SPEECH - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2018
This has been one of the most emotional weeks that I've seen in politics in my 7½ years in this place, a tough week for people on both sides of the House, where the personal has melted into the political, when private lives have been splashed across the front page and pulled apart in this very chamber.
The incredibly brave member for Longman was yesterday forced to relive one of the hardest experiences of her life: the moment when, as a six-year-old, her mother dropped off her school and never came back to pick her up. Her gracious speech, given in the face of intense scrutiny, her capiacity for forgiveness instead of hatred, is what we should strive for as politicians.Read more
THE LIBERALS’ WAR ON CHARITIES
SPEECH – MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2018
On Monday, Senator Louise Pratt, Labor colleagues and I met with dozens of charities concerned about the latest salvo in the Liberals’ war on charities. They included the Australian Council for International Development, CHOICE, Red Cross, Oxfam, CARE Australia, the Consumer Action Law Centre, Financial Counselling Australia, ACOSS, World Vision, RESULTS Australia and Pew Charitable Trusts. There is bipartisan support for banning foreign political donations. Indeed, it's been a year since the Leader of the Opposition introduced a private member's bill that would do just that. But banning donations to political parties should not entail cutting down free speech.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, 7 FEBRUARY 2018
Dr LEIGH (Fenner) (17:13): I move:
That all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:
'whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:
(1) is of the opinion that with Government debt soaring ever higher, it’s time the Turnbull Government abandoned its plan to give big business a multi-billion tax cut;
(2) notes that the Government is debating legislative fixes that are a result of its slapdash approach to policy making; and
(3) calls on the Government to commit to a post-implementation review of this measure'.
Labor will support the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan Base Rate Entities) Bill 2017, but we will not do so without calling the attention of this House to the Treasurer's litany of mistakes.
Just over 21 years ago, English Premier League side Southampton fielded a substitute player, Ali Dia, who had just arrived at the injury-depleted side with virtually unknown footballing credentials. In a match Southampton lost 2-0, Dia himself was substituted after a shocking performance and released from his contract within two weeks.
As it turned out, he'd bluffed his way into the job by getting a university friend to impersonate Ballon d'Or winner George Weah in a phone call to manager Graeme Souness to extol the player's skills. Souness's misplaced faith was mocked for decades to come. The player whom Dia replaced, Matt Le Tissier, spoke of the new substitute's performance in the following terms: 'He ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice. It was very, very embarrassing to watch.' Souness defended the decision on the basis that his playing stocks were depleted, but nonetheless confessed that the experience was 'a kick in the bollocks'.Read more
TREASURER PATCHES UP HIS OWN PATCH-UP
Another day, another muck up by Scott Morrison.
Since its announcement, Labor has supported cutting taxes for businesses with a turnover below $2 million.
However, as early as September 2016, tax experts have warned that the actual legislation itself was unclear about whether or not bucket companies earning so-called passive income would be eligible for this tax cut.
The Turnbull Government initially denied that there was a problem, then after more than a year, they admitted that their legislation was faulty, and introduced a bill to fix it.
We were assured that this would be the end of it. But today, we will see the Turnbull Government patching up their patch-up. They have to amend their own amending bill, admitting - yet again – that they can't get the basics right.Read more
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 7 FEBRUARY 2018
SUBJECTS: Productivity Commission’s draft report on Competition in the Australian Financial System; Turnbull Government’s latest fumble on tax policy: PC endorses more transparency for the Council of Financial Regulators; Barnaby Joyce; share market volatility.
CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Well good morning everybody, thanks for coming.
This morning, yet another damning indictment of Scott Morrison’s management of negative gearing in the housing market.
Today we see the release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report into banking competition. Now of course competition in banking and financial services is vital and we said that the Productivity Commission should be commissioned to undertake this review. But what has the Productivity Commission found?
Let us remember that Scott Morrison has for months been saying the answer to Australia’s housing affordability problems is to leave all the heavy lifting to the regulators, to leave all the heavy lifting to APRA, who would engage in macro-prudential regulation and that would fix everything. He told us there was no need to fix negative gearing. He told us that as recently as yesterday.
The Productivity Commission report has found that because Scott Morrison has left the heavy lifting to the regulators, to APRA, that in fact banks have increased their profit margins and that has been subsidised by the tax payer due to negative gearing.
The Productivity Commission has said that this has led to a windfall for the banks. Their words, ‘a windfall; for the banks. And half of that windfall has been subsidised by the Australian tax payer through negative gearing. Now we’ve said all along that negative gearing must be fixed. Evidence mounts day after day for months now, that negative gearing has to be fixed. It appears that Scott Morrison is the only person who doesn’t want to fix negative gearing. Cabinet, of course rolled him when he dared even suggest it be considered.Read more
Condolence Motion, Barry Cohen
February 6, 2018
DR LEIGH (Fenner) (17:55): Armando Iannucci, creator of The Thick of It and Veep, gave an interview recently where he said, 'Humourless politicians are the most dangerous ones, I think.' He was referring to oppressive regimes, but I think it applies to this place, too. In the tradition of Fred Daly and Jim Killen, Barry Cohen was a fabulous raconteur. I first knew him through his books; I grabbed three from the shelf on the way here—After the Party, The Life of the Party and From Whitlam to Winston—but, of course, that 's merely a small component of the Cohen oeuvre. In meeting him and chatting with him, one got the sense of a man who lived a full life.Read more
5 February, 2018
Dr LEIGH (Fenner) (12:40): It's interesting to be rising today to speak on this motion, given the likely origins of this new statement of expectations and its likely trajectory. Here we are, just a day after the member for McPherson, in her role as the government's Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, confirmed that the federal government won't provide funds to help Adani build infrastructure for its proposed coalmine in Queensland's Galilee Basin. This comes on the heels of recent disturbing reports that pollution samples relating to the environmental impact of the mine may well have been doctored. As the Leader of the Opposition has said, Labor is growing increasingly sceptical over this project.Read more
5 February, 2018
Dr LEIGH (Fenner) (16:41): On 2 January, Australia lost one of our great economists, Fred Argy. Fred worked originally in business before completing a Bachelor of Economics in 1956 and a Master of Economics in 1960. He then pursued a distinguished career in the Public Service, advising governments from Menzies to Keating. He held a range of distinguished positions, including the Deputy Secretary (Labour Economics) of the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations and the Australian Ambassador to the OECD in Paris.Read more
Domestic shareholders receive little benefit of a corporate income tax cut - Transcript, ABC Melbourne
TUESDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2018
SUBJECTS: Stock Market; Corporate Tax Cuts; Workplace Laws; Adani
RAF EPSTEIN: We are joined by one of the members of Bill Shorten's economic team, Dr Andrew Leigh he is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good afternoon, Raf. Great to be with you.
EPSTEIN: Just on the stock market, America and here - it doesn't look like it's going to end too soon. Is that a big worry or a simple correction?
LEIGH: It is significant. It seems to be led out of the United States, Raf, with business responses to their jobs report. The reporting that I've seen out of there suggests businesses are concerned that with a fairly tight employment market they might have to start raising wages and that's prompted a bit of a sell off on the US market which has flowed through to here.Read more
Festival shows off our fun side
The Chronicle, 6 February 2018
What do Nordic folk dancing, African food and writer Poh Lin Yeow have in common? They’ll all be featuring at the Canberra Multicultural Festival, kicking off on 16 February.
One man who would have been proud of our colourful festival was King O’Malley, a member of the first Australian parliament who was a great champion for Canberra.Read more