NO JOY FOR BELCONNEN IN WEEK OF GOVERNMENT GAFFES
While the Abbott Government has spent the week insulting first homebuyers and damaging confidence in the renewable energy sector, the Belconnen community has continued its long wait for news about the Department of Immigration move.
It has now been 16 weeks since the government’s own deadline for announcing a decision on Immigration’s future expired.
ABC 774 MELBOURNE
THURSDAY, 11 JUNE 2015
SUBJECT/S: Housing affordability; Negative gearing; Budget; Tony Abbott’s Royal Commission into Trade Unions
RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Andrew Leigh is part of Bill Shorten's team, he's the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and an ALP MP in the ACT as well. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: Good afternoon Raf, how are you?
EPSTEIN: Andrew, why does your leader refuse to answer detailed questions about his time with the AWU?
LEIGH: Raf, Bill has spent his entire life working to ensure that Australian workers get a better deal. He's been out there making sure that cleaners and shearers get a fair deal in the workplace. He's taken an absolutely firm line on wrongdoing in the union movement and said very categorically that there's no place for people in the union movement who do the wrong thing.
TUESDAY, 9 JUNE 2015
SUBJECT/S: Housing affordability
STEVE CANNANE: The Treasurer Joe Hockey said today in relation to housing affordability that people would not be buying homes if they were unaffordable. He also advised young homebuyers to get a good job that pays good money. Is he right?
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASUER ANDREW LEIGH: Well Joe Hockey seems not only to think that poor people don't drive cars, but also that they shouldn't own houses. He seems to be the only person in Australia not to recognise that housing affordability is a major issue for young Australians. I worry constantly about how people in Sydney on a five-figure income can afford a house that costs seven figures. We've now had numbers showing that the home ownership rate for 25 to 34-year-olds has fallen 10 percentage points over the last decade from 50 per cent down to 40 per cent. That creates real challenges for young Australians looking to break into the housing market.
MONDAY, 8 JUNE 2015
SUBJECT/S: Housing affordability; Family Tax Benefit cuts
MARIUS BENSON: Andrew Leigh, is it worth Labor considering an end to negative gearing? Or is that just in that never, ever to-be-touched basket politically?
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: Marius, negative gearing is an issue that was actively considered by the Henry tax review in 2009 and they recommended change. It’s an issue which the government's tax discussion paper, a few months ago, also suggested might usefully be looked at. You'd expect a responsible opposition to be looking carefully into this, particularly given where the budget is. But Chris Bowen has laid out clear parameters. We certainly wouldn't do anything that would disadvantage existing owners, and we'd have a careful mind to making sure that there's new housing supply coming into the market.
Innovate, build and you have a working future, Herald Sun, 8 June
One recent Monday morning, I stood in a circle with a dozen others inside a converted warehouse whose windows looked out over Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building. One by one, the current crop of start-up founders in BlueChilli’s incubator program gave a 30-second ‘elevator pitch’ about their big idea.
Richard Owens pitched his service to connect wine buyers directly with producers. Paul McStay, a former Scottish national football representative, has created an app to help soccer coaches identify and manage talent. Fan Valnoresse, a former cabbie, has founded Find A Driver to help boost the amount of time taxis are on the road and increase the number of cabs available when people need a ride.
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
FRIDAY, 5 JUNE 2015
SUBJECT/S: Abbott Government gutting tax transparency; Economic outlook; Climate inaction; Monis letter
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: Good morning everyone and thanks for coming out on another gorgeous Canberra winter's day. In 2013 the Labor government helped change the laws to make sure that the tax office would publish information of the total income and tax paid by Australia's largest firms. What counts in this place is not what you say about tax transparency but what you actually do. Joe Hockey has had his fair share of big talk – in fact he's even said that firms that didn't say their fair share were thieves. But in 2013 he voted against Labor's tax transparency laws and now he's trying to wind them back still further. Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey don't want you to know how much tax big companies are paying. They want to stand on the side of keeping tax a secret rather than on the side of openness and transparency. Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: My reading of the exemptions though is that it's only exempting some companies from having to disclose their total incomes, aren't they? That's what the draft changes involve?
LEIGH: It's a rollback. These are laws that ought to apply to every big firm.
ABBOTT GOVERNMENT GUTTING TAX TRANSPARENCY
The Abbott Government has shown its true colours on tax transparency after months of talking tough about tackling corporate tax avoidance.
Late yesterday afternoon the Government quietly published draft legislation to amend Labor’s 2013 tax transparency laws.
These laws require the Australian Tax Office to publish information about the income and tax paid by companies earning over $100 million. They are designed to ensure an open and informed public debate about how much tax our biggest companies really pay.
The Abbott Government now wants to roll these laws back to exempt several hundred privately-held companies from the disclosure requirements.
CORMANN COMES CLEAN ON TAX COSTING
The Abbott Government has absolutely no idea what the fiscal impact of its main multinational tax measure will be because no costings were prepared ahead of its inclusion in the Budget.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann admitted in Senate Estimates that the Government could not give revenue estimates for the proposed Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law because this is completely uncosted:
REGULATORY BURDEN PILES UP FOR CHARITIES THANKS TO ABBOTT’S UNCERTAINTY
If the Abbott Government is serious about cutting unnecessary regulation, it must commit to keeping the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission open permanently.
In Senate Estimates this morning, Charities Commissioner Susan Pascoe said the uncertainty about the commission’s future is creating confusion for Australian businesses and consumers. It is also holding up progress on streamlining charity laws.
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 1 JUNE 2015
SUBJECT/S: Abbott Government’s $100 billion Budget hole; Intergenerational Report advertising spend; Marriage equality
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER ANDREW LEIGH: Good morning. I’m Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. We now learn that despite the Government putting up a deeply unfair budget, they're now spending more and more hard-earned taxpayer dollars on trying to promote it. Originally the fee that was going to promote the Intergenerational Report was $11 million. It's now been revealed through more detail in the Budget papers that the Budget ad campaigns will cost $36 million. At the same time, we’ve seen from the Parliamentary Budget Office that the cumulative deficit over the next decade will amount to $100 billion. This is because the Government keeps putting up measures which are just so deeply unfair and so at odds with the Australian values. They’re refusing sensible savings measures such as Labor's multinational tax package and our high end superannuation package, which together add more than $20 billion to the budget bottom line over the coming decade.