WHY ARE THE CANBERRA LIBERALS SO EXTREME?
CityNews, 18 August 2020
When the marriage equality vote was held in 2017, the Prime Minister supported it. Every premier and chief minister backed it. Every opposition leader – federal, state or territory – voted for marriage equality.
Except one. In the ACT, Canberra Liberal leader Alistair Coe opposed marriage equality. Three out of four Canberrans voted yes to marriage equality, the highest share in Australia. Yet Canberra was the only place where a major party leader voted no.
Marriage equality isn’t just an isolated incident. On a broad swath of issues, the Canberra Liberals have shown themselves not just to be more conservative than the typical Canberran, but to be the most conservative Liberal branch in Australia.Read more
SUBJECTS: The Liberal Party hosting fundraisers in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century; charities facing falling donations; stranded Canberrans returning home from the NSW/Victoria border.
LISH FEJER, HOST: In a couple of weeks, parliament will be sitting and already there are MPs and their staff quarantining here in Canberra. But there are preparations being made for three proposed Liberal Party fundraising dinners to make the most of the time with politicians back in town. Ben Morton, who represents the WA seat of Tangney, said the events were not being organised by his office but by the Tangney campaign, which is part of the WA division. A spokeswoman for Ben Morton and the Tangney campaign told The Guardian that the Australian Government advice is that Australians should comply with the relevant advice in the state or territory where they're located, as appropriate. These very small events, said the spokeswoman, will only go ahead if they strictly comply with the relevant COVID safe rules that apply for venues in the ACT. Dr Andrew Leigh is the ALP Member for Fenner and former professor of economics, and joins us this morning. Hello.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Lish. G’day, Adam.
FEJER: So, what have they done wrong here? You're taking them to task.
LEIGH: Yes. We've had a lot of parliamentary sitting days cancelled. Now that parliament is finally getting together, all politicians’ focus should be on the main game. And that shouldn't be on raising money for the Liberal Party. It should be on doing the work that our constituents want us to be doing. We need to be very careful and cautious about the spread of coronavirus. I know all politicians are being judicious in terms the number of face to face meetings they take. Our office is still doing phone calls and zoom where that works, just as a safer way of making sure we reduce any chance of the spread of the virus. I just don't think it passes the pub test to have a two and a half thousand dollar fundraiser at the moment.Read more
SUBJECT: Stranded Canberrans returning home from the NSW/Victoria border.
ROBBIE BUCK, HOST: It’s to do with those hundred or so Canberrans who was stuck at the Victorian border, and it appears after that conversation yesterday there's been some movement at the station. Dr Andrew Leigh is the federal Member for Fenner in the ACT. Morning, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Robbie. How are you?
BUCK: Very well. Things moved quite quickly yesterday.
WENDY HARMER, HOST: Yeah, you know we’re claiming credit for this one, don’t you Andrew?
LEIGH: I think we all should. It's a great result. It should have happened to week earlier, but the fact that finally the New South Wales Government saw sense is just terrific. And for those hundred Canberrans at the border, they will be very relieved to be back home and starting their two weeks of self isolation.Read more
ABC SYDNEY BREAKFAST
WEDNESDAY, 12 AUGUST 2020
SUBJECT: Canberrans stuck at the NSW/Victoria border.
ROBBIE BUCK, HOST: We’re going to take you to the New South Wales/Victoria border now. We have been talking about New South Wales travellers being stuck in Victoria, Wendy - a caller or texted - her tale of making a mercy dash because her mum was dying and then not being able to get back into New South Wales we’ve spoken about. But spare thought for a lot of the ACT residents who are stuck on the New South Wales/Victorian border, and they've been there for the last six days. They've been caught up in this rule change by the state government, requiring people traveling from Victoria to fly through the Sydney Airport before going to self funded quarantine. And Dr Andrew Leigh, who's the federal Member for Fenner in the ACT, happens to be one of those stuck there. Morning, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Robbie. Just to correct you, I’m not stuck there. I'm just trying to get my constituents back here.
WENDY HARMER, HOST: There's about 100 of them, I believe, Andrew.
LEIGH: It's a huge number, Wendy, and they're stuck in a sort of Kafka-esque nightmare where the ACT Government would be happy to go to the border with a couple of police cars and escort everyone back. It’s a three and a half hour drive, no one needs to stop, just a full tank of fuel and they’d go straight through. And what the New South Wales Government is saying instead is they should drive to Melbourne airport, abandon their cars, fly to Sydney, go into quarantine and then make their way back to Canberra. They’d endanger themselves and it'd come at a huge expense. Instead, they can come through New South Wales - endangering absolutely no one - and be back home. I just can't see what the New South Wales Government's problem is.Read more
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES
MEMBER FOR FENNER
SENATOR CATRYNA BILYK
SENATOR FOR TASMANIA
TWO YEARS ON AND STILL NO PROGRESS ON FIXING CHARITY FUNDRAISING
Australian charities continue to spend more than one million dollars per month complying with outdated laws, almost two years after the Morrison Government was urged to take action to reduce the administrative burden.
In 2018, the independent review of the Australian Charities and Not‑for‑Profits Commission recommended that the Australian Government work with the states and territories to create a national, harmonised charity fundraising law.
The recommendation was echoed by the unanimous report of a Senate Select Committee inquiry chaired by Senator Catryna Bilyk. Even Liberal Senators Eric Abetz and Amanda Stoker called on their own government to act urgently.Read more
2CC CANBERRA DRIVE
TUESDAY, 11 AUGUST 2020
SUBJECTS: Aged Care Royal Commission; Parliament sitting; ACT Liberal candidate dumped two days after replacing dumped Liberal candidate.
LEON DELANEY, HOST: Joining me now, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities and federal Member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon. Great to be with you.
DELANEY: Thanks for joining us again. Let's start with the Aged Care Royal Commission, because obviously that's been very important process in getting to the bottom of the deficiencies in our aged care system. And it was said yesterday that the pandemic has actually revealed all of the flaws that already exist in the aged care sector, in a way that has never been the case before. Some of the things that we've learned were shocking enough before the pandemic has struck, but the handling of the aged care system during the pandemic has also been extremely difficult and disappointing.
LEIGH: Certainly has, Leon. Labor called for a Royal Commission into aged care because we were aware of the significant problems within the sector, and the need for us as a nation to do better with aged care. But now we've found out of this Royal Commission that there was no plan to deal with COVID-19 in aged care, and that's just frankly scandalous, as Chris Bowen our Shadow Health Minister was pointed out. We know that aged care is a huge point of vulnerability for coronavirus. If you look at the deaths in Australia of COVID related deaths, 68 per cent have occurred in nursing homes. So the federal government's failure to better prepare aged care homes for coronavirus is a real scandal.Read more
CARVING WITH THE GRAIN
Evatt Journal Vol. 19 - After the lockdown: Essays on a Post-COVID World – July 29, 2020
Carvers asked to make a bowl from a piece of timber don’t simply pull out their favourite blueprint, says philosopher Peter Singer. Instead, they examine the timber and adapt the design to suit the wood. Likewise, anyone looking to reshape society cannot simply begin with abstract ideas. Reformers must understand the values, aspirations and needs of the community if we are to make change that does not run against the grain.
Globally, COVID-19 has infected millions, and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. The International Monetary Fund expects it to cause the sharpest drop in global GDP since the Great Depression. In Australia, unemployment spiked, with hospitality workers, arts employees, women and young people the hardest hit. The promised Morrison ‘snap back’ seems unlikely. Rather than a V-shaped recession, the best we can hope for at this stage is a recovery that looks like a Nike swoosh.Read more
ABC MELBOURNE DRIVE
THURSDAY, 23 JULY 2020
SUBJECTS: Budget deficit; Morrison Government failing charities; HomeBuilder failing to address economic inequalities.
RAF EPSTEIN, HOST: Andrew Leigh joins us. He is one of the MPs in Canberra. He's a Labor MP, he is part of the parliamentary committee called the Standing Committee on Economics. More importantly for this conversation, he is part of Anthony Albanese's finance team - he’s the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Raf, and thoughts from Canberra to you and your listeners. I know many Canberrans have been thinking of Victorian friends at the moment and all that you're going through there in Melbourne.
EPSTEIN: What number stood out for you today?
LEIGH: I think the real thing that stood out for me Raf was the lack of the long term plan. I mean, certainly we've got a lot of numbers around - we’ve got the figures on the the impact of the budget, the unprecedented - since the Great Depression - hit on the economy. But it was the lack of a long term vision for how we build back better, how we create those jobs that ensure we get to a full employment economy-Read more
2CC CANBERRA DRIVE
THURSDAY, 23 JULY 2020
SUBJECTS: Budget deficit; deferred Parliamentary sitting.
LEON DELANEY, HOST: Joining me now the Shadow Assistant Minister for the Treasury, Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon.
DELANEY: Thanks for joining me once again. We're making a habit of this, but of course this is the biggest story of the day, isn't it? So we really do need to look at this in some detail. As I said, it could have been worse, couldn’t it?
LEIGH: It certainly could have been more comprehensive, and what we've got from the Government is barely a plan. It's just really a press release. We don't have the usual forecasts that you would expect to be getting, this year and the three following years. We've just got next year's figures being reported by the Government. And I don't get a sense from reading through this document as to what the Government plans to do to bring unemployment down, which has got to be the top policy priority in Australia right now. There's a lot of talk about where the figures are, both in economic terms and in fiscal terms, but there's very little in the way of a road map to get us out.Read more
THE UGLY TRUTH IS THAT THE NUMBERS MATTER — AND WE ARE NOT GETTING THEM RIGHT
Crikey, 22 July 2020
Numbers, said mathematician Paul Erdős, are beautiful. But when it comes to coronavirus, they’ve also been downright ugly. That’s true whether we’re talking about the rate of infection of the virus, or the size of the economic slump, which has literally required economists to redraw their graphs to accommodate the drop. Getting the right numbers to the right people at the right time is critical. Yet amidst the first recession in a generation, Australia is fighting blindfolded, because we’re not measuring and publishing the things that matter most.
Let’s start with JobKeeper. When it was first announced in March, the federal government anticipated that the wage subsidy program would cost $130 billion and support 6 million jobs. In May, they continued to say that the program was on track in terms of both cost and jobs. Then the $60 billion penny dropped. Suddenly the Treasurer admitted that the program would in fact cost just $70 billion and support only 3.5 million jobs.Read more