Labor will always defend charities - Transcript, ABC News Radio

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC NEWS RADIO

THURSDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2021

SUBJECT: The Morrison Government continuing to attack Australia’s charities.

GLEN BARTHOLOMEW, HOST: Andrew Leigh, a Labor MP, has been very vocal in speaking out against this bill and he joins us now. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Glen. Great to be with you.

BARTHOLOMEW: To be clear, remind us why you and the Labor Party had opposed the government's original political campaigners bill and what would it mean for charities and single issue groups?

LEIGH: If Labor done nothing yesterday, then we would now have voter ID requirements at elections and the threshold for disclosing as a political campaigner would have been brought right down to $100,000-

BARTHOLOMEW: Explain to people just what this political campaigners bill involves?

LEIGH: Sure. So third party entities are required to register as political campaigners if they have electoral expenditure above a certain threshold. That's currently half a million dollars. The government wanted to bring it down to $100,000, and Labor took the view that it was better to have it brought down to $250,000 rather than just have the government’s changes go through unamended. We've been fighting strongly for charities over the last eight years, fighting against a war on charities on all fronts. We had a good win last week, defeating the government’s attempt to make it easier to deregister charities for events like simply trespassing or blocking a footpath. On this one, we would have liked to seen the government defeated with its attempt to put more paperwork burden onto charities. But when we couldn't defeat it, we took the approach of trying to at least reduce its worst aspects on charities.

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You Don't Make Elections Work by Making Voters Wait - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 1 DECEMBER 2021

Ensuring the integrity of our election systems is a bipartisan objective. We know that there have been attempts to hack into election systems. The Economist magazine discusses the way in which this particularly affects the United States, in the context in which voting machines are used. Even when those voting machines are air-gapped—that is, not connected to the internet—there is a risk of malicious actors loading malware onto them and then managing to bypass logic and accuracy tests. There is also a risk of attacks which target voter lists, attempting to change voter lists and, therefore, undermine confidence in democracy. We've seen attempts to influence elections electronically in other ways, as well. A Russian news agency with close ties to the Putin government launched a so-called ‘news’ website called USA Really, which published a stream of articles favourable to former President Trump. Those attempts worked alongside attempts to influence the last three US elections by foreign actors using social media platforms.

The bill before the House, the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Assurance of Senate Counting) Bill 2021, provides some measures that will ensure that Australia's first-rate electoral system is protected. It provides for the Electoral Commissioner to arrange for an independent body accredited by the Australian Signals Directorate to conduct a security risk assessment of the Australian Electoral Commission's computer system and provide a report to the AEC, which the AEC will then publish on its on its website. This is critical for Australia, given that our electoral system has long been regarded as best in the world.

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Australian Republic - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 1 DECEMBER 2021

This week, Barbados declared itself a republic, putting in place as president Sandra Mason. It's 55 years since Barbados became independent from Britain, and this republic is the culmination of a two-decade process. Barbados, of course, will still compete in the Commonwealth Games. It will still be a country with British traditions. But it it'll stand proudly on its own two feet as a republic, and with Rihanna as its national hero.

A bit over two decades ago, Australia also considered becoming a republic, with 45 per cent of Australians and 63 per cent of Canberrans voting yes. When that vote was defeated, Australians were assured that there would be another vote coming along sometime soon. But, in two decades, one hasn't come along, and it's likely to be a full generation between republican votes. In that time, we've seen the revelation of the palace letters, making it very clear that Buckingham Palace was consulted and forewarned about Governor-General Sir John Kerr's likely decision to dismiss the Whitlam government, provided advice about how the Governor-General's reserve powers might be exercised and that Sir John Kerr even war-gamed possible scenarios with the palace and Prince Charles in which he himself might be dismissed as Governor-General.

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Anti-Semitism - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 30 NOVEMBER 2021

This year many are celebrating Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Yet something very dark is happening in the anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown protests. Extremists are exposing vaccine-hesitant audiences to anti-Semitic propaganda on a wide scale. Jewish news outlet Plus61J reported that over 100,000 users now follow Australian anti-vaccination pages that promote anti-Semitic bigotry. In Melbourne, recent anti-vax protests were attended by several prominent neo-Nazis and addressed by a speaker who once decried the influence of Australian Jews in media and business. The organising page of the Adelaide anti-vaccination rally claimed, 'Satanic Jews run the health industry.'

The member for Hughes has reposted from a neo-Nazi page that described Hitler as a ‘hero’. The member for Dawson was advertised as a speaker at an anti-lockdown protest alongside an activist who termed Israel 'an occultist testing hub'. Yet they won't acknowledge the many anti-Semites in their midst.

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Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform (Maeve’s Law) Bill 2021 - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 29 NOVEMBER 2021

It is rare that we have an opportunity in this place to cast a conscience vote. It occurs about once every term of parliament, the most recent being the marriage equality vote. In an era in which Australians are increasingly becoming disconnected from politicians, in which the levels of trust in government are waning, I chose to use this conscience vote as an opportunity to engage in a deliberative democracy exercise in the electorate of Fenner.

I acknowledge the member for McMahon, who alerted me to the fact that this bill, the Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform (Maeve's Law) Bill 2021, was to come before the House, and, as a result of that conversation, I collaborated with the University of Canberra's Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance and the Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability at Ohio State University to put in place a series of town hall meetings, one online and one face to face, with randomly selected constituents in Fenner to flesh out the issues around mitochondrial donation and to inform my decision.

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Pork barrelling - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 29 NOVEMBER 2021

Belconnen Tennis Club was just one of hundreds of sporting clubs across Australia whose application under the sports grants program was highly rated by the department yet was not funded by the minister. Of the almost 700 programs in this hundred-million-dollar allocation, almost half, according to the Auditor-General, fell below the cut-off from the department.

Today, we've had an analysis by the Australia Institute researchers Hannah Melville-Rea, Robyn Seth-Purdie and Bill Browne of some $3.9 billion across seven grants programs. It finds that funding clearly favoured coalition seats, with marginal coalition seats receiving $184 a person while safe Labor seats received $39 a person. In terms of the national grants programs, they identified 13 seats that received zero funding, including my own electorate of Fenner. It's no surprise that a majority of those 13 seats are Labor seats.

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Stuart Macintyre - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 29 NOVEMBER 2021

The Corporations Amendment (Meetings and Documents) Bill 2021 is a bill relating to meetings and documents. I hope the House might indulge me for a moment in speaking about a great Australian historian who produced more documents than pretty much anyone else in the business. A week ago Australia lost Stuart Macintyre, someone who was one of our great national storytellers. He was a fellow of the Academy of the Humanities and of the Academy of the Social Sciences, where he served at its president. He served as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne and published a spate of deeply researched books, including The Reds, The History Wars, Winners and Losers and Australia's Boldest Experiment. As Janet McCalman noted in an article about him for the Conversation:

He was assiduous. He always answered letters and later, emails, immediately. He was a close and constructive critic of his students' work and a dedicated supervisor.

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Juvenile Arthritis - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 29 NOVEMBER 2021

In 2016 I got a call from my friends Macgregor Duncan and Tanya Dmitronow about their one-year-old son, Leo. They told me that he had been diagnosed with juvenile polyarticular arthritis. This meant that he had many severely swollen joints, including his ankles, knees and fingers. Leo was in a lot of pain, and a little boy who had been crawling had now ceased crawling after weeks of testing in hospital. My friends knew that if his arthritis went without proper treatment it would probably mean permanent disability, a life of pain and possibly even blindness.

Soon after he was diagnosed my friends returned to Australia from the United States, where they had been living, and they were struck by the lack of attention to or resources for juvenile arthritis sufferers in Australia compared to the United States. As others have mentioned, juvenile arthritis affects just as many children as does juvenile diabetes, and many times more than have cystic fibrosis, and yet across the nation there are only 22 paediatric rheumatologists, limited community awareness and support, and little research funding.

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Do nothing Government needs to be held to account - Transcript, 2SM Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 30 NOVEMBER 2021

SUBJECTS: Scott Morrison hiding from scrutiny and from doing his job; Real wages falling on Scott Morrison’s watch as petrol prices and housing skyrocket; Social media reform and Scott Morrison’s inaction on misinformation within his own party.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Every Tuesday we catch up with the Federal Member for Fenner. It is Andrew Leigh. Good morning, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus.

PAUL: Nice to chat. Now it's becoming highly likely that we will have a budget before the next election, that was always going to be the case.

LEIGH: Yes, but the parliamentary sitting schedule next year is remarkably thin, Marcus. It looks like they've got a budget scheduled at the end of March and right through the first three months of the next year, they've got just ten sitting days-

PAUL: Ten for the House of Reps and five for the Senate. Am I right?

LEIGH: It's just extraordinary. Scott Morrison is paid to be the nation's number one parliamentarian, but he doesn't seem to want to turn up to do his job. He's the top parliamentarian in the country and he's constantly trashing parliament. Constantly saying, ‘this is a Canberra bubble, no one worries about what happens here’. And frankly, if he doesn't want the job, he should hand over to somebody who is keen and capable to do it. This is the government which, you know, ought to be called the ‘gonna’ government: they're gonna do this, they're gonna do that, gonna put in place a national integrity commission, gonna do something about social media. But what actually have they done? I mean, their achievements are preciously thin. That's why they don't want to sit next year because all that happens when they’ve got Parliament sitting is you've got Liberals attacking Nationals and Nationals attacking Nationals.

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Has there ever been a worse government for young Australians? - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 29 NOVEMBER 2021

If there's ever been a worse government for young Australians, I am yet to hear of it. The fact is that the Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison governments have overseen a deterioration in the living standards of young Australians that is unprecedented in Australian history. A number of years ago Jennifer Rayner wrote Generation Less in which she catalogued the ways in which life has become harder for young Australians.

Rejecting the common view that things are always tough when you're young and young people in Australia don't know how good they have it, Jennifer Rayner instead goes through the statistics. She starts with getting into work, pointing out that underemployment rates are at record levels. It used to be very rare for young people to leave university and be unable to get a full-time job. But, increasingly now, that's a common experience. We're seeing young people graduating from university, going into part-time work, wanting more hours and being unable to get them.

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.