Boosting Transparency and Accountability in the Charity Sector
Annual Conference of the Charity Law Association of Australia, Melbourne
Thursday, 27 July 2023
In the 2023-24 Budget, we announced funding to enable increased disclosure of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission’s regulatory activities to enhance transparency and accountability in the charity sector.
Today I will speak about the motivations behind this measure and look to provide additional details on the underlying reforms.
The ACNC takes potential misconduct in the charity sector very seriously, and investigates where necessary. In 2021–22 the ACNC finalised 96 investigations, which resulted in a range of outcomes, including the revocation of 15 charities’ registration for serious and ongoing non-compliance.Read more
Randomised Trials, Employment Services and Work For All
Connect Up 2023, Surfers Paradise
Tuesday, 25 July 2023
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the Yugambeh region, and all First Nations people present here today. I commit myself, as a member of the Albanese Government, to the implementation in full of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, including a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament. Thanks to CoAct CEO Simon Brown and chair Lynn Smart for the invitation to speak at ConnectUp 2023.
In 1944 and 1945, as war raged in the Pacific, HC (Nugget) Coombs and a team of fellow economists in the Ministry of Post-War Reconstruction drafted a White Paper on Full Employment. Commissioned by Prime Minister John Curtin, the result was punchy and bold. It began with an excoriating denunciation of the way that the economy in the interwar years had served Australians:
‘Despite the need for more houses, food, equipment and every other type of product, before the war not all those available for work were able to find employment or to feel a sense of security in their future. On the average during the 20 years between 1919 and 1939 more than one-tenth of the men and women desiring work were unemployed.’Read more
ANZLF Closing Plenary: Collaboration For Economic Resilience
Wednesday, 19 July
Kia ora and hello.
Australia and New Zealand enjoy a straight-talking – sometimes playful – but always respectful relationship.
Its benefits reach beyond our borders to support stability, prosperity and security across our region.
In recent years, I have appreciated the chance to visit New Zealand as a guest of Presbyterian Support Northern, and to discuss shared economic and social challenges with Finance Minister Grant Robertson and New Zealand High Commissioner Annette King.
The Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum is an important part of our ongoing dialogue, and I thank you for the invitation to speak today.Read more
A More Competitive Labor Party
Per Capita John Cain Lunch, Melbourne
Wednesday, 19 July 2023
John Cain and Labor
John Cain is one of Labor’s great heroes. When in 1982 he led Victorian Labor to power after 27 years in the wilderness, the reforms spanned the field, from education to law reform, the environment to open government. This being Victoria, sport was a part of the reform agenda too. Cain’s government demanded that the Melbourne Cricket Club admit women members, and introduced Sunday VFL games. In the early-1980s, Cain’s unleashing of reform after a generation in opposition was a blend of Whitlam and Hawke, with a dash of succession. John’s father, John Cain senior, had been the previous Victorian Labor Premier: governing until 1955, when the Split destroyed his government.
Yet although his father had been premier, John Cain was not a Labor powerbroker. Along with John Button and Barry Jones, he was factionally independent. He had seen what divisions in the party had done to his father’s government. Like most active Labor Party members, he chose not to be in a faction.
My argument today is simple: the Labor Party needs to provide space for people to remain outside the factional system. Across the country, the power of the factions is at an all-time high. We need to ensure that it is a legitimate choice for everyone – from new members to elected officials – to be non-factional. To join Labor should be enough. We should not be asking that those who want to make an impact within the ALP must join a sub-group within the party. Factions are fine. But not being in a faction should be fine too.Read more
Monopoly and the Banker: More Than a Board Game
Australian Conference of Economists, Brisbane
Wednesday, 12 July 2023
Since our panel has been asked to riff off Governor Lowe’s remarks in his lunchtime talk, I thought it would be helpful for me to focus on the ways in which developments in my portfolio of competition have affected monetary policy.
The job of the Reserve Bank is never easy, but it is especially challenging at times when inflation is outside the target band. Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine and major problems with vital supply chains are undoubtably key drivers of Australia's inflation problem.
Nonetheless, two new pieces of research suggesting that a lack of competition may impede the transmission of monetary policy – effectively making life harder for central bankers. Both were published in May in the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings.Read more
Treasury Laws Amendment (Making Multinationals Pay Their Fair Share—Integrity and Transparency) Bill 2023 - Speech
Treasury Laws Amendment (Making Multinationals Pay Their Fair Share—Integrity and Transparency) Bill 2023
Second Reading Speech
House of Representatives, 22 June 2023
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Making Multinationals Pay Their Fair Share—Integrity and Transparency) Bill 2023 gives effect to the government's election commitments. These election commitments were announced in April 2022, with specific details announced in the October 2022 budget.
These policies are grounded in the OECD/G20 inclusive framework on base erosion and profit shifting, which began in 2013. Working together within this inclusive framework, over 135 countries and jurisdictions are collaborating on the implementation of measures to tackle tax avoidance, improve the coherence of international tax rules and ensure a more transparent tax environment.Read more
Treasury Laws Amendment (2023 Measures No. 2) Bill 2023
Consideration of Senate Message
House of Representatives, 19 June 2023
These amendments relate to the tax deductibility status for entities in the upcoming referendum debate. It is something of a coincidence that we are speaking on this matter just as that item has passed the parliament. Providing tax-deductible status to organisations participating in public campaigning on the referendum allows the community to support public conversations for and against the Voice to Parliament. As the government has announced, we will not be providing public funding for either the 'yes' or the 'no' case; however, this amendment provides tax-deductible gift recipient status to a 'no' case entity.
For the benefit of the House I'll provide a little background on that. In the May budget, the government made a decision to provide tax-deductible gift recipient status for an organisation campaigning against the Voice to Parliament. There hadn't been any proposals for 'no' case organisations until March 2022, so the budget included the Voice No Case Committee. However, one day before the budget was published, the Voice No Case Committee informed Treasury that it was no longer seeking deductible gift recipient status. It then announced, through media statements, that it had merged with the newly formed entity Australians for Unity and would be the main vehicle campaigning against the Voice. That entity didn't exist until mid-April and only had its charitable status approved last Thursday. Last Friday, the Senate approved amendments which would provide Australians for Unity, the principal vehicle for campaigning for a 'no' case, with tax-deductible gift recipient status that would be backdated to 13 April.Read more
Public Service Amendment Bill 2023
House of Representatives, 20 June 2023
One of the pleasures of being appointed an assistant minister in the Albanese government has been to work with the extraordinarily capable public servants in the departments of Treasury and Employment and in organisations such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Every day, Australians interact with the Australian Public Service—a cafe owner calling Services Australia asking for help after their business has been damaged in a flood; a high school student requesting a book so they can work on a research paper and therefore touching base with experts at the National Library; a new parent accessing parental leave payments through myGov; a teenager applying for their first tax file number after getting their first job; a retiree receiving their medical rebates when they see a doctor. And then there's the work, which is so important, occurring behind-the-scenes—CSIRO researchers exploring cutting-edge science, cybersecurity experts keeping Australia safe from the latest attempted cyberattack.Read more
Nature Repair Market Bill 2023
Nature Repair Market (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2023
House of Representatives, 19 June 2023
In 1984 EO Wilson popularised the notion of biophilia, what he called 'the urge to affiliate with other forms of life'. His 1984 book was a bestseller and reminds us that many of us are at our best when we're in nature. I tend to start the day with a run. At first, I did it mostly for exercise purposes but then I realised one of the reasons it's really good for my head is I'm fortunate to live near Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie, so I get to spend time with the kangaroos and the kookaburras and the spiders and the galahs and all the rest. That always seems to set the day up, as it did this morning.
As I run through that area I'll often think about the lessons that I've learned about that part of the world from Tyronne Bell, a Ngunawal man who took the time to take my family and me through parts of the Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie reserves, showing us where the scar trees were, where the traditional areas were and the way in which country has been used for millennia by First Nations people.Read more
Book Launch for More Than Fiscal: The Intergenerational Report, Sustainability And Public Policy In Australia - Speech
More Than Fiscal: The Intergenerational Report, Sustainability And Public Policy In Australia
Australian National University, Canberra
Thursday, 8 June 2023
More than Fiscal: The Intergenerational Report, Sustainability and Public Policy in Australia is the best book about the Intergenerational Report that I have ever read.
Admittedly, it’s also the only book about the Intergenerational Report I’ve ever read.
But it also has the benefit of being written by a star-studded cast of social scientists, brought together by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. It’s a credit to the academy – and particularly to editors Andrew Podger, Jane Hall and Mike Woods – for bringing a bevy of big brains together to think about this report, and the long-term.Read more