RADIO NATIONAL DRIVE
TUESDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: No change in Liberal policies; Australian economy; Share market jitters.
JONATHAN GREEN: Joining me now is the new Assistant Minister for Productivity, Dr Peter Hendy. He played a crucial role in the Turnbull leadership ascension. Joining me also is Dr Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and author of a new book 'The Luck of Politics'. Welcome to you both.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks Jonathan, and congratulations Peter.
PETER HENDY, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR PRODUCTIVITY: Good evening.
GREEN: We'll come to the markets in a moment but let's get to the former Prime Minister first. Tony Abbott gave his first in-depth radio interview today to, of course, Ray Hadley on 2GB, the broadcaster of choice. He urged Liberal voters to keep supporting the party, even if through – to quote him – 'gritted teeth'. Peter Hendy, is Tony Abbott going quietly?
HENDY: I think he's got a right to make statements; you were just talking about free speech before. The events of the past few weeks were quite traumatic for Tony, obviously, and he will feel very bruised about it. I was, in some way, on the receiving end of a similar thing back in 2008 because I was Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Liberal Party at that time which was Brendan Nelson. He was beaten by a particular guy named Malcolm Turnbull and –
GREEN: He was not best pleased!
LABOR LEADS ON THE SHARING ECONOMY
The ACT Government’s announcement that it will legalise ridesharing again shows Labor is taking the lead on innovative policies for the sharing economy.
The announcement of new ridesharing rules and associated taxi reforms will pave the way for ridesharing companies to operate legally for the first time anywhere in Australia.
This milestone comes as Federal Labor moves towards finalising our response to the sharing economy Discussion Paper launched in March. This looks at how we can get the national policy settings right to support the growth of this new sector while protecting Australian workers and consumers.
(UN)HAPPY ANNIVERSARY FOR HOT MESS OF A TENDER PROCESS
Tomorrow marks one year since the Liberal Government announced it was considering ripping the Department of Immigration out of Belconnen.
After 365 days, multiple community forums and thousands of signatures petitioning the Government to keep the department where it is, we are no closer to getting answers about Immigration’s future.
Worse, the entire process has now been jeopardised by the Liberals’ apparent decision to exploit the tender for their own financial gain.
Why the sharing economy offers a brighter future for Australian cities, Business Insider, 24 September
You might not be familiar with the names Michael Nuciforo and Robert Crocitti, but they’re the kind of blokes you want to have around when you’re trying to solve a tricky problem. They’re the creators of ParkHound, an app that lets you find and hire private parking spaces in busy metropolitan areas. They decided to start the company after circling around East Melbourne on the hunt for parking near the MCG before an AFL game.
As they tell it: “We drove past parked car after parked car, after….empty space that required a parking permit. There were dozens of empty garages and driveways right near the ground. It then hit us. Wouldn't it be great if we could just knock on someone’s door and ask to park at their place for a small fee? The more we thought about it, the more it made sense. We don’t need more parking spaces, we just need to utilise the parking spaces we already have.”
ParkHound is just one of dozens of new app-based services that have sprung up recently in the so-called sharing economy. While the kinds of services offered differ, fundamentally they all link people who have surplus goods to those who can make use of them.
In thinking about the rise of services like ParkHound, AirBNB and even the controversial Uber, it strikes me that the sharing economy has great potential to help us address some of the big challenges our cities face. As Australia’s cities continue to grow, issues like congestion and the use of space are becoming increasingly urgent. The mounting pressure on our built environment puts the people who live in it under pressure too.
EVEN BIG BUSINESS WANTS MORE TAX TRANSPARENCY, WHY DOESN’T TURNBULL?
BHP Billiton’s decision to voluntarily publish an in-depth report on its tax affairs shows the Abbott-Turnbull Government is going the wrong way in its efforts to gut Australia’s tax transparency laws.
BHP has recognised that the community expects and demands greater tax transparency these days, and is taking positive steps to provide this.
Other major companies like Rio Tinto have also begun publishing information on the taxes they pay on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis in recent years. The Senate’s corporate tax inquiry has recommended more transparency to hold companies accountable for their tax dealings.
WEDNESDAY, 23 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Government confusion over tax white paper; Revenue and spending; Women in politics.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks for coming along today. It's been reported that the tax white paper process is in jeopardy. This is a tax white paper which was announced before the 2013 federal election, and one that Tony Abbott promised would produce concrete policy proposals by 2016. There have been 18 people in the Treasury working on it, and five more in the Minister's office. There have been millions of dollars spent by business, community sector groups and the Treasury itself in preparing the tax white paper, and the Government has so far spent $650,000 publicising it. The suggestion that this tax white paper could be completely junked in a 'captain's call' from Malcolm Turnbull will be extraordinarily disappointing for the many Australians who participated in good faith in this tax white paper process.
I also want to make a couple of remarks about reports on the China Free Trade Agreement today. For all Malcolm Turnbull's statements about bipartisanship, he seems to have fallen disappointingly short when it comes to the China Free Trade Agreement. Labor's concerns about the China FTA are not around the trade portions of this agreement. This is, after all, an agreement that Labor helped to negotiate. All we're calling for is for proper labour market testing for projects over $150 million, making sure that we have proper safety and skills safeguards, and that we see foreign investment increasing Australian jobs and boosting wages – not reducing jobs and driving down wages. Happy to take any questions.
TOO MUCH INFORMATION? COMPANIES LIST IS ALREADY ONLINE
Today’s release of the IbisWorld Top 500 Private Companies list shows the Government’s arguments against tax transparency are simply a fig leaf for shielding big firms from scrutiny.
Under Australia’s existing transparency laws, the tax office is required to publish information about the income and tax paid for companies earning over $100 million. The first report is due out by December this year.
The Government has a bill before Parliament to gut these laws by carving out private companies. They argue the transparency requirements expose too much information about these firms.
TURNBULL AS BEREFT OF IDEAS AS TONY
The Turnbull Government has today shown that the policy vacuum of Tony Abbott’s leadership continues unabated.
Instead of seizing the day to progress important issues like marriage equality or violence against women, Malcolm Turnbull’s MPs wasted more than four hours of the Parliament’s time droning on about the Omnibus Repeal Day Bill 2015.
Speaker after speaker lined up to sing the praises of a Bill which replaces the term ‘reference base’ with ‘index reference period’ in 31 acts, and boldly updates ‘Chairman of Committees’ with the more PC ‘Chair of Committees’ in the Public Works Committee Act 1969.
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 16 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Joe Hockey’s uncosted multinational tax plan; tax transparency; effects test.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks everyone for coming along today. Multinational tax avoidance has been a big issue in the Australian public eye this year. We know that many Australian firms and individuals do the right thing and pay their taxes. So they are justifiably outraged when they see reports about big multinationals not paying their fair share of tax. Today we saw Joe Hockey, after two years of bluff and bluster, announce a multinational package into the Parliament. It was a package so vague that his own Treasury can't cost it. Here's what the budget measure looked like in the budget: it's just a series of asterisks. No revenue estimates are attached to Mr Hockey's multinational tax package.
HOCKEY'S EMPTY TAX PLAN
Joe Hockey’s handling of multinational tax shows sadly why he’s likely to be dumped as Treasurer.
After over two years of bluster, Mr Hockey’s best effort is a policy so vague that the Treasury couldn’t even cost it.
His budget papers have a series of asterisks where there should be revenue estimates.