MORE COMPETITION, LESS CHICAGO
Australian Financial Review, 17 December 2018
If you want to know whether firms are worried about competition, don’t just listen to what they say. Listen to what they don’t say. Trawling through thousands of annual reports of American firms, a recent study found that the use of the word ‘competition’ in those reports has declined by three quarters since the start of the century.
Another approach is to look at their books. In the 1980s, large listed firms charged prices that were 10-20 percent above their costs. Today, that’s risen to 60 percent. The problem is just as bad in Australia as in other advanced countries. A study by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission earlier this year concluded that the residential mortgage market looked more like ‘synchronised swimming’ than competition, with customers forced to keep switching lenders if they wanted to get the best deal.
Australia’s competition problem has deep roots. Under the Fraser Government, the test for companies to merge was weakened, in the misguided belief that we needed to let firms grow large in Australia if they were to compete overseas. The merger test was finally tightened up again under the Keating Government. But as former ACCC chair Allan Fels has pointed out, the lax test had by then allowed mergers between Coles and Myer, News Ltd and Herald & Weekly Times and Ansett Airlines and East West Airlines.Read more
ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER WIN FROM LABOR’S TAX LAWS
As reported today, last month’s $529 million settlement between BHP and the Australian Tax Office would not have been possible without two bills introduced by Labor in 2012 and 2013.
A STRONG ECONOMY FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS
48TH NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ADELAIDE
Thank you, President Swan.
Inequality in Australia is now at a 75-year high. If you were alive when inequality was this bad and you don’t have life membership, I’d encourage you to see Wayne Swan afterwards.
It is a pleasure to speak in favour of this important chapter alongside my friends Chris and Jim, because this chapter goes to the heart of what a Shorten Labor Government would deliver for the economy.
If you’re a billionaire, then the Liberals have been a great government. They’ve never seen a tax loophole they won’t defend. If he’s re-elected at the election, Scott Morrison will be back fighting once more for tax cuts for the biggest companies in Australia. Because, as he said less than six months ago, ‘we don't flip flop on these things’.Read more
LABOR’S TRANSPARENCY LAWS REVEAL THAT ONE IN THREE BIG COMPANIES PAY NO TAX
Data issued by the Australian Taxation Office today showed that 722 out of the 2109 companies examined failed to pay any tax the 2016-17 tax year. The companies that paid no tax include 100 firms reporting more than $1 billion in total income.
The only reason we know that one-third of large companies failed to pay any tax is because of Labor’s tax transparency laws, which passed the Parliament in 2013 amid objections from the Coalition. This is the same Coalition which voted against Labor’s 2012 tax laws, which were directly responsible for BHP being forced to pay a $529 million tax bill 24 days ago.Read more
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE IN SERVICES
MEMBER FOR FENNER
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CHISHOLM
THURSDAY, 13 DECEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor's plans to make remittances simpler and fairer; Labor’s plans to fund hospitals and schools and deliver bigger budget surpluses over the four years and over the medium term.
JENNIFER YANG, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CHISHOLM: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for coming to one of our media conferences today. I just want to quickly introduce Andrew Leigh – Dr Andrew Leigh is our Shadow Assistant Treasurer and today we're just going to talk about one of the policies Labor is adopting in terms of remittances overseas, sending money overseas. Now I’ll pass over to Andrew to talk to you more about this policy.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Terrific. Thanks very much, Jennifer, and thanks to all of you for being here today. As you know, Jennifer is Labor’s terrific candidate for Chisholm and she is somebody with whom I've been working extensively as Tony Burke and I have developed this policy to make remittances more transparent, cheaper and fairer.
We know that every year Australians send billions of dollars overseas to family and friends. This might be taxi drivers working an extra shift to help out somebody who's fallen on hard times back home. It could be someone who's working a bit extra in a pharmacy in order to help put a nephew through school. Remittances are larger in size than overseas aid. At a time when Australia's overseas aid budget has been cut by the Coalition, remittances are more important than ever.Read more
SHARING OUR LUCK
The Chronicle, 11 December 2018
When his employer closed the business, Sam lost his job. It didn’t take long before their savings ran out and his family of five couldn’t afford their $500 a week rental. They are now couch-surfing with another family of five, hoping that they are able to find stable accommodation before Natasha, Sam’s wife, gives birth.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 6 DECEMBER 2018
Lionel Murphy put it best when he said, 'Mr Neal is entitled to be an agitator,' in support of the notion that our civil society is richer when we encourage people to dissent, to complain, to speak out, on issues where they have a different view.
In our schools we frequently have student representative councils and debating competitions. Here in the parliament we have the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate program, PACER, which even today is bringing to this building school students to engage in the process of parliament. It is bringing students to our national capital so they can better understand our civil society. When I was at school, I protested in Martin Place against education changes being made by Terry Metherell, an experience from which I learned a great deal, not just about education but about the process of making a difference, as students do when they join peaceful protests against laws with which they disagree.
So it was surprising to hear the Prime Minister say, 'We do not support our schools being turned into parliaments,' when in fact that is what a government program does in many schools, to allow students to learn about civics.Read more
MARRIAGE EQUALITY – ONE YEAR ON
The Chronicle, 4 December 2018
One of the most magical moments I’ve experienced in parliament was on 7 December 2017, when we passed marriage equality.
In the galleries, hundreds of LGBT+ campaigners stood and applauded. Then they began to sing:
We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We'll share a dream and sing with one voice
I am, you are, we are Australian.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 3 DECEMBER 2018
Shane Madden was one of Canberra's finest lawyers. He was part of the senior leadership team when the ACT Department of Public Prosecutions was formed under Ken Crispin in 1991. ACT Bar Association President Steve Whybrow said:
Shane was a fine trial advocate whose dark emerald robes and pinstripe pants were a defining sartorial feature.Read more
MONDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: World leaders’ game of guess who at the G20, Malcolm Turnbull’s call for an early election, trade, inequality, encryption legislation.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and federal Member for Fenner. This weekend Scott Morrison was in Argentina, where Donald Trump was asking the questions so many Australians are asking: “where is Malcolm Trumble? What have you done with him? Why did you change the government?” Angela Merkel, like many Australians, is puzzled as to who Scott Morrison is. Like many Australians, having to consult their own cheat sheets in order to work out what the Liberal Party has done. Because unlike Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnbull actually faced an election. And indeed when he first entered parliament, unlike Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnbull fairly won a contested preselection.Read more