NEWSDAY, SKY NEWS
MONDAY, 15 AUGUST 2022
Subjects: Labor’s plans to rebuild the charity sector; Labor’s plans to make multinationals pay their fair share of tax
TOM CONNELL: We're volunteering less than we used to. So why is that the case? Joining me now is Andrew Leigh, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. Thanks very much for your time. You're delving into this problem. Why do you think we're not out there volunteering, putting as many hours as we used to into the community?
ANDREW LEIGH: It's part of an overall decline that we've seen, Tom. Australians are not only less likely to volunteer, but less likely to join community organisations, to play team sports. We've got fewer friends than we did in the 1980s, and we know fewer of our neighbours. We've become disconnected. I don't think this is the fault of either side of politics, but certainly the former government's war on charities didn't help. That prompted three open letters from the sector, calling on successive Liberal Prime Ministers to back off their attacks on charities. Labor’s ended the war on charities, but I'm now reaching out to charities through these building community forums - which kicked off in Sydney today - asking for their ideas about how we can work together collaboratively. Philanthropic funders, charities and government, to build more reconnected Australia.Read more
MONDAY, 8 AUGUST 2022
Subjects: Labor’s plans to make multinationals pay their fair share of tax; ATO settlement with Rio Tinto and the use of marketing hubs; JobKeeper
LIAM BARTLETT, HOST: I wanted to talk about the world of commerce ‑ the wild, wonderful, wacky world of tax, in particular, with a revelation in the Financial Review this morning that oil and gas giant Shell has confirmed that it is selling Queensland gas to global customers via a Singapore marketing hub, which of course raises questions all over again about what they call transfer pricing to lower domestic tax payments. In other words, the price you end up selling it to is not necessarily reflected in the amount of tax you end up paying to the country that you draw that product from. It's drawn attention all over again to how the big industry players sell gas offshore. And it also comes hot on the heels, you may recall last month the decision by Rio Tinto ‑ another industry giant ‑ to pay almost a billion dollars to settle the dispute to the Australian Taxation Office over the mining company's use of a marketing hub in Singapore. These marketing hub pricing mechanisms have been around for a while. Now all this leads me sort of back to Rome, so to speak, because you might recall during the election campaign a lot was made of this from the then Labor opposition about forcing the multinationals to pay more tax. And we spoke then to the Honourable Dr Andrew Leigh, who has become now that Labor is in government the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, and he joins us on the program. Andrew, good morning to you.
ANDREW LEIGH, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY: Good morning, Liam. Great to be back with you.Read more
MONDAY, 8 AUGUST 2022
Subjects: Labor’s plans to make multinationals pay their fair share of tax; ATO settlement with Rio Tinto and the use of marketing hubs; international agreements on multinational tax avoidance; windfall tax; competition
PATRICIA KARVELAS, HOST: By now, most Australians would be feeling the effects of record inflation and rising interest rates, even if you don't have a mortgage. But high commodity prices, which is one of the drivers of that inflation, are also delivering a $27 billion boost to the budget bottom line. And that's, of course, welcome news for the Treasurer as he prepares to hand down his first budget in October. We get two budgets this year with a change of government. And with budget repair a priority, the government has multinationals like Google and Facebook in its sights, canvassing a range of measures to force them to pay more tax. Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, and our guest this morning. Welcome back to Breakfast, Andrew Leigh.
ANDREW LEIGH, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY: Thanks, Patricia. Great to be with you.Read more
KEYNOTE ADDRESS TO THE AUSTRALIAN REPAIR SUMMIT
FRIDAY, 5 AUGUST 2022
I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land we are meeting on, the Ngunnawal people. I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the region, and I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.
Building on the success of last year’s event, I would like to thank Griffith University and the Australian Repair Network for hosting the second Australian Repair Summit.
In particular, I would like to acknowledge Professor Leanne Wiseman for her efforts in organising the Summit and bringing everyone together today. I would also like to acknowledge Professor Wiseman’s expertise in researching the links between intellectual property and the right to repair.Read more
WEDNESDAY, 3 AUGUST 2022
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plans for a better future; Productivity Commission report; Territory rights; Fuel excise.
ANDREW LEIGH, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY: Good morning. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. It's my 50th birthday today, and 50 years ago it was just on the cusp of the election of the Whitlam Government, a great reforming Australian government that changed the lives of so many Australians for the better. And it's a real pleasure today to be celebrating my 50th birthday as part of the Albanese Labor Government, a government strongly committed to making life better for Australians by taking action on climate change, taking on cost of living pressures, and making sure that we tackle the key challenges of inequality, slow productivity, and declining social capital.
In Australia today, we've had an economy which has been too stagnant, in which productivity growth has languished after nine years of neglect from the Coalition. The Productivity Commission's interim report today lays bare some of the real challenges that the Australian economy faces, and makes clear that the Productivity Commission's five year review is going to take a hard look at some of the challenges around building innovation, around ensuring that we've got a more skilled Australian economy, around making sure we've got cheaper energy prices, and ensuring that we have infrastructure which is focused on the needs of Australians, not the political imperatives of the Coalition.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 2 AUGUST 2022
In 1952 Marvin Minsky invented the 'useless machine'. It was a little machine with a box with one switch on it, in the off position. If you turned it on then a little hand came out of the machine to turn it back off again. That was its only purpose. As Arthur C Clarke put it:
There is something unspeakably sinister about a machine that does nothing—absolutely nothing—except switch itself off.
And that's what Australians are saying about the last nine years. As the Economist has noted of the British conservative government, the Liberals were, when they were in government, the political equivalent of a useless machine: they know what they're against, they know what they want to turn off, but they have no idea what they are for.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 1 AUGUST 2022
In 2016, Canberra man Nebojsa Pavkovic died on his 61st birthday.
He was at the end of a five-week hunger strike inside a body which he knew was no longer working. Mr Pavkovic had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for a decade and had come to the decision, speaking with his family, that he wanted to end his life. He was, however, unable to do so through voluntary assisted dying and had to do so through the much more traumatic and painful approach of a five-week hunger strike. As daughter Katarina Knowles said, 'He was really, truly bedridden, and it was just the worst.'
I spoke to Katarina a year ago, when I was moving a private member's motion in this place to repeal the Andrews ban - to finally allow the ACT and the Northern Territory to have the same rights as the states to legislate over voluntary assisted dying.Read more
LEON BYNER, HOST: The Australian Government has welcomed the settlement reached between the ATO and Rio Tinto, which will pay approximately - listen to this - $1 billion, in one of the largest tax settlements in our tax history in this country. Now this represents, as I understand it, quite a drawn out - and we're talking here drawn out in years - hard work by the Tax Office. It's a significant win for everybody, because the community will ultimately benefit in terms of lower taxes. But that's a lot of money. $1 billion. Let's talk to a bloke who is, I think, one of the most qualified economics experts in the Australian Parliament. Highly revered, both by universities and economics experts. I'm talking about the federal Assistant Minister for Treasury, Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thank you for coming on today.
ANDREW LEIGH, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY: Pleasure, Leon. Great to be with you.
PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Rio Tinto has settled running disputes with the Australian Tax Office, agreeing to pay another lump sum. Almost a billion dollars has been paid, money the ATO claims the mining giant owed. Settlements include a dispute over whether the company should have deducted interest payments from money borrowed from itself to pay its UK arm and an argument over alleged transfer pricing through its controversial Singapore hub. Rio Tinto has paid 78 per cent of the total load. The ATO says it's a good outcome for the Australian tax system. And joining us live now is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh. Good morning, Andrew. Good to see you. That’s quite the amount to cough up.
ANDREW LEIGH, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY: It certainly is. And it's a testament to the corporate tax inquiry headed by Labor Senators in 2015, which first flagged the issue of marketing hubs. I think it was pretty odd that you have resources companies digging up resources in Australia, selling them to a second country, and yet the payments are being routed through a third country. Four years ago, BHP reached a half billion dollar settlement. And this billion dollar settlement from Rio doesn't just cover past tax payments, but also says that going forward taxes on Australian commodities be paid in Australia, which is the way it should be.
THOMAS ORITI, HOST: First this half hour, the multinational mining giant Rio Tinto has settled a decade long tax dispute with the Australian Tax Office. It’s handed over almost a billion dollars in unpaid taxes after an investigation of its Singapore marketing hub. The settlement’s one of the largest in Australian tax history, with the mining giant following in the path of other multinationals forced to pay up. Let's get more on this now. We're joined by the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh. Andrew, good morning to you.
ANDREW LEIGH, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY: Morning, Tom. Great to be with you.