SKY NEWS AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 2017
SUBJECT/S: Renewable energy policy; housing affordability; sugar tax.
KIERAN GILBERT: With me now is Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. In regard to the mandate for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, should Labor open its mind to it given just a few years ago that Mr Rudd was one of the strongest advocates for pursuing carbon capture and storage?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, we'd all love it if carbon capture and storage worked, because it would mean you'd get to enjoy coal without having the emissions. The trouble is, like cold fusion, it's a technology that hasn't lived up to the promises of its boosters. Any solution is likely to be decades away and indeed it also costs quite a bit of the energy of the power plant in order to do the carbon capture and storage. Some of these models have suggested that carbon capture and storage might add another 40 per cent to the price, which then means that the cost advantage of coal would pretty much go away. This isn't a technology that the private sector is backing, it’s not a technology that the rest of the world is piling into, it's not a proven technology. Unlike wind and solar which really are. Let's focus on those and battery technology-
GILBERT: That's right, they are proven in the sense that they can generate power but they can't sustain it in the baseload sense so that battery storage that you refer to is critical, is that there yet?
LEIGH: Battery storage, tidal, these are all technologies that are making incremental gains year on year rather than putting taxpayer money into a moonshot. This isn't a technology that I think ought to be the focus of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.Read more
THURSDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2016
SUBJECT/S: Introduction of Labor’s Access to Justice legislation into Senate; Government’s wacky effects test.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY: Today, in the Senate, Labor's Small Business Spokesperson Katy Gallagher is tabling a bill to provide access to justice for Australian small businesses.
One of the things that often deters small businesses from taking on the big end of town for their anti-competitive conduct is the prospect of being hit by a big costs order. They know they'll have to pay their own lawyers' costs but they are scared that if they lose, they might have to pay for the armies of QCs that the big end of town puts together to take them on.
So what Labor has said is that we ought to have provisions for when a small business is bringing a case – that doesn't just benefit them but benefits the entire economy – that small business know at the start of the lawsuit they won't be facing the prospects of paying the other side's costs.
Labor's access to justice proposal is one which will see the Small Business Ombudsman tasked with providing no-cost legal advice to firms which are looking at taking on a case but are seeking a 'no adverse costs' order. It's an idea that was put to the Government in its competition review. It's an idea which has been put to Labor by a range of small business groups, who want to see a fairer deal.Read more
Climate Change is happening. It's not a hoax and we need to deal with it - RN Drive radio transcript
ABC RN DRIVE
WEDNESDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2017
SUBJECT: Funding the NDIS; Renewable energy; Emissions intensity scheme.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: Labor has struggled to put a dollar figure on their 50 per cent renewable energy target today. They've also claimed they fully funded the NDIS their 2013 budget. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Welcome to the program.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thank you, Patricia. Interesting to be having the questions asked of me rather than ask them of you as we did last time.
KARVELAS: Yes we did. On your podcast. Let's not get into that right now, but yes you’re right I did answer your questions. Labor has suggested the Government drop company tax cuts to fund the NDIS. The Government is not going to budge on that so where should the money come from? Nick Xenophon has suggested defence. Would Labor support that?
LEIGH: As you said Patricia, we identified in our last budget exactly where the money would come from for the NDIS. Through things such as means-testing the private insurance rebate. But if the government's looking for more, we would suggest for example, that they look at a crackdown on multinational tax avoidance. Labor's had a plan on the table for nigh on three years that would return $1.6 billion to the budget over the next four years. Eight times more than they'll get through their paltry "crackdown" on multinational profit-shifting.Read more
In a confused media release today, Assistant Treasury Minister Michael Sukkar suggests that we should ignore dividend imputation when discussing Australia’s company tax rate.
Dividend imputation reduces the revenue available to government. Most of the countries that the government likes to compare Australia’s company tax rate with do not have dividend imputation.
Research by Macquarie University Professor Geoffrey Kingston estimates that dividend imputation returns about one-third of the corporate tax revenue to taxpayers.
So a corporate tax rate of 30 per cent with imputation raises as much as a rate of 20 per cent without imputation.
Worryingly, Mr Sukkar seems not to understand this basic fact.
This latest gaffe comes just weeks after Mr Sukkar refused to rule out making all mortgage interest payments tax deductible, which the Grattan Institute estimates would cost the budget $19 billion a year.
With an economic team like this, it’s little wonder that Australia’s net debt will soon be twice as large as it was when the Abbott-Turnbull Government took office in 2013.
WEDNESDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: TAIMUS WERNER-GIBBINGS 0437 320 393
SKY NEWS ON THE HOUR WITH TOM CONNELL
WEDNESDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2017
SUBJECT/S: Petrol prices; Labor’s competition policies
TOM CONNELL: This won't come as a surprise to motorists. Petrol companies are effectively in cahoots on their price cycles. Hiking prices up on a set day each week. According to the University of Sydney the day of the hike used to be Thursday. But it's shifted to Tuesday. And it's when companies make an extra 50 per cent profit margin and it's costing drivers an average of nearly $5 a tank extra each time they fill up. Of course we know it all adds up. Joining me now on this is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Thank you for your time, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Tom.
CONNELL: I know Labor has a bit of a plan on this. They talk about more powers for example to the ACCC to police this type of behaviour. We're talking about tacit collusion, not phone-calls, but when everyone – sort of – follows the other. Can you really outlaw that? Would have to be a pretty broad law wouldn't it? And a dangerously broad one?
LEIGH: I think first it's useful just to step back and see what David Byrne and Nicolas de Roos have uncovered on this. This is really the econometric equivalent of an Agatha Christie novel. Whereas back in the old days firms – to collude – had to get together in smoke-filled rooms and have secret conversations, now they do it through big data. What they saw in Perth was that the dominant market player, BP, set the pattern for a price rise which originally used to occur on Thursday and then they shifted it to Tuesday. Prices would go up 15 cents and then every day they would steadily go back down.Read more
SKY NEWS, AM AGENDA
TUESDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2017
SUBJECT/S: Government threatening the NDIS; Government’s $50 billion company tax cut; Government lurches closer to One Nation
LAURA JAYES: Andrew Leigh, thanks for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure Laura. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your viewers.
JAYES: Thank you. Thank you so much. First of all I wanted to ask you about this Omnibus Bill. Labor's obviously not going to vote for it. But, is there anything you can salvage out of it that hypothecating of funds to the NDIS to ensure it will go ahead and there is that funding pool there? What about things like the carbon tax energy supplement? We don't have a carbon tax, what do we need it for?
LEIGH: Laura, this is a pea and thimble trick. As you well know, the budget has a single amount of money in it. And the notion that if Labor doesn't support cuts to families the government is going to take money away from people with disabilities is profoundly offensive. The government shouldn't be playing these sorts of political games, particularly not at a time-
JAYES: They're not saying they'll take money away, they're just saying that the budget will go deeper into deficit to pay for it.
LEIGH: No, they have been threatening the viability of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. For a sleepless mum with a child with disabilities that's the last they need to be hearing on the news. It's particularly hypocritical too, at a time when the government wants to break the budget with a $50 billion dollar company tax cut.Read more
Dr LEIGH (Fenner) (11:14): In 1975, Gough Whitlam announced the Order of Australia 'for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service.' In replacing the British honours system, the Orders of Australia did two things. They ensured that honours would be based on decisions of Australians, not those of the British, and they ensured that they would be made by Government House, not by parliamentarians. And, with an exception or two, that system has endured in the decades since.Read more
The Government has lurched so far to the populist right, it has now begun defending the economic policies of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation as mature and rational.
In a radio interview this morning, Trade Minister Steve Ciobo claimed that One Nation’s approach had a certain “economic rationalism…reflective of what it is to govern Australia in a fiscally responsible way,” and that theirs was a, “mature approach to economic policy.”
One Nation’s economic policies include:
- A flat 2% tax on every Australian.
- (But also) Exploring the removal of Federal taxation.
- Getting rid of penalty rates, ‘across the board.’
- Opposition to globalization.
- Opposition to free-trade economic policies.
- A promise to withdraw from international treaties.
Distracted by its own internal turmoil, the Turnbull Government’s silence in response to their latest online failures – a four day systems crash at the Australian Taxation Office - has been staggering.
The ATO's website was offline for days - and the agency can't explain why.
Australian voters are fed up with being ignored and having their time wasted by the Turnbull Government’s incompetence.
Disturbingly, no senior figure from the government has stepped forward to offer an explanation: not the Treasurer Scott Morrison or Revenue Minister Kelly O'Dwyer.Read more
As the most recent Australian Taxation Office website outage enters its third day, Australians are beginning to wonder why the Turnbull Government seems incapable of that most basic of 21st century technological functions - keeping government websites online.
After last December’s three-day outage, the Turnbull Government assured Australians that it had fixed the problem. Then the website was taken offline three more times - for “maintenance”. And now, just eight weeks later, the website is down again.Read more