Today the Treasurer has confirmed the deficit for 2015-16 soared to $40 billion, which is 8 times bigger than estimated the day the Coalition took office.
The 2015-16 Final Budget Outcome shows that net debt reached $296 billion at the end of last financial year, which is $77 billion more than projected when Labor left office.Read more
Agile Aid For Fragile States - submission to "Australia Ahead of the Curve: An Agenda for International Development to 2025”
Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Treasurer, and Senator Claire Moore, Shadow Minister for
International Development and the Pacific.
In 1970, countries from across the globe agreed to a common aid goal: that for every hundred dollars of national income, they would give 70 cents of aid to developing countries.
In almost half a century since then, Australia has repeatedly reaffirmed our commitment to the international aid target. Other nations have gotten there. Unlike Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom, Australia has never met the 70 cent goal.
But like any target, we can still judge Australian governments on how close or far they have come to meeting this commitment to the world's poorest.
When Labor was in government, overseas foreign aid increased from 28 cents in every hundred dollars) in 2007-08 to 37 cents in 2013-14. Had Labor been returned, aid was budgeted to rise to 50 cents in every hundred dollars in 2017-18.
Then the Coalition won office with an aid commitment that matched Labor’s, but then put us on a very different path. Today, Australia spends just 23 cents per hundred dollars on overseas aid. Under Labor, our aid contribution exceeded the average for the rich country OECD grouping (30 cents per hundred dollars). Now, we are not only below the OECD average, our aid share is the lowest since comparable records began in the 1970s. When aid was headed to 50 cents in every hundred dollars, we were on the path to meet our promised aid goal. With aid at 23 cents, we have literally shrunk from the task to which our nation once committed.Read more
THE WORST CENSUS EVER
Today marks the end of the reporting period for the 2016 Australian Census.
As of yesterday, the Census was still missing five per cent of households. This is significantly worse than the 2011 Census, which had an undercount rate of 1.7 per cent.
Indeed, in response to questions from Matt Thistlethwaite in the House Standing Committee on Economics, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe acknowledged yesterday that an undercount rate of five per cent was concerning.Read more
Dinner Speech to the Japan Update
Australia-Japan Research Centre
Australian National University
21 September 2016
Let me start by thanking the Australia-Japan Research Centre for inviting me to speak here tonight. In 2014, the Japanese and Australian Prime Ministers Abe and Abbott expressed their strong support for the Australia-Japan Research Centre in promoting research collaboration and intellectual exchanges between Australia and Japan on political and economic relations. Both sides of politics strongly support the Australia-Japan relationship as well as the great work of the Australia-Japan Research Centre.
But I want to start tonight with the story of Sacarnawa Deconeski. Sacarnawa was the first recorded Japanese resident in Australia. He settled in Queensland having reached Australia in 1871, applying for naturalisation in 1882.Although most Japanese settlers in the late 1800s worked as pearlers in northern Australia, Sacarnawa was different. He was a professional acrobat.
After travelling around Australia as an entertainer for many years, in 1875 Sacarnawa married a woman from Melbourne. As many of us do in later life, Sacarnawa gave up acrobatics. He and his wife set up a farm in Far North Queensland near the town of Herberton. At its height, Herberton was the richest tin mining field in Australia and was home to 17 pubs. In case you’re wondering, Canberra has 56 pubs and clubs, but on per capita terms Herberton was doing pretty well for a small town.
By the start of Federation, Australia had 4000 Japanese immigrants, mostly based in Townsville where the Japanese Government had established its first consulate in 1896. During Australia’s shameful period of the White Australia Policy, the consulate closed in 1908 and it wasn’t until 1966 that consular offices reopened in Brisbane and, eventually, in Cairns, too.Read more
SKY AM AGENDA WITH KIERAN GILBERT
MONDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2016
SUBJECT/S: Syrian airstrikes; Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement; Turnbull Government’s migration message.
KIERAN GILBERT: This is AM Agenda coming to you live from New York this morning and joining me now Labor front bencher, Andrew Leigh. Andrew coincidently a lot is happening on the international stage and the bungled Syrian air strikes having reverberations at the UN. I know Labor supports the Australian involvement there. Isn’t it the fact that it’s a brutal reality that in a messy conflict like Syria that mistakes like this can happen?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Morning Kieran. It’s good to be with you, and I hope all is well in New York. Certainly what’s going on here is of deep concern. It reflects the fact that the Free Syrian army has now largely collapsed and this is now a conflict between the Syrian military and Al Qaeda and Daesh. That means of course that this is a serious blunder but it also highlights the fact that this is a conflict that has now been going on for more than five years.
GILBERT: The stalemate continues and hopefully the ceasefire will hold. I want to ask you about the Trans Pacific Partnership arrangement. The Prime Minister urging the Congress to support it but that window is closing with the Obama administration having not long to go and both Trump and Clinton opposing the TPP, as it’s known?Read more
Fearless Comedy, The Chronicle, September 6
For one night, on the Canberra Theatre stage, a bevy of Australia’s top comedians came to tell stories, sing and dance.
Penny Greenhalgh showed how to ice skate without ice, using only an audience volunteer for balance. Sammy J sang in praise of nerds. Vanessa Conlin rhapsodised about single life in family-friendly Canberra. Adam Richard and Juliet Moody borrowed audience members’ phones and created songs using their text messages.
Last week’s Fearless Comedy Gala was an unusual event – a comedy night to raise money for the ACT Domestic Violence Crisis Service. By performing for free, the entertainers showed their commitment to this significant cause.
In the words of organiser Juliet Moody, herself a survivor of family violence, ‘There is no fear in real love.’Read more
According to the Prime Minister, today caps off a year of “great achievement”.
It was the year Malcolm Turnbull‘s Government stuffed-up the Census.
First, they failed to effectively address community concerns about the increase to the period for which names and addresses will be retained.
- Then they wasted millions of hours of Australians’ time by urging us to log on to the Census website even after it had crashed.
- Finally, they tried to avoid taking responsibility for the debacle by blaming the hard-working public servants whom the government had stripped of funding and resources.
Today marks one month since the Turnbull Government oversaw Australia’s worst Census ever.
So the revelations this week that Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) executives have warned staff that the return rate of Census forms is at “crisis” levels should surprise no one.
The fact that Michael McCormack, the Minister made responsible for the Census by Malcolm Turnbull, has kept avoiding the Australian people is an indictment on the Turnbull Government.Read more
ABC RN DRIVE
WEDNESDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2016
SUBJECT/S: Senator Dastyari’s resignation; the lack of women in the Liberal Party; political donations; Australia’s weak GDP growth and decline in living standards since 2013.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: Andrew Leigh joins us now. Thanks for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: It’s a pleasure Patricia.
KARVELAS: You've seen that he just stood down. Shouldn't he have done that a few days ago?
LEIGH: Sam wasn't guilty of lying, cheating or stealing. He made an error of judgement. A mistake for which he has now paid the price. I think he's shown his ability to put the team ahead of himself with his statement that he didn't want to be the reason that the Turnbull Government escaped proper scrutiny. And there are plenty of things we need to be scrutinising them over. From the mucking up of the Census to the decline in living standards that were reported today. From their ongoing attempts to cut Medicare to their failure to act on multinational taxation in the G20. We need to be an effective opposition and Sam's statement today recognised the primacy of that role for the Opposition.Read more
FIVEAA MORNINGS WITH LEON BYNER
MONDAY, 5 SEPTEMBER 2016
SUBJECT/S: 2016 Census
LEON BYNER: We've got a bloke who's got his finger on the pulse on all this. He's the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew, what do you make of where we're at now with all this?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning, Leon. Good morning to your listeners. I think – a couple of weeks on from Census night – it's still a bit of a shemozzle. Of the 17 Censuses that have been carried out in Australia since Federation, this is clearly the worst. The Turnbull Government should be able to get the basic things right, and running a Census is just one of the basic aspects of government. We've been doing them for about 2,500 years and you'd think they could manage to organise things so they were of minimal hassle to Australians. That the website worked, that the response rate was good, that people were engaged in the process – and none of that has happened in this Census.Read more