Address to White Ribbon Day function - Speech

ADDRESS TO WHITE RIBBON DAY FUNCTION 

CANBERRA

SUNDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2017

Thank you very much, it's a pleasure and honour to be here today. I too acknowledge that we're meeting on the traditional lands of the Ngunnawal people and pay my respects to elders past and present. I acknowledge the Indian High Commissioner. To White Ribbon co-founder Dr Michael Kaufman, thank you for being here to share your expertise. I certainly have read and admired your work. My ACT parliamentary colleagues, Rebecca Cody, Rachel Stephen-Smith and Caroline La Couteur. Thanks to everyone for being here on a beautiful Canberra day to discuss one of the most challenging issues that our community faces. 

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A strong, stable and scandal-free banking sector - Transcript, AM Agenda

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS AM AGENDA

MONDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2017 

SUBJECTS: Queensland election; Labor’s calls for a Banking Royal Commission; Marriage equality. 

KIERAN GILBERT: You've seen the result out of Queensland it looks like Palaszczuk has been reelected but with a lower Labor vote. Do you accept that this is a message to Labor as much as anything as well? With the Greens recording quite a strong result in Queensland?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, we'll wait and see how the Greens do. But it's pretty clear that the Greens aren't taking any seats off Labor. It's possible that the Shadow Treasurer Scott Emerson may well lose his seat to the Greens though I'm still hoping our fabulous Ali King will come through for Labor there. But the result is terrific. I look at Redlands where Kim Richards looks to have picked up a seat there. And a shout-out to my uncle Keith who was working Coochiemudlo booth for Kim. It's a strong result right across Queensland - 

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Labor Leading on Remittances - Media Release

LABOR LEADING ON REMITTANCES

This week, many Australians will be flying in and out of the country carrying suitcases of cash.

It may sound like a scene from a spy film, but the reason for it has more to do with banks than Bond. In short, excessive and confusing fees are making it too pricey to transfer money.

In Australia, many people work long hours to send money back to family overseas. According to the World Bank, remittances to developing countries are worth half a trillion dollars annually – twice the value of foreign aid.

These people deserve a safe and secure way for people to send money which doesn’t involve large portions being eaten up by fees from financial institutions.

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Why are So Many Airline Passengers Stashing Cash? - Op Ed, The Herald Sun

WHY ARE SO MANY AIRLINE PASSENGERS STASHING CASH?

The Herald Sun, 22 November 2017

When we were growing up, it seemed like every gangster movie featured suitcases stuffed with cash. These days, action flicks are more likely to feature geeks with laptops authorising money transfers. From mobile money to paywave to cryptocurrencies, our economy is going cashless.

Yet there’s one area where cash is making a comeback: international remittances. When migrant workers want to send money abroad to support their families, they often find that the cheapest way to do it is to pack the cash into a suitcase and take it with them on the plane.

This is, to put it mildly, nuts. Travel is stressful enough without having to worry about a suitcase containing thousands of dollars of hard-earned money. Yet in our community forums on this issue, we’ve heard from Pacific Islanders, Filipinos and Africans about their experiences carrying cash overseas. Even aid agencies are affected.

One reason people are carrying cash is that international money transfers cost too much. According to one analysis, the past decade has seen big banks quadruple the amount they charge for transferring money overseas. Despite a 2014 commitment by the world’s 20 largest economies to reduce the cost of foreign exchange, the problem seems to be getting worse.

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Turnbull on Highway to Hell with tax plan - Transcript, ABC NewsRadio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TV INTERVIEW

ABC NEWS RADIO

TUESDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2017 

SUBJECTS: Malcolm Turnbull’s tax increases for middle Australia; Malcolm Turnbull’s tax cuts for big business; cancellation of sittings; banking royal commission; three AC/DC song references.

GLEN BARTHOLOMEW: For a response, we’re joined by Labor’s Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Good morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning, Glen. How are you?

BARTHOLOMEW: Not too bad. Sounds like an admirable task, or ambition at least, to ease the burden on Australians earning up to $87,000 a year. Would you support that move?

LEIGH: It’s downright weird, Glen, for a Prime Minister who has just said that he was going to raise taxes on middle Australia to then turn around and hope to be patted on the back for lowering them. One of the big differences in Australian politics is that Bill Shorten has said that he won’t support Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to raise taxes on those earning below $87,000. The increase in taxes on average workers was in this year’s budget. Malcolm Turnbull is a tax raiser for average Australians. The only people whose taxes he wants to cut are those earning over $180,000 and the biggest businesses.

BARTHOLOMEW: Presumedly Labor though also wants to ease the tax burden on middle income earners, those who could be squeezed by bracket creep, that move into a top or a higher bracket.

LEIGH: Absolutely. We supported the change in that second highest bracket. We also opposed Malcolm Turnbull’s attempt to raise taxes on middle Australia. But I don’t think it was coincidence, Glen, that on the very same day that the Prime Minister couldn’t remember the song ‘Back in Black’, the Treasurer is writing to CEOs asking for their help for a budget-busting tax cut. The tax cut for big businesses is the biggest promise that either side of politics has made on any issue. It’s just not affordable. And because Malcolm Turnbull is committed to that, he’s committed therefore to having to raise taxes on average Australians. His own Treasury has done the numbers on what this means for personal income and the impacts on household personal income of a big business tax cut funded by middle Australia tax increases is 0.1 per cent in the 2030s. 

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The great tragedy of the Turnbull Government - Transcript, Sky AM Agenda

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS AGENDA

MONDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2017 

SUBJECTS: Renewable energy, Bennelong by-election.

TOM CONNELL: Welcome back to the program, joining me now is Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. There's a report today by the Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel saying that an easy and painless way to get to your 50 per cent renewable target would be rooftop solar with batteries, what do you think about this?

SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER, ANDREW LEIGH: 50 per cent renewables by 2020 is eminently achievable for Australia. It will mean lower power prices, lower emissions and more jobs in renewables. There's a range of ways we can look to get there. We need to bring on more wind and solar, we need certainty in the system – which we haven't had under the Turnbull Government – and then we need to be open to a range of generation options.

CONNELL: So, less about the grid and more about homes? And maybe some more subsidies there?

LEIGH: There will certainly be a role for batteries, there's a variety of ways of doing this of course. You can have typical batteries of the kind that Tesla is building in South Australia, you can have batteries which involve hydro which is a form of ‘wet battery’ or you can get the same effect by joining up to a national grid. The more interconnectors you have, the more you're able to have wind in one area making up for a lack of solar in another.

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Lucky to have underdog Keneally - Transcript, ABC Weekend Breakfast

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TV INTERVIEW

ABC WEEKEND BREAKFAST

SUNDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2017 

SUBJECTS: Marriage equality, Northcote by-election, Bennelong by-election, Queensland election, Labor’s calls for a Banking Royal Commission.

HOST: To discuss these and what else is on the political agenda, we're joined by Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh. Welcome.

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

HOST: We'll come to the forthcoming election and by-election in a moment. First though, I wanted to ask you about same-sex marriage and of course the poll, which was successful, as far as the yes case is concerned. Do you expect same-sex marriage legislation will pass the parliament by Christmas?

LEIGH: I certainly think it needs to, Andrew. We've got overwhelming support across the community for same-sex marriage, and a survey result which is frankly in line with what the opinion polls have been telling us for years. We need to move on this because many same-sex attracted couples who want to tie the knot as quickly as possible. People who have a grandparent whose health is failing don't want to be mucked around by conservatives putting in place a last ditch effort to hold off same sex marriage. Let's just get this done.

HOST: Do you expect the Dean Smith bill will get up in its current form?

LEIGH: I certainly hope so. It's got the support of the Labor Caucus. We considered that bill and we thought that was an appropriate way of handling same-sex marriage. There's a range of other issues in this space, but let’s not be distracted by those. Let’s get same sex marriage done. Frogs won't fall from the sky. The sun won't stop shining. The grass will still be green and the birds will still sing the day afterwards. We'll make some people happier and no-one's going to be worse off as a result. 

HOST: There are concerns within the Government over religious protections. The Attorney-General has signalled that there may well be a need for some compromise as far as the bill is concerned. Are you willing to compromise on that bill? 

LEIGH: I do find it odd Andrew that some of the same people who were saying that we need to weaken protections against racial hate speech are now saying we need to change laws in the opposite direction on religious discrimination. We can consider that issue. It's a pretty complicated one but it can be kept separate from same-sex marriage. No-one will be compelled to perform a same-sex wedding, just as churches today are able to choose which marriages they perform – and other religious orders likewise. 

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Halting the Havens - Speech, Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association Biennial Taxation & Commercial Conference

Halting the Havens

Plenary Address
Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association
Biennial Taxation & Commercial Conference

Adelaide
17 November 2017

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***

We often say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But for some multinational firms, their tax affairs often do.

In May 2013, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook was being grilled by US Senators about the nature and structure of his company’s tax affairs.

Those Senators were scrutinising a complex corporate structure, and how Apple had come to amass billions of dollars of largely untaxed profits offshore. The current figure put on profits Apple has hoarded offshore is said to be around US$128 billion.

Mr Cook’s retort to the subcommittee was “We don’t depend on tax gimmicks… We don’t stash money on some Caribbean island”.

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Sharing ideas to build community in Newcastle - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS

SHARON CLAYDON, MEMBER FOR NEWCASTLE

SHARING IDEAS TO BUILD COMMUNITY IN NEWCASTLE

Today Newcastle charities and not-for-profits gathered for a Labor’s ninth ‘Reconnected’ roundtable, where ideas to boost social capital and community engagement were exchanged.

We’ve seen some worrying trends over the last generation - volunteering rates and donation rates have fallen, while Australians are less likely to join community organisations or play organised sports.

Labor is working with Australia’s voluntary sector to reverse these trends. 

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Infrastructure charges highlight need for government to unshackle ACCC to investigate - Media Release

INFRASTRUCTURE CHARGES HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR GOVERNMENT TO UNSHACKLE ACCC TO INVESTIGATE

Last week, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported its concern about stevedore price rises. The consumer watchdog also noted that infrastructure charges appeared to be shifting from shipping lines to transport companies as they are less able to respond to higher fees.

Just after midday today, DPWorld announced price rises for infrastructure charges levied on transport operators of 77.9% in Sydney. Melbourne (51.4%) and Brisbane (18.4%) also saw substantial increases.

Labor looks forward to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission undertaking a thorough analysis of the dynamics of this market, the level of infrastructure investment, to determine whether these increases are consistent with our competition laws, and the extent to which “revenue from the new charges is likely to more than offset cost increases associated with terminal rents, government taxes and rates” (p.10).

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