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
Joint media release with
The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP
Minister for Environment and Water
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