Ahead of an Economics Committee Senate estimates hearing this morning, Bernie Ripoll and I put out a joint release raising concern about budget cuts to ASIC and the ATO.
THE HON BERNIE RIPOLL MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES & SUPERANNUATION
MEMBER FOR OXLEY
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION
MEMBER FOR FRASER
ABBOTT GOVERNMENT SENDS WRONG MESSAGE TO TAX DODGERS AND CORPORATE CRIMINALS
It’s never been to a better time for tax dodgers and white collar criminals as the Abbott Government slashes staff at the Australian Tax Office and hits resources available to the corporate watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
The Coalition talks about the importance of the rule of law, but 3000 fewer ATO jobs and swingeing cuts to ASIC will lead to the rule of the jungle.
In my usual Monday slot with Breaking Politics host, Chris Hammer, today's topics included another gaffe by the Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, and concern this Governent does not understand its own budget and the budget's ripple effects.
BREAKING POLITICS – FAIRFAX MEDIA
MONDAY, 2 JUNE 2014
SUBJECT / S: Higher education changes; Crippling cuts to CSIRO and other science organisations; D-Day commemorations and the Prime Minister’s partisanship; Welfare payment changes and drug testing recipients.
CHRIS HAMMER: Joining us now is Andrew Leigh the shadow assistant treasurer and Labor member for Fraser.
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER, ANDREW LEIGH: Good Morning Chris.
HAMMER: Good Morning. Now Christopher Pyne says that the new university system, the new university fees won't kick in til June 2016. So what’s the problem, people have plenty of warning of what’s coming?
LEIGH: Well the question that Minister Pyne was asked yesterday Chris, was when the changes to the indexation of HECS debts would start. He erroneously said that would begin applying only to new enrolees. In fact it applies to students currently enrolled, and even students who have graduated, a measure which smells a whole lot like retrospective taxation to me, although I suspect that its constitutionally possible to get it through. It means that a student that graduated maybe even a decade ago is now going to see their HECS debt balloon if they don't begin paying it off rapidly. It was an approach that was never envisaged from the start when HECS was put in place.
Today I issued a joint media release with Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Julie Collins, critical of the Government's decision to close ten regional ATO sites:
ABBOTT GOVERNMENT SHOWS CONTEMPT FOR REGIONAL AUSTRALIA WITH ATO CLOSURES
The closure of 10 regional Australian Tax Office sites across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania shows the National Party is truly the junior and ineffective partner in the Coalition.
The ATO has confirmed it is closing offices in Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Mackay, Cairns, Port Macquarie, Grafton, Orange, Sale, Bendigo, and Launceston.
Last night, I spoke with Radio National Drive presenter Waleed Aly and the Liberal's Josh Frydenberg for a discussion about the unfairnes of the budget, the Abbott Government's guttered science policy and the future of Peppa Pig on our ABC. Here's the full transcript:
E&OE TRANSCRIPT, RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RN DRIVE WITH WALEED ALY
WEDNESDAY, 28 MAY 2014
SUBJECT / S: Federal Budget and Inequality; Age Pension; Superannuation; Incoherent science policy and cuts to the CSIRO; Higher education; Cuts to the ABC.
WALEED ALY: It's a fortnight since Joe Hockey delivered his first budget. One key measure of that, the debt levy has passed the House of Representatives. It will also pass the Senate because Labor has confirmed it will not oppose that levy. Other budget measures though has continued criticism, even from the Liberal Party's own backbench. One backbencher in particular has criticised cuts to science funding and just the way that the whole science policy has been structured at the moment. So let's discuss budget debate, I'm delighted to welcome back to the program, Josh Frydenberg, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and his sparring partner, Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Gentlemen, welcome back.
JOSH FRYDENBERG: Nice to be with you.
ALY: I want to start with the public perception of the budget gents. Seven out of ten voters don't believe that the burden of cuts is being spread evenly and fairly across the population according to the latest polling. Josh, who do you blame? Do you blame the people or do you blame yourself for your sales job?
I issued this media release today, highlighting the shallow consultations Social Services Minister, Kevin Andrews, has had with the charities and not for profits sector about fundamental changes to the way the sector is regulated.
Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, has given a false impression of his engagement with a range of charities, not for profits and sector experts about what replaces Australia’s world-class, one-stop shop for charities, the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC).
In response to a question on notice asking for details of who has been involved in consultations about what might replace the ACNC, the Minister lists 31 people representing 23 organisations.
Today, the Australian Financial Review published my opinion piece on economic growth.
Since the industrial revolution, modern economies have been in a perpetual state of transition. Indeed, economist Paul Collier once likened economic growth to ‘running across ice floes’.
But sometimes the transitions are particularly fragile. Right now, risks to global growth include potential disruption to European gas supplies, fragility in the Chinese shadow banking sector, and the possibility that structural reform in Japan will falter. Domestically, there is significant uncertainty about how much mining capital expenditure will drop.
So what should a responsible government do in uncertain times? Earlier this month, the OECD’s Economic Outlook recommended that ‘heavy front loading of fiscal consolidation should be avoided’.Read more
Claims that Bronwyn Bishop hosted a Liberal Party fundraiser in her Parliament House Speaker's suite was one of several topics discussed this morning in my usual Monday slot with Fairfax Breaking Politics. Here's the full transcript.
BREAKING POLITICS – FAIRFAX MEDIA
MONDAY, 26 MAY 2014
SUBJECT / S: Federal Budget negotiations; Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Liberal Party fundraising; Refugee resettlement and the mental health of asylum seekers.
CHRIS HAMMER: Joining me now in the studio is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, Labor Member for Fraser here in the ACT, and Andrew Laming, the Liberal Member for Bowman in Queensland. Good morning gentlemen.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Morning Chris.
HAMMER: Andrew Laming, is it time to start compromising on the Federal Budget? Christine Milne and Nick Xenophon say they haven’t even been approached by the Government as yet?
ANDREW LAMING: Well there is no time line on when you approach the Greens, but clearly politics is a game of compromise. It’s more important to win over the Australian people that the budget as a package is the right thing for the long term. I would be silly to say that there won’t ever be a compromise but that’s something for the treasurer and the leadership group but right now the package gets us back on track by 2017-18, something that could never have been conceived under the previous Labor government.
Today, the politics and business e-newsletter, Inside Canberra, published by latest opinion piece on the Federal Budget:
Whether you ask parents, pensioners or conservative premiers, it’s pretty clear that the Coalition’s first budget is deeply unpopular. Part of the reason for this is that it breaks promises faster than a child snapping up kindling. So much for no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no cuts to pensions, no cuts to the ABC, and no new taxes. Broken too are the pledge not to cut more than 12,000 public servants, and the promise not to make further cuts to foreign aid. It now appears that when Mr Abbott was sermonising about the need for politicians to keep their word, he wasn’t talking about himself.
I held a doorstop this morning at Parliament House drawing attention to today's Senate Committee hearing into the ACNC Repeal Bill (1) and the adverse consquences for charities and not for profits if the Bill was passed.
FRIDAY, 23 MAY 2014
SUBJECT / S: Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission; Inequality and the Federal Budget; Falling Consumer Confidence.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thank you for coming everyone. I thought I would say a few words ahead of the Senate Committee's inquiry into the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission.
The ACNC was established by Labor after an exhaustive process. Inquiries had been held going back to the 1990s about the need for an independent voice for charities. The charities commission protects charities because they have a regulator than understands their needs and protects donors who have the confidence that when someone comes knocking at their door, that they are not a scammer. But the Coalition for reasons that can only be regarded as ideology, wants to scrap the ACNC.
I submitted this piece for today's Daily Telegraph, outlining the betrayals in the Federal Budget:
Budgets are like plumbing. If everything works as it should, then no-one takes much notice. But get it wrong, and things start to smell bad fast.
Today, it isn’t just Labor supporters who are noticing the whiff. Since the budget was handed down, everyone from pensioners to conservative premiers, students to business leaders have criticised aspects of the 2014 budget.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Last year, Tony Abbott suggested that his government would cut the deficit, treat all Australians fairly, and keep his promises.
Yet on the current evidence, he’s failing on all three counts.