ABC SATURDAY EXTRA WITH GERALDINE DOOGUE
SATURDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2022
SUBJECTS: Competition policy, economic dynamism, tourism and accommodation consultation on price parity clauses, ACCC digital platforms inquiry.
GERALDINE DOOGUE (HOST): Well, we all know how time-consuming and frustrating it can be searching around online for the best rates for a hotel room or flight. Sometimes we're left scratching our heads, as every platform seems to be offering the same rate, give or take a dollar, even the hotel's own website. Well a new Federal Government review is looking at this exact phenomenon, which is called a price parity clause. That's where a hotel cannot offer rooms at a lower price than those on the platform to which it's contracted. These clauses may well be anticompetitive, with consumers adversely affected. To talk us through the review's objectives and for a fuller understanding of reforms that may be necessary in the competition space, I'm pleased to welcome back to the programme Dr Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. Welcome back, Andrew.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: Thanks, Geraldine, great to be chatting with you.
DOOGUE: How widespread are these price parity clauses in Australia and overseas?Read more
The Canberra Times, Friday 2 December 2022
When prime minister William McMahon set the date for the 1972 election as December 2, Whitlam noted that it was the anniversary of the 1805 Battle of Austerlitz, when Napoleon defeated the Russian and Austrian armies. It was, he said, "a date on which a crushing defeat was administered to a Coalition - another ramshackle, reactionary Coalition".
Whitlam was a reformer, but he valued tradition, and knew his history. Visiting Australia in 1974, Gore Vidal was struck to meet a prime minister who took issue with the historical accuracy of Vidal's novel about the Roman emperor Julian.
It was, Vidal later noted, "an unusual experiment for Australia to choose as its prime minister its most intelligent man". As Julia Gillard noted in her 2011 Whitlam oration, Whitlam - like his near namesake Whitman - could well have said "I am large, I contain multitudes."Read more
Saltmarsh ecosystems: helping to tackle climate change and protect coastal homes - Media Release
New data has shown that saltmarsh ecosystems are protecting over 88,000 homes from storm surges, and sequestered about 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2021.
Saltmarshes are coastal wetlands that are flooded and drained by salt water brought in by the tide.
This information comes from the second phase of the Australian Government’s National Ocean Ecosystem Account, released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Phase two has focused on carbon storage, gross carbon sequestration and coastal protection benefits of Australia’s saltmarshes, which are considered to be blue carbon ecosystems.
There are over 1 million hectares of saltmarsh in Australia, an area larger than Greater Melbourne.Read more
ABC CANBERRA DRIVE WITH ANNA VIDOT
TUESDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2022
SUBJECTS: COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRES, CHARITIES
ANNA VIDOT: Speaking of organisations that do a power of good in our community, for some of the most vulnerable people in Canberra, community legal centres are a vital service for accessing justice. Whether it was people who were caught up in the awful road [indistinct] saga, victims of domestic violence, public housing tents, First Nations people navigating the justice system, many of these clients are represented by not-for-profit community legal centres.
Now, clearly there are also a lot of policy questions around all of this, and the laws that affect all of these kinds of issues, but for almost a decade, community legal centres that receive Commonwealth funding have not been allowed to lobby government or advocate for policy change or law reform.
This dates back to a 2014 change when the Abbott Government restricted the right of these organisations to enter into public debate or criticism of the Commonwealth and its agencies, and that was a condition of their Commonwealth funding.
Well, that's been scrapped, the Federal Attorney General Mark Dreyfus has announced today, he says they're ending that what, he's called "censorship", of these community legal centres.
Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition Charities, appropriately enough, when we're talking charities today, Andrew Leigh. Andrew Leigh, thanks so much for your time.Read more
The Australian, Tuesday 29 November 2022
Earlier this month, the competition watchdog released its inquiry into digital services.
The report highlighted the massive market dominance of digital platforms, such as Google, which has a 94 per cent share of the search market. It recommended major reforms, such as a requirement that user interfaces are designed in the best interests of consumers, and a broadbased ban on unfair trading practices.
Since at least the days of Adam Smith, economists have spruiked the virtues of competition. Industries with plenty of competitors tend to deliver lower prices and more choice than sectors dominated by a single monopoly.
Yet over recent decades, the Australian economy has exhibited some worrying trends. The business start-up rate and job switching have declined, while market concentration and mark-ups have risen.
In considering what to do, there’s plenty we can learn from other countries.Read more
Supporting tourism and accommodation providers to set their own prices
The Albanese Government is delivering on its commitment to support tourism and accommodation providers to set their own prices when guests contact them to book directly.
Minister for Trade and Tourism, Don Farrell, and Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh, today announced that the Government will commence consultation to understand if online booking platforms are restricting the ability of tourism and accommodation providers to set their own prices, and to identify if any action is required to address this.
If online travel agents use price parity clauses or similar restrictions, this could overwhelmingly impact smaller accommodation providers, particularly smaller individual operators who rely on online travel agents to market their products.Read more
ABC CANBERRA MORNINGS WITH ADAM SHIRLEY
FRIDAY, 18 NOVEMBER 2022
SUBJECTS: APPOINTMENT OF NEW ACNC COMMISSIONER, regulation of CHARITY SECTOR, cyber-threats, WORLD CUP
ADAM SHIRLEY (HOST): There's been quite a bit of change since the Labor Federal government took the reins in late May. And it's true to say, in the case of the regulator of all charities in Australia, a new boss is in place. Susan Woodward has been announced as full time commissioner to the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission for five years. Andrew Leigh is the Minister responsible. Dr Leigh, thank you very much for your time today.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES, AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: Pleasure, Adam. Great to be chatting with you.
SHIRLEY: How clear a break are you trying to make from the way the charities regulator was run in the last nine years?
LEIGH: Well, it's a big break from the former head of the charities commission, a bloke called Gary Johns, who had made his name largely as a charities critic before being appointed by the Liberals to head the charities commission. His appointment was snuck through in the hours following the same sex marriage vote, largely in order to cover some of the statements he had made, including describing Indigenous women as ‘cash cows’. This appointment is quite different. He said when we came to office, we would do an open call for nominations and then have an independent panel that would select the head of the charities commission. That independent panel was the head of Treasury, the head of Finance and the first head of the charities commission, Susan Pascoe. They came forward with the recommendation. I was pleased to accept that recommendation. And that's Sue Woodward, somebody with enormous connections, respect and knowledge of the charity sector.Read more
Susan Woodward to head Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
Today I announce the appointment of Ms Susan Woodward AM as the full-time Commissioner to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) for a five-year period commencing on 12 December 2022.
The Albanese Government believes in the value that charities bring to our economy and society, and respects their role in our democracy. The charity and non-profit sector comprises around one-tenth of employment, and a significant amount of GDP.
The ACNC is the independent national regulator of charities, and works to support a strong, independent and innovative not-for-profit sector. It is vital for Australia that the ACNC be headed by an experienced leader, who commands broad respect across the Australian community sector.
Ms Woodward has extensive experience in the charities and not-for-profits sector. Since 2015, she has been the Chief Adviser, Not-for-profit Law at Justice Connect. She has previously served in senior roles in the Australian Government and the ACNC and is a recognised legal and regulatory expert. She was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2021 for her significant service to the not-for-profit sector, to fundraising and to the law.
Ms Woodward’s appointment continues the Albanese Government’s strong record of identifying capable women for senior public sector roles.
The Albanese Government thanks Deborah Jenkins for her contribution as acting ACNC Commissioner for the past few months.
Joint media release with
The Hon Luke Gosling OAM MP
Member for Solomon
CHARITIES CONSULTATIONS CONCLUDE IN DARWIN
The nation’s largest charity consultation reached Darwin yesterday, as the Albanese Government meets with charities across the country to discuss how to rebuild their role in communities.
Over the past generation, Australia’s community bonds have frayed as people have become less likely to join, volunteer and participate in community activities.
And for nearly a decade, the previous government downplayed and discouraged the expertise of charities and non‑profit organisations, and our communities have paid the price.
Yesterday’s Darwin Community Building Forum highlighted that Northern Territory charities are vital for vulnerable Australians and rebuilding community connections.
They deliver critical legal support, health support, and support conservation, land care, and closing the gap.
The forum also highlighted that Northern Territory charities are resilient and innovative, having found new ways to engage supporters and volunteers.Read more
Tax treaty network expansion
The Albanese Government will expand Australia’s tax treaty network to support its commitment to boost international trade and investment, provide improved certainty to taxpayers and guard against tax evasion and avoidance practices.
New negotiations are planned with Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These countries add to the current program which includes Portugal, Slovenia, Greece and Luxembourg. The current program also includes Iceland who signed a tax treaty with Australia on 12 October 2022.Read more