I have moved a private member's motion in the House of Representatives on the US's reinstatement of the global gag rule. Here's the text:
To move—That this House:
(1) notes that:
(a) the Global Gag Rule (GGR), as implemented by the United States, will prove detrimental to millions of women and girls around the world;Read more
GOVERNMENT MUST CRACK DOWN ON DODGY PHOENIX OPERATORS
Labor welcomes the third and final report by the Melbourne Law School and Monash Business School ‘Phoenix Project’.
The Turnbull Government has been suspiciously silent on the harm phoenix activity has on employees, businesses, and their families. The Phoenix Project report is a chance for them to catch up on their responsibilities to small businesses and consumers.
Harmful phoenix activity – deliberate related-party asset transfers and insolvency – is a tactic used by some directors to explicitly avoid paying employees their entitlements, avoid paying taxes, and avoid paying creditors – particularly subcontractors and other small businesses.Read more
LABOR WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY SECTOR
Today, I was pleased to bring together around 100 community leaders in Parliament House to discuss innovative ideas to strengthen community life.
Over recent generations, Australia has become more disconnected. We are less likely to join mass membership organisations, to attend church, to volunteer, or to be part of a union.
Government plays a role in strengthening civic life, which is why Labor fought hard to keep the Coalition from abolishing the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission.Read more
Tanking in business is known as "Phoenix Activity", Sydney Morning Herald, 21 February 2017
Perhaps my most famous constituent is Nick Kyrgios, Australia's top-ranked male tennis player. But despite his extraordinary serve and blasting forehand, there is one aspect of Kyrgios's game that I, along with other Australian sports fans, cannot condone.
Not trying. Failing on purpose. Tanking.
Australians hate it when their stars don't play to win. So when Nick tanked a tennis match at the Shanghai Masters last year, he copped it from all corners (when John McEnroe is criticising your attitude, you know there's a problem).
It's not just in tennis. We've seen allegations of tanking in the AFL, as well as major league baseball, Olympic badminton, Asian soccer and the National Hockey League.
Tanking in sport lets down the fans. But when it happens in business, people can lose their jobs and companies. Tanking in business is known as "phoenix activity".Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2017
Dr Leigh (Fenner) (11:24): Perhaps the most poignant thing to come out of the tragedy that took place in Bourke Street on 20 January this year was a letter by Henry Dow, which was read at the Federal Square remembrance for the victims. He told the story of Lou, a taxi driver. He said: 'Administering first aid with me under that skinny little tree is a man named Lou. He's everything great and courageous you've seen, heard or read rolled into one authentically humble bloke.' He talked about how, having seen the car fly by, he managed to help some passers-by, and he said that was the moment at which Lou came over. 'Lou grabbed my hand and firmly told me to "keep it together", that I was okay and that we needed to keep strong for this woman. In a level and loud voice Lou barked orders at other pedestrians standing by, having not fled but still too stunned to think or move. He directed assistance to several of the victims lying on the pavement around us, all whilst keeping me calm and speaking lovingly to this woman: "I'm Lou. You're going to be okay. We are looking after you."'Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA
THURSDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2017
Dr Leigh (Fenner) (16:48): If you have ever referred to 'the one per cent', you are using the work of Tony Atkinson. Tony, who died on New Year's Day this year, aged 72, contributed as much as any modern economist to the study of poverty and inequality.
When I first met Tony in the early 2000s, I was struck by the contrast between his exalted status and his willingness to engage with a mere PhD student. He was the head of Oxford's prestigious Nuffield College, and had recently been knighted by both the British and French governments. It always made me smile when I thought about the fact that the only 'Sir' that I knew well was my inequality co-author.Read more
SKY NEWS AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 2017
SUBJECT/S: Renewable energy policy; housing affordability; sugar tax.
KIERAN GILBERT: With me now is Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. In regard to the mandate for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, should Labor open its mind to it given just a few years ago that Mr Rudd was one of the strongest advocates for pursuing carbon capture and storage?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, we'd all love it if carbon capture and storage worked, because it would mean you'd get to enjoy coal without having the emissions. The trouble is, like cold fusion, it's a technology that hasn't lived up to the promises of its boosters. Any solution is likely to be decades away and indeed it also costs quite a bit of the energy of the power plant in order to do the carbon capture and storage. Some of these models have suggested that carbon capture and storage might add another 40 per cent to the price, which then means that the cost advantage of coal would pretty much go away. This isn't a technology that the private sector is backing, it’s not a technology that the rest of the world is piling into, it's not a proven technology. Unlike wind and solar which really are. Let's focus on those and battery technology-
GILBERT: That's right, they are proven in the sense that they can generate power but they can't sustain it in the baseload sense so that battery storage that you refer to is critical, is that there yet?
LEIGH: Battery storage, tidal, these are all technologies that are making incremental gains year on year rather than putting taxpayer money into a moonshot. This isn't a technology that I think ought to be the focus of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.Read more
THURSDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2016
SUBJECT/S: Introduction of Labor’s Access to Justice legislation into Senate; Government’s wacky effects test.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY: Today, in the Senate, Labor's Small Business Spokesperson Katy Gallagher is tabling a bill to provide access to justice for Australian small businesses.
One of the things that often deters small businesses from taking on the big end of town for their anti-competitive conduct is the prospect of being hit by a big costs order. They know they'll have to pay their own lawyers' costs but they are scared that if they lose, they might have to pay for the armies of QCs that the big end of town puts together to take them on.
So what Labor has said is that we ought to have provisions for when a small business is bringing a case – that doesn't just benefit them but benefits the entire economy – that small business know at the start of the lawsuit they won't be facing the prospects of paying the other side's costs.
Labor's access to justice proposal is one which will see the Small Business Ombudsman tasked with providing no-cost legal advice to firms which are looking at taking on a case but are seeking a 'no adverse costs' order. It's an idea that was put to the Government in its competition review. It's an idea which has been put to Labor by a range of small business groups, who want to see a fairer deal.Read more
Climate Change is happening. It's not a hoax and we need to deal with it - RN Drive radio transcript
ABC RN DRIVE
WEDNESDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2017
SUBJECT: Funding the NDIS; Renewable energy; Emissions intensity scheme.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: Labor has struggled to put a dollar figure on their 50 per cent renewable energy target today. They've also claimed they fully funded the NDIS their 2013 budget. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Welcome to the program.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thank you, Patricia. Interesting to be having the questions asked of me rather than ask them of you as we did last time.
KARVELAS: Yes we did. On your podcast. Let's not get into that right now, but yes you’re right I did answer your questions. Labor has suggested the Government drop company tax cuts to fund the NDIS. The Government is not going to budge on that so where should the money come from? Nick Xenophon has suggested defence. Would Labor support that?
LEIGH: As you said Patricia, we identified in our last budget exactly where the money would come from for the NDIS. Through things such as means-testing the private insurance rebate. But if the government's looking for more, we would suggest for example, that they look at a crackdown on multinational tax avoidance. Labor's had a plan on the table for nigh on three years that would return $1.6 billion to the budget over the next four years. Eight times more than they'll get through their paltry "crackdown" on multinational profit-shifting.Read more
SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SMALL BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL SERVICES
SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
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 WILL RESTORE BALANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESS WITH ACCESS TO JUSTICE REFORMS
Labor will introduce legislation into the Senate today that will help small businesses take cases of anti-competitive behaviour to court.
Currently, small businesses are less likely to take up private litigation against anti-competitive behaviour.
This is because big businesses have deep pockets and armies of lawyers, so the risk of small businesses being overwhelmed and having to pay the big businesses’ legal fees is a significant obstacle.
The Turnbull Government has refused to address this inequity despite the Productivity Commission and the Government’s own Competition Review saying that small businesses are disadvantaged in the court process.
Labor’s Competition and Consumer Legislation Amendment (Small Business Access to Justice) Bill 2017 will restore the balance by letting a small business request a ‘no adverse costs order’ early in a court case.Read more