HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 12 SEPTEMBER 2019
It's a pleasure to follow the members for Whitlam and Kingsford Smith in discussing the important bill before the House—the Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Members’ Interests First) Bill 2019. About 12 million Australians hold insurance - for life, total and permanent disability, and income protection - through their superannuation funds. Total premiums, according to the Productivity Commission, are around $9 billion. It's worth noting that not all of that money appears to be well spent. The best example of that is that the Productivity Commission estimates that, of that $9 billion, $1.9 billion is for unintended duplicate policies.
The Productivity Commission's report points out that current settings are more a function of history than of considered policy design. It notes that many members benefit from lower costs and the ready access of default group insurance in superannuation but that problems remain. The Productivity Commission points out that insurance accounts for one-third of the complaints made on superannuation.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 12 SEPTEMBER 2019
Twelve-year-old Indigenous boy Dujuan Hoosan has just appealed to members of the United Nations Human Rights Council to reduce Australian incarceration, pointing out that Indigenous-led education and an emphasis on languages are key to keeping Indigenous young people out of jail.
Australia is entering a second convict age, with the highest share of the population incarcerated than at any time since 1899. Since 1985, the incarceration rate has gone up 130 per cent. Now 0.22 per cent of Australian adults are behind bars. Among Indigenous Australians, the incarceration rate is 2.5 per cent. Almost one in four Indigenous men born in the 1970s will go to jail during their lifetime. A higher share of Indigenous Australians are now incarcerated than African Americans.Read more
LAUNCH OF PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDS OF SOCIAL SCIENCE
TUESDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2019
As a professor-turned-politician, today's event is exactly the kind of thing that I hoped I might be able to participate in when I made the jump from the ANU to the Parliament. I was at the time somewhat chuffed to be a fellow of one of the academies, until I realised that when he sat in parliament, Barry Jones was a fellow of all four national academies.
It does put things in perspective.
But today, and Social Science Week more broadly, I think of as making politics more porous by ensuring that we're a country that draws more deeply upon the resources of the social sciences. Whether it's psychology or political science, anthropology and sociology... even economics!Read more
WHY AN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE OF FIVE PER CENT ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH ANYMORE
The Canberra Times, 10 September 2019
If you’ve ever been jobless, you know the truth: unemployment sucks. It’s not just the lack of money, but the hit to self-esteem. Being asked ‘what do you do?’ can be almost as dispiriting as the uncertainty of applying for job after job. Unemployment increases rates of depression, diabetes and even death.
Yet it has become commonplace to regard ‘full employment’ in Australia as an unemployment rate of 5 per cent, or even higher. That’s effectively saying that at any point in time, 700,000 of our fellow citizens will have to put up with joblessness.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 9 SEPTEMBER 2019
Last month, Kerry Robertson became the first Victorian to use the state's Voluntary Assisted Dying Act.
After nine years of cancer slowly spreading through her body, she died peacefully, surrounded by family who described her death as empowered. Dignified. Perfect.
It was the death that Kerry chose, something she had the right to do under Victorian law.
The same cannot be said here in the ACT.Read more
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
MONDAY, 9 SEPTEMBER 2019
Subjects: Cashless welfare card, mandatory drug testing for social security recipients, drug testing for politicians, the economy struggling under the government, the Morrison Government’s lack of plan for productivity.
LAURA JAYES: Let's go live now to Canberra. Joining me is Labor MP Andrew Leigh. Thanks so much for your time. Let's start on the cashless welfare card. Evidence has showed that it is working in some of these communities. Do you dispute that?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Laura, all the evidence that I've read suggests that this card won't create a single additional job, and there's concerns that it has adverse impacts on financial management and Aboriginal peoples’ sense of autonomy. When it’s rolled out on a compulsory basis, which is where Labor has our chief concerns, this seems to have more adverse impacts than positive benefits.Read more
THURSDAY, 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
Subjects: Climate strikes, the Morrison Government’s inaction on climate change; the economy floundering under a floundering government.
NEIL MITCHELL: On the line is the Labor Member for Fenner, he’s a former assistant shadow treasurer. Some say the smartest man in the Parliament. He’s a professor of economics at the ANU - Dr Andrew Leigh, morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Neil. How are you?
MITCHELL: I'm okay. So do you think - you’re the teacher in a sense, is it a smart thing for kids to go on strike?
LEIGH: Well, as you say Neil, I've spent painfully long in education. I barely missed a day of school and then went touniversity for another ten years. But not all learning happens in formal institutions, and I think getting together to campaign for an issue bigger than yourself is pretty important. We often talk about Generation Z as being self-centred, yet they’re anything but. It's an altruistic movement which is focused on dealing with the central challenge that the planet faces right now. And that's why it's gotten support from thousands of scientists, from firms like Atlassian and from many of those who've been carefully watching the climate debate, watching the planet warm and seeing Australia's emissions just going up and up under the Morrison Government.Read more
2GB MONEY NEWS
WEDNESDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2019
Subject: National Accounts; The economy floundering under a floundering Government; Labor’s positive policies to take back control of the economy.
JOHN STANLEY: We've got problems with wage, we've got problems with inflation, we've got problems with jobs. So is it good enough for the government to just say ‘well look, we should wait to see the tax cuts flow through, we should wait till the September quarter’ or should there be action being taken right now? Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury from the Labor Party. He joins us now. Good evening to you.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: G’day, John. Great to be with you.
STANLEY: I'm assuming your answer is going to be that they need to be doing more.
LEIGH: I think that'd be the answer of every serious economist, John. I mean, we’ve had this per capita recession. So on a per person basis, the economy had been shrinking, not growing, and that's gone on for the longest period since the early 1980s recession.
STANLEY: Can you just explain that per capita recession for us?
LEIGH: The figure you talked about before is the total size of the pie. But if you look at the slice that each person has, that’s been shrinking rather than growing. The economy is growing because we're adding more people, not because individuals are getting better off.Read more
COALITION FAILS CHARITIES. AGAIN.
Zed Seselja has failed his first test as charities minister.
As state and territory consumer affairs ministers met yesterday, they reportedly found a gaping hole in the Minster’s agenda – outdated fundraising laws, which saddle charities with a paperwork burden of around $15 million every year.
This mishmash of laws designed for a pre-internet age cost charities more than $1 million a month, yet Senator Seselja can’t even be bothered to list it for discussion.Read more
2SER THE DAILY
THURSDAY, 29 AUGUST 2019
Subject: New research on Australia’s incarceration rates.
HOST: Now with much talk about Closing the Gap, into the well-being of our First Australians, a new report into Indigenous incarceration suggests as a nation that the number of Australians incarcerated has radically increased over the last three decades. Now on the line we have the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, Dr Andrew Leigh, whose report discusses the drivers behind the sharp increase in Indigenous people being placed behind bars and what can be done to rectify this issue. Welcome to the show.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Thanks, Stephen. Great to be with you.
HOST: Now this report you've authored suggests that currently 2.5 per cent of Indigenous Australians are incarcerated, which is a higher share than among other disadvantaged comparable ethnic groups like African-Americans. Now if crime rates are substantially dropping among developing nations, what accounts for this rapid increase in the amount of First Australians being imprisoned?
LEIGH: It is worth just pausing on that figure, isn't it? Two and half per cent means that if you count up 40 Indigenous Australians adults, one of them will be behind bars today. It’s even worse over in Western Australia, where the indigenous incarceration rate is over 4 per cent, meaning that one out of every 25 Indigenous Australian adults are incarcerated now. Over a lifetime, that means that more than a quarter of Indigenous men end up spending time behind bars. Incarceration is becoming an almost normal life event. Among the factors driving it are that police are more likely to press charges, and courts are more likely to convict. The sentences tend to be longer, and while awaiting trial people are more likely to be behind bars rather than out on bail.Read more