WEDNESDAY, 8 MAY 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s charity policy; the Coalition’s war on charities; News Limited’s attack on Bill Shorten’s mother; News Limited’s use of tax havens.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much everyone for coming along today. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits. I'd like to thank SANE Australia for hosting us here today. I'm joined by my colleagues Mark Dreyfus, the Shadow Attorney-General, Fiona McLeod, our candidate for Higgins, and Josh Burns, our candidate for Macnamara.
It's been a tough six years for Australia's charities. They have borne the brunt of a war on charities. We've seen the government go through six different ministers responsible for the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. Over the course of 2011 to 2016, the government's goal was to scrap the ACNC. When they couldn't succeed with that, they put a charity critic in charge of the charity regulator. The war on charities has prompted two open letters to successive prime ministers from the charity sector. A great deal of energy of Australia's great charities and not-for-profits has been chewed up in fighting against the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government's war on their work.Read more
2GB MONEY NEWS
TUESDAY, 7 MAY 2019
Subjects: Reserve Bank decision, Labor’s plan to crack down on multinational tax avoidance, climate change.
ROSS GREENWOOD: I thought I'd just bring here somebody who's really good with his time here on the program. That is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, who's on the line right now. Andrew, many thanks for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Ross. Great to be with you.
GREENWOOD: All right. I want to start there with the Reserve Bank and this decision to keep rates on hold and where it might go. Wages has been a big issue in this election campaign and clearly many Australians right now are feeling the pressure of not having had a wages increase yet their costs, their household bills, even now their supermarket prices are starting to rise. So your side of politics has said you want a living wage. The question is whether Australia can afford that living wage, as you've described it in the election campaign.
LEIGH: Ross, I think the question is whether we can afford to have wages growth still stuck in the doldrums. Wages growth under this Government has been lower every quarter than in any quarter under its predecessor. We've seen wage growth at 1.9 per cent since the 2013 election. Even in the global financial crisis wage growth didn't drop below 2.9 per cent. That matters because, as the adage goes, my spending is your income and your spending is my income. What doesn't go into workers’ wallets doesn't go back into the economy. One of the reasons we've seen this flat-lining of retail sales, the fall off in new car sales, has been that wages have been been stuck in the slow lane.Read more
ECONOMIC REFORM: AMBITION VERSUS ZUGZWANG
SPEECH TO AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS ANNUAL CONFERENCE
WEDNESDAY, 8 MAY 2019
(Check against delivery)
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and pay respect to their elders.
My thanks to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors for the chance to speak with you about Labor’s positive plans for the economy.
In an era of shrill soundbites, your organisation has a track record of producing careful research that shapes policy debates. Your research reports have dovetailed closely with our priorities, covering topics such as modern slavery, fossil fuel investments, and whistleblowing. I know this research is closely read by my colleagues Chris Bowen, Jim Chalmers, Clare O’Neil, Madeleine King, and Matt Thistlethwaite. Fresh ideas can help shape the policy debate for the better.
To take just one example, you publish an annual report on CEO Pay in ASX200 firms. Last July, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors reported that the best-paid CEO in Australia, Don Meij, received $37 million. Commentators were quick to note the contrast between this pay packet and the reported underpayment of Domino’s pizza workers.Read more
$2.9 MILLION FOR CANBERRA SHARED PATHWAYS
A Shorten Labor Government would invest $2.9 million in shared pathways to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians in Canberra’s suburbs, in partnership with the ACT Labor Government.
This election will be a choice between a Shorten Labor Government with a plan for the local infrastructure Canberra needs, or more of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos.
Investing in this network of shared pathways will make it easier for Canberrans to enjoy the Territory’s great outdoor lifestyle, improving public amenities and safety at the same time.Read more
LABOR TO LEAD THE WAY ON CHARITIES
The Liberals have waged a six-year war against charities. A Shorten Labor Government will have Australia’s first ever Charities Minister, who will fix the damage, and work with this vital sector to build a more connected country.
We need real change – because more of the same isn’t good enough.
The Liberals first attempted to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, a body respected across the sector. When they were blocked in the parliament, they instead decided to undermine the commission by putting a long-time charities critic in charge.
It is a mark of how little the Liberals care about charities that in six years, the Liberals have had six ministers responsible for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Labor has had one shadow minister responsible for charities and non-profits throughout our time in opposition.Read more
BABYSITTERS, CARS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Crikey, 7 May 2019
Ever struggled to find a reliable babysitter? Some years ago, a group of American parents reckoned they found the solution. They created a voucher system. The rules were simple: If you babysat someone else’s kids, they give you one of their vouchers. If someone else babysat your kids, you gave them one of your vouchers. The system ensured everyone was doing their fair share of babysitting. A perennial problem of parenthood had been solved.
Or so they thought. Problems arose when some couples in the group started to hoard their vouchers, worried they might need babysitters more frequently in the future. As the flow of vouchers slowed, other couples panicked and started hoarding vouchers themselves. The result was textbook economics. The babysitting cooperative went into recession.
These parents discovered a core tenet of macroeconomics: that my spending is your income and vice-versa. When some parents stopped spending their vouchers, they robbed other parents of the opportunity to earn vouchers. Those other parents, in turn, spent fewer of their vouchers. And so on.Read more
TAX HAVEN CRACKDOWN
Labor will introduce a Tax Haven Blacklist to appropriately vet investments from countries that fail to comply with international standards.
Under Labor, companies that operate out of the most notorious tax havens will be prevented from engaging in tax avoidance activities in Australia.
The following hot spots will be put on Labor’s blacklist: Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Guernsey, Monaco, Mauritius, Liberia, Seychelles, Brunei, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Montserrat, Panama, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands.
The Liberals have dropped the ball when it comes to taking action against international companies exploiting tax loopholes in Australia.Read more
BOOSTING GROWTH AND EQUITY THROUGH MEMBER-OWNED FIRMS: THIRD PARTY SUPPORT
A Shorten Labor Government will make Australia’s economy more productive and our society more egalitarian by creating a taskforce to streamline regulations and break down barriers for new competitors.
Since announcing our plan to create a Competition and Growth Taskforce to sit within Treasury on Thursday, many key groups across the cooperative and mutuals sector have voiced their support:
“The Customer Owned Banking Association has welcomed Labor’s announcement that it would establish a Competition & Growth Taskforce. The announcement is a positive move toward improving competition in the banking sector and accommodating the customer owned model.”
- Michael Lawrence, Customer Owned Banking Association CEO.Read more
BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
CHRIS BOWEN MP
JIM CHALMERS MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
LABOR WILL CRACKDOWN ON LOOPHOLES FOR MULTINATIONALS
A Shorten Labor Government will extend its comprehensive crackdown on multinationals not paying their fair share.
Today, Labor announces we will stop multinationals from getting a tax deduction when they unfairly funnel royalty payments to arms of their own company that pose a multinational tax risk.
Multinationals can currently ‘treaty shop’ and potentially funnel intangibles like intellectual property royalties into tax havens like the Cayman Islands.
Some transactions incur low-to-no tax rates because they use ‘patent boxes’ – where income from intellectual property is taxed very lightly or not at all. Some big companies can also get a ‘sweetheart deal’ when they are arbitrarily gifted a low tax rate.
The Liberals’ Diverted Profits Tax has not been effective in stopping this method of tax minimisation.Read more
TAX PIRATES: ACTION PACKED DRAMA NOW SHOWING IN REAL LIFE
The Canberra Times, 4 May 2019
It is common for forms of serial fiction such as comic books, or film or television franchises, to have a new start of that universe – often called a ‘reboot’. The one I’m encouraging is Tax Pirates of the Caribbean. In this action-packed drama, a buccaneering team of tax specialists travel to Jamaica.
Armed with their rapier wit and a brilliant knowledge of the tax code, they confront multinational firms, headquartered in nearby tax havens, who’ve been luring away the revenue that should be supporting Jamaica’s schools and hospitals.
The script should be easy to write, since the events are playing out right now. The Jamaican tax authority has ‘borrowed’ a bunch of expert tax auditors from Germany. The accountant equivalent of Captain Jack Sparrow is German auditor Steffan Scholze, who said he ‘jumped at the opportunity to … fight inequalities and give countries added confidence in their dealings with large taxpayers’. Within weeks, he was helping Jamaica take on multinationals who’d refused to pay their fair share of tax.Read more