LABOR RISES TO THE CHALLENGE OF THE SHARING ECONOMY
Labor today launched a new Discussion Paper on the rise of the sharing economy to help release the in this innovative new sector.
Australia has a housing affordability crisis, yet there are nine million spare bedrooms across the nation.
Some of our major cities are in gridlock, yet the majority of cars carry only one person. Many people own a power drill, yet use it less than an hour a year.
Sharing economy services can help us make more efficient use of the world’s existing stock of bedrooms, cars, tools and more.
SKY AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 23 MARCH 2015
SUBJECT/S: Emissions reductions targets; Budget; Moss Review; Pyne the ‘fixer’
KIERAN GILBERT: This is AM Agenda, thanks very much for your company. With me now, the Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert and the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Good morning gentlemen. First on the carbon emissions target, is the nation on track to meet the 5 per cent reduction by 2020 despite all the warnings of the Labor Party and other critics that direct action would not be enough?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Well Kieran, from all the data I've seen, emissions have been increasing not decreasing under this Government, you look at the official emissions data and they fell under the period of the carbon price, reductions around the order of around 1 per cent a year clearly on target, since then emissions have been tracking back upwards. If the Government's getting any future reduction emissions it's probably through their goading the car industry to leave and overseeing the death of manufacturing in Australian rather than because they actually have good policies. We're still yet to find a credible economist who thinks that paying polluters is a better way of reducing emissions than a market based approach.
MONDAY, 23 MARCH 2015
SUBJECT/S: Government’s lack of budget strategy; Lee Kuan Yew; Homelessness funding; Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Today the Parliament will be honouring Malcolm Fraser, a prime minister whose record on multiculturalism and on issues like apartheid is certainly to be admired. He was somebody who helped thousands of Vietnamese refugees settle in Australia and when other countries were fragile on questions of race, he took a very clear stance on the moral issue of apartheid. We'll also be now just a few days away from the next budget coming down. Extraordinarily, Australia is still talking about the unfairness of the last budget. We've got Tony Abbott, who when debt was one-seventh of national income, thought it was appropriate to drive debt trucks around, now thinks it's ok when debt is heading to half of national income. To my mind, that would require a debt aircraft carrier rather than a debt truck. This is a government which has lost the confidence of the Australian people because rather than being focused on the long-term future of 24 million Australians, it is obsessed by the short-term political prospects of 20 Cabinet ministers. Happy to take questions.
LABOR’S TAX EXCHANGES NET $730 MILLION
Labor welcomes word from Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan that bilateral information exchanges signed under the previous Labor Government have added $730 million to multinational tax revenue over the past two years.
Commissioner Jordan will today tell the Tax Institute’s annual conference that information sharing with other countries about the tax affairs of big multinationals netted $480 million in 2012-13. A further $250 million was collected in 2013-14.
COALITION TO HELP BIGGEST COMPANIES HIDE FROM TAX SCRUTINY
Leaks out of today’s Liberal party room confirm the Abbott Government is gearing up to dump transparency laws which would let Australians seen how much tax big multinationals pay.
Because of reforms introduced by Labor in 2013, the Australian Tax Office is getting ready to release information about the taxable income and tax paid for companies earning over $100 million.
But in today’s party room meeting, Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg reportedly announced he is working on plans to roll back the transparency laws.
FAIRFAX BREAKING POLITICS
MONDAY, 16 MARCH 2015
SUBJECT/S: Abbott Government’s attacks on pensions; higher education cuts; Asian Infrastructure Development Bank
CHRIS HAMMER: We're joined by Andrew Leigh, Labor Member for Fraser and also the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, and Andrew Laming, Liberal Member for Bowman in Queensland. Good morning gentlemen. Now I really have to start, Andrew Laming, with you after your comments on this program last week where you raised objections to the Government's policy on indexing pensions. You said that there were missiles, Exocets and torpedoes lined up at the policy from within the Government itself. Now, on the weekend Scott Morrison has suggested some sort of compromise with a review body to be set up. What's your reaction to that?
ANDREW LAMING, MEMBER FOR BOWMAN: Well the military ordinance is still there but it has not moved. There’s positive signs, we are seeing movement and I think that's what was wanted – not just by backbenchers. The nation wants to see a reasonable compromise supported by the crossbench in a way that pensioners can support. So what we've seen in the last week is an indication that pensions will be looked after by a separate and more apolitical body, and secondly reviewed according to economic circumstances. Both of them seem fairly reasonable but for the moment, pensioners will be asking the question: have our pensions been cut already? The answer is no. Are they automatically going to go from a high to a low level of indexation? Not necessarily. But that's about as far as we've got in the last week.
SUNDAY, 8 MARCH 2015
SUBJECT/S: Intergenerational Report
BARRIE CASSIDY: With the Intergenerational Report released this week, we are joined by the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh from the Canberra studios. Good morning, welcome.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning, Barrie.
CASSIDY: When you look at that report, the most sobering thought is the prospect of budget deficits for another 40 years. That should inspire not just governments but oppositions to start thinking about some tough decisions.
LEIGH: Barrie, it is absolutely right we need to be looking at measures which are going to ensure the Budget returns to a sustainable surplus. In government, Labor put in place over $100 billion worth of savings. After the Global Financial Crisis, when we used stimulus to save jobs, we put in place a two per cent real spending cap and stuck to it. Doing things like means testing the private health insurance rebate – one of the fastest growing areas of the budget – and curtailing the baby bonus. Both were opposed by the Coalition. So we have got the track record on making sustainable decisions.Read more
Capital forges civic renaissance, The Chronicle, 3 March
First, the bad news. Since the 1960s, many measures of ‘social capital’ in Australia have waned. On average, we have fewer friends and know fewer neighbours. We are less likely to join organisations, attend church or be part of a union.
Now, the good news. Across Australia, the nation’s capital is also its social capital. Compared with other parts of Australia, Canberrans are more likely to join, volunteer and give. We play more social sport, are more likely to pick up our litter, and are more engaged in community life.
In forging a civic renaissance, Canberra has a lot to teach the rest of Australia.
One of the ways that we foster community life is through our festivals. Festivals showcase many of the latent talents in our community – from dextrous dancers to clever chefs, melodious musicians to stimulating speakers.
The race between human productivity and machines, Business Spectator, 11 March
As US economist Paul Krugman once put it, “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything.”
Alas, too often, people who should know better have tended to make ‘productivity’ synonymous with longer hours and less job security.
As an economist, I love hearing real-world examples of how firms are raising productivity. Last year, I visited a manufacturing firm that makes mining machines. So baroque had the production line become that when they revamped the layout, the firm found that it was able to get the same work done on a line just one-thirteenth the length. The result was a one-third improvement in productivity for the company.
Visiting Fortescue’s operation in the Pilbara, I heard about its company-wide competition called ‘Have a Crack’, with the prize being $50,000 for the best productivity-boosting suggestion. The winning idea increased the efficiency of the machines that load iron ore onto bulk carriers, saving the company tens of millions of dollars each year. Not a bad return on investment.