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The Coalition have seen Australia's economy and society slip backwards

SPEECH TO THE FEDERATION CHAMBER

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

WEDNESDAY, 12 MAY 2021

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At the outset I commend Julian Hill, the member for Bruce, for bringing this important motion before the House. This motion that's before the House is grounded in the very careful analysis that the member for Bruce has done, going through the myriad of ways in which the Australian economy and society have slipped backwards under this coalition government. He has documented that real wages in Australia were 0.7 per cent lower in 2019 compared to 2013. And in last night's budget we saw the terrifying news that, at the end of the forward estimates, wages in real terms will be lower than they were at the beginning of the forward estimates.

 

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A Budget of half measures

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RADIO INTERVIEW 2CC, STEPHEN CENATIEMPO BREAKFAST SHOW

WEDNESDAY, 12 MAY 2021

 

SUBJECTS: Budget 2021

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO , HOST: We're joined now by Andrew Leigh, the Labor member for Fenner. He's also the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. Andrew, I said to your leader, Anthony Albanese, early this morning that was a very Labor budget last night.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Well, if you want a real Labor Government you need to elect one, rather than having a government which for many years has been cutting aged care and has now decided it cares about aged care.

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Government spendathon is just about the election

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RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RADIO CANBERRA MORNINGS WITH ADAM SHIRLEY
WEDNESDAY, 12 MAY 2021
 
SUBJECT: Budget 2021.

 
ADAM SHIRLEY, HOST: Let's get the take of Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Labor Member for Fenner, Dr Andrew Leigh. He's with us now on ABC Radio Canberra. Dr Leigh, thank you for your time.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Adam. Great to be with you.

SHIRLEY: Lots more money for aged care, childcare and other vulnerable people in society. Do you endorse a number of these spending measures from the Government?

LEIGH: Adam, what this budget fails to do is to tackle some of the really big problems that exist in areas like aged care. We know that the Royal Commission recommended that there be 24/7 registered nurse cover in aged care homes and the budget fails to deliver it. We know that there is a crisis in family violence, but we're supposed to believe that the Government that axed the Family Court is now going to address it.

SHIRLEY: Well they've put over $1 billion towards domestic violence and support services, so is that not directly addressing some of these issues that have been raised?

LEIGH: Those additional expenditures should be welcomed, but don't forget that the axing of the Family Court was specifically recommended against by family violence groups. We know that the vaccination of the Australian population is critical to opening up the economy, and the Government's badly bungled the vaccine rollout and quarantine, which jeopardises sectors like international education, which you were speaking about before with Zed. We know that climate change is one of the core issues facing Australia, and yet the Government still won't even commit to net zero emissions by 2050, a target that every state and territory and every credible business group had already signed up to.

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Budget 2021: Big Dollars, Small Ambition

BUDGET 2021: BIG DOLLARS, SMALL AMBITION

CANBERRA BUSINESS CHAMBER AND INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS BUDGET BREAKFAST

WEDNESDAY, 12 MAY 2021

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It’s a pleasure to be speaking again to you at today’s budget breakfast. This is the eighth Liberal budget I’ve discussed at this breakfast. They’ve been quite a rollercoaster.

In 2014, the Liberals were going to introduce a Medicare co-payment, change pension indexation from wages to prices, and cut the CSIRO.

In subsequent years, budgets from Treasurer Scott Morrison saw billions ripped out of the ABC, hospitals, schools and aged care.

Last year, the budget’s centrepiece was the JobMaker program. Forecast to create 450,000 jobs, it fell just short. 449,000 jobs short, to be precise.

 

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Liberals need to offer more than promises they'll never deliver

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RADIO INTERVIEW
2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 11 MAY 2021
 
SUBJECTS: Three tests for the Budget; Government’s failures on quarantine, vaccines, aged care, housing and ambition
 
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Look, it's a cash cow of a budget, and the jackpot will be in the billions of dollars. Certainly, austerity is dead, buried and cremated. Let's have a chat about it with Andrew Leigh MP. G'day, Andrew. How are you, mate?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Terrific, Marcus. How are you?

 

PAUL: Yeah, not bad. Now, you say the budget must meet three tests. What are they, first of all?

 

LEIGH: Well, first of all, I think it needs to fix the problems in our vaccine rollout and quarantine schemes. We know that's been bungled and we know it's key to opening up the economy. We were promised to be at the front of the queue but we're way down the back, and without vaccinating Australia things don't come back to normal.


Secondly, I think it's got to meet the test of fairness. We've got a childcare package announced which helps some families, but only a quarter as many as the package that Anthony Albanese announced last year in his budget reply. Fairness has to involve actually doing things. Last year's budget centrepiece, the JobMaker program, promised to help 450,000 people and ended up falling 449,000 short of that target.

 

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Liberals have Robodebt for the vulnerable, taxpayer-padded profits for private equity firms

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RADIO INTERVIEW
6PR MORNINGS WITH LIAM BARTLETT

THURSDAY, 6 MAY 2021
 
SUBJECTS: JobKeeper rorts
 
LIAM BARTLETT, HOST: Now, the discount retailer Best&Less is in the frame. Best&Less had millions of dollars go to it with JobKeeper, and one of the politicians who have been calling on that particular group to give the money back is Andrew Leigh. Andrew is the Federal Labor MP, the Member for Fenner in the ACT. Andrew, good morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning Liam. Great to be with you and your listeners.

 

BARTLETT: And thank you for joining us. How much do you want Best&Lless to give back, Andrew?

 

LEIGH: $42.6 million, which is the amount that they received from taxpayers, despite seeing their profits go up last year. JobKeeper was designed to be a program that kept businesses afloat and kept people in work, not to pad the profits of private equity firms.

 

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The Liberals sent Robodebt after people who didn't owe anything, but let JobKeeper rorters hold onto millions

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RADIO INTERVIEW
5AA MORNINGS WITH LEON BYNER
WEDNESDAY, 5 MAY 2021
 

SUBJECT: JobKeeper rorts.
 
LEON BYNER, HOST: There are some very smart cookies in the parliament. I know there are some that you'd probably think less of, but this bloke is not one of them. He's the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, Dr Andrew Leigh, and he's got some very valuable information about JobKeeper payments, remember, which are designed to keep companies employing and in touch with their employees, and tax avoidance. Dr Leigh is on the line. Andrew, it's good to talk to you.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Great to be back with you, Leon.

BYNER: What have you got for us?

LEIGH: We now know that one dollar in five of JobKeeper went to firms whose profits increased in 2020 over 2019. Now that's pretty extraordinary. This is a scheme that was meant to help out firms whose revenues were cratering, and in fact a fifth of it, some $15-20 billion, was snaffled up by firms with growing profits. That means hundreds of dollars for each and every one of your listeners was wasted on firms that just didn't need it.

 

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It's time Netflix chilled on tax avoidance and streamed their share of revenue to Australia

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RADIO INTERVIEW
2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 4 MAY 2021
 
SUBJECTS: Housing affordability; Morrison Government’s failure to seek JobKeeper repayments; Multinational tax avoidance; Australians stranded in India; Morrison Government’s quarantine failures; Port of Darwin
 
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: 40 years ago the average house cost around twice the annual average income. Now, it is seven times and growing. We’ve got to stop blaming young Australians. They aren’t lazy, and they’re not eating too many smashed avocados. Homes are just way more expensive than a generation ago. If we don’t address this many young Australians will be permanently locked out of housing market.

 

[CLIP BEGINS]

 

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: If only getting a real house was this easy. Sadly, this may be as close as some Australians ever get.

 

Australia’s home ownership rate is now at a 60-year low, and that’s no surprise when you look at how much it costs to get on to the property ladder. In 1980, average house prices were twice average incomes. Now, houses cost more than seven times average income.

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The Liberals are always on the side of big business, and never taxpayers

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RADIO INTERVIEW
2GB MONEY NEWS WITH BROOKE CORTE
MONDAY, 3 MAY 2021

 
SUBJECTS: Multinational tax avoidance; Government’s failure to seek JobKeeper repayments.
 
BROOKE CORTE, HOST: Andrew Leigh's the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. He joins us on Money News this evening. Andrew Leigh, welcome to the show again.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G'day, Brooke. Great to be with you.

CORTE: The multinational anti avoidance legislation actually came into effect five years ago. Has it done anything?

LEIGH: Well, it's done less than the Coalition promised. They were planning that that would be the be-all and end-all to multinational tax avoidance, but you can see the debate moving on well beyond what the Government's done in the conversations at the OECD and the G20. There's a key steering group there. Australia used to be a part of it, but we no longer are. We're not part of those big conversations about how laws need to update to stay in pace with the tech giants. As production's become more and more weightless, it's become easier to move it around different countries. 

Netflix booking its Australian revenue through the Netherlands looks pretty dodgy to me. A billion dollars in revenue, $550,000 in company tax - that doesn't seem fair.

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Liberals treat taxpayer money like it's Liberal Party money

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RADIO INTERVIEW
2CC CANBERRA LIVE WITH LEON DELANEY
MONDAY, 3 MAY 2021

 
SUBJECTS: Government’s failure to seek JobKeeper repayments; Australians stranded in India.
 
LEON DELANEY, HOST: On 2CC, federal Greens leader Adam Bandt has called for companies that made a profit while receiving JobKeeper to pay the money back. In fact, he says he's going to attempt to amend the federal budget next week to force companies to do exactly that. But if this sounds like a familiar story, I can tell you that there's a reason for that - our local member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh, has been banging this drum for quite some time, and he's 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. You have been banging this drum for a while now. Do you think you're getting more allies, or is Adam Bandt trying to steal your thunder?

LEIGH: Well, it's beaut to have the Greens getting on board with this. I think it's an important campaign, and since last September I've been calling on many of these firms to pay the money back. We've had more than $200 million so far committed in repayments, but given that one estimate is that there is $15-$20 billion which went to firms whose profits rose last year, we're still yet to see the lion's share of the money.

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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.