PRIZED MINDS ARE HERE TO HELP — BY SHOWING THE WORLD WHAT DOESN’T
The Australian, 17 October 2019
‘If I can predict what you are going to think of pretty much any problem,’ argues MIT economics professor Esther Duflo, ‘it is likely that you will be wrong on stuff.’
This week, Duflo shared the economics Nobel Prize with MIT’s Abhijit Banerjee and Harvard’s Michael Kremer. They weren’t rewarded for devising a grand theory. In fact, their work has probably debunked more theories than it’s vindicated. Instead, the trio were honoured for bringing a new approach to development economics: randomised trials.
Just as advanced countries test new drugs by randomly assigning patients to treatment and control groups, the development randomistas evaluate anti-poverty programs by the toss of a coin. Heads, you get the program. Tails, you don’t. The beauty of this simple methodology is that it provides a rigorous test of whether a program works.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 16 OCTOBER 2019
It's not often that a Labor Party MP gets a call from a former National Party leader, but when Tim Fischer picked up the phone a couple of years ago I was delighted to take his call.
Tim was calling to speak about research that I'd done, with Christine Neill at Wilfrid Laurier University, on the impact of the firearms buyback on Australian gun homicide and suicide rates. We had found that over the decade before the Port Arthur massacre Australia had averaged one gun massacre every year—that is, one mass shooting in which there were five or more victims. We found that in the decade afterwards there wasn't a single gun massacre.Read more
ABC NEWS RADIO
WEDNESDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2019
SUBJECTS: IMF slashing Australia’s economic growth outlook, Deloitte highlighting homegrown concerns for the economy.
ALI CREW: Labor has pounced on the IMF report saying it shows that the Morrison government's policy settings are not right for the economy. Labor MP Andrew Leigh joins us now. Good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Ali. How are you?
CREW: I'm well, thank you. Now is it really fair to blame the government for these forecasts from the IMF? After all, the body makes clear that it's part of a broader slowdown that we're seeing across the globe.
LEIGH: Deloitte made clear in its report on Monday that a lot of the problems in the Australian economy are homegrown. We have a higher unemployment rate now than the United States or Britain or Germany or New Zealand. They have unemployment rates around 4 per cent, ours is sitting above 5 per cent. We don't have the sort of investment in the economy that is so sorely needed at the moment. When I hear Paul Fletcher saying ‘we've got a plan, we're sticking to the plan’ it sounds a whole lot like pig headedness to me, an unwillingness to adapt to the global economic circumstances and to the problems in the domestic economy.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 15 OCTOBER 2019
In the United States, President Trump recently signed the FIRST STEP Act. That act takes several steps to ease mandatory minimum sentences under US federal law. It passed with overwhelming support from Republicans and Democrats, and the support of a wide range of groups—from the American Civil Liberties Union to the right-wing organisation Right on Crime. It reflects the reality that many other countries' legislators are moving away from mandatory sentences. As Hilda Tubex from the University of Western Australia has said, 'Let's follow international jurisdictions that are moving away from mandatory sentences, due to a lack of evidence that they work in protecting the community, and leave it to the judges to judge.'
In Australia, we face the same situation that Britain, the United States and New Zealand also face: a massive rise in incarceration rates. Australia's incarceration rate is now the highest that it has been since 1899.Read more
A PAEAN TO PARLIAMENT
The Canberra Times, 15 October 2019
Every year, thousands of Australians come to visit Parliament House. They’re right to do so. The central building in our democracy isn’t just an architectural marvel, it’s an art-lover’s paradise. Parliament is where history is made. There’s something beautifully Australian about the fact that visitors can take the lift to the roof, and literally walk over the top of their politicians.
When those visitors picked up a copy of Tuesday’s Canberra Times, I suspect they would have raised an eyebrow or two at the opinion piece suggesting that the nation’s parliament was as a bubble within a bubble.
The smooth operation of Parliament House is a credit to its staff – the cleaners and clerks, baristas and building attendants, loading dock staff and servers – all of whom come together day after day to support democracy.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 14 OCTOBER 2019
Today is Jasiri Australia's Girls Take Over Parliament day, an event I'm pleased to be part of for the third year running. The program is organised by Caitlin Figueiredo and it aims to inspire a new generation of young women to be our nation's future political leaders. The program has introduced 260 young women to politicians across Australia, Tonga and Fiji, and there are 60 young women and girls participating in today's program.
ANU student Brianna Partington has joined my office. She grew up in Ceduna, South Australia, and her interest in politics came at a young age, when she realised that it wasn't always replicated among her female peers. Brianna believes there is a significant lack of interest in politics among young women in her area, and she wants to work to change that.Read more
Privatisating visa system could further damage Australia's reputation - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 14 OCTOBER 2019
Those opposite like to style themselves as the political heirs of John Howard, the man who once said:
'We will decide who comes to Australia and the circumstances in which they come.'
But, as a result of this visa privatisation plan, private firms will decide who comes to Australia and private firms will decide the circumstances in which they come. Indeed, Mr Howard noted recently the link between trust and confidence in the visa system and the way in which it is operated. He said:
'If they feel that control is slipping they will turn against it.'
-- by ‘they’ he meant the Australian people --
‘I think that would apply to just about any country in the world. It's basic common sense.’Read more
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
MONDAY, 14 OCTOBER 2019
Subjects: Josh Frydenberg caving to public pressure over the banks, Deloitte highlighting homegrown concerns for the economy, Morrison failing Australia on the world stage.
LAURA JAYES: Joining me now is Labor frontbencher Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew Leigh, thanks for your time-
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Laura.
JAYES: Do you support this ACCC inquiry?
LEIGH: It certainly seems like Josh Frydenberg has finally yielded to community pressure to do something about big banks not passing on rate cuts. We know this has a big impact on household budgets and it's important to ensure that those rate cuts are passed on in full. Our banks are very profitable, and that's why Labor was calling last month for an ACCC inquiry into competition in the banking sector. At the time, Liberals were saying we didn't need it, that the big banks were already dealing with too much in the context of the royal commission. So I'm pleased that Josh Frydenberg seems to have finally yielded to community pressure, but let's not think of him as somebody who is always on the side of the customer. He of course is somebody who voted 26 times against the banking royal commission, and voted against Labor's abolition of mortgage exit fees - a pro-competitive measure - when we were last in government.Read more
FRIDAY, 11 OCTOBER 2019
Subjects: Peter Norman.
ALAN JONES: Someone who's campaigned outstandingly for recognition for Peter Norman is the Federal Labor MP Andrew Leigh. Very smart man, a very fine academic. Also a runner. I first spoke to Andrew about this back in 2012, when to his great credit he moved a motion in the Federal Parliament of apology to Peter Norman. Andrew’s on the line. Andrew, good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Alan. Thank you for the generous introduction.
JONES: It's true. What a lovely, lovely story. But oh dear, takes a long time to catch up with the truth, doesn't it?
LEIGH: It's 51 years. It's extraordinary it's taken us this long to recognise that what Peter did was so much more than his run, amazing time as it was. You know, even the closest anyone's come to Peter’s 20.06 was Dean Capobianco in 1993 with his 20.18. But the achievement of being willing to take a stand against racial inequality in 1968 at a time where that was pretty unpopular stance. They were booed in the stadium for making the black power salute.Read more
ABC AFTERNOON BRIEFING
MONDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2019
Subjects: Josh Frydenberg voting against the Banking Royal Commission; Extinction Rebellion and the Government’s inaction on climate change; Newstart; pill testing; Tony Abbott; Bill Shorten; Labor’s election review; the drought.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: I want to bring in my panel, Labor's Andrew Leigh and the Coalition's Andrew Laming. Welcome to both of you.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Thanks, PK. It’s great to be with you.
KARVELAS: Just on that bank issue, I want to start with you Andrew Leigh. Josh Frydenberg putting a lot of pressure on the banks, saying customers should vote with their feet. Do you agree with him?
LEIGH: I certainly agree with the substance, but I think Josh reckons that Australian voters have the memories of goldfish - that they’ll forget that he was trying to give the big banks a company tax cut, that he fought against the royal commission, voted against it 26 times, and only supported it after the bankers’ own association backed it. He's hoping that Australians will forget that Josh Frydenberg campaigned against the Future of Financial Advice reforms, wanted to remove the best interest requirement. All of this is on Josh Frydenberg’s record, so his is very much a record of cosying up to the big end of town. We wouldn't have had a banking royal commission if it wasn't for Labor’s pressure.Read more