2GB MONEY NEWS WITH LUKE GRANT
THURSDAY, 22 DECEMBER 2022
SUBJECTS: Increasing workplace giving
LUKE GRANT (HOST): It is, isn't it, the season of giving. Have you heard of workplace giving? I'll tell you what, I could throw a line in there. Essentially, it's donating to charity direct from your salary. Oh, it's tempting. So, you could contribute a small portion of your pre‑tax salary to charity and receive the tax benefit straight away rather than waiting until the end of the financial year. It's not a bad idea.
Most recently ATO stats show there are 4.3 million employees at workplaces that had a workplace giving program, yet just 5 per cent of people are participating, and I think the question is why? So let's ask a man who might know. He should know; he's the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, for goodness sake, he's Dr Andrew Leigh, and I'm delighted to say that he's on the line from, I'm assuming the nation's capital; is that where you are, good sir?
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES, AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: I'm in Melbourne at the moment, Luke.
LEIGH: But delighted to be chatting with you and your listeners.Read more
Market power and markups
The Australian, Tuesday 20 December 2022
It’s hard to ignore the growing body of evidence that excessive market concentration can lead to economic problems.
Dominant firms in a market may have less incentive to carry out research and development. They may have less incentive to produce new products. And in some cases, they may have less incentive to pay their employees fairly.
The challenge for economists is to better understand the problems. That means measuring them. Market concentration tells us how much share the biggest players have. But it doesn’t tell us the extent to which they’re throwing their weight around.
By contrast, markups – the gap between firms’ costs and what they charge their consumers – go more directly to the impact on consumers. In that sense, markups are capturing the market power of firms: their ability to influence the price at which they sell their products.Read more
WEDNESDAY, 14 DECEMBER 2022
SUBJECTS: Investigation into accommodation booking platforms, monopoly power.
KATHERINE FEENEY (HOST): It seems as though you can compare prices - get a sweet deal. Well, a government investigation is looking at whether these sites are actually doing the opposite. Andrew Leigh can tell you more. He's the Assistant Competition Minister. Minister, thank you for your company. What are your concerns about these websites, first off?
DR ANDREW LEIGH, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY: Great to be with you, and thanks very much for taking an interest in the issue. My concern is that we're talking about hotel booking platforms that don't clean the toilets, don't change the sheets, don't help on the front desk; they're simply organising the processing of the payment. And some of the stories I've heard have their fees running into the double digits. So we need to find out what are the fees that are being charged, and more importantly, whether or not these sites are using their monopoly power to prevent hotels from encouraging people to book directly with them.Read more
6PR MORNINGS WITH GARY ADSHEAD
WEDNESDAY, 14 DECEMBER 2022
SUBJECTS: The Treasury’s investigation into accommodation and travel booking websites, online monopolies.
GARY ADSHEAD (HOST): All right. Now, we all definitely do this, don't we - it's become the norm, and you know, to a degree, to the chagrin of the humble travel agent, that we just sit at home in our home office, or in our bedroom, or in the lounge room with a laptop, and we just go, "Oh, I want to go here on holiday, so let's start scanning some of those online booking sites to get a really good deal, a cheap deal." Well, is it the case? Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competitions, Charity and Treasury and he's having a good look at this. I want to know why. G'day, Andrew.
DR ANDREW LEIGH, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY: G'day, Gary. Great to be with you and your listeners.
ADSHEAD: Thanks, mate. Now, one of them is obviously Booking.com, for example, you know, Expedia, of course, which has sort of morphed into other companies as well. But what is the problem? What are you worried about?
LEIGH: I'm concerned about a situation in which Australian hotels are getting too little of the share of the hotel bill. Now, these booking platforms aren't changing the sheets, they're not cleaning the toilets, they're not operating the front desk, and yet they could be charging fees that are in the double digit range, much more than your credit card would charge for processing the payment.
Many of them have sort of a monopoly position over the market, so I'm concerned that they might be using that monopoly position to get a pretty large share of the pie. And I'm also concerned that they might be telling hotels, that if hotels offer a better deal to customers that book direct, then they'll either not be listed on the platform, or else they'll be downranked in the algorithm, and turn up at the bottom of the search listings.
ADSHEAD: Geez.Read more
Joint media release with
Leigh Gordon AO CSM
Royal Australian Mint Chief Executive Officer
FINAL COMMEMORATIVE COIN DESIGN FEATURING QUEEN ELIZABETH II EFFIGY RELEASED
Today, the Royal Australian Mint has released the design of the obverse side to be used on commemorative Australian coins following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Obverse will be used on collectable and investment coins starting from 1 January 2023.
Since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, six effigies of the Queen have appeared on Australian coins. Featuring British engraver Jody Clark’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the Memorial Obverse will have one notable addition – the Queen’s years of reign – it will read “Elizabeth II 1952-2022”.Read more
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
MONDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2022
SUBJECTS: Charity scams, energy plan, clean energy
DANICA DE GIORGIO (HOST): There's a warning for Australians who give generously to charities over the Christmas period to be aware of fake charity scams. Fake scams have tended to peak over the December January period in recent years. Joining me now live, is Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. Which scams are doing the rounds?
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY DR ANDREW LEIGH, : Well, it's a range of scams, typically from organisations pretending to be reputable charities. And so the key here is to be safe and to give smart. If someone's on the phone and they're not sounding quite right, then just hang up and Google the charity. Or go to acnc.gov.au, the charity commission website, where you can get the real details. We want to make sure that scammers go home empty handed this Christmas season, at the same time as ensuring that Australia's great charities get the resources they need to help the most vulnerable.Read more
ABC MELBOURNE DRIVE WITH RAF EPSTEIN
TUESDAY, 6 DECEMBER 2022
SUBJECTS: interest rates, inflation, coal and gas prices
RAF EPSTEIN (HOST): Eight consecutive rate rises. Interest rates, or the central rate, hasn't been this high since the end of December 2012. These are the issues that are faced by the Albanese government. Andrew Leigh is the assistant Minister for Competition Charities and Treasury. Thanks for joining us.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES, AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: Pleasure, Raf. Good to be with you and your listeners.Read more
Joint media release with
The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP
Minister for Social Services
Member for Solomon
Senator the Hon Murray Watt
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Minister for Emergency Management
THANKS TO OUR DISASTER VOLUNTEERS
Volunteers play a significant role during disasters, stepping up to help their families, friends and neighbours during times of great need.
Today, on International Volunteer Day, we recognise the tireless efforts of Australia’s volunteers, who join our professional emergency services personnel in supporting their communities in times of crisis.
During relentless and repeated disasters this year, across large parts of the country, volunteers have been front and centre protecting communities.
It has been a demanding year, and volunteers from all walks of life, from every corner of Australia, have contributed to helping their communities.
In New South Wales, SES volunteers have supported 15,800 requests for assistance and 806 flood rescues since 14 September. These requests include conducting damage assessments to buildings and homes. More than 6,300 building assessments have been completed.
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