SENATORS SLAM ‘ABSURD’ AND ‘ILLOGICAL’ TAX TRANSPARENCY ROLLBACK
Joint media release with Senator Sam Dastyari
Senators have tonight condemned the Abbott-Turnbull Government for its attempts to gut Australia’s tax transparency laws.
Labor and crossbench Senators have tabled a forceful dissenting report on the Government bill which seeks to help Australia’s richest companies keep their tax affairs secret.
I’m restructuring my office and looking to hire a full-time policy and communications adviser, based in Canberra.
The job involves contributing to the economic policy work in my office. For example, the past year has seen my office contribute to policymaking on taxation, innovation, inequality and competition. With each of these issues, our aim is to engage with the academic literature, policy experts, interest groups and the wider community.
The office is friendly and collegial. We’re looking for someone who is able to assist with immediate tasks (eg. answering phones, transcribing media interviews) while also working with my other policy staff on ideas-generation (eg. drafting memos, speeches).Read more
Malcolm Turnbull’s plans to jack up the GST have been exposed today, with the new Prime Minister confirming he plans to increase the GST just like Tony Abbott wanted to.
In an interview on 3AW, the Prime Minister announced his Government is looking at options to make Australian families pay more every single time they go to the shops.
MITCHELL: So everything is on the table? Superannuation, negative gearing, capital gains tax, everything, GST, everything is on the table.
TURNBULL: Everything is on the table, that’s right.
[NEIL MITCHELL - 3AW - 6 OCTOBER 2015]
Of course Mr Turnbull and the Liberals want to increase taxes that hurt low and middle income earners the most. That’s because he is out of touch with the increasing cost of living pressures being faced by millions of Australian families.
TAX PLAN IS ON THE TABLE, YOUR MOVE TURNBULL
With the release of the OECD’s comprehensive plan to tackle multinational profit shifting around the globe, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison must now get serious about ensuring big companies pay their fair share.
The OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Action Plan has been more than two years in the making. It lays out a comprehensive 15-point agenda to close the loopholes that have opened up in the tax net due to changing technology and an increasingly global business environment.
Labor has supported the OECD’s work from the start because we are committed to tax fairness. We have long argued that domestic action must go hand-in-hand with participation in the global effort to get our tax laws right for the future. In March, we announced a plan to close multinational tax loopholes that the independent Parliamentary Budget Office has estimated will raise $7.2 billion over the decade.
Substantive soundbites, The Chronicle, 6 October
What do fish ears, damaged brains and dark matter have in common? These were three of the topics presented at the Australian National University’s ‘Three Minute Thesis’ competition.
Not since Monty Python’s ‘Summarise Proust in Fifteen Seconds’ competition, have contestants had to boil so much material down to so little time. As the host pointed out on the night, an 80,000 word thesis would take nine hours to read out.
And yet they performed magnificently. Along with my fellow judges – Genevieve Jacobs, Susan Bannigan, Subho Banerjee and Adam Bandt – I was constantly struck by the presenters’ ability to provide context, insight and a dose of wit.
SKY AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 5 OCTOBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations; Start-ups; Prime Minister’s Economic summit.
KIERAN GILBERT: Welcome to AM Agenda. With me this morning is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for your time. I want to explore the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations; they've hit a stumbling block. My advice from Atlanta this morning is that the trade talks are about 50/50 chance of getting across the line according to advisers on the ground. What's your take on this issue about intellectual property and the pharmaceutical industry in the States? They want a 12-year freeze on their intellectual property, can you explain to our viewers what we're talking about here?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Yes, Kieran. The conversation has gotten down to a class of drug called biologics which are a new class of medicine – large molecules rather than small and synthesised from living matter. They've got great potential and there's a large range of biologics in areas like cancer, asthma and diabetes. They enjoy patent protection for 20 to 25 years but in most countries they also get data exclusivity which means someone trying to copy a biologic can't use the data which went through clinical trials for a period. That period is five years in Australia at the moment but 12 years in the United States. And the Americans would like us to go to their duration. That obviously raises the costs for our health system if we're going to be using more and more biosimilars that push up the cost to the Australian taxpayer.
SKY LUNCTIME AGENDA
THURSDAY, 1 OCTOBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Shelved plans for fee deregulation; China-Australia Free Trade Agreement; Reform summit; Superannuation
LAURA JAYES: Dr Andrew Leigh, welcome to the program. Before we get to the Government's reform summit today, can I just ask you about this breaking news this morning where the new Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, has decided to shelve reform plans on university deregulation. He's not dumping them altogether but at least putting this off to 2017. You'd welcome that kind of stability going forward for universities, wouldn't you?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Laura, I welcome these reforms going on the shelf, but I'd welcome them more going in the bin. What we've got now is the situation where the Government is still committed to the reforms but it just doesn't think it can get them through the Senate. That's a mistake because at a time when technology is racing ahead, we've got to have more and more opportunities for all kids to go to university, whatever backgrounds they come from. A policy that cuts the student contribution from government by one-fifth is the wrong policy to encourage more kids to attend, and to stay at, university.
JAYES: Can I ask you though, there have been some sections of the crossbench – David Leyonhjelm for one – who wanted to go even further than the Government planned to go on this. There are varying degrees of support for these reforms; I know Labor doesn't support them, you've made that abundantly clear. But are you saying from here on in there will be no negotiation on any kind of fee deregulation and university reform is not necessary? Will you go back to the negotiating table with the Government?
LEIGH: Laura, we made an important announcement on higher education a couple of weeks ago. Kim Carr, Amanda Rishworth and Bill Shorten laid out how Labor will focus not just on improving the per-student contribution, but also on reducing the drop-out rate. One in four kids don't finish university and that number is even higher for disadvantaged groups such as kids from low income backgrounds or Indigenous students. Labor's plan is to try and improve the opportunities for university attendance because we know that this is fundamental to dealing with a technology-rich environment. If technology advances and education stagnates, then inequality will get even worse than it is now.
BARNEY OVER EFFECTS TEST MUST NOT DERAIL BETTER COMPETITION REFORMS
Joint media release with Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen
Competition reform has ground to a halt in this country because the Liberal National Coalition is deeply divided over a single recommendation in the Harper Review’s 548 page report.
The debate about inserting a so-called ‘effects test’ into Australia’s competition law has so far completely derailed any discussion of the report’s 55 other substantial recommendations.
Ranging across infrastructure access to intellectual property reform, and from planning and zoning to retail restrictions, the report maps out a comprehensive blueprint for competition reforms that can help spur a new round of economic growth.
When the Keating and Howard Governments adopted the recommendations of the Hilmer Competition Review in the 1990s, this added an estimated 2.5 per cent to GDP over the decade.
ABC 702 SYDNEY
WEDNESDAY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: ACT Government legalises ridesharing.
RICHARD GLOVER: Andrew Leigh joins us from Canberra now with his thoughts on UberX and so-called digital disruption. Good afternoon, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good afternoon, Richard.
GLOVER: They've tried to nut out some sort of compromise in the ACT today, have they got it right?
LEIGH: I think they have, Richard. One of the things that is part of the ACT's move to allow ridesharing is making sure there's the same criminal history and background checks for taxis, hire care and ridesharing vehicles. So they're making sure there's a level playing field for the checks on drivers and the checks on cars. They're also curtailing some of the use of surge pricing, which has been pretty controversial when it's been used by Uber. The ACT Government is saying it can't be used in emergencies. And then they're also bringing down the taxi licence fees.
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!