Audio Recordings

For audio recordings of my speeches and conversations at events across the country, please see this podcast below. It's also available on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Written Speeches

Below you will find transcripts of doorstops, speeches and media interviews.

Artificial Intelligence at Work: Changing Demand for AI Skills in Job Advertisements - Speech

Australian Bureau of Statistics and Reserve Bank of Australia Joint Conference on Human Capital
11 June 2024, Sydney

I acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional owners of these lands, and pay respect to all First Nations people present.

Barely a day goes by without someone discovering a new use for artificial intelligence. Financial institutions are using AI to detect fraud, by looking for unusual transaction patterns. AI integrated with virtual reality is being used to create highly realistic training simulations for pilots, first responders and surgeons. Musicians are using AI to create new instruments and vocal processes. Educators are using AI to personalise the learning experience. Dating coaches are using AI to train people on finding their perfect match. Gardeners are using AI to choose which plants will work best together, schedule optimal watering times and devise pest control strategies. Carers are using AI to craft fictional stories that are perfectly tailored for young listeners.

AI engines have matched and exceeded humans on a range of tests. As Stanford University’s AI Index 2024 Annual Report points out, artificial intelligence has exceeded human benchmarks on tasks such as reading comprehension, image classification and visual reasoning (see Figure 1). As AI has surpassed these benchmarks, researchers have had to identify new challenges, such as competition-level mathematics, where AI has moved from 10 per cent of human-level performance in 2021 to 90 per cent on the latest estimates (Maslej et al 2024).

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A More Competitive Australia - Speech

Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2024-2025 
Consideration In Detail, 6 June 2024

When Labor came to office, Australia's economy was insufficiently competitive. We had seen one of the lousiest decades of productivity growth in the postwar era. Australia's household living standards had suffered, and real wages had flatlined as a result of what they described as a ‘deliberate design feature’ of their economic architecture. And so Labor, since taking office, has set about injecting a little bit more dynamism, a little bit more competition, into the Australian economy.

We know that the Australian economy under the former government had some serious competition problems. We know that, over that period, we saw an increase in market concentration in many industry sectors. Work by the OECD's Dan Andrews and Macquarie University's Elise Dwyer has shown that, if you compare Australia and the United States across 17 industries, the Australian economy is more concentrated than the US economy in 16 out of those 17 industries. This isn't just a matter of Australia being a medium-sized economy. If you look over the period from 2006 to 2020, Dan Andrews and Elise Dwyer find that the Australian economy became more concentrated, not less. Our size grew, but the market concentration problem got worse.

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Mr Bill Wood AM - Speech

Constituency Statement, House of Representatives
Thursday, 30 May 2024

Labor people are proud of the fact that ours is Australia's oldest and greatest political party, formed in 1891, 133 years ago. But Bill Wood had a special claim. He could say he had been a member of the Australian Labor Party for more than half its existence.

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Repairing Products and Reinvigorating Competition - Speech

Opening remarks to the Griffith University Law Futures Centre
23 May 2024, Brisbane


I acknowledge the elders, customs and traditions of the Jagera and the Turrbul, from both sides of the Maiwar and all First Nations people present today.

I would like to thank Griffith University Law Futures Centre for inviting me to provide opening remarks ahead of the lecture by Assistant Professor Anthony Rosborough.

I thank Professor Leanne Wiseman for organising this event and bringing everyone together – including students, researchers and policymakers – to consider the right to repair through the lens of competition policy and market power. Having had the pleasure of speaking at your 2022 Australian Repair Summit, it’s terrific to be joining you again.

To those of you attending today, I thank you for advocating on behalf of Australian consumers and business.

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Together We Thrive: Celebrating The Impact Of Volunteering - Speech

Queensland Volunteering Awards, Volunteering Queensland
Brisbane City Hall, Brisbane
22 May 2024

I acknowledge the Jagera people and the Turrbal people as the Traditional Custodians of these lands and pay respects to all First Nations people present.

I am pleased to join you today to celebrate the contribution of volunteers across Queensland. I acknowledge the Governor of Queensland, Jeanette Young, and thank the organisers, Volunteering Queensland for the vital role you play in Australia’s national volunteering infrastructure and for the work you do to promote connected and inclusive communities.

Happy National Volunteer Week to all volunteers here today.

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Guardians of Generosity: Privacy and Philanthropy in Australia - Speech

Fundraising Institute of Australia
Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Thank you to the Fundraising Institute of Australia for inviting me to address your annual Essential Member Update, and for bringing together this group of people with such an important role in the viability of our charity sector.

I am speaking to you from Brisbane, where I have just addressed the Queensland Volunteering Awards. I acknowledge the Jagera people and the Turrbal people as the Traditional Custodians of Meanjin, and pay my respects to all First Nations people present.

Labor governments are reforming governments, and in two spaces that have key significance to charitable fundraising there are some meaningful changes underway.

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Matter of Public Importance - Five Tests for the Opposition Leader's Budget Reply

Statement on Matters of Significance, House of Representatives
Wednesday, 16 May 2023

If you want to know what the coalition really believe in, let's go back to the most unpopular budget of the past generation, a budget that commemorated its 10-year anniversary this year, the 2014 budget. The 2014 budget was preceded by then Prime Minister Abbott saying there would be ‘no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no cuts to pensions, no changes to the GST and no cuts to the ABC and SBS’. He vowed to avoid these things and he embraced every single one of them.

 In that 2014 budget, the Liberal Party and the National Party said that under-30s would get no unemployment support for six months. In fierce discussions about the right level of JobSeeker, they thought the right level for young Australians should be zero. They said that pensions would no longer be indexed to wages but would only be indexed to prices, essentially saying to Australia's fixed-income retirees that they could no longer share in productivity growth in the economy. They said that HECS-HELP debts would be indexed at a faster rate, a strong contrast to what we said in this budget, which was that the indexation of those debts would be lower.

 The 2014 budget, which commemorates its 10-year anniversary this week, had a $43 million cut to ABC and SBS. It had a $114 million cut to the CSIRO. It had deficits as far as the eye could see from a party that had promised before the election that they would deliver a surplus in their first year and in every year after that. And the 2014 budget ended bulk billing. I wonder who was the health minister who presided over that decision? Hey, that's right: it's none other than the Leader of the Opposition, the man who, when he was health minister, was voted by doctors the worst health minister in living memory.

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Painting on a Big Canvas - Speech

Institute of Public Accountants & Canberra Business Chamber 2024 Federal Budget Breakfast
Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra
15 May 2024

I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, the traditional owners of these lands, and pay respects to all First Nations people present. Thank you to the organisers, the Institute of Public Accountants, and the Canberra Business Chamber, for the opportunity to address you following this year’s Federal Budget. I also acknowledge my parliamentary colleagues who are here today. Apologies in advance that I cannot stay for the whole event – we have a scheduled crossbench briefing at 8.15am where I am presenting on upcoming legislation.

By my rough count, this is the seventh time I’ve addressed this breakfast – a great chance in the Great Hall to talk about whether last night’s budget meets our great expectations. It’s not just a moment to talk numbers, but also an opportunity to consider Australia’s place in the world, and whether we’re making the right calls to shape a fairer society and a stronger economy.

If you need reminding that each of us are inheritors of past traditions and custodians of the future, take a look at the tapestry at the end of the room. In designing it, Arthur Boyd wanted to refer to one of history’s great tapestries, the Bayeux Tapestry that shows the events leading up to the 1066 Norman Conquest. Halley’s Comet is in that 1066 tapestry. In 1986, when the tapestry was being made, Halley’s Comet was in the sky again. So the weavers suggested that Boyd include it, as a way of acknowledging the history of those weavers from nearly a millennium ago.

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Experimenting For Excellence: Randomised Trials In Human Resources

HR Leaders Forum 2024
Sydney, Tuesday 30 April 2024

I acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and all First Nations people present today. Thank you to the organisers for the chance to address you on a topic that is a passion of mine – using better evidence to create a fairer society and a stronger economy.

As we navigate an era marked by rapid technological advancements and shifting workforce dynamics, the role of human resources has never been more critical. HR is the backbone of organisations, ensuring not just compliance and management, but also fostering a culture of growth, inclusion, and innovation. At its best, HR helps unlock workers’ full potential, aligns individual aspirations with organisational goals, and builds resilient structures that thrive in the face of future challenges. HR is not just a support function, but a driver of organisational success.

Yet for HR to succeed, you need more than gut instinct. As the cliché goes, ‘In God we trust; all others must bring data’. If your company faces no competitors for your products and employees, you might be able to get away with formulating HR policies based on feelpinions. For mere mortals, evidence matters.

In this short address, I want to run you through a few of my favourite examples of evidence-based policymaking in human resources, presenting some surprising findings from a succession of randomised trials. I will then turn to why randomised trials should typically be given more weight than other forms of evidence, and how we are seeking to use them in government.

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Competition Drives Innovation - Speech


Closing Remarks to the Australian Auto Aftermarket Innovation Awards Breakfast
Melbourne, Thursday 11 April 2024

In the 1950s, Sweden’s national electricity company noticed something curious. Although they managed a network of high-voltage cables, the biggest risk of death didn’t come from electricity. Instead, the greatest danger came when their employees were driving. At the time, cars either had no seat belts, or simple lap belts. If they crashed, deaths were common – even at low speeds.

So the company did something remarkable. Two safety engineers, Bengt Odelgard and Per-Olof Weman, developed the three-point lap-sash belt. Swedish inventor Nils Bohlin developed it for Volvo. In 1959, three-point seatbelts were installed in all Volvo cars.

Then Volvo did something remarkable too. It allowed any car company in the world to use its patent. Where lap belts had done little to save lives, lap-sash belts turned out to be the best piece of safety equipment ever installed in a car.

Just over a decade later, in 1970, the state of Victoria became the first place in the world to enact compulsory seat belt laws; after a trial of seat belts in police cars proved their effectiveness. In the 65 years since three-point seat belts were patented, they have saved over a million lives (O’Grady 2009).

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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.