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The Government gave $13 billion to firms with rising earnings

The Government gave $13 billion to firms with rising earnings

The Australian

23 September 2021

What could your household do with $1300? Maybe you’d get the car fixed, or donate the money to a homeless shelter, or pay down the mortgage. I’m guessing what you wouldn’t do is to find a business whose profits are growing, walk in and plonk 13 $100 notes on the counter.

Yet, thanks to Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg, your household just did exactly that.

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The Government wants pensioners to pay back their JobKeeper overpayments - but billionaires can keep them

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2CC CANBERRA LIVE WITH LEON DELANEY

TUESDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER 2021

 

SUBJECTS: $13 billion in JobKeeper overpayments

 

LEON DELANEY, HOST: The federal member for Fenner and Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities, Andrew Leigh, has been criticised - by The Australian newspaper, no less. He's been accused of being a hypocrite. Apparently, according to The Australian, Andrew Leigh is a hypocrite because he's been heavily pursuing the issue of companies that claimed government payments from the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme and yet went on to make record profits anyway and paid out big bonuses to their executives and big dividends to their shareholders. Obviously, there is a question to be asked there, but according to The Australian, Andrew Leigh is hypocritical because, they say, he was singing a different song last year. Andrew Leigh is on the phone now. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon, great to be with you.

DELANEY: Thanks for joining us. Are you a hypocrite?

LEIGH: Of course not. This idea that you've either got to be all in favour of JobKeeper or all against JobKeeper is schoolyard stuff. Any sophisticated observer knows that we needed a wage subsidy scheme in place, as many other advanced countries had. We didn't need a wage subsidy scheme that gave $13 billion to firms with rising revenue, and has less transparency than the schemes in place in Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States

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The Government's $13 billion in JobKeeper overpayments

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER 2021

 

SUBJECTS: Kristina Keneally; Joel Fitzgibbon; $13 billion of JobKeeper overpayments

 

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Let's speak to somebody from Labor about this: Andrew Leigh, our #JobKeeperWarrior. Good morning, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. Always great to be with you.

PAUL: Thank you, mate. Look, Kristina Keneally, there's an offensive being mounted by the federal government and Labor detractors, critics, that Kristina Keneally being parachuted into Fowler is not a good thing.

LEIGH: Kristina is one of our strongest performers, somebody who's a former premier of New South Wales, and has a strong policy mind, who's able to take the fight up to the opposition, but who also, I think, will be a terrific advocate for the people for the people of Fowler.

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The Government won't learn from its JobKeeper mistakes

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2021

 

SUBJECTS: The Government’s JobKeeper secrecy and waste; National Women’s Safety Summit; Prime Minister’s travel on Fathers Day

 

[CLIP OF JOSH FRYDENBERG ON 7.30 REPORT PLAYS]

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew Leigh is our #JobKeeperWarrior. Good morning, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. We've been talking about this for a long time. It seems like everyone else is just catching up this last week, doesn't it?

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The Government isn't doing a thing to get back the $13 billion taxpayer dollars they wasted on their big business mates

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

RADIO 6PR MORNINGS WITH LIAM BARTLETT

MONDAY, 6 SEPTEMBER 2021

 

SUBJECTS: The Government’s JobKeeper waste and secrecy

 

[CLIP OF PARLIAMENTARY SPEECH PLAYS]

LIAM BARTLETT, HOST: That's Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities and he joins us this morning. Andrew, how are you?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Very well, Liam. Congratulations on your 60 Minutes work yesterday, an incredibly important forensic analysis of the biggest waste in Australian history.

BARTLETT: Well, you've been covering, as we just heard on the radio, you've been covering it on the floor of the House for weeks now, trying to make a dent in some of these huge, huge figures. But Andrew, as I just mentioned, I think it's really important that we, you know, it's one thing to reel off all those millions from the public side of things, but 97 per cent of it is private. We may never know.

LEIGH: That's exactly right, Liam. Now, what we've got from the private companies is absolute secrecy. We only have the public company transparency, as you pointed out in 60 Minutes, because ASIC, the corporate watchdog, required listed companies to disclose JobKeeper receipt to the share market. But there's a bunch of large private firms out there, which may or may not have gotten JobKeeper and may or may not have had rising revenue. At a time when people are being asked to tighten their belts, when real wages are forecast to fall for the typical Australian, it's only right to be putting a bit of a spotlight on who got JobKeeper and then saw their revenues rise.

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Australians deserve to know where JobKeeper went – it shouldn’t be a state secret

Australians deserve to know where JobKeeper went – it shouldn’t be a state secret

The Guardian

Thursday, 2 September 2021

As economies locked down in early 2020, many countries around the world established wage subsidy schemes. Economists know that employment relationships are easier to break than make. So wage subsidy schemes incentivise firms to maintain employment through a temporary slump.

The British scheme was called the job retention scheme. In New Zealand, it was the Covid wage subsidy. Canada set up the Canada emergency wage subsidy. The United States created the paycheck protection program.

Some of these schemes were established by progressive governments; others by conservative governments. But whether it was Johnson or Ardern, Trudeau or Trump, other countries’ wage subsidy schemes had one thing in common: full transparency. Taxpayers could log on to a website and find out the names of every firm that got wage subsidies.

Transparency isn’t a left- or right-wing value; it’s simply good government. It reflects the fact that taxpayers are the people who pay the government’s bills, and taxpayers should know how the money is spent. As former US supreme court Justice Louis Brandeis put it, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Australia too created a wage subsidy scheme (though not before Scott Morrison called it a “dangerous” idea). Yet JobKeeper didn’t include any transparency. The government provided no information about which firms received JobKeeper. None, zilch, nada.

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Australia’s most incompetent, thin-skinned, secretive, and cowardly government

AUSTRALIA’S MOST INCOMPETENT, THIN-SKINNED, SECRETIVE, AND COWARDLY GOVERNMENT

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

CANBERRA

TUESDAY, 31 AUGUST 2021

Australia has had bad Government's before, but have we ever had a more mendacious, incompetent, thin-skinned, secretive, cowardly Government than this one?

Australians are furious that the Morrison Government gave $13 billion of JobKeeper to firms with rising revenues.

In Britain, Canada, the United States and New Zealand, the public knew every firm that got wage subsidies. In Australia, the only reason we know anything about JobKeeper recipients is because ASIC required listed firms to disclose to the stock market. But only 3 per cent of JobKeeper went to listed companies.

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The Government spent $13 billion on JobKeeper that didn't save a single job

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC RADIO CANBERRA MORNINGS WITH ADAM SHIRLEY

WEDNESDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2021

 

SUBJECTS: $13 billion in JobKeeper waste; Stage 3 tax changes

 

ADAM SHIRLEY, HOST: The Member for Fenner, Dr Andrew Leigh, has been the chief agitator on the Government's JobKeeper program. Dr Leigh, good morning to you.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Adam. Great to be with you, and happy spring. Isn't it wonderful that Canberra's turned on the warmth for us?

SHIRLEY: Warming up a little bit, which I think will be positive news for a lot of people in lockdown currently. Are you satisfied with what Mr Harvey has done?

LEIGH: I'd certainly be pleased if he paid back on behalf of the franchisees as well, but the fact is he has paid back the component from head office. He's done so thanks to considerable public pressure. The only reason Gerry Harvey's paying back is because Australians know how much he received, and we know that because ASIC, the corporate watchdog, required all listed firms to disclose to the share market their JobKeeper receipts.

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The Government wasted $13 billion in JobKeeper, and won't ask for it back

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RADIO MELBOURNE DRIVE WITH RAFAEL EPSTEIN
TUESDAY, 31 AUGUST 2021
 
SUBJECTS: The Government’s $13 billion in JobKeeper waste
 
RAFAEL EPSTEIN, HOST: Hopefully my next guest will not hang up! [Gerry Harvey had just hung up on him.] It's 5.14pm.
 
Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. He's one of the Labor MPs in Canberra. He's part of Anthony Albanese's shadow finance team. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.
 
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Raf. I can absolutely give you a rock-solid guarantee I will not hang up on you. Look forward to your questions.
 
EPSTEIN: Firstly, it's significant, isn't it, if Gerry Harvey gives back some of the JobKeeper money? That's a good thing, no?
 
LEIGH: Absolutely. It's terrific that Gerry Harvey's done the right thing. He was refusing to do so six months ago. It's clear the reason that he repaid was the public pressure that has been placed on him. The only reason we got that public pressure is because the corporate watchdog, ASIC, required listed companies to disclose their JobKeeper to the share market, so it really points to the value of transparency.

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New figures show JobKeeper the most wasteful program ever run by the Australian government

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

5AA MORNINGS WITH LEON BYNER

MONDAY, 30 AUGUST 2021

 

SUBJECTS: Government’s JobKeeper waste and secrecy

 

LEON BYNER, HOST: Andrew, it's good to talk to you again.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Always great to talk with you, Leon. Thanks for having me on the program.

BYNER: Now, more than $13 billion in JobKeeper payments were given to businesses which recorded increases in revenue, and that has fuelled a lot of discussion that the wage subsidy was the biggest budget waste in our history. Do you still hold to that?

LEIGH: I can't think of the bigger one, Leon. This amount of money would have built fibre-to-the-home broadband for every urban home in Australia. It's more than the federal government spends on public schools in a single year. It’s almost $1,000 for every Australian adult.

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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.