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.

ABC Canberra Breakfast with Adam Shirley - Transcript


SUBJECTS: Workplace giving; Consultations on 2026 Census topics.

ADAM SHIRLEY (HOST): Do you give, I mean in a financial sense, to a given charity? I don’t know whether it’s Vinnies, whether it’s the Salvos, Red Cross, Hands Across Canberra, Thinking Locally, Communities At Work; there are so many different not-for-profits that need extra funds to support those who are in need. Well, a new workplace giving program is being started by Vinnies Canberra, it’s a monthly set up of donations that come straight out of your account. There are other Canberra workplace giving programs, I am sure, and I’d like to hear about one you might be involved with.

Well, someone who oversees giving and also the charity sector more broadly is Dr Andrew Leigh, Federal Member for Fenner and Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. Dr Leigh, thanks for your time today.


SHIRLEY: How important are these workplace-giving programs in our cost-of-living/inflation–ridden times?

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Radovan Leovic 1927-2023

House of Representatives, 16 February 2023

Radovan Leovic was born in Yugoslavia in 1927. He yearned to escape and as a teenager decided that if only he could be selected to represent Yugoslavia in the European Games he'd be able to get out. But he wasn't quite good enough, so he did something else. He got hold of a national team uniform, travelled to the north of the country, where the games were held and, wearing a national uniform, cycled with the peloton over the border, where he escaped and ultimately made his way as a refugee to Australia.

He became a regular in the Canberra triathlon scene, receiving the Legend of the Sport Award from Triathlon ACT just last year, at the age of 95. As recently as 2018 he was running, cycling or swimming every day and said he was 'all the time warm and all the time ready to race'. My friend Alex Gosman said of Rad: 'I can remember Rad always being one of the last to leave after a race as he stayed around to help pack up. Rad always gave 100 per cent, never complained, and had a smile and a hello for everyone.' Triathlon is an extraordinarily competitive sport, but triathletes are generous to one another, and Rad was the epitome of a sport that combines endurance and generosity to fellow competitors.

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Ann Harding 1958-2023

House of Representatives, 16 February 2023

Ann Harding founded NATSEM, the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, in 1993—over a fish-and-chip shop. She later settled into an $11 million state-of-the-art building on campus, and her legacy lives on in the name of the Ann Harding Conference Centre. Ann worked on microsimulation and was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 1996 and the inaugural president and co-founder of the International Microsimulation Association. She served as the president of the ACT branch of the Economic Society of Australia and authored or co-authored over 300 books, chapters, articles, papers and commissioned reports.

NATSEM did critical work in policy. Ann was constantly serving on academic and government boards, including the Treasury and the departments of social security, health, housing, and community services. I remember meeting Ann for the first time in the 1998-99 discussions over the introduction of a goods and services tax. I was then working for the late Senator Peter Cook. As I brought her upstairs for the hearings she said to me, 'You know, you Labor people will come to like this tax, because it'll allow you to spend what you need on health and education.' Ann always had a ready wit and a generosity of spirit and helped many in NATSEM, including yourself, Deputy Speaker Payne. She was generous to me as a young economist, too.

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Parliamentary Standards

House of Representatives, 9 February 2023

I first worked in this building in 1988 doing work experience for the then member for Fraser, John Langmore. I came back to work as a staffer for the late Senator Peter Cook from 1998 to 2000 and I've had the privilege of serving in this place as a member, first for Fraser and then for Fenner, since 2010. So I've seen the culture in the parliament evolve. I've seen it change from a building which was almost entirely a parliament of men to now being much more gender diverse. I've seen it become a little more caring and I've seen the rise of the #MeToo movement, that very welcome rally that said it was about time that we had gender equity in this country.

But other things haven't changed. This still remains one of the very few workplaces in Australia where it's considered acceptable to shout insults at your co-workers while they are trying to do their jobs. It still remains a place in which there are highly personal attacks made on people for political reasons, and the rise of anonymous social media has worsened that particular cesspool. We've seen pile-ons which have challenged the mental health of many. Just think about the impact on former Senator Nick Sherry from the partisan attacks which caused him to attempt to take his life. Many who have been in the eye of the storm during the 12 years that I've been in this parliament have spoken to me about the way in which that affects their mental health.

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Will Steffen

House of Representatives, 8 February 2023

I rise to speak about one of Australia's greatest climate scientists, the late Professor Will Steffen who died at the end of January aged 75. Will Steffen was born in Norfolk, Nebraska, and trained as a chemist at the University of Missouri before getting his PhD at the University of Florida in 1975. He came to Australia with his wife, Carrie, in the late 1970s after a detour working for the Peace Corps in rural Fiji. He did a post-doc at ANU and then joined the CSIRO as an editor and information officer.

He quickly became one of the leaders in the emerging field of geosphere-biosphere analysis. He helped to bring together disparate fields of ecology, biology, oceanography and climate research into a larger study of earth system science. He moved to Stockholm from 1998 to 2004 as executive director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and then, when he returned to Australia, quickly became an adviser to the federal government on issues of climate. He became director of the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society and the inaugural director of the ANU Climate Change Institute.

Australians came to know him best as a foundation member of the Australian Climate Commission, which was dissolved, as he put it, within what seemed like hours of the election of the Abbott government in 2013. In response, Will Steffen and his fellow commissioners Tim Flannery, Lesley Hughes and Amanda McKenzie launched a crowdfunding campaign, raising more than $1 million in a single week, enabling them to set up the Climate Council.

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Ten Ways Labor is Addressing the Cost of Living Challenges Facing Australian Households

Cost of Living
Matter of Public Importance
House of Representatives
7 February 2023

What chutzpah from those opposite to come in and talk to this parliament about the cost of living. Those opposite, who spent nearly a decade in office as a government whose ‘deliberate design feature’ was to place downward pressures on the wages of Australians. Those opposite, who in government ran a rolling energy crisis, with 22 failed energy policies driving upward pressure on bills. Those opposite, who hid power price rises from the Australian people until after the election. Those opposite, whose budgets included sports rorts, car park rorts, Leppington Triangle—who ran a veritable rortocracy. They put so much ill-considered money into the system as to have an adverse impact on the decisions of the Reserve Bank.

Since we've come to office we've seen 234,000 jobs created—the best record of an incoming government since records began. We've seen the strongest wage growth in the period since we've come to office that has been seen in Australia in a decade. I have to say that the chutzpah is pretty extraordinary, given that the mover of this matter of public importance himself said, when interest rates began to rise when his government was in office, that the rise had to happen. The member for Deakin said, 'I think households are in a position where they've prepared for this.' That cash rate, he said, 'wasn't going to last forever.'

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Address to the Sydney Institute - Speech, Sydney



I acknowledge the Gadigal people, traditional custodians of the land on which we gather today, and pay my respects to their Elders past and present.

I’d also like to acknowledge the Sydney Institute and its long-standing commitment to encouraging big conversations about big issues.


In 2012, I spoke here about why inequality matters, and what we should do about it (Leigh 2012).

Returning a decade later, I’m even more convinced that market power is a critical part of Australia’s economic story.

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10th Anniversary of the ACNC - Speech, Canberra


Canberra via Video Link

Today is an auspicious day. Not only are we celebrating the 50th anniversary of the election of the Whitlam Government, but we also mark the tenth anniversary of Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. The ACNC was born of a vision that charities needed a one stop shop. That just as businesses had ASIC, so too, there should be a single regulator for the charities and not-for-profit sector.

I particularly want to thank Deborah Jenkins for your work stepping in as interim commissioner, Anna Longley, who has also served in the role, and to acknowledge Sue Woodward, who will soon take up the reins running the Charities Commission.

What does a ten-year anniversary mean? Well, as it happens, my youngest son is ten years old, so I have a bit of a sense as to what he does now that he couldn't do a decade ago. He's become more thoughtful, he's become wiser, he's become funnier. He is, in short, making a much greater contribution to the world than he did a decade ago. 

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Fifty years on, Whitlam's government is still worth celebrating - Speech, Canberra



When Prime Minister William McMahon set the date for the 1972 election as December 2, Whitlam noted that it was the anniversary of the 1805 Battle of Austerlitz, when Napoleon defeated the Russian and Austrian armies. It was, he said, ‘a date on which a crushing defeat was administered to a coalition - another ramshackle, reactionary coalition’.

Whitlam was a reformer, but he valued tradition, and knew his history. Visiting Australia in 1974, Gore Vidal was struck to meet a Prime Minister who took issue with the historical accuracy of Vidal’s novel about the Roman Emperor, Julian.

It was, Vidal later noted, ‘an unusual experiment for Australia to choose as its Prime Minister its most intelligent man’. As Julia Gillard noted in her 2011 Whitlam oration, Whitlam – like his near namesake Whitman – could well have said ‘I am large, I contain multitudes.’

Scott Prasser and David Clune’s edited book ‘The Whitlam Era’ also contains multitudes – bringing together more than a dozen respected commentators to provide a critical analysis of the Whitlam Government, half a century today from its election.

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W D Borrie Lecture at the Australian Population Association Conference - Speech, Canberra





I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather today, pay my respects to their Elders past and present, and commit myself to the full implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

It is my pleasure to be invited to talk at the Australian Population Association's 2022 Conference, and an honour to be giving the W.D. Borrie Lecture.

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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.