Speaking


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.

If you're doing well, you don't need taxpayer handouts - Transcript, 2SM with Marcus Paul

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 19 JANUARY 2021

SUBJECTS: Companies using JobKeeper to pay out executive bonuses; Companies repaying JobKeeper payments after reporting profits; Deloitte Business Outlook; the risks of cutting support payments too soon; Federal election.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: It's time to catch up with Andrew Leigh MP. Good morning, Andrew. How are you, mate? 

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Great, Marcus, how are you?

PAUL: Okay. BonusKeeper - that's what you dubbed JobKeeper. You and I went through the detail at length on the program late last year. A number of Australian businesses that were still doing quite well were paying executive bonuses and also making quite a handy profit while receiving JobKeeper. Now we learned that there's a handful of Australian companies pledging to return some of the money.

LEIGH: It's terrific, Marcus. Toyota Australia is one of those who've given the money back. They've given $18 million in JobKeeper payments back to the taxpayer and their CEO, Matthew Callachor, said that it was ‘the right thing to do as a responsible corporate citizen’. And then yesterday, we had Super Retail Group - which owns Rebel, Supercheap Auto and BCF - saying much the same, plenty of good sales. They decided that they didn't need the taxpayer money and so they're giving $1.7 million back to the taxpayer. I really think those two firms are really going to go up in their public standing. They show that their corporate ethics are in line with most Australians. If you're doing well, you don't need taxpayer handouts.

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Big businesses have to be responsible corporate citizens - Transcript, 2GB Money News

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2GB MONEY NEWS
WEDNESDAY, 13 JANUARY 2020

SUBJECT: Companies using JobKeeper to pay out executive bonuses.

BROOKE CORTE, HOST: What do you reckon, should Premier return the millions received in JobKeeper payments to the taxpayer?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Absolutely, they should. Premier was perfectly within their rights to apply for the money. But given that they had a more profitable year in 2020 than in 2019, it beggars belief that they think that they can have their hand out for taxpayer cash. Now we've got a million people out of work, we've got another nearly million who would like to get more hours. People's unemployment benefits are being cut and the unemployment rate isn't expected to return to pre-pandemic levels for a number of years. So we just don't have the spare government cash to be subsidising big dividends to billionaires and bonuses to multi-million dollar CEOs.

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Government needs to call out own MPs on misinformation - Transcript, ABC Canberra

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC CANBERRA BREAKFAST
TUESDAY, 12 JANUARY 2021

SUBJECTS: Social media platforms; Deadly Capitol riots; Free speech and the importance of calling out misinformation.

ADAM SHIRLEY, HOST: Authorities in Australia including our elected representatives have worries about how the tech giants operate and the way things are passed as above board or below it. There has been now a group formed called the Parliamentary Friends of Making Social Media Safe. Fifty MPs have joined it, including Dr Andrew Leigh, federal Member for Fenner and Canberra local. Dr Leigh, good morning to you for the first time in 2021. Thanks for being with us.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Adam. Happy New Year. As you were saying earlier, it was a gorgeous sunrise this morning. I was running up Mt Majura and it was just magnificent seeing the sun coming up.

SHIRLEY: Good time of day for it, given it was 12 degrees not 34. Later that will be a bit hot for a run, I would say. Why is it you wanted to be a part of this group, and what are the key issues around online media for you in 2021?

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Online misinformation needs to be called out - Transcript, 2SM with Marcus Paul

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 12 JANUARY 2021

SUBJECTS: Deadly Capitol riots; Social media platforms; Impeachment; State border closures; Federal election.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Labor is sharpening its attacks on the federal government, and the Australian Labor Party is now ready for an election. Andrew Leigh MP would be one of those who is sharpening up the verbal attacks on his counterparts there in Canberra. He joins us for the first time in 2021. Happy New Year, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Happy New Year, Marcus. Did you get a good break? 

PAUL: Wasn’t too bad actually. Sadly, I wasn't able to travel to the Gold Coast, which I wanted to do to visit family and friends and in particular my old dad. But, fingers crossed, we'll be able to do that in a couple of weekends’ time. It's very tough. But look, a lot of people were out there doing it a lot worse. I mean, the pandemic goes on. We know we've got border closures. Unfortunately, COVID is still here and probably until the vaccine’s introduced. Let's hope in the next month or so we'll be able to perhaps get some, back to some sort of normality, both socially and economically Andrew.

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Australians deserve better than Scott Morrison - Transcript, RN Breakfast

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC RN BREAKFAST

MONDAY, 4 JANUARY 2021

SUBJECT: Labor’s plan for a better recovery; the need to remain open to the world.

CATHY VAN EXTEL, HOST: Andrew Leigh is Labor's Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Welcome back to Breakfast.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Cathy. Great to be with you.

VAN EXTEL: Now, there’s a six week gap in the parliamentary sitting calendar during September-October This is being interpreted as a possible election window. Is that your expectation?

LEIGH: We’re ready to go to an election anytime the Prime Minister wants to call one, Cathy. I think Australians are hankering for recovery that doesn't just take us back to 2019, but does what that wartime generation did after World War II - builds back better. A recovery that creates a country which is better able to deal with climate change, which is more productive, which has more rapid wage growth, and more egalitarianism and community connectedness. I think what was at the heart of Anthony Albanese’s criticism of the prime minister was that we all want him to be as ambitious for Australia as he is for himself.

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Labor ready to lead on climate action - Transcript, 2SM with Marcus Paul

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 15 DECEMBER 2020

SUBJECTS: JobKeeper as BonusKeeper; Cycling crash; China; Climate change.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Dr Andrew Leigh is with us now on the program. Let's talk about the potential audit of the JobKeeper scheme. Andrew has been fighting hard on this, he's asked the Auditor General to look for companies using it to pay executive bonuses. We've gone through and named and shamed a number of big business corporations. They've done okay, if you like, in the last six to 12 months - so much so they've been able to turn over a profit and they've also paid their executive bonuses and they've ensured that their CEOs are very well rewarded. But the kicker of course is that they've done it, in my opinion, with the help of, in some cases, up to $70 or $80 million worth of Australian taxpayer dollars through the JobKeeper scheme. Or as Andrew has dubbed it, BonusKeeper. Morning, mate. How are you?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. Great to be with you.

PAUL: Alright, where are you on this JobKeeper scheme? Will the Auditor-General look for companies using it to pay executive bonuses?

LEIGH: I certainly hope he will. The Auditor-General said that he was going to do a broad audit into JobKeeper. I wrote to him saying you need to look specifically at the issue of executive bonuses. Firms like Qube, the logistics company which got $14 million of JobKeeper and paid a $1.3 million bonus to its CEO - despite its earnings barely moving. So one of the other questions I've asked the Auditor-General look into is how many companies had a better 2020 than 2019, and yet received JobKeeper. There seem to be a few, like the company that owns Just Jeans and Smiggle, that have had a really strong 2020 in a profit sense but yet received taxpayer subsidies which they've used to pay out to shareholders and CEOs.

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Coalition's economic priorities out of touch - Transcript, ABC Brisbane Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC BRISBANE DRIVE

THURSDAY, 10 DECEMBER 2020

SUBJECT: Hundreds of companies paying no tax in Australia; the Coalition failing to crack down on multinational tax avoidance; companies using JobKeeper to pay out executive bonuses.

STEVE AUSTIN, HOST: Andrew Leigh is the federal Labor MP for the electorate of Fenner in Canberra. He's the Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Economics. Dr Andrew Leigh, thanks for coming back on.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Always a pleasure, Steve. Great to chat with you.

AUSTIN: Alright. How significant is it overall that a third of Australian companies paid no tax at all?

LEIGH: It's pretty significant, Steve. This is a time in which we need every cent we can get, with a million people out of work and government debt going towards a trillion dollars. Not only do we have a third of companies not paying tax, but as you said, there’s 80 companies that haven't paid tax for the last six years. Among the companies that didn't pay any tax this year are some of the giants of the resources sector - Woodside Petroleum, Chevron, BHP [Aluminium], as well as firms like IBM, CITIC and BNP Paribas. So these are significant entities, and in some cases there might be good reasons why they haven't paid tax. But we also know that there's a big fight going on between the well-paid accountants at large firms who are looking to try and find every tax loophole available and the under resourced Australian Tax Office, which has had its budget cut and has been put in a position where it's increasingly finding it difficult to go after the big end of town.

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We must let refugees stay and rebuild their lives - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 10 DECEMBER 2020

Yesterday, I went for an early-morning run with Lachlan Arthur and Cassie Cohen from the Canberra Refugee Marathon Project, and Zaki Haidari, a refugee on a temporary visa. A member of the Hazara ethnic group, Zaki's father was taken away one night by the Taliban. That was 10 years ago and he's never seen him again. Zaki's brother was beheaded when the Taliban stopped him and found out that he was a university student.

Zaki fled to Australia in fear of his life.

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Liberals' super hypocrisy must end - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 10 DECEMBER 2020

The Liberals never liked superannuation. Tony Abbott called it ‘a con job’. Bronwyn Bishop said it was ‘designed to penalise business’. Paul Keating got universal superannuation going. John Howard broke his promise and froze it. Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard raised it; Tony Abbott broke his promise and froze it.

Australians have seen this bad sequel of a movie before. After saying that low wages were a ‘deliberate design feature’ of their economic policies, and ignoring record low wage growth, the Liberals suddenly say that freezing super will boost wages. Yet their own retirement incomes review shows that a dollar less of super doesn't mean a dollar more of wages. And because returns compound, a dollar put into superannuation turns into two or three dollars at retirement.

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Government needs to act on tax avoidance - Transcript, ABC News Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC NEWS RADIO

THURSDAY, 10 DECEMBER 2020

SUBJECTS: Hundreds of companies paying no tax in Australia; the Coalition failing to crack down on multinational tax avoidance.

GLEN BARTHOLOMEW, HOST: The Australian Taxation Office’s latest corporate tax transparency data shows about a third of companies didn't pay any tax. More than 2300 corporate entities are included in the report looking at the 2018-19 financial year, which finds hundreds of companies reduced their tax bills to zero during that period. So why is that okay? Andrew Leigh is a former professor of economics who is now the Deputy Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics. Good morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Glen. Great to be with you.

BARTHOLOMEW: Explain to people how it can be that about a third of companies did not pay any tax.

LEIGH: In some cases it’s because they're doing significant investments. But in other cases, it looks as though there may be questions about their adherence to the laws. There's 80 companies that paid no tax six years in a row, and that's got to raise an eyebrow or two. We know that globally there's around 40 per cent of multinational profits that are shifted to tax havens like the Cayman Islands, and that's a number that's been rising in recent years. Around $600 billion of profits are being funnelled off to low tax or no tax jurisdictions. And it gets easier, Glen, when firms are engaged in weightless production - where it's not immediately obvious where the value is being produced - and firms have been using some sharp accounting tricks in order to exploit some of those loopholes. Unfortunately, while other countries have stepped up to try and close those loopholes, Australia’s been a bit of a laggard when it comes to acting on multinational tax avoidance.

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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.