Josh Frydenberg gave $20 billion to firms with rising earnings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

5AA MORNINGS WITH LEON BYNER

THURSDAY, 14 OCTOBER 2021

 

SUBJECT: JobKeeper

 

LEON BYNER, HOST: I want to talk about JobKeeper. Now, nobody argues that it was a good scheme in principle, but it did spend an enormous amount of money. Now, we are told, initially, that $27 billion was what was spent and didn't need to be, when it turned out to be $40 billion.

One of the people who I think in the parliament is one of the most qualified, and frankly, he's one of the cleverest in our Parliament today: he's got a PhD in public policy at Harvard; he's a Master in public administration at Harvard; he's a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts, so he's no slouch. I'm talking about a very capable politician. His name is Andrew Leigh. He's the Member for Fenner, in the lower house, the House of Reps, and he's with me now. Good to talk to you, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Always great to talk with you, Leon. Thanks for the generous words.

BYNER: Well, they're only the truth, and the people need to know that there are good people out there well-qualified to look after their interests. So, how did we discover this disparity from $27 billion to 40 billion? How did that happen?

LEIGH: Well, these are new figures from the Parliamentary Budget Office, and there's a blizzard of numbers coming around there, Leon, but the numbers you've talked about are those firms that didn't meet the forecast downturn. Another figure, which is perhaps even more stark, is that $20 billion went to firms whose revenues increased. A scheme that was designed for firms that had falling revenue actually ended up padding the pockets of firms who were having a better year during the pandemic than they had in 2019.

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JobKeeper overpayments hit $20 billion

JOBKEEPER OVERPAYMENTS HIT $20 BILLION

MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday, 13 October 2021
 

Earlier this year, analysis by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office estimated $13 billion in JobKeeper was paid to firms with rising revenues over the first six months of the program. Now, updated analysis from the PBO finds that over the entire 12-month period of the program was an extraordinary $19.7 billion.
 
When the pandemic hit, Labor called on the Government to put a wage subsidy scheme in place. In five days, Scott Morrison flipped from calling it a ‘dangerous’ idea to announcing JobKeeper.
 
JobKeeper was a good idea that was badly implemented by the Morrison Government.
 

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The Prime Minister who brandished coal in parliament is trying a u-turn on climate

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2021

 

SUBJECTS: JobKeeper; Glasgow summit; vaccination rates

 

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Well, Treasury are reporting JobKeeper was a great success, and any clawback requiring billionaires to pay back money they didn't need would simply encourage them to damage their own business. I mean, this utterly fails to understand how corporations work. Once again, it means ordinary people face harsher consequences than mega rich businesses. Our JobKeeper warrior is Andrew Leigh. Good morning, mate.

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

PAUL: Nice to talk to you, and again, congratulations on all the hard work you've done on this. Treasury confirms it knew the Government was paying our billions in JobKeeper to firms that, quote, 'may not need support', but they paid them anyway, and there's no need to claw that money back because that simply would be, you know, the politics of envy, Andrew.

LEIGH: Marcus, as you know, Labor called for JobKeeper. We wanted it to succeed and we celebrated every single job that was saved.

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Josh Frydenberg gave $1,400 from every household to firms with rising revenue

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TELEVISION INTERVIEW

ABC NEWS BREAKFAST

TUESDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2021

 

SUBJECTS: JobKeeper; IBAC

 

MADELEINE MORRIS, FINANCE PRESENTER: Federal Treasury has released a comprehensive analysis of JobKeeper, and the big headline is that $27 billion went to companies that either didn't meet the required 30 per cent loss of turnover or actually made money in its first six months.

Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. He joins us now from Canberra. Andrew Leigh, thanks for joining us. You've been very across JobKeeper since its implementation. Now that we have these final numbers, what does it tell you about the program?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Madeleine, you never want to entirely trust someone who's marking their own homework, but even on these numbers it shows that JobKeeper - a program that Labor called for, that was designed to save jobs - ended up delivering huge dividends to firms that had rising revenues. Firms such as Louis Vuitton, which got $6 million from the Australian taxpayer, much of which ended up in the pockets of their French billionaire owner. Firms such as OPSM, that got $58 million from the Australian taxpayer, a good lick of which ended up in the pockets of their Italian billionaire owner.

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It's time for a review of the RBA

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TELEVISION INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS LIVE BUSINESS WEEKEND

SUNDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2021

 

SUBJECTS: Reserve Bank of Australia; house prices; interest rates

ROSS GREENWOOD, HOST: Andrew, thank you so much for your time. Those policy differences between Australia and New Zealand seem to justify your calls for this review into the Reserve Bank. Is that the way you see it?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: The Reserve Bank could benefit from a review. I don't think this is about beating up on the institution, but about making it better in the interest of all Australians. Inflation has been below the target band for most of the last five years, and the Reserve Bank's own forecasts have it being below that. I've been calling in the House Economics Committee for the Reserve Bank to do more to cut rates in the first instance, but now, with rates close to zero, it'd be appropriate for them to be also looking at whether they could do more in the quantitative easing space.

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JobKeeper was a good scheme, but the Treasurer wasted $13 billion

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2CC CANBERRA LIVE WITH LEON DELANEY
THURSDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2021
 
SUBJECTS: JobKeeper; pandemic support for businesses
 
LEON DELANEY, HOST: I saw that the Deputy Leader of the Federal Labor Party, Richard Marles, made a promise that businesses will not be required to pay back JobKeeper money, even if they received it unnecessarily. Now, the context of this, of course, is that for quite some time, a number of people have been calling for businesses that received the money but did not need it to give it back. Indeed, some have given it back, but not all of them. Leading that charge was our very own local Member for Fenner, Dr Andrew Leigh, who's on the phone now. Good afternoon
 
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon. Great to be with you and your listeners.
 
DELANEY: Has your party just thrown you under the bus?
 
LEIGH: Not in the least, Leon. We've always said that firms that didn't need JobKeeper should pay it back. We've never said that they must. We've always been absolutely clear that Labor wouldn't retrospectively try and unscramble this egg. 

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JobKeeper was a good idea, but the Morrison Government bungled it

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
5AA MORNINGS WITH LEON BYNER
WEDNESDAY, 6 OCTOBER 2021

 
SUBJECTS: JobKeeper
 
LEON BYNER, HOST: I want to talk about JobKeeper and multinationals, because the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, was warned that last July 1,000 JobKeeper applicants with more than $250 million in turnover had booked revenue significantly divergent from forecasts of a downturn. In other words, they were doing much better. We should be helping people that need help, not helping people to make their profits greater.
 
Let's talk with Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for coming on today.
 
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Thank you, Leon.
 
BYNER: You've talked about this for a while. We still don't seem to have changed our way we do business in this space have we?
 
LEIGH: No, the Government's way too soft on multinationals, Leon, just as they're way too hard on social security recipients. At the very same time they're allowing some of these huge multinationals to get away with receiving JobKeeper the payments they didn't need, they're going after South Australian families for childcare debt. It's the double standard you see from this Government. JobKeeper was a good idea. It was important to save jobs. But it was badly bungled by the Morrison Government, that allowed some $13 billion to go to firms whose revenues went up last year rather than down.

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Scott Morrison doesn't want a national anti-corruption commission

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 5 OCTOBER 2021
 
SUBJECTS: Political leadership; Federal anti-corruption commission; ministerial standards; Gladys Berejiklian; Glasgow summit; Pandora Papers.
 
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Good morning to you, Andrew.
 
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus.
 
PAUL: All right, well, Mick reckons Kristina Keneally might oust Albo. I can't see it happening. I can see him perhaps becoming the next prime minister, with Kristina Keneally on the front bench, perhaps.
 
LEIGH: Absolutely. Anthony Albanese is somebody of great integrity with the full support of the party. We know the next election is going to be a tight-fought one, as they always are, but I'm really confident that our positive policies are going to stand in stark contrast to the chaos, the dysfunction and the rorts that we've seen from the Morrison Government over recent years.

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Josh Frydenberg let too much taxpayer money slip through his fingers and to overseas billionaires

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
ALAN JONES - SKY NEWS LIVE
WEDNESDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2021

SUBJECTS: JobKeeper.

ALAN JONES, HOST: We're back with Andrew Leigh, who was formerly a professor of economics at ANU. He has a PhD in public policy from Harvard. He graduated from the University of Sydney with first class honours in arts and law. He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, and a past recipient of the Young Economist Award, a prize given every two years by the Economic Society of Australia to the best economist under 40. Andrew Leigh is currently 49. He's married, with three sons. He's a prolific author, and I've spoken to him before because he's a keen marathon runner and we talked about honouring Peter Norman, the great Australian athlete who won the silver medal for the 200 metres in Mexico City in 1968, but because he supported the two black Americans, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who were protesting the injustice to black Americans, Peter Norman was never selected for Australia again. Well, that's by the way, I think, of interesting background.

Andrew Leigh has applied a very clinical mind to these JobKeeper payments. You will recall they were, rightly, made to businesses who would otherwise have to lay off staff due to the economic impact of Coronavirus. The total cost, he estimates, around $90 billion - 90 thousand million dollars. To receive the payment, businesses and not-for-profit organizations had to demonstrate or forecast a particular shortfall in revenue. So if you were a business with a turnover over $1 billion, you qualified if the revenue shortfall was 50 per cent, under $1 million 30 per cent, and not-for-profits 15 per cent. That is, if there was a shortfall in revenue as a response to the government response to Coronavirus. Now, as you know, I've always described that response as disproportionate, but Andrew Leigh is now arguing that $13 billion - 13 thousand million dollars - according to an analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office went to firms which increase their revenue, firms which increased their turnover, and that the Government also gave money to profitable overseas-owned companies leading, he argues, to tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars going to offshore owners. Ludwig von Mises asks 'are we to be an agent of reform, or the chronicler of decline?'

Andrew Leigh joins me. Andrew, thank you for your time, and congratulations on an extraordinary career to date of remarkable scholarship. What reform is needed here? I mean, you're not opposed to wealthy people, but you're saying that the Government poured tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of some of Australia's wealthiest people.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: JobKeeper was a necessary scheme and it saved jobs, but the problem, Alan, as you've so articulately pointed out there, is that too much of it went to firms with rising revenues. It was a good idea but badly implemented, and that $13 billion amounts to $1,300 for every household in Australia. I expect most Australian households could think of better things to do with $1,300.

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Senate report unanimously rejects Coalition's attack on charities

SENATE REPORT UNANIMOUSLY REJECTS COALITION’S ATTACK ON CHARITIES

MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday, 30 September 2021

 

The Morrison Government’s latest attack on charities has been dealt a crippling blow by a unanimous report from the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation, which has recommended that the Senate disallow a proposed regulation that would hurt the charity sector.

The Morrison Government wants to give charity commissioner Gary Johns – a man who has attacked Beyond Blue and Recognise, and who once described Indigenous women as ‘cash cows’ – the power to deregister charities because he anticipates they will commit a summary offence. As the Senate Committee points out, this unprecedented power gives the charities commissioner too much discretion, and leaves charities no certainty about how they can operate.

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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.