MONDAY, 29 JULY 2019
Subjects: The Morrison Government’s mediocre record on productivity, tax havens, Angus Taylor, the need to raise Newstart.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning. We've seen reports today that Australia's productivity performance is in the doldrums. After decades in which we had productivity growth averaging around 2 per cent, over the last couple of years we've seen it in just 0.2 per cent – a tenth of its previous level. The Productivity Commission has described productivity as being ‘troubling’ and ‘mediocre’.
We’ve got mediocre productivity performance from the mediocre Morrison Government.Read more
A PROGRESSIVE AGENDA FOR TACKLING AUSTRALIA’S PRODUCTIVITY CRISIS
Inside Story, 29 July 2019
At the start of June, the Productivity Commission quietly dropped a bombshell. Australia’s productivity growth had basically stalled. Labour productivity — output per hour worked — was more or less flatlining. After a generation in which labour productivity had grown at almost 2 per cent a year, it had tumbled to just 0.2 per cent.
The commission called the results “mediocre” and “troubling,” but for some sectors they were downright appalling. In farming, mining, construction, transport and retail, labour productivity went backwards. In other words, workers in those sectors were producing less per hour than they had the year before. The latest numbers continued a trend of weakening productivity growth that the commission dates back to 2013.Read more
ABC NEWS RADIO
THURSDAY, 25 JULY 2019
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: It’s a pretty extraordinary suggestion that we would take people earning under $50,000 out of the superannuation system. I don’t know why it is that when the Liberals sit down to go back to their basic philosophies, they're not talking about helping low income workers, they’re not talking about dealing with wage theft or climate change. It's all about saying ‘well I'm in a job with 15 per cent super contribution, but wouldn't be beaut if the poorest Australians didn't have anything in their super at all’.
HOST: Well, why don't you think Australians - I mean, particularly those on low incomes, like you say - why shouldn't they have the freedom to decide for themselves how to save?
LEIGH: Universal superannuation ensures that all Australians get the benefits of those compounding returns. Countries around the world look to Australia as an exemplar of a country that's managed to put in place superannuation for everyone. But the Liberals think that superannuation should only be for the rich, and they think instead the poor should be shut out of the system. It's just not the way to go. And if Scott Morrison is serious when he tells backbenchers they shouldn't be freelancing, then he'll crack down on this one.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 22 JULY 2019
Born in Agra and raised in Chandigarh, Deepak-Raj Gupta probably didn't imagine, when he moved to Melbourne as an international student in 1989, that one day he would be serving in the ACT Legislative Assembly. But, as a result of a number of tragedies and coincidences, he is about to join that august body.Read more
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