Evaluating Policy Impact: Working Out What Works - Speech

EVALUATING POLICY IMPACT: WORKING OUT WHAT WORKS*

National Press Club, Canberra
Tuesday, 29 August 2023

Introduction

Social workers in schools always boost student outcomes. Drug offenders shouldn’t be treated differently. Malaria bed nets are more likely to be used if people pay for them. Seeing inside a jail will deter juvenile delinquents from becoming criminals.

All four statements sound perfectly sensible, don’t they? Unfortunately, randomised trials suggest that all four are perfectly wrong. Let me explain.

In Britain, pilots of social workers in schools showed that everyone liked the idea. Teachers, social workers and students all liked it. Then researchers at Cardiff and Oxford Universities ran a two-year randomised trial across 300 schools to test the impact. The results, reported this year, showed no significant positive impact (Westlake et al 2023). As a result, the planned national rollout has now been scrapped (Molloy 2023).

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Pat Farmer Run for the Voice - Press Conference

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
CANBERRA
MONDAY, 28 AUGUST 2023

SUBJECTS: Pat Farmer's Run for the Voice; Indigenous Voice to Parliament. 

*Acknowledgements omitted*

ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, CHARITIES, COMPETITION AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: Welcome, everyone. Thank you so much for being here at the aptly named reconciliation place. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Federal Member for Fenner and it's a real privilege to be here this morning.

We've got the remarkable Rob de Castella former World Marathon record holder and founder of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation.

ROB DE CASTELLA AO: Good morning everyone and thanks Andrew. Pat, you are amazing. Isn’t this man amazing? (Applause) You’re two thirds of the way through the journey. The conviction and the drive and the effort to highlight the significance of this referendum that acknowledges First Nations people and gives them a seat at the table is absolutely amazing.

 

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No child's future should be pre-determined from their birth - Opinion Piece

Opinion Piece - Canberra Times 25 August 2023

A century ago, Banjo Paterson wrote in his poem ‘Boots’:

They called us ‘mad Australians’;
they couldn’t understand
How officers and men could fraternise

Paterson’s poem captures Australia’s fundamentally egalitarian ideals. We prefer the word ‘mate’ to the word ‘sir’. We’re likely to think of ourselves as more country pub than country club.

It doesn’t matter who you talk to across the political spectrum; almost everyone believes in a society where a child’s outcomes aren’t predestined from birth.

How well does Australia live up to that ideal? One way of answering that question is to look at how much parents’ incomes affects the incomes of their children, a measure known as the intergenerational elasticity.

On this metric, Australia is more socially mobile than the United States, but less mobile than Scandinavian countries. We do ok, but we could do better.

One of the ways Australia can improve social mobility is by understanding the drivers of disadvantage, and the pathways out of poverty.

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ABC Melbourne with Rafael Epstein - 23 August 2023

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC MELBOURNE WITH RAFAEL EPSTEIN

WEDNESDAY, 23 AUGUST 2023

TOPICS DISCUSSED: Competition review, Noncompete agreements, Productivity growth.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN (HOST): 22 minutes after 4 o'clock on ABC Radio Melbourne. Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition, also Charities and Treasury. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH: Good afternoon, Raf, great to be with you.

EPSTEIN:  Should I fear this competition review will lead to something as significant as the sale of the Commonwealth Bank and Qantas?

LEIGH: We’re not aiming to break up firms or divest them, Raf. We’re just aiming to get more competition into the market, to make sure that new entrants are coming in not just for the ambition of being bought by the monopolists, but by the ambition of actually taking them on. Whether it's banking or baby food or beer, the Australian economy is a pretty concentrated one and it's become more concentrated over recent decades.

What the review about is in the short‑term, making sure we've got competition that puts downward pressure on prices and helps with the cost‑of‑living challenge, and in the long‑term making sure we have the sort of dynamic productive economy that creates well‑paying jobs and lays the foundations for productivity growth.

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NewsRadio Interview with Glen Bartholomew - Transcript

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
NEWS RADIO DRIVE WITH GLEN BARTHOLOMEW
WEDNESDAY, 23 AUGUST 2023

GLEN BARTHOLOMEW (HOST): Australia has one of the most concentrated economies in the world and a lack of competition is seeing many of us pay more for goods and services. As the cost‑of‑living continues to rise the Federal Government today moved to explore tougher laws to stop monopolies and protect consumers from big companies with too much market power. The Assistant Minister for Competition and Treasury Andrew Leigh announced the review today, alongside Treasurer Jim Chalmers, and he joins us now. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.

ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, CHARITIES, COMPETITION AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: Good afternoon, Glen, great to be with you.

BARTHOLOMEW: You've told this program in the past that you think there's just not enough competition in our economy. Is it failing consumers? Are we losing out as a result?

LEIGH: It's not just hurting consumers; it's also hurting suppliers. So you think about our farmers who are squeezed between concentrated suppliers of their fertiliser, and concentrated producers who are buying their products. You think about workers who have too few choices about where to work, particularly in regional markets, which can often mean they don't earn a fair wage. And of course to think about consumers who are hurt in areas from banking to baby food to beer, where there's often just a couple of big players. Market concentration has gotten worse over the last couple of decades. We've seen a rise in mark‑ups, we've seen a fall in the new business formation rate and in the rate of workers shifting to a better job. So all of that's the context in which we've set up this competition review aimed to take a broad approach to find practical reforms across the economy that will boost competition.

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Sky News Interview - 23 August 2023

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TV INTERVIEW
SKY NEWS AFTERNOONS WITH TOM CONNELL
WEDNESDAY, 23 AUGUST 2023

TOM CONNELL (HOST): Let’s bring in the Minister for Competition Andrew Leigh, right now, to talk more on this. So there’s an issue here with the size of some companies in some sectors. What are the sectors that you look at, you’ve experienced, that you’ve seen that you just think they have players that are simply too big, something needs to be done about them?

ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, CHARITIES, COMPETITION AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: It’s a great question, Tom. And, really, if you look right across the Australian economy from banking to baby food to beer, you see too little choice and too few competitors. Australia’s economy is often characterised by being the land of the duopoly. We need to make sure that there’s more vibrant competition. That’s important for consumers because more competition puts downward pressure on prices. But it matters too for suppliers. It matters for our farmers. It matters for workers who need choices as to where they can work if they’re going to earn a wage that reflects their productivity.

So this reform review really is looking right across the Australian economy at opportunities to put in place the sorts of competition reforms that increased living standards by $5,000 per household under the Keating-Hilmer reforms of the 1990s.

CONNELL: So when this review was being sort of scoped with what it can do, how bold can it be? Is it free to say there might need to be government-enforced demergers? And I’m thinking of those areas you mentioned – beer and banking just for a couple of them. Massive amounts of mergers have happened over the past, not so much few years, but the past couple of decades. Does the review need the power to say "We’ve got to actually split some of these companies up?"

LEIGH: No, that’s not something that’s been a priority for us, Tom, but we are looking at merger reviews, as was brought to the government by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Originally when it was headed by Rod Sims and then again by Gina Cass-Gottlieb. And the Commission has a range of recommendations which the competition taskforce will consider.

We’re also open to bright ideas, whether they’re coming from states, territories, business, from the communities sector, from academic experts. We don’t believe we’ve got a monopoly over wisdom in this reform space. This is an area where we want to see a vibrant competition of ideas as we seek to deliver reforms that will in the short term help address the cost of living crisis and in the long term lay the foundations for productivity growth and living standards growth.

CONNELL: So this review is only going to look at laws that happen in the future? It essentially won’t be free to say competition is so bad we might need demergers? It can’t go into that area? Is that what you’re saying?

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Competition Review - Press Conference

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
PRESS CONFERENCE
SYDNEY
WEDNESDAY, 23 AUGUST 2023

SUBJECTS: Intergenerational Report, superannuation, Competition Review, productivity, company profits, inflation, tax reform, Qatar Airways, referendum on the Voice, China.

JIM CHALMERS, TREASURER: I'm really pleased to be here with Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Minister in the Treasury portfolio, to make an announcement today about competition policy. But before I hand you over to Andy, I wanted to say a few things about the IGR tomorrow, and really the connection between what we're talking about today, the context of superannuation and competition policy, and what that means for the type of economy that we want to build into the future.

The Intergenerational Report will be an important opportunity for Australians to understand where the country is headed, and how we position ourselves to make our people the major beneficiaries of change, rather than victims of that change. The IGR is all about how we maximise our advantages in a world of churn and change. And one of the big advantages that we have is our superannuation system. And I think quite a stunning fact that you'll see in the Intergenerational Report is that we expect the number of people of retirement age to double, at the same time as Commonwealth spending on the pension defines as a share of GDP. A lot of countries have got ageing populations, not many have been able to provide the kinds of retirement incomes which takes such pressure off pensions. Spending on the Age Pension and Service Pension will go down from about 2.3 per cent of the economy last year, to around 2 per cent at the end of the IGR period. That's an absolutely stunning outcome when you consider the ageing of our population. So the number of people of retirement age doubling over that period, at the same time as the amount of people on the pension down by 15 percentage points and spending on the pension declining because more people have access to a dignified retirement. This is the intergenerational genius of superannuation at work - providing decent retirement incomes for people at the same time as we take the pressure off the pension. This is obviously one of the things that we can be incredibly proud of in the Intergenerational Report that I release tomorrow in Canberra at the National Press Club.

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A More Dynamic and Competitive Economy - Joint Media Release

Joint media release with
The Hon Jim Chalmers
Treasurer

A MORE DYNAMIC AND COMPETITIVE ECONOMY

The Albanese Government is undertaking a review of competition policy settings to help build a more dynamic and productive economy. 

Greater competition is critical for lifting dynamism, productivity and wages growth, putting downward pressure on prices and delivering more choice for Australians dealing with cost-of-living pressures.

Australia’s productivity growth has slowed over the past decade, and reduced competition has contributed to this – with evidence of increased market concentration, a rise in markups and a reduction in dynamism across many parts of the economy.

We need to ensure our competition policy settings are fit for purpose in the face of the big shifts underway in our economy, so we can make the most of digitalisation, the growth in services, the net zero transformation, while supporting our nation’s most vulnerable.

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Diary Manager - Office of Dr Andrew Leigh

Diary Manager - Office of Dr Andrew Leigh

I’m looking for a full-time executive assistant to join my team, working across both my Parliament House and Gungahlin electorate offices. Women and people from minority ethnic groups are traditionally underrepresented in politics, and are especially encouraged to apply.

The position will involve managing and coordinating my diary and acting as a first point of contact in my Parliamentary office. A typical day involves handling incoming invitations, organising my schedule and travel arrangements and making sure they run smoothly, and engaging with stakeholders and members of the public contacting the office.

But it’s not just logistics and people management - as a government office, we’re focused on using our time and energy in the best way possible to advance the priorities of the government and get great outcomes for our ministerial and electorate constituencies.

If you’re cheerful and resourceful and relish the challenge of juggling changing priorities in a busy environment, you’d be a good fit.

If you want to know more about our values and the activities of the office, look to the Principles of Politics at the bottom of this post, check out our social media (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter) or our website, www.andrewleigh.com.

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Building Community and Building Evidence: 15 Years of the Centre for Social Impact - Speech

Building Community and Building Evidence: 15 Years of the Centre For Social Impact
Centre for Social Impact, Sydney
Wednesday, 16 August 2023

Social Mobility

I acknowledge the Gadigal people as traditional custodians of the land, and pay my respects to their Elders past and present.

I commit myself, as a member of the Albanese Government, to the implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, including a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.

It doesn’t matter who you talk to across the political spectrum almost everyone believes in a society where a child’s outcomes aren’t predestined from birth.

As A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson wrote in his poem ‘Boots’:

They called us ‘mad Australians’;
they couldn’t understand
How officers and men could fraternise

The poem captures Australia’s fundamentally egalitarian ideals. We prefer the word ‘mate’ to the word ‘sir’. We’re likely to think of ourselves as more country pub than country club.

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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.