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.

Economic development on the Far South Coast

Economic Development on the Far South Coast

Campaign Event for Leanne Atkinson, NSW Labor Candidate for BegaSaturday,

31 January 2015 

I acknowledge the traditional owners, on whose lands we meet today. Thanks to Leanne for inviting me here this afternoon, and to Doug for his very moderate moderating. It’s great to share the stage with a policy thinker of the calibre of David Hetherington. It’s good to be here with all of you as well, although I am slightly worried about who’s minding Canberra since it seems as though we’re all here at the coast.

In politics we spend a lot of time dealing with the things that are most urgent, but not necessarily the most important. Events like today’s provide an opportunity to raise our eyes to the horizon and think about the big picture challenges we need to address for this community’s future. I think it’s a great indication of the approach Leanne would bring as this region’s local member, and I commend her for facing up to the challenges ahead with energy and optimism.  

Read more
Add your reaction Share

No country ever tax dodged its way to prosperity - Address to the McKell Institute

No country ever tax dodged its way to prosperity

Address to the McKell Institute, Sydney

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Thank you for that very kind introduction. It’s an absolute delight to have the McKell Institute as host tonight.

There’s been a lot of talk over the years about the need for more investment in progressive think tanks, and a lot less action. You are an exception. In just four years, McKell has established itself as perhaps the leading voice for practical public policy in this city and state.

Taking Bill McKell as your inspiration is a particularly, well a particularly inspired choice. My mum’s dad was a boilermaker, so I almost feel like I’m among family here. And McKell’s name is a constant reminder that Australian Labor’s practical, progressive, pro-growth tradition dates back a lot further than thirty years.

Your team’s efforts are quite remarkable and the evidence of that is right here in this terrific group of people gathered for an important discussion – so once again, thanks.


As Shadow Assistant Treasurer in the Shorten Opposition, I’ve got a lot of fascinating responsibilities.


I get to dabble in EMTRs and the IGOT, and if all the work is done for the week by Friday lunchtime, then we break out MTAWE and MAWTO – five letter acronyms we reserve for a very special tax nerd afternoon.

But the four-letter word I’m spouting the most at the moment is ‘BEPS’.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

McKell Institute Address - No country ever tax dodged its way to prosperity

On 27 January I'll be speaking at the McKell Institute on multinational tax and inclusive growth. If you'd like to come along, you can RSVP to [email protected]


Add your reaction Share

Who owns the Eureka legend?

Which side of politics owns the Eureka legend?

An after-dinner debate for the conference on “Eureka’s significance, then and now”

Australian National University

3 December 2014

My thanks to John Moloney for his introduction, Dave Headon for organising tonight’s debate, and the gathered historians for being here on this, the 160th anniversary of Eureka. Let me pay my respects to the Ngunnawal people, the traditional owners of the land and their elders past and present.

I want to particularly thank my three parliamentary colleagues: Nick Champion, Michael McCormack and Lucy Wicks. We don't do enough in parliament that is bipartisan. These three parliamentary colleagues are people who enjoy talking about the role of history in our national conversation, and recognise that history isn't just the stories gone by, it is part of the golden threads that link the past to what we do in the future. 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Matter of Public Importance Debate - the Budget

Matter of Public Importance: The Budget

In this annus horribilis for the Abbott government: they have given Australia back knights and dames; they have taught us that the name of our North American friend is pronounced 'Canadia'; they have suggested that the US is at risk of default—and I am sure the member for Riverina would not have made a mistake like that. They have shown their common touch by smoking cigars just before handing down the most unfair budget in living memory; enlightened us about the link between breast cancer and abortion; taken to the barricades to defend the rights of bigots; told us that poor people do not drive cars; said that the Australian Submarine Corporation, despite being headed by Sophie Mirabella, still cannot build a canoe; and shown us that demon dialling is the way to every crossbenchers heart.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Don't abolish the charities commission

Yesterday the government finally brought the bill to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission forward for debate. I kicked things off for the Opposition by explaining exactly why we need to keep this important, effective agency.

Speech: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Repeal Bill (No.1) 2014

House of Representatives

I move:

That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

“whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House is of the opinion that the Government’s plan to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission is an insult to the good work of the charitable sector, and to all Australians who want accountability and transparency when it comes to their generous donations.”

What the charities commission does

Let me start with a story of great concern. It is about some scammers who set up charities with names such as Friends of the Disabled Children's Task Force, Friends of the Underprivileged Children's Task Force, and Chronic Constructive Pulmonary Disease of Australia Incorporated. Australians, inspired by a deep sense of generosity, donated more than $1 million to them. It turned out that there was not much evidence of the money going to the disadvantaged or needy, and those charities have now been shut down.

All scammers are dodgy, but I have always regarded charity scammers as a particular form of low-life. Other scammers exploit greed or lust or ignorance, but charity scammers prey on our goodwill; they take that great Aussie tradition of wanting to help the vulnerable, and they use it to line their own pockets.

Read more
2 reactions Share

Opening of the Eugene Anchugov Chinese art exhibition

Speech at the opening of the Eugene Anchugov Chinese art exhibition

Parliament House, Canberra

3 December 2014

I acknowledge Philip Ruddock and other members of parliament, Eugene Anchugov, David Fang and Kevin Lui.

Thank you for bringing this extraordinary exhibition to the Great Hall.

When I was in Beijing recently I took some time to enjoy the street-life.

I found myself looking on as a bystander to an unusual calligraphy lesson.

Using water from a small plastic bucket, two men were taking turns painting characters on the pavement squares with a long handled brush.

The brush was about three feet long, so they could paint directly onto the pavement without crouching or bending.

It was in no way clear who was the master and who was the pupil. 

Read more
1 reaction Share

Bon voyage Budget!

As it becomes increasingly clear that the Abbott Government cannot get some of its most unfair policies through the Senate, I joined GetUp! on the lawns of Parliament to wave farewell to federal budget.

Bon voyage Budget! 

Speech to the GetUp! rally - Parliament House, Canberra

I’m sure I speak for the other two politicians here with us – Clive Palmer and Christine Milne – when I say that this is definitely the coolest event we’ll attend today.

Today is the 160th anniversary of the Eureka uprising – a demonstration of how people power can change Australia. Now, I’m not urging you to burn your mining licences – those of you who have them – but it is a reminder that people committed to building a better Australia can ultimately prevail.

Friends, Tony Abbott’s unfair budget needs to go. This Budget represents a shift in the burden from the poor to the rich: Robin Hood in reverse. 

Read more
1 reaction Share

Constituency Statement - Mr Fluffy families

Today I tabled the Fluffy Families and Residents First Group Impact Statement in the federal parliament. It was a privilege to share these families' voices and let them know that our community stands behind them.

Constituency statement - Mr Fluffy families

27 November 2014

I seek leave to table the Fluffy Owners and Residents Action Group Impact Statement ‘Hope in grief: confronting Mr Fluffy’s toxic legacy in Canberra and Queanbeyan’.

For people outside the ACT, the name ‘Mr Fluffy’ probably calls to mind something fun and frivolous. But fun and frivolity have been pretty scarce over the last few years for over 1,000 Canberra families who discovered their homes had been pumped full of crushed raw asbestos by a dodgy contractor trading under the name of ‘Mr Fluffy’.  

Read more
Add your reaction Share

More tax transparency for a more informed debate

More tax transparency for a more informed debate

House of Representatives, 24 November

In the tax evasion trial of Leona Helmsley, a prominent American businesswoman from the 1970s and 1980s, a former housekeeper testified that she heard her employer say, 'We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.'

These 'little people' are the hardworking men and women of Australia.

For too long, the 'little people' have been forced to pick up the slack left behind by large multinationals with complex accounting arrangements.

For too long, large multinationals have been able to hide behind a veil of secrecy. For too long, Australians have been left in the dark on the issue of multinational profit shifting. Now, for the first time, Australians will know which companies are paying their fair share of tax.

Companies which follow the rules have nothing to fear from opening their books to the Australian public. Once and for all, this bill before the House today will provide a comprehensive set of figures on how much companies are earning and how much tax they are paying. Recent reports pointing to large-scale instances of multinational profit shifting and tax avoidance suggest that
this information is needed now more than ever.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter


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.