Last night in the Chamber, I spoke against the Government's omnibus Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (2014 Budget Measures No.1).
House of Representatives
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
It is a pleasure, in this debate, to follow the contributions of the member for Jagajaga, the member for Gellibrand and the member for Hotham—three Labor members whose careers in politics have been founded on the notion that we must work for those more vulnerable than ourselves. It is a pleasure for me to follow them because the legislation we are debating tonight goes to the heart of the Australian social contract—a social contract that says that an egalitarian tradition is something that Australians hold dear.
This morning I spoke at the CEDA 2014 State of the Nation Conference at Parliament House, addressing the challenge of closing loopholes that allow multinational companies to pay a lower rate than Australian small businesses.
Thanks very much Stephen for a very generous introduction. Can I of course acknowledge that we're meeting on traditional lands of the Ngunnawal people and I pay my respects to their elders past and present.
It's a great honour to be sharing the stage too with John Brumby, one of our great economic reformers and Jeremy Thorpe, one of the deep thinkers in Australia around the issue of tax. You’ll be surprised to know that some people find tax eye-glazingly dull. I've been looking forward to talking to you about tax all week.
I spoke in Parliament today to mark the 25th anniversary of the Australia-Indonesia Institute.
MONDAY JUNE 23, 2014
In the late 1970s I lived in Indonesia for three years, in Jakarta and Banda Aceh. I stay in contact with my friend Niko, although my Indonesian has not advanced much beyond the schoolboy Indonesian of Terima kasih and Baik-baik saja.
This morning, in my weekly slot on Fairfax Breaking Politics, the discussion explored the latest Fairfax/Neilson poll, the values underlying the Treasurer's first budget, the idea of a federal ICAC, the angry reaction to the Attorney General's East Jerusalem comments and the Government's inadaquate response to climate change.
BREAKING POLITICS, FAIRFAX ONLINE
MONDAY, 23 JUNE 2014
HOST CHRIS HAMMER: Andrew Laming to you first. A Fairfax news poll out today shows that more than 60 per cent of people still think the budget is unfair. Is it time to revise the budget?
ANDREW LAMING: Look, definitely not and it won’t be revised. We were elected to do the hard and necessary decisions but that didn’t mean it would be popular. A lot of this is long term stuff that Australians will look back on and say they were ensuring shrewd and important moves made at a time in history when they had to be taken – that’s really the essence of the budget.
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 23 JUNE 2014
SUBJECT / S: Charities commission backed by Malcolm Turnbull; ASIO powers and ISP data retention; State asset sales and competition.
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER, ANDREW LEIGH: Good morning everyone. Welcome to another gorgeous Canberra morning. I’m Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer.
We know that the charities commission was recommended by a series of reports, going right back to the Howard Government days. It was set up by Labor in 2012 and is already doing a strong job in protecting donors and supporting charities. But now it's been revealed that while the Howard Government was in office, a report came down signed co-signed by Malcolm Turnbull supporting the charities commission. Malcolm Turnbull argued for a charities commission for exactly the same reason Labor implemented a charities commission, which is that it supports the sector and now enjoys the support of four out of five charities in a recent survey.
So, if Tony Abbott won't listen to the Australian people, maybe at least he could listen to Malcolm Turnbull. Because just as Malcolm Turnbull supports carbon pricing, so too, he supports the sensible reform of the charities commission.
This morning I issued a media release urging the Prime Minister to listen to the wisdom in his own party room on the importance of the charities commission.
Malcolm turnbull backs charities commission
Harmonising laws for the not-for-profit sector, now being achieved by the single and national Commonwealth regulator, is an idea that has been enthusiastically backed by members of the Coalition, including Malcolm Turnbull.
The Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission, currently threatened with the axe under Tony Abbott, isn’t just something Labor has championed. It is a textbook reform streamlining reporting laws for the sector advocated by Liberals in recent years.
This evening I appeared on the ABC's The Drum program to argue for the retention of two Labor initiatives; strong pro-consumer financial advice laws and the four pillars banking policy. Here's the transcript:
TELEVISION INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
THE DRUM, ABC 1
FRIDAY 20 JUNE 2014
SUBJECT / S: Future of Financial Advice reforms; Four pillars banking policy; ALP 2013 election campaign review.
PRESENTER, ELEANOR HALL: Let me first go to the issue of the financial advice laws because we have a situation where the Government is actually, as your Shadow Treasurer put it earlier today, capitulating on the issue of commissions. Can you tell us whether Labor will now back those financial laws through the Parliament?
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER, ANDREW LEIGH: Well, we're certainly not inclined to back things that are not in the best interests of consumers. I think the best way of understanding this pretty technical area of policy is to look at who is on which side. The bankers are pushing for them, Council of the Aging, National Seniors and Choice are against them.
Today I issued a media release welcoming a minority report produced by Labor Senators in favour of retaining the charities commission.
EVIDENCE IN FAVOUR OF ACNC “COMPELLING”
Labor Senators have urged their upper house colleagues to reject the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Repeal Bill.
In their Dissenting Report, tabled last night with the Economics Legislation Committee Chair’s Report into the ACNC (Repeal) (1) Bill 2014, Labor Senators Mark Bishop and Louise Pratt concluded:
1.24 The Labor members found the evidence in favour of retaining the ACNC compelling—not only because of the sheer numbers of charities and other organisations that strongly supported the work of the ACNC but because of the soundness of their arguments.
1.25 In its very short life, the ACNC has already registered impressive achievements, maintained strong support for its work and has shown itself flexible and accommodating through the transition period. It has been especially willing to develop mechanisms to assist highly regulated organisations to minimise their administrative burden.
At the start of the last fortnight of parliamentary sittings before the new Senate is installed, the focus of discussions on Breaking Politics today was naturally on the fate of budget measures. Here's the transcript.
BREAKING POLITICS – FAIRFAX MEDIA
MONDAY, 16 JUNE 2014
SUBJECT / S: Federal Budget negotiations; Superannuation; PPL.
CHRIS HAMMER, PRESENTER: We're joined now in the studio by Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Labor Member for Fraser in the ACT and Andrew Laming, the Member for Bowman in Queensland. Andrew Laming, do you accept that the Budget now is unlikely to make its targets?
SKY NEWS SATURDAY AGENDA
SATURDAY, 14 JUNE 2014
SUBJECT/S: The Abbott Government’s unfair budget; Climate change; McClure Review; Changes to the social safety net.
DAVID LIPSON: Joining me now here in the Canberra studio the shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh, thank you for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure David.
LIPSON: We just heard from the finance minister on the repeal of the carbon tax. He says he’s cautiously optimistic that this will pass through the Senate. What do you think will happen in the Senate?
LEIGH: I’m no political predictor, I think that’s a mugs game, but I’m deeply concerned that the government’s now pursuing this strategy. We’ve just had the hottest summer on record, the hottest Australian year on record, we’ve had record breaking temperatures on the east coast and we’ve seen that total emissions have now had their biggest fall in a quarter of a century as a result of putting a price on carbon. So this is a policy which is working, which has reduced electricity emissions by 11 per cent since it came into effect which is doing so while providing household assistance through increased allowances and tax cuts –