My new book with Joshua Gans is titled Innovation + Equality: How to Create a Future That Is More Star Trek Than Terminator. Published by MIT Press, with a foreword by Larry Summers, we make the case that pursuing innovation does not mean giving up on equality – precisely the opposite. In this book, we outline ways that society can become both more entrepreneurial and more egalitarian.
I'd love it if you could join the conversation at one of our three scheduled book launches. Click the links for details and to RSVP:
All launches will kick off at 6pm. Innovation + Equality is available on Amazon now. If you have a moment, please post a review - it really helps others find the book.
FRYDENBERG IS PLAYING A JAUNTY TUNE ON PICASSO'S VIOLIN
The Canberra Times, 30 October 2019
‘I found a Picasso and a Stradivarius in my attic’, goes the joke. ‘Alas, Stradivarius couldn’t paint, and Picasso made terrible violins’.
The Morrison Government has a similar problem. When it comes to economic growth, what matters to households are their living standards: how incomes are growing on a per-person basis. When it comes to carbon emissions, the big question is how Australia is impacting the planet. So it’s total emissions that count.
But that’s not what the Coalition has been spruiking. When discussing the economy, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg points to ‘28 years of uninterrupted economic growth’ as proof of the economy’s resilience. What he won’t admit is that on a per-person basis, Australia’s gross domestic product (the sum of the economy’s output) shrank over the past year. The nation has been through a ‘per-capita recession’.Read more
RUNNING OUT OF EXCUSES FOR HIGH INEQUALITY
The Hill, 28 October 2019
American views on inequality have profoundly shifted. In 1995, 30 percent believed that poverty is due to circumstances beyond individual control. Today, fully 55 percent of Americans take that view. Two decades ago, most Americans didn’t see a role for government in addressing inequality. Now, most do.
The traditional economic argument against addressing inequality is that it blunts the incentives for the wealthy to invest. But while cutting top tax rates might give the most affluent a larger share, the consequence can be that governments need to cut productivity-enhancing measures like infrastructure and education spending. As a result, growth slows. The wealthy end up with a bigger share of a smaller pie. They have more in relative terms, but less in absolute terms.Read more
ABC NEWS RADIO
THURSDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2019
SUBJECTS: Identity-matching bill; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mark Zuckerberg; Facebook advertising.
SANDY ALOISI: Let’s get reaction to this now. Federal Labor MP Andrew Leigh is with me now. Good afternoon. Thanks for joining us.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Sandy.
ALOISI: A fairly rare bipartisan decision on a bill that one could say was controversial from the outset.
LEIGH: Yes, and I commend the six Liberals on the committee for standing up for the basic principle that we shouldn't allow Peter Dutton to set up a mass surveillance system. As the bill was drafted, the Australian Human Rights Commissioner noted it could contemplate intrusive surveillance of people who hadn't committed any crime. That's a concern in the abstract, but it's a particular concern when at the same time as this bill is before the Parliament, you've got Peter Dutton saying that there should be mandatory prison sentences for people who engage in peaceful legal protest activity and calling for protesters to be photographed. We need to ensure that this doesn't lead to the establishment of a huge database of facial images that would allow people to be identified that haven't committed any crime.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 OCTOBER 2019
For 15 years I have been a Facebook user. I was an early adopter, having studied at the university where Facebook was originally founded. Like many Australians I find Facebook a terrific way of staying in touch with friends and with constituents.
But Facebook has also been involved in more than its fair share of scandals. The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed huge amounts of personal data leaked to third parties. In Myanmar Facebook played a troubling role in the genocide of Rohingya Muslims. We've seen the use of Facebook by Russian troll accounts attempting to influence the United States election. We've seen, even after Cambridge Analytica, reports that data had been leaked to third parties from Facebook.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 OCTOBER 2019
I second the amendment. I spoke in the debate earlier this week about the specifics of the Indonesia free trade agreement, the largest of the three free trade agreements that we're discussing in this subsequent bill, the Customs Amendment (Product Specific Rule Modernisation) Bill 2019. Labor supported those free trade agreements, as we have supported trade liberalisation in Australia for nearly 50 years. This goes back to Gough Whitlam's decision in 1973 to cut tariffs by 25 per cent and to the decisions of the Hawke government to cut tariffs in 1988 and 1991. They did so not out of any ideological belief in free trade but because of a practical recognition that tariffs are a regressive tax and that the burden of tariffs falls more heavily on low-income Australians than on high-income Australians as a share of their income.
Just as it has been the Labor side of politics that has been sceptical about the benefits of consumption taxes, so too has it been the Labor side of the House that has been most sceptical about the benefits of tariffs, which are a consumption tax on overseas imports. We have recognised, too, that open markets benefit workers by creating more jobs. Exporting firms tend to pay higher wages and do more research and development. Multinational firms are more likely to pay higher wages. We recognise that openness is not an unmitigated good but, managed well, it can be one of the drivers of prosperity for Australia. Labor has always recognised that a strong social safety net must go hand in hand with trade liberalisation. Just as the Hawke government in the 1980s, through people such as John Button, worked with industries to engage in suitable restructuring packages, so too Labor today believes it is vital to have strong social supports and a cooperative relationship with industries to manage the impacts of trade.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 22 OCTOBER 2019
Twenty-seven-year-old Robert Chang delivers food for work but it is his second job. He works long shifts as a postie and, after he's finished that, he works about 13 hours over the weekend for Uber Eats, delivering meals in south-west Sydney. He told the ABC:
'I am pretty much just no-lifing it—work, eat, sleep, rinse, repeat.'
That is reality for many Australians in the modern economy. We know what the other side is going to say over this. We know they will say there are no problems in the Australian economy, because the Prime Minister told their party room today that, unless you're facing down a nuclear Holocaust, things are doing alright. So, unless you're in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, no complaining. They will tell us on this side that we are irresponsible to point out the challenges in the Australian economy. But the fact is it is irresponsible not to warn of the storm clouds gathering on the horizon.Read more
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2019
SUBJECTS: The Government’s lack of economic leadership; COAG; Your Car, Your Choice; Government inaction on the need to fix fundraising; Syria.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Good morning everyone. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. We know full well that if the Australian economy was performing strongly, Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg would be claiming credit for every skerrick of economic news. But when we've got troubling economic indicators, they run a mile rather than take responsibility for the impact of their policies. We’ve seen Josh Frydenberg return from the IMF meetings claiming that the problems in the Australian economy are all someone else's fault, all have to do with global economic circumstances. And yet we know, repeated as recently as last week in the Deloitte report, that many of the Australian economy problems are home grown.Read more
Labor committed to better funding for research for Type 1 Diabetes - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 21 OCTOBER 2019
Kat Jeffress and her family used to have a dog called Banting, named after Frederick Banting, inventor of insulin. One night, Banting jumped up on Kat's bed, waking her up. Kat realised one of her children's glucose alarms was going off. Like its namesake, Banting had saved the life of Kat's son, Ethan. Kat and husband Stuart have three children: Amy, Ethan and Mia, and the youngest two have type 1 diabetes. Ethan and Mia showed me their small fingertips, each marked with dozens of pinpricks. They showed me their continuous glucose monitors and talked about how good it would be if in the future the monitors could connect with insulin pumps and make injections easier.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 21 OCTOBER 2019
Selamat sore to those listening to this debate on the Customs Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019. When I was anak kecil I lived in Indonesia for three years. My father, Michael Leigh, was at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, funded by the Australian government to work in a special training program designed to improve social science research capability throughout Indonesian universities and Islamic institutes.
My mother, Barbara, was mostly looking after my brother, Tim, and me but also began the research into the Indonesian education system that became her PhD thesis, and wrote a book on traditional Acehnese textiles, Tangan-Tangan Trampil, or The Hands of Time.
Living in Aceh was a pretty extraordinary experience for an Australian boy to have. I attended the local school, where lessons were conducted in Indonesian and, where, in the face of a burgeoning Acehnese independence movement, we spent a large portion of the day singing nationalist songs to remind us all that we were Indonesian first and Acehnese second. The Suharto government was keen on that. We then played in the muddy playground—as the only white kid in the class, I was the only one whose white shirt had turned completely brown by the end of the day. My friend Niko Fahrizal and I would explore the local neighbourhood, playing by the river, watching the bigger kids at the volleyball nets, watching Scooby Doo at Niko's place. Niko is now an officer in the Indonesian military. When my mother, Barbara, visits, he calls her tante—auntie—Barbara.Read more