WEDNESDAY, 15 MAY 2019
Subjects: Labor’s $40 million investment in training for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the decimation of the public service during the Liberals’ time in office.
ALICIA PAYNE, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CANBERRA: Hi. I’m Alicia Payne, Labor's candidate to Canberra, and it's wonderful to be here today with Andrew Leigh and Nancy Waites to make this really important announcement about the NDIS. In my previous job, one of the really big parts of my work was to talk with people with disability and their families and providers about the NDIS. For many people this has made a really positive difference in their lives, but for too many it's been a bad experience and hasn't delivered what was promised. People with disability and their families have waited so long for the NDIS and only a Labor Government can get it right. We created the NDIS, and if we form government I know that we will get the implementation right, particularly by providing more staff and proper training. And that's what today's announcement is about. It's wonderful that Canberra will be a trial site for this investment in training for NDIS workers. And I'll hand over to Andrew Leigh to provide a bit more detail.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks so much, Alicia, and it's great to be here with Alicia Payne, Labor's terrific candidate for Canberra, with Nancy Waites, Labor's second Senate candidate, Natalie Lang from the Australian Services Union and Jack, a disability support worker who will speak to us in a moment.Read more
MONDAY, 13 MAY 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s $6 million commitment for ACT students, Labor’s plans for affordable housing.
ALICIA PAYNE, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CANBERRA: Good morning. I'm Alicia Payne, Labor’s candidate for the seat of Canberra. It's great to be here at my former workplace the University of Canberra with Andrew Leigh, Carrie Graf and Michelle Lincoln to talk about this great investment that a Shorten Labor Government will make in a sports program here at UC to boost disadvantaged students, to be able to access higher education and using sport as a pathway into that. I'll hand over to Andrew to give a bit more detail about the announcement.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Terrific. Thanks, Alicia. It's a great day to be talking about a great program. Two strengths of the University of Canberra have been reaching out including more disadvantaged students in higher education and their capacity in elite sport. There’s 132 elite sports players currently enrolled at the University of Canberra, playing for the Capitals and the Brumbies. Triathletes, power lifters, cheerleaders. And the University of Canberra is keen to provide opportunities to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage in higher education. We know across Australia there are ‘Lost Einsteins’ and ‘Lost Curies’, brilliant young people who don't get a chance to do those studies that will benefit them and the nation. New research out today from RMIT University highlights the importance of boosting education levels in Australia in an increasingly technologically engaged era. We know it's vital to increase university places and that's why a Shorten Labor Government would uncap university places, ensuring over the course of the next decade another 200,000 Australians have a chance to attend university.
Today we're announcing that under a Shorten Labor Government, we would provide $6 million to the University of Canberra for the Sport and Health Empower Program, a program which would bring high school students - Years 10, 11 and 12 – on to campus twice a year. It would give them exposure to some of the best sports science that’s being done, provide tips for their own sporting lives so they’re able to combine studies and their sporting careers, and set them up with mentors - elite sportspeople, sports researchers - so they can better understand what they can achieve by going to university. It's a program that will then work with students in their own communities, to reach out to students in the ACT and the region from disadvantaged backgrounds.
It's absolutely vital if we're to become a more prosperous society, a more equal society, a society that uses the talents of all its members, that we boost university attendance among disadvantaged people and disadvantage populations. So I'm very pleased to be here with my friend and colleague Alicia Payne, making this announcement today. I hand over now to Michelle and then to Carrie to say a few more words about the specifics of the proposed program.Read more
MONDAY, 13 MAY 2019
Subjects: Five years on from the Liberals’ horror 2014 Budget, Labor’s plans for affordable housing, the Liberals’ scare campaign on negative gearing.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much for coming out today. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Five years ago, the Liberals brought down their horror 2014 Budget. They said there'd be no cuts to health. They lied. They said there’d be no cuts for education. They lied. They said there'd be no cuts to the pension. They lied. They said there'd be no cuts to ABC or the SBS. They lied. The 2014 Budget was a horror show in Australian politics and if Scott Morrison is re-elected on Saturday it'll be his blueprint for the next three years.
Scott Morrison is a man bereft of ideas, a failed ad man who’s given up on reform. But he was as enthusiastic a backer for that 2014 Budget as you could find in the Parliament. Scott Morrison was a man who was very happy for the Liberals to go out and break their pledges to the Australian people to look after the social safety net. If the Liberals are re-elected on Saturday, you will see more tax breaks for the top end of town, tax loopholes for multinationals, and cuts to health and education – which we know from Grattan Institute modelling amounts to some $40 billion of secret Morrison cuts. Secret Morrison cuts that could be even worse than the 2014 Budget.Read more
CHARITY AND NOT-FOR-PROFIT SECTOR PRE-ELECTION DEBATE OPENING REMARKS
FRIDAY, 10 MAY 2019
Subjects: The Liberals’ war on charities, the Liberals’ no show at the debate, Labor’s 10 point plan for the charities and not-for-profit sector.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS: Well, thank you very much David and I’ll weave into my remarks the origins of this place, it will come up in just a moment. I acknowledge that we meet on the land of the Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation and pay my respects their elders. David [Crosbie], thank you for organising today and for your leadership. The charitable sector owes you a great debt for all that you do. I recognise Rachel Siewert and acknowledge the empty chair for a Coalition representative, with David’s invitations having been turned down by Zed Seselja, Kevin Andrews and Paul Fletcher. It's a pity not to have them here. I think the sector is owed the kind of charity debate that we had in the previous two elections, and it’s a shame the Coalition is a no-show today. I also acknowledge the range of charity and not-for-profit leaders here today, including Sue Woodward and Adrienne Picone.
When I think back to my teens and twenties, some of the most important memories are volunteering. I helped build walking tracks in Lane Cove and Nowra with the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers. I dressed up in a clown suit to sell juggling balls to raise money for Oxfam. I volunteered as a law student at Redfern Legal Centre, at the Welfare Rights Legal Centre in the ACT. When I think about my three boys and when they’re at their best, it's often when they’ve joined me on one of my regular park clean ups. Doing something for the community, rather than doing something for themselves. A life lived in service to others is a life well lived. In that, I'm following somewhat in the footsteps of my grandfather, a Methodist minister who worked here in Melbourne and who passed away in 1970 doing a run up Mount Wellington in Hobart to raise money for overseas aid.Read more
THURSDAY, 9 MAY 2019
Subjects: Labor’s plans to help vulnerable individuals and small businesses with their tax, and strengthen the volunteering culture among tax students and professionals.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thank you everyone for coming along today to The University of Canberra. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fenner.
We are here today to announce that if elected, a Shorten Labor Government would give $150,000 in ongoing funding to establish a tax clinic right here at the University of Canberra. We know that deep-pocketed billionaires like Clive Palmer can access an armada of accountants when it comes to navigating the tax system, but for many vulnerable Australians and small businesses, tax means late nights and worries about whether you've got it wrong. Too many Australians are struggling to try and sort out their tax affairs. Tax clinics have worked effectively in the United States where the low income tax clinic model is a proven success. At Curtin University, a tax clinic has been operating for a number of years now, serving vulnerable taxpayers and small businesses.
And that’s why a Labor Government has announced that if elected, we wouldn't just trial tax clinics - we'd put them in place. Ten tax clinics across the country and right here at the University of Canberra a tax clinic which would look to serve not just the ACT, but the region. We’ve even spoken about the possibility of the UC tax clinic taking to the road aboard a bus that the University of Canberra has used in the past to engage in outreach allied health care provision. So tax clinics are a great innovation for University of Canberra and they're also great for the outlying population, ensuring people have access to that first rate advice. They're going to be vital too as we look to build a culture of giving back within the tax profession. In law, we've got community legal centres where many law students will spend some time during their training. Many doctors will have an opportunity to engage in pro bono work. But we haven’t been quite as good in the past when it comes to tax and providing opportunities for tax professionals and tax students to put their altruistic urges into action. Tax clinics will do that. They’ll work with local tax practitioners and they’ll ensure that we build that culture of giving back among tax professionals.Read more
WEDNESDAY, 8 MAY 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s charity policy; the Coalition’s war on charities; News Limited’s attack on Bill Shorten’s mother; News Limited’s use of tax havens.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much everyone for coming along today. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits. I'd like to thank SANE Australia for hosting us here today. I'm joined by my colleagues Mark Dreyfus, the Shadow Attorney-General, Fiona McLeod, our candidate for Higgins, and Josh Burns, our candidate for Macnamara.
It's been a tough six years for Australia's charities. They have borne the brunt of a war on charities. We've seen the government go through six different ministers responsible for the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. Over the course of 2011 to 2016, the government's goal was to scrap the ACNC. When they couldn't succeed with that, they put a charity critic in charge of the charity regulator. The war on charities has prompted two open letters to successive prime ministers from the charity sector. A great deal of energy of Australia's great charities and not-for-profits has been chewed up in fighting against the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government's war on their work.Read more
2GB MONEY NEWS
TUESDAY, 7 MAY 2019
Subjects: Reserve Bank decision, Labor’s plan to crack down on multinational tax avoidance, climate change.
ROSS GREENWOOD: I thought I'd just bring here somebody who's really good with his time here on the program. That is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, who's on the line right now. Andrew, many thanks for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Ross. Great to be with you.
GREENWOOD: All right. I want to start there with the Reserve Bank and this decision to keep rates on hold and where it might go. Wages has been a big issue in this election campaign and clearly many Australians right now are feeling the pressure of not having had a wages increase yet their costs, their household bills, even now their supermarket prices are starting to rise. So your side of politics has said you want a living wage. The question is whether Australia can afford that living wage, as you've described it in the election campaign.
LEIGH: Ross, I think the question is whether we can afford to have wages growth still stuck in the doldrums. Wages growth under this Government has been lower every quarter than in any quarter under its predecessor. We've seen wage growth at 1.9 per cent since the 2013 election. Even in the global financial crisis wage growth didn't drop below 2.9 per cent. That matters because, as the adage goes, my spending is your income and your spending is my income. What doesn't go into workers’ wallets doesn't go back into the economy. One of the reasons we've seen this flat-lining of retail sales, the fall off in new car sales, has been that wages have been been stuck in the slow lane.Read more
ECONOMIC REFORM: AMBITION VERSUS ZUGZWANG
SPEECH TO AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS ANNUAL CONFERENCE
WEDNESDAY, 8 MAY 2019
(Check against delivery)
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and pay respect to their elders.
My thanks to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors for the chance to speak with you about Labor’s positive plans for the economy.
In an era of shrill soundbites, your organisation has a track record of producing careful research that shapes policy debates. Your research reports have dovetailed closely with our priorities, covering topics such as modern slavery, fossil fuel investments, and whistleblowing. I know this research is closely read by my colleagues Chris Bowen, Jim Chalmers, Clare O’Neil, Madeleine King, and Matt Thistlethwaite. Fresh ideas can help shape the policy debate for the better.
To take just one example, you publish an annual report on CEO Pay in ASX200 firms. Last July, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors reported that the best-paid CEO in Australia, Don Meij, received $37 million. Commentators were quick to note the contrast between this pay packet and the reported underpayment of Domino’s pizza workers.Read more
RICHO, SKY NEWS
WEDNESDAY, 1 MAY 2019
SUBJECTS: Eastern Australian Irrigation, Clive Palmer, Facebook and Google tax bills, Adani, the Liberals’ literal decimation of public service jobs.
GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Our next guest is Andrew Leigh and he's in one of my favourite places, Townsville, or he's been there I think today. Welcome to the program, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks, Richo. Great to be talking to you from Townsville.
RICHARDSON: And how was it in the Deep North? Is it, have you had a good day?
LEIGH: It’s been terrific. Cathy O’Toole and I announced a tax clinic at James Cook University. This is an investment which will see James Cook University tax students reach out to the community to help low income taxpayers and small businesses with their tax affairs and also to try and build that culture of giving back to the community among tax professionals. And then, I’m Shadow for Charities and Not-for-Profits, so in the afternoon visited a number of co-operative businesses, including Defence Bank where I bought this pig here. The pig is sold by Defence Bank to raise money for their Defence Bank Foundation, which helps soldiers with PTSD. So any of your viewers who are looking for a piggy bank for the kids, jump on the Defence Bank website, pick up a pig, help out our soldiers.Read more
THURSDAY, 2 MAY 2019
Subjects: Labor’s commitment to help Indigenous students in remote and regional Queensland access quality education; Labor’s plans to create a fairer economy through the mutuals and co-ops sector.
CATHY O’TOOLE, MEMBER FOR HERBERT: It's really fantastic to be here today with the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh and Queensland Senator Murray Watt and Jeff Reibel the CEO of Cowboys and also in Melina from the cooperatives and mutuals association who will speak after with Andrew. We are at NRL Cowboys House, girls house specifically, which is a fantastic facility in this Townsville community providing education for young First Nations women and they do a fantastic job with young women from year 7 to year 12. The announcement that Andrew will make in a moment means a huge deal to this facility and to this community. So we'll hand over now to Andrew to make the announcement.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much, Cathy. Cathy has been at the forefront of addressing social disadvantage as Member of Herbert. She is somebody who is a passionate campaigner against inequality and for a fairer and more inclusive society. Terrific to be here too with my friend and colleague Murray Watt and Melina Morrison, who will say a few words in a moment about a separate announcement.Read more