This is why Labor won't yet support the government's whole six-year income tax cuts plan
Imagine that one day your boss tells everyone that the firm has a terrific three-part plan for pay rises. Part one will give everyone a $10 a week pay rise, starting in a matter of weeks. ‘What about parts two and three?’, you ask. You’ve heard a rumour that they give a lot more to the senior executives, and might lead to layoffs. He shouts angrily: ‘If you don’t support the whole plan, you can pack your things and get out!’.
That, in a nutshell, is how Treasurer Scott Morrison is presenting the personal income tax cuts in its 2018 budget. One part of the tax cuts, due to take effect in just under six weeks, is targeted towards low and middle-income earners. Another tranche, due to take effect in just over six years, gives the most to those who have the most.Read more
JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY
Dairy farmers deserve better
In 2016, dairy farmers Bec and Glen Casey heard from milk producer Murray Goulburn that they would be cutting the price of milk. Worse, Murray Goulburn told them that it had been overpaying its producers, and would have to claw back some of the money they had been paid. The decision cost the Caseys’ 320-head operation a full two years of profit. Bec said that Glen ‘feels like someone's come in and taken half the herd from underneath him’.
In one sense, milk is big business. The average Australian drinks over 100 litres of milk a year. Add in butter, cheese and exports, and dairy farming turns out to be the fourth-largest agricultural sector.Read more
LGBT+ Rights are Human Rights
Over the past half century, Australia has made significant progress. We have decriminalised homosexual acts between consenting adults. We have removed many forms of institutionalised discrimination against LGBT+ Australians. And we have belatedly legislated same-sex marriage.
There is more to be done in Australia, but there is much more to be done around the world.Read more
TURNBULL WON’T TACKLE TAX HAVENS
The taskforce which has clawed back millions of dollars hidden away in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens is losing its funding.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions today confirmed in Senate Estimates that the Turnbull Government will end funding for the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce from July 2019.
Tax cheats must be popping the champagne at this announcement.
Just two months ago, the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services praised the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce for uncovering “Australia’s biggest tax fraud”, which involved the Cayman Islands.Read more
SPEECH, FEDERATION CHAMBER
THURSDAY, 24 MAY 2018
During my lifetime we in Australia have decriminalised homosexual acts between consenting adults. We have removed many forms of institutionalised discrimination against LGBT+ Australians. And we have belatedly legislated same-sex marriage.
There is more to be done in Australia, but there is much more to be done around the world. According to the ILGA's 2017 report, as of May 2017, 72 states continue to criminalise same-sex consensual activity—that is, more than one-third of the world's nations. There are currently eight nations in which the death penalty is imposed as a punishment for same-sex consensual sexual acts.Read more
SPEECH - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, 24 MAY 2018
There is a reason the government ran out of speakers on this debate. There is a reason the Treasurer had no-one behind him. It's because this government is, deep down, ashamed of the package they have. They're ashamed that we on this side of the House are offering tax cuts which are better, bigger and fairer than theirs. On budget night, the Treasurer cunningly put together two sets of tax cuts—a set that comes in in about six weeks time and a set that comes in in about six years time. The set that come in in about six weeks time would, according to the Grattan Institute, make the tax system more progressive. That's why Labor is happy to support those tax cuts due to take effect in six weeks time. In fact, we won't just back them. We'll do better. We will offer an average Australian an additional $400 a week compared to those opposite.Read more
SPEECH - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, 22 MAY 2018
There's one thing worse than right-wing ideologues, and that's unoriginal right-wing ideologues who have to borrow their tax-cutting strategy from overseas. The story of this government's personal income tax plan originates in United States Republican law, with people like Irving Kristol and Grover Norquist. To see the origins of this, you need to look back to the Bush tax cuts implemented in 2003, which saw 53 per cent of the cuts going to the top one per cent. American taxpayers making $10 million or more pocketed an average of $1 million a year. But, in order to hide from the American people the impact of that tax cut, a short-term stimulus was put in place, and so everybody saw an immediate handout but, over the long run, it was the most affluent who received the most.Read more
Launch of National Volunteer Week 2018
21 May 2018
When I think back to my childhood, volunteering is among the most memorable things I did. Working with the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers to build a track in Nowra. Standing in Hornsby shopping centre dressed in a clown suit, selling juggling balls to raise money for Oxfam. Volunteering at Redfern Legal Centre and the ACT Welfare Rights Centre as a law student and junior lawyer.
But while we have this huge strength for volunteering which Minister Tehan has referred to, the overall statistics suggest a problem. As Australia has become more ‘disconnected’ on a range of dimensions. So too, volunteering has fallen. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that the share of people who volunteered in the past year has fallen from 36 per cent to 31 per cent. We need to turn that trend around. That’s why Labor leader Bill Shorten after the last election made the historic decision of creating a portfolio for charities and not for profits, recognising that volunteering doesn't sit neatly within environment, law or social services but spans all of those areas and much more.Read more
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY
When it comes to servicing your car, one size doesn't FIAT all
A Mazda 6 that couldn’t get a software update. A Nissan X Trail where the power windows couldn’t be reset. A Kia Cerato where the faulty engine control unit needed a special PIN.
Modern cars are computers on wheels, and every day, independent mechanics are dealing with the software that runs them. From suspension control to anti-lock braking, parking guidance to smart cruise control, the typical passenger vehicle has 25 to 50 central processing units.Read more
SKY NEWS AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 21 MAY 2018
SUBJECTS: AGL and Liddell, Climate change and energy costs, Income tax cuts, Labor’s Your Car, Your Choice policy.
KIERAN GILBERT: With me now the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Your reaction to this news from AGL I'm thinking many of us would have predicted it but the Alinta offer knocked back by AGL and they don't want any further part of it?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, we know the solution to Australia's energy and climate needs isn't to extend ageing coal fired plants - it's to invest in a whole different suite of renewables. AGL's plan has been acknowledged by the Australian Energy Market Operator - it’s a mix of gas, renewables and demand management. We need to make sure that we've got more renewables in the system. That ensures that we meet our climate targets, but it also makes sure that we are able to have sustained energy production.
GILBERT: The regulators though did also suggest that, in terms of a transition at least, it would be preferable and it would provide insurance if AGL were to keep Liddell open or if it were to be offloaded. That was certainly the Government's hope?
LEIGH: That's the Government's hope, but I differ with you from saying that that's the energy market operator’s recommendation. The energy market operator hasn't recommended an extension of Liddell's life. What this is about is an internal fight within the Liberal Party - the coal dinosaur faction who want to see taxpayers money go to subsidising coal fired plants. That's not good for energy prices in Australia and certainly not good for our carbon emissions. Carbon emissions have continued to rise under a Prime Minister who once said he wouldn't lead a party as committed to climate change as he was.Read more