MONDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECT: Misuse of JobKeeper.
LEON BYNER, HOST: You've heard of JobKeeper. You know what it is, don't you? Right. Well, there are some in the community who say no, for many companies paying very generous salaries and dividends to their shareholders, we'd rather call it DividendKeeper. This is where companies use the subsidy, which was designed to keep workers hit by the coronavirus recession connected to their jobs, to prop up payments to shareholders. So if that money is being used for this purpose - and it certainly isn't what was legitimately put out by the government, they wanted to do the right thing by the workers. But unfortunately, it's been abused. So let's talk to Labor frontbencher, Andrew Leigh, who's written to more than 200 companies - including Apple, McDonald's, Microsoft - asking them to reveal whether they receive JobKeeper subsidies and use the money to pay shareholder dividends. Dr Andrew Leigh, good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Leon. Great to be with you.
BYNER: Do you think you're gonna get an honest answer?
LEIGH: I've certainly gotten some responses rolling in so far, mostly those who are saying that they haven't received it. But I'd like to think that if a firm is receiving significant taxpayer subsidies, that they would respond when a federal Member of Parliament wrote to them to ask them about it.Read more
ABC MELBOURNE DRIVE
THURSDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Global Handwashing Day; Randomistas.
RAF EPSTEIN, HOST: Someone has written about this in his book Randomistas, is known to you in another guise - his day job. Andrew Leigh's day job is being part of the Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s finance team. He is of course an MP from Canberra as well. Andrew Leigh, thanks for joining us.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Raf. Happy Global Handwashing Day.
EPSTEIN: Thank you. No one's ever said that to me before. Who is Mr Semmelweis? What did he do?
LEIGH: Ignaz Semmelweis was a doctor who worked at Vienna General Hospital in the mid-19th century, and he noticed this really interesting pattern Raf. They admitted patients on alternate days into the maternity ward where babies were delivered by midwives and the maternity ward where babies were delivered by doctors. And he noticed that mothers admitted into the clinic run by midwives had a death rate less than one in 20, while those admitted to the hospital run by doctors had a death rate of more than one in 10. The mothers actually knew this - some of them would actually deliver in the streets rather than be admitted into the ward run by doctors. So he went through various theories. Was it that the doctors were delivering when women lay on their sides? Was something to do with the bell that the priest rang? Eventually he figured out that it had to do with dirty hands. And so he began insisting that doctors wash their hands with chlorine wash and the death rate in the doctors’ ward plummeted. And that was the start of the hand washing movement.Read more
MORRISON’S BRANCH SOLICITS FUNDS FROM CHILDREN’S CHARITIES
Scott Morrison’s NSW branch of the Liberal Party has reportedly been caught out taking donations from children’s charities.
In the latest example of the Coalition’s culture of dodgy deals, the Liberal party have been hosting events to harvest campaign funds from money that was donated to charities for the support of vulnerable children and the disabled.
This is not the first time the branch has gone down this path in pursuit of campaigning funds. In 2017, the NSW Liberals courted RSL Lifecare for thousands of dollars of support, through attendance at events involving Gladys Berejiklian and her colleagues.Read more
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
THURSDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Parliamentary Friends of Cycling; Anti-Poverty Week; social housing; the Morrison Government’s cuts to JobKeeper and JobSeeker; food insecurity.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Hello, mate. How are you?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Marcus. Great to be with you.
PAUL: Yeah, nice to talk to you as well. Now you have just launched the Parliamentary Friends of Cycling. Tell me all about this, mate. It’s a great idea.
LEIGH: Absolutely. We're on the bike. Helen Haines, Dave Sharma and I decided that it was important to have a group that represented cyclists, as so many cyclists around Australia do it to stay fit, to commute, to just hang out with the kids. So Steven Hodge, who is one of Australia's great cyclists, got us all together and set up this group, which will campaign to get more people cycling more often.Read more
LINDA BURNEY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR BARTON
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES
MEMBER FOR FENNER
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW CABINET SECRETARY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES AND THE PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE
MILLIONS OF AUSTRALIANS LEFT BEHIND THIS ANTI-POVERTY WEEK
This Anti-Poverty Week millions of Australians have been left behind by the Government – less than a week after delivering its budget.
Australia is in the middle of the most severe economic crisis in almost a century.
160,000 Australians are expected to lose their jobs between now and the end of the year – and there are simply not enough jobs for everyone who needs one.Read more
The government has delivered a budget that set its sights low, but still asks too much of Australians - Op Ed, The Canberra Times
THE GOVERNMENT HAS DELIVERED A BUDGET THAT SET ITS SIGHTS LOW, BUT STILL ASKS TOO MUCH OF AUSTRALIANS
The Canberra Times, October 10 2020
A trillion dollars is a lot of money – one with twelve zeros after it.
That’s where Australia’s debt will peak. To put it in perspective, when the Liberals launched their ‘debt truck’ scare campaign in 2009, they did so with the figure ‘$315 billion’ emblazoned on the side – one third of the level of projected peak debt under the Coalition today.
So what does Australia get from that spending?
The economy came into this crisis from a position of weakness. Last year, productivity went backwards, investment was in the doldrums, wage growth was among the slowest on record. We had problems in retail and a downturn in construction.Read more
ABC CANBERRA BREAKFAST
FRIDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Federal Budget; Budget in reply.
ADAM SHIRLEY, HOST: Dr Andrew Leigh is the Federal Member for Fenner and the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. And he, like many, was watching very closely Anthony Albanese’s words last night. He’s Opposition Leader. Dr Leigh, good morning to you.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Adam. Great to be with you.
SHIRLEY: Given childcare is such a central theme of the Opposition's reply last night, what do you make of Ruth's comments, for instance, on how to structurally make the standard better - not just provide more money and places?
LEIGH: I think Ruth’s spot on. We need to think about early childhood as education, not mere babysitting. Anyone who's tried to look after three of their own children, as I have, will have huge respect for someone who sits down and looks after 13 children for an entire day. Ensuring that you've got a high-quality play based learning is absolutely vital. So one of the things we did when we were last in government was to improve education standards for early childhood educators, to reduce ratios and to ensure that there was real respect around the sector. But there's also this affordability question, and that was what Anthony was going to last night. We know that childcare fees have increased by an average of $3,800 a year since 2013. We know that many families are simply just priced out of childcare, and for families with a couple of kids, then often it's just not worth both parents working a full five days. That burden falls disproportionately on women.Read more
2SER THE WIRE
THURSDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: The Federal Budget leaving behind women, older workers, the homeless and those in insecure housing; tax cuts; population.
ROD CHAMBERS, HOST: I asked the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury Dr Andrew Leigh what were his first impressions of this big spending budget.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: My overall perspective on the budget, Rod, is it is a human capital recession that we've suffered and the budget doesn't really invest in the drivers of human capital. There's not enough investment in health, we still don't have an Australian Centre for Disease Control unlike every other advanced country. There's barely any investment in education, in schools and vocational training and universities, which is the sort of human capital investment you would expect at a time when we're facing such a substantial human capital crisis.
CHAMBERS: Certainly, the tax cuts seem to be the main tools to provide stimulus. Do you think this is going to be effective?
LEIGH: I think it'll have some impact. But fundamentally, we have some deep-seated economic challenges. We know that productivity was going backwards last year, that wage growth was in the doldrums, retail spending was down. A Morrison Stagnation predated the Morrison Recession. So really, what we need at the moment is reforms that go to the underlying structural weaknesses in the economy and seek to not only give the economy a sugar hit, but provide lasting economic growth.Read more
2GB MONEY NEWS
THURSDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Federal Budget leaving women behind; Budget in reply.
BROOKE CORTE, HOST: Dr Andrew Leigh is Labor's Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Hi, Andrew, welcome to Money News.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Thanks, Brooke. Glad to be with you.
CORTE:Now, Scott Morrison is saying this is a budget for all Australians and the government is adamant it's not gendered. Do you think women have been ignored?
LEIGH:I do. I think that women haven't gotten their fair share of the budget response. This has been a human capital crisis. It's particularly adversely affected the services sector, but the budget responses neglected health and education, neglected the services sector. You've got a desultory women's economic security statement - about as big as you'd expect from a prime minister who names his chooks after former prime ministers’ wives - and you haven't got the investments in childcare, in family violence, in sexual harassment, in aged care, in all of those female dominated sectors where women have been suffering so much of the burden of COVID-19. They haven't been receiving the attention and the response.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 8 OCTOBER 2020
On 24 September 2020, Westpac copped the biggest fine in Australian corporate history—$1.3 billion. Ironically, it was that day that the Treasurer chose to announce that the government planned to roll back responsible lending standards. Responsible lending standards were put in place for one simple reason—to protect consumers and to protect the economy against the risk of irresponsible lending. Irresponsible lending isn't a matter of theory; it played a major role in the subprime debt crisis that led to the global financial crisis. Irresponsible lending helped fuel the property bubble in Australian cities.
Responsible lending laws apply to consumer credit, including mortgages, personal loans, payday loans, car loans and credit cards. Those laws don't apply to loans that are predominantly for business purposes. They require credit providers to make reasonable inquiries about a person's financial situation, their requirements and objectives; take reasonable steps to verify this information; and assess whether the credit is 'not unsuitable' before providing a loan. If those laws were to be axed, then lenders wouldn't be required to verify information on loan applications except in limited circumstances. They could turn a blind eye to brokers who provided false information. Again, this isn't a theoretical proposition. The banking royal commission heard from customers who had been hurt as a result of exactly this behaviour.Read more