Where's the Government's plan for the economy? - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 5 FEBRUARY 2020

The Australian economy is in a bad way. In its latest business outlook, Deloitte Access Economics forecast below trend growth of two per cent in 2019-20 and 2.4 per cent in 2020-21. These figures are significantly below the Morrison government's midyear budget forecasts. Deloitte says:

The nation's growth won't lift that much from today's decade low and we don't expect unemployment to drop or wages to accelerate through 2020.

Retail, as they point out, is already amid its deepest downturn since 1990. You can see the collapse of the retail sector in the shuttering of so many household names among major Australian retailers. This sector is doing it tough under the Morrison government. Deloitte points out that construction is shrinking at its fastest rate since 1999. And, as the shadow Treasurer pointed out, ‘this is what happens when a Liberal government in its seventh year spends all its time spinning, pork barrelling and playing politics instead of actually coming up with a plan to meet the big challenges of the economy’.

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We can't talk about bushfires without talking about climate change - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 5 FEBRUARY 2020

Edward Ryan was born at Calvary Hospital on 20 January. A few hours later his parents' car was smashed by hailstones in the hospital car park.

As Edward left hospital with his parents two days later, Canberrans were being evacuated from their homes and workplaces as bushfires bore down.

When Edward was just a fortnight old, flames framed our southern skies, turning them red, as emergency services battled the Orroral Valley fire—the worst since the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

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Canberra and climate change - Op Ed, The Canberra Times

CANBERRA AND CLIMATE CHANGE

The Canberra Times, 30 January 2020

It’s become a common quip for Canberrans to ask when the frogs, lice and locusts are arriving.

The past few weeks have seen our beautiful bush capital cloaked in smoke, ravaged by hail, subjected to severe winds, and all but ringed by bushfires.

We’ve had people evacuated from their workplaces and our airport shut down, seen years of research lost to wild weather and a record number of calls to emergency services. This week, the Orroral Valley fire turned our southern skies an apocalyptic red. Animals have died in their hundreds in Canberra. Across Australia, more than a billion animals, including koalas, kangaroos, kookaburras and snakes, have been killed.

Not all of these events can be directly linked to climate change, but there’s no denying that a warming climate makes dangerous weather more likely. As former meteorologist and researcher Dr Clem Davis said, “with increased warming in the atmosphere, you are more likely to get severe weather events”. In 2008, Ross Garnaut’s climate change review noted that unchecked climate change would likely lead to more hot days, droughts, extreme winds, hailstorms, thunderstorms and floods.

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Helping the Helpers - Op Ed, The Herald-Sun and Courier Mail

THE BEST WAYS TO LEND A HAND TO BUSHFIRE RELIEF

The Herald-Sun and Courier Mail, 18 January 2020

Millions of hectares of bush have been burned. Dozens of lives have been lost. Up to a billion mammals, birds, reptiles, bats, frogs and invertebrates may have died. Smoke from Australia’s bushfires has reached as far as New Zealand and Chile. Australia’s bush capital has recorded the worst air quality in the world.

Amid the tragedy, many of us are looking at how we can help. On the front lines, our volunteer fire fighting services need donations, which will allow them not only to fight this year’s fires, but also to be better prepared next season. In affected communities, Red Cross, Vinnies, the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, the Salvos, Foodbank and the Rural Advisory Mental Health program are among those working with families who have lost their homes.

To help injured animals, and to provide sources of food and water to keep native animals alive, the World Wildlife Fund, WIRES, the RSPCA, the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and Adelaide Koala Rescue are among the bodies that are seeking donations.

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Our school kids' test scores are in free fall. Here's how we fix it - Op Ed, Ten Daily

OUR SCHOOL KIDS' TEST SCORES ARE IN FREE FALL. HERE'S HOW WE FIX IT.

Ten Daily, 11 December 2019

Australia has just recorded the worst labour productivity growth since records began and the worst school test results this century. As a cornucopia of commentators have noted, Australia now underperforms plenty of nations that are poorer than us, such as Korea, Singapore and Estonia.                                            

In reality, the test score slump shouldn’t surprise anyone. A decade ago, Melbourne University’s Chris Ryan and I showed that Australia’s test scores had dropped over the period from 1964 to 2003. NAPLAN results suggest little change in student performance from 2008 to 2019.

But it’s the OECD’s PISA tests that paint the most troubling picture. Administered every three years since 2000, they show Australian students doing worse on maths, reading and science. Every time Australian 15 year-olds are tested, average scores have dropped. 

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Coalition's war on charities - Media Release

COALITION’S WAR ON CHARITIES

Today’s push to strip environmental charities of their tax-deductible gift recipient status proves yet again that this anti-environment government wants to shut down any criticism of its lousy record on climate change, biodiversity and protection of the oceans. 

There are already laws in place that allow for organisations to have their tax deductible status revoked if they failure to comply with the strict requirements governing charities and not-for-profits.

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Australia needs to step up on world stage - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 5 DECEMBER 2019

This bill enjoys bipartisan support. It involves providing replenishment funds to six multilateral development organisations. But it comes at a time when aid has been savagely cut to the lowest level since records began. Since the government came to office in 2013, it has cut nearly $12 billion from Australia's aid program. That means aid as a share of national income is lower now than it was under Liberal prime ministers Menzies, Holt, Gordon, McMahon, Fraser and Howard. Those governments recognised the importance of overseas aid, not just in alleviating poverty but also in building trade in our region, and also in ensuring that our region is safer.

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Reducing the Harms from Gambling - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 3 DECEMBER 2019

In the 1980s, economist Gary Becker developed the theory of rational addiction. Rational addiction, which applies to any sort of addictive substance, is the notion that as an individual considers whether or not to take up an addictive substance they think rationally about the probability that they will get addicted to it and the costs and benefits of all of that—so, when a teenager takes their first smoke, they're thinking rationally about the long-term impact it will have on their lives if they become addicted; when somebody takes their first drink, they're thinking about the risk of addiction and, mathematically, quickly doing all the costs and benefits as to the lifetime impact; or, when someone gambles, there are also computing the costs and benefits and considering rationally the probability of addiction.

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Worrying trends in the Australian economy - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 3 DECEMBER 2019

Recently the House Economics Committee had the pleasure of hearing from Rod Sims, the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and his staff, to investigate a range of important issues surrounding competition and market dynamics within the Australian economy.

At the outset, as our report notes, there have been a number of worrying trends in the Australian economy, suggesting that it is becoming less dynamic. Sasan Bakhtiari has tracked the number of new start-up firms in Australia, going back to the beginning of the century. He finds that at the beginning of the century the Australian economy was creating new firms at a rate of about 15 per cent a year; now that's down to just nine per cent a year.

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Liberal MP labels Canberra a burden on the taxpayer - Media Release

SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE
SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
 
ALICIA PAYNE MP
MEMBER FOR CANBERRA
 
ANDREW LEIGH MP
MEMBER FOR FENNER
 
DAVID SMITH MP
MEMBER FOR BEAN

LIBERAL MP LABELS CANBERRA A BURDEN ON THE TAXPAYER

A Liberal MP has gone rogue and devalued the important role that the Australian Public Service (APS) plays in our democratic system of government.

While debating the Morrison Government’s plan to cut the aged pension and Newstart Allowance, Tim Wilson, Member for Goldstein responded to a speech by Member for Canberra, Alicia Payne MP, and claimed:

“After all the whole basis of the Canberra economy is, literally, government. The raiding of tax payers’ hip pockets for the benefit of the few.”

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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.