Today’s effects test announcement shows the extent to which Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have sacrificed good economic policy in order to keep the National Party on side.
As a member of the Abbott Government, Malcolm Turnbull opposed an effects test in Cabinet. So did Julie Bishop and George Brandis.
The only reason the Turnbull Government is announcing an effects test today is that it was a condition of the secret agreement between the Liberals and Nationals for Mr Turnbull to become Prime Minister.Read more
SKY AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 5 SEPTEMBER 2016
SUBJECTS: G20; Multinational taxation; Foreign political donations; Negative gearing; Superannuation reform; Inequality.
TOM CONNELL: You're watching AM Agenda, joining me now in the studio is Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. Andrew thanks for your time this morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure, Tom.
CONNELL: We're at the G20 in China this time around, a couple of years ago it was Brisbane we had that 2 per cent growth target that now we're hearing from the IMF has pretty much failed. How big a role could you really argue Australia had in that pretty small proportion of the economy?
LEIGH: Well there were some pretty big promises made back then by the Coalition, Tom. A promise of 2 per cent above expectations. I went back last week and had a look at how we're tracking on that, we're not 2 per cent ahead, we're 2.5 per cent behind where we were forecast to be at that stage. So the Government's achievements on growth are exactly the opposite of what they pledged. That's why I'm sceptical that not much is going to come out of this G20 from a Government that has been so much on the side of multinational tax avoiders rather than on the side of the Australian middle class.Read more
This weekend the Coalition will again schlep off to the G20 summit without a strong plan for confronting the global epidemic of tax avoidance by multinational companies.
In the aftermath of the decision taken by the European Union against Apple’s international tax liabilities, as well as the revelations within the Panama Papers, now is the time for an effective Australian multinational tax strategy.
But on this critical budget problem, like so many others, Malcolm Turnbull and his government are compromised, in chaos and making it impossible for Australia to provide moral or legislative leadership.Read more
Today in the House of Representatives I called out the Turnbull Government's inability to deliver a tax cut it had promised to Australians that Labor supports!
AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT HOUSE
MEMBERS' 90 SECOND STATEMENT
THURSDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER, 2016
Dr LEIGH (Fenner) (13:41): Thank you Deputy Speaker.
On Budget Night the Treasurer said, 'From the 1st of July this year, we will increase the upper limit for the middle-income tax bracket from $80,000 to $87,000 per year.'
And then the Treasurer trampled to an election, stamping on the way the tax cut that he had promised to Australians earning over $80,000 a year.Read more
CHRIS BOWEN MP
MEMBER FOR MCMAHON
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE IN SERVICES
MEMBER FOR FENNER
Government legislation today confirms that the benefits of income tax cuts scheduled for 1 July 2016 won’t be fully implemented until after Australian taxpayers complete their tax return after 1 July 2017.
This comes in a week where the Treasurer has been shown that he had a $107 million black hole in his omnibus legislation, got rolled in Cabinet with the PM on negative gearing reform, and continues to delay legislating the Government’s superannuation package.Read more
GIVING THE CONSUMER WATCHDOG MORE TEETH - PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION SUBMISSION
At the election, the Turnbull Government made no commitments to strengthen consumer protections or to clamp down on scammers and shonks.
Shorten-led Labor took a comprehensive suite of policies giving the consumer watchdog more teeth.
The re-elected Government has no Minister for Competition or Consumer Affairs.
Labor has a Shadow Minister for both.
Below is my submission on behalf of the Australian Labor Party to the Productivity Commission's Inquiry into Consumer Law Enforcement and Administration.
Labor is committed to protecting consumers.
A PDF version is available HERE.
PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION SUBMISSION - AUGUST 2016
The Australian Labor Party welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into the enforcement and administration of the Australian Consumer Law.
The Labor Party is the party of the Trade Practices Act 1974, the National Competition Policy, the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and the criminalisation of cartels.
The ACL is a vital piece of legislation that protects consumers from things like unconscionable conduct, unfair contracts, unsafe products, misleading conduct and scams. The ACL has brought together State, Territory and Federal governments, and was implemented by the previous Labor Government.
Ensuring the ACL operates as intended, and to address opportunities for improvements in administration and enforcement, is considerably important.
In the 2016 federal election, the Australian Labor party announced a suite of policy measures regarding the ACL. That policy suite is designed to deter and punish anti-competitive and anti-consumer conduct by increasing penalties, using some of the increased revenue from these penalties to increase the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) litigation budget, and give the ACCC formal powers to conduct market studies in the public interest.
This submission details the implications of that policy suite for enhancing the enforcement and administration of the Australian Consumer Law as per the Productivity Commission’s terms of reference.
The Case for Action
There is a broad public concern about the lack of competition and anti-consumer conduct in Australian markets. This concern is not limited to banks, supermarkets and petrol retailers. Many people are worried that Australia’s markets are not sufficiently competitive or consumer friendly in a range of areas.
At the same time, penalties for engaging in anti-competitive and anti-consumer conduct and for breaching the rights of consumers are inadequate. Penalties are too small to act as a deterrent, are low by international standards and are seen by transgressors as a mere “cost of doing business” according to the Federal Court[i],[ii], the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission[iii], and consumer advocates[iv]. This clearly has implications for the efficacy of administration and enforcement of the Australian Consumer Law.
For example, the ACCC has appealed the $1.7 million penalty imposed on Reckitt Benckiser for misleading or deceptive conduct regarding Nurofen products. The penalty was small relative to company turnover and the profits made on the products, and is unlikely to have a deterrence effect[v].Read more
TUESDAY, 30 AUGUST 2016
SUBJECTS: Labor’s positive plans for the budget.
PETER VAN ONSELEN: I'm joined now by the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Dr Andrew Leigh, live from the nation's capital. Thanks for your company.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure Peter, great to be with you.
VAN ONSELEN: We'll get to some of your portfolio areas in a moment but I just wanted to ask you about the story across the top of the Financial Review – China donor says Australian MPs, quote, "Not delivering". You must have read this piece. It's unbelievable to my way of reckoning. He's the chairman of a property development group and he's given more than $1 million to both major parties over the last four years. And this is his quote from an editorial that he wrote in the Global Times newspaper. It's been translated into English. Quote, "The Australian-Chinese community is inexperienced in using political donations to satisfy political requests." How does that make you feel? That sounds to me like cash...for outcomes.
LEIGH: It was a strange quote indeed, Peter. The gentleman is not somebody who I've met before. But certainly my philosophy with political donations has always been that people should give because they want to contribute to the democratic process, not because they want to buy an outcome for themselves. As you say, doing so is to subvert what democracy is all about – which is politicians executing the will of the people who put them there.Read more
The politics of hate is on the rise. A week before the Brexit vote, UK Labour MP Jo Cox was shot by a man shouting “death to traitors, freedom for Britain”. In France, Marine Le Pen draws parallels between Muslim migrants and the occupation of her country during World War II. In the US, Donald Trump wants to bring back torture, has called women “pigs” and made fun of a reporter with a disability.
In Australia, the share of voters who hate their opponents has risen from under one in six in the late 1990s to over one in four voters today. In the US, the share of people who say they would be unhappy if their child married someone from another political party has risen from 5 per cent to 41 per cent.
You can imagine the scene here in Australia. “Oh, thank goodness, sweetheart — when you said your girlfriend was a lesbian, I thought you said a Liberal.”Read more
2GB, MONEY NEWS WITH ROSS GREENWOOD
WEDNESDAY, 24 AUGUST 2016
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s genuine solution for budget repair
ROSS GREENWOOD: Let's now go to the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh, who is very close to the decisions and the policies that the Labor Party will take to the government to try and push them through. Many thanks for your time, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Pleasure Ross, great to be with you.
GREENWOOD: Can I just say, some of the superannuation – let's go there first up. Do you think the compromise that you are offering the government in any way shape or form places a question mark over its mandate to govern? After all, it took a set of policies to the Australian people. The Australian people have voted them in – by a very close margin – but have voted them in. Does that mean that the government has simply got to push through its own superannuation policies holus-bolus as they were?
LEIGH: Let's go through two things. Firstly why we have superannuation tax concessions, and secondly what a mandate is. We have superannuation tax breaks – as the government's own financial systems inquiry noted – to reduce reliance on the aged pension. But half of those superannuation tax breaks go to the top 20 per cent who – that report says – are unlikely to be relying on the aged pension.
The government's got a mandate to pursue the changes that it took to the election. But nothing in that says that Labor needs to fold and just pass whatever the government likes. What we're doing is we're putting constructive proposals on the table that we believe are more likely to get through the Coalition party room than the policies they took to the election, but also have the virtue that they're not retrospective. So we can add more money to the budget bottom line without making a retrospective change that's worried so many experts.Read more
Does Love Have Any Place in Politics? - The Minefield with Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens (Radio National Podcast)
Thursday 25 August 2016 11:30AM
Next week, the 45th Parliament sits for the first time since the federal election. The government holds a paper-thin majority in the House of Representatives; the Liberal Party Room is suffering significant internal discord; and the new Senate is more fractious, demanding and wilfully recalcitrant than any in modern history.
These are the ideal conditions for political discord and outright opportunism.
Australia is hardly unique in this respect. Western politics as a whole seems to be following this trend toward greater political instability, less cooperation; more anger, less empathy. The media’s own fetishisation of the spectacle of conflict is doubtless complicit in this state of affairs.
But the proliferation of social movements and forms of political activism are not exempt from blame either.
On all sides, the prospects for constructive, broad-based collective action are under threat. The question is: if there is to be a change in our fraught and fractious political climate, what will be the agent? From where might the impetus for change come?
For one Australian politician, that change must come from within politics itself.