The RiotACT, 24 October 2017
‘When the internet is too slow to do my homework, it means I have to stay up late to finish it’.
‘My daughter drives into university at night because our home connection is too slow. I worry about her returning to a deserted campus in the late hours and spending long periods alone in computer labs, but it’s the only way she can get the speeds she needs to get core coursework done .’
‘I’m trying to build cybersecurity start-up, but it’s hard to do it from home when we don’t have a stable broadband connection.’
On a warm spring evening, nearly one hundred Canberrans gathered at the Belconnen Community Centre to discuss with Tara Cheyne MLA and me the ways they use broadband, and the challenges many are facing in getting a decent connection.
In days gone by, fast internet was a luxury. Now, it’s becoming a necessity. Streaming television. Watching university lectures. Video calls between grandparents and grandchildren. Speedy internet is like water and electricity – we expect it to be there when we need it.Read more
Dick Smith is living in a bubble if he thinks immigration is to blame for the property boom - OpEd, HuffPost
Dick Smith is living in a bubble if he thinks immigration is to blame for the property boom (plus other common misconceptions about the pros and cons of migration to Australia)
HuffPost, 19 October 2017
Across the globe, there are 250 million migrants. If they all lived in the same nation, it would be the fifth-largest country in the world. International tourism visits now exceed 1 billion people annually. The rate at which humans are travelling internationally is increasing every year.
In Australia, concerns about migration grew from the mid-1960s to the early 1990s, with the share of people who thought that immigration was 'too high' rising from 20 to 70 per cent.
Since the early 1990s, Australians' views of our migrant intake has warmed. In early 2017, Lowy Institute polling found that 35 per cent thought that immigration levels were 'about right' and 18 per cent thought they were 'too low'.
The share of people who think that immigration is 'too high', which was around 70 percent in the early 1990s, is now at 40 per cent.Read more
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