Frydenberg gave $1,400 from every household to firms with rising revenue - Transcript, ABC News Breakfast
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST
TUESDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2021
SUBJECTS: JobKeeper; IBAC
MADELEINE MORRIS, FINANCE PRESENTER: Federal Treasury has released a comprehensive analysis of JobKeeper, and the big headline is that $27 billion went to companies that either didn't meet the required 30 per cent loss of turnover or actually made money in its first six months. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. He joins us now from Canberra. Andrew Leigh, thanks for joining us. You've been very across JobKeeper since its implementation. Now that we have these final numbers, what does it tell you about the program?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Madeleine, you never want to entirely trust someone who's marking their own homework, but even on these numbers it shows that JobKeeper - a program that Labor called for, that was designed to save jobs - ended up delivering huge dividends to firms that had rising revenues. Firms such as Louis Vuitton, which got $6 million from the Australian taxpayer, much of which ended up in the pockets of their French billionaire owner. Firms such as OPSM, that got $58 million from the Australian taxpayer, a good lick of which ended up in the pockets of their Italian billionaire owner. A program that should have been saving the jobs of battlers ended up lining the pockets of billionaires: billions of dollars going to firms whose revenues were rising. The $27 billion you mentioned is just in the first six months of the scheme, and it's just a portion of that. More than half of the money was going out the door to firms that didn't meet the forecast downturn test.Read more
SKY NEWS LIVE BUSINESS WEEKEND
SUNDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Reserve Bank of Australia; house prices; interest rates
ROSS GREENWOOD, HOST: Andrew, thank you so much for your time. Those policy differences between Australia and New Zealand seem to justify your calls for this review into the Reserve Bank. Is that the way you see it?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: The Reserve Bank could benefit from a review. I don't think this is about beating up on the institution, but about making it better in the interest of all Australians. Inflation has been below the target band for most of the last five years, and the Reserve Bank's own forecasts have it being below that. I've been calling in the House Economics Committee for the Reserve Bank to do more to cut rates in the first instance, but now, with rates close to zero, it'd be appropriate for them to be also looking at whether they could do more in the quantitative easing space. One of the big debates, though, as you know, Ross, is over what's going on with global inflation. There's those who say that this is a permanent change, and others who say that it's more temporary. I'm pretty much in the temporary camp. I think the inflation we're seeing globally is largely a result of supply shortages around things such as microchips, and is unlikely to be baked in, so I think the Reserve Bank's certainly doing the right thing to keep rates on hold.Read more
2CC CANBERRA LIVE WITH LEON DELANEY
THURSDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2021
SUBJECTS: JobKeeper; pandemic support for businesses.
LEON DELANEY, HOST: I saw that the Deputy Leader of the Federal Labor Party, Richard Marles, made a promise that businesses will not be required to pay back JobKeeper money, even if they received it unnecessarily. Now, the context of this, of course, is that for quite some time, a number of people have been calling for businesses that received the money but did not need it to give it back. Indeed, some have given it back, but not all of them. Leading that charge was our very own local Member for Fenner, Dr Andrew Leigh, who's on the phone now. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon. Great to be with you and your listeners.
DELANEY: Has your party just thrown you under the bus?
LEIGH: Not in the least, Leon. We've always said that firms that didn't need JobKeeper should pay it back. We've never said that they must. We've always been absolutely clear that Labor wouldn't retrospectively try and unscramble this egg. That doesn't change the fact that Josh Frydenberg has presided over the greatest waste of taxpayer money in Australian history. He took JobKeeper, a really important program to save jobs, and then saw $13 billion - about $1,300 for every household in Australia - go to firms with rising earnings. That extraordinary waste is something that Labor will continue to pursue. We will continue to ask firms that didn’t need it to pay the money back. But in the face of a Liberal scare campaign that was suggesting we're somehow going to do something retrospective, it was important for Richard to point out that we weren't going to retrospectively require it.Read more
5AA MORNINGS WITH LEON BYNER
WEDNESDAY, 6 OCTOBER 2021
LEON BYNER, HOST: I want to talk about JobKeeper and multinationals, because the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, was warned that last July 1,000 JobKeeper applicants with more than $250 million in turnover had booked revenue significantly divergent from forecasts of a downturn. In other words, they were doing much better. We should be helping people that need help, not helping people to make their profits greater. Let's talk with Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for coming on today.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Thank you, Leon.
BYNER: You've talked about this for a while. We still don't seem to have changed our way we do business in this space have we?
LEIGH: No, the Government's way too soft on multinationals, Leon, just as they're way too hard on social security recipients. At the very same time they're allowing some of these huge multinationals to get away with receiving JobKeeper the payments they didn't need, they're going after South Australian families for childcare debt. It's the double standard you see from this Government. JobKeeper was a good idea. It was important to save jobs. But it was badly bungled by the Morrison Government, that allowed some $13 billion to go to firms whose revenues went up last year rather than down.Read more
2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 5 OCTOBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Political leadership; Federal anti-corruption commission; ministerial standards; Gladys Berejiklian; Glasgow summit; Pandora Papers.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Good morning to you, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus.
PAUL: All right, well, Mick reckons Kristina Keneally might oust Albo. I can't see it happening. I can see him perhaps becoming the next prime minister, with Kristina Keneally on the front bench, perhaps.
LEIGH: Absolutely. Anthony Albanese is somebody of great integrity with the full support of the party. We know the next election is going to be a tight-fought one, as they always are, but I'm really confident that our positive policies are going to stand in stark contrast to the chaos, the dysfunction and the rorts that we've seen from the Morrison Government over recent years.Read more
ALAN JONES - SKY NEWS LIVE
WEDNESDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2021
ALAN JONES, HOST: We're back with Andrew Leigh, who was formerly a professor of economics at ANU. He has a PhD in public policy from Harvard. He graduated from the University of Sydney with first class honours in arts and law. He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, and a past recipient of the Young Economist Award, a prize given every two years by the Economic Society of Australia to the best economist under 40. Andrew Leigh is currently 49. He's married, with three sons. He's a prolific author, and I've spoken to him before because he's a keen marathon runner and we talked about honouring Peter Norman, the great Australian athlete who won the silver medal for the 200 metres in Mexico City in 1968, but because he supported the two black Americans, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who were protesting the injustice to black Americans, Peter Norman was never selected for Australia again. Well, that's by the way, I think, of interesting background.
Andrew Leigh has applied a very clinical mind to these JobKeeper payments. You will recall they were, rightly, made to businesses who would otherwise have to lay off staff due to the economic impact of Coronavirus. The total cost, he estimates, around $90 billion - 90 thousand million dollars. To receive the payment, businesses and not-for-profit organizations had to demonstrate or forecast a particular shortfall in revenue. So if you were a business with a turnover over $1 billion, you qualified if the revenue shortfall was 50 per cent, under $1 million 30 per cent, and not-for-profits 15 per cent. That is, if there was a shortfall in revenue as a response to the government response to Coronavirus. Now, as you know, I've always described that response as disproportionate, but Andrew Leigh is now arguing that $13 billion - 13 thousand million dollars - according to an analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office went to firms which increase their revenue, firms which increased their turnover, and that the Government also gave money to profitable overseas-owned companies leading, he argues, to tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars going to offshore owners. Ludwig von Mises asks 'are we to be an agent of reform, or the chronicler of decline?'
Andrew Leigh joins me. Andrew, thank you for your time, and congratulations on an extraordinary career to date of remarkable scholarship. What reform is needed here? I mean, you're not opposed to wealthy people, but you're saying that the Government poured tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of some of Australia's wealthiest people.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: JobKeeper was a necessary scheme and it saved jobs, but the problem, Alan, as you've so articulately pointed out there, is that too much of it went to firms with rising revenues. It was a good idea but badly implemented, and that $13 billion amounts to $1,300 for every household in Australia. I expect most Australian households could think of better things to do with $1,300.Read more
SENATE REPORT UNANIMOUSLY REJECTS COALITION’S ATTACK ON CHARITIES
The Morrison Government’s latest attack on charities has been dealt a crippling blow by a unanimous report from the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation, which has recommended that the Senate disallow a proposed regulation that would hurt the charity sector.
The Morrison Government wants to give charity commissioner Gary Johns – a man who has attacked Beyond Blue and Recognise, and who once described Indigenous women as ‘cash cows’ – the power to deregister charities because he anticipates they will commit a summary offence. As the Senate Committee points out, this unprecedented power gives the charities commissioner too much discretion, and leaves charities no certainty about how they can operate.Read more
THE GOVERNMENT GAVE $13 BILLION TO FIRMS WITH RISING EARNINGS
The Australian, 23 September 2021
What could your household do with $1300? Maybe you’d get the car fixed, or donate the money to a homeless shelter, or pay down the mortgage. I’m guessing what you wouldn’t do is to find a business whose profits are growing, walk in and plonk 13 $100 notes on the counter.
Yet, thanks to Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg, your household just did exactly that.Read more
2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Victorian construction industry; Christian Porter
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew Leigh - good morning to you, Andrew. How are you, mate?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Terrific, Marcus - the better to be with you.
PAUL: Nice to talk to you. What's going on in Victoria, because yesterday the CFMEU, you would have seen all of the vision there. This isn't the Australia that I know. I mean, I'm seeing now people are sending me videos of some of these mugs, these morons, kicking dogs, for goodness sake.
LEIGH: Some of that behaviour has just been appalling, and the idea that you'd get together in a large group without masks at a time like this just baffles me. Now, we ought to all be working together to kick this virus and to get Australia back to normal. We don't do that by having large mass gatherings or by opposing vaccination.Read more
Government wants pensioners to pay back their JobKeeper overpayments, but billionaires can keep them - Transcript, 2CC Radio
2CC CANBERRA LIVE WITH LEON DELANEY
TUESDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: $13 billion in JobKeeper overpayments
LEON DELANEY, HOST: The federal member for Fenner and Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities, Andrew Leigh, has been criticised - by The Australian newspaper, no less. He's been accused of being a hypocrite. Apparently, according to The Australian, Andrew Leigh is a hypocrite because he's been heavily pursuing the issue of companies that claimed government payments from the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme and yet went on to make record profits anyway and paid out big bonuses to their executives and big dividends to their shareholders. Obviously, there is a question to be asked there, but according to The Australian, Andrew Leigh is hypocritical because, they say, he was singing a different song last year. Andrew Leigh is on the phone now. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon, great to be with you.
DELANEY: Thanks for joining us. Are you a hypocrite?
LEIGH: Of course not. This idea that you've either got to be all in favour of JobKeeper or all against JobKeeper is schoolyard stuff. Any sophisticated observer knows that we needed a wage subsidy scheme in place, as many other advanced countries had. We didn't need a wage subsidy scheme that gave $13 billion to firms with rising revenue, and has less transparency than the schemes in place in Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. It's not too much to ask that the federal government can run the run the place properly, but just as with vaccines and quarantine, JobKeeper was a good idea badly botched by the Morrison Government.Read more