BRENDAN O’CONNOR, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
LABOR BRINGS A WIN FOR WORKERS’ RIGHTS
Workers’ rights have been protected after the Senate crossbench joined Labor to back in an amendment to the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill 2017, by a vote of 33 to 25.
The support of the entire crossbench – with the exception of One Nation Senators - helped block a move by the Turnbull Government to increase the maximum penalty for breaches of the secondary boycott provisions, or ‘sympathy strikes’, from $750,000 to $10 million.Read more
SKY AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2017
SUBJECTS: ACCC Report; Energy prices; Newspoll.
KIERAN GILBERT: With me now is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Dr Leigh thanks very much for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Kieran.
GILBERT: This ACCC report comes out today, Newpoll showing about 60 per cent of people don't want to pay a dollar more for subsidising clean energy and you can see why given the pressure they're under?
LEIGH: I think if you talk to anyone who has got solar panels on their roof, they'll tell you how they brought down their power prices. Australia has got more solar per square metre than any other country in the world, it's got great opportunities for wind and wave and combined with battery and backup systems allows you to get that sustainability of supply that you need.
GILBERT: But to get the solar panels on the roof you need thousands of dollars in the first place? That's thousands many households wouldn't have.
LEIGH: The cost of these have come down significantly, which has been driving the uptake. Renewables produce about a fifth of our total electricity generation at the moment, Bloomberg forecasts that it will be three fifths in a couple of decades’ time. And we've got the situation now where three quarters of our coal plants are operating beyond their planned life, so we need to make that transition to renewables, not just to drive down power prices but of course to tackle climate change – given that we're the nation with the highest per person emissions in the world and doing so little to address climate change.Read more
SUNDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2017
SUBJECTS: Populism, Inequality, Trade, Immigration, Foreign Investment.
ANDREW O’KEEFE: The recent history of world politics has been a triumph of populism. From Trump in the US to the National Front in France, from Duterte in the Philippines to Erdogan in Turkey to Brexit in the UK, voters are moving away from the major parties and giving their vote to angry strongmen and women, rejecting globalisation along the way.
MONIQUE WRIGHT: Some analysts have blamed this on the failure of capitalism to look after the working classes, and others say that populism represents a streak of xenophobia.
O’KEEFE: One man who's been closely watching the trends is Federal MP and Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, who's just published a volume on the subject called 'Choosing Openness'. Andrew joins us from Canberra. Morning to you, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Morning, Andrew. Morning, Mon.
O’KEEFE: Now, you're a man of many hats. Sure you're a pollie, but you were a professor of economics at ANU in Canberra. So, wearing your political hat first, how would you define populism and where do you find populists?
LEIGH: Populism is the politics of us and them them, the division of the ideas of a pure mass of people are oppressed by a vile elite. It doesn't have to be xenophobic, but it's so often is.Read more
Foreign investment rules
Australian Financial Review, 12 October 2017
Despite its name, the Chiko Roll does not contain any chicken. Its contents are mostly cabbage and barley, along with other pulped vegetables and a small amount of beef. Its genius lies in the casing – made of egg and flour, and deep fried in oil. Yet the Chiko Roll wasn’t just a culinary innovation; it also changed how Australia controlled foreign investment. In 1972, when tens of millions of Chiko Rolls were being sold annually, the US conglomerate IT&T made a bid to buy the company. The idea of an Australian food icon being sold to Americans caused a backlash in the press and parliament. As one commentator notes, ‘the cabinet meeting over the Chiko Roll… was the beginning of the regulation of foreign investment in Australia’.
In recent years, Australians have tended to be more hostile to foreign investment than people in other advanced countries. In 2008, 90 per cent agreed that the federal government has ‘a responsibility to ensure major Australian companies are kept in majority Australian control’. Only 27 per cent support foreign investment in infrastructure. This was the third-lowest level of support out of twelve advanced nations in which opinions were canvassed.Read more
WILL DODGY DIRECTORS GET TO KEEP BURNING COMPANIES ALL SUMMER LONG?
Tomorrow will mark one month since the Turnbull Government announced it would finally introduce a director identification number to take action on illegal phoenix activity, but the public is yet to see any draft legislation.
There are only three joint sitting weeks left in the year. Dodgy directors could continue scamming honest businesses, employees and taxpayers all through summer if Malcolm Turnbull delays any further.
The Government hasn’t clarified whether acquiring a director identification number will require a 100-point identity check – a fundamental aspect of the proposal Labor announced in May. Bizarrely, Minister Kelly O’Dwyer has even linked a director identification number to the use of biometric data.
The Government keeps missing deadlines on a register of beneficial ownership, something they’re yet to commit to making public.Read more
QUEENSLANDERS’ $50M FUEL SLUG
Brisbane drivers have forked over around $50 million more annually than their interstate counterparts since 2009 due to a lack of competition.
Today’s findings by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission show the dangers of concentrated markets.
These findings back in Labor’s calls for increased fines for anti-competitive conduct, and a completely independent market studies function for the competition watchdog.Read more
AUSTRALIAN LESSONS ON GUN CONTROL
Washington Post, 6 October 2017
Australia experienced our deadliest mass shooting in 1996 after gunman Martin Bryant killed 35 people in and around the Port Arthur tourist site. Twelve days later — before all the victims had been laid to rest — Australia’s police ministers met and unanimously agreed on a package of measures to tighten licensing and registration requirements, restrict access to semi-automatic weapons and limit sales.
The national government coordinated a buyback program, which paid market prices for guns that were handed back. Over the next year, more than 600,000 firearms — about one in five of all guns in Australia — were handed into police stations. Given the harrowing loss of life in the United States to gun violence, it’s worth understanding the impact of the Australian reforms.
Did it stop gun massacres? Following the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas this week, some have dismissedAustralia’s buyback as ineffective, asserting that mass shootings were too rare in Australia prior to the buyback to show any clear evidence of progress.
Alas, that isn’t correct. If we define a mass shooting as the killing of five or more victims, Australia experienced an average of one mass shooting per year in the decade to 1996. In the decade after, no mass shootings took place. The chance of this being due to luck alone is less than 1 in 100.Read more
SKY NEWS – AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 2 OCTOBER 2017
SUBJECTS: Marriage equality postal survey, energy crisis, new book ‘Choosing Openness’, trade, immigration, foreign investment.
KIERAN GILBERT, PRESENTER: This is AM Agenda. With me now is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. In relation to the Government and the states, what are your thoughts on GST held back in return for the states lifting these moratoriums. Do you think that is a good move?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Seems to be the blame game all over again, doesn't it Kieran? You’ve got a government that has been unwilling to impose a national interest test, unwilling to pull the gas trigger, unwilling to put in place a Clean Energy Target that their own hand-picked Chief Scientist recommended. And now they want to take money away from schools and hospitals across various states simply because they have been unable to put the right policies in place on gas.
GILBERT: They didn't have to pull the trigger, did they? They got the companies to agree to doing it themselves voluntarily.
LEIGH: Kieran, I remember back in April when Malcolm Turnbull was telling us that gas prices were going to halve. My guess is most of your viewers haven't seen that halving yet. The Turnbull Government has been a lot talk on this but unwilling to take tough action. When Labor put in place a national interest policy last year, we were criticised by Josh Frydenberg as being protectionist. Had the Government moved with Labor a year ago, we would be in a better place than we are now.Read more
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST
SUNDAY, 1 OCTOBER 2017
SUBJECTS: New book ‘Choosing Openness’, trade, immigration, foreign investment, Turnbull tax proposals, Labor’s fairer tax plan, inequality.
MIRIAM COROWRA, PRESENTER: Cutting the company tax rate and stimulating wage growth are two key issues that have been topping the political agenda this week. The Treasurer warned that if these two issues are not addressed now Australia risks falling behind the rest of the world and the nation's economy will suffer.
GREG JENNET, PRESENTER: To discuss this and other political issues of the week we're joined by Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh from Parliament House in Canberra. Andrew Leigh, you've just written a report for the Lowy Institute which is normally preoccupied with matters of national security and strategic policy. Why is the subject of income inequality being bracketed in among those topics?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Greg, I think one of the central challenges of our age is this rise in right-wing populism. We've seen not only the British Brexit decision and the rise of Donald Trump, but also right-wing parties in Germany and Austria and Hungary really making the argument that those countries would be better off retreating from the global economy. My new book Choosing Openness argues that for Australia that would be the wrong choice, and that our prosperity has been grounded very much in the benefits of open trade, migration and foreign investment. We need to manage those things properly. As you say, there's been a significant rise in inequality in the past generation. But if we have the right social protections, then Australia can benefit significantly from engaging with the world.Read more
TICKY WITH FULLERTON – SKY NEWS
THURSDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER 2017
SUBJECTS: New book Choosing Openness, trade and foreign investment, energy policy, Malcolm Turnbull’s tax cuts for millionaires and multinationals, Labor’s fairer tax plan, migration, inequality.
TICKY FULLERTON, PRESENTER: Well it's all very interesting timing for our first chat with Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, who is launching a new book for the Lowy Institute called Choosing Openness, why global engagement is best for Australia. In a former life Andrew Leigh was also a professor of economics at the Australian National University, so what does he make of the state that Australia and the world is in? I spoke with him earlier.
Andrew Leigh it's great to get you there. Now this is not the first book you've written, you're making the case for openness in trade, migration, investment in this populist world.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Well it is a world in which people are encouraging a hunkering down, in which we're seeing a rise of right-wing populism not just in the United States, Austria, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands but indeed in our own country. And part of that harks back to the notion that for most of human history, we did live in very small groups of about 150 or so, where being distrustful of outsiders was a good survival strategy. The trouble is that now engaging with outsiders is actually the best path to prosperity and i'm making the case in Choosing Openness that if we have the right social programs to support engagement with the world, then Australia can benefit through trade, migration and investment.Read more