HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 22 JULY 2019
Warren Buffett once said that it is only when the tide goes out you can work out who is swimming without any clothes. As the tide starts to go out on the Australian economy, it's not a pretty look for the Prime Minister and the Treasurer.
At the heart of the problems for the Australian economy is lacklustre wage growth which is running now at half the level it was before the global financial crisis. Productivity in Australia has been, according to the Productivity Commission, ‘mediocre’. That's because the government is failing to put in place essential investments in education and in infrastructure. We’re also seeing a falling back in demand which means that our employment rate is a full percentage point higher than Britain, New Zealand, the United States or Germany.Read more
MONDAY, 22 JULY 2019
Subjects: The Drought Future Fund; the Morrison Government’s lack of policy clothing; foreign fighters; protesters; superannuation.
HOST: Thank you very much for your time this morning. One of the bills - and great to be with you - one of the bills that will be debated this week is the future drought fund. Will Labor support it?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: If it’s got new money, we're very happy to back it. The problem is so far the government simply wants to do pea and thimble tricks, moving money from one fund to another. The money they want to put in this future drought fund comes from the Building Australia Fund, which is the fund providing infrastructure across the nation, including in rural and regional communities-
HOST: But the government-
LEIGH: So it's beyond me why you want to take money out of rural and regional infrastructure and put it in combating drought. What farmers need is new resources, not a reallocation of existing ones.
MONDAY, 22 JULY 2019
Subjects: The Morrison Government’s policy nudity and economic inaction, the Drought Future Fund, Newstart.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: They say that it’s only when the tide goes out you find out who's been swimming naked. As the tide goes out on the Australian economy, we’re increasingly discovering the policy nudity of the Morrison Government. We've got engineering construction down, new car sales down, retail sales in the doldrums and productivity flatlining. Unemployment in Australia is a full percentage point higher than it is in Britain or the United States or New Zealand. We've got productivity growth now, according to the Productivity Commission, which is ‘mediocre’.
And in the face of all of this, the Morrison Government is stubbornly refusing to bring forward the infrastructure investment that the economy needs. When we left here last time, it was after a vote in which the Morrison Government had failed to accelerate the schedule for tax cuts. Labor was calling for more Australians to get a bigger tax cut sooner, to provide that critical stimulus that the Australian economy needs. But instead the Morrison Government has failed to focus on the big challenges to the Australian economy. They don't have a plan for wage growth. They don't have a plan for boosting productivity. They don't have a plan for bringing down the jobless rate. We now have an unemployment rate in remote Australia of 10 per cent. For Indigenous Australians, 21 per cent. We’ve got 150,000 Australians who have been out of work for more than a year, 80,000 of them out of work for more than two years.Read more
WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE A WALK ON THE WISE SIDE
Review of Jono Lineen, Perfect Motion: How Walking Makes Us Wiser
Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July 2019
Around the world, many people use fitness trackers to target 10,000 steps a day. The goal has its origins in the 1960s, when a Japanese company marketed a pedometer called a manpo-kei, which translates as ‘10,000-step meter’. There isn’t much science behind the number: a study this year found that you get about as much health benefit from 7,500 daily steps.
Walking isn’t just good for the body – it nurtures the soul. Wordsworth, Thoreau, Austen, Aristotle and Brahms are among the many creatives who have found that the muse comes to them when strolling. Religious pilgrimages are about the journey as much as the destination. Stride through a big city and you see things you’d never notice from a car window. Can anyone say that they truly understand Australia if they haven’t gotten lost in the bush?Read more
REMEMBERING CANBERRA'S SPACE LEGACY
The Canberra Times, 15 July 2019
Every baby boomer recalls where they were when they first heard Neil Armstrong say ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ (or the more poetic words that preceded them, ‘Tranquility base - the eagle has landed’).
Too few people know the crucial role that Canberra played in communicating those words to millions of people around the world.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings this month, it’s worth honouring the role that the Australian tracking stations played in that momentous event. There were four tracking stations across Australia – Honeysuckle Creek and Tidbinbilla in the ACT, Parkes in NSW and Carnarvon in Western Australia. Together, they played a pivotal role in relaying sound and images from space back to NASA.
While Parkes starred in the movie, it was Honeysuckle Creek and its 26 metre antenna dish that received and relayed the first images of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon to 600 million people on Earth.Read more
ABC RN DRIVE
THURSDAY, 4 JULY 2019
SUBJECTS: Tax cuts, John Setka.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. Welcome.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Patricia. Great to be with you.
KARVELAS: Labor said it didn't want to stand in the way of badly needed economic stimulus, but this was going to pass with or without you. So why didn't you decide to back it earlier?
LEIGH: Patricia, we wanted to fight for what's right for the economy, which is ensuring that we got money into the hands of workers straight away. We moved amendments in the House of Representatives and in the Senate that would have seen the middle income tax cut brought forward from 2022 to 2019. The economy is really fragile right now. Just today we've had problematic figures come out on job vacancies and retail sales. Yesterday we had dwelling approval figures coming out that were of equal concern. Tuesday the Reserve Bank was cutting rates down to historically low levels. Wages have been flatlining for six years. Productivity, according to the Productivity Commission, is ‘mediocre’. We’re nine months into a per capita recession and economists think that there's about a one in three chance that will fall into a full recession in the next few years. So our priority was always on ensuring that the economy got the stimulus it needed now and that's why we moved those amendments in the House and in the Senate. And when they were unsuccessful, we ultimately had to make a decision as to whether to vote for or against the unamended package, and we took the view that we wouldn't stand in the way of getting money into the economy now.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 4 JULY 2019
The Liberals have become the party of procrastination. With the economy tanking faster than the leadership tilt by the member for Dickson, the government's entire focus has been not on today, but on five years time.Read more
CONDOLENCE MOTION – ROBERT JAMES LEE HAWKE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 3 JULY 2019
He drinks like a fish, swears like a trooper, works like a demon, performs like a playboy, talks like a truckie—and acts like a politician. Almost your cliche Aussie. Except in this case it's Bob Hawke, and the only typical thing about him is the way he's larger than average in almost everything. Bob Hawke is your typical Australian, oversize.
If you want to understand Australia's 23rd Prime Minister, you can do no better than to read Craig McGregor's 1977 profile. It's a time when Bob Hawke isn't Prime Minister, he's not even in parliament—he's running the ACTU—but it's an extraordinary insight into the man.
Craig McGregor follows Hawke for a few days, and in part of it he tells the story of Bob popping into a bar in Melbourne for a quick five-minute chat. Two hours and half-a-dozen drinks later, Hawke starts to leave.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 2 JULY 2019
The debate in this House comes down to one simple proposition. We on this side of the House are arguing for tax cuts for everyone now. The Coalition are arguing for inequitable tax cuts in five years time. And which of those arguments should prevail depends on one simple question: is the Australian economy weak or is it strong?
A few facts. Inflation is now virtually non-existent, new building approvals are drying up, new car sales are falling, unemployment is rising—our unemployment rate is now one percentage point higher than it is in Britain, the United States, Germany and New Zealand—real wages have been flatlining for six years and household savings are low. The Productivity Commission says productivity growth is ‘mediocre’ and notes that in farming, mining, construction, transport and retail labour productivity has been falling.
This year, for the first time on record, the amount of capital per worker went backwards. We have got fewer new start-ups now than we had in the early 2000s. Real GDP per person has been falling for the last nine months. We are in the longest per capita recession since the early 1980s.Read more
2GB MONEY NEWS
TUESDAY, 2 JULY 2019
SUBJECTS: Interest rate cut; tax cuts.
ROSS GREENWOOD: Great to have your company here on Money News, going right around Australia. Of course this interest rate decision we've heard about today from the Reserve Bank, cutting interest rates to these record lows, just 1 per cent for the cash rate. And tonight a series of lenders bringing out variable interest rates for mortgage borrowers at two point something per cent - some 2.89 per cent I’ve seen today. Then you've got some of our big banks - the ANZ, for example, clearly learned a lesson from the last time rates were cut. It didn't pass it on in full and gained the full wrath of our politicians and the community. Today said they would pass these rate cuts on in full. But what does it say about Australia's economy and indeed what more needs to be done? Let's now go to the Shadow Assistant Finance Minister or Minister for Treasury. That man is always great with his time and that is Andrew Leigh, who was on the line right now. Andrew, many thanks for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Ross. Glad to be with you again.