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
LAUNCHING THE PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDS OF GUN CONTROL
Parliament House, 19 September 2018
I’d like to thank parliamentary colleagues from all sides of the Parliament for joining us tonight to launch the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control, particularly my co-chair John Alexander. Welcome back Tim Fischer, it’s terrific to have you here. I also welcome the extraordinary Walter Mikac, CEO of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation Lesley Podesta, and public health experts who have joined us here for this important event.
In 1996, I was a summer clerk at the Sydney law firm of Minter Ellison. Each of us were assigned a mentor. Mine was an energetic, charismatic 28 year old by the name of Zoe Hall. I couldn’t have gotten a better mentor. Zoe was somebody who kept on reaching out to say ‘how are you doing’, offering little bits of advice. And then she took a holiday to Port Arthur and became one of the victims of the Port Arthur massacre.Read more
A MESSAGE OF REMONSTRANCE
House of Representatives, 18 September 2018
For the first time in its 29-year history, the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly has brought to this parliament a message of remonstrance, and it does this asking that the ACT assembly have removed the bar to it having the deeply difficult conversation about voluntary assisted dying.
It was 21 years ago that this parliament took that power away from the ACT assembly.Read more
THE GOVERNMENT HAS RUN OUT OF LEGISLATION IN THE SENATE
House of Representatives, 18 September 2018
It is a pleasure to be debating this bill. I note for the benefit of the House that the only reason we are now in the House debating this uncontroversial tax bill is that Labor voted to stop the filibuster in the Senate.
Twice the government in the Senate voted to keep on filibustering this piece of legislation. There is one very simple reason for that, which is that the government has run out of legislation in the Senate.Read more
WE'LL KEEP ON CAMPAIGNING FOR THE AIS
Federation Chamber, 17 September 2018
Founded in 1981, the Australian Institute of Sport has been a vital part of our nation's sporting prowess, responsible for training some of our sporting legends, among them Michael Klim, Cadel Evans, Sam Stosur, Petria Thomas, Anna Meares and Michael Milton.
And yet the Australian Institute of Sport is now under threat due to staffing cuts and neglect. Since the coalition came into office, the number of Canberra based staff has fallen from 173 to 140. The institute has lost 70 sports specialists, and executives have indicated that there are more losses to come.
Several sports bodies avoid the institute altogether, and many refer to it as a ‘ghost town’.Read more