The Australian economy needs leadership - Transcript, Sky News

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TV INTERVIEW
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
TUESDAY, 5 NOVEMBER 2019

SUBJECTS: The Morrison Government failing to manage the economy; the Morrison Government failing to step up on the world stage; Labor election review.

LAURA JAYES: Let’s go live now to the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, Andrew Leigh. He joins me now from Sydney this morning. Andrew Leigh, thanks so much for your time.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Laura. 

JAYES: First of all, the RBA is meeting once again today to consider a rate cut, if another one is needed. What’s your tip on what decision they’ll make?

LEIGH: The markets have the Reserve Bank keeping rates on hold, but regardless of whether they cut by another 25 basis points or keep constant at 0.75 per cent, the RBA is running out of monetary policy firepower. We know that there's limited impact that quantitative easing could have, and so really the question is: will the Morrison Government step up and do with fiscal policy what the Reserve Bank can't do with monetary policy? We need structural reform. We need fiscal policy, and we need it now more than ever, given that we've had the worst retail sales numbers in a generation coming out yesterday. On a per person basis, the economy shrank over the last fiscal year. We've got unemployment a percentage point higher than in Britain or New Zealand or the United States. And we've got problems with wage growth being in the doldrums, which is really at the heart of the retail sales problem.

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Honouring the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab - Speech, Canberra

HONOURING THE BICENTENARY OF THE BIRTH OF THE BAB, CO-FOUNDER OF THE BAHA’I FAITH

CANBERRA, 3 NOVEMBER 2019

It's an honour to be here today, on the lands of the Ngunnawal people. I pay my respects to elders past and present.

The Bab is to the Baha’i faith as Jesus is to Christianity - a leading figure whose life was cut short in his 30s, but whose teachings live on in the world today. At this moment in history it couldn't be more appropriate to be celebrating the Bab, for three reasons.

The first is the emphasis on inclusion in a world in which exclusion is becoming all too common, in a world in which people are being split into communities and there are too many of us seeking to divide us. His teachings resonated broadly. As Leo Tolstoy observed ‘I therefore sympathise with Babiism with all my heart in as much as it teaches people brotherhood and equality and sacrifice of material life for service to God.’

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Innovation + Equality Book Launches

My new book with Joshua Gans is titled Innovation + Equality: How to Create a Future That Is More Star Trek Than Terminator. Published by MIT Press, with a foreword by Larry Summers, we make the case that pursuing innovation does not mean giving up on equality – precisely the opposite. In this book, we outline ways that society can become both more entrepreneurial and more egalitarian.

I'd love it if you could join the conversation at one of our three scheduled book launches. Click the links for details and to RSVP:

Melbourne (University of Melbourne Law School), Monday 18 November

Canberra (ANU), Wednesday 20 November (in conversation with Brian Schmidt)

Sydney (UNSW city campus), Thursday 21 November

All launches will kick off at 6pm. Innovation + Equality is available on Amazon now. If you have a moment, please post a review - it really helps others find the book.

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Frydenberg is playing a jaunty tune on Picasso's violin - Op Ed, The Canberra Times

FRYDENBERG IS PLAYING A JAUNTY TUNE ON PICASSO'S VIOLIN

The Canberra Times, 30 October 2019

‘I found a Picasso and a Stradivarius in my attic’, goes the joke. Alas, Stradivarius couldn’t paint, and Picasso made terrible violins’.

The Morrison Government has a similar problem. When it comes to economic growth, what matters to households are their living standards: how incomes are growing on a per-person basis. When it comes to carbon emissions, the big question is how Australia is impacting the planet. So its total emissions that count.

But thats not what the Coalition has been spruiking. When discussing the economy, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg points to 28 years of uninterrupted economic growth’ as proof of the economys resilience. What he wont admit is that on a per-person basis, Australia’s gross domestic product (the sum of the economy’s output) shrank over the past year. The nation has been through a ‘per-capita recession’.

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Running out of excuses for high inequality - Op Ed, The Hill

RUNNING OUT OF EXCUSES FOR HIGH INEQUALITY

The Hill, 28 October 2019

American views on inequality have profoundly shifted. In 1995, 30 percent believed that poverty is due to circumstances beyond individual control. Today, fully 55 percent of Americans take that view. Two decades ago, most Americans didn’t see a role for government in addressing inequality. Now, most do.

The traditional economic argument against addressing inequality is that it blunts the incentives for the wealthy to invest. But while cutting top tax rates might give the most affluent a larger share, the consequence can be that governments need to cut productivity-enhancing measures like infrastructure and education spending. As a result, growth slows. The wealthy end up with a bigger share of a smaller pie. They have more in relative terms, but less in absolute terms.

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Facebook and the line between truth and falsehood - Transcript, ABC News Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC NEWS RADIO

THURSDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2019

SUBJECTS: Identity-matching bill; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mark Zuckerberg; Facebook advertising.

SANDY ALOISI: Let’s get reaction to this now. Federal Labor MP Andrew Leigh is with me now. Good afternoon. Thanks for joining us.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Sandy.

ALOISI: A fairly rare bipartisan decision on a bill that one could say was controversial from the outset.

LEIGH: Yes, and I commend the six Liberals on the committee for standing up for the basic principle that we shouldn't allow Peter Dutton to set up a mass surveillance system. As the bill was drafted, the Australian Human Rights Commissioner noted it could contemplate intrusive surveillance of people who hadn't committed any crime. That's a concern in the abstract, but it's a particular concern when at the same time as this bill is before the Parliament, you've got Peter Dutton saying that there should be mandatory prison sentences for people who engage in peaceful legal protest activity and calling for protesters to be photographed. We need to ensure that this doesn't lead to the establishment of a huge database of facial images that would allow people to be identified that haven't committed any crime.

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Facebook must act on misinformation - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 OCTOBER 2019

 For 15 years I have been a Facebook user. I was an early adopter, having studied at the university where Facebook was originally founded. Like many Australians I find Facebook a terrific way of staying in touch with friends and with constituents.

But Facebook has also been involved in more than its fair share of scandals. The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed huge amounts of personal data leaked to third parties. In Myanmar Facebook played a troubling role in the genocide of Rohingya Muslims. We've seen the use of Facebook by Russian troll accounts attempting to influence the United States election. We've seen, even after Cambridge Analytica, reports that data had been leaked to third parties from Facebook.

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Multilateralism, Plurilateralism and Bilateralism - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 OCTOBER 2019

I second the amendment. I spoke in the debate earlier this week about the specifics of the Indonesia free trade agreement, the largest of the three free trade agreements that we're discussing in this subsequent bill, the Customs Amendment (Product Specific Rule Modernisation) Bill 2019. Labor supported those free trade agreements, as we have supported trade liberalisation in Australia for nearly 50 years. This goes back to Gough Whitlam's decision in 1973 to cut tariffs by 25 per cent and to the decisions of the Hawke government to cut tariffs in 1988 and 1991. They did so not out of any ideological belief in free trade but because of a practical recognition that tariffs are a regressive tax and that the burden of tariffs falls more heavily on low-income Australians than on high-income Australians as a share of their income.

Just as it has been the Labor side of politics that has been sceptical about the benefits of consumption taxes, so too has it been the Labor side of the House that has been most sceptical about the benefits of tariffs, which are a consumption tax on overseas imports. We have recognised, too, that open markets benefit workers by creating more jobs. Exporting firms tend to pay higher wages and do more research and development. Multinational firms are more likely to pay higher wages. We recognise that openness is not an unmitigated good but, managed well, it can be one of the drivers of prosperity for Australia. Labor has always recognised that a strong social safety net must go hand in hand with trade liberalisation. Just as the Hawke government in the 1980s, through people such as John Button, worked with industries to engage in suitable restructuring packages, so too Labor today believes it is vital to have strong social supports and a cooperative relationship with industries to manage the impacts of trade.

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Government needs to face up to challenges in economy - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 22 OCTOBER 2019

Twenty-seven-year-old Robert Chang delivers food for work but it is his second job. He works long shifts as a postie and, after he's finished that, he works about 13 hours over the weekend for Uber Eats, delivering meals in south-west Sydney. He told the ABC:

'I am pretty much just no-lifing it—work, eat, sleep, rinse, repeat.'

That is reality for many Australians in the modern economy. We know what the other side is going to say over this. We know they will say there are no problems in the Australian economy, because the Prime Minister told their party room today that, unless you're facing down a nuclear Holocaust, things are doing alright. So, unless you're in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, no complaining. They will tell us on this side that we are irresponsible to point out the challenges in the Australian economy. But the fact is it is irresponsible not to warn of the storm clouds gathering on the horizon.

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Frydenberg needs to take responsibility for economic clouds - Transcript, Doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2019

SUBJECTS: The Government’s lack of economic leadership; COAG; Your Car, Your Choice; Government inaction on the need to fix fundraising; Syria.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Good morning everyone. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. We know full well that if the Australian economy was performing strongly, Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg would be claiming credit for every skerrick of economic news. But when we've got troubling economic indicators, they run a mile rather than take responsibility for the impact of their policies. We’ve seen Josh Frydenberg return from the IMF meetings claiming that the problems in the Australian economy are all someone else's fault, all have to do with global economic circumstances. And yet we know, repeated as recently as last week in the Deloitte report, that many of the Australian economy problems are home grown.

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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.