We should be ambitious for Australia - Transcript, Sky News

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TV INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION

TUESDAY, 12 MAY 2020

SUBJECTS: Economic reform; the Treasurer’s economic statement; JobKeeper; the opportunity to rebuild the economy to benefit all Australians.

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: We are joined now by Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities, Andrew Leigh, from Canberra. Andrew, good to see you. Thanks for joining us.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Likewise.

STEFANOVIC: So first of all, the NSW Premier has flagged this morning payroll tax and stamp duty relief. A lot of economic reform does come from the states. Is that something that you would support?

LEIGH: Absolutely. The states have both the most efficient and the most inefficient taxes, and the move that the ACT has made over recent years in transitioning away from insurance and stamp duty taxes towards a land tax base is textbook economic reform. It's sensible as a way of buffeting the shocks during the crisis to look at relief from the most inefficient taxes which could then be phased down.

STEFANOVIC: We did hear from a short time ago Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who says you know it's all about minimising risk and a strong recovery at the moment. How do you see it?

LEIGH: You look at Australia coming out of World War Two, and that was a period in which we decided we wouldn't just put the place together the way it had been in the 1930s, but we'd build a better country. There was a white paper on full employment put together by the Labor government, and then Robert Menzies to his credit embarks on a massive program of home building and the home ownership rate shoots up. We should be ambitious for Australia not just to return to the pretty stagnant economy that we've had for the last seven years, but to do something better - to invest in the sources of productivity through education and infrastructure, and to ensure that we've got a more egalitarian and a more connected nation. I'm confident that we can do all of that, but it will take a hard focus and a sense of bipartisanship that's been absent in recent years.

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Australia needs to build a better economy - Transcript, 2CC Canberra

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2CC CANBERRA DRIVE

MONDAY, 11 MAY 2020

SUBJECTS: Australia beyond the coronavirus; JobSeeker and JobKeeper programs; the Coalition tripling Government debt; the important of engaging with the world; high speed rail; Jack Mundey.

LEON DELANEY, HOST: Federal Parliament will resume here in Canberra tomorrow on what would have been budget day. Yes, this is like Christmas for political nerds. The budget has been delayed of course, but both sides are laying out their visions for Australia's economic future. The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will be handing down a budget statement tomorrow, and today the Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has delivered a major speech to Labor MPs outlining a vision for the future. Now amongst the things mentioned by the Opposition Leader today is the idea that while we're facing a massive challenge at the moment coping with the COVID-19 crisis, it is also not only a challenge, it is also an opportunity. Joining me now Member for Fenner and Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities and Treasury, Dr Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon. How are you?

DELANEY: Very well, thanks. Thanks for joining us today. This is an opportunity to overhaul Australia's economy, says your leader. How big an overhaul are we talking about?

LEIGH: I think the important thing here Leon is that the snapback isn't a throwback. It's not a throwback to the past in which we just accepted that a huge share of the workforce would be on casual insecure contracts. It's not a throwback to assuming that people can live on 40 bucks a day on Newstart. It's not a throwback to thinking that somehow cuts in company tax rates for big firms is the solution to Australia's economic problems. And it's not a throwback to a time in which we disparage scientists and suggest that they had not nothing to contribute in boosting productivity in research and development. So there's a lot that we can do in this time in order to invest in the nation's future - affordable housing, boosting manufacturing, putting a greater emphasis on job security and creating a more respectful relationship between business and unions are just a few of the things that Anthony talked about today.

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Economic snapback can't be throwback to bad policies - Transcript, ABC News Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC NEWS RADIO

MONDAY, 11 MAY 2020

SUBJECTS: Australia beyond the coronavirus; JobKeeper; the Coalition tripling Government debt.

GLEN BARTHOLOMEW, HOST: Labor MP Andrew Leigh was in that caucus meeting for that speech from Anthony Albanese. He's the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities, and joins us now. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Glen. How are you?

BARTHOLOMEW: Not bad. Mr Albanese says the coronavirus crisis is an opportunity to reshape the economy. What more can you tell us about what specifically he might want done?

LEIGH: We need to ensure that the snapback isn't a throwback, and that we build a nation which is stronger, fairer and more committed to tackling the challenges of the future than we were beforehand. It's not as though we entered the crisis from a position of strength. The Reserve Bank's statement on monetary policy last week said private demand had been weak. People have been saying for many years that productivity was in the doldrums, and noting the problems with languishing wage growth and stagnant household living standards. So there’s a lot we can do in order to invest in social housing, to make sure we get a more cooperative relationship between business and unions, and to create an environment in which our scientists and our academics are working to boost research and development in Australia, so we're a more diversified, more productive economy.

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Labor calls for advance payments under redress scheme - Media Release

LINDA BURNEY MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES

MEMBER FOR BARTON

MARK DREYFUS

SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

ANDREW LEIGH MP

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES

MEMBER FOR FENNER

LABOR CALLS FOR ADVANCE PAYMENTS UNDER REDRESS SCHEME SO SURVIVORS DON’T MISS OUT

The Morrison Government must end the uncaring and negligent way in which it has denied justice to survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

In particular the Government must ensure the elderly, or those with illness, are urgently able to access advance payments under the National Redress Scheme. 

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We can't rebuild without the building industry - Transcript, Doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW

CANBERRA

THURSDAY, 23 APRIL 2020

SUBJECTS: Coronavirus; trades jobs at risk; social housing investment during COVID-19; economic implications of COVID-19; construction sector impacts due to COVID-19; JobKeeper; Parliamentary sittings; World Health Organization; wet markets.

ANDREW LEIGH, MEMBER FOR FENNER: Thanks very much for coming along today. And welcome to Holt in the wonderful Fenner electorate. My name's Andrew Leigh. And it's a great pleasure to be here with our Labor Leader, Anthony Albanese, Jason Clare and Dave Smith. I want to thank today also, George, Chris and Dave, for showing us around this building site. We know two things about the building industry. First of all, it's had a lean couple of years. Last year building construction fell. Part of the general weakness that we've seen in the Australian economy, slow growth, sluggish productivity, wage growth down, all of these things hitting Australia hard before COVID-19 came along. We know too that the building industry is the most cyclical industry. Construction goes up and down with the economy.

So, when times are tough, construction gets hit pretty hard. But that is no reason the construction sector should suffer at a time like this. Australia needs a lot more houses. And when you look at how Australia has responded in past economic downturns, the construction sector has been essential to that. We came out of World War Two, we didn't just say, 'Let's put things back the way they were'. We said, 'Let's do it better'. And a huge construction boom followed the end of World War Two. Labor is strongly committed to the building industry and the construction sector, to building more houses that Australia needs, and to the thousands of jobs the construction sector supports. And that's why we're here listening to the stories of these builders today. Let me hand over now to Anthony

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Poor bear burden of coronavirus downturn, but inequality not inevitable in Australia - Op Ed, The Guardian

THE POOR BEAR THE BURDEN OF THE CORONAVIRUS DOWNTURN, BUT INEQUALITY IS NOT INEVITABLE IN AUSTRALIA

Over the three-month American summer break, school students diverge. In high-income families, students keep learning, thanks to museum trips, instructional camps, and home tutoring. In low-income families, students slip backwards, losing 1-2 months’ worth of learning by the time they return to school. According to one study, the ‘summer slide’ accounts for two-thirds of the difference between poor and rich students.

The gap between high-performing and low-performing children in Australia is already larger than in most advanced nations. With a large share of families currently homeschooling, this problem is likely to worsen. Speaking with a range of parents, I’m struck by the differences in how children are spending their days - with some being intensively tutored, while others are literally left to their own devices.

Before COVID-19 hit, we already had too much inequality in Australia. And that’s not just a Labor view. In one survey, people were three times more likely to agree than disagree with the statement that ‘income and wealth should be redistributed towards ordinary working people’.

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Emergency relief funding must reach local services - Media Release

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

EMERGENCY RELIEF FUNDING MUST REACH LOCAL SERVICES

Labor welcomes today’s additional investment in emergency relief services, and the Government must make sure it reaches local community organisations quickly. 

Local emergency relief organisations across the country are under immense pressure. Some have been forced to close their doors because they cannot get the goods, funding and support they need.  

These organisations deliver an invaluable service. They help with food and bills; as well as provide social interaction to vulnerable and often socially isolated Australians.

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Government needs to go further for charities - Transcript, Doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

PARLIAMENT HOUSE

SATURDAY, 11 APRIL 2020

SUBJECTS: Charities unable to access JobKeeper payments; unemployment.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: While finance is the lifeblood of the economy, charities are the connective tissue. The 1.3 million charity workers help hold Australia together at times of crisis. This is a massive sector, and one which has been suffering a perfect storm over recent weeks. We've seen a huge drop off in donations to Australia's charities. Philanthropic foundations are experiencing lower sharemarket returns, so they're giving less. Australians are giving less to their favourite charities, and many significant fundraising events such as fundraising balls are dropping off. Op shops are closing. Charities are getting far less revenue now than they did in the past. They're suffering a fall in their volunteer base, too. Millions of Australians volunteer, but older Australians are increasingly refraining from volunteering because of the risk of being exposed to others.

At the same time, we need our charities more than we ever have. We need Australia's charities to assist with addressing family violence, with the challenge of joblessness, with the mental health issues that are arising and with problems around financial counselling. We're drawing on Australia's charities to help the homeless and Indigenous Australians, groups that are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. And yet the Government has been slow to assist charities. Their first response package contained nothing for charities whatsoever. The second response package contained nothing for major charities. The third package, the wage subsidy scheme called JobKeeper, did assist some charities and more when the Government on Sunday night changed the threshold so that charities only had to have a 15 per cent drop in turnover rather than a 30 per cent drop in order to qualify. Labor welcomed that change.

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Gaps remain in JobKeeper plan - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 8 APRIL 2020

When parliament met 16 days ago, Britain, New Zealand, Ireland and Sweden were among the countries that had implemented significant wage subsidies to save jobs. Labor said at the time that Australia should do the same, and we're very pleased that, as a result of significant pressure from Labor, the business community and the union movement, the government has announced a $130 billion wage subsidy scheme.

This reflects Labor's fundamental view—like it says on the tin—we're Labor: we believe in the dignity and the purpose that comes with the job. We believe that it is important to minimise the unemployment tragedy that flows from the coronavirus crisis. One private-sector forecaster estimated that without this package unemployment would have gone to 17 per cent and that with it, it will peak at nine per cent. An eight per cent reduction in unemployment is worth the significant debt that the government will accrue as a result of this package. Total support will now be more in the order of 10 per cent of GDP than the three per cent of GDP it was beforehand.

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Charities need more support for their vital work - Transcript, 2GB Breakfast

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2GB BREAKFAST

WEDNESDAY, 8 APRIL 2020

SUBJECTS: Charities unable to access JobKeeper payments; coronavirus restrictions and the economy.

ALAN JONES, HOST: Andrew Leigh is a very highly credentialed Labor member of the Federal Parliament for the ACT seat of Fenner. He happens to be the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. He's most probably smarter than the people who've got the big gig, but that's another story. He's also though the Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities, and the in Parliament sitting today. He's written to me expressing some concern about this JobKeeper legislation bill to be introduced into Parliament. I might add that Andrew Leigh is a James Ruse old boy, so he comes from his fairly smart intellectual stable. Labor and the Government are on the one side, Labor will support the bill. Now this fellow is not oppositional, Andrew Leigh. He's capable of evaluating things on merit. He has written to me to say that even though the Government made a minor tweak to the JobKeeper bill, allowing charities to claim if they had a revenue drop of 15 per cent rather than 30 per cent they'd qualify, Andrew Leigh is saying that major charities including Anglicare, UnitingCare and Oxfam have said that the solution won't work. I just thought we'd have a word with him. This is really important, because I know that there is a bit of disillusionment – and I was going to raise this with Andrew - a bit of disillusionment about charities because people gave generously in drought and bushfires and no one knows where that money has gone. But nonetheless, in this environment which is very, very difficult, charitable work - there is tremendous demands on these charities. Andrew, good morning to you.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Alan. Great to be on with you.

JONES: Thank you. Can I just preface things by saying that point, that charities are a little bit on the nose with the public because they feel that hundreds of thousands of dollars were given somewhere for drought and bushfire relief and no one seems to know where it is. Is that something that is often raised with you?

LEIGH: Certainly from time to time. I think it's absolutely critical that charities account to their members properly for every dollar they spend. They've got a public trust to spend given the money wisely, but I think in bushfire relief it was charities we turned to-

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.