MORRISON IN A MUDDLE
Today, a panicked Scott Morrison told Fairfax “the government has never entertained” changes to cash back on the dividend imputation.
But the Government’s own Re:think Tax Discussion paper (p.92) states:
There are some revenue concerns with the refundability of imputation credits.
In its haste to yet again defend inequitable tax breaks, the Turnbull Government can’t even remember what it was saying yesterday.
TUESDAY, 13 MARCH 2018
SKY AM AGENDA
TUESDAY, 13 MARCH 2018
SUBJECTS: Dividend imputation reform.
KIERAN GILBERT: Welcome back to the program. With me now the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Thanks very much for your time. What do you think of the Government's argument that this is a double tax grab, that it's a distortion of the dividend imputation system now where some people will be double taxed and others won't be?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran it's worth taking a step back just to explain how we got here. In 1987 Paul Keating put in place dividend imputation which ensured that people weren't taxed twice, that individuals got a credit for company taxes previously paid. But then in 2000, a time when there was a structural budget surplus of 1-2 per cent of GDP, John Howard and Peter Costello decided to make that refundable. They put in place a system no other country in the advanced world has in which the tax office would cut you a cheque.
GILBERT: What's wrong with that?
LEIGH: Well it's pretty unsustainable at a time when we have the budget deficit now soaring. It's eight times larger than when it was forecast. Gross debt just crashed through the half a trillion dollar barrier and the Turnbull Government is saying we should be taking money away from pensioners - saying that these payments aren't affordable. I think if we're looking at cheques the Government cuts, we probably should look first to the cheques that it's cutting to people who are not paying tax but instead getting cash refunds for dividend imputations.
GILBERT: Your former boss, Peter Cook in 1999 in the debate with Peter Costello, supported the change; "Labor included this proposal prior to the last election therefore we have no difficulty supporting the proposal because it is our policy, it builds on the reform accomplished by Labor 15 years ago and it improves the current tax system faced by low income investors especially retired Australians", that's what your former boss said.
LEIGH: Kieran, when this was put in place two decades ago it's true that Labor supported it and the budget was strong at the time. The budget is anything but strong and this is a tax concession which then was about half a billion dollars a year and now is ten times that, about $5 billion. And it’s projected to grow to $8 billion a year.Read more
IS THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY TOO SIMPLE?
INSURANCE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL FORUM
WEDNESDAY, 7 MARCH 2018
It is a pleasure to be speaking at the Insurance Council’s annual forum today. As part of Labor’s economic team, I have appreciated my engagement with the ICA over recent years. You have a strong working relationship with Bill Shorten, Chris Bowen, Katy Gallagher, Matt Thistlethwaite, Jim Chalmers and others on the Labor front bench. Smart oppositions use the time to engage with the community, craft policies, and prepare for the possibility of taking government. Regardless of your politics, I doubt anyone would disagree that this Labor opposition has produced more carefully crafted policy proposals than any opposition in a quarter of a century. We don’t just want to win the next election: we want to have a clear plan for growth in the decades ahead.Read more
SKY NEWS AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2018
SUBJECTS: Show ponies; Squatters; Barnaby Joyce; Michael McCormack.
DAVID SPEERS: Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Thanks for your time this morning. We heard Michael McCormack quickly have a shot there at Bill Shorten, saying it would be the worst thing for Australia for him to become Prime Minister, indicating that he wants to work closely with Malcolm Turnbull to stop that happening. What does Labor think of this new Nationals leader?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: The Nationals are a party made up of squatters and show ponies. You’ve seen them over the years chose from those different groups to lead their party. The challenge has been that the squatters haven’t connected with the electorate and the show ponies haven’t been interested in public policy. So now they’ve gone back to a leader who I guess it’s more clearly in that Ian Sinclair, Earle Page, John Anderson style of leadership but somebody who comes to the role pretty fresh-faced. I shadowed Michael McCormack through the Census debacle and I felt sorry for him that he’d been handed an ill prepared Census by Alex Hawke and Kelly O’Dwyer who had had the job before him. But I didn’t feel as sorry for Michael McCormack as I did for the millions of Australians who lost time on Census night when the website crashed.Read more
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