2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 19 JANUARY 2021
SUBJECTS: Companies using JobKeeper to pay out executive bonuses; Companies repaying JobKeeper payments after reporting profits; Deloitte Business Outlook; the risks of cutting support payments too soon; Federal election.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: It's time to catch up with Andrew Leigh MP. Good morning, Andrew. How are you, mate?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Great, Marcus, how are you?
PAUL: Okay. BonusKeeper - that's what you dubbed JobKeeper. You and I went through the detail at length on the program late last year. A number of Australian businesses that were still doing quite well were paying executive bonuses and also making quite a handy profit while receiving JobKeeper. Now we learned that there's a handful of Australian companies pledging to return some of the money.
LEIGH: It's terrific, Marcus. Toyota Australia is one of those who've given the money back. They've given $18 million in JobKeeper payments back to the taxpayer and their CEO, Matthew Callachor, said that it was ‘the right thing to do as a responsible corporate citizen’. And then yesterday, we had Super Retail Group - which owns Rebel, Supercheap Auto and BCF - saying much the same, plenty of good sales. They decided that they didn't need the taxpayer money and so they're giving $1.7 million back to the taxpayer. I really think those two firms are really going to go up in their public standing. They show that their corporate ethics are in line with most Australians. If you're doing well, you don't need taxpayer handouts.Read more
2GB MONEY NEWS
WEDNESDAY, 13 JANUARY 2020
SUBJECT: Companies using JobKeeper to pay out executive bonuses.
BROOKE CORTE, HOST: What do you reckon, should Premier return the millions received in JobKeeper payments to the taxpayer?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Absolutely, they should. Premier was perfectly within their rights to apply for the money. But given that they had a more profitable year in 2020 than in 2019, it beggars belief that they think that they can have their hand out for taxpayer cash. Now we've got a million people out of work, we've got another nearly million who would like to get more hours. People's unemployment benefits are being cut and the unemployment rate isn't expected to return to pre-pandemic levels for a number of years. So we just don't have the spare government cash to be subsidising big dividends to billionaires and bonuses to multi-million dollar CEOs.Read more
ABC CANBERRA BREAKFAST
TUESDAY, 12 JANUARY 2021
SUBJECTS: Social media platforms; Deadly Capitol riots; Free speech and the importance of calling out misinformation.
ADAM SHIRLEY, HOST: Authorities in Australia including our elected representatives have worries about how the tech giants operate and the way things are passed as above board or below it. There has been now a group formed called the Parliamentary Friends of Making Social Media Safe. Fifty MPs have joined it, including Dr Andrew Leigh, federal Member for Fenner and Canberra local. Dr Leigh, good morning to you for the first time in 2021. Thanks for being with us.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Adam. Happy New Year. As you were saying earlier, it was a gorgeous sunrise this morning. I was running up Mt Majura and it was just magnificent seeing the sun coming up.
SHIRLEY: Good time of day for it, given it was 12 degrees not 34. Later that will be a bit hot for a run, I would say. Why is it you wanted to be a part of this group, and what are the key issues around online media for you in 2021?Read more
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 12 JANUARY 2021
SUBJECTS: Deadly Capitol riots; Social media platforms; Impeachment; State border closures; Federal election.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Labor is sharpening its attacks on the federal government, and the Australian Labor Party is now ready for an election. Andrew Leigh MP would be one of those who is sharpening up the verbal attacks on his counterparts there in Canberra. He joins us for the first time in 2021. Happy New Year, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Happy New Year, Marcus. Did you get a good break?
PAUL: Wasn’t too bad actually. Sadly, I wasn't able to travel to the Gold Coast, which I wanted to do to visit family and friends and in particular my old dad. But, fingers crossed, we'll be able to do that in a couple of weekends’ time. It's very tough. But look, a lot of people were out there doing it a lot worse. I mean, the pandemic goes on. We know we've got border closures. Unfortunately, COVID is still here and probably until the vaccine’s introduced. Let's hope in the next month or so we'll be able to perhaps get some, back to some sort of normality, both socially and economically Andrew.Read more
ABC RN BREAKFAST
MONDAY, 4 JANUARY 2021
SUBJECT: Labor’s plan for a better recovery; the need to remain open to the world.
CATHY VAN EXTEL, HOST: Andrew Leigh is Labor's Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Welcome back to Breakfast.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G’day, Cathy. Great to be with you.
VAN EXTEL: Now, there’s a six week gap in the parliamentary sitting calendar during September-October This is being interpreted as a possible election window. Is that your expectation?
LEIGH: We’re ready to go to an election anytime the Prime Minister wants to call one, Cathy. I think Australians are hankering for recovery that doesn't just take us back to 2019, but does what that wartime generation did after World War II - builds back better. A recovery that creates a country which is better able to deal with climate change, which is more productive, which has more rapid wage growth, and more egalitarianism and community connectedness. I think what was at the heart of Anthony Albanese’s criticism of the prime minister was that we all want him to be as ambitious for Australia as he is for himself.Read more
Engaged Egalitarianism: Reinvigorating Globalisation in the Post-Covid Age - Op Ed, the Australian Fabians Review
ENGAGED EGALITARIANISM: REINVIGORATING GLOBALISATION IN THE POST-COVID AGE
The Australian Fabians Review, December 2020
The 1918 Spanish flu didn’t originate in Spain. It got its name because Spain was neutral during World War I, so Spanish newspapers weren’t muzzled from reporting on the new epidemic. The disease was also variously called the Bolshevik disease (by the Poles), the German flu (by the Brazilians) and the Brazilian flu (by the Senegalese). In all likelihood, the 1918 flu originated in France, China or the US.
Similar xenophobic conspiracy theories have abounded about COVID-19. That it was created by the CIA. That it was an escaped Chinese bioweapon. That it was stolen from a Canadian lab. That it was invented by Jewish conspirators seeking to short-sell amidst a global share market collapse. That the virus is spread by 5G telephone towers. That it was part of a global population control scheme, masterminded by Bill Gates.
Pandemics increase our fear of foreigners and lend power to the isolationists. In many countries, the divide between globalists and nativists is more salient than the division between left and right. COVID-19 has empowered those who believe in shutting out the world, and made life tougher for those who believe in the benefits of engaged multilateralism and diverse multiculturalism. Since the twenty-first century began, there’s never been a better year than 2020 to be a racist, xenophobe, protectionist, chauvinist, or jingoist.Read more
HOW TO MAKE SURE THINGS ADD UP
The Canberra Times, 29 December 2020
How well do you know the world around you? In recent years, pollster Ipsos MORI has been asking people questions about everything from sex to death in order to figure out how our perceptions square with reality.
On crime, the typical Australian thinks that 7 per cent of deaths are due to homicide (the true figure is 0.2 per cent), and 4 per cent to terrorism and conflict (the correct number is less than 0.1 per cent). Seventy-two per cent of Australians say that the murder rate is stable or rising; in fact, it’s dropped by one-third since the start of the century.
Australians think immigrants comprise 40 per cent of prisoners (the actual number is 19 per cent). We think that 18 per cent of teen girls give birth annually (it’s really 1 per cent). We think that 12 per cent of the population is Muslim (the correct figure is less than one-quarter of this). We think that 26 per cent of people live in rural Australia (the true share is 11 per cent).Read more
CAN WE FIND COMMON GROUND ON CHINA?
The Canberra Times, 21 December 2020
In 2000, the Reserve Bank of Australia held a conference reviewing the 1990s. The US was mentioned 93 times. China wasn’t mentioned once.
In some sense, the omission was unsurprising. In 1990, Australia’s economic output was almost as large as China’s. The country that mattered most economically was the US. Conveniently, the US was also our top security ally.
In the 21st century, economics and geopolitics diverged. Much is made of the differences—between Americophiles and Sinophiles, hawks and doves, businesspeople and national security experts. But perhaps everyone can agree on six points.Read more
CHARITIES FACING ANOTHER COSTLY YEAR UNDER COALITION
After many years of ignoring pleas for help from Australia’s charities, the Coalition has finally agreed with Labor’s call for the Commonwealth to take the lead in delivering reform.
Scott Morrison now wants the National Federation Reform Council to take charge of harmonising charitable fundraising laws, but expects the job to take another year.
The Prime Minister and Treasurer have finally woken up to their responsibilities, but this will see charities and not-for-profits facing another year of outdated fundraising laws. And another year means another $15 million hit to a sector that’s already running lean.
Our laws are broken. Right now, a charity that wants to raise money on the internet must register in seven different jurisdictions.Read more
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 15 DECEMBER 2020
SUBJECTS: JobKeeper as BonusKeeper; Cycling crash; China; Climate change.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Dr Andrew Leigh is with us now on the program. Let's talk about the potential audit of the JobKeeper scheme. Andrew has been fighting hard on this, he's asked the Auditor General to look for companies using it to pay executive bonuses. We've gone through and named and shamed a number of big business corporations. They've done okay, if you like, in the last six to 12 months - so much so they've been able to turn over a profit and they've also paid their executive bonuses and they've ensured that their CEOs are very well rewarded. But the kicker of course is that they've done it, in my opinion, with the help of, in some cases, up to $70 or $80 million worth of Australian taxpayer dollars through the JobKeeper scheme. Or as Andrew has dubbed it, BonusKeeper. Morning, mate. How are you?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. Great to be with you.
PAUL: Alright, where are you on this JobKeeper scheme? Will the Auditor-General look for companies using it to pay executive bonuses?
LEIGH: I certainly hope he will. The Auditor-General said that he was going to do a broad audit into JobKeeper. I wrote to him saying you need to look specifically at the issue of executive bonuses. Firms like Qube, the logistics company which got $14 million of JobKeeper and paid a $1.3 million bonus to its CEO - despite its earnings barely moving. So one of the other questions I've asked the Auditor-General look into is how many companies had a better 2020 than 2019, and yet received JobKeeper. There seem to be a few, like the company that owns Just Jeans and Smiggle, that have had a really strong 2020 in a profit sense but yet received taxpayer subsidies which they've used to pay out to shareholders and CEOs.Read more