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.

New figures show JobKeeper most wasteful program ever run by Australian government - Transcript, 5AA Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

5AA MORNINGS WITH LEON BYNER

MONDAY, 30 AUGUST 2021

SUBJECTS: Government’s JobKeeper waste and secrecy.

LEON BYNER, HOST: Andrew, it's good to talk to you again.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Always great to talk with you, Leon. Thanks for having me on the program.

BYNER: Now, more than $13 billion in JobKeeper payments were given to businesses which recorded increases in revenue, and that has fuelled a lot of discussion that the wage subsidy was the biggest budget waste in our history. Do you still hold to that?

LEIGH: I can't think of the bigger one, Leon. This amount of money would have built fibre-to-the-home broadband for every urban home in Australia. It's more than the federal government spends on public schools in a single year. It’s almost $1,000 for every Australian adult. The fact is it didn't have to be this way. Josh Frydenberg knew a couple of months into the JobKeeper program the money was flying out the door to firms whose revenues were going up rather than down, and yet he did nothing to stem the tide. If this had been money going to pensioners, you'd bet that they would have cracked down on it lickety split, but because it was money going to some of their mates they allowed those cheques to go out the door and Australia is the poorer for it.

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Why is the Government running scared from JobKeeper transparency? - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 26 AUGUST 2021

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 6) Bill 2021 is, as the member for Bruce has said, an urgent measure which will bring on important changes to allow greater transparency of superannuation holdings in family law proceedings. Like the member for Bruce, I urge the Senate not to attach amendments to the bill that would slow its passage. Labor takes the same approach to this bill that we took to a bill that went to the Senate in the last sitting period which related to support for people in lockdown.

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JobKeeper Transparency - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 25 AUGUST 2021

JobKeeper was the biggest one-off program in Australian history, costing the average Australian household $9,000. It wasn't Liberal Party money; it was taxpayer money, and taxpayers have a right to know how it was spent. In Britain taxpayers know every firm that got their Job Retention Scheme. In New Zealand taxpayers know every firm that got the COVID Wage Subsidy. In the United States taxpayers know every firm that got money through the Paycheck Protection Program.

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The Government should welcome JobKeeper transparency - Transcript, Doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 25 AUGUST 2021

SUBJECTS: Government’s historic JobKeeper waste; Labor’s JobKeeper transparency amendment; Government’s vaccine failure; Labor’s vaccine incentive.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: JobKeeper is the biggest program ever put in place as a one-off by the Australian Government, and it involved more waste than any Australian government program has seen. We know that some $13 billion - almost $1,000 for every Australian adult - was given through the JobKeeper program to firms with rising earnings. Yes, JobKeeper saved some jobs. But there weren't jobs saved by giving money to AP Eagers, the car company with rising earnings. There weren't jobs saved by giving money to Premier Investments and Harvey Norman. There weren't jobs saved by giving money to Accent Group, who used part of it to give a $1 million bonus to their CEO. JobKeeper went to the Australian Club, a men's-only club in Sydney that increased its surplus. It went to independent schools such as The Kings School, Wesley College and Brisbane Grammar, who saw an increase in their surplus. JobKeeper went to the Royal Australian Golf Club, that surely didn't need taxpayer handouts. While the Government changed the rules three times to keep public universities out, JobKeeper went to Bond University and New York University's Sydney campus. 

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We must learn the unclear lessons of the past - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 24 AUGUST 2021

About once a decade this parliament debates questions around Australia's international engagement. We did so in 1991, in 2002 and in 2010 and now again in 2021. Such debates are important not only for what they say about a particular international engagement but also for what they say about when Australia makes that decision of committing troops to an international engagement. This is symbolic of the positioning of the Australian War Memorial, designed to be along the parliamentary axis. So when considering whether or not to send troops to war parliamentarians look out and see the cost of war embodied in the War Memorial. It has been argued by some that parliamentary approval should be required before committing troops. I believe that at least we should have a parliamentary debate.

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Government sending JobKeeper debt notices to pensioners, but not billionaires who pocketed millions - Transcript, 5AA Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

5AA MORNINGS WITH LEON BYNER

WEDNSDAY, 11 AUGUST 2021

SUBJECTS: The Government pursuing pensioners but not billionaires for JobKeeper repayments

LEON BYNER, HOST: My next guest is an Australian politician, but he's also an author, he's a lawyer, former professor of economics at the Australian National University, and has been a member of the Australian House of Reps for Labor since 2010. He's a clever bloke, alright. Now, the reason I'm going to talk to him in a moment is that we have thousands of Australians getting debt notices for pandemic welfare overpayments. Many profitable businesses are evading the same repayments. Now, the Government, of course, is being accused of double standards, and if those facts I've just put to you hold water, which they appear to do, we have a fairness issue here. Let's talk with the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew, it's good to talk to you.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Likewise, Leon. Great to be with you.

BYNER: Now, how much money? Have you done a bit of an audit to work out how much money ought to be paid back to Australian taxpayers on this?

LEIGH: Leon, if you just take the basic question of how many JobKeeper recipients actually saw their earnings go up rather than down, it's some $13 billion. Put into perspective, that's more than the Commonwealth Government spent on public schools last year. It's more than they spend on childcare last year. It's about enough to take a fibre to the home network to every urban premises in Australia. It's a lot of money.

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The Liberals' Soft Touch on Multinational Tax Dodging - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 11 AUGUST 2021

Before question time, I spoke about the absurdity of the situation of Jan, who had received a notice requiring that she repay some $1,000 of the pension because she had received JobKeeper in her capacity as a part-time schoolteacher in Victoria. While the government is going hard after Jan, putting her on a $15-a-fortnight repayment plan, it has nothing to say to Gerry Harvey, to Solomon Lew, to Brett Blundy, to the other Australian billionaires who've gotten JobKeeper as a result of having significant shareholdings in firms that enjoyed a profitable year and paid a dividend. That's the double standard that we have in this government, a standard that says that Jan, who is on the pension, should have to pay $1,000 back through a repayment plan but that the billionaires who've benefited from JobKeeper aren't asked by this government to repay a cent. When we on this side of the House call on the government to at least exert a bit of moral courage and at least ask these firms to live up to their corporate social responsibility statements, we get told by the Prime Minister that we're playing ‘the politics of envy’. That's how out of touch this Prime Minister is—that he is willing to go after Jan but not to go after Australian billionaires.

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Government only ever recovers payments from pensioners, and never billionaires - Transcript, ABC NewsRadio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC NEWSRADIO
TUESDAY, 10 AUGUST 2021

SUBJECT: The Government’s JobKeeper failings.

GLEN BARTHOLOMEW, HOST: Well, now to reports the Federal Government has sent thousands of people Centrelink debt letters claiming they were overpaid due to JobKeeper. According to a report in The Guardian, the Government sent more than 11,000 people Centrelink debt letters worth around are claiming rather that they were overpaid $32 million. All the while resisting frequent calls to reclaim money from the businesses who received the wage subsidy, but then went on to make a profit. Meanwhile, in Parliament yesterday, the Opposition suddenly dropped support for an amendment to the Government's new business payments which would have required companies to reveal how much money they received from the JobKeeper wage subsidy. Labor MP Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. He's led the charge on this. He says sending debt letters to Centrelink recipients smacks of a double standard.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: I'm disappointed, Glenn, but I'm not surprised. This is the Government that invented Robodebt, and which has gone soft on big firms getting JobKeeper despite rising earnings. How many of those firms have been asked by Scott Morrison to repay? Absolutely zero. But now we've got more than 11,000 people who've received JobKeeper who are getting debt collection letters from Centrelink. From the Government that wanted to put disability support recipients on to the automatic assessments, it's sadly no surprise.

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Australians need lockdown support and transparency on JobKeeper - Transcript, The Project

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW
THE PROJECT
MONDAY, 9 AUGUST 2021

SUBJECTS: The Government’s JobKeeper failures.

CARRIE BICKMORE, HOST: Labor MP Andrew Leigh has been naming and shaming companies that profited off JobKeeper and he joins us now. Andrew, you've been pushing for transparency and accountability for big businesses receiving JobKeeper or other government support. Why did Labor back down?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Carrie, we need to make sure we prioritize support for people in lockdown right now. There's no way Labor was going to hold up money going out the door for people who are suffering under the weight of lockdown. No-one's been stronger on transparency around JobKeeper than me. It was a great program poorly implemented. Around 15 per cent of the money seems to have gone to firms whose earnings went up rather than down, like Best & Less, Harvey Norman, Premier Investments and Accent Group. Some of them used it to pay executive bonuses. We need to know more about this scheme, because it wasn't Liberal Party money they were spending, it was taxpayer money.

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The Morrison Government is the most anti-university government in Australia's history

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 9 AUGUST 2021

The convention on these things is to thank the member for Longman for bringing on the debate and to say how pleased I am that he has done it, but I'd be a hypocrite if I did that. The fact is that this is the most anti-university government in Australian history. It is bizarre that the member would bring on a motion praising the government's university policies. He should hang his head in shame for the way in which this government has treated universities. Universities are vital to Australia's future. Attending university boosts earnings by around 50 per cent compared to finishing high school, translating to some $600,000 of additional earnings for the median woman and $800,000 for the median man.

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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.