HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 19 OCTOBER 2020
Under the Morrison government we've had sports rorts, 'Watergate', Jam Land and Paladin. We've had the 'big stack' with over 60 former Liberal staffers, ministers, candidates and donors appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
The Federal Police want to know why taxpayers paid a Liberal donor 10 times as much as the land was worth, and all Australians want to know why Stuart Robert and Angus Taylor are still ministers.Read more
MONDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECT: Misuse of JobKeeper.
LEON BYNER, HOST: You've heard of JobKeeper. You know what it is, don't you? Right. Well, there are some in the community who say no, for many companies paying very generous salaries and dividends to their shareholders, we'd rather call it DividendKeeper. This is where companies use the subsidy, which was designed to keep workers hit by the coronavirus recession connected to their jobs, to prop up payments to shareholders. So if that money is being used for this purpose - and it certainly isn't what was legitimately put out by the government, they wanted to do the right thing by the workers. But unfortunately, it's been abused. So let's talk to Labor frontbencher, Andrew Leigh, who's written to more than 200 companies - including Apple, McDonald's, Microsoft - asking them to reveal whether they receive JobKeeper subsidies and use the money to pay shareholder dividends. Dr Andrew Leigh, good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Leon. Great to be with you.
BYNER: Do you think you're gonna get an honest answer?
LEIGH: I've certainly gotten some responses rolling in so far, mostly those who are saying that they haven't received it. But I'd like to think that if a firm is receiving significant taxpayer subsidies, that they would respond when a federal Member of Parliament wrote to them to ask them about it.Read more
ABC MELBOURNE DRIVE
THURSDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Global Handwashing Day; Randomistas.
RAF EPSTEIN, HOST: Someone has written about this in his book Randomistas, is known to you in another guise - his day job. Andrew Leigh's day job is being part of the Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s finance team. He is of course an MP from Canberra as well. Andrew Leigh, thanks for joining us.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Raf. Happy Global Handwashing Day.
EPSTEIN: Thank you. No one's ever said that to me before. Who is Mr Semmelweis? What did he do?
LEIGH: Ignaz Semmelweis was a doctor who worked at Vienna General Hospital in the mid-19th century, and he noticed this really interesting pattern Raf. They admitted patients on alternate days into the maternity ward where babies were delivered by midwives and the maternity ward where babies were delivered by doctors. And he noticed that mothers admitted into the clinic run by midwives had a death rate less than one in 20, while those admitted to the hospital run by doctors had a death rate of more than one in 10. The mothers actually knew this - some of them would actually deliver in the streets rather than be admitted into the ward run by doctors. So he went through various theories. Was it that the doctors were delivering when women lay on their sides? Was something to do with the bell that the priest rang? Eventually he figured out that it had to do with dirty hands. And so he began insisting that doctors wash their hands with chlorine wash and the death rate in the doctors’ ward plummeted. And that was the start of the hand washing movement.Read more
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
THURSDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Parliamentary Friends of Cycling; Anti-Poverty Week; social housing; the Morrison Government’s cuts to JobKeeper and JobSeeker; food insecurity.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Hello, mate. How are you?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Marcus. Great to be with you.
PAUL: Yeah, nice to talk to you as well. Now you have just launched the Parliamentary Friends of Cycling. Tell me all about this, mate. It’s a great idea.
LEIGH: Absolutely. We're on the bike. Helen Haines, Dave Sharma and I decided that it was important to have a group that represented cyclists, as so many cyclists around Australia do it to stay fit, to commute, to just hang out with the kids. So Steven Hodge, who is one of Australia's great cyclists, got us all together and set up this group, which will campaign to get more people cycling more often.Read more
ABC CANBERRA BREAKFAST
FRIDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Federal Budget; Budget in reply.
ADAM SHIRLEY, HOST: Dr Andrew Leigh is the Federal Member for Fenner and the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. And he, like many, was watching very closely Anthony Albanese’s words last night. He’s Opposition Leader. Dr Leigh, good morning to you.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Adam. Great to be with you.
SHIRLEY: Given childcare is such a central theme of the Opposition's reply last night, what do you make of Ruth's comments, for instance, on how to structurally make the standard better - not just provide more money and places?
LEIGH: I think Ruth’s spot on. We need to think about early childhood as education, not mere babysitting. Anyone who's tried to look after three of their own children, as I have, will have huge respect for someone who sits down and looks after 13 children for an entire day. Ensuring that you've got a high-quality play based learning is absolutely vital. So one of the things we did when we were last in government was to improve education standards for early childhood educators, to reduce ratios and to ensure that there was real respect around the sector. But there's also this affordability question, and that was what Anthony was going to last night. We know that childcare fees have increased by an average of $3,800 a year since 2013. We know that many families are simply just priced out of childcare, and for families with a couple of kids, then often it's just not worth both parents working a full five days. That burden falls disproportionately on women.Read more
2SER THE WIRE
THURSDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: The Federal Budget leaving behind women, older workers, the homeless and those in insecure housing; tax cuts; population.
ROD CHAMBERS, HOST: I asked the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury Dr Andrew Leigh what were his first impressions of this big spending budget.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: My overall perspective on the budget, Rod, is it is a human capital recession that we've suffered and the budget doesn't really invest in the drivers of human capital. There's not enough investment in health, we still don't have an Australian Centre for Disease Control unlike every other advanced country. There's barely any investment in education, in schools and vocational training and universities, which is the sort of human capital investment you would expect at a time when we're facing such a substantial human capital crisis.
CHAMBERS: Certainly, the tax cuts seem to be the main tools to provide stimulus. Do you think this is going to be effective?
LEIGH: I think it'll have some impact. But fundamentally, we have some deep-seated economic challenges. We know that productivity was going backwards last year, that wage growth was in the doldrums, retail spending was down. A Morrison Stagnation predated the Morrison Recession. So really, what we need at the moment is reforms that go to the underlying structural weaknesses in the economy and seek to not only give the economy a sugar hit, but provide lasting economic growth.Read more
2GB MONEY NEWS
THURSDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Federal Budget leaving women behind; Budget in reply.
BROOKE CORTE, HOST: Dr Andrew Leigh is Labor's Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Hi, Andrew, welcome to Money News.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Thanks, Brooke. Glad to be with you.
CORTE:Now, Scott Morrison is saying this is a budget for all Australians and the government is adamant it's not gendered. Do you think women have been ignored?
LEIGH:I do. I think that women haven't gotten their fair share of the budget response. This has been a human capital crisis. It's particularly adversely affected the services sector, but the budget responses neglected health and education, neglected the services sector. You've got a desultory women's economic security statement - about as big as you'd expect from a prime minister who names his chooks after former prime ministers’ wives - and you haven't got the investments in childcare, in family violence, in sexual harassment, in aged care, in all of those female dominated sectors where women have been suffering so much of the burden of COVID-19. They haven't been receiving the attention and the response.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 8 OCTOBER 2020
On 24 September 2020, Westpac copped the biggest fine in Australian corporate history—$1.3 billion. Ironically, it was that day that the Treasurer chose to announce that the government planned to roll back responsible lending standards. Responsible lending standards were put in place for one simple reason—to protect consumers and to protect the economy against the risk of irresponsible lending. Irresponsible lending isn't a matter of theory; it played a major role in the subprime debt crisis that led to the global financial crisis. Irresponsible lending helped fuel the property bubble in Australian cities.
Responsible lending laws apply to consumer credit, including mortgages, personal loans, payday loans, car loans and credit cards. Those laws don't apply to loans that are predominantly for business purposes. They require credit providers to make reasonable inquiries about a person's financial situation, their requirements and objectives; take reasonable steps to verify this information; and assess whether the credit is 'not unsuitable' before providing a loan. If those laws were to be axed, then lenders wouldn't be required to verify information on loan applications except in limited circumstances. They could turn a blind eye to brokers who provided false information. Again, this isn't a theoretical proposition. The banking royal commission heard from customers who had been hurt as a result of exactly this behaviour.Read more
Budget doesn't set up Australia for productive and egalitarian future - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 7 OCTOBER 2020
In 2009, the coalition launched their so-called debt truck. It had on the side of it the figure at which debt was then projected to peak—$315 billion. That's a third of projected peak debt under the Liberals today.
If they were being honest then with this budget they would have launched their very own 'debt road train'. What does Australia get for $1 trillion—1 with 12 zeros after it?Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 7 OCTOBER 2020
Susan Ryan was the first in her family and the first in her school to win a scholarship to go to the University of Sydney. She studied education and, like many women of that generation, expected to go on to a career in teaching. After graduating, she married public servant, and later diplomat, Richard Butler. She recalled, 'Because of this, I lost my scholarship and had to pay back the scholarship money,' and she noted that this wouldn't have happened had she been a man.
In 1965, they moved to Canberra. For the next six years, she was active in the ACT, becoming a founding member of the wonderful Belconnen sub-branch of the Labor Party. She spent two periods living overseas when Butler was posted first to Vienna and then to New York. There, she was influenced, as Christine Wallace has noted, by the work of Kate Millett and Betty Friedan—and, of course, Germaine Greer was then part of the mix, along with Gloria Steinem.
Susan returned to Canberra in 1971 with her two children but without Butler, who she divorced the following year.Read more