2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 6 APRIL 2021
SUBJECTS: Rising house prices; the Church of Scientology’s tax-free status.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew, good morning. How are you, mate?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Terrific, Marcus. How are you?
PAUL: Good. I hope you had a nice Easter, got a little time off to relax with family.
LEIGH: Terrific time, yes. My wife and I had a date night in the city, away from the kids in the middle of Sydney. I went for a run past your office - you're in a beautiful little spot there on Pirrama Road.
PAUL: It’s not bad, is it? Not bad at all.
LEIGH: It’s fabulous. Checking out the harbour. So feeling particularly well, and I hope your listeners are the sameRead more
ABC RN DRIVE
MONDAY, 5 APRIL 2021
SUBJECTS: The Church of Scientology’s tax-free status; the health and economic costs of the Morrison Government’s slow vaccine rollout.
ELIZABETH KULAS, HOST: The Greens are calling for an investigation into the Church of Scientology's charitable status after media reports raised questions about its finances. An investigation by The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald found that the church has shifted tens of millions of dollars from offshore into its Australian operations, where it has tax-free status. Under Australian law, profits made by charities must be used for charitable purposes. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. Andrew, welcome.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Elizabeth. Great to be with you.
KULAS: So Andrew, do you support the Greens’ push to have the charities and not for profits commission investigate the Church of Scientology?
LEIGH: I certainly think it'd be appropriate for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission to put some energy into making sure that the Church of Scientology is delivering public benefit in Australia. We know that prima facie someone who's operating a religion is assumed to be delivering public benefit to Australia. But the Church of Scientology is quite unusual now in that it has less than 1700 adherents, according to the last census, and more than $170 million in assets. So that means that for every adherent, they've got more than $100,000 in assets. And they also seem to have attracted significant amounts of assets from offshore towards Australia, as other countries have cracked down on the tax status of the Church of Scientology. The tax concessions that are provided here in Australia aren't provided on the assumption that they're going to be for the benefit of overseas parts of religious organisations.Read more
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 30 MARCH 2021
SUBJECTS: JobKeeper; Vaccine rollout; Scott Morrison’s reshuffle; the need to reduce sexual harassment and change the culture in Parliament House.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: I just want to say this though before I go to my next guest on the program. Because the fact that we've needlessly sprayed billions of dollars on firms with many with rising profits, each job saved by JobKeeper has cost - are you ready it? - $118,000. And in most cases, that's just for half a year. It didn't have to be this way. Andrew Leigh MP joins us. Andrew, good morning. How are you, mate?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Great, Marcus. Terrific to be with you.
PAUL: You’ve obviously crunched the numbers on this. So each job saved by JobKeeper cost what? $118,000? How does that work out?
LEIGH: That's the government's own figures on what JobKeeper cost, divided by the number of jobs that they think it saved. And as you say, Marcus, $118,000 for a half year job seems kind of expensive. The fact is that JobKeeper was important for a lot of industries. If you're looking at areas like travel or the arts, it's been an absolute lifeline. But because so much of it went to billionaire shareholders and millionaire CEOs, it drove up the total cost of the program, and the cost per job ends up being almost twice the average wage.Read more
ABC AFTERNOON BRIEFING
THURSDAY, 25 MARCH 2021
SUBJECTS: Indigenous deaths in custody; the need to change the culture of sexual harassment and entitlement in Parliament House.
PATRICIA KARVELAS, HOST: Time now for my political panel. Liberal MP Jason Falinski and Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities Andrew Leigh, welcome to both of you.
JASON FALINKSI: Thanks, Patricia.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, PK. Great to be with you.
KARVELAS: I want to start on that actually, because I feel like there’s not enough emphasis on these issues. Andrew Leigh, why don't we see the kind of outrage, a minute of silence, a sort of emergency response at the national level when we have another black death in custody?
LEIGH: It really is a crisis, PK. More than 500 Indigenous deaths in custody since that report came down 30 years ago. I published research last year looking into Indigenous incarceration, which tracked the significant increase in the incarceration rate since the report came down. I'm working with the researchers at Deakin University to organise a conference in October in Parliament House on that Royal Commission Report and on precisely what needs to be done. It ought to be a larger feature of the Closing the Gap Statement. We ought to have justice targets as part of that because we know that incarceration is too high for Indigenous Australians, who are the most incarcerated people on earth.Read more
ABC MELBOURNE MORNINGS
FRIDAY, 26 MARCH 2021
SUBJECT: Morrison Government’s JobKeeper waste.
VIRGINIA TRIOLI, HOST: Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Andrew Leigh, good morning. You've been hearing all the stories there, real life stories of Melburnians.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Absolutely, Virginia. Bruce, Lindy and Hugo’s stories are just some of those from many people across Australia who are on JobKeeper right now and who face losing their jobs when the program ends. Melbourne University’s Jeff Borland says the number of job losses could be anywhere from 150,000 to 250,000. And I heard Josh Frydenberg in your program yesterday, saying that he thought the job losses would be hidden in the unemployment statistics - that you wouldn't see it because there might be some job gains somewhere else that would offset it. But that's cold comfort to people like Bruce, Lindy and Hugo, who could be facing the unemployment queue.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 MARCH 2021
Since the start of this pandemic 17,000 university jobs have been lost as a result of the government's failure to support one of our most important sectors. We have seen the Australian National University forced to close its neuroscience institute named after John Eccles, the ANU's first Nobel laureate. We have seen Monash University cut its theatre studies and musicology programs. Macquarie University will have no Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences taught this year, nor will the Bachelor of Advanced Science, the Bachelor of Advanced Information Technology or the Master of Mechanical Engineering be taught. We have seen the Australian National University downgrade its art schools, Newcastle and La Trobe universities abolish their drama departments and the University of Tasmania cut courses, including arts and humanities. From nearly every university we've seen reductions in arts, languages, science and maths courses.
It didn't have to be this way. When JobKeeper was put in place the government deliberately changed the rules, no less than three times, to exclude public universities from JobKeeper support. Private universities were the only ones who received support. According to Universities Australia, this sector has lost an estimated $1.8 billion in revenue in 2020, compared to 2019, and a further $2 billion in 2021. There is a cumulative impact. A student who doesn't enrol in first year this year is lost in the second, third and fourth years.Read more
ABC CANBERRA BREAKFAST
THURSDAY, 25 MARCH 2021
SUBJECTS: Morrison Government’s JobKeeper waste; the need to change the culture of sexual harassment and entitlement in Parliament House.
LISH FEJER, HOST: JobKeeper is due to wind up the end of next week as the government shifts to a new system, but we're hearing a lot about JobKeeper that has been kept in companies’ pockets. Dr Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities, and federal Member for Fenner in the ACT. Good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Lish. Great to be with you.
FEJER: And you. You spoke very strongly, you've spoken out in the past about this and the need to change it - to get big companies that are posting record profits over the Coronavirus year to have to hand it back. You spoke yesterday. What was the response?
LEIGH: An interesting attack from Solomon Lew, who got fairly personal in his response to me. I mean, I don't really like this stuff, Lish. I didn't get into politics in order to pick fights with people. But if I'm going to end up in a public stoush, then it might as well be with a billionaire asking him to return corporate welfare that in my view he didn't need.Read more
ABC THE BUSINESS
WEDNESDAY, 24 MARCH 2021
SUBJECT: JobKeeper waste.
ALICIA BARRY, HOST: Record pyjama sales and online shopping drove an 89 per cent surge in Premier Investments' half year profit. Solomon Lew's company owns a range of brands. The standout was Peter Alexander, and a 60 per cent jump in internet sales also helped. As did another $15 million top-up in JobKeeper payments, bringing the total JobKeeper received by Premier to $70 million. I spoke with Labor MP Andrew Leigh, who says Premier Investments doesn't need corporate welfare.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: JobKeeper was not a program designed to go to firms with rising profits. It was meant to keep battlers in jobs, not help billionaires buy their next yacht. Premier Investments should do the right thing and pay the money back. It didn't need JobKeeper support, and the right thing right now would be to return that money to the taxpayer for people who really do need support.Read more
ABC CANBERRA DRIVE
WEDNESDAY, 24 MARCH 2021
SUBJECT: Territory rights and voluntary assisted dying.
ANNA VIDOT, HOST: Interesting development this week on Australian states’ moves to allow people who are suffering under certain circumstances to be assisted to end their own lives. This is a decision the territories are currently not allowed to make for themselves, the ACT and Northern Territory both currently and quite steadily lobbying the federal government or Parliament really to change that. But this week, Tasmania became the third state to legalise voluntary assisted dying, joining Victoria and Western Australia. South Australia will consider doing the same later this year. It took a while for Tasmania to get to this point. It's the fourth time these laws have been considered over just over a decade, and this latest effort took about three years to get from inception to successful passage through Tasmania's upper house last night. The ACT and Northern Territory are blocked from even debating similar legislation in our legislative assemblies, because of a piece of Commonwealth legislation. The Federal Labor MP for Fenner Andrew Leigh is among those who want that to change, and he joins me this evening. Andrew Leigh, what do you make of the news overnight, first of all, that Tasmania has now joined Victoria and Western Australia to allow voluntary assisted dying?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: It's pretty remarkable, isn't it, Anna? I remember when there was one survey that looked at attitudes to euthanasia across the country. It found that the attitudes were coolest among Tasmanians. But now we've got half the states where voluntary assisted dying with safeguards is legal. As you mentioned, South Australia is looking into it. The Queensland Law Reform Commission is looking into it. It can't be that long until New South Wales makes moves in this direction. And yet, here in the ACT - the most progressive jurisdiction in Australia – we’re banned from even talking about it thanks to an anachronistic 24-year-old bill called the Andrews Bill, which prevents the territories from legislating on voluntary assisted dying.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 MARCH 2021
A year ago billionaire Solomon Lew reportedly cried as he spoke on the phone to the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, urging him to create JobKeeper. Lew's firm, Premier Investments—which owns Just Jeans, Jay Jays and Smiggle—qualified for over $45 million in JobKeeper support from taxpayers.
Today Premier Investments announced a record profit, almost twice what it was making before the pandemic.Read more