The country can't afford a big business handout - Transcript, ABC RN Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC RN DRIVE

MONDAY, 26 MARCH 2018

SUBJECTS: Dividend imputation reform, Malcolm Turnbull’s $65 billion handout for big business, cricket.

PATRICIA KARVELAS: All signs seem to point to pensioners being given an exemption from Labor’s plan to scrap tax refunds given to some shareholders on dividends. The Opposition has been under attack from the Government since announcing the policy for the effect it would have on retirees, though it’s so far ruled out any changes. But in an apparent change of heart, Labor is shaping up to exempt 200,000 plus part pensioners and 14,000 full pensioners from the policy. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, welcome to the program.

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

KARVELAS: So how are you going to protect pensioners from the adverse effects of this imputation tax policy? What are you looking to do?

LEIGH: Patricia, the first thing to do is just to take a step back and look at what we’ve announced with this policy. This is a policy which is designed to curtail a uniquely Australian tax concession, which has turned the Tax Office into an ATM for multimillionaires. We have the unusual situation of people with many millions of dollars in their superannuation accounts receiving cheques from the Tax Office. Now most of your listeners driving home will be in the position where they think at the end of the year ‘how much tax am I going to pay’. But this cash refundability, introduced in 2000 at the peak of the first mining boom, is a system which is not only inequitable but doing nothing for growth in Australia. So that’s why we’ve announced this policy, to bring some integrity back to the imputation.

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Economics and Easter eggs - Speech, Federation Chamber

FEDERATION CHAMBER

MONDAY, 26 MARCH 2018

Coming up to Easter, my three little boys are looking forward to one of their favourite parts of the celebration—Easter eggs.

I, on the other hand, prefer the other kind of Easter egg—the inside jokes and hints left by writers in films and games.

If you look hard enough, you can find them in real life, like that 2004 moment when reality TV star turned US President Donald Trump presented an Emmy to TV star turned gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon.

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Big business tax cuts simply aren't sustainable - Transcript, ABC News 24

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW

ABC NEWS 24

MONDAY, 26 MARCH 2018

SUBJECTS: Dividend imputation reform; Research showing Australian firms that pay less tax create fewer jobs

GREG JENNETT: Andrew Leigh, the Treasurer Scott Morrison is saying that Labor didn't think through its $11 billion imputation credits policy. In view of the fact Labor is now looking at changing it, that's fair enough that criticism isn't it?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Greg, we've got strong support for the policy from a range of expert groups who pointed out that this tax concession is unique to Australia. The Tax Office wasn't set up to be an ATM for multimillionaires. We need to make sure that our tax concessions are closed down if they’re not adding to economic growth, yet are detracting from egalitarianism.

JENNETT: Even if it's 200,000 plus pensioners?

LEIGH: We've always been the party standing up for pensioners. We campaigned strongly against the Government's attempt to index the pension to prices rather than wages. We argued strongly against raising the pension age to 70 which would have given us the highest pension age in the world.

JENNETT: So would you try and carve pensioners out so you can continue with what you say is good treatment of pensioners?

LEIGH: Labor will always stand up for pensioners. Pensioners will always be better off under a Labor Government.

JENNETT: How might that be done in this case? Could it be done by putting a cap on the amount of cash refund that goes back to a shareholder or a complete exemption, which would you favour?

LEIGH: Greg, let's focus mainly on the policy here - because this is a policy which has great policy merit. The notion of dividend imputation was to avoid double taxation but it was never to have the tax office cutting cheques to multimillionaires.

JENNETT: Yes but there would have been people who were effectively paying tax twice wouldn't you say if they were pensioners and recipients if they were cut off from receiving this cash dividend?

LEIGH: Greg what you have in this situation isn't even single taxation of company profits. Company taxes are paid and then handed back in cash to retirees. For most of your viewers, they will be in a situation where they think about how much tax they pay. They don't think of the Tax Office as being a body that cuts them an annual cheque. This is a highly regressive tax loophole, one which is doing very little for economic growth and which is unique in the world. At that stage, you've got to ask yourself is this really the best way of spending taxpayer dollars.

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Tax Office shouldn't be ATM for multimillionaires - Transcript, Sky News Agenda

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS AM AGENDA

MONDAY, 26 MARCH 2018

SUBJECTS: Dividend imputation reform; Research showing Australian firms that pay less tax create fewer jobs.

KIERAN GILBERT: Welcome back to the program, with me now is Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Thanks so much for your time. You don't go into polls too much but in terms of Labor's policy on the dividend credit, scrapping that refund, 50 per cent are opposed to it but it hasn't really shown up in the primary votes, is that surprising?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: You're right, Kieran. We didn't set the standard of 30 Newspolls, that's the Prime Minister's standard but he's now just one Newspoll away from failing to meet it. And of course the reason for that is clear in the way the economy is performing. You've got an economy which has seen corporate profits grow 32 per cent and wages grow just 4 per cent. So with corporate profits growing eight times as fast as wages what does Malcolm Turnbull want to do? Give big business a company tax cut and cut penalty rates.

GILBERT: You've done some analysis on that and we'll get to that in a moment, but typically on this dividend credit refund which Labor is going to scrap when it get to the point where it actually gets to the point of being a cash refund. Fifty per cent are opposed to the idea, you've got a bit of work to do convincing people that this is the right cause of action.

LEIGH: The Tax Office shouldn't be an ATM for multimillionaires. This is a unique Australian tax loophole. One which was put in place in 2000, and that doesn't sit with the spirit of dividend imputation which is to avoid double taxation. But the notion that Paul Keating had in 1987 was never that the tax office would sit there writing cheques for people with many millions of dollars.

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Liberal loopholes for the loaded - Media Release

CHRIS BOWEN MP, SHADOW TREASURER

ANDREW LEIGH MP, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

LIBERAL LOOPHOLES FOR THE LOADED

Independent research issued today backs in Labor’s superannuation, negative gearing, capital gains tax and trusts policies, all of which are designed to make our country a fairer place for all Australians.

Analysis issued by Per Capita and Anglicare Australia shows that superannuation tax concessions to the top fifth are costing Australians almost $21 billion a year.

Labor will level the playing field between the privileged and the poor by halting the refundability of franking credits. Overwhelmingly these cash bonuses are going to the wealthy – 80 per cent of the benefit accruing to the wealthiest 20 per cent retirees, with the top 1 per cent of self-managed super funds receiving an average cash refund of over $80,000.

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The Turnbull Government: battling for the millionaires - Media Release

THE TURNBULL GOVERNMENT: BATTLING FOR THE MILLIONAIRES

The Turnbull Government’s mistakes and misleading claims on Labor’s dividend imputation reform are continuing to pile up.

Yesterday, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells told the Senate that:

More than half of all refunded franking credits are paid to individuals who earn less than the $18,200 tax-free threshold, including pensioners and self-funded retirees. Ninety-seven per cent of people who receive franking credit refunds have a taxable income below $87,000—people who have worked hard, saved hard and paid tax.

This is patently untrue.

While half the number of people receiving franking credits may have a taxable income of less than $18,200, independent analysis says 80 per cent of this concession benefits the wealthiest 20 per cent.

In regards to retiree income, excess imputation credits refunded to self-managed super funds, 50 per cent of the total benefits go to the wealthiest 10 per cent SMSF balances (which have balances in excess of $2.4 million).

Senator Fierravanti-Wells was later forced to correct her comments.

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'Secret exemption' report ridiculous and wrong - Media Release

CHRIS BOWEN MP, SHADOW TREASURER 

ANDREW LEIGH MP, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER


NEWS REPORT OF ‘SECRET EXEMPTION’ IS RIDICULOUS AND WRONG

Today’s report in the Daily Telegraph of a ‘secret exemption’ for union-aligned not-for-profit bodies is plain wrong.

The so-called 'secret' exemption is so secret that it was clearly outlined in the original media statement and accompanying factsheet that charities and not-for-profit institutions would be exempt from the dividend imputation reforms.

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Forget the trickle down trickery - OpEd, The Australian

CHRIS BOWEN MP, SHADOW TREASURER

ANDREW LEIGH MP, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

FORGET THE TRICKLE DOWN TRICKERY, LABOR'S POLICY ENCOURAGES LONG TERM INVESTMENT

They used to call it horse-and-sparrow economics — the idea that if you fed the horse enough oats, some would pass through for the sparrows. These days, we call it trickle-down economics — the idea that if big entities get a windfall, a bit of it will eventually leak on to the rest of the population.

Trickle-down economics is at the heart of the Turnbull government’s case for a company tax cut to Australia’s largest businesses. On the night of the May 2016 budget, the Liberals released modelling that Treasury had commissioned on the impact to households.

It estimated that cutting the corporate tax rate for Australia’s largest firms from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, funded by raising personal income tax rates on middle Australia, would boost household income by 0.1 per cent in the 2030s.

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Randomistas help change our world - OpEd, The Chronicle

Randomistas help change our world

The Chronicle, 20 March 2018

Some years ago, the British Government was trying to figure out how to encourage people to sign up for the organ donor registry.

Rather than go with their gut, the government’s ‘Nudge Unit’ randomly trialled various messages. One was a picture of smiling people and the words: ‘Every day thousands of people who see this page decide to register.’ Another had no photo, just the text: ‘If you needed an organ transplant, would you have one? If so, please help others.’

Many thought the former would work best. 

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Labor welcomes Senate passage of Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive Bill – with Labor amendments - Media Release

JASON CLARE MP

TIM HAMMOND MP

DR ANDREW LEIGH MP

LABOR WELCOMES SENATE PASSAGE OF JUNIOR MINERALS EXPLORATION INCENTIVE BILL – WITH LABOR AMENDMENTS

Labor today welcomed the passage through the Senate of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Junior Minerals Exploration Inventive Bill) 2017, with Labor’s amendments.

Labor’s amendments require the Minister to publish an annual impact assessment of the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive. This was a key deficiency of the measure’s predecessor, the Exploration Development Incentive, which lapsed at the end of last financial year.

Labor’s amendments will also require the Commissioner of Taxation to publish details of who receives the exploration incentive credits and how much they receive. This information is important for the resources industry, for investors and for taxpayers.

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