CHARITY AND NOT-FOR-PROFIT SECTOR PRE-ELECTION DEBATE OPENING REMARKS
FRIDAY, 10 MAY 2019
Subjects: The Liberals’ war on charities, the Liberals’ no show at the debate, Labor’s 10 point plan for the charities and not-for-profit sector.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS: Well, thank you very much David and I’ll weave into my remarks the origins of this place, it will come up in just a moment. I acknowledge that we meet on the land of the Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation and pay my respects their elders. David [Crosbie], thank you for organising today and for your leadership. The charitable sector owes you a great debt for all that you do. I recognise Rachel Siewert and acknowledge the empty chair for a Coalition representative, with David’s invitations having been turned down by Zed Seselja, Kevin Andrews and Paul Fletcher. It's a pity not to have them here. I think the sector is owed the kind of charity debate that we had in the previous two elections, and it’s a shame the Coalition is a no-show today. I also acknowledge the range of charity and not-for-profit leaders here today, including Sue Woodward and Adrienne Picone.
When I think back to my teens and twenties, some of the most important memories are volunteering. I helped build walking tracks in Lane Cove and Nowra with the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers. I dressed up in a clown suit to sell juggling balls to raise money for Oxfam. I volunteered as a law student at Redfern Legal Centre, at the Welfare Rights Legal Centre in the ACT. When I think about my three boys and when they’re at their best, it's often when they’ve joined me on one of my regular park clean ups. Doing something for the community, rather than doing something for themselves. A life lived in service to others is a life well lived. In that, I'm following somewhat in the footsteps of my grandfather, a Methodist minister who worked here in Melbourne and who passed away in 1970 doing a run up Mount Wellington in Hobart to raise money for overseas aid.Read more
Labor will crack down on tax tricks used by multinationals and millionaires to minimise their income tax bill, including a new measure to close the loophole that sees the top end of town funnelling money out of Australia into tax havens to get lower tax rates.
This tax loophole is only used by less than 0.001% of taxpayers – but will deliver $430 million to the budget bottom line over the medium term.
LABOR’S PLAN FOR CHARITIES: SECTOR SUPPORT
A Shorten Labor Government will have Australia’s first ever Charities Minister, who will fix the damage done by six years of Liberals and Nationals’ chaos and work with the nation’s not-for-profits to build a more connected country.
Labor will guarantee the right of charities to advocate, and deliver a stronger and more productive charities and not-for-profit sector by establishing a Not-for-profit Sector Expert Reference Panel and ‘Building Community - Building Capacity’ Working Group.
We need real change, because more of the same isn’t good enough. Many in the sector agree and have voiced their support for Labor’s plans.
“This vital sector has been treated with contempt over the past six years, enduring policies that seemed designed to crush civil society and the ACNC, and successive waves of disinterested and incompetent presiding ministers and parliamentary secretaries. We welcome and eagerly await the opportunity to replace the top-down, far-right-wing agenda that has predominated in recent years with one of respect and authentic engagement.”
- Denis Moriarty, Our Community Founder and Group Managing DirectorRead more
THURSDAY, 9 MAY 2019
Subjects: Labor’s plans to help vulnerable individuals and small businesses with their tax, and strengthen the volunteering culture among tax students and professionals.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thank you everyone for coming along today to The University of Canberra. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fenner.
We are here today to announce that if elected, a Shorten Labor Government would give $150,000 in ongoing funding to establish a tax clinic right here at the University of Canberra. We know that deep-pocketed billionaires like Clive Palmer can access an armada of accountants when it comes to navigating the tax system, but for many vulnerable Australians and small businesses, tax means late nights and worries about whether you've got it wrong. Too many Australians are struggling to try and sort out their tax affairs. Tax clinics have worked effectively in the United States where the low income tax clinic model is a proven success. At Curtin University, a tax clinic has been operating for a number of years now, serving vulnerable taxpayers and small businesses.
And that’s why a Labor Government has announced that if elected, we wouldn't just trial tax clinics - we'd put them in place. Ten tax clinics across the country and right here at the University of Canberra a tax clinic which would look to serve not just the ACT, but the region. We’ve even spoken about the possibility of the UC tax clinic taking to the road aboard a bus that the University of Canberra has used in the past to engage in outreach allied health care provision. So tax clinics are a great innovation for University of Canberra and they're also great for the outlying population, ensuring people have access to that first rate advice. They're going to be vital too as we look to build a culture of giving back within the tax profession. In law, we've got community legal centres where many law students will spend some time during their training. Many doctors will have an opportunity to engage in pro bono work. But we haven’t been quite as good in the past when it comes to tax and providing opportunities for tax professionals and tax students to put their altruistic urges into action. Tax clinics will do that. They’ll work with local tax practitioners and they’ll ensure that we build that culture of giving back among tax professionals.Read more
LABOR WILL SUPPORT EARLY LEARNING IN FRANKLIN
A Shorten Labor Government will nurture children’s imaginative play and social connections for parents through a commitment of $2,000 to improve and expand playgroups resources at Franklin Park and Play.
The Franklin Park and Play is run in partnership with ACT Playgroups and Franklin Early Childhood School, providing access to early learning for parents and children in Gungahlin.
Labor’s $2,000 commitment would help update and expand resources – with a particular focus on craft, toys and equipment – for the more than 400 local families that access the service each year.
Playgroups are a valuable community resource particularly for families unable to afford to provide toys and educational aids for their children.Read more
LABOR TO HELP CANBERRANS NAVIGATE TAX SYSTEM WITH TAX CLINIC
A Shorten Labor Government will ensure that all Canberrans have help navigating the tax system by helping fund the University of Canberra Tax Clinic.
This election will be a choice between a united Shorten Labor Government, which will help Canberrans with the support they need, or more of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos. We need real change, because more of the same isn’t good enough.
Labor will commit $150,000 annually to the University of Canberra Tax Clinic as part of our proposed expansion of 10 tax clinics around Australia.
While multinationals and millionaires can afford an armada of experts to navigate the tax system, low- and middle-income Australians are often intimidated by the tax system, and unsure where to turn to get help.Read more
WEDNESDAY, 8 MAY 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s charity policy; the Coalition’s war on charities; News Limited’s attack on Bill Shorten’s mother; News Limited’s use of tax havens.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much everyone for coming along today. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits. I'd like to thank SANE Australia for hosting us here today. I'm joined by my colleagues Mark Dreyfus, the Shadow Attorney-General, Fiona McLeod, our candidate for Higgins, and Josh Burns, our candidate for Macnamara.
It's been a tough six years for Australia's charities. They have borne the brunt of a war on charities. We've seen the government go through six different ministers responsible for the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. Over the course of 2011 to 2016, the government's goal was to scrap the ACNC. When they couldn't succeed with that, they put a charity critic in charge of the charity regulator. The war on charities has prompted two open letters to successive prime ministers from the charity sector. A great deal of energy of Australia's great charities and not-for-profits has been chewed up in fighting against the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government's war on their work.Read more
2GB MONEY NEWS
TUESDAY, 7 MAY 2019
Subjects: Reserve Bank decision, Labor’s plan to crack down on multinational tax avoidance, climate change.
ROSS GREENWOOD: I thought I'd just bring here somebody who's really good with his time here on the program. That is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, who's on the line right now. Andrew, many thanks for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Ross. Great to be with you.
GREENWOOD: All right. I want to start there with the Reserve Bank and this decision to keep rates on hold and where it might go. Wages has been a big issue in this election campaign and clearly many Australians right now are feeling the pressure of not having had a wages increase yet their costs, their household bills, even now their supermarket prices are starting to rise. So your side of politics has said you want a living wage. The question is whether Australia can afford that living wage, as you've described it in the election campaign.
LEIGH: Ross, I think the question is whether we can afford to have wages growth still stuck in the doldrums. Wages growth under this Government has been lower every quarter than in any quarter under its predecessor. We've seen wage growth at 1.9 per cent since the 2013 election. Even in the global financial crisis wage growth didn't drop below 2.9 per cent. That matters because, as the adage goes, my spending is your income and your spending is my income. What doesn't go into workers’ wallets doesn't go back into the economy. One of the reasons we've seen this flat-lining of retail sales, the fall off in new car sales, has been that wages have been been stuck in the slow lane.Read more
ECONOMIC REFORM: AMBITION VERSUS ZUGZWANG
SPEECH TO AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS ANNUAL CONFERENCE
WEDNESDAY, 8 MAY 2019
(Check against delivery)
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and pay respect to their elders.
My thanks to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors for the chance to speak with you about Labor’s positive plans for the economy.
In an era of shrill soundbites, your organisation has a track record of producing careful research that shapes policy debates. Your research reports have dovetailed closely with our priorities, covering topics such as modern slavery, fossil fuel investments, and whistleblowing. I know this research is closely read by my colleagues Chris Bowen, Jim Chalmers, Clare O’Neil, Madeleine King, and Matt Thistlethwaite. Fresh ideas can help shape the policy debate for the better.
To take just one example, you publish an annual report on CEO Pay in ASX200 firms. Last July, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors reported that the best-paid CEO in Australia, Don Meij, received $37 million. Commentators were quick to note the contrast between this pay packet and the reported underpayment of Domino’s pizza workers.Read more
$2.9 MILLION FOR CANBERRA SHARED PATHWAYS
A Shorten Labor Government would invest $2.9 million in shared pathways to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians in Canberra’s suburbs, in partnership with the ACT Labor Government.
This election will be a choice between a Shorten Labor Government with a plan for the local infrastructure Canberra needs, or more of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos.
Investing in this network of shared pathways will make it easier for Canberrans to enjoy the Territory’s great outdoor lifestyle, improving public amenities and safety at the same time.Read more