Government needs to help the helpers - Transcript, ABC News Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC NEWS RADIO

TUESDAY, 24 MARCH 2020

SUBJECTS: The impact of coronavirus on charities, stimulus packages.

GLEN BARTHOLOMEW, HOST: We have Andrew Leigh back on the line for us now. Andrew, good afternoon, and as I saying a pretty welcome move to extend this aid to the charity sector.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: It was, Glen, although it's still the major charities that are being left out, and that means that around half the workers in the sector won't be covered because they work for some of the big charities who are being asked to do the heavy lifting. So as we're seeing these lines outside Centrelink offices across the country, people being turned away - one woman said she was turned away with $10 in a bank account - who will she turn to? She’ll turn to a charity, and likely the charity she'll turn to is one that hasn't been supported by the government.

BARTHOLOMEW: What were the criteria to determine who was supported and who wasn't?

LEIGH: Well, it’s those with turnover under $50 million. But that excludes groups like the Red Cross, Fred Hollows Foundation, RSPCA, Save the Children, Mission Australia, Smith Family, Goodstart Early Learning - some of the significant charities that have been doing work, supporting people recovering from the bushfires, but are now seeing a big drop off in donations. They're seeing challenges for their volunteer base because of social distancing, and they're seeing challenges in fundraising for when activities like fundraising balls are cancelled. Philanthropic foundations are giving less because of the sharemarket collapse. 

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Helping the helpers - Op Ed, The Canberra Times

HELPING THE HELPERS

The Canberra Times, 24 March 2020

On the NSW South Coast, charities are hard at work supporting victims of this summer’s unprecedented fires. There are homes to be rebuilt and debris to be removed. Teachers are seeing signs of mental distress among children who were evacuated from their homes three or four times. When local MP Fiona Phillips and I held a roundtable with charities in Nowra earlier this month, they told us how their budgets and staff were overstretched.

And that was when there were less than 200 coronavirus cases in Australia.

In the face of Australia’s greatest post-war health emergency, there’s a risk that Australian charity workers have become the forgotten people.

Already, we’ve seen charities sidelined by the federal government’s response. In the first stimulus package, businesses were prioritised over non-profit groups. That meant a for-profit childcare centre could access support that was unavailable to a non-profit early learning centre. Although the second stimulus package contained support for small charities, the main measures are off limits to major charities such as Mission Australia, Barnados, the Smith Family, and Goodstart Early Learning.

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Semmelweis, the randomista behind hand washing - Transcript, ABC Sydney

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RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RADIO SYDNEY
MONDAY, 23 MARCH 2020

SUBJECTS: Randomistas and the history of hand washing.

RICHARD GLOVER, HOST: Dr Andrew Leigh is the Labor MP for the seat of Fenner. He's also somebody who's very interested in random studies and science and economics and all those sorts of things, and has written about the story of Dr Semmelweis in his book ‘Randomistas’, which is a book about radical researchers and how they've changed our world. Well, in his case - in Semmelweis’ case – it certainly took a while. Andrew Leigh joins us on the line. Good afternoon.

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

GLOVER: Yeah, good. As we’re all spending so much time washing our hands, I thought we'd praise the man who kind of first got onto the idea of why it was so important.

LEIGH: Semmelweis was a wonderful pioneer, a quirky man who worked in the Vienna General Hospital. He noted this significant difference between the alternate days in which the births were delivered by female midwives and the days when they were delivered by male doctors. He noted that women were about twice as likely to die if they were admitted to the clinic on a day in which the doctors were doing the delivery rather than the midwives.

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Food relief services get food to the most vulnerable. Now they’re at tipping point - Media Release

LINDA BURNEY MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES

MEMBER FOR BARTON

ANDREW LEIGH MP

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES

MEMBER FOR FENNER

FOOD RELIEF SERVICES GET FOOD TO THE MOST VULNERABLE NOW THEY’RE AT TIPPING POINT

Food banks and emergency relief services are at tipping point as the COVID-19 challenge depletes food supplies and squeezes supply chains.

Food banks provide a vital service in our community by saving excess food and getting it to vulnerable Australians.

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Government needs to protect invisible Australians - Transcript, ABC Sydney

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC SYDNEY BREAKFAST

THURSDAY, 19 MARCH 2020

SUBJECTS: Economic stimulus; charities affected by coronavirus; the Reserve Bank.

WENDY HARMER, HOST: This is very timely that we are speaking to Andrew Leigh. Andrew Leigh is a former economist and he’s Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. And I guess that he's been keeping his eye on the bailout packages, the stimulus that's been offered, this brand new tranche of measures that are supposed to be released tomorrow that are coming from the government to try and deal with this economic crisis. We welcome him to the program. Hello, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Wendy. Great to be with you.

HARMER: Now we are expecting something quite interesting to come tomorrow. We are, we have been told - this is the that the drop - that a central feature of the soon to be announced package will be something called a, well a survival package for those who are without jobs. A temporary wage.

LEIGH: I'm pleased that the government's recognised that last week's package wasn't enough. When you look at its scale compared to other countries, I think that becomes pretty clear. It was less than 1 per cent of GDP. The New Zealanders, for example, have just unveiled a stimulus package worth around four per cent of national income. People need to remember that this is a temporary shock and there's no reason that anyone ought to be pushed to the breadline, to be losing their job, have their business go bust because of a virus for which we'll have a vaccine within a year or two. This is exactly why we have governments, exactly why fiscal policy was developed, in order to help get us all through temporary shocks like this one.

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Food banks and emergency relief need boost now - Media Release

LINDA BURNEY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR BARTON

JASON CLARE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
MEMBER FOR BLAXLAND

ANDREW LEIGH
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES
MEMBER FOR FENNER

FOOD BANKS AND EMERGENCY RELIEF NEED BOOST NOW

Labor is calling on the Government to urgently extend stimulus support to the charity and non-for-profit sector.

Food bank, emergency relief and financial counselling organisations provide vital services to those Australians doing it toughest – and they are more important now than ever.

There are already reports of local emergency relief organisations running out of essential goods, food staples and basic safety equipment for volunteers.

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Rebuilding from fires will take time - Transcript, Doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW

NOWRA

TUESDAY, 10 MARCH 2020

SUBJECTS: Charities and bushfire recovery; stimulus.

FIONA PHILLIPS, MEMBER FOR GILMORE:It’s been great today to have Andrew Leigh here, who is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities and also the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. The purpose of the meeting today was to meet with the charities - the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul - and to basically get an update on what's happening with the bushfire crisis and the recovery process. But most importantly, just to make sure that we capture and make sure that our vulnerable people are being looked after through the crisis and recovery. So we've had a good chat today. I was obviously also very concerned about our small businesses, and getting them the support they need, and also our tourism operators that I know we need more funding to help promote local events.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Thanks, Fiona. My name's Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. It's been a really good opportunity this morning to speak to some of the key organisations who've been at the forefront of the bushfire response and the reconstruction efforts. We’ve spoken about the challenges of coordination, the importance of ensuring that data is shared with appropriate privacy protections, making sure that we're getting more support in cash rather than unwanted in-kind donations, and how critical it is to ensure that those who are most vulnerable are looked after. People who are homeless, people with disabilities, Indigenous Australians can sometimes be left out of disaster response and the charities we're speaking to today made it absolutely clear that those people are in the forefront of their minds as they're moving towards the reconstruction phase. We think there's important lessons out of the response here for local, state and federal governments. 

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Thomas Piketty and the roots of global inequality - Review, The Sydney Morning Herald

THOMAS PIKETTY AND THE ROOTS OF GLOBAL INEQUALITY 

The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 March 2020

Thomas Piketty isn’t scared to tell a big story. In 2013, he produced Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a 700-page tome about inequality that combined Jane Austen and Honoréde Balzac with data from tax returns and national statistics.

One idea that captivated many readers was r versus g. When the rate of return on capital (think rental yields and share dividends) exceeds the overall economic growth rate, then inequality rises. When g is bigger than r, inequality falls.

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The war on charities continues - Media Release

THE WAR ON CHARITIES CONTINUES

Nearly two years after the report from the mandated five-year review of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission’s legislation was given to the Government – in May 2018 – the Morrison Government has finally responded.

Of the 30 recommendations, 11 have been rejected. This includes the sector’s top ask: for Commonwealth leadership to deliver a harmonised fundraising system.

Australia’s fundraising laws predate mobile phones and the internet. They require charities who raise money online to register in multiple states across Australia.

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Australia's economy weaker than should be - Transcript, ABC News Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC NEWS RADIO
FRIDAY, 6 MARCH 2020

SUBJECTS: Morrison Government’s lack of a plan for productivity; wages; innovation; investment and growth; debt doubling under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government.
 
MATT O’NEIL, HOST: Labor's Andrew Leigh is a former economist, now Federal Member for Fenner in the ACT, and joins us now. Good morning, Andrew. Thank you for your time.
 
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Matt. I always figure once an economist, always an economist.

O’NEIL: [laughter] Andrew, what would Labor be doing to shield the economy from the coronavirus fallout?

LEIGH: I think it's pretty clear that the economy does need appropriate stimulus. What we did during the Global Financial Crisis was to move quickly, even before the first impacts of the global downturn were apparent in Australia, with stimulus that saved around 200,000 jobs and tens of thousands of Australian businesses. The trouble is that we're entering this challenge with an the economy which is much weaker than it should be. We used to have growth sitting between 3 and 3¼ per cent, and now we're getting 2 to 2¼ quarter per cent. We've had years of wage stagnation - not by accident, but through deliberate government policy, as the Finance Minister has pointed out. Anti-union attacks, penalty rate cuts - all of that has acted to dampen down wage growth, which of course then flows through to household spending because earnings flow back into the economy. You cut pay packets, you cut household incomes, and there's a negative spiral as a result of that. Business investment is lousy and construction and retail are in a very bad way at the moment.

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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.