HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 8 DECEMBER 2020
Last week, Tesco announced that it will repay half a billion pounds of taxpayer support. The British retailer had been under fire since paying shareholders a £315 million dividend in October. Last week, Tesco's chairman said:
We're financially strong enough to be able to return this to the public and we are conscious of our responsibilities to society.
We firmly believe now that this is the right thing to do …Read more
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 8 DECEMBER 2020
SUBJECTS: BonusKeeper; Industrial Relations proposals; Sports rorts.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Imagine, if you will for just a moment, getting $70 million in taxpayer subsidies for JobKeeper and then using that money to perhaps dole out executive bonuses and dividends. Well, that's what Solomon Lew's Premier Investments have apparently done, and there are increasing calls for Premier to repay around $70 million in government subsidies. Let's speak to Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury about this. Morning, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. Great to be with @MPinthemorning.
PAUL: Thank you. You and I have discussed this before at length. It’s JobKeeper, but you effectively have renamed it BonusKeeper, it that right?
LEIGH: Absolutely, Marcus, just for a small number of firms. Of course, most businesses did exactly the right thing when the pandemic hit. They used that money to support workers. But a small number of firms - and I'm sad to say that Premier Investment seems to be one of them - have used the money to pay out significant dividends, a large portion of which goes to their billionaire owner, and to pay executive bonuses. And I said: if you're doing so well that you can take taxpayer subsidies and pay it out to millionaires and billionaires, maybe you should give it back to the taxpayer first. Maybe we can support some of those people in nursing homes who are suffering right now, and we can support some of those people who are going to lose their jobs between now and Christmas. There are people out there really hurting, and I don't think it's the people with billion dollar wealth or million dollar salaries.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 7 DECEMBER 2020
That this House:
(1) notes that:
(a) charities are the most trusted sector in Australian public life;
(b) charities employ over one million Australians and contribute nearly one-tenth of Australia's national income;
(c) charities are the first line of support for the most vulnerable in our communities during times of economic and social upheaval;
(d) meeting the requirements of Australia's seven different fundraising regimes is wasting the time and energy of Australian charities and not-for-profit organisations; and
(e) the Government's failure to act on fundraising reform is costing Australian charities over $1 million every month;Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 3 DECEMBER 2020
Australia benefits from investment, but we haven't had enough of it in recent years. In preparing my remarks today, I turned to the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures on actual business expenditure. It showed that, if you looked at 2013, the year that the government came to office, business investment was around $160 billion. By 2019 it had fallen to around $120 billion, and this year looks to be somewhere around $100 billion. So, Australia has an investment problem, and foreign investment can be an important part of rectifying that.
Foreign investment, as the shadow Treasurer has noted, has played an important role in Australia's history and Labor has been supportive in a broad sense of the role that foreign investment has played. You need only look at the Japanese investment in our beef industry; American firms such as Kraft, Schweppes, Kodak, Heinz; General Motors and Ford—before the car industry was goaded to leave the country by the coalition; foreign investment in our oil and gas sectors—Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips; and foreign investment in the movie industry. Among the movies made in Australia are The Matrix, Mission Impossible 2, The Great Gatsby, Babe and Wolverine. Australia has not only imported foreign capital but also the know-how, the additional productivity and the competitive benefits that can come from foreign investment.Read more
Volunteering is in a slump, it's time for some caremongering - Op Ed, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age
VOLUNTEERING IS IN A SLUMP - IT'S TIME FOR SOME CAREMONGERING
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, 4 December 2020
When masks became mandatory in Melbourne, Sewing for Charity Australia got to work. Across Australia, it mobilised over 3000 volunteers to sew colourful masks and send them to Victoria. ‘In a time of pandemic we have to come together’, said founder Cass Gell. ‘I have my kids threading elastics.’
As sporting events were cancelled, former Socceroo Craig Foster encouraged teams to replace playing for points with playing for lives. ‘Play for Lives’ mobilised athletes to pack food hampers, transport essential medications and deliver Meals on Wheels.
The initiative was especially timely because coronavirus had caused two-thirds of volunteers to cut back on their efforts. Some charities had to reshape how they delivered services, while in other cases older volunteers simply had to self-isolate.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 3 DECEMBER 2020
In a usual year, there are 21,000 mass participation sporting events across Australia, including fun runs, ocean swims, community cycling events and challenging obstacle course races. They attract millions of participants, employ tens of thousands of people, raise tens of millions for charity and contribute more than a billion dollars to the economy. They keep us healthy and, most importantly, they're fun. We enter for the adrenaline and the medal, but it's the race experience and the friendships that keep us coming back for marathons, triathlons and Spartan events.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, DECEMBER 1 2020
Company profits are rising – and so is unemployment. The sharemarket is booming, yet households are battling.
The government is right to say that workers would’ve been worse without JobKeeper. That’s why Labor urged them put it in place. But that doesn’t mean the $100 billion program should avoid scrutiny.Read more
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2020
SUBJECTS: China; Giving Tuesday; Charities.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh joins us on the program each and every Tuesday. Good morning, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. How are you?
PAUL: Good, thank you, mate. Can we deal with this issue first? No doubt you were shocked by this image that was posted on Chinese state sponsored Twitter accounts over the last 24 hours. What did you make of it?
LEIGH: Utterly appalled. I felt the Prime Minister put it very well when he spoke before. Just shocking to all Australians.
PAUL: What are we going to do about it, Andrew? We've really - we’re lying down in the bed that we've made with China, if you like. We've been so reliant on them for so long. We bet on red every time and now things are coming up not so rosy.
LEIGH: The Prime Minister's rightly demanded an apology from China, and I'd hoped that that would be forthcoming very swiftly. That’s a false image which is repugnant, and disgusting to all Australians.Read more
LET'S CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT GIVING TO CHARITY
The Canberra Times, December 1 2020
Just as coronavirus hit, Dawn was diagnosed with stage four cancer.
The preschool teacher mentioned it to the parents of one of the children in her class. Not long afterwards, the family said they wanted to give her a gift of $10,000. They had been saving it for a holiday, but figured Dawn could better use the money in her battle with cancer.
When coronavirus hit at the start of 2020, countless Australians reached out to help those around them. Three young women who had lost their jobs went out to their first dinner in months to celebrate a birthday. A couple at the next table heard their story, and quietly paid the bill before slipping out. The women were reduced to tears at the generosity of complete strangers.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 30 NOVEMBER 2020
According to the energy minister, the Morrison government has 'strong targets, clear plans and an enviable track record' on reducing emissions. Some might take that at face value, but, coming from the minister that brought us 'Grassgate', 'Watergate' and 'Clovergate', I thought I'd see what some experts have to say.
The NewClimate Institute ranked Australia dead-last out of 57 countries for climate policy. Climate Action Tracker say Australia's climate policies are 'insufficient' to meet the agreements we signed up to in Paris.Read more