5AA MORNINGS WITH LEON BYNER
WEDNESDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2021
LEON BYNER, HOST: Our next guest is one of the finest economic minds in the Australian Parliament. He’s an author, a lawyer, former professor of economics at the ANU, and his opinion on these matters is always very well researched and very easy to understand. He makes the point that publicly listed companies, SA companies received almost - listen to this - $55 million in JobKeeper payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. That supported something like 2500 jobs, but only $5.2 million has been repaid. So what can be done about this? Let's talk to the federal Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew, it’s good to talk to you.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Terrific to talk to you, Leon.
BYNER: Is there nothing in legislation that can force this? Do we have to rely on goodwill?
LEIGH: No one's going to be forcing companies to pay back, Leon. But I think it is important that companies that saw their revenues rise look at their corporate social responsibility statements. So many of them have warm and fuzzy corporate social responsibility statements. They say ‘we're not just here for our shareholders, we're also out there to do good in the community’. Well, one way you can do that, if your revenues have gone up, is to voluntarily make a repayment. Some South Australian companies really needed JobKeeper. It was absolutely essential, which is why Labor called for it in the first place. But others got it despite having their revenues going up, and that wasn't why the program was designed. They might have thought they needed it at the start, but at the end of the pandemic they might now look back and think about doing the right thing by the community.Read more
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Climate change; Vaccine hesitancy; Populism; Grease: The Musical.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Every Tuesday on the program, we catch up with the federal Member for Fenner and talk a little politics. Andrew Leigh. Good morning, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. Great to be with you.
PAUL: You too. One thing - yesterday, Scott Morrison said he was the underdog. He said he's used to being the underdog, and that's how he believes he will operate leading into the next federal election probably inside the next four to five months. What say you?
LEIGH: Scott Morrison will say anything in order to spin his way out of the situation. And frankly, right now, he just wants to change the subject. He’s come out of a shocking experience in Glasgow, in which the government signed up to an agreement which said that they would improve their 2030 targets next year, and then came home to Australia and said ‘no, I’m doing anything of the sort’. Meanwhile, he's got his deputy prime minister saying that the Nationals didn't sign up to the COP26 agreement. Last time I checked the Nationals were part of the government. So this is a government in utter disarray, led by an ad man who is great with a slogan, but not much with the follow through.
PAUL: Should he be censoring Craig Kelly? He relies on Craig Kelly's vote. Craig Kelly has been down there in Melbourne, I think inciting some of the behaviour we’ve been seeing with these protests. I mean, does he need to pull Craig Kelly up finally?
LEIGH: I think it’s pretty clear that if this was Adam Bandt leading the protests, then Scott Morrison would be out there vociferously criticising him. But when it’s someone from his own camp, then he’s pretty reluctant. Craig Kelly’s only in Parliament because Scott Morrison stepped in to save his preselection at the last election. If not for that, Craig Kelly would not be a member of parliament. So he’s very much a creation of Scott Morrison’s and he continues to vote very strongly with the government.Read more
2CC CANBERRA LIVE WITH LEON DELANEY
MONDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: University cuts.
LEON DELANEY, HOST: Joining me now, the federal Member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon. Great to be with you.
DELANEY: Obviously the ANU has a terrific reputation. It's a hard-earned, hard-won reputation. But why is that at risk now, do you think?
LEIGH: Leon, ANU departments take decades to build up, but they can be lost in just a matter of years if funding is cut and they're forced to close. What we've seen with ANU is the government take away support, cut funding to universities at the very time of which they're losing their international student body. And so that's really thrown a whole lot of jobs out the door. We've seen the ANU literally decimated - lose one in 10 of its staff - but also real threats to the research capability of the university. We turned to universities to come up with solutions to COVID, and yet at the very same time we’re taking resources away from them.
DELANEY: I am very impressed by the fact that you actually know the literal meaning of decimated.
THURSDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2021
SUBJECT: The Morrison Government’s mismanagement of JobKeeper.
LIAM BARTLETT, HOST: But this morning, I can give you more publicly available information about JobKeeper today. We promised our listeners we would stay across this, try to monitor any news that we can to follow the dribble of extraordinary public money, taxpayers money that went to companies that really did not need it. Now first, the good news this morning. Maggie Beer Holdings has announced it has repaid every single cent it received, some $820,500 in total, all of it going back to the Treasury. And just another reason I reckon to scoff a tub of Maggie Beer burnt fig ice-cream this morning. So more power to them and a great result there. On a negative note today we've learned that the plus size fashion retailer City Chic has so far held onto every cent of the $7.2 million it was paid over the 2020-2021 financial years, despite booking 135 per cent increase in net profits. Just think about that for a moment. City Chic got 7.2 million in taxpayer assistance - that's welfare - while it expanded into Europe, acquired the German based retailer Navabi back in July and expanded into the UK in December with the purchase of the Evans brand. City Chic has declined to comment. What a surprise. The other news today is that one of the country's biggest pathology companies has pocketed more than $12 million in JobKeeper payments from you, the taxpayer, even though its profits have topped $100 million since the pandemic started. Australian Clinical Labs is the company. Over the past two financial years they've had after tax profits of $11.7 million and $88.7 million respectively. Over that time JobKeeper payments accounted for after tax profits of $12.5 million. The opposition politician who refuses to give up on this is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. Andrew, good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Morning, Liam. Great to be chatting with you.
BARTLETT: This would be comical, if it was not such a disgraceful waste of public money. So here's a pathology company involved in COVID testing during a pandemic, copping all this money. It is truly ridiculous, Andrew.Read more
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Scott Morrison’s failure to act on climate change; Labor’s plans to address climate change and create jobs; the need for a strong federal corruption watchdog; allegations against Michael Sukkar.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Good morning, Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Morning, Marcus. How are you?
PAUL: Not bad. Soon. [laughs] Dear oh deary me. It was a straightforward question. Back on October 27, the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison said he would release, you know, some detail into net zero and the policy, how we get there, what the modelling was, the costs were. But when asked yesterday, again quite arrogantly, he said ‘soon’.
LEIGH: And this is modelling, Marcus, which other countries released years ago when they set about putting in place targets for their 2030 emissions reduction. Britain's just announced they're going to have a 50 per cent emissions reduction by 2030. Australia's still got Tony Abbott’s old 26 per cent reduction targets - the same carbon targets set by the bloke who called climate change ‘absolute crap’. And if climate change continues unchecked, it’s Australia that will cop the effect of it much worse than Britain. We're going to lose the Great Barrier Reef and the wonderful tourist destination that it is. The extreme weather events will be much more severe for Australia than for many other advanced countries. So we ought to be out there leading. We should be proud of releasing modelling, not kind of hiding it like some guilty kid trying to come up with an excuse for not having done their homework.Read more
THURSDAY, 4 NOVEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: The Morrison Government’s mismanagement of JobKeeper; Scott Morrison’s double standards in chasing down debts from social security recipients; the cashless debit card; the Morrison Government’s failure to provide transparency over JobKeeper spending.
LIAM BARTLETT, HOST: A lot of these revelations, the new revelations in the past month or so that we've spoken about on the program, I've got to say have only come about because of fresh analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office, PBO. and that's been carried out on the back of constant questioning from federal Labor MP Andrew Leigh, who's also the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. He joins us again. Andrew, good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G'day Liam, great to be with you and your listeners.
BARTLETT: Andrew, I'm not giving you that sort of leg up for any other reason - and you could be, you know, a member for the Green Vegetarian Society for all I care - but it's only been that constant haranguing that has got these figures out. They are startling, aren't they, still?
LEIGH: It's a stonking amount of money, Liam. Look at the amount that was given to firms with rising revenue - we now know that to be $20 billion over the course of a year-long scheme. For every Australian household, that's $2,000. Imagine your typical Aussie household sitting down tonight, they say 'we've got a spare $2,000, what do we spend it on?' Maybe it's going to be fixing the roof. Maybe it's going to be buying the kids some new school shoes. Maybe it'll be a holiday or a donation to charity. I don't think many Australian households would say 'let's take that $2,000, go and find a big firm whose revenues are rising, and plonk it down and give it to them.' That's effectively what Josh Frydenberg and Scott Morrison did on our behalf.Read more
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 2 NOVEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: COP26 and climate change; Scott Morrison accused of lying to the French President; Scott Morrison’s proposed voter suppression laws.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Scott Morrison, our Prime Minister, has addressed the COP26 summit in Scotland. He says Australia is on track to reach net zero emissions by 2050. He says science and technology will help us reach the target.
SCOTT MORRISON: Driving down the cost of technology and enabling it to be adopted at scale is at the core of the Australian way to reach our target of net zero emissions by 2050, that we are committing to at this COP26.
PAUL: 'It's the Australian way' - wrapping himself, of course, in the Australian flag, being all patriotic. Do you buy it? Andrew Leigh, good morning.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. How are you?
PAUL: Yeah, good. Do you buy it?
LEIGH: No, not in the least. This government is a government that has been fearmongering on climate change for the last eight years; which came to office on a pledge to undo action on climate change; which has said that electric vehicles will end the weekend and that a big battery is as useful as a big banana; and brandished lumps of coal in parliament. Now, forced to front up in front of world leaders, Scott Morrison has put together a brochure which is basically a combination of Labor commitments and hopes that new technologies that don't currently exist will get us there. It's a wing and a prayer, not a plan. He doesn't have any serious commitment to tackling climate change, as demonstrated by the fact that Barnaby Joyce - the man currently Acting Prime Minister in Australia - doesn't even support net zero by 2050. This is the Joyce-Morrison Government when it comes to climate change.Read more
Government can't stuff ballot boxes, so they're telling voters to stuff off - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 27 OCTOBER 2021
Just months away from the federal election, the Liberals have decided they want to change the rules to make it harder to vote. By requiring that voters present identification at the ballot box, the government would disenfranchise thousands of Australians.
Who will their bill hit? The poor, the homeless, Indigenous people, older people who've given up their driving licences, people who can't wait in the long lines that will result. They don't like what people have to say, so they're making it harder for them to say it. If you can't stuff the ballot box, tell disadvantaged voters to stuff off.Read more
Sensible Conservatives acting on climate change, Scott Morrison isn’t - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 27 OCTOBER 2021
On New Year's Day 2020, this city, my beloved home city of Canberra, had the worst air quality in the world. Bushfire smoke had blanketed the city, and what being outdoors did for your lungs was the same as what smoking a pack of cigarettes a day would do. Increased severe weather events had been warned about since Ross Garnaut's work commissioned by the Rudd and Gillard governments. Yet Prime Minister Morrison denied that there was any link between bushfires and climate change. It led to countries around the world shaking their heads at the inaction from the Morrison government on climate change. In 2020, the Climate Change Performance Index put Australia dead last for our climate policies.Read more
PM has given Australia net zero modelling, net zero legislation and net zero unity - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 27 OCTOBER 2021
No advanced country is more affected by dangerous climate change than Australia. Extreme weather events, including floods and bushfires, have afflicted Australian agriculture and households. Australia has the highest emissions per person in the advanced world, yet we're doing the least to combat climate change. According to this year's Sustainable Development Report, Australia ranked last of 193 countries for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What little reduction there has been under the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments has occurred despite them, not because of them. Labor's renewable energy target and state government land-clearing policies have accounted for the lion's share of the emissions reductions, which nonetheless are significantly smaller than we saw under the six years of the Rudd and Gillard governments.Read more