HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 19 OCTOBER 2021
Judith Sloan, Janet Albrechtsen and Niki Savva are hardly Labor true believers, but they've been among the fiercest critics of the government's JobKeeper mismanagement, calling the overpayments 'irresponsible', 'inept' and 'inexcusable'.
JobKeeper saved jobs, but so much money was given to firms with rising revenues that the cost of saving each full-year job was up to $200,000. The Parliamentary Budget Office first estimated that $13 billion went to firms with rising revenues in the first six months of the scheme. Then the government said that figure was $14 billion. Now the Parliamentary Budget Office has looked at the full 12-month scheme, and they estimate that $20 billion went to firms with rising revenue. That's $2,000 for every Australian household going to companies that didn't need support—companies whose sales were higher in the pandemic than the year before. Among those who benefited from JobKeeper were offshore billionaires, such as Louis Vuitton's Bernard Arnault and Luxottica's Leonardo Del Vecchio.Read more
6PR MORNINGS WITH LIAM BARTLETT
TUESDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2021
LIAM BARTLETT, HOST: Andrew Leigh is the federal opposition Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. He's been doing a lot of the front running on this, a lot of the research work and the back of house details. Andrew, good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Liam. Great to be with you.
BARTLETT: And you, too. You're in Canberra at the moment, but you've been through some of this new analysis from the Parliamentary Budget Office.
LEIGH: Absolutely. JobKeeper was an important program, but very badly implemented, as you know better than most, Liam. A program that was meant to be about keeping battlers in jobs ended up delivering too much cash through to billionaire shareholders. We now know, thanks to this new analysis from the Parliamentary Budget Office, that there was some $20 billion delivered to firms whose revenues went up rather than down, and in Western Australia that's $1.6 billion going to firms who had a better 2020 than 2019. Now, we wanted JobKeeper to succeed, Liam. Labor was constructive and worked collaboratively with the Government to get it in place, but the leakage of money to firms that didn't need it is unprecedented in the history of the Commonwealth.Read more
2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Climate change
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Can you believe Australia's best interests are being held ransom by an accountant in a cowboy hat? As Anthony Albanese confirmed on the program yesterday, the Nationals hold well less than 10 per cent of the national vote yet wield so much power. Barnaby Joyce seems to be engaged in a cunning, four-stage climate plan to do absolutely bugger all. Step one: eight years of doing nothing. Step two: congratulate yourself on doing nothing. Step three: win four more years of doing nothing. And step four: get ScoMo to blame someone else for doing nothing. They've had eight years, and I couldn't believe my ears the other day when I heard David Littleproud tell - I think it was the ABC, whoever it was, I don't care - he basically turned around and said, 'Oh, how can you expect us to possibly come up with some sort of solution in two days?' Moron. Dead set, you've had eight years - eight years of inaction. Andrew Leigh, federal Member for Fenner. Good morning, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. What a fabulous summary.
PAUL: Thank you. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told his Liberal colleagues he will forge ahead with a cut to carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 in a crucial call on climate policy that cannot be blocked by the bloke in a cowboy hat and his other small group of opponents in the Nations partyroom, no matter how much coal they smear on their faces.
LEIGH: This is their 22nd energy policy, Marcus. If you believe they're going to land this one I've got a bridge you might like to buy. The fact is that when Scott Morrison goes off to Glasgow, Barnaby Joyce will be in charge of the country, and all the way in the lead up to Glasgow, Barnaby Joyce has been in charge of Australia's climate policies. Scott Morrison is still committed to the 2030 carbon emission targets that Tony Abbott had, the 26 to 28 per cent reductions. Tony Abbott, as we know, is a climate change denier who once described climate change as ‘absolute crap’. Australia is the advanced country most of risk from climate change, yet we're the only advanced country yet to sign up to net zero by 2050.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 19 OCTOBER 2021
I commend the member for Moreton for bringing forward this vital motion on the value of reading. Time will not permit me to mention all of the books that have touched me during this year, but I want to use the little time I have to give a short rundown of some of them. At the outset I want to give a shout-out to some Canberra region authors: Marion Halligan—hard to ignore—a great writer; crime writer Chris Hammer; historical writer Robyn Cadwallader; the new suspense writer Peter Papathanasiou, who has written a terrific book called The Stoning; and Omar Musa, a spoken-word poet and modern novelist.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 18 OCTOBER 2021
Around Easter, Catholic church members often hold a walk in support of refugees. Yet as St Vincent de Paul head Toby O’Connor has pointed out, under the government's latest attack on charities if some of those people were blocking a public area and if they failed to move on under direction then any charity that is associated with that march could be disqualified. The most anti-charity government in Australian history is attempting to silence charitable advocacy in measures that the Reverend Tim Costello has compared to Putin's Russia and which Australian Council for International Development CEO Mark Purcell has likened to the Burmese junta.
This new measure would give charities commissioner, Gary Johns - who once compared Indigenous women to 'cash cows' - new powers to deregister charities. It's so extreme that a unanimous Senate committee report, chaired by Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, has recommended that parliament disallow the proposed regulation. Opponents of this latest attack on charities include ANTaR; the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services; the Australian Institute of Company Directors; Anglicare; and UnitingCare.Read more
5AA MORNINGS WITH LEON BYNER
THURSDAY, 14 OCTOBER 2021
LEON BYNER, HOST: I want to talk about JobKeeper. Now, nobody argues that it was a good scheme in principle, but it did spend an enormous amount of money. Now, we are told, initially, that $27 billion was what was spent and didn't need to be, when it turned out to be $40 billion. One of the people who I think in the parliament is one of the most qualified, and frankly, he's one of the cleverest in our Parliament today: he's got a PhD in public policy at Harvard; he's a Master in public administration at Harvard; he's a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts, so he's no slouch. I'm talking about a very capable politician. His name is Andrew Leigh. He's the Member for Fenner, in the lower house, the House of Reps, and he's with me now. Good to talk to you, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Always great to talk with you, Leon. Thanks for the generous words.
BYNER: Well, they're only the truth, and the people need to know that there are good people out there well-qualified to look after their interests. So, how did we discover this disparity from $27 billion to 40 billion? How did that happen?
LEIGH: Well, these are new figures from the Parliamentary Budget Office, and there's a blizzard of numbers coming around there, Leon, but the numbers you've talked about are those firms that didn't meet the forecast downturn. Another figure, which is perhaps even more stark, is that $20 billion went to firms whose revenues increased. A scheme that was designed for firms that had falling revenue actually ended up padding the pockets of firms who were having a better year during the pandemic than they had in 2019.Read more
2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2021
SUBJECTS: JobKeeper; Glasgow summit; vaccination rates
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Well, Treasury are reporting JobKeeper was a great success, and any clawback requiring billionaires to pay back money they didn't need would simply encourage them to damage their own business. I mean, this utterly fails to understand how corporations work. Once again, it means ordinary people face harsher consequences than mega rich businesses. Our JobKeeper warrior is Andrew Leigh. Good morning, mate.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Morning, Marcus.
PAUL: Nice to talk to you, and again, congratulations on all the hard work you've done on this. Treasury confirms it knew the Government was paying our billions in JobKeeper to firms that, quote, 'may not need support', but they paid them anyway, and there's no need to claw that money back because that simply would be, you know, the politics of envy, Andrew.
LEIGH: Marcus, as you know, Labor called for JobKeeper. We wanted it to succeed and we celebrated every single job that was saved. JobKeeper didn't have to be run in a way that gave $58 million to OPSM, a big lick of which ended up in the pockets of their Italian billionaire owner, Leonardo Del Vecchio. It didn't have to give $6 million to Louis Vuitton, a big chunk of which ended up in the pockets of Bernard Arnault, their French billionaire owner. And JobKeeper didn't need to be run in a way in which some $14 billion - $1,400 for every Australian household - went to firms with rising revenues: and that's just in the first half of the program.Read more
Frydenberg gave $1,400 from every household to firms with rising revenue - Transcript, ABC News Breakfast
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST
TUESDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2021
SUBJECTS: JobKeeper; IBAC
MADELEINE MORRIS, FINANCE PRESENTER: Federal Treasury has released a comprehensive analysis of JobKeeper, and the big headline is that $27 billion went to companies that either didn't meet the required 30 per cent loss of turnover or actually made money in its first six months. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. He joins us now from Canberra. Andrew Leigh, thanks for joining us. You've been very across JobKeeper since its implementation. Now that we have these final numbers, what does it tell you about the program?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Madeleine, you never want to entirely trust someone who's marking their own homework, but even on these numbers it shows that JobKeeper - a program that Labor called for, that was designed to save jobs - ended up delivering huge dividends to firms that had rising revenues. Firms such as Louis Vuitton, which got $6 million from the Australian taxpayer, much of which ended up in the pockets of their French billionaire owner. Firms such as OPSM, that got $58 million from the Australian taxpayer, a good lick of which ended up in the pockets of their Italian billionaire owner. A program that should have been saving the jobs of battlers ended up lining the pockets of billionaires: billions of dollars going to firms whose revenues were rising. The $27 billion you mentioned is just in the first six months of the scheme, and it's just a portion of that. More than half of the money was going out the door to firms that didn't meet the forecast downturn test.Read more
SKY NEWS LIVE BUSINESS WEEKEND
SUNDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Reserve Bank of Australia; house prices; interest rates
ROSS GREENWOOD, HOST: Andrew, thank you so much for your time. Those policy differences between Australia and New Zealand seem to justify your calls for this review into the Reserve Bank. Is that the way you see it?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: The Reserve Bank could benefit from a review. I don't think this is about beating up on the institution, but about making it better in the interest of all Australians. Inflation has been below the target band for most of the last five years, and the Reserve Bank's own forecasts have it being below that. I've been calling in the House Economics Committee for the Reserve Bank to do more to cut rates in the first instance, but now, with rates close to zero, it'd be appropriate for them to be also looking at whether they could do more in the quantitative easing space. One of the big debates, though, as you know, Ross, is over what's going on with global inflation. There's those who say that this is a permanent change, and others who say that it's more temporary. I'm pretty much in the temporary camp. I think the inflation we're seeing globally is largely a result of supply shortages around things such as microchips, and is unlikely to be baked in, so I think the Reserve Bank's certainly doing the right thing to keep rates on hold.Read more
2CC CANBERRA LIVE WITH LEON DELANEY
THURSDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2021
SUBJECTS: JobKeeper; pandemic support for businesses.
LEON DELANEY, HOST: I saw that the Deputy Leader of the Federal Labor Party, Richard Marles, made a promise that businesses will not be required to pay back JobKeeper money, even if they received it unnecessarily. Now, the context of this, of course, is that for quite some time, a number of people have been calling for businesses that received the money but did not need it to give it back. Indeed, some have given it back, but not all of them. Leading that charge was our very own local Member for Fenner, Dr Andrew Leigh, who's on the phone now. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon. Great to be with you and your listeners.
DELANEY: Has your party just thrown you under the bus?
LEIGH: Not in the least, Leon. We've always said that firms that didn't need JobKeeper should pay it back. We've never said that they must. We've always been absolutely clear that Labor wouldn't retrospectively try and unscramble this egg. That doesn't change the fact that Josh Frydenberg has presided over the greatest waste of taxpayer money in Australian history. He took JobKeeper, a really important program to save jobs, and then saw $13 billion - about $1,300 for every household in Australia - go to firms with rising earnings. That extraordinary waste is something that Labor will continue to pursue. We will continue to ask firms that didn’t need it to pay the money back. But in the face of a Liberal scare campaign that was suggesting we're somehow going to do something retrospective, it was important for Richard to point out that we weren't going to retrospectively require it.Read more