Halting the Havens - Speech, Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association Biennial Taxation & Commercial Conference

Halting the Havens

Plenary Address
Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association
Biennial Taxation & Commercial Conference

Adelaide
17 November 2017

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We often say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But for some multinational firms, their tax affairs often do.

In May 2013, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook was being grilled by US Senators about the nature and structure of his company’s tax affairs.

Those Senators were scrutinising a complex corporate structure, and how Apple had come to amass billions of dollars of largely untaxed profits offshore. The current figure put on profits Apple has hoarded offshore is said to be around US$128 billion.

Mr Cook’s retort to the subcommittee was “We don’t depend on tax gimmicks… We don’t stash money on some Caribbean island”.

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Sharing ideas to build community in Newcastle - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS

SHARON CLAYDON, MEMBER FOR NEWCASTLE

SHARING IDEAS TO BUILD COMMUNITY IN NEWCASTLE

Today Newcastle charities and not-for-profits gathered for a Labor’s ninth ‘Reconnected’ roundtable, where ideas to boost social capital and community engagement were exchanged.

We’ve seen some worrying trends over the last generation - volunteering rates and donation rates have fallen, while Australians are less likely to join community organisations or play organised sports.

Labor is working with Australia’s voluntary sector to reverse these trends. 

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Infrastructure charges highlight need for government to unshackle ACCC to investigate - Media Release

INFRASTRUCTURE CHARGES HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR GOVERNMENT TO UNSHACKLE ACCC TO INVESTIGATE

Last week, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported its concern about stevedore price rises. The consumer watchdog also noted that infrastructure charges appeared to be shifting from shipping lines to transport companies as they are less able to respond to higher fees.

Just after midday today, DPWorld announced price rises for infrastructure charges levied on transport operators of 77.9% in Sydney. Melbourne (51.4%) and Brisbane (18.4%) also saw substantial increases.

Labor looks forward to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission undertaking a thorough analysis of the dynamics of this market, the level of infrastructure investment, to determine whether these increases are consistent with our competition laws, and the extent to which “revenue from the new charges is likely to more than offset cost increases associated with terminal rents, government taxes and rates” (p.10).

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Love has won - Transcript, Big Gay Out Results Picnic doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

BIG GAY OUT RESULTS PICNIC, CANBERRA

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017 

SUBJECTS: Marriage equality.

SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER, ANDREW LEIGH: Thanks everyone for coming along. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fenner. Four years ago a couple by the name of Emily and Ellie tied the knot during the brief window in the ACT when same-sex marriage was legal. Those marriages were undone by a High Court decision. Emily and Ellie have now waited four years for the right to marry – for a right that other Australians enjoy.

Today's survey has just confirmed what poll after poll has reinforced. Australians want marriage equality. We didn't need to spend millions of dollars to find out that 62 per cent of Australians and 74 per cent of Canberrans want same-sex couples to enjoy the same rights as other Australians. The process of this survey has been damaging to the mental health of many gay and lesbian Australians. We've seen an increase in the number of calls to helplines such as Reach Out and QLife. That didn't need to happen. We could have had a free vote in Parliament and marriage equality could have been legal by now. 

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Cooperative week for Australia’s most cooperative sector - Speech to the Business Council Of Co-Operatives and Mutuals Summit Dinner

ADDRESS TO THE BUSINESS COUNCIL OF CO-OPERATIVES AND MUTUALS SUMMIT DINNER

BRISBANE

THURSDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2017

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Thank you Annabel [Crabb] for that characteristically double-edged introduction.

It’s been a cooperative week for Australia’s most cooperative sector. Politicians are not always famous for our ability to cooperate with one another. I trust if we do nothing else that Michael and I can help to assuage the stereotype tonight.

As Michael said, he was the only Coalition MP to come to my book launch recently – although it has to be said that precisely one week after the book was launched I got a telephone call from Liberal cabinet minister, saying ‘so I’m in the room, where is this book launch of yours?’

There’s a metaphor there. I’ll come back to it.

[Laughter]

I acknowledge Melina Morrison, your extraordinarily hard working CEO, who recently encouraged the creation of the Parliamentary Friends of Mutuals and Co-ops. I acknowledge Chris Ketter – there is no stronger champion of cooperatives or Queensland in the room. Scott Emerson. Outgoing BCCM chair, Andrew Crane.

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Labor welcomes Government adopting Labor’s coops & mutuals policies - Media Release

LABOR WELCOMES GOVERNMENT ADOPTING LABOR’S COOPS & MUTUALS POLICIES

Labor welcomes the Government’s commitment to facilitating greater access to capital for mutuals and cooperatives, and clearly defining mutual enterprises in the Corporations Act.

Labor made these commitments on 10 November 2016, as part of our “Inclusive Ownership, Inclusive Growth” package.

We welcome the government’s assistance in delivering these measures in a bipartisan fashion.

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Liberals desperate to justify multinational tax giveaway - Media Release

JIM CHALMERS, ACTING SHADOW TREASURER

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

LIBERALS DESPERATE TO JUSTIFY MULTINATIONAL TAX GIVEAWAY

The release of a Treasury report today on company tax cuts is yet another laughable attempt from the Liberals to justify tax giveaways for multinationals while jacking up income tax for workers.

Turnbull and Morrison are so out of touch they think the answer to the rampant multinational tax avoidance revealed in the Paradise Papers is to give big business a tax cut. 

They must be the only people in Australia who think multinationals pay too much tax and middle-income earners pay too little.

The report does little more than rehash old Treasury modelling which suggests an average increase in GDP of just 0.05 per cent a year.

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Liberal pollster's farcical vault on to sports board - Media Release

LIBERAL POLLSTER'S FARCICAL VAULT ON TO SPORTS BOARD 

Liberal pollster Mark Textor has vaulted on to the Australian Sports Commission board in the latest example of Turnbull’s ‘jobs for the boys’.

Greg Hunt today announced Mark Textor as one of three new appointments to the board, along with AFL Commissioner Gabrielle Trainor and former director of Tennis Australia and the Hopman Cup, Andrea Mitchell.

Ms Trainor and Ms Mitchell, who is also a former MLA for Kingsley in Western Australia, both have extensive experience in sporting administration and are well placed to serve on the ASC board.

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Close the loopholes - Transcript, ABC Melbourne Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC MELBOURNE DRIVE

MONDAY, 6 NOVEMBER 2017 

SUBJECTS: Paradise Papers, Labor’s multinational tax avoidance laws, Scott Morrison’s plans to give multinationals and millionaires a tax cut, Malcolm Turnbull’s citizenship crisis, John Alexander, Manus Island.

RAF EPSTEIN: To talk about the Paradise Papers and the latest political developments, we’re joined by the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. He is part of Bill Shorten the Opposition Leader’s team. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good afternoon, Raf. Looks like Paradise Lost, doesn’t it?

EPSTEIN: [laughter] Very good. We’ll get on to Paradise Papers in a tick. The register for MPs and Senators to declare their background effectively, that would work, wouldn’t it? Barnaby Joyce would have had to declare everything. So too Stephen Parry. That would have made a difference.

LEIGH: Well, it’s not quite clear what would have happened if you just relied on MPs’ disclosure here. It could well be that Barnaby Joyce and Stephen Parry would still be illegally sitting in the Parliament under this regime. We’re happy to work with the Prime Minister, who’s clearly been dragged kicking and screaming to this approach, given that he was so firm last week that nothing needed to be done. But we do want to make sure that we have a rigorous process in place. Labor’s very confident in the vetting procedures we have for anyone who stands as a Labor candidate, but we’re concerned that we see reports of more and more Liberals MPs who potentially haven’t complied with the rules.

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Time to claim our fair share of taxation - Transcript, 3AW with Tom Elliott

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

3AW WITH TOM ELLIOTT

MONDAY, 6 NOVEMBER 2017 

SUBJECTS: Paradise Papers, Labor’s multinational tax avoidance laws and Scott Morrison’s plans to give multinationals and millionaires a tax cut.

TOM ELLIOTT: The Labor Party is onto this, they say it is time for Australia to claim its fair share of taxation. Joining me on the line now is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Dr Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good to be with you again.

ELLIOTT: What sort of companies or individuals are we talking about here, we're talking about Australian businesses that set up offshore or are we talking about the Amazon and Google of the world? Who are we discussing?

LEIGH: It seems to be a who's who of oligarchs, multinationals, tech companies, mining companies. What's really surprising about this to me is the broad swath of companies that are taking advantage of tax havens. Except of course your local little old Aussie business which doesn't have the advantages the big end of town gets.

ELLIOTT: So when you're talking about tax havens, what's a typical manner in which these are operated?

LEIGH: One of the most egregious examples is if you go to the Cayman Islands on the waterfront you'll find a building called Ugland House. That building is the registered office address for more than 18,000 companies. Of course, they don't actually have staff there, what they're doing is just routing their transaction through the Cayman Islands to take advantage of its generous tax rules. We think that there ought to be one rule for all companies rather than a different rule for the big end of town which lets them exploit tax havens. That's why Labor has put on the table a set of measures on tax havens. For example, if you want to go for a government tender worth more than $200,000 Labor thinks you should tell us your country of tax domicile. 

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