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.

Indigenous Australians perhaps most incarcerated people on earth - Transcript, ABC News Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC NEWS RADIO
MONDAY, 26 AUGUST 2019

Subject: New research on Australia’s incarceration rates.

SARAH HALL: More Australians than ever before are in prison, with Indigenous Australians now more likely to be in prison than African Americans. That's according to a new report out by federal Labor MP and economist, Andrew Leigh. The Member for Fenner has found that since 1985, the Australian incarceration rate increased by 130 per cent, while the share of Indigenous adults in prison has more than doubled. For more on these findings, I’m joined by Dr Leigh in Canberra. Dr Leigh, thanks for joining us.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Pleasure, Sarah. Great to be talking with you.

HALL: Can you please break down these figures for us. What stood out to you the most?

LEIGH: Well, not since 1899 has Australia had such a large share of population in jail. The incarceration rate has been rising significantly since the 1980s, despite the fact that crime has been falling. You’re half as likely to be murdered now as you were in the 1980s, and the rates of robbery, car theft and assault have gone down markedly. But as a result of changes in policing practices and sentencing practices, a higher share of Australians are behind bars. 0.2 per cent of all adults are incarcerated, and 2½ per cent of Indigenous adults are incarcerated.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

We need to be smart on crime - Transcript, Triple J Hack

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
TRIPLE J HACK
MONDAY, 26 AUGUST 2019

Subject: New research on Australia’s incarceration rates.

AVANI DIAS: You probably know that when Australia was first colonised, the UK transported thousands of convicts here to serve out sentences for their crimes. Well it turns out Australia's back to where it was in that time. In fact, a new report has found we're entering a second convict age and that's despite a drop in crime rates. Perhaps the worst part of this report is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are now more likely to be imprisoned than African-Americans. Federal Labor's Andrew Leigh wrote this research. He's also an economist and he's with us now. Andrew, Australia's incarceration rate is at the highest level in 120 years. Why is that?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Avani, it's more likely now that police will press charges, that judges will impose a custodial sentence. Compared with the mid-1980s, that  custodial sentence will be longer, and that while you are awaiting trial, you likely won't be out on bail, you will be behind bars. So we've had a whole lot of tweaks to the law, which have together caused our incarceration rate to go through the roof. What's striking about this is it's come at a time in which crime rates have fallen. The murder rate’s now half what it was in the 1980s. Car theft is down. Robbery rates are down. But incarceration rates are substantially up.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

More people locked up than ever before - Transcript, ABC Afternoon Briefing

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TV INTERVIEW
AFTERNOON BRIEFING
MONDAY, 26 AUGUST 2019

Subject: New research on Australia’s incarceration rates.

PATRICIA KARVELAS: I think we've got Andrew Leigh now, welcome.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Thanks, great to be with you.

KARVELAS: You just completed a research paper which identifies what you are calling disturbingly a second convict age. Take me through what you found and why you used that language? Because that’s quite alarming.

LEIGH: It is, Patricia, and so are the figures. Incarceration rates in Australia haven't been this high since 1899, in the tail end of the transportation era. We now have 0.2 per cent of adults in jail, but for Indigenous Australians, it is 2.5 per cent of adults behind bars. That’s up from 1 per cent when the Aboriginal deaths in custody report came out in 1991. And as you said in your introduction, it means Indigenous Australians are now perhaps the most incarcerated people on earth with an incarceration rate that exceeds that for African-Americans. If you look at the exposure over a lifetime since - an Indigenous man born in the 1970s has one in four chances of spending time behind bars. Research out of Western Australia suggests that as many as nine out of 10 Indigenous men born in the 1970s have been arrested, summonsed or charged in their lifetime. So increasingly, incarceration is becoming a normal life event for Indigenous Australians and that is having massively damaging impacts on our attempts to close the gap.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Incarceration at highest level since 1899 - Transcript, ABC Canberra

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC CANBERRA
MONDAY. 26 AUGUST 2019

Subject: New research on Australia’s incarceration rates.

ADRIENNE FRANCIS: You know that of course Australia's states, with the exception of South Australia and Victoria, were first established as penal colonies. It comes as no surprise then that in the 19th century, a large proportion of the adult population were incarcerated. In fact, as many as 6.5 per cent of the adult population in the 1860s were in jail. So what might surprise you is that we currently imprison a greater proportion of adults than at any time since the late 19th century. That's the finding of some research conducted by federal parliamentarian and Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh. He says we're now in a second convict page. Andrew Leigh joins me on the line. Good morning, Andrew. What is the current rate of incarceration in Australia?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Good morning, Adrienne. Great to be with you. The current rate of incarceration is 0.2 per cent - so two in 1000 Australians are behind bars. As you say, the highest level since 1899.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Productivity growth the key to wage rises - Transcript, 2GB Money News

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2GB MONEY NEWS
WEDNESDAY, 14 AUGUST 2019

Subjects: Interest rates, penalty rates, unfair dismissal protections, the need to boost productivity, the per capita recession, the Coalition’s lack of energy policy vision.

ROSS GREENWOOD: I think we might get on Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Shadow Minister for Treasury and Charities. He’s on the line right now. Andrew, many thanks for your time.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Always a pleasure, Ross.

GREENWOOD: All right. The big issue here right now is and it comes - it doesn't matter which side of politics you're on, this is you know trans political, I think - the nation has got to find a way in which we can actually get some wages growth, get some economic growth. We're not bad. I mean, let's be honest. In global terms, we’re actually in pretty good shape. But the fact is there's a spark missing right now to try and get the country going again. You tell me what that spark is.

LEIGH: It's about a federal government that's willing to step up and take actions that will boost wages and boost the economy-

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Mood shifting on gun control - Transcript, 2CC Canberra

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2CC CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 6 AUGUST 2019

SUBJECTS: Gun control and mass shootings in the United States.

HOST: The co-founders of the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control - Dr Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fenner, and John Alexander, the Member for Bennelong - are urging lawmakers in the United States to take urgent action to prevent further senseless death. Dr Andrew Leigh joins me on the line now. Dr Leigh, the most recent appalling massacres in the United States. When will the Americans do something about this?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Well, I hope sooner rather than later, Tim. I see the mood is shifting in the United States, but at a glacial pace. In Australia it was extraordinary how the Port Arthur massacre galvanized action among politicians from all sides of the political spectrum. We saw within a fortnight of that massacre, police ministers meeting, standardising laws in order to make sure that we toughened up licensing and registration, got the buyback into place. We still have a sporting shooting culture in Australia, as we should. I can take a run in the morning and it will take me past the pistol club and the rifle range, but we don't have the guns tucked into the back of the teenager’s jeans when they go out on Saturday night.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Australians are poorer under the Liberals- Transcript, 2GB Money News

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2GB MONEY NEWS
THURSDAY, 1 AUGUST 2019

Subjects: HILDA, the Liberals’ record of stagnant wages and struggling productivity, the wage gap, Made in Australia.

ROSS GREENWOOD: One person I love to talk to about these types of things is Dr Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and also very prominent inside the economic thinking of the Labor Party as well. He’s on the line. Andrew, many thanks for your time.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Always a pleasure, Ross.

GREENWOOD: So off the back of some of these reports, you've done two things this week. You've written an op ed and basically looked at Australia's productivity crisis. We’ll come to that shortly, but you also gave a speech in the House of Representatives which was yesterday and that was in regards to the HILDA report, and what you see as being a widening gap between the haves and the have nots in Australia. Is it really as significant a crisis as you paint it as?

Read more
Add your reaction Share

More mistruths from the Liberals on multinational tax avoidance - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 31 JULY 2019

The problem of multinational profit-shifting is a massive one. Globally, around $600 billion of profits are estimated to be shifted to tax havens. That's almost 40 per cent of multinational profits.

We see in Australia significant multinational profit-shifting affecting our tax base. You can see this in a variety of different statistics. One curious figure is a new dataset released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last year which shows the operating profits and taxable profits of multinational firms operating in Australia and in different jurisdictions. You can ask the question: what's the gap between operating profits and taxable profits for firms from different countries? If you're a typical Australian firm, the gap between operating profits and taxable profits is about 30 per cent. That's true, too, for firms in the United States, at 28 per cent, in the United Kingdom, at 27 per cent, and in Japan, at 29 per cent.

But then you get to the curious ones. Bermuda owned multinationals operating in Australia have a gap between operating profits and taxable profits of 88 per cent. Those located in the British Virgin Islands have a gap of 92 per cent. In other words, if you start with $10 of operating profit, Australian firms will report $7 of taxable profit and the same with American firms, British firms and Japanese firms. In those cases, $10 of operating profits means $7 of taxable profits. But if you're a firm located in Bermuda or the British Virgin Islands then $10 of operating profits produces just $1 of taxable profits. That could have something to do with the fact that Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands effectively have a zero corporate income tax rate, no personal income tax rate and no capital gains tax rate.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

It's not too late for the Liberals to do the right thing - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 31 JULY 2019

Yesterday a report came out from the Melbourne Institute: the annual HILDA Statistical Report. It ought to be a wake-up call for the Morrison government, which has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to tackling Australia's serious economic challenges. It showed that when the Liberals came to office under Tony Abbott in 2013, median household annual disposable income in Australia was $80,573. In the most recent year available in the report, 2017, median household income was $80,095. In other words, in the time that the Liberals have been in office, the median household has gotten poorer.

So when Australians ask themselves: 'am I better off or worse off under this government?' The answer is, after inflation, they're worse off.

We've seen significant falls in median household incomes, adjusting for household size, in Adelaide, in Perth, in regional Western Australia, in regional New South Wales and right here in the ACT. In the ACT, the drop in median equivalised household disposable incomes has been the largest of any region in Australia—11 per cent—a direct consequence of the decimation of the public service and the cuts in real wages for many Canberra public servants.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Life under Coalition harder for many - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 31 JULY 2019

Thirty-year-old Cameron Van-Lane and his three housemates in Dickson have taken to putting bubble wrap on their windows in order to keep the house warm. As Mr Van-Lane told the RiotACT:

… it is an expensive heating system to run and as soon as you turn it off, the house quickly loses its heat and gets cold again.

According to a report called Baby it's cold inside: energy efficient ratings in the ACT, over two out of five rental properties have an energy efficiency rating of zero. As Joel Dignam, the executive director of Better Renting, said, seeing how poorly insulated some Canberra homes are is ‘confronting’.

The challenges of living in a city like Canberra come particularly in the middle of winter.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

Search



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.