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
THE COALITION’S WAR ON CHARITIES
48TH NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ADELAIDE
Over the last five years, the Liberals have been waging a war on charities. They have attempted to shut down the charities commission, the body supported by four out of five charities. When they couldn't get that legislation through parliament, they decided to appoint as its head Gary Johns. Now Gary Johns is somebody who's attacked the Indigenous charity Recognise, he’s criticised BeyondBlue, he’s described Indigenous women as “cash cows”. Putting Gary Johns in charge of the charities commission is like putting Ned Kelly in charge of bank security. It’s like putting Bronwyn Bishop in charge of transport for politicians.
Meanwhile, Labor’s been working with the charitable sector. We see a vibrant role for charities in supporting better public policy. We don’t just believe that environmental charities should be planting trees, we believe they should be talking about deforestation. We don’t just believe that social justice charities should be serving a soup kitchen, we believe they can play a role in talking about poverty.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
A STRONG ECONOMY FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS
48TH NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ADELAIDE
Thank you, President Swan.
Inequality in Australia is now at a 75-year high. If you were alive when inequality was this bad and you don’t have life membership, I’d encourage you to see Wayne Swan afterwards.
It is a pleasure to speak in favour of this important chapter alongside my friends Chris and Jim, because this chapter goes to the heart of what a Shorten Labor Government would deliver for the economy.
If you’re a billionaire, then the Liberals have been a great government. They’ve never seen a tax loophole they won’t defend. If he’s re-elected at the election, Scott Morrison will be back fighting once more for tax cuts for the biggest companies in Australia. Because, as he said less than six months ago, ‘we don't flip flop on these things’.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 6 DECEMBER 2018
Lionel Murphy put it best when he said, 'Mr Neal is entitled to be an agitator,' in support of the notion that our civil society is richer when we encourage people to dissent, to complain, to speak out, on issues where they have a different view.
In our schools we frequently have student representative councils and debating competitions. Here in the parliament we have the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate program, PACER, which even today is bringing to this building school students to engage in the process of parliament. It is bringing students to our national capital so they can better understand our civil society. When I was at school, I protested in Martin Place against education changes being made by Terry Metherell, an experience from which I learned a great deal, not just about education but about the process of making a difference, as students do when they join peaceful protests against laws with which they disagree.
So it was surprising to hear the Prime Minister say, 'We do not support our schools being turned into parliaments,' when in fact that is what a government program does in many schools, to allow students to learn about civics.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 3 DECEMBER 2018
Shane Madden was one of Canberra's finest lawyers. He was part of the senior leadership team when the ACT Department of Public Prosecutions was formed under Ken Crispin in 1991. ACT Bar Association President Steve Whybrow said:
Shane was a fine trial advocate whose dark emerald robes and pinstripe pants were a defining sartorial feature.Read more
MONDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: World leaders’ game of guess who at the G20, Malcolm Turnbull’s call for an early election, trade, inequality, encryption legislation.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and federal Member for Fenner. This weekend Scott Morrison was in Argentina, where Donald Trump was asking the questions so many Australians are asking: “where is Malcolm Trumble? What have you done with him? Why did you change the government?” Angela Merkel, like many Australians, is puzzled as to who Scott Morrison is. Like many Australians, having to consult their own cheat sheets in order to work out what the Liberal Party has done. Because unlike Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnbull actually faced an election. And indeed when he first entered parliament, unlike Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnbull fairly won a contested preselection.Read more
2GB MONEY WITH ROSS GREENWOOD
TUESDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Liberal Party’s big economic announcement…of a Budget date; Julia Banks; Labor’s plans to right the economic wrongs of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Governments.
ROSS GREENWOOD: Dr Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, he is on the line right now. Thanks for your time, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Ross. Great to be back with you.
GREENWOOD: Will this government actually see that May 18 election date? Do you believe, given the fact that had Julia banks defecting to the crossbenchers and now the government does not control either in its own entirety the House of Representatives or the Senate?
LEIGH: Ross, I've been in the parliament for eight years now and rarely have I seen such chaos and dysfunction as what we're seeing today. Julia Banks’ defection was just another episode of any government that's been just lurching from crisis to crisis. This is making Tony Abbott’s reinstatement of knights and dames look like stable and responsible government. Whenever the election is called, we're ready to go.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 27 NOVEMBER 2018
I rise to speak on behalf of the opposition in respect of the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017. It is 729 days since Senator Farrell introduced opposition legislation in the Senate to ban foreign donations from our political system. Labor believes that political donations from foreign sources are eroding our political system, and urgent attention is required to address this. If you care about foreign cybermeddling in elections, you should care about foreign donations affecting Australian election outcomes.
After the government opposed our bill in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition sought to progress this urgent reform here, in the House. The government again refused to support this change, so Labor made the unilateral step of saying that we would voluntarily refuse foreign donations. More than a year ago, we acted to say that we would not take foreign political donations, not because the law banned us from doing so but because it is the right thing to do.
I today join with my colleague Senator Farrell in calling on the Prime Minister and every Liberal and National party member of this House to immediately—this moment—stop taking foreign donations. Don't wait for this bill to become law. The member for Mitchell just said that he believes that foreign donations are ‘inappropriate’, yet if you went to his political party right now as a foreign donor with a cheque to give to the Liberal Party of Australia, they would take that money. I say to the Liberal Party of Australia: Say no to British citizens like Lord Ashcroft. Say no to American political donors like Peter Briger. Say no to foreign political donations from any noncitizen, and say it today. Do not take another dollar in foreign donations. Do not wait for this bill to pass the parliament. Act right now, while you can.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 26 NOVEMBER 2018
I rise to pay tribute to the life of Dr John Mark Beaton, who passed away in his sleep on 6 November 2018, at the age of 74.
A successful anthropologist, John joined the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 2001. As others have noted, he has not just been at the academy but was the academy. In my own experience with him, he was gentle and generous, warm and funny—somebody who brought life to an institution that could otherwise have been terribly stuffy.Read more