Liberal pollster's farcical vault on to sports board - Media Release


Liberal pollster Mark Textor has vaulted on to the Australian Sports Commission board in the latest example of Turnbull’s ‘jobs for the boys’.

Greg Hunt today announced Mark Textor as one of three new appointments to the board, along with AFL Commissioner Gabrielle Trainor and former director of Tennis Australia and the Hopman Cup, Andrea Mitchell.

Ms Trainor and Ms Mitchell, who is also a former MLA for Kingsley in Western Australia, both have extensive experience in sporting administration and are well placed to serve on the ASC board.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Close the loopholes - Transcript, ABC Melbourne Drive





SUBJECTS: Paradise Papers, Labor’s multinational tax avoidance laws, Scott Morrison’s plans to give multinationals and millionaires a tax cut, Malcolm Turnbull’s citizenship crisis, John Alexander, Manus Island.

RAF EPSTEIN: To talk about the Paradise Papers and the latest political developments, we’re joined by the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. He is part of Bill Shorten the Opposition Leader’s team. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good afternoon, Raf. Looks like Paradise Lost, doesn’t it?

EPSTEIN: [laughter] Very good. We’ll get on to Paradise Papers in a tick. The register for MPs and Senators to declare their background effectively, that would work, wouldn’t it? Barnaby Joyce would have had to declare everything. So too Stephen Parry. That would have made a difference.

LEIGH: Well, it’s not quite clear what would have happened if you just relied on MPs’ disclosure here. It could well be that Barnaby Joyce and Stephen Parry would still be illegally sitting in the Parliament under this regime. We’re happy to work with the Prime Minister, who’s clearly been dragged kicking and screaming to this approach, given that he was so firm last week that nothing needed to be done. But we do want to make sure that we have a rigorous process in place. Labor’s very confident in the vetting procedures we have for anyone who stands as a Labor candidate, but we’re concerned that we see reports of more and more Liberals MPs who potentially haven’t complied with the rules.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Time to claim our fair share of taxation - Transcript, 3AW with Tom Elliott





SUBJECTS: Paradise Papers, Labor’s multinational tax avoidance laws and Scott Morrison’s plans to give multinationals and millionaires a tax cut.

TOM ELLIOTT: The Labor Party is onto this, they say it is time for Australia to claim its fair share of taxation. Joining me on the line now is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Dr Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon, Andrew.


ELLIOTT: What sort of companies or individuals are we talking about here, we're talking about Australian businesses that set up offshore or are we talking about the Amazon and Google of the world? Who are we discussing?

LEIGH: It seems to be a who's who of oligarchs, multinationals, tech companies, mining companies. What's really surprising about this to me is the broad swath of companies that are taking advantage of tax havens. Except of course your local little old Aussie business which doesn't have the advantages the big end of town gets.

ELLIOTT: So when you're talking about tax havens, what's a typical manner in which these are operated?

LEIGH: One of the most egregious examples is if you go to the Cayman Islands on the waterfront you'll find a building called Ugland House. That building is the registered office address for more than 18,000 companies. Of course, they don't actually have staff there, what they're doing is just routing their transaction through the Cayman Islands to take advantage of its generous tax rules. We think that there ought to be one rule for all companies rather than a different rule for the big end of town which lets them exploit tax havens. That's why Labor has put on the table a set of measures on tax havens. For example, if you want to go for a government tender worth more than $200,000 Labor thinks you should tell us your country of tax domicile. 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

We can’t rely on leaks to enforce tax policy - Op Ed, The Guardian


The Guardian, 6 November 2017

Another day, another leak showing dodgy dealings in tax havens. The so-called Paradise Papers, a leak of 13.4m files from two offshore service providers, reveal tax avoidance by a plethora of moguls and multinationals. From Russian oligarchs to mining giants, celebrities to technology firms, it seems like everyone who’s anyone in the shadowy world of the super-rich has money stashed in a tax haven.

Tax havens make it frighteningly easy for firms to divert profits onto their sunny tax-free shores. Last year, reporters compiled a five-step guide, showing how to establish your own secret firm in a tax haven. The process takes 10 minutes, costs about $2,000, and guarantees anonymity. Annual fees can be steep, but the start-up process is almost trivially simple. As the reporters put it, it’s “not unlike booking an international plane ticket or an overseas hotel”.

Tax havens have been estimated to hold at least $7tn in assets, costing the global economy hundreds of billions in lost taxes every year. Cayman Islands has fewer people than Bendigo, but more foreign-owned deposits than Japan. Head to the Caymans waterfront, and amid the diving shops, you’ll find Ugland House, a building that stands as the registered office address for more than 18,000 companies. Sound fishy?

One tax expert estimates that around four-fifths of money in offshore bank accounts is there in breach of other countries’ tax laws. Tax havens are used by drug-runners, extortionists and money-launderers. They are used to hide the proceeds of fraud, corruption and tax evasion.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

More transparency, tougher laws - Transcript, 5AA with Leon Byner





SUBJECTS: Paradise Papers, Labor’s multinational tax avoidance laws and Scott Morrison’s plans to give multinationals and millionaires a tax cut.

LEON BYNER: Tonight, Four Corners on the ABC are taking you inside what you call the secretive world of tax havens, where corporations and the wealthy operate far from public view. They’re going to reveal the lengths that some of the world’s most powerful business figures and global corporations are going to to avoid paying tax. As this is happening, there are ads on television – I’m sure you’ve seen them – where the federal government is saying that they’re now collecting billions of dollars more from companies like this, who have tax havens or who were avoiding tax. In fact, this morning on our 9am bulletin, they were suggesting that there’s over $3 billion – Scott Morrison, the Treasurer, said we’re getting good at this, we’re collection a lot more money. Let’s talk to the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for joining us today.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Leon. Great to be with you.

BYNER: Are we doing well in this collecting taxes that should be paid or is there a long way to go?

LEIGH: Leon, there’s a long way to go on this. We have a Treasurer who wants to give huge tax cuts to multinationals and at the same time wants to raise taxes on average workers. Labor doesn’t think that’s fair. We’ve got a strong history on multinational tax. We put in place the laws which accounted for most of that $4 billion that the Treasurer refers to. The irony is, Leon, that the Treasurer voted against those laws in Parliament when Labor introduced them in 2012-13.

BYNER: We’ve got them now, so are you saying that the laws need to be even more rigorous?

LEIGH: Absolutely. With regard to tax havens, which will be the focus on the Four Corners investigation tonight, Labor believes that if a public company has dealings in a tax haven then they ought to disclose that to shareholders as a material risk. If you want to go for a government tender, Labor believes that you ought to disclose your country of tax domicile. We want to see more transparency and tougher laws. We’ve got a package of reforms on the table to close multinational tax loopholes and bring in more than $4 billion over the course of the next decade. 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Time for Turnbull to step up on tax havens - Media Release


Almost 20 multinational companies are under investigation by the Australian Tax Office the latest tax avoidance scandal unveiled by international reporters today.

Until the Government commits to a comprehensive Tax Haven Transparency package - as Labor has - the public is going to rely on Paradise Papers style leaks to expose the murky use of tax havens.

But the Turnbull Government is more likely devoting their energy to a scare campaign about public information about who uses these tax havens and how much tax they pay.

Malcolm Turnbull’s team won’t commit to making companies that are bidding for government contracts state where they pay tax - so the public knows where their money really goes - and they won’t commit to rewards for whistleblowers who do the right thing.

These were two of the measures Labor has already publicly backed as part of its plan for a fair tax system, announced six months ago.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Reducing the cost of international remittances - Media Release






In Australia, many people work long hours to send money back to family overseas.

According to the World Bank, remittances to developing countries are worth half a trillion dollars annually – twice the value of foreign aid.

These people deserve a safe and secure way for people to send money which doesn’t involve large portions being eaten up by fees from financial institutions.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

A mess of Malcolm Turnbull's making - Transcript, Sky News Agenda





SUBJECTS: High Court decision and Barnaby Joyce breaking the law, Queensland  election, Labor’s positive trade agenda, Choosing Openness.

KIERAN GILBERT: Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. That will be Labor’s focus, won’t it, to try to break off one of those members of the Coalition under the final sitting fortnight when it arrives at the end of November?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, we’re strong champions of the issues that we were elected to parliament to work on – issues like defending penalty rates, making sure that Australians have a clean environment and renewable jobs. We won’t stop our forceful advocacy of those issues just because the government is in crisis. This is entirely of their own making. They were warned months back that Barnaby Joyce ought to step down as a minister as soon as his citizenship was in doubt. But Malcolm Turnbull thought that he knew better than the High Court and he’s once again proven that maxim that a man who would be his own lawyer has a fool for a client.  The High Court said very clearly that Malcolm Turnbull’s confidence was misplaced. Now, many ministerial decisions are up in the air.

GILBERT: So, in relation to Labor’s approach though, you can reassure our viewers this morning that it won’t be about simply trying to bring down the government? Because as I said, if there were to be a vote on relation to restoring penalty rates or indeed even a bank royal commission, that would be so damaging to the government. To lose control of the floor in that way would be the end of the government, essentially – it would be a vote of no confidence, essentially.

LEIGH: Kieran, our focus is on getting good outcomes for the people of Australia. Australians want decent penalty rates on weekends. They believe - from every study I’ve seen, Australians believe that those working on weekends should be paid fairly for their services. They believe the banks should be held to account through a Royal Commission. We’ll pursue those issues as strongly as ever, because that’s what we were elected to parliament to do – to focus on reducing inequality and bring about a fairer Australia.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Fenner Lecture 2017 - OpEd, The Chronicle

Fenner Lecture 2017

The Chronicle, October 24 2017

Not many genetic researchers can tango, but for Australian National University scientist Carola Vinuesa, it’s a welcome break from long hours in the laboratory.

Professor Vinuesa’s work on autoimmune diseases is vital for helping people with conditions such as type 1 diabetes and lupus. She has won a plethora of prizes, including the Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year and the Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship for biomedical research.  And if that wasn’t enough, Spanish-born Professor Vinuesa has worked as a doctor in India and Ghana.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Federation Chamber Adjournment - Broadband


26 OCTOBER 2017

On a warm spring evening nearly 100 Canberrans gathered at the Belconnen Community Centre recently to discuss with Tara Cheyne MLA and me ways they use broadband and the challenges many of them are facing in getting a decent connection. In days gone by, fast internet was a luxury, but it's becoming a necessity. We don't just stream videos; we use fast internet to watch university lectures and for grandparents and their grandkids to stay in touch. Speedy internet is like water and electricity: a utility that we expect to be there when we need it.

Yet there were many troubling stories. One constituent said that when their child's internet was too slow to do their homework it meant that the child had to stay up late to finish it and sometimes ended up falling asleep in class the next day. A parent of a university student told us:

My daughter drives into university at night because our home connection is too slow. I worry about her returning to a deserted campus in the late hours and spending long periods alone in computer labs, but it's the only way she can get the speed she needs to get the core coursework done.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter


8/1 Torrens Street, Braddon ACT 2612 | 02 6247 4396 |