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Billions wasted where it wasn't needed - Transcript, 5AA Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

5AA MORNINGS

THURSDAY, 18 MARCH 2021

SUBJECT: Morrison Government’s JobKeeper waste exposed.

LEON BYNER, HOST: I'm going to talk to a bloke who is a former professor of economics at the Australian National University, and he's got some very interesting data about JobKeeper. I'm talking about the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for joining us today.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Always a pleasure, Leon.

BYNER: Now, you've uncovered that one fifth of JobKeeper payments made to major listed companies in the second half of last year went to firms who grew their profits during the pandemic. Just explain this.

LEIGH: That’s right, Leon. So JobKeeper could be claimed based on a forecast downturn, but not all firms who said their profits were going to go down actually saw them fall. And this new report from Ownership Matters highlighted that for listed companies, a fifth of the money went to firms that very clearly didn't need it, that had a better 2020 than 2019. You think of firms like Harvey Norman or Premier Investments, which owns Just Jeans and Smiggle - these retailers saw a bonanza profit in 2020. They didn't need money, but they got it anyway. And if these findings are replicated right across the JobKeeper recipients, that would be somewhere between $10 and $20 billion going to firms with rising profits.

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Government waste on colossal scale - Transcript, Sky News First Edition

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TV INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION

THURSDAY, 18 MARCH 2021

SUBJECTS: Morrison Government’s JobKeeper waste exposed; Tax cuts; the Morrison Government’s poor plans for workers.

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: There are fresh concerns this morning, one fifth of JobKeeper payments made to major listed companies in the second quarter of 2020 went to firms who grew their profits during the pandemic. Joining me live now is Labor MP, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, good to see you. Thanks for joining us this morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Pete.

STEFANOVIC: So what is your issue with this?

LEIGH: JobKeeper was meant to keep battlers in jobs, not to have money flowing to billionaire shareholders to buy the next yacht. And this new report shows really troubling findings about the extent to which JobKeeper was going to firms whose profits were rising. Think of firms like Harvey Norman or Premier Investments, big retailers who saw the best ever sales in 2020. Firms like that didn't need JobKeeper, and this report suggests that about a fifth of the money could have been going to firms with rising profits. We only know about the listed companies because the government hasn't released the rest of the information. But if this is true across the entire program, Pete, that means more than $10 billion was wasted. That's money that could extend JobKeeper for another six months right now.

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Morrison's JobKeeper waste exposed - Transcript, 2SM with Marcus Paul

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

THURSDAY, 18 MARCH 2021

SUBJECTS: Morrison Government’s JobKeeper waste exposed; the need for Indigenous recognition.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: One fifth of JobKeeper payments to major listed companies in the second half of last year went to firms who grew profits during the pandemic, sparking fresh concerns the $83 billion scheme has been abused by parts of corporate Australia. Is it any wonder the critics have called JobKeeper in some form corporate welfare? Fresh analysis from corporate governance advisory firm Ownership Matters has shown 66 of the Australian stock exchange's top 300 companies claimed a total of $1.38 billion in JobKeeper payments for the six months to the end of December. Of those, 58 reported positive profit figures during the period, and around half or 34 companies told investors their underlying earnings had improved. Now our #JobKeeperWarrior on this issue, of course, is Andrew Leigh. Andrew, good morning to you mate.

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

PAUL: Thank you. Look, the irony of course - I'm reading the story on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘business profits in a welfare rainbow’, right underneath is a half-page advertisement for Harvey Norman. 60 months interest free, no deposit, no interest. Would have cost-

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No place for bullying or sexual harassment in Labor - Transcript, 2CC Breakfast

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2CC STEPHEN CENATIEMPO BREAKFAST SHOW

WEDNESDAY, 17 MARCH 2021

SUBJECTS: The right for all women to feel safe and respected in the workplace; the need for an independent complaints process removed from the political parties; the Morrison Government’s inaction on the [email protected] recommendations; the need for men to call out bad behaviour in the workplace.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO, HOST: One man that is actually doing the right thing rather than trying to score points off this is Labor Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh, who hasn't been on the program for a while. Andrew, good to have you back.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Stephen. Great to be with you, although happy to chat with you anytime, mate. Pick up the phone anytime you want to talk.

CENATIEMPO: And you're welcome here anytime you've got something to say. And look, I've been very, very critical of people trying to score cheap political points off what are some disgraceful allegations. You've actually come out and encouraged women within your own party to come forward and report any instances of harassment or abuse. And it turns out from a Facebook page that has seen the light of day recently that there is quite a number of them.

LEIGH: These allegations were pretty horrific to me, Steve, and I certainly don't want to be in a Labor Party that has in it people who bully their staff. We're a party that believes in workers’ rights, and that's got to go beyond policies that advance workers’ rights - it's also got to be reflected in how we treat our own staff. We need to be a model employer. In that sense, anyone that's doing the wrong thing by their staff needs to be called out, needs to have their behaviour pulled into line.

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Morrison too small for the moment - Transcript, 2SM with Marcus Paul

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 16 MARCH 2021

SUBJECTS: March For Justice and the Prime Minister’s insufficient response; the right for all women to feel safe and respected in the workplace; the Morrison Government’s inaction on the [email protected] recommendations; the Morrison Government withdrawing support for workers too soon.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew Leigh, good morning to you, mate.

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

PAUL: Thank you, you too. Let's talk first about the Women's March. What did you make of yesterday?

LEIGH: It was a real moment in history, Marcus. Over 5,000 people gathered outside Parliament House and just to walk among the marchers was to feel that you were part of a real moment in history. I think the Prime Minister doesn't quite understand what's going on, when he meets such an extraordinarily powerful upswelling of passion, emotion and reason with a little response when he said in Parliament ‘not far from here, such matters even now are being met with bullets’. You know, it’s just-

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Culture in Parliament needs to change - Transcript, 2SM with Marcus Paul

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 9 MARCH 2021

SUBJECT: Liberals failing women - and failing to read the room - on International Women’s Day; the need for change within Parliament and an independent complaints process for staff; JobKeeper being misused as BonusKeeper and DividendKeeper; charities under pressure.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Right now it's time to catch up with one of our warriors, our #JobKeeperWarrior, Andrew Leigh MP. Good morning to you, Andrew. 

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

PAUL: Thank you very much. Let's start first of all with the comments on International Women's Day yesterday. You weren't at your local railway station handing out Dave Shama roses, were you?

[laughter]

LEIGH: One of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen, I’ve got to say. I mean, Dave’s not a bad bloke, but talk about tin-eared. In the current environment, people want to be closing the gender pay gap. They want to be dealing with family violence, they want to focus on sexual harassment in the workplace. They don’t want their local MP handing out flowers.

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Morrison Government silent on corporate welfare - Transcript, ABC Radio Sydney

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RADIO SYDNEY
WEDNESDAY, 3 MARCH 2021

SUBJECT: JobKeeper being misused as BonusKeeper and DividendKeeper.

ROBBIE BUCK, HOST: Well, this is an interesting one. We’ve been hearing about JobKeeper coming to an end at the end of this month and some of the industries that are really concerned - the tourism industry, for example, and plenty of people in the arts as well who are concerned about what's going to happen there. But then on the other side of it, there are growing calls for some of the companies that have received millions of dollars in the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme to hand back some of those dollars after hitting very high - sometimes record - income over the last 12 months.

WENDY HARMER, HOST: Some of them got a good chunk of change. I mean, Qantas -they got the 459 million. Another company called AP Eagers, 130 million. And with no real understanding, I don't think, or guarantees of where the money's actually gone. 

BUCK: Yeah. We’ve been told that an investigation will be conducted into the federal government's $100 billion scheme, amid concerns that some of the money that was supposed to be used to retain staff was diverted to pay dividends and bonuses. Companies like Harvey Norman and Athlete's Foot owner Accent Group have refused to pay back the money to the government, despite having bumper seasons. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasury Minister and requested the investigation last year, and he joins us from Canberra. Morning, Andrew.

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

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JobKeeper transparency needed - Transcript, ABC News Breakfast

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TV INTERVIEW
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST
WEDNESDAY, 3 MARCH 2021 

SUBJECTS: JobKeeper being misused as BonusKeeper and DividendKeeper; allegations of sexual assault against a cabinet minister.  

MICHAEL ROWLAND, HOST: Now, we are going to be joined very shortly by the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury Andrew Leigh, who is calling on the companies - many companies - who have accepted JobKeeper payments and have gone on to make pretty big profits to return them. Especially those companies that have made big bonuses, delivered big bonuses to their executives. Andrew Leigh joins us now from Canberra. Good morning to you.

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

ROWLAND: So how extensive would you like this review of JobKeeper to be, and what sort of companies are you talking about?

LEIGH: JobKeeper was meant to save the jobs of battlers, not to allow billionaires to buy another yacht. But the fact is that there's many firms which have enjoyed their biggest profit year ever in 2020, despite receiving JobKeeper. Good luck to them, but they shouldn't be receiving taxpayer handouts if they've been that profitable. And many of these firms, contrary to tax office advice, paid executive bonuses. I’m thinking of firms like Premier Investments, which runs Just Jeans and Smiggle, that paid a $2.5 million bonus to its CEO - more than most of your viewers will learn in an entire career. They also paid out a significant dividend, a large chunk of which went to their billionaire shareholder, Solomon Lew. They simply don't need taxpayer handouts, and they should give the money back.

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Australia can't afford corporate welfare - Transcript, 2SM Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 2 MARCH 2021

SUBJECTS: Companies refusing to repay JobKeeper payments after reporting huge profits; Proposed JobSeeker increase; the Aged Care Royal Commission report; allegations of sexual assault against a cabinet minister.  

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Let's introduce a warrior.

[‘The Warrior’ plays]

PAUL: We’ve got a water warrior, Helen Dalton. We’ve got a corruption warrior in Jodi McKay. But we’re going to anoint a brand new one today. Andrew Leigh, good morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Marcus. Terrific to be joining the ranks of your warriors.

PAUL: Alright. You are our #JobKeeperWarrior. How much Australian taxpayer dollars have you clawed back?

LEIGH: Well, we've gone past the $100 million mark, Marcus. We had healthcare company Healius handing back their JobKeeper last week and even the ports operator Qube handing back half of the JobKeeper that they didn't need. But we also had a week in which we saw the luxury car dealer AP Eagers report a profit of over $100 million, after receiving $130 million of JobKeeper. And we saw Harvey Norman turn up an extraordinary profit - $600 million - and still refuse to repay their JobKeeper. So a few firms have done the right thing, Marcus, but there's plenty out there that have gotten massive profits off the back of taxpayer subsidies and ought to hand back corporate welfare that they didn’t need.

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Time to engage charity groups to spread the right message - Op Ed, The Daily Telegraph

TIME TO ENGAGE CHARITY GROUPS TO SPREAD THE RIGHT MESSAGE

The Daily Telegraph, 26 February 2021

When it comes to vaccination, the Morrison Government has been more gab than jab. Despite the Prime Minister promising that Australians would be ‘at the front of the queue’, almost 200 million people globally had been vaccinated by the time the first Australians received their shots. In Israel, around half the population has received a vaccination. In Britain, it’s around one-third. In the United States, it’s more than one in ten. If vaccination was an Olympic sport, the medal winners would be running laps around Australia.

Yet now that the vaccine rollout has finally started, the challenge is to ensure high uptake across the community. According to a survey conducted by the federal health department, 64 percent of Australians will ‘definitely’ get a COVID vaccine, while 9 percent will ‘definitely not’ get vaccinated. That leaves 27 percent of the population who are unsure of whether or not they will get vaccinated.

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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.