FEDERATION CHAMBER, 24 OCTOBER 2018
National apologies are a point for a country to look at its past through the harsh eye of the present, and to own up to the wrongdoings of current or past generations. We think of the moment when Britain apologised for the killing of protesters on Bloody Sunday, when the United States apologised for its internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, when the Papacy apologised for the persecution of Galileo, when Japan apologised for its treatment of comfort women and, of course, when Australia apologised for the treatment of the stolen generations.
These are not a moment in which the hurt goes away and in which all the harm is suddenly absolved by dint of an apology, but they are crucial moments for a nation to own up to its past and to say, 'We did the wrong thing and we will endeavour to do better in the future.' That's what this House is doing with this apology today to the victims of childhood sexual abuse by institutions.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 17 OCTOBER 2018
I move the second reading amendment circulated in my name:
That all the words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:
"whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:
(1) notes that the Coalition Government has had six Ministers responsible for charities over the last five years; and
(2) expresses its disapproval of the appointment of prominent anti-charity advocate Gary Johns as chair of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission”.
Labor will be supporting this bill in the House. Schedule 1 of the bill makes a number of technical refinements to the income tax law so that the new tax system for managed investment trusts operates as intended. Following recommendations made by the Board of Taxation in its report on the review of tax arrangements applying to managed investment trusts in 2016, the new tax system for attributed, managed investment trusts was enacted. Labor supported that legislation. The new tax system was designed to increase certainty, provide flexibility, reduce compliance costs for managed investment trusts and improve the competitiveness of Australia's fund management industry.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 16 OCTOBER 2018
Fifty years ago today, a young Australian did two extraordinary things. At the Mexico City Olympics, Peter Norman won silver in the 200 metres with a time of 20.06 seconds. In the half century since, no Australian has run faster. It is still our national record. But the best was yet to come. As he walked out to the medal ceremony with Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the two African American runners told him they planned to bow their heads and put their fists in the air in support of human rights.
When Carlos revealed their plans he said, 'I expected to see fear in Norman's eyes, but instead I saw love.' Peter Norman told the two athletes, 'I'll stand with you.' He borrowed an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge and pinned it on his chest. The famous photograph shows Peter Norman standing silently alongside the two athletes giving the Black Power salute. When he returned to Australia, Peter Norman should have been treated as a hero for racial equality, but he wasn't. He wasn't highlighted in the 2000 Sydney Olympics' opening ceremony. When he died in 2006, Smith and Carlos were among his pallbearers.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 16 OCTOBER 2018
In DC Comics in the 1960s there was a fictional place called htraE which was the home of Bizarro World, a place in which everything was backwards. It feels like we are in Bizarro World today, as we look at a government behaving like an opposition and an opposition behaving like a government.
Over the course of the last five years Labor have been stable under the excellent leadership of Bill Shorten, the member for Maribyrnong, and we have been producing a suite of important economic policies that will take us to the next election as the most policy-focussed opposition in a generation.Read more
FEDERATION CHAMBER, 15 OCTOBER 2018
When Senator Cormann addressed the APSwide Canberra conference last week he laid out his plans to invigorate the Australian Public Service. Like any propagandist, he tried to take control of the situation by taking charge of the words that defined it, but he forgot that Canberrans can read between the lines.
Fairfax Media got the picture, with the headline 'Cuts are good for you, Cormann tells public servants'.
Canberrans are entitled to wonder why Senator Cormann thinks so differently to them when it comes to cuts. After all, cuts hurt, don't they?Read more
FEDERATION CHAMBER, 15 OCTOBER 2018
As a high schooler of the 1980s, I remember repeated taunts about anyone who seemed to be the slightest bit gay or lesbian. The idea of being homosexual was thought of as abhorrent and was used to attack students and teachers alike. It is a mark of how far we've come today that both sides of politics are now united in the view that exemptions allowing religious schools to discriminate against children on the basis of their sexuality should be removed.
I'm enough of a believer in Burkean representative democracy that I don't need polls to tell me what to do, but I still can't help noticing today's Fairfax-Ipsos survey showing that three-quarters of voters oppose laws allowing religious schools to select students and teachers based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status. That majority also holds among Coalition supporters, Labor voters, Greens voters and One Nation voters.
It is a significant shift for the Prime Minister, who just a few days ago, after the Ruddock review was handed down, was stating that it is existing law and that the coalition was not proposing to change those arrangements.Read more
THE EQUITY-EFFICIENCY TAKEOFF
MELBOURNE INSTITUTE 2018 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL OUTLOOK CONFERENCE, MELBOURNE
THURSDAY, 11 OCTOBER 2018
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation on whose lands we meet today and pay my respects to their elders past and present. My thanks to organisers Abigail Payne and Paul Whittaker and their hardworking teams. I also recognize our distinguished session chair David Ribar, my sparring partner Kelly O'Dwyer - she and I go back to our early time in Parliament where we had a double header on Sky News and got to know each other so well that I think we could probably have done each other's speeches if need be - and to thank the many friendly and familiar faces in this room. The Outlook Conference really is a true national institution, bringing together the social sector, the media, economic policy makers, business, the community sector and more. It is to policy wonks what fairy bread is to preschoolers.
I've certainly been attending the Outlook Conference since I was an Australian National University professor and have continued to be back since entering Parliament in 2010, including since becoming Shadow Assistant Treasurer in 2013. Chris Bowen told you this morning that he is the nation's longest serving Shadow Treasurer. I've got this funny coincidence for you: it turns out I'm also the nation's longest serving Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Like Chris, I've enjoyed the role but I could do with a change next year.
We haven't spent the last five years throwing bombs. We've spent this period in Opposition crafting the most comprehensive economic policy that any opposition in a generation has taken to an election. Voters are sick of the insults, they're sick of the hyper partisanship. Whether I go to Townsville or Darwin, whether it's Launceston or Nowra, people want solutions, not slogans. You don't need to be a former Liberal Treasurer to see the failure of the current government to develop an economic narrative. You don't even need to be a former Liberal Treasurer to see it as a bit weird to promise tax changes in 2026. A time when, as Kelly O'Dwyer's former boss puts it, the Coalition are not going to be in government.Read more
WHY UNIONS ARE VITAL TO ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR
2 OCTOBER 2018
I acknowledge that we meet on the land of the Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) peoples of the Kulin Nation, and pay respect to their elders past and present. Special thanks to Emma Dawson for organising this Per Capita event, and Josh Bornstein and Ben Hubbard for the hospitality of Maurice Blackburn. Among the many hardworking unionists in the room, I want to make special note of the presence of Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus and president Michele O'Neil.
The Engels Pause
In the late-1700s, one of the most dramatic transformations in world economic history took place. Starting in Britain, the Industrial Revolution saw production move from hand work to mechanisation. Steam-powered factories massively increased the output of textiles. In previous centuries, economic growth had puttered along so slowly that shops would sometimes carve their prices in stone on the wall. With the industrial revolution, output per worker began to surge. Alongside the domestication of plants and animals, the Industrial Revolution marks one of the major turning points for the world economy.Read more
THE POSTCODE PARADOX: WHY IS AUSTRALIAN INTERGENERATIONAL MOBILITY SO LOW, AND WHAT CAN WE DO TO INCREASE IT?
EVATT FOUNDATION NSW PARLIAMENT LECTURE
TUESDAY, 25 SEPTEMBER 2018
I acknowledge that we meet on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation and pay respect to their Elders past and present. I’m grateful we’re joined by current parliamentarians John Graham, Julia Finn, Mick Veitch, Adam Searle, and Penny Sharpe, and former parliamentarians Jeannette McHugh and Bruce Childs. Special thanks to Clara Edwards and Chris Sheil of the Evatt Foundation for the honour of speaking with you today. And what better respondent could I have than Labor’s candidate for Balmain, 94 years after Evatt first won that seat for our party? Elly Howse will be a great member for Balmain, and I hope you will support her in that goal.
To speak in honour of Herbert Vere Evatt is to be reminded of one’s own inadequacies. State parliamentarian at age 31. High Court judge at 36. Attorney General under Curtin. President of the United Nations General Assembly. Leader of the Federal Opposition. Chief Justice of NSW. Author of seminal books on the Rum Rebellion, the royal prerogative, and Labor’s conscription split.Read more
TAX HAVENS: THE LITTLE ISLANDS THAT ARE COSTING YOU BIG MONEY
TAX AND TRANSFER POLICY INSTITUTE
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, CANBERRA
FRIDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER 2018
I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, on whose lands we’re meeting today, and pay my respects to their elders past and present.
Friends, we can’t put it off any longer. The time has come to talk about Peter.
As you may know, Peter is the CEO and owner of the famous company Peter & Co.[i] Peter is well connected and has the means to create an anonymous shell company where ownership disclosure regulations are relaxed. I hear he’s chosen the Cayman Islands.
Many banks in tax havens cater to the wealthy and are not reliable in sharing information with foreign tax authorities, so Peter has opened an account under the shell company’s name in another tax haven. Word on the street is that Peter has selected Panama for this part of his business dealings.
The last piece of the elaborate puzzle is for Peter & Co. to buy consulting and legal services from his Cayman shell company, with the money wired to his shell company’s Panama account.
The arrangement, on paper, looks legitimate at first glance, but the result is Peter reducing his company’s tax-assessable income – shifting profits out of Australia.Read more