The Liberal Party has abandoned liberalism - Speech
Matter of Public Importance Debate
House of Representatives, 30 March 2023
A year ago, the coalition lost nine seats in South Australia and lost government. Ten months ago, they lost 17 seats federally and lost government. Last weekend, they lost at least a dozen seats in New South Wales and lost government. The coalition now holds no mainland state or territory. The most senior Liberal governing leaders in Australia today are Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff.
You'd think that the loss of 40 seats and three elections would provoke some soul-searching, but the main lesson that the coalition seems to be taking from this is that they're too woke and they need to move to the right. The fact is that the coalition hasn't woken up. The Australian people aren't buying what you're selling. This is no better epitomised than by the shadow Treasurer, a man who brought us the current energy crisis—a man who is best known for hiding energy price increases from the Australian people, for his Cayman Islands company, for the Jam Land scandal and for making things up about Clover Moore and Naomi Wolf. As he might have put it, 'Well done, Angus.' He thinks he's the second coming of the Messiah, but most Australians think he's more like Mr Burns from The Simpsons—just with a slightly greater tendency to look straight down the barrel of the camera.Read more
Social Enterprise Round Table - Speech
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE ROUND TABLE
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 27 MARCH 2023
Thanks Jess [Moore] and Tara [Anderson] for the introduction. It’s delightful to have so many generous altruists here in Parliament today. I acknowledge that we're meeting on the lands of the Ngunnawal people, and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging. I also acknowledge parliamentary colleagues Daniel Mulino, Andrew Giles and Helen Haines.
What you do has support from across the parliament. For those on the business side, you're celebrating businesses. And for those who got into politics to help the most disadvantaged, you're doing just that. The work of social enterprises spans the Australian economy, I only need to walk a few steps from my electorate office in Gungahlin to see Krofne Donuts, which was set up to provide employment for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities .
Here in Canberra, Alicia Payne, David Smith and I recently visited mattress recycler Soft Landing with Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, learning about the environmental work they do, but also about the work that they provide for people who are formerly jobless. You’ll hear from the extraordinary Bec Scott shortly, somebody who Nick Terrell and I wrote about in Reconnected because we were inspired not just about what she does at Streat, but how she looks to seed new social enterprises, right across the community.Read more
Ministers Of State Amendment Bill 2022 - House of Representatives, 23 March 2023
House of Representatives
23 March 2023
Ministers Of State Amendment Bill 2022
This Ministers of State Amendment Bill 2022 seeks to implement the first recommendation of the Report of the Inquiry into the Appointment of the Former Prime Minister to Administer Multiple Departments by Virginia Bell AC. That first recommendation requires the publication in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette of appointments to administer departments, directions to a minister of state to hold an office, the swearing in of an executive councillor or the revocation of any of these appointments. This is only the first of six recommendations from the Bell report, and it's worth recalling the conduct of the former Prime Minister that led to this point.
Ms Bell's report found that the member for Cook had been appointed to administer six of the 14 departments of state. None of these appointments were disclosed to the parliament or the public, and, in several cases, the minister who was responsible for the portfolio wasn't even told. Ms Bell described the member for Cook's explanations of these appointments as 'not easy to understand', which puts it charitably. She noted that the appointments were not necessary, as an acting minister could have been appointed in a matter of minutes.Read more
Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving our Tax System) Bill 2023 - House of Representatives, 22 March 2023
Second Reading Speech
House of Representatives
22 March 2023
Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving our Tax System) Bill 2023
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving our Tax System) Bill 2023 contains a number of measures to remove unnecessary administrative and compliance burdens associated with our tax system.
Schedule 1 to the bill amends the International Tax Agreements Act 1953 to give the force of law to the new tax treaty signed by Australia and Iceland on 12 October 2022.
The number of Icelandic people in Australia is not large. The 2021 census counted 405 Icelandic-born people and 1,328 people of Icelandic ancestry. However, Iceland's GDP per capita is one of the highest in the world and this tax treaty will make Australia a more attractive investment destination for Icelandic capital. It will also reduce the tax barriers to Australian businesses trading with Iceland.Read more
Digital Competition And Economic Dynamism - Speech
DIGITAL COMPETITION AND ECONOMIC DYNAMISM
MONASH UNIVERSITY BUSINESS SCHOOL, MELBOURNE
FRIDAY, 17 MARCH 2023
I acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nations, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather today.
I pay my respects to their Elders, extend that respect to other First Nations people present today, and commit myself, as a part of the Albanese Government, to the implementation in full of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
I would also like to acknowledge Monash University and thank the Business School for putting together such a great event. I’m especially chuffed that you’ve invited Joshua Gans to join us. Joshua is one of Australia’s great competition thinkers, but now works out of the University of Toronto. He and I have co-authored nine journal articles and a book, but we’ve never before spoken at the same conference. So thanks to the organisers for allowing Joshua and me to tick that one off our academic bucket lists.
I also recognise the work of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb and Productivity Commission Chair Michael Brennan.Read more
Time to End the Climate Wars - Speech
Matter of Public Importance
House of Representatives, 9 March 2023
In Australia, the last six Liberal leaders have lost their jobs, one way or another, because of climate policy. We saw the Howard government thrown out in 2007 in part because of inaction on climate. We saw the Morrison government turfed out in 2022 because of inaction on climate. We saw the double defenestration of Malcolm Turnbull because they just couldn't cop his approach to climate change. As Malcolm Turnbull has put it, the Australian Liberal Party ‘is not capable of dealing with climate change.'
It doesn't have to be this way. If you look around the world, everywhere except Australia and the United States, conservatives are taking action on climate change. The UK conservatives have committed to a fully decarbonised power sector by 2035 and a zero-emissions vehicle mandate, have established the UK Green Investment Bank and have put policies in place that, if Coalition members opposite were sitting in the House of Commons, they would have all voted against.Read more
Sri Chinmoy Peace Run - Speech
Sri Chinmoy Peace Run
House of Representatives, 9 March 2023
Since 1987 more than seven million people worldwide have held the Sri Chinmoy peace torch, including Pope Francis, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Bob Hawke and John Howard. The 2023 Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run started in Brisbane and came to Canberra today. As ACT patron of the peace run, I was pleased to welcome the team to Parliament House, along with members and senators from across the parliament.
The team carrying the torch in relay has included Abhijatri Robinson (South Africa); Annabel Hepworth (Australia); Ashadeep Volkhardt (Australia); Bayarkhuu Batbayar (Mongolia); Fatima Caal Caal (Guatemala); Gabriel Quintana (Guatemala); Gesiane Nascimento (Brazil); Grahak Cunningham (Australia); Harashita Sunaoshi (Japan); Harita Davies (New Zealand), a three-time finisher of the world's longest race, the Sri Chinmoy 3,100-mile race; Joe Ward (Australia); Liana Tibaquira (Colombia); Mirabel Gonzalez Lopez (Guatemala); Narantuya Batsaikhan, Mongolia; Paramananda (Indonesia); Prachar Stegemann (Australia); Salil Wilson (Australia), global CEO of the peace run; Sarankhuu Jargal (Mongolia); Shasti Aston (Australia); Stacey Marsh (New Zealand), the national coordinator of the peace run for Australia; Susan Marshall (New Zealand), women's winner of this year's Sri Chinmoy 3,100-mile race. Plus thousands more Australian school students and members of community groups and clubs, along with citizens from all walks of life who have held, walked or run with the peace torch.Read more
Economic Dynamism - Speech
House of Representatives, 8 March 2023
We on this side of the House are concerned with ensuring that Australia has a more dynamic economy. We are committed to action on climate change, as embodied in schedule 2 to the bill, which enacts sustainability standards, implementing the Australian government's election commitment to ensure a standardised, internationally aligned reporting of climate related plans, risks and opportunities by large businesses.
The government is committed to ensuring that Australia has a more dynamic economy. Over recent decades, we've seen an increase in market concentration and an increase in mark-ups, the gap between costs and prices. We've seen a fall in the startup rate and a decline in the share of Australians starting a new job. It's very clear that the Australian economy is becoming less dynamic. After the lousiest decade of productivity growth in Australia's postwar history, it is vital that we look at the benefits that could be garnered from competition reform. In the 1990s Australia saw a productivity surge, and a good part of that had to do with the reforms to competition initiated by Fred Hilmer and Paul Keating at the beginning of that decade. Those Hilmer-Keating competition reforms garnered some $5,000 a year in benefits for the typical Australian household.
We need to consider today whether competition reform can help deliver a more dynamic economy. Since coming to government, the Albanese government has increased the penalties for anticompetitive conduct. We have banned unfair contract terms. We've received an important report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission into digital platform services. And we are currently consulting on platform-specific regulation and a ban on unfair trading practices. Around the world, we can see the thinking on competition shifting. The Biden White House has quite a different approach to competition issues than the Obama White House did. There is a greater awareness that big is not necessarily beautiful and that large firms can affect the entire ecosystem. The impact of monopsony power, the way in which large firms can squeeze their suppliers, is coming into sharp focus. Take Apple, for example. Apple is able to occupy a dominant position in the smartphone market, charging more to consumers than it would be able to do if it had a smaller market share. But Apple can also squeeze its suppliers. There's only one way of getting an app onto the Apple app store, and that is by going through Apple. That's why the typical cost of an in-app purchase is 30 per cent. So monopsony power can hurt suppliers, just as monopoly power hurts consumers.Read more
Better Together - Speech, Sydney
CPA AUSTRALIA, SYDNEY
WEDNESDAY, 1 MARCH 2023
Thanks very much, Wayne [Stokes], for the generous introduction. Thanks to all of you who have come here in person. In the slightly post-COVID age we’re in, it’s lovely to be in a room with other human beings, and that’s a theme that I’ll be touching on a little bit today. Welcome also to those who are joining virtually.
As Wayne did, I acknowledge that we’re meeting on the traditional lands of the Gadigal people, pay my respects to elders past and present, acknowledge any Indigenous people present and commit myself as a member of the Albanese Government to the implementation in full of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
I just finished reading Katherine Rundell’s biography of John Donne. It’s called Super‑Infinite, a title that comes from the way in which Donne’s great focus was on the things that transcend us. When we think about John Donne, we think of that wonderful line, "no man is an island". Of course, a little gendered for his age, but still a powerful reminder of the importance of focusing on those activities that bring us together.
Indeed, it’s hard to point to many achievements of humanity, whether it is creating a great invention, winning a war or building a city, which have been done by a single person alone. Most of the achievements of which humanity can point back are collective achievements. They're achievements of "we", not achievements of "me". And yet over recent decades, Australia has shifted starkly from being a nation more of we to a nation more of me. I want to start by just taking you a couple of metrics for that.
The first is when we look at the number of organisations per person in Australia, that figure has dwindled. We can go to the Directory of Australian Associations, started in the late 1970s, which tracks the number of organisations in Australia, and we see from that a decline in the number of organisations per person. If you wanted to join an organisation in Australia today, there are simply fewer to choose from per person than there were in the late 1970s.Read more
How Uncompetitive Markets Hurt Workers - Speech, Melbourne
HOW UNCOMPETITIVE MARKETS HURT WORKERS*
MAURICE BLACKBURN, MELBOURNE
THURSDAY, 2 MARCH 2023
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Bunurong Boon Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin.
I pay my respects to their Elders, extend that respect to other First Nations people present, and commit myself, as a part of the Albanese Government, to the implementation in full of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Special thanks to Per Capita and Maurice Blackburn for hosting today’s event.
Sixteen Tons was written by Merle Travis in 1946.
It’s been covered many times, most famously by Johnny Cash.
It’s about a real group of coal miners who lived and worked in a company town in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. The chorus goes:
You load 16 tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter, don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store (Travis 1946)