Rising to the challenge of inequality - Essay, Inside Story

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE OF INEQUALITY

ANDREW LEIGH

Inside Story, 15 June 2018.

When Jane found herself jobless, homeless and separated from her partner, she began staying in her campervan in Hawkesbury, on the Sydney fringe. There was a time, she said, when she had 11 cents in her bank account and wouldn’t have more for another nine days. She survived off charity. “Most Australians don’t know what real hunger feels like,” she says. Sometimes, men would approach her campervan to ask for sexual favours.

For another group of Sydneysiders, life looks very different. Later this month the Art Gallery of New South Wales will host its inaugural ArchiBall, the most expensive and exclusive gala dinner it has ever hosted. Sitting under Nolans and Drysdales, guests will sip Moët, enjoy a meal designed by celebrity chef Matt Moran, and listen to a famous Australian singer whose name is being kept secret. Tickets are $2000 each.

Australian inequality has risen markedly over the past generation. Homes on Point Piper’s Wolseley Road can cost $50,000 per square metre; and if you’d like to park Australia’s most expensive sports car in your garage, Pagani’s Huayra Roadster — powered by a 562kw engine — will set you back $5.5 million. Many stores are struggling, but luxury retailing in Australia has surged.

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Stop the war on charities - Media Release

STOP THE WAR ON CHARITIES

Labor will support the set of principles outlined today the Hands Off Our Charities Alliance, in order to ensure that the not for profit sector remains viable and our democracy stays intact.

This began as a debate about foreign donations but somehow, in the hands of Malcolm Turnbull, it has morphed into a war on charities and not for profits.

We’ve heard from multiple charities over many weeks about their concerns that the foreign donation bill will stop them from advocating for their communities and make it harder to raise money to support communities in need.

There is bipartisan support for banning foreign political donations, but banning donations to political parties should not entail cutting down free speech.

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You cut the public service, you get worse public services - Transcript, Doorstop

ANDREW LEIGH, ACTING SHADOW TREASURER

CATHY O’TOOLE, LABOR MEMBER FOR HERBERT 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

TOWNSVILLE

WEDNESDAY, 13 JUNE 2018

SUBJECTS: Banking Royal Commission; Job cuts at the ATO.

CATHY O'TOOLE, MEMBER FOR HERBERT: It's really fantastic to have the Honourable Andrew Leigh here with me this morning. He's our acting Shadow Treasurer and our Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Andrew has been here talking to the people in this community about the devastation that they have experienced in terms of the activities of the banks. And with the Royal Commission into banking and finance this has been a very important opportunity for the people in our community to have their voices heard. So I'll hand over to Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, ACTING SHADOW TREASURER: Thanks very much, Cathy. It's great to be here with Cathy, a hard working local member fighting for the interests of Townsville. We've been engaged in two main issues over the last couple of days. The first is a banking forum, hearing some of the stories of how people have been personally affected by banking malfeasance. We know that Malcolm Turnbull fought for nearly two years against this Royal Commission into the banks which is now uncovering scandal after scandal. Following the Storm Financial collapse, the people of Townsville don't need any more reasons to see that a Royal Commission into the banks is critical. Labor's call has been vindicated, and more and more evidence is emerging from the Royal Commission. 

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Worst time for a big bank handout - Transcript, ABC North Queensland

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC NORTH QUEENSLAND

WEDNESDAY, 13 JUNE 2018

SUBJECT: Banking Royal Commission.

MICHAEL CLARKE: Last night a forum was held to discuss cases of financial misconduct. It was put together to discuss the issue with the Labor Party and in town at the moment is the ALP's Acting Shadow Treasurer, Andrew Leigh who joins us this morning along with the Member for Herbert, Cathy O'Toole. Good to see you both. Thanks for being with us today. Andrew Leigh, why have a discussion about banking issues in Townsville when there is this Royal Commission underway across the country?

ANDREW LEIGH, ACTING SHADOW TREASURER: Michael, we want to hear directly from people about their stories about how the banks have affected them. We know that Townsville was hard hit by the Storm Financial scandal that not only saw people lose their homes but in some cases, end up with over a million dollar’s worth of debt. That led the last Labor Government to put in place a series of reforms that required financial advisers to act in the best interests of their client. Not a very high bar you'd think! We were surprised when the Liberals and Nationals tried to wind that back when they won office. We then argued for almost two years for this Royal Commission that we finally had. Malcolm Turnbull was telling us it was a stunt and we know it's anything but. We've seen the scandals coming through, dead people being charged for financial advice, one bank playing with kids school bank accounts, the head of AMP having to step down, one in twenty bits of advice the ANZ has given were not in the best interest of the client. And then last night we were hearing a lot of the texture around that and how that's directly affected Townsville residents and the changes that they want to see.

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Townsville community forum - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH MP, ACTING SHADOW TREASURER

CATHY O'TOOLE, MEMBER FOR HERBERT

TOWNSVILLE COMMUNITY FORUM

Last night, Townsville locals gathered at CQ University to share their experiences with and concerns about the big banks.

These stories, along with the revelations of dodgy behaviour in the banking sector, prove how important the banking royal commission is.

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Your Car, Your Choice: Rockhampton - Transcript, Doorstop

ANDREW LEIGH, ACTING SHADOW TREASURER

MURRAY WATT, LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

RUSSELL ROBERTSON, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CAPRICORNIA 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

ROCKHAMPTON

TUESDAY, 12 JUNE 2018

SUBJECT: Your Car, Your Choice.

RUSSELL ROBERTSON, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CAPRICORNIA: Good morning everyone. My name is Russell Robertson, I'm the ALP candidate for Capricornia and we're here at The Mechanic Shop to talk about legislation in which the ALP is putting forward. I'm also joined here by Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh and Senator Murray Watt. This is another great initiative by the Labor Party and again to help out smaller businesses so an initiative to try and expose and get some information to keep these businesses viable. So again we've got the Labor Party right at the front looking after small and medium sized businesses and keeping the locals employed. I want to hand over now to Andrew and he'll talk more specifically on the pieces in which the Labor party are going to highlight.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Great. Thanks very much, Russell and great to be here talking about an important Labor initiative. Over a year ago, Labor pointed to the problem that independent mechanics don't have the data they need to fix modern cars. Modern cars are computers on wheels. They’ve got between 20 and 50 onboard computers and without those re-initalisation codes and software updates, independent mechanics are struggling to fix modern cars.

Here in Rockhampton there's around 70 independent mechanics, but less than 10 authorised dealers. So the majority of Rockhampton mechanics are independent mechanics. They need to get those software updates. Labor called for this over a year ago. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has since backed us in. We've now said that a Shorten Labor Government would put in place a mandatory data sharing policy. It simply says we should have a level playing field, that independent mechanics should get the same car data that the authorised dealers get.

No one tells you what car to buy, and no one should tell you where to get it fixed. Data sharing with independent mechanics is fundamentally about creating a level playing field, it's good for drivers, it's good for mechanics. I'll hand over now to Murray to say a few words about the regional impact of this policy.

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Labor takes the wheel for mechanics in central Queensland - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY

MURRAY WATT, LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

RUSSELL ROBERTSON, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CAPRICORNIA

LABOR TAKES THE WHEEL FOR MECHANICS IN CENTRAL QUEENSLAND

Labor is driving a better deal for car owners and independent mechanics with a plan to make timely access to technical information a reality.

Whether you own a Toyota Corolla or a Ford Ranger, everyone should be able to choose where they get their car serviced. But independent repairers are struggling to get fair access to the standard service information they need.

Under Labor, car manufacturers will have to share the same technical information with independent mechanics that they currently provide to authorised dealers.

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Rockhampton community forum - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH,SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

RUSSELL ROBERTSON, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CAPRICORNIA 

ZAC BEERS, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FLYNN

ROCKHAMPTON COMMUNITY FORUM

Last night, Rockhampton locals gathered at the Giddy Goat to discuss what they want to see from a future Labor Government.

Concerns over wage growth, penalty rates and inequality were among the issues discussed.

Labor understands that ordinary Australians have been left to struggle with sluggish wages growth and increasing inequality, which is now at a 75-year high.

With profits now growing six times faster than wages, now is not the time to be handing out billions of dollars to big business.

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Labor takes the wheel for mechanics in Longman - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER & SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY

SUSAN LAMB, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR LONGMAN

LABOR TAKES THE WHEEL FOR MECHANICS IN LONGMAN

Labor is driving a better deal for car owners and independent mechanics with a plan to make timely access to technical information a reality.

Whether you own a Toyota Corolla or a Ford Ranger, everyone should be able to choose where they get their car serviced. But independent repairers are struggling to get fair access to the standard service information they need.

Under Labor, car manufacturers will have to share the same technical information with independent mechanics that they currently provide to authorised dealers.

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Labor's plan would leave 10 million Australians better off - Transcript, ABC News Breakfast

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST
SATURDAY, 9 JUNE 2018


SUBJECTS: Economic growth figures; Labor’s plan for a bigger, better and fairer tax cut; Indigenous treaty; gender quotas.

HOST: We are speaking now with Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Thank you so much for your time this morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure. Great to be with you.

HOST: Are these economists right? Is it as good as it gets?

LEIGH: You have to look at the fragility around the numbers. The household savings rate is now at a 10-year low, wages growth is as slow as a dead duck, and we're seeing some softness in the housing market. That suggests that what households have been doing in some cases is reducing their savings in order to spend. Not spending because they have more in their wallet, but choosing to put less in the bank and spend more down the mall.

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