Housing Affordability - Speech

Housing Affordability
Constituency Statement
House of Representatives, 10 August 2023

Here in the ACT and across the country, housing affordability has become a major challenge. Under the former government, home ownership rates in Australia fell to a 50-year low. Many Australians are struggling to pay the rent. Since coming to office, our government has focused on improving access to housing and tackling the homelessness challenge. We've invested in the Social Housing Accelerator. We're expanding build-to-rent, including right here in the ACT. Through National Cabinet, states and territories have committed to improving renters' rights. I commend the hard work of the Housing Minister Julie Collins on achieving these outcomes. We've delivered the biggest increase in the Commonwealth's rental assistance in 30 years.

But unfortunately, a no-alition of the Liberals and the Greens is blocking the Housing Australia Future Fund, a major investment in housing supply. For every day that that blockage continues, 16 more houses don't get built. So, by standing in the way of the Housing Australia Future Fund, the Greens are blocking housing supply.

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Making Multinationals Pay Their Fair Share—Integrity And Transparency Bill

Treasury Laws Amendment (Making Multinationals Pay Their Fair Share—Integrity And Transparency) Bill 2023

Second Reading, Summing up speech

Wednesday 9th August 2023


Dr Leigh (Fenner—Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Assistant Minister for Employment):

First, I want to thank those members who've contributed to this debate. The Australian government went to the 2022 election with commitments to tighten tax integrity and to play a meaningful part in driving international tax reforms. We made that commitment more than one year ago, and the timelines we set were to allow for meaningful consultation with affected stakeholders. That consultation has indeed taken place.

Through the exposure draft, Treasury has conducted 10 meetings with interested stakeholders, ranging from peak groups to individual firms. Since the bill was introduced, Treasury has carried out seven more consultation meetings, again, with a range of peak groups and investors. The exposure draft received 54 written submissions, and those submissions that asked to be made public have been published on the Treasury website.

More than a year on from the election, I stand here to speak in favour of a government that seeks to implement its election commitment. The measures we brought to parliament have benefited from the guidance and input of industry and civil society, but we bring these amendments to the parliament with a clear eye to the main game. For too long, multinational profit shifting has left a hole in our corporate tax revenue. For too long, artificial debt deduction mechanisms have been used and misused to allow revenue to drain away to low- or no-tax jurisdictions. When that happens, households and businesses pay more, and that's why this bill the government brings to the House is a pro-business measure.

As the member for Chisholm so articulately put it, this is about creating a level playing field across all Australian businesses. If you are a local small business just trying to make payroll, you're not thinking about how you're going to restructure your arrangements to set up a high-interest loan coming out of the Caymans so you can reduce your tax bill. If you're a regular mum-and-dad business just trying to get by, what you ask is to be placed on a level playing field with other firms. Multinational tax is complicated, but the very principles at stake in this bill are simple: do we want multinationals to pay their fair share, or do we want to allow the status quo to continue?

We have given industry over a year to prepare for these changes. The consultations have helped ensure our integrity measures are properly targeted to tighten loopholes that can be used to allow the strategic erosion of our tax base. We don't want to affect legitimate commercial arrangements. Our commitment is to shift the norms, not maintain the status quo, and that reflects the consensus embodied in the OECD/G20 process. That inclusive framework on base erosion and profit shifting has seen over 140 countries and jurisdictions collaborate on the implementation of measures to tackle tax avoidance to improve the coherence of international tax rules and to ensure a more transparent tax environment. It brings an end to the notion that we should just allow a race to the bottom in corporate taxation, with a global 15 per cent minimum floor on corporate taxation.


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Launch of the State of the Nation Report: Social Connection in Australia 2023 - Speech

Launch of the State of the Nation Report: Social Connection in Australia 2023
Parliamentary Friends of Ending Loneliness, Canberra
Monday, 7 August 2023

Like Aunty Violet Sheridan, I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people on whose lands we meet today, acknowledge all First Nations people present, and commit myself to campaigning for a First Nations Voice to Parliament.

I'd like to thank the co-chairs, Bridget Archer and Andrew Giles, good friends both appropriately for a group called Parliamentary Friends for Ending Loneliness. I think it should just be shortened to ‘Parliamentary Enemies of Loneliness’. That would be simpler. We're not really into parliamentary enemies groups in this parliament. But really that would get to the nub of it.

I also acknowledge Emma McBride, who is doing terrific work in the health space, particularly thinking about how social prescribing can make a difference, Michelle Lim and John Pollaers from Ending Loneliness Together, and social commentator Hugh Mackay. 

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Sky News Afternoon Agenda with Tom Connell - Transcript


SUBJECTS: ANZ-Suncorp merger, Competition policy, Cost of living

TOM CONNELL (HOST): Joining me live now is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury and Employment, Andrew Leigh, thanks for your time.


CONNELL: So blocking the move, what did you make of that?

LEIGH: Well, the ACCC has its independent job to do and the government certainly won’t be commenting on the specifics of the decision today. The parties have the option to appeal to the Australian Competition Tribunal or to the Federal Court. All we would do is thank the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for their work in assessing this proposed merger.

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Supporting Australian Families - Speech

Supporting Australian Families
Matter of Public Importance
House of Representatives, Wednesday 2 August 2023

As a father of three boys, I found yesterday's television stories utterly gut-wrenching. To see these accounts of a number of allegations is just extraordinary. I'd encourage anyone who is distressed by the news to seek support. The government thanks the hardworking officers of the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation and the Queensland and New South Wales police for their dedication to the case. They didn't give up until they identified all of the alleged victims.

It's important to remember that the matter is currently before the courts. We in this parliament have the liberty to speak about any matters we wish, but it has not been unknown for past court cases to be derailed, so I'd urge all those speaking on this matter of public importance debate to be careful. The Leader of the Opposition, as a former police officer, knows better than anyone to be careful in all of our words in what we say to ensure we do not jeopardise the work of the police.

The Albanese government has been working with all Australian jurisdictions on the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse, underpinned by an initial investment of some $300 million over four years. The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation received additional funding in our budget. The Minister for Education has asked the independent Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority to undertake a review of child safety arrangements, recognising these heinous events. The government will receive the authority's interim reports in October.

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Volunteer Grants 2023

Grants are open for the 2023 round of Volunteer Grants. These grants will provide $1,000 to $5,000 to eligible volunteer-led community groups to help with the cost of supporting volunteers and the vital work they do in our community.

To apply, please complete an Expression of Interest to us via this form, you can find a full breakdown of which groups and what activities are eligible for this program in this document 

If you’re eligible and have a project that could use this funding, please email my office  before 5pm on the 30th of August 2023.

Please call the office on (02) 6247 4396 with any questions.

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More than one billion reasons to vote Yes for a Voice - Opinion Piece

More than one billion reasons to vote Yes for a Voice

The Daily Telegraph, 31 July 2023

Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome are pretty old civilisations, but they don’t have a patch on Australia’s First Peoples. By the time those civilisations were getting started, Indigenous people had been on this continent for tens of thousands of years.

Indigenous people refer to “everywhen” to describe the connections between past, present and future. And indeed, it’s hard to get your head around the concept of a people who have been here for more than 60 millennia.

What does 60,000 years mean? If every generation lasts 30 years, this means that two thousand generations of Indigenous people have dwelt on this continent.

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Charities Commission Advisory Board Appointed - Media Release


The Government is pleased to announce eight appointments to the Australian Charities and Not‑for‑profits (ACNC) Advisory Board.

The ACNC Advisory Board supports and advises the ACNC Commissioner.

Late last year, the Government sought applications from members of the charity sector to join the ACNC Advisory Board.

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Boosting Transparency and Accountability in the Charity Sector - Speech

Boosting Transparency and Accountability in the Charity Sector
Annual Conference of the Charity Law Association of Australia, Melbourne
Thursday, 27 July 2023

[Acknowledgements omitted]

In the 2023-24 Budget, we announced funding to enable increased disclosure of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission’s regulatory activities to enhance transparency and accountability in the charity sector.

Today I will speak about the motivations behind this measure and look to provide additional details on the underlying reforms.

The ACNC takes potential misconduct in the charity sector very seriously, and investigates where necessary. In 2021–22 the ACNC finalised 96 investigations, which resulted in a range of outcomes, including the revocation of 15 charities’ registration for serious and ongoing non-compliance.

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Sky News Afternoon Agenda with Tom Connell - Transcript


SUBJECTS: Inflation figures, Energy bill relief, Transition to renewables, Increasing housing supply.

TOM CONNELL (HOST): Joining me now for more on this is Andrew Leigh, Assistant Minister for the Treasury. Thank you very much for your time here in the studio, of course.


CONNELL: Inflation, 0.8 per cent for the quarter is a big figure here, it's barely above the target band, if it's annualised. Is the case for another rate hike greatly diminished after that figure?

LEIGH: Well, that'll be entirely up to the Reserve Bank and its board, Tom, but it’s certainly welcome news for households. Remember the peak of inflation was in the Coalition's last quarter in office. We had that quarterly figure of 2.1 per cent inflation. This figure of 0.8 per cent is less than half of that figure. So, warmly welcomed. Still annualised over the year, we're at 6 per cent, a little down from the 7.8 per cent we were at, but yet to come within the target band. As a government, we're focused on what we can do. Cheaper energy, cheaper childcare, ensuring we're providing that rental relief to households and cheaper medicines. Not only the reforms from January but also the reforms that will come into effect in September that will allow people to get two months supply in one go.

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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.