budget?
ASSISTANT SOCIAL SERVICES MINISTER MITCH FIFIELD: Kieran, we've been working to a plan to get the budget back on a path to being on balance, to creating an environment that's conducive to growth and the creation of jobs. It would probably be fair to say that the plan we have is better understood at this point than it might have been at the same time last year, but we're focused on that plan, on delivering it. You're right, we will leave it to others to commentate on the polls but I think you'll find that all of my colleagues are out this week and the weeks ahead, explaining the good news that is in the budget; the good news for small business, the good news for families.
GILBERT: And the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Mr Leigh, famously – or infamously as far as I'm concerned – never comments on the polls at all. But this budget comparison, it's pretty stark and I guess it's understandable given that this is a much more generous budget than last year.
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: Kieran, I do appreciate that my unwillingness to commentate on polls is an enduring source of frustration for a Monday morning regular. But I do think that the number that really counts is not the polling number but the 80,000 mums who are finding out that they won't be eligible for parental leave under the Government's policies. This is a budget which still has so much of the unfairness from the last one but doubles the deficit. Not on Labor's numbers, but on the Government's own number, the deficit has doubled over the course of the year. And it lacks that plan to invest in the future which is why Bill Shorten spent so much time on Thursday night laying out an alternative Labor plan for investing in the future.
FRIDAY, 15 MAY 2015
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s Budget alternative; small business tax cut; paid parental leave
MARIUS BENSON: Andrew Leigh, one of the centrepieces of Bill Shorten's policy speech last night was a 5 per cent cut to tax on small business. He's proposing working with the government to achieve that cut, to cut the company tax for small business from 30 per cent to 25 per cent. He said to Tony Abbott: let's work together. A bit disingenuous, isn't it? This is not a government of national unity; oppositions don't get to join the Government at the Cabinet table to work out economic policy.
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: Marius, I believe Australians very much want their parliamentarians to work together. We always have to be putting the national interest before partisan interest. What Bill Shorten did yesterday was to reach across the table in the Parliament and say to Tony Abbott that if he, too, believes in giving small businesses a better deal, then Labor is happy to work together to try and boost growth in that vital sector of the economy.
BENSON: Has Labor ever invited the Opposition, when it has been in government, to join it at the Cabinet table to work out policy like that?
LEIGH: We've certainly cooperated with the Coalition on a range of things. Whether they're in Government and we're in Opposition, or the other way around.
BENSON: What would a 5 per cent cut to the company tax on small business cost?
LEIGH: We'll work through the costings with the government. Certainly that'd be an important matter to be considered.
ABBOTT’S ‘SAVE OUR JOBS’ BUDGET EXPOSED AS CRUEL HOAX IN CANBERRA
After a year of savage cuts to Canberra, the 2015 Budget delivers nothing for our community except more uncertainty. This is just the latest proof that the Liberals see Canberra as little more than a political punching bag by the Liberals.
There is no new infrastructure spending for the ACT in this Budget, and no acknowledgement of how hard the Abbott Government’s 17,300 job cuts have hit Canberra since the Liberals came to office.
In fact, the Government appears to be gearing up for a fresh round of public service cuts, with so-called ‘functional reviews’ on the horizon for the departments of Environment, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Social Services, the Attorney-General’s Department, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as well as the Australian Tax Office.
SKY PM AGENDA
WEDNESDAY, 13 MAY 2015
SUBJECT/S: Budget 2015
LAURA JAYES: Now on the Agenda panel is Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Christian Porter, and also the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, both joining me in the studio. Christian, you heard those comments from John Howard, is he right? Is this going to be harder down the track for Joe Hockey?
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE PRIME MINISTER, CHRISTIAN PORTER: It's very hard for Liberals to disagree with John Howard but I think what he says is very broad and it's the evergreen truth that you have to find the right balance here and the balance here that we must strike is between two things. Obviously expenditure restraint is necessary, but of course there's needs in the economy which is going for a range of structural adjustments to keep things moving which is what the small business package is about. So my view obviously is that we've struck that balance fairly well. There was probably too much ying and not enough yang in Budget number one but I think we've got that balance much better in Budget number two.
JAYES: Structural reform was such a big priority last year, does this budget reflect that it's the wrong time for this kind of structural reform so that's an admission that yes, last year did go do hard?
PORTER: Well I think the proof of this pudding is in looking at the way in which forward estimates project the decrease in the deficit. I think that the consolidation back towards surplus is probably somewhat less than spectacular but nevertheless I think it's impressive and it's surprised a lot of observers including those in markets and in banks who were projecting next year’s deficit to be a lot larger than what it is. So going from 48 to 41 to 35 and 14 and 7 is, I think, less than spectacular but nevertheless very impressive. And I think that demonstrates that the side of the Budget that engages in expenditure restraint, where we've got real spending at 1.1 per cent out to 2017-18, that's a very good result.
JAYES: I'll get to spending in a moment, but to you Andrew Leigh: these are the Treasurer's figures – I thought you might use that point in your answer here – many economists have said that yes, they think the growth in the outer years, even though some have said it looks a little ambitious at 3.5 per cent, is probably about right. Would you agree with that?
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER, ANDREW LEIGH: Well certainly Laura, I think this budget struggles to pass the test that John Howard would put on it which is getting debt and deficits under control. We've got the deficit coming in a whisker under market expectations but still twice what Joe Hockey said it was going to be last year. We've got spending as a share of the economy and tax as a share of the economy higher under this Government than it was under the last Government.
WEDNESDAY, 13 MAY 2015
SUBJECT/S: Budget 2015
GARY ADSHEAD: I'm here with Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Thanks for your time, Andrew.
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: Pleasure, Gary.
ADSHEAD: Alright now look: looking at the Budget, it's about fairness they say. They're calling it about fairness and encouraging people to have a go. Are you going to get on board with this one?
LEIGH: Look, I think there are two ways in which you can view the Budget. You can firstly put Tony Abbott's own test to it. He said that under a Coalition Government debt would be down, taxes would be down, spending would be down. Under all of those tests, the Budget has gone in the opposite direction. Double the deficit since last year and the highest tax and spending levels under this Government that we've seen. But the other way, as you say, is the fairness test and investment in the future. There, I worry that Western Australia has had $8 billion ripped out of schools and hospitals. There’s no investment in science and research which will underpin the job growth of the future. So the long-run plan really seems to be missing from the Budget.
FAIRFAX BREAKING POLITICS
WEDNESDAY, 13 MAY 2015
SUBJECT/S: Budget 2015
CHRIS HAMMER: Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, good morning.
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: G'day Chris.
HAMMER: Now, I'm sure there's plenty in this Budget that you don't like and we'll get on to that. But is there anything in the Budget that you do like?
LEIGH: Absolutely. There's investment for the National Disability Insurance Scheme's IT system, there's a small business package that I think is to be welcomed, and there's childcare changes which I think should be looked at with a positive eye. But I'm worried that the childcare changes are contingent on families payments cuts. It doesn't help families much if you give them more money when they've got a three-year-old and then take it away when they've got a six year old.
HAMMER: So what will Labor do with those childcare measures if they remain linked to the family tax benefit cuts?
LEIGH: Chris, we can't support those family payments cuts. We've been clear about that ever since last year's unfair budget. Kids don't get any cheaper when they turn six. I've got an eight-year-old and I can assure you he is no cheaper than his two- and five-year-old brothers.