Labor will ensure we share the benefits of prosperity - Transcript, Sky News Agenda





SUBJECTS: CBA penalties, Banking Royal Commission, By-elections, asylum seekers.

KIERAN GILBERT: Andrew Leigh, any reaction to that breaking news, CBA to pay a record $700 million in civil penalties, plus costs in that AUSTRAC case.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, that is a huge amount of money. They said earlier that they'd put aside $375 million, so now to go to $700 million really does speak to the gravity of what has happened here and again reinforces the call that we've been making for the past two years for a Royal Commission. We've seen from CBA alone scandals ranging from children's bank accounts to charging dead people for work that hadn't been done.

GILBERT: So do you think that this might be the start of a reckoning within the big banks? Certainly in the CBA that they have to face up to some of this?

LEIGH: I certainly think the big banks do need to face up to this. I think there have been a whole range of problems that have been revealed through the Royal Commission process. It's why Labor argued so strongly for it and it also reinforces the importance right now of not giving a $17 billion tax cut to the big banks.

GILBERT: When you look at the broader issues of the day, let's have a look at the polling we spoke about at the weekend, the ReachTEL polling. It has surprised quite a few people, I think, that it had the Coalition so strongly in front in Braddon, a bit closer in Longman but you've got quite a fight on your hands, haven't you?

LEIGH: We do, but these are marginal seats. They'll be hard fought, particularly in Braddon where you have got a former member standing there. But I know Susan and Justine, I think they are terrific local members. Bill Shorten will be making the strong case, as will the whole Labor team, for our bigger, better, fairer tax cuts, for investing in schools and hospitals, and for a plan that doesn’t give just to the top end of town but ensures that we share the benefits of prosperity.

GILBERT: When you look at the broader support for the Government’s plans, certainly in these marginal seats, they have that support for the hard line on border protection. Yet in Labor, that is a complex issue, as I put to the Immigration Minister. And those complexities very much on show in the Labor Party where you have quite a range of views, including Troy Bramston reports today in the Australian there’s several motions submitted to the NSW ALP conference where there are, many branches want you to water down your approach on this issue, to soften it.

LEIGH: The Refugee Resettlement Agreement in 2013 was a tough Labor decision, saying that anyone who came by boat wouldn’t be resettled in Australia. That was debated at the last national conference and it was agreed that the party platform would support that. Nothing in that says that people should have languished on Manus and Nauru for as long as they have. The Government should have been working with New Zealand in order to resettle people out of Manus and Nauru. And the position I’ve just articulated has broad support across the Labor caucus.

GILBERT: Within the caucus, not the branches through. Is it true that you’re out of step with the rank and file, do you think?

LEIGH: No, it’s not.  Australians don’t want to see deaths at sea and they do want to see us take a more sensible approach to asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru. There’s no reason why they should have been languishing there for so many years. The Government has had all its eggs in the American basket, rather than working with other countries to do resettlement.

GILBERT: Mr Leigh, thanks as always.


Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.