The Coalition needs to care about Canberra - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 31 AUGUST 2020

'Big-sky beauty, breezy civic pride and a decidedly hipster underbelly' is how The New York Times described Canberra, home to a slew of national institutions that the Gray Lady has called 'excellent'.

As a Canberra local this praise comes as no surprise. I'm lucky enough to live in the same city as Old Parliament House and to be able to take my boys to the National Portrait Gallery when we have a free afternoon. When you flip through the Lonely Planet's guide to the top activities in Canberra, the list is littered with national institutions. That iconic travel guide states:

Some of the nation's best art galleries are here, and there's plenty of history too, both past and in the making – visitors can see Australian democracy in action at Parliament House before exploring its bygone days at some of the city's many museums.

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The Liberals are failing our environment - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 31 AUGUST 2020

Biologist Edward O Wilson once talked about the idea of biophilia: the notion that humans have an innate desire to connect with nature and other forms of life. Biophilia is being understood now in terms of the importance of mental health and spending time in the environment. I started today in the Canberra bush doing hill sprints on one of the hills near my house. Part of the joy of that is not just the physical exercise; it's the connection with the country around you—spending time with the kangaroos, the kookaburras and the galahs amidst the eucalyptus.

So many Australians see the natural environment as being critical to who we are, and so many international visitors come to Australia to see our natural environment. They want to see Uluru. They want to the Great Barrier Reef. The environment is fundamental to who we are and who we stand for in the world.

Yet, under the Coalition, we have seen the greatest travesty in their inability to deal with unchecked climate change.

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History of Super: Introduced by Labor, Opposed by the Liberals - Speech, House Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 27 AUGUST 2020

The history of superannuation in Australia is pretty simple: it is introduced by Labor; the Liberals oppose it; people like Bronwyn Bishop speak out against it; John Howard then goes to the 1996 election promising to continue with the scheduled rate of superannuation increase, but he doesn't tell the truth and freezes the superannuation guarantee; Tony Abbott goes to the 2013 election promising to increase the superannuation contribution, but he breaks his promise and doesn't continue with the scheduled increases; and Prime Minister Scott Morrison goes to the 2019 election saying that he has pledged to continue with the legislated pattern of superannuation increases—a promise he now appears to be set to break. His own superannuation minister appears not to mind much either way, whether the government sticks with its promise, sticks with the legislation, or does the wrong thing by the Australian working people. It's a bit like Medicare. It's a bit like climate change.

These are issues which matter deeply in our hearts to those of us on this side of politics. Those on the other side know that they matter to the Australian people, and so they mouth the platitudes at election time, but when it comes to action, when it comes to doing the right thing, they don't stand up for working people.

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Calling all Fenner photographers

Seeking Your North Canberra Photos

Each year, we send a Seasonal Greeting card to all the households in the Fenner electorate. This year, we’ve decided to do something a bit different, and showcase local photographers.

If you’re a resident of Fenner and you’ve taken a snap that you think would suit our card, please send it to us via email: Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au.

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Our greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 26 AUGUST 2020

We are now in the greatest economic downturn that Australia has seen since the Great Depression. Research from the Australian Treasury has revealed just how damaging this can be, particularly to young Australians. That research has looked at the so-called scarring effect, the long-term effect, of graduating in the teeth of a recession. I know this effect well, having finished high school in 1990 and seen some of my classmates who searched for work utterly unable to find it at that time.

We know now that there are 13 jobseekers for every job vacancy, so this problem is particularly acute.

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Charities staring down closures - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 26 AUGUST 2020

The charity sector has a massive impact on our society and our economy. It is eight per cent of GDP, it has 1.3 million workers—about a tenth of the national workforce—and three million volunteers.

The charities sector is bigger than agriculture or manufacturing or retail, and yet the charity sector is under pressure like never before. Research from the Australian National University's Nicholas Biddle and Matthew Gray, commissioned by Volunteering Australia, found that two-thirds of volunteers were forced to cut back their hours as a result of COVID. A survey by Giving Tuesday found that nearly two-thirds of charities had a drop in volunteer activity and fundraising. Research by wealth management firm JBWere estimates that total donations will fall by seven per cent this year and 12 per cent next year.

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Our nation needs good journalism - Transcript, 2CC Canberra Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2CC CANBERRA DRIVE
TUESDAY, 25 AUGUST 2020

SUBJECTS: Google; the importance of supporting local Australian journalism; multinational tax avoidance; JobSeeker and JobKeeper.

LEON DELANEY, HOST: Have you noticed that when you open up Google Chrome or when you use Google search, these little yellow triangles pop up with warning signs saying ‘warning, warning, Will Robinson, danger’? No, they say something like ‘warning, the Australian Government is about to impose rules that will dramatically impact upon Google's ability to provide you with services’ or something to that effect. So in order to shed some light on just what damn hell is going on there, I thought I should consult with that well-known technology guru, the Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon.

DELANEY: I never knew you were a technology guru. When did this happen?

LEIGH: [laughter] Like almost everyone, I appreciate Google and make good use of their products, but I think they might have overreached in this case. This is simply an ask for a trillion dollar company to make a small contribution to keeping the news media going. And as you know, Leon-

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Google can afford to be fair - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 AUGUST 2020

From 2006 to 2016, the number of journalists in Australia fell by nine per cent. Health reporting is down by 30 per cent, and science reporting is down by 42 per cent. In the past decade, more than 100 local or regional newspapers have closed, and the Liberals, in pursuit of their petty culture war, are cutting the ABC.

Never has the Australian media been under more pressure, and never have we needed quality journalism more.

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Early education among greatest investments - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 AUGUST 2020

Nothing I have done in my life has been as rewarding as being the dad to three little boys. Spending time with them, reading and playing games, is one of my true delights in life. But it's hard too. That's just dealing with one or two or sometimes all three of them. When I look at early educators and the work that they do every day, I do so with huge respect. This isn't babysitting; this is education.

As we learn more and more about neuroscience, we get the sense as to the importance of quality early education. That's why when Labor was last in government we pursued both a quantity and a quality agenda, ensuring that early childhood education was more broadly accessible but also raising the standards and the qualifications and ensuring that the ratios were right. That's vital not just for now but also in the future.

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Policy needs to be focused on jobs - Transcript, Sky News First Edition

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TV INTERVIEW
SKY NEWS
MONDAY, 24 AUGUST 2020

SUBJECTS: Treasury figures; JobSeeker and JobKeeper; Costume designers turning to mask making after the arts sector misses out on JobKeeper payments.

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Now joining me live is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us. So I just want to get your reaction to some of those new figures that have been released by Josh Frydenberg this morning, New South Wales seems to be leading the recovery – 69 per cent of people who lost their jobs a few months ago have returned in some capacity. So it's now eight and a half per cent unemployment. Are you encouraged by that?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: It’s all about jobs right now, and that's going to be the story for the next few years. We're talking about an effective unemployment rate of 13 per cent, which is one of the highest we’ve seen in Australian history. And every time we think about an unemployment rate, we've got to think about the number of lives that are blighted by that. The families that are hurt, their sense of self confidence, the scarring for young people entering the labour market in which it's near impossible to find a job. We've got about 13 job seekers for every vacancy right now, so it's an incredibly tough labour market and every focus in policy needs to be on creating jobs.

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.