HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 21 OCTOBER 2019
This is what the front page of today’s Canberra Times looks like.
This is what the front page of today’s Sydney Morning Herald looks like.
This is what the front page of today’s Australian looks like.
And it is a common feature of major papers right across Australia.
This is what it looks like when journalists say ‘enough’ to a government fighting against media freedom and the public’s right to know.Read more
FRIDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2019
Subjects: The IMF downgrading Australia’s growth forecast; the Liberals mismanaging the economy; unemployment; ACT infrastructure plan; Labor declaring a climate emergency; the Liberals failing to act on climate change.
LEON DELANEY, HOST: Joining me in the studio now a very special guest - Andrew Leigh, Member for Fenner and Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon Leon. Great to be here in your brand-new studio.
DELANEY: Well, I was just asking you before why you wanted to come and visit today, and you said straight up ‘I just wanted to see the new place of business’. And I thought ‘well, you know you could have come on the grand opening on Monday’ but you weren't allowed to leave the Parliament, unfortunately.
LEIGH: We get locked up in the big house, I'm afraid. But it still has that new studio smell, which is your listeners are missing out on right now.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 17 OCTOBER 2019
I rise to speak about the challenge of joblessness and poverty in Australia. This week is Anti-Poverty Week, and many community organisations are doing their best to help tackle the scourge of social disadvantage in Australia, and to help reduce the rate of child poverty, which is too high in Australia. There is, however, a difference in the philosophy that the two sides of parliament take towards joblessness. Those on the conservative side are more likely to refer to jobseekers as ‘leaners’ and to criticise them for not trying hard enough. We, on the progressive side of politics, recognise that the unemployment rate is, to a large extent, a function of the amount of jobs that are available.
If you go to Britain or to Germany or to the United States or to New Zealand, you'll find an unemployment rate that is around four per cent. That's the unemployment rate that the Reserve Bank of Australia thinks is possible in Australia and which would be consistent with starting to get wages growing again and starting to get inflation moving back into the target band. Yet, in Australia, we have a government that seems comfortable with an unemployment rate that sits above five per cent and has done so throughout the period in which the government has been in office. That means that there are hundreds of thousands of Australians who, if we had the same unemployment rate as the countries I've named—Britain, New Zealand, the United States and Germany—would have a job, but in Australia do not.Read more
PRIZED MINDS ARE HERE TO HELP — BY SHOWING THE WORLD WHAT DOESN’T
The Australian, 17 October 2019
‘If I can predict what you are going to think of pretty much any problem,’ argues MIT economics professor Esther Duflo, ‘it is likely that you will be wrong on stuff.’
This week, Duflo shared the economics Nobel Prize with MIT’s Abhijit Banerjee and Harvard’s Michael Kremer. They weren’t rewarded for devising a grand theory. In fact, their work has probably debunked more theories than it’s vindicated. Instead, the trio were honoured for bringing a new approach to development economics: randomised trials.
Just as advanced countries test new drugs by randomly assigning patients to treatment and control groups, the development randomistas evaluate anti-poverty programs by the toss of a coin. Heads, you get the program. Tails, you don’t. The beauty of this simple methodology is that it provides a rigorous test of whether a program works.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 16 OCTOBER 2019
It's not often that a Labor Party MP gets a call from a former National Party leader, but when Tim Fischer picked up the phone a couple of years ago I was delighted to take his call.
Tim was calling to speak about research that I'd done, with Christine Neill at Wilfrid Laurier University, on the impact of the firearms buyback on Australian gun homicide and suicide rates. We had found that over the decade before the Port Arthur massacre Australia had averaged one gun massacre every year—that is, one mass shooting in which there were five or more victims. We found that in the decade afterwards there wasn't a single gun massacre.Read more
ABC NEWS RADIO
WEDNESDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2019
SUBJECTS: IMF slashing Australia’s economic growth outlook, Deloitte highlighting homegrown concerns for the economy.
ALI CREW: Labor has pounced on the IMF report saying it shows that the Morrison government's policy settings are not right for the economy. Labor MP Andrew Leigh joins us now. Good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Ali. How are you?
CREW: I'm well, thank you. Now is it really fair to blame the government for these forecasts from the IMF? After all, the body makes clear that it's part of a broader slowdown that we're seeing across the globe.
LEIGH: Deloitte made clear in its report on Monday that a lot of the problems in the Australian economy are homegrown. We have a higher unemployment rate now than the United States or Britain or Germany or New Zealand. They have unemployment rates around 4 per cent, ours is sitting above 5 per cent. We don't have the sort of investment in the economy that is so sorely needed at the moment. When I hear Paul Fletcher saying ‘we've got a plan, we're sticking to the plan’ it sounds a whole lot like pig headedness to me, an unwillingness to adapt to the global economic circumstances and to the problems in the domestic economy.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 15 OCTOBER 2019
In the United States, President Trump recently signed the FIRST STEP Act. That act takes several steps to ease mandatory minimum sentences under US federal law. It passed with overwhelming support from Republicans and Democrats, and the support of a wide range of groups—from the American Civil Liberties Union to the right-wing organisation Right on Crime. It reflects the reality that many other countries' legislators are moving away from mandatory sentences. As Hilda Tubex from the University of Western Australia has said, 'Let's follow international jurisdictions that are moving away from mandatory sentences, due to a lack of evidence that they work in protecting the community, and leave it to the judges to judge.'
In Australia, we face the same situation that Britain, the United States and New Zealand also face: a massive rise in incarceration rates. Australia's incarceration rate is now the highest that it has been since 1899.Read more
A PAEAN TO PARLIAMENT
The Canberra Times, 15 October 2019
Every year, thousands of Australians come to visit Parliament House. They’re right to do so. The central building in our democracy isn’t just an architectural marvel, it’s an art-lover’s paradise. Parliament is where history is made. There’s something beautifully Australian about the fact that visitors can take the lift to the roof, and literally walk over the top of their politicians.
When those visitors picked up a copy of Tuesday’s Canberra Times, I suspect they would have raised an eyebrow or two at the opinion piece suggesting that the nation’s parliament was as a bubble within a bubble.
The smooth operation of Parliament House is a credit to its staff – the cleaners and clerks, baristas and building attendants, loading dock staff and servers – all of whom come together day after day to support democracy.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 14 OCTOBER 2019
Today is Jasiri Australia's Girls Take Over Parliament day, an event I'm pleased to be part of for the third year running. The program is organised by Caitlin Figueiredo and it aims to inspire a new generation of young women to be our nation's future political leaders. The program has introduced 260 young women to politicians across Australia, Tonga and Fiji, and there are 60 young women and girls participating in today's program.
ANU student Brianna Partington has joined my office. She grew up in Ceduna, South Australia, and her interest in politics came at a young age, when she realised that it wasn't always replicated among her female peers. Brianna believes there is a significant lack of interest in politics among young women in her area, and she wants to work to change that.Read more
Privatisating visa system could further damage Australia's reputation - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 14 OCTOBER 2019
Those opposite like to style themselves as the political heirs of John Howard, the man who once said:
'We will decide who comes to Australia and the circumstances in which they come.'
But, as a result of this visa privatisation plan, private firms will decide who comes to Australia and private firms will decide the circumstances in which they come. Indeed, Mr Howard noted recently the link between trust and confidence in the visa system and the way in which it is operated. He said:
'If they feel that control is slipping they will turn against it.'
-- by ‘they’ he meant the Australian people --
‘I think that would apply to just about any country in the world. It's basic common sense.’Read more