PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 7 FEBRUARY 2018
SUBJECTS: Productivity Commission’s draft report on Competition in the Australian Financial System; Turnbull Government’s latest fumble on tax policy: PC endorses more transparency for the Council of Financial Regulators; Barnaby Joyce; share market volatility.
CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Well good morning everybody, thanks for coming.
This morning, yet another damning indictment of Scott Morrison’s management of negative gearing in the housing market.
Today we see the release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report into banking competition. Now of course competition in banking and financial services is vital and we said that the Productivity Commission should be commissioned to undertake this review. But what has the Productivity Commission found?
Let us remember that Scott Morrison has for months been saying the answer to Australia’s housing affordability problems is to leave all the heavy lifting to the regulators, to leave all the heavy lifting to APRA, who would engage in macro-prudential regulation and that would fix everything. He told us there was no need to fix negative gearing. He told us that as recently as yesterday.
The Productivity Commission report has found that because Scott Morrison has left the heavy lifting to the regulators, to APRA, that in fact banks have increased their profit margins and that has been subsidised by the tax payer due to negative gearing.
The Productivity Commission has said that this has led to a windfall for the banks. Their words, ‘a windfall; for the banks. And half of that windfall has been subsidised by the Australian tax payer through negative gearing. Now we’ve said all along that negative gearing must be fixed. Evidence mounts day after day for months now, that negative gearing has to be fixed. It appears that Scott Morrison is the only person who doesn’t want to fix negative gearing. Cabinet, of course rolled him when he dared even suggest it be considered.Read more
Condolence Motion, Barry Cohen
February 6, 2018
DR LEIGH (Fenner) (17:55): Armando Iannucci, creator of The Thick of It and Veep, gave an interview recently where he said, 'Humourless politicians are the most dangerous ones, I think.' He was referring to oppressive regimes, but I think it applies to this place, too. In the tradition of Fred Daly and Jim Killen, Barry Cohen was a fabulous raconteur. I first knew him through his books; I grabbed three from the shelf on the way here—After the Party, The Life of the Party and From Whitlam to Winston—but, of course, that 's merely a small component of the Cohen oeuvre. In meeting him and chatting with him, one got the sense of a man who lived a full life.Read more
5 February, 2018
Dr LEIGH (Fenner) (12:40): It's interesting to be rising today to speak on this motion, given the likely origins of this new statement of expectations and its likely trajectory. Here we are, just a day after the member for McPherson, in her role as the government's Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, confirmed that the federal government won't provide funds to help Adani build infrastructure for its proposed coalmine in Queensland's Galilee Basin. This comes on the heels of recent disturbing reports that pollution samples relating to the environmental impact of the mine may well have been doctored. As the Leader of the Opposition has said, Labor is growing increasingly sceptical over this project.Read more
5 February, 2018
Dr LEIGH (Fenner) (16:41): On 2 January, Australia lost one of our great economists, Fred Argy. Fred worked originally in business before completing a Bachelor of Economics in 1956 and a Master of Economics in 1960. He then pursued a distinguished career in the Public Service, advising governments from Menzies to Keating. He held a range of distinguished positions, including the Deputy Secretary (Labour Economics) of the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations and the Australian Ambassador to the OECD in Paris.Read more
Domestic shareholders receive little benefit of a corporate income tax cut - Transcript, ABC Melbourne
TUESDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2018
SUBJECTS: Stock Market; Corporate Tax Cuts; Workplace Laws; Adani
RAF EPSTEIN: We are joined by one of the members of Bill Shorten's economic team, Dr Andrew Leigh he is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good afternoon, Raf. Great to be with you.
EPSTEIN: Just on the stock market, America and here - it doesn't look like it's going to end too soon. Is that a big worry or a simple correction?
LEIGH: It is significant. It seems to be led out of the United States, Raf, with business responses to their jobs report. The reporting that I've seen out of there suggests businesses are concerned that with a fairly tight employment market they might have to start raising wages and that's prompted a bit of a sell off on the US market which has flowed through to here.Read more
Festival shows off our fun side
The Chronicle, 6 February 2018
What do Nordic folk dancing, African food and writer Poh Lin Yeow have in common? They’ll all be featuring at the Canberra Multicultural Festival, kicking off on 16 February.
One man who would have been proud of our colourful festival was King O’Malley, a member of the first Australian parliament who was a great champion for Canberra.Read more
THE WAR ON CHARITIES CONTINUES
Representatives worried about the Turnbull Government’s war on charities gathered at Parliament House today to voice their concerns.
Along with my Labor colleagues, I met with dozens of representatives from organisations including:
- Australian Council for International Development
- Red Cross
- Fred Hollows Foundation
- Oxfam Australia
- CARE Australia
- Consumer Action Law Centre
- Financial Counselling Australia
- Australian Council of Social Service
- World Vision Australia
- RESULTS Australia
- Pew Charitable Trusts
Two-thirds of Australian charities recently told Pro Bono that they are finding it harder to be heard by the federal government than five years ago.Read more
Loneliness a Problem We Must Tackle Together
The Herald Sun, 4 February 2018
Berenice Benson has always wanted to go to New York. At age 85, and suffering from dementia, the walls of her nursing home room are covered with pictures of the famous city. She told staff at the Uniting Care Mirinjani retirement village that if she couldn’t visit, the next best thing would be to meet a New York police officer.
It took two years, but a few weeks ago the staff arranged for her dream to come true. Detective Howard Shank, visiting from New York, stepped into the nursing home in her uniform and introduced himself with a smile. Ms Benson burst into tears. When she recovered her composure, she said ‘this has been the best day of my life’. She felt 20 years old again.Read more
SKY NEWS AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 29 JANUARY 2018
SUBJECTS: New Commonwealth Bank CEO, Royal Commission into the Banks, Defence Exports, Trans-Pacific Partnership.
KIERAN GILBERT: Andrew Leigh, thanks very much for your time. Your thoughts on your breaking news that we brought to you just before the break, the new Commonwealth Bank chief executive has been announced?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Happy New Year, Kieran to you and your viewers. Great to be back on Sky. I've met Matt, I've found him thoughtful and engaged. Obviously the issues facing the big banks aren't just some of the scandals that have gone by but also the financial technologies. They’re facing new FinTech competitors: everything from ApplePay to scrappy start-ups. I think Matt's got the wherewithal to deal with these challenges but obviously there is some big reform required at the head of our big banks.Read more
Paying decent wages not just a fair go, it’s good for business too
The Daily Telegraph, 26 January 2018
In 1914, Henry Ford shocked America when he announced that he would double the pay of his workers, to $5 a day. He didn’t do this out of a sense of social justice or concern for his workers – remember that Ford Motors was known for its aggressive anti-union tactics. He did it because he understood the economic case for decent wages.
At a time when other car makers were trying to cut costs, Ford increased his wage bill by $10 million – more than half the firm’s annual profits. One competitor predicted that the workers wouldn’t know what to do with the extra cash – that they would be ‘demoralised by this sudden affluence’.