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.

Australia's record of helping migrants learn English under threat - Speech, House of Representatives


The Adult Migrant English Program has existed since 1948. Over that 72-year period, two million migrants have benefited from the AMEP. Learning English is an important part of nation-building. When Australians are surveyed as to what they believe it is that makes an Australian, most don't say it's being born here, but many do say it's speaking English. Speaking English is an important part of being an Australian and being able to contribute politically or in business circles and to engage with your neighbours.

Australia, in the main, does settlement well. We have differences in this House over asylum seeker policy, but, when people are accepted to come to Australia, the settlement services are as good as in any other country. In 2009 the then United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said that Australia had 'one of the best refugee resettlement programs in the world'.

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The House Economics Committee's 2020 - Speech, House of Representatives


The committee this year has engaged in a productive series of conversations with a range of entities—ASIC, APRA and the ACCC. We have held a series of hearings with major banks and major superannuation funds and, most recently, we have had productive discussions with the Reserve Bank. As has become clear from these conversations, the Reserve Bank has concerns about the state of the Australian economy. The Reserve Bank governor noted recently: 'What has become clearer, though, as time has passed is that the Australian economy is likely to experience a run of years of relatively high unemployment, unemployment being too high, and wage increases and inflation being too low, leaving us short of the Reserve Bank's goals.' The Reserve Bank's own figures have unemployment at six per cent by the end of 2022 and extremely weak wage growth. That must surely be in part a function of the fact that the government will reduce real government expenditure by 17.5 per cent in 2021-22, the fiscal year starting in just seven months’ time. That is a record cut in government expenditure and will have an impact on the macroeconomy. The governor noted: 'Businesses are failing or they are going to fail. I think the insolvency rate at the moment is low but it is going to rise.'

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Slow pace of redress a weight on survivors - Speech, House of Representatives


As with most Treasury laws amendment bills, Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measures No. 6) Bill 2020 contains a number of unrelated schedules. I'll confine my brief remarks today to schedules 1 and 3.

Schedule 1 expands the eligibility of the government's temporary full expensing-of-depreciating-assets measure, which brings in Australian businesses which breach the $5 billion income test because of foreign activities. While Labor supports this, it is important to note that any expensing measure must be judged primarily in terms of its impact on employment. As I mentioned in my remarks relating to the principal bill that came before the House, it is critical that firms be encouraged to make investments in capital which are complementary to their workforce, rather than supplementary.

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Illegal phoenixing a scourge on Australia - Speech, House of Representatives


It's a pleasure to follow my friend and colleague the member for Kingsford Smith, who articulated the concerns that Labor has over this bill.

It is a fact in Australia that illegal phoenixing is a scourge on the community. One story that struck me particularly was from a constituent by the name of Megan, who told me the tale of when she was seven years old and her dad lost his job. The factory where he was working closed, his full-time job vanished and he got no pay-out. Megan said she really liked it at the time. He was home a lot. He helped her organise her toys and they would walk to school every day. It was only afterwards that she realised that he'd been the victim of a phoenix director who had shut down the firm and stolen the employees' entitlements and that the reason he was walking Megan to school every day was that the family couldn't afford the petrol.

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Australia can’t afford to be lining pockets of billionaires - Speech, House of Representatives


Last week, Tesco announced that it will repay half a billion pounds of taxpayer support. The British retailer had been under fire since paying shareholders a £315 million dividend in October. Last week, Tesco's chairman said:

We're financially strong enough to be able to return this to the public and we are conscious of our responsibilities to society.

We firmly believe now that this is the right thing to do …

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Australians want job security - Transcript, 2SM with Marcus Paul



SUBJECTS: BonusKeeper; Industrial Relations proposals; Sports rorts.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Imagine, if you will for just a moment, getting $70 million in taxpayer subsidies for JobKeeper and then using that money to perhaps dole out executive bonuses and dividends. Well, that's what Solomon Lew's Premier Investments have apparently done, and there are increasing calls for Premier to repay around $70 million in government subsidies. Let's speak to Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury about this. Morning, Andrew.


PAUL: Thank you. You and I have discussed this before at length. It’s JobKeeper, but you effectively have renamed it BonusKeeper, it that right?

LEIGH: Absolutely, Marcus, just for a small number of firms. Of course, most businesses did exactly the right thing when the pandemic hit. They used that money to support workers. But a small number of firms - and I'm sad to say that Premier Investment seems to be one of them - have used the money to pay out significant dividends, a large portion of which goes to their billionaire owner, and to pay executive bonuses. And I said: if you're doing so well that you can take taxpayer subsidies and pay it out to millionaires and billionaires, maybe you should give it back to the taxpayer first. Maybe we can support some of those people in nursing homes who are suffering right now, and we can support some of those people who are going to lose their jobs between now and Christmas. There are people out there really hurting, and I don't think it's the people with billion dollar wealth or million dollar salaries.

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Morrison Government's failure to act cost charities $30 million - Speech, House of Representatives


I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) charities are the most trusted sector in Australian public life;

(b) charities employ over one million Australians and contribute nearly one-tenth of Australia's national income;

(c) charities are the first line of support for the most vulnerable in our communities during times of economic and social upheaval;

(d) meeting the requirements of Australia's seven different fundraising regimes is wasting the time and energy of Australian charities and not-for-profit organisations; and

(e) the Government's failure to act on fundraising reform is costing Australian charities over $1 million every month;

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Australia cannot close itself off from the world - Speech, House of Representatives


Australia benefits from investment, but we haven't had enough of it in recent years. In preparing my remarks today, I turned to the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures on actual business expenditure. It showed that, if you looked at 2013, the year that the government came to office, business investment was around $160 billion. By 2019 it had fallen to around $120 billion, and this year looks to be somewhere around $100 billion. So, Australia has an investment problem, and foreign investment can be an important part of rectifying that.

Foreign investment, as the shadow Treasurer has noted, has played an important role in Australia's history and Labor has been supportive in a broad sense of the role that foreign investment has played. You need only look at the Japanese investment in our beef industry; American firms such as Kraft, Schweppes, Kodak, Heinz; General Motors and Ford—before the car industry was goaded to leave the country by the coalition; foreign investment in our oil and gas sectors—Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips; and foreign investment in the movie industry. Among the movies made in Australia are The Matrix, Mission Impossible 2, The Great Gatsby, Babe and Wolverine. Australia has not only imported foreign capital but also the know-how, the additional productivity and the competitive benefits that can come from foreign investment.

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Mass participation sporting events need our support - Speech, House of Representatives


In a usual year, there are 21,000 mass participation sporting events across Australia, including fun runs, ocean swims, community cycling events and challenging obstacle course races. They attract millions of participants, employ tens of thousands of people, raise tens of millions for charity and contribute more than a billion dollars to the economy. They keep us healthy and, most importantly, they're fun. We enter for the adrenaline and the medal, but it's the race experience and the friendships that keep us coming back for marathons, triathlons and Spartan events.

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Morrison Government needs to come clean on JobKeeper - Speech, House of Representatives


Company profits are rising – and so is unemployment. The sharemarket is booming, yet households are battling.

The government is right to say that workers would’ve been worse without JobKeeper. That’s why Labor urged them put it in place. But that doesn’t mean the $100 billion program should avoid scrutiny.

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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.