HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 15 OCTOBER 2019
In the United States, President Trump recently signed the FIRST STEP Act. That act takes several steps to ease mandatory minimum sentences under US federal law. It passed with overwhelming support from Republicans and Democrats, and the support of a wide range of groups—from the American Civil Liberties Union to the right-wing organisation Right on Crime. It reflects the reality that many other countries' legislators are moving away from mandatory sentences. As Hilda Tubex from the University of Western Australia has said, 'Let's follow international jurisdictions that are moving away from mandatory sentences, due to a lack of evidence that they work in protecting the community, and leave it to the judges to judge.'
In Australia, we face the same situation that Britain, the United States and New Zealand also face: a massive rise in incarceration rates. Australia's incarceration rate is now the highest that it has been since 1899.Read more
A PAEAN TO PARLIAMENT
The Canberra Times, 15 October 2019
Every year, thousands of Australians come to visit Parliament House. They’re right to do so. The central building in our democracy isn’t just an architectural marvel, it’s an art-lover’s paradise. Parliament is where history is made. There’s something beautifully Australian about the fact that visitors can take the lift to the roof, and literally walk over the top of their politicians.
When those visitors picked up a copy of Tuesday’s Canberra Times, I suspect they would have raised an eyebrow or two at the opinion piece suggesting that the nation’s parliament was as a bubble within a bubble.
The smooth operation of Parliament House is a credit to its staff – the cleaners and clerks, baristas and building attendants, loading dock staff and servers – all of whom come together day after day to support democracy.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 14 OCTOBER 2019
Today is Jasiri Australia's Girls Take Over Parliament day, an event I'm pleased to be part of for the third year running. The program is organised by Caitlin Figueiredo and it aims to inspire a new generation of young women to be our nation's future political leaders. The program has introduced 260 young women to politicians across Australia, Tonga and Fiji, and there are 60 young women and girls participating in today's program.
ANU student Brianna Partington has joined my office. She grew up in Ceduna, South Australia, and her interest in politics came at a young age, when she realised that it wasn't always replicated among her female peers. Brianna believes there is a significant lack of interest in politics among young women in her area, and she wants to work to change that.Read more
Privatisating visa system could further damage Australia's reputation - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 14 OCTOBER 2019
Those opposite like to style themselves as the political heirs of John Howard, the man who once said:
'We will decide who comes to Australia and the circumstances in which they come.'
But, as a result of this visa privatisation plan, private firms will decide who comes to Australia and private firms will decide the circumstances in which they come. Indeed, Mr Howard noted recently the link between trust and confidence in the visa system and the way in which it is operated. He said:
'If they feel that control is slipping they will turn against it.'
-- by ‘they’ he meant the Australian people --
‘I think that would apply to just about any country in the world. It's basic common sense.’Read more
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
MONDAY, 14 OCTOBER 2019
Subjects: Josh Frydenberg caving to public pressure over the banks, Deloitte highlighting homegrown concerns for the economy, Morrison failing Australia on the world stage.
LAURA JAYES: Joining me now is Labor frontbencher Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew Leigh, thanks for your time-
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Laura.
JAYES: Do you support this ACCC inquiry?
LEIGH: It certainly seems like Josh Frydenberg has finally yielded to community pressure to do something about big banks not passing on rate cuts. We know this has a big impact on household budgets and it's important to ensure that those rate cuts are passed on in full. Our banks are very profitable, and that's why Labor was calling last month for an ACCC inquiry into competition in the banking sector. At the time, Liberals were saying we didn't need it, that the big banks were already dealing with too much in the context of the royal commission. So I'm pleased that Josh Frydenberg seems to have finally yielded to community pressure, but let's not think of him as somebody who is always on the side of the customer. He of course is somebody who voted 26 times against the banking royal commission, and voted against Labor's abolition of mortgage exit fees - a pro-competitive measure - when we were last in government.Read more
FRIDAY, 11 OCTOBER 2019
Subjects: Peter Norman.
ALAN JONES: Someone who's campaigned outstandingly for recognition for Peter Norman is the Federal Labor MP Andrew Leigh. Very smart man, a very fine academic. Also a runner. I first spoke to Andrew about this back in 2012, when to his great credit he moved a motion in the Federal Parliament of apology to Peter Norman. Andrew’s on the line. Andrew, good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Alan. Thank you for the generous introduction.
JONES: It's true. What a lovely, lovely story. But oh dear, takes a long time to catch up with the truth, doesn't it?
LEIGH: It's 51 years. It's extraordinary it's taken us this long to recognise that what Peter did was so much more than his run, amazing time as it was. You know, even the closest anyone's come to Peter’s 20.06 was Dean Capobianco in 1993 with his 20.18. But the achievement of being willing to take a stand against racial inequality in 1968 at a time where that was pretty unpopular stance. They were booed in the stadium for making the black power salute.Read more
ABC AFTERNOON BRIEFING
MONDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2019
Subjects: Josh Frydenberg voting against the Banking Royal Commission; Extinction Rebellion and the Government’s inaction on climate change; Newstart; pill testing; Tony Abbott; Bill Shorten; Labor’s election review; the drought.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: I want to bring in my panel, Labor's Andrew Leigh and the Coalition's Andrew Laming. Welcome to both of you.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Thanks, PK. It’s great to be with you.
KARVELAS: Just on that bank issue, I want to start with you Andrew Leigh. Josh Frydenberg putting a lot of pressure on the banks, saying customers should vote with their feet. Do you agree with him?
LEIGH: I certainly agree with the substance, but I think Josh reckons that Australian voters have the memories of goldfish - that they’ll forget that he was trying to give the big banks a company tax cut, that he fought against the royal commission, voted against it 26 times, and only supported it after the bankers’ own association backed it. He's hoping that Australians will forget that Josh Frydenberg campaigned against the Future of Financial Advice reforms, wanted to remove the best interest requirement. All of this is on Josh Frydenberg’s record, so his is very much a record of cosying up to the big end of town. We wouldn't have had a banking royal commission if it wasn't for Labor’s pressure.Read more
FRIDAY, 4 OCTOBER 2019
Subjects: Scott Morrison’s mishandling of the economy, climate change, nuclear power.
ROSS GREENWOOD: The Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury is Andrew Leigh. He's always great with his time in the program and he joins me this evening. Andrew, many thanks for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Ross. Welcome back. Great to be chatting with you.
GREENWOOD: Okeydoke. I want to go to a couple of bits and pieces here. Number one - the surplus, Australia's budget having a surplus right now. We haven't seen an actual surplus for more than a decade. How important is it for Australia to have a budget surplus?
LEIGH: Labor believes that Australia can meet the surplus target but also do more to support consumer spending. As you noted, the ‘cash splash’ has turned into a retail trickle. These July and August figures now seem to suggest that Australians have simply put that additional money into savings rather than putting it back into the economy-
ABC NEWS RADIO
FRIDAY, 4 OCTOBER 2019
Subjects: Scott Morrison’s Lowy address.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: I think it's deeply dangerous for Australia to start flirting with protectionism and isolationism. That might be a bad idea for a country like the United States with over 300 million people, but it's a terrible idea for a medium sized economy like Australia with 25 million people. Our prosperity depends on engaging with the world. We've benefited massively from migration, trade and foreign investment. Sure we can do all of those things better and we should be better engaged with international organisations, but the idea that a retreat into narrow tribal nationalism is a success story for Australia is a crazy one.
MANDY PRESLAND, HOST: Mr Morrison says he's putting Australia first. What's wrong with that?Read more
TIME TO AXE THE COSY DEALS AND FIX THE LABOUR MARKET
The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 October 2019
When the Reserve Bank Governor is saying he’d like to see stronger wage growth, you know the problem has become dire. Over the past six years, real wages have grown at just 0.7 percent a year. In the six years before that – a period spanning the Global Financial Crisis – real wages grew at 1.8 percent annually. Among the likely culprits for the wages slowdown are poor productivity, declining union membership rates, wage theft scandals, penalty rate cuts, and public sector wage caps.
But another factor may also be to blame: constraints on job mobility. Standard economics tells us that wages increase when employees are in demand. If you have a dozen job offers, you’re likely to earn more than if you’re stuck with a single option. That’s part of the reason that people earn more in big cities, and less in one-company towns. Employees who switch firms tend to get a bigger pay bump than those who stay put.Read more