THURSDAY, 19 MAY 2016
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s plan for housing affordability
LISA CHESTERS, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BENDIGO: It is great to be here today with Andrew Leigh, who is our Shadow Assistant Treasurer. We have just come out of a housing affordability and negative gearing forum, which is a hot topic in this election, and definitely locally. Here in Bendigo we know the statistics - there are approximately 5,000 individuals that negatively gear current property. The good news is that under Labor's policy is that they will be grandfathered - there will be no effects to that 5,000. What excites me about Labor's policy is that it will encourage investment into the housing supply demands that we have here. We have talked at length about the need for investment for social housing, housing for people with a disability, housing options for retirees - whether they be self-funded or pensioners. There is a housing issue here in Bendigo and in central Victoria. I believe Labor's policy is going to help that, not hinder that. I am going to hand over to Andrew, who is going to give his thoughts and his feedback on today's forum, and also to answer any questions that you have got.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks Lisa. It is great to be in Bendigo with Lisa Chesters - a passionate advocate for Bendigo and central Victoria - and somebody who is a strong voice for this region in Canberra. We have had a terrific housing affordability forum, talking through Labor's plan to increase the homeownership rate in Australia. The homeownership rate now is as low as it has been since the 1950s. We know that the benefits of negative gearing and the Capital Gains Tax discount don't flow evenly across the Australian population, but in fact half of them go to just the top 10% of income earners. People in occupations such as surgeons and anesthetists are many times more likely to negatively gear than people in occupations such as police officers, teachers, firefighters, and nurses.
Labor will ensure that existing investments are grandfathered - if you own a negatively geared home now, you will continue to enjoy negative gearing, and continue to enjoy the current Capital Gains Tax discount when you sell. But our policy says that from 1 July 2017, negative gearers will need to purchase a new home to enjoy the current arrangements. That is because we want people who are negatively gearing from 1 July 2017 to be adding to the total housing stock. We do the same thing with foreign investors, we ask them to buy new homes. We do the same thing with first homeowner grants, which Liberal and Labor state and territory governments across Australia have changed in recent years so that they either only exist for people who buy new homes or are more generous for people who buy new homes.
By getting the tax settings right, we can ensure that more Australians have that experience of having a home that they can call their own. Today I asked people in the forum to put up their hands if they owned a home and remembered the first day on which they walked into that house. As best as I could tell, everyone who owned a home could remember day one, that experience of buying their own home. We can’t deny young Australians that, but the current policy settings do just this. That’s why people like Malcolm Turnbull in 2005 and Joe Hockey in his farewell speech have criticised the current negative gearing arrangements. It is why Jeff Kennett has commended Labor’s policy and independent experts such as Chris Richardson, Saul Eslake, Jillian Broadbent and Warwick McKibbin have all called for reform.
ABC CENTRAL VICTORIA
THURSDAY, 19 MAY 2016
SUBJECT/S: Negative gearing; Labor’s plans to save Medicare
FIONA PARKER, PRESENTER: As mentioned, negative gearing is a hot topic in the campaign, as well as at a forum in Bendigo today. Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh will be there and he is in our studio now. Good morning. Welcome.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning, Fiona. How are you?
PARKER: I'm well. So, Labor's policy is to limit negative gearing to new housing from the 1st of July next year, and halve the Capital Gains Tax discount for all assets purchased after that date as well. When Labor announced this policy, the Government announced it wouldn't remove or limit negative gearing at all and was quick to run with the line it would affect average mums and dads who have worked hard to invest in property and thus negatively gear. Labor was quick to call that a scare campaign. Are you winning this argument with the public, do you think?
LEIGH: Fiona, I certainly think for young Australians who've feel locked out of the housing market, Labor's policy is resonating. I was at a community forum on the Sunshine Coast on Monday night, where a man stood up - he told me he had four kids in their 20s. He was worried than none of them might ever be able to buy their own homes. He is troubled, as are many Australians, by the fact that the home ownership rate in Australia is now the lowest it’s been in 60 years. There is a small number of people who have a lot of properties, but there's many Australian families - even some with negatively geared properties - who are increasingly asking 'How do my kids break into this housing market?'.Read more
National Australia Bank executive Gavin Slater is the latest member to debunk Malcolm Turnbull's scare campaign on Labor's negative gearing reforms.
Mr Slater noted that the bank does not anticipate a material impact on its business from Labor’s important reforms to negative gearing because:
“(Australia is) going through a very low period of interest rates, from an affordability
and investor point of view in a relative sense, compared to if it is high interest rates.
It makes investor properties a little bit more affordable.”
Australian Financial Review, 18 May 2016, page 29Read more
ABC SUNSHINE COAST
TUESDAY, 17 MAY 2016
SUBJECT/S: Infrastructure in Australia and the Sunshine Coast; Education funding; Government delay on backpacker tax; Federal Budget.
ANNIE GAFFNEY, PRESENTER: I'd say this is one of the most forgotten regions in Australia.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks, Annie. Certainly not forgotten by me. My grandparents Roly and Jean Stebbins moved up here from Victoria in the 1980s, so I've been a regular visitor here until my grandfather passed away a couple of years ago.
GAFFNEY: It's lovely to hear you have got such a nice family connection with the Coast. Nonetheless, our Mayor just recently spoke about the fact that all parties had ignored this area for so long and that was becoming a bit of a joke. You know, we have the fifth largest Council area in Australia. We have, you know, the second fastest growing region in South-East Queensland and the ninth largest city in Australia and yet we don’t have the funding that we need so desperately in infrastructure and public transport.
[inaudible] a safe conservative area, it's fair to say and Labor has perhaps over the years taken that for granted and said it's an area it can't chip into. In terms of Labor's promise to the people of the Sunshine Coast, what would you say that would be if you were granted Government on July 2nd, what would you commit to doing for the people of the Sunshine Coast?
LEIGH: I'd certainly agree with your Mayor that the LNP has forgotten the Sunshine Coast and have taken the people of the Sunshine Coast for granted. The great thing you get with Bill, is a candidate who is willing to fight for the Sunshine Coast and who would never take any vote for granted.
GAFFNEY: So you're talking about Bill Gissane, the Labor candidate for Fisher?
LEIGH: Bill Gissane, the Labor candidate who is sitting right next to me now. Bill is somebody who will certainly be arguing for better funding for every school on the Sunshine Coast. Labor's plan to make sure every kid - whether they are in a Government school, a Catholic school, or an independent school - has access to the needs-based funding they need in an increasingly technologically-driven economy, which is a critical building block of prosperity for the Sunshine Coast.
GAFFNEY: When the Mayor spoke recently, he listed a number of items we desperately need to continue to grow and have a satisfactory lifestyle here on the Coast for the people who live here. One of those things was the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport. So, we need about $450 million to get that happening. Is there going to be any kind of commitment - as one of our major transport corridors in and out of the Coast for global visitors and for interstate visitors alike - to that airport project?
LEIGH: I'd love to see the Sunshine Coast Airport growing. I think making the most of airports like this one is really important for Australia, because our bigger airports are increasingly becoming too congested. If we can encourage people to fly in internationally into the Sunshine Coast, then as soon as they step off the plane they will get a sense of what an extraordinary country they have come into. They won't feel as though they are just surrounded by travelers, they'll feel as though they have flown straight into paradise.Read more
TUESDAY, 17 MAY 2016
SUBJECT/S: Infrastructure in Australia and the Sunshine Coast; Liberals backtracking for multinational tax action; Labor protecting penalty rates.
BILL GISSANE, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FISHER: It's terrific to have Dr Leigh with us here today. The Mayor challenged all candidates to get senior members of the parties, the respective parties, onto the Sunshine Coast to explain exactly what our needs are. I'm pleased to say that Andrew is the first amongst many senior people from the Labor Party who are going to grace us with their presence and I’m sure he'll have plenty to tell you.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: It's great to be back on the Sunshine Coast, a place where I would frequently visit my grandparents when they lived in Caloundra. I'm here with Bill Gissane, talking about Labor's positive plan for the Sunshine Coast. Labor believes the Sunshine Coast will benefit from the strong emphasis on infrastructure which is based on the needs of Australians, not simply on pork barrelling in marginal seats. Bill Shorten has committed Labor to a “concrete bank”, to making decisions at arm’s length from party politics based on what the needs of communities are. That concrete bank will have benefits to the Sunshine Coast and right across Australia. We've had a 20 per cent fall in public infrastructure investment since the Coalition came to office and the last Budget ripped a billion dollars out of infrastructure investment. Labor believes we need to spend smart on infrastructure investment, on the Sunshine Coast and across Australia. To do that we've obviously got to have revenue and Labor is committed to making sure multinationals pay their fair share. I've been troubled in recent days to see Scott Morrison walking away from plans to tighten thin capitalisation rules. Kelly O'Dwyer walking away from a register of beneficial ownership. Josh Frydenberg standing up at industry conferences defending tax loopholes for multinationals. Only Labor will get tough on multinationals, making sure they pay their fair share so that Australians can get the schools and hospitals we deserve and the infrastructure that a growing population demands. Happy to take questions.Read more
WHOSE SIDE ARE THE LIBERALS ON: AUSTRALIAN WORKERS AND SMALL BUSINESS OR MULTINATIONALS?
Despite occasionally pretending to 'get tough' with multinationals, the Liberals have repeatedly failed to ensure multinationals pay their fair share of tax.
Scott Morrison backed away from plans to address tax avoidance by multinational companies in the Budget by reducing the so-called “safe harbour” level in thin capitalisation rules.
This back down came despite journalists being briefed on the proposal before Budget night, while tell-tale signs remained in the budget glossy documents.
In April, Kelly O’Dwyer said, “there needs to be a registry of beneficial ownership in our country” and confirmed that Australia would establish a public registry of beneficial ownership for companies.
However, at the recent international summit on the issue Australia committed only to “exploring options” for such a register.
The Liberals again sided with big business when Josh Frydenberg defended loopholes that allow multinational companies to shift profits offshore at an industry conference last Friday.Read more
MEMBER FOR MCMAHON
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
MEMBER FOR FRASER
FRIDAY, 13 MAY 2016
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s positive policy on housing affordability; real estate industry’s scare campaign; negative gearing; tax havens; Malcolm Turnbull in the panama papers; education funding dividend.
CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Thanks for coming. I'm here with the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Dr Andrew Leigh and we'll both make some opening remarks before taking your questions.
It’s Friday the 13th and Malcolm Turnbull and the real estate industry have chosen Friday the 13th to launch their not-very-scary scare campaign. Now let's be very clear. Labor takes to this election a housing affordability policy to help first-home buyers get into the housing market. Labor believes in the aspirations of young Australians to buy their first home. And we believe in not just talking about it, we believe in doing something about it, in dealing with the housing affordability crisis in Australia. And we did so knowing that vested interests would campaign and complain. And that's exactly what's happening. But we are more than happy to run this election campaign based on our positive policies to assist first-home buyers. The real estate industry makes it clear even in the article in News Ltd today. They accept they have a vested interest in keeping the current arrangements. Well, I'll tell you who doesn't have a vested interest in keeping the current arrangements – hundreds of thousands of first-home buyers who are being locked out of the market.Read more
SIX QUESTIONS FOR MALCOLM TURNBULL
Recent reports on the Panama Papers have revealed that during the mid-1990s Malcolm Turnbull was a director of Star Technology Systems Ltd, a British Virgin Islands subsidiary of the Australian-listed company Star Mining NL, administered by Mossack Fonseca.
To dispel any concerns that Australians have about this activity, Malcolm Turnbull should answer the following questions:
1. Does Mr Turnbull agree that the British Virgin Islands is a tax haven?Read more
Dr LEIGH (Fraser) (16:30): The 2016 Lunar New Year celebrations, acknowledging the Year of the Monkey, were recently hosted by the member for Berowra, the Father of the House, and me here in one of our courtyards. Members and senators were joined by community representatives including Sam Wong AM; Donni and Samuel Pho, from the Australian Salvation Army; Mrs Chin Wong; and Gary Lee, the 2016 New Australian of the Year. The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, also spoke at the celebrations and welcomed the inauguration of what will hopefully be an annual fixture on the parliamentary calendar. We launched traditional floating lanterns into one of the parliamentary ponds—possibly the first time this has happened—and then moved to the public lawns on Federation Mall to enjoy the skills of David Wong's Prosperous Mountain Lion Dance group.Read more
Dr LEIGH (Fraser) (15:56): I was holding a street stall recently when a young couple came up to chat about their troubles buying a first home. She was a teacher, he was a builder, and they were thinking about having a family but they were worried that they would not be able to meet the mortgage repayments when their two incomes went down to one. Despite being in their late 20s, this couple were looking at moving back in with their in-laws. Changing nappies and juggling sleepless nights under the same roof as their in-laws was not their idea of the Australian dream. But their story is, sadly, typical.Read more