HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 18 SEPTEMBER 2019
The sad history that brings this bill to the House is necessary to recount at the outset. On 30 July 2013, former agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon announced that Labor would establish the post of an inspector-general of animal welfare and live animal exports. Our position was to build on Australia's regulatory framework, to recognise that while the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System had improved conditions of animal welfare it was necessary to have independent oversight.
That inspector-general would have added an additional layer of assurance that the regulatory system was delivering appropriate animal welfare. It would have placed no additional regulatory burdens on exports, nor on trading partners. However, just a few short months later, on 31 October 2013, the member for New England, then the agriculture minister, abolished the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports.Read more
KEYNOTE ADDRESS – AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
PHILANTHROPY MEETS PARLIAMENT SUMMIT 2019
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2019
The obituary was blunt: ‘Sir Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people than ever before, died yesterday’. There was just one problem - Alfred Nobel was very much alive. It was his brother Ludwig who had died. So Alfred Nobel had a rare opportunity to see how the world thought of his life. He had no wife, no children - just an obituary sitting in front of him, which read ‘The Merchant of Death is dead’. Nobel had made his fortune by inventing dynamite, which revolutionized not just the mining and construction industries, but also the armaments sector. When he read his premature obituary, he was 54 years old.
In his remaining years, Nobel focused on philanthropy. His will set aside 94 per cent of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes. Today that gift is worth more than half a billion Australian dollars. The Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, Medicine and Economics are considered the most prestigious prizes in their fields.Read more
COALITION DELAY COSTING AUSSIE DRIVERS BIG BUCKS
The cost of the Coalition’s inaction on data sharing among mechanics is costing Australian drivers over a billion dollars a year.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chair, Rod Sims, today confirmed the issue was becoming “progressively worse” during a hearing with the House Economics Committee:
Leigh: The estimate from the US Auto Care Association was that those commensurate changes in the US saved customers in the order of US $26 billion a year*. If that figure is correct in the US, that would suggest that the cost to Australians is over a billion a year, would it not?
Sims: I can’t fault the arithmetic on that.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 17 SEPTEMBER 2019
We have just learned that Joe Isaac, one of the pre-eminent post-war economists in Australia's history has passed away. His work is highly relevant to the issues we're discussing today. I want to take a moment to pay tribute to the late, great Joe Isaac.
He was born on 11 March in 1922 in Penang. His family moved to Java soon after he was born and his early education was in Dutch. His family was evacuated to Perth at the time of the Japanese invasion. He then went on to study at Queen's College, where my grandfather Keith Leigh and Max Corden also got their education. He went on to do his PhD at the London School of Economics, where he studied with Coase, Hayek, Tawney, Laksi and his supervisor, Phelps Brown.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 12 SEPTEMBER 2019
It's a pleasure to follow the members for Whitlam and Kingsford Smith in discussing the important bill before the House—the Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Members’ Interests First) Bill 2019. About 12 million Australians hold insurance - for life, total and permanent disability, and income protection - through their superannuation funds. Total premiums, according to the Productivity Commission, are around $9 billion. It's worth noting that not all of that money appears to be well spent. The best example of that is that the Productivity Commission estimates that, of that $9 billion, $1.9 billion is for unintended duplicate policies.
The Productivity Commission's report points out that current settings are more a function of history than of considered policy design. It notes that many members benefit from lower costs and the ready access of default group insurance in superannuation but that problems remain. The Productivity Commission points out that insurance accounts for one-third of the complaints made on superannuation.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 12 SEPTEMBER 2019
Twelve-year-old Indigenous boy Dujuan Hoosan has just appealed to members of the United Nations Human Rights Council to reduce Australian incarceration, pointing out that Indigenous-led education and an emphasis on languages are key to keeping Indigenous young people out of jail.
Australia is entering a second convict age, with the highest share of the population incarcerated than at any time since 1899. Since 1985, the incarceration rate has gone up 130 per cent. Now 0.22 per cent of Australian adults are behind bars. Among Indigenous Australians, the incarceration rate is 2.5 per cent. Almost one in four Indigenous men born in the 1970s will go to jail during their lifetime. A higher share of Indigenous Australians are now incarcerated than African Americans.Read more
LAUNCH OF PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDS OF SOCIAL SCIENCE
TUESDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2019
As a professor-turned-politician, today's event is exactly the kind of thing that I hoped I might be able to participate in when I made the jump from the ANU to the Parliament. I was at the time somewhat chuffed to be a fellow of one of the academies, until I realised that when he sat in parliament, Barry Jones was a fellow of all four national academies.
It does put things in perspective.
But today, and Social Science Week more broadly, I think of as making politics more porous by ensuring that we're a country that draws more deeply upon the resources of the social sciences. Whether it's psychology or political science, anthropology and sociology... even economics!Read more
WHY AN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE OF FIVE PER CENT ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH ANYMORE
The Canberra Times, 10 September 2019
If you’ve ever been jobless, you know the truth: unemployment sucks. It’s not just the lack of money, but the hit to self-esteem. Being asked ‘what do you do?’ can be almost as dispiriting as the uncertainty of applying for job after job. Unemployment increases rates of depression, diabetes and even death.
Yet it has become commonplace to regard ‘full employment’ in Australia as an unemployment rate of 5 per cent, or even higher. That’s effectively saying that at any point in time, 700,000 of our fellow citizens will have to put up with joblessness.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 9 SEPTEMBER 2019
Last month, Kerry Robertson became the first Victorian to use the state's Voluntary Assisted Dying Act.
After nine years of cancer slowly spreading through her body, she died peacefully, surrounded by family who described her death as empowered. Dignified. Perfect.
It was the death that Kerry chose, something she had the right to do under Victorian law.
The same cannot be said here in the ACT.Read more
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
MONDAY, 9 SEPTEMBER 2019
Subjects: Cashless welfare card, mandatory drug testing for social security recipients, drug testing for politicians, the economy struggling under the government, the Morrison Government’s lack of plan for productivity.
LAURA JAYES: Let's go live now to Canberra. Joining me is Labor MP Andrew Leigh. Thanks so much for your time. Let's start on the cashless welfare card. Evidence has showed that it is working in some of these communities. Do you dispute that?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Laura, all the evidence that I've read suggests that this card won't create a single additional job, and there's concerns that it has adverse impacts on financial management and Aboriginal peoples’ sense of autonomy. When it’s rolled out on a compulsory basis, which is where Labor has our chief concerns, this seems to have more adverse impacts than positive benefits.Read more