2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Kristina Keneally; Joel Fitzgibbon; $13 billion of JobKeeper overpayments
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Let's speak to somebody from Labor about this: Andrew Leigh, our #JobKeeperWarrior. Good morning, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. Always great to be with you.
PAUL: Thank you, mate. Look, Kristina Keneally, there's an offensive being mounted by the federal government and Labor detractors, critics, that Kristina Keneally being parachuted into Fowler is not a good thing.
LEIGH: Kristina is one of our strongest performers, somebody who's a former premier of New South Wales, and has a strong policy mind, who's able to take the fight up to the opposition, but who also, I think, will be a terrific advocate for the people for the people of Fowler.Read more
2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: The Government’s JobKeeper secrecy and waste; National Women’s Safety Summit; Prime Minister’s travel on Fathers Day
[CLIP OF JOSH FRYDENBERG ON 7.30 REPORT PLAYS]
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew Leigh is our #JobKeeperWarrior. Good morning, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. We've been talking about this for a long time. It seems like everyone else is just catching up this last week, doesn't it?Read more
Government isn't doing a thing to get back $13 billion taxpayer dollars wasted on big business mates - Transcript, 6PR Mornings
RADIO 6PR MORNINGS WITH LIAM BARTLETT
MONDAY, 6 SEPTEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: The Government’s JobKeeper waste and secrecy
[CLIP OF PARLIAMENTARY SPEECH PLAYS]
LIAM BARTLETT, HOST: That's Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities and he joins us this morning. Andrew, how are you?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Very well, Liam. Congratulations on your 60 Minutes work yesterday, an incredibly important forensic analysis of the biggest waste in Australian history.
BARTLETT: Well, you've been covering, as we just heard on the radio, you've been covering it on the floor of the House for weeks now, trying to make a dent in some of these huge, huge figures. But Andrew, as I just mentioned, I think it's really important that we, you know, it's one thing to reel off all those millions from the public side of things, but 97 per cent of it is private. We may never know.
LEIGH: That's exactly right, Liam. Now, what we've got from the private companies is absolute secrecy. We only have the public company transparency, as you pointed out in 60 Minutes, because ASIC, the corporate watchdog, required listed companies to disclose JobKeeper receipt to the share market. But there's a bunch of large private firms out there, which may or may not have gotten JobKeeper and may or may not have had rising revenue. At a time when people are being asked to tighten their belts, when real wages are forecast to fall for the typical Australian, it's only right to be putting a bit of a spotlight on who got JobKeeper and then saw their revenues rise.Read more
JobKeeper wasted billions, and the ‘politics of envy’ defence doesn’t stack up - Op Ed, The New Daily
JOBKEEPER WASTED BILLIONS - AND THE ‘POLITICS OF ENVY’ DEFENCE DOESN’T STACK UP
The New Daily, 3 September 2021
A billion is hard to wrap your head around.
Some billionaires say that they’re part of the ‘three comma club’. In the comedy series The Hollowmen, the political insiders decide they’ll need to spend billions of dollars before the public whistles in awe.
So if you haven’t been watching the scandalous waste from the JobKeeper scheme, don’t blame yourself for forgetting to groan on cue.
Some quick background. In the year from March 2020, JobKeeper paid out $89 billion to firms based on their salary bill.
For companies that would’ve otherwise fired their staff, that’s money well spent.
For those that would’ve kept trucking along regardless, it was free cash for the bottom line.Read more
AUSTRALIANS DESERVE TO KNOW WHERE JOBKEEPER WENT – IT SHOULDN’T BE A STATE SECRET
The Guardian, 2 September 2021
As economies locked down in early 2020, many countries around the world established wage subsidy schemes. Economists know that employment relationships are easier to break than make. So wage subsidy schemes incentivise firms to maintain employment through a temporary slump.
The British scheme was called the job retention scheme. In New Zealand, it was the Covid wage subsidy. Canada set up the Canada emergency wage subsidy. The United States created the paycheck protection program.
Some of these schemes were established by progressive governments; others by conservative governments. But whether it was Johnson or Ardern, Trudeau or Trump, other countries’ wage subsidy schemes had one thing in common: full transparency. Taxpayers could log on to a website and find out the names of every firm that got wage subsidies.
Transparency isn’t a left- or right-wing value; it’s simply good government. It reflects the fact that taxpayers are the people who pay the government’s bills, and taxpayers should know how the money is spent. As former US supreme court Justice Louis Brandeis put it, sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Australia too created a wage subsidy scheme (though not before Scott Morrison called it a “dangerous” idea). Yet JobKeeper didn’t include any transparency. The government provided no information about which firms received JobKeeper. None, zilch, nada.Read more
ABC RADIO CANBERRA MORNINGS WITH ADAM SHIRLEY
WEDNESDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: $13 billion in JobKeeper waste; Stage 3 tax changes
ADAM SHIRLEY, HOST: The Member for Fenner, Dr Andrew Leigh, has been the chief agitator on the Government's JobKeeper program. Dr Leigh, good morning to you.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Adam. Great to be with you, and happy spring. Isn't it wonderful that Canberra's turned on the warmth for us?
SHIRLEY: Warming up a little bit, which I think will be positive news for a lot of people in lockdown currently. Are you satisfied with what Mr Harvey has done?
LEIGH: I'd certainly be pleased if he paid back on behalf of the franchisees as well, but the fact is he has paid back the component from head office. He's done so thanks to considerable public pressure. The only reason Gerry Harvey's paying back is because Australians know how much he received, and we know that because ASIC, the corporate watchdog, required all listed firms to disclose to the share market their JobKeeper receipts. But 97 per cent of JobKeeper has gone to firms that aren't listed on stock market and we don't know about that information. We're having a fight with the Government at the moment in the Senate where we want more transparency. We want the JobKeeper receipt by all firms with a turnover above $10 million to be disclosed on a public register, just like they do in New Zealand, Britain, and the United States. The Government's banging on with all kinds of arguments around protecting taxpayer secrecy, and yet Gerry Harvey, the great ad man, has given us the best advertisement for transparency in JobKeeper. He's only going back because of public pressure, and he's only got the public pressure because of transparency.Read more
ABC RADIO MELBOURNE DRIVE WITH RAFAEL EPSTEIN
TUESDAY, 31 AUGUST 2021
SUBJECTS: The Government’s $13 billion in JobKeeper waste.
RAFAEL EPSTEIN, HOST: Hopefully my next guest will not hang up! [Gerry Harvey had just hung up on him.] It's 5.14pm. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. He's one of the Labor MPs in Canberra. He's part of Anthony Albanese's shadow finance team. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Raf. I can absolutely give you a rock-solid guarantee I will not hang up on you. Look forward to your questions.
EPSTEIN: Firstly, it's significant, isn't it, if Gerry Harvey gives back some of the JobKeeper money? That's a good thing, no?
LEIGH: Absolutely. It's terrific that Gerry Harvey's done the right thing. He was refusing to do so six months ago. It's clear the reason that he repaid was the public pressure that has been placed on him. The only reason we got that public pressure is because the corporate watchdog, ASIC, required listed companies to disclose their JobKeeper to the share market, so it really points to the value of transparency.Read more
New figures show JobKeeper most wasteful program ever run by Australian government - Transcript, 5AA Mornings
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.Read more
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.Read more
Government sending JobKeeper debt notices to pensioners, but not billionaires who pocketed millions - Transcript, 5AA Mornings
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.Read more