THURSDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2018
SUBJECT/S: GST distribution, Malcolm Turnbull’s $65 billion handout to big business; IMF support for reforms to negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount; the Greens’ economic incompetence on housing.
CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Well, it’s good to be here in Adelaide and be joined by my friend and colleague Andrew Leigh. I’ll deal with just a couple of matters before handing over to Andrew to deal with housing and the Greens.
Firstly, here in Adelaide again, it’s important to note the Productivity Commission’s review into GST distribution would see $557 million taken away from South Australia – the equivalent of 5,340 teachers or 5,000 nurses employed by the South Australian Government. Of course, as I said in Hobart earlier in the week, I’ll say the same in Perth as I do in Hobart or Adelaide – the people of Western Australia have very legitimate grievance when it comes to GST distribution and the Labor Party is the only party with a plan to fix it by topping up West Australia’s Budget through an allocation from the Commonwealth Budget, without taking a single dollar away from South Australia or Tasmania.
I can come here to South Australia and say that, Scott Morrison cannot. I don’t know if the Treasurer is going to make a special guest appearance here during the South Australian election campaign, but he should be ruling out changing the GST distribution for South Australia and he should also be trying to fix Western Australia’s problems just as Bill Shorten and I have announced he will do.Read more
TURNBULL GOVERNMENT CUTS A RECURRING NIGHTMARE FOR AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS STAFF
The Turnbull Government’s handling of the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows their disregard for evidence-based policymaking.
In January, we learnt that the nation’s statistical agency was cutting staff. Almost a month on from that date, there’s worse to come.
Almost 100 hardworking public servants in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart are set to lose their jobs.
It’s like a recurring nightmare.Read more
'LUCKY BOY IN THE LUCKY COUNTRY
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MAX CORDEN, ECONOMIST'
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
MONDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2018
I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, the traditional owners of the lands on which we meet today, and recognise Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt, Professor Hal Hill, Professor Bob Gregory, and the extraordinary Max Corden.
As an empirical economist, I naturally prepared for today’s book launch by looking at the relevant datasets. Two big themes of this book are Max’s passion for migration and his research on reducing tariffs. So I opened up Stata, and looked through various datasets, hoping to find one on Australian attitudes to both questions.
Eventually, I struck digital gold. The 1998 Australian Election Study asked whether tariffs should be used to protect industry. Eleven percent disagreed, a view with which I imagine Max would broadly share. It also asked about the number of migrants that Australia should take, and 11 percent said Australia should take more migrants. Max holds both views, something that is true of 2 percent of Australians. So Max, I’m afraid that your Australian sales are unlikely to ever exceed half a million.Read more
How Many Kermits are in Your Wallet Now?
Business Insider, 19 February 2018
Do you have $3000 in your wallet right now?
Funny, because according to the Reserve Bank of Australia, that’s the average amount of cash on issue. So if you’re carrying less than $3000, someone else is carrying more.
Something else is funny about our money. If you’re like me, you haven’t seen many $100 notes lately. And yet nearly half of the value of all cash in Australia is in the big green notes affectionately known as ‘Kermits’. The Reserve Bank of Australia says that the number of Kermits has almost doubled in the past decade.
So who is taking all the cash?
United States economist Kenneth Rogoff, author of the book The Curse of Cash, has an answer – and it isn’t particularly pleasant.
According to Rogoff, tax evaders, human traffickers and drug runners are the main sources of demand for hard currency. So when we think about cash, we have to remember not only the convenience that it brings to law-abiding citizens, but also the benefits that it conveys to wrongdoers.Read more
ANDREW LEIGH MP, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
TIM HAMMOND MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS
GOVERNMENT ADOPTS LABOR’S POLICIES - TWO YEARS LATE
Two years after Labor called for an increase in anti-consumer penalties, the Turnbull Government has finally introduced a bill to Parliament.
On June 15, 2016, Labor announced a plan to reform competition, stating that we would increase civil penalties, increase penalties for anti-competitive conduct, increase the ACCC’s litigation budget and give a market studies function to the ACCC.
610 days later, the Turnbull Government finally introduced a bill to legislate part of that plan.
While we welcome Scott Morrison and his colleagues adopting our idea to increase in penalties for anti-consumer conduct, we’d also encourage them to take on the rest of our measures.Read more
CLOSING THE GAP CHARITY COULD BE CAUGHT BY THE LIBERALS’ WAR ON CHARITIES
Charities remain fearful after Malcolm Turnbull refused to clarify aspects of his government’s poorly written bill which could silence civil society.
In Question Time today, Tanya Plibersek asked:
In his Closing the Gap speech yesterday, the Prime Minister lauded the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity, part-funded by US based Atlantic Philanthropies, which aims to produce community leaders who will speak up and push for social change. Can the Prime Minister confirm that his new electoral rules would mean Atlantic Fellows would be defined as a “political campaigner” and would be forced to hand back the US$50 million donation that made their good work possible?
Mr Turnbull’s response?
I reject the assertion in that question completely.
A refusal to answer the question is not good enough.Read more
SPEECH - FEDERATION CHAMBER
TUESDAY, 13 FEBRUARY 2018
I have good news and bad news.
The good news is thousands of hardworking Canberrans may soon have a quick and easy way to get to work.
But the bad news is the coalition is trying to stop it. I'm afraid Liberal Senator Zed Seselja is trying his best to hold up investment in public transport and light rail in Canberra.
We know a majority of Canberrans don't agree with it. In fact, the people of this city went to an election on this issue; actually, they went to two elections on this issue.Read more
SPEECH - FEDERATION CHAMBER
MONDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2018
For the last 10 weeks, Canberrans Jackson Bursill and Cassie Cohen have been pounding the pavements down our vast and varied east coast.
Jackson and Cassie's Bounding Plains to Share project will take them from Cooktown to Melbourne. They will run 4,000 kilometres in 100 days, with each day marked by local stories of refugees who have enriched Australia after fleeing persecution and conflict overseas.
Bounding Plains to Share celebrates people who've made our country a better place, very much in the spirit of the Welcome to Australia movement.Read more
SKY NEWS AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2018
SUBJECTS: Closing the Gap report card, Labor’s compensation scheme promise, Barnaby Joyce, company tax cuts.
KIERAN GILBERT: With me on the program now, Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. If we start where we concluded with Simon Birmingham in relation to the company tax cuts. Major businesses - Andrew Mackenzie the chief executive of BHP saying that if tax cuts flow, investment will also flow. And if you don’t, he says there are questions raised as to whether companies like his – the largest miner in the world – will choose to continue to make new investments in countries like ours.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, let’s start with what the Government says the benefit is to households would be of their company tax cut. They say that if you cut company taxes and fund it by raising income taxes on middle income Australia, household income grows by 0.1 per cent in the 2030s. If you put that in practical terms, that means you get one extra month of household income growth in the 2030s-
GILBERT: Why did Labor support company tax cuts previously then? Is it a road to Damascus conversion?
LEIGH: We were doing that in a context in which we were closing loopholes, Kieran-
GILBERT: You saw benefits, though, previously?
LEIGH: Good tax reform involves broadening the base and lowering the rate. This is simply rate lowering at the expense of middle income Australians. The Liberals’ own modelling is saying it’s delivering an extra month’s household income growth in the 2030s. At a time when debt’s just passed a half a trillion dollar mark, it doesn’t seem like a great use of tax payer money to me.Read more
SPEECH - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2018
This has been one of the most emotional weeks that I've seen in politics in my 7½ years in this place, a tough week for people on both sides of the House, where the personal has melted into the political, when private lives have been splashed across the front page and pulled apart in this very chamber.
The incredibly brave member for Longman was yesterday forced to relive one of the hardest experiences of her life: the moment when, as a six-year-old, her mother dropped off her school and never came back to pick her up. Her gracious speech, given in the face of intense scrutiny, her capiacity for forgiveness instead of hatred, is what we should strive for as politicians.Read more