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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Love has won - Transcript, Big Gay Out Results Picnic doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

BIG GAY OUT RESULTS PICNIC, CANBERRA

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017 

SUBJECTS: Marriage equality.

SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER, ANDREW LEIGH: Thanks everyone for coming along. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fenner. Four years ago a couple by the name of Emily and Ellie tied the knot during the brief window in the ACT when same-sex marriage was legal. Those marriages were undone by a High Court decision. Emily and Ellie have now waited four years for the right to marry – for a right that other Australians enjoy.

Today's survey has just confirmed what poll after poll has reinforced. Australians want marriage equality. We didn't need to spend millions of dollars to find out that 62 per cent of Australians and 74 per cent of Canberrans want same-sex couples to enjoy the same rights as other Australians. The process of this survey has been damaging to the mental health of many gay and lesbian Australians. We've seen an increase in the number of calls to helplines such as Reach Out and QLife. That didn't need to happen. We could have had a free vote in Parliament and marriage equality could have been legal by now. 

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Cooperative week for Australia’s most cooperative sector - Speech to the Business Council Of Co-Operatives and Mutuals Summit Dinner

ADDRESS TO THE BUSINESS COUNCIL OF CO-OPERATIVES AND MUTUALS SUMMIT DINNER

BRISBANE

THURSDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2017

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***

Thank you Annabel [Crabb] for that characteristically double-edged introduction.

It’s been a cooperative week for Australia’s most cooperative sector. Politicians are not always famous for our ability to cooperate with one another. I trust if we do nothing else that Michael and I can help to assuage the stereotype tonight.

As Michael said, he was the only Coalition MP to come to my book launch recently – although it has to be said that precisely one week after the book was launched I got a telephone call from Liberal cabinet minister, saying ‘so I’m in the room, where is this book launch of yours?’

There’s a metaphor there. I’ll come back to it.

[Laughter]

I acknowledge Melina Morrison, your extraordinarily hard working CEO, who recently encouraged the creation of the Parliamentary Friends of Mutuals and Co-ops. I acknowledge Chris Ketter – there is no stronger champion of cooperatives or Queensland in the room. Scott Emerson. Outgoing BCCM chair, Andrew Crane.

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Labor welcomes Government adopting Labor’s coops & mutuals policies - Media Release

LABOR WELCOMES GOVERNMENT ADOPTING LABOR’S COOPS & MUTUALS POLICIES

Labor welcomes the Government’s commitment to facilitating greater access to capital for mutuals and cooperatives, and clearly defining mutual enterprises in the Corporations Act.

Labor made these commitments on 10 November 2016, as part of our “Inclusive Ownership, Inclusive Growth” package.

We welcome the government’s assistance in delivering these measures in a bipartisan fashion.

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Liberals desperate to justify multinational tax giveaway - Media Release

JIM CHALMERS, ACTING SHADOW TREASURER

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

LIBERALS DESPERATE TO JUSTIFY MULTINATIONAL TAX GIVEAWAY

The release of a Treasury report today on company tax cuts is yet another laughable attempt from the Liberals to justify tax giveaways for multinationals while jacking up income tax for workers.

Turnbull and Morrison are so out of touch they think the answer to the rampant multinational tax avoidance revealed in the Paradise Papers is to give big business a tax cut. 

They must be the only people in Australia who think multinationals pay too much tax and middle-income earners pay too little.

The report does little more than rehash old Treasury modelling which suggests an average increase in GDP of just 0.05 per cent a year.

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Liberal pollster's farcical vault on to sports board - Media Release

LIBERAL POLLSTER'S FARCICAL VAULT ON TO SPORTS BOARD 

Liberal pollster Mark Textor has vaulted on to the Australian Sports Commission board in the latest example of Turnbull’s ‘jobs for the boys’.

Greg Hunt today announced Mark Textor as one of three new appointments to the board, along with AFL Commissioner Gabrielle Trainor and former director of Tennis Australia and the Hopman Cup, Andrea Mitchell.

Ms Trainor and Ms Mitchell, who is also a former MLA for Kingsley in Western Australia, both have extensive experience in sporting administration and are well placed to serve on the ASC board.

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Close the loopholes - Transcript, ABC Melbourne Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC MELBOURNE DRIVE

MONDAY, 6 NOVEMBER 2017 

SUBJECTS: Paradise Papers, Labor’s multinational tax avoidance laws, Scott Morrison’s plans to give multinationals and millionaires a tax cut, Malcolm Turnbull’s citizenship crisis, John Alexander, Manus Island.

RAF EPSTEIN: To talk about the Paradise Papers and the latest political developments, we’re joined by the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. He is part of Bill Shorten the Opposition Leader’s team. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good afternoon, Raf. Looks like Paradise Lost, doesn’t it?

EPSTEIN: [laughter] Very good. We’ll get on to Paradise Papers in a tick. The register for MPs and Senators to declare their background effectively, that would work, wouldn’t it? Barnaby Joyce would have had to declare everything. So too Stephen Parry. That would have made a difference.

LEIGH: Well, it’s not quite clear what would have happened if you just relied on MPs’ disclosure here. It could well be that Barnaby Joyce and Stephen Parry would still be illegally sitting in the Parliament under this regime. We’re happy to work with the Prime Minister, who’s clearly been dragged kicking and screaming to this approach, given that he was so firm last week that nothing needed to be done. But we do want to make sure that we have a rigorous process in place. Labor’s very confident in the vetting procedures we have for anyone who stands as a Labor candidate, but we’re concerned that we see reports of more and more Liberals MPs who potentially haven’t complied with the rules.

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Time to claim our fair share of taxation - Transcript, 3AW with Tom Elliott

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

3AW WITH TOM ELLIOTT

MONDAY, 6 NOVEMBER 2017 

SUBJECTS: Paradise Papers, Labor’s multinational tax avoidance laws and Scott Morrison’s plans to give multinationals and millionaires a tax cut.

TOM ELLIOTT: The Labor Party is onto this, they say it is time for Australia to claim its fair share of taxation. Joining me on the line now is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Dr Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon, Andrew.

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

ELLIOTT: What sort of companies or individuals are we talking about here, we're talking about Australian businesses that set up offshore or are we talking about the Amazon and Google of the world? Who are we discussing?

LEIGH: It seems to be a who's who of oligarchs, multinationals, tech companies, mining companies. What's really surprising about this to me is the broad swath of companies that are taking advantage of tax havens. Except of course your local little old Aussie business which doesn't have the advantages the big end of town gets.

ELLIOTT: So when you're talking about tax havens, what's a typical manner in which these are operated?

LEIGH: One of the most egregious examples is if you go to the Cayman Islands on the waterfront you'll find a building called Ugland House. That building is the registered office address for more than 18,000 companies. Of course, they don't actually have staff there, what they're doing is just routing their transaction through the Cayman Islands to take advantage of its generous tax rules. We think that there ought to be one rule for all companies rather than a different rule for the big end of town which lets them exploit tax havens. That's why Labor has put on the table a set of measures on tax havens. For example, if you want to go for a government tender worth more than $200,000 Labor thinks you should tell us your country of tax domicile. 

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We can’t rely on leaks to enforce tax policy - Op Ed, The Guardian

WE CAN’T RELY ON LEAKS TO ENFORCE TAX POLICY. LABOR WILL CRACK DOWN ON HAVENS

The Guardian, 6 November 2017

Another day, another leak showing dodgy dealings in tax havens. The so-called Paradise Papers, a leak of 13.4m files from two offshore service providers, reveal tax avoidance by a plethora of moguls and multinationals. From Russian oligarchs to mining giants, celebrities to technology firms, it seems like everyone who’s anyone in the shadowy world of the super-rich has money stashed in a tax haven.

Tax havens make it frighteningly easy for firms to divert profits onto their sunny tax-free shores. Last year, reporters compiled a five-step guide, showing how to establish your own secret firm in a tax haven. The process takes 10 minutes, costs about $2,000, and guarantees anonymity. Annual fees can be steep, but the start-up process is almost trivially simple. As the reporters put it, it’s “not unlike booking an international plane ticket or an overseas hotel”.

Tax havens have been estimated to hold at least $7tn in assets, costing the global economy hundreds of billions in lost taxes every year. Cayman Islands has fewer people than Bendigo, but more foreign-owned deposits than Japan. Head to the Caymans waterfront, and amid the diving shops, you’ll find Ugland House, a building that stands as the registered office address for more than 18,000 companies. Sound fishy?

One tax expert estimates that around four-fifths of money in offshore bank accounts is there in breach of other countries’ tax laws. Tax havens are used by drug-runners, extortionists and money-launderers. They are used to hide the proceeds of fraud, corruption and tax evasion.

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More transparency, tougher laws - Transcript, 5AA with Leon Byner

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

5AA WITH LEON BYNER

MONDAY, 6 NOVEMBER 2017 

SUBJECTS: Paradise Papers, Labor’s multinational tax avoidance laws and Scott Morrison’s plans to give multinationals and millionaires a tax cut.

LEON BYNER: Tonight, Four Corners on the ABC are taking you inside what you call the secretive world of tax havens, where corporations and the wealthy operate far from public view. They’re going to reveal the lengths that some of the world’s most powerful business figures and global corporations are going to to avoid paying tax. As this is happening, there are ads on television – I’m sure you’ve seen them – where the federal government is saying that they’re now collecting billions of dollars more from companies like this, who have tax havens or who were avoiding tax. In fact, this morning on our 9am bulletin, they were suggesting that there’s over $3 billion – Scott Morrison, the Treasurer, said we’re getting good at this, we’re collection a lot more money. Let’s talk to the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for joining us today.

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

BYNER: Are we doing well in this collecting taxes that should be paid or is there a long way to go?

LEIGH: Leon, there’s a long way to go on this. We have a Treasurer who wants to give huge tax cuts to multinationals and at the same time wants to raise taxes on average workers. Labor doesn’t think that’s fair. We’ve got a strong history on multinational tax. We put in place the laws which accounted for most of that $4 billion that the Treasurer refers to. The irony is, Leon, that the Treasurer voted against those laws in Parliament when Labor introduced them in 2012-13.

BYNER: We’ve got them now, so are you saying that the laws need to be even more rigorous?

LEIGH: Absolutely. With regard to tax havens, which will be the focus on the Four Corners investigation tonight, Labor believes that if a public company has dealings in a tax haven then they ought to disclose that to shareholders as a material risk. If you want to go for a government tender, Labor believes that you ought to disclose your country of tax domicile. We want to see more transparency and tougher laws. We’ve got a package of reforms on the table to close multinational tax loopholes and bring in more than $4 billion over the course of the next decade. 

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