ABC CANBERRA BREAKFAST WITH ADAM SHIRLEY
WEDNESDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2023
SUBJECTS: Effect of smartphones on mental health; Impact of latest interest rate rises; Measures to curb inflation; Mortgage switch fees; Superannuation increase.
ADAM SHIRLEY (HOST): And on phones and having a smartphone, ubiquitous, in your pocket right now, no doubt. Andrew Leigh, Member for Fenner and Federal Assistant Minister for Treasury, stated this at the start of the month: “Our family rule is no smartphone until you turn 15, which means our boys will basically be the last in their social groups to get one. We hope they’ll thank us in a decade or two.”
Dr Andrew Leigh, Member for Fenner, good morning to you.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES, COMPETITION AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: Good morning, Adam. I am acutely aware of the irony of talking about the value of not getting kids a smartphone on a day when so many Australians want to get access via their smartphones. But there you have it.Read more
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST WITH MICHAEL ROWLAND
WEDNESDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2023
SUBJECTS: Optus network; Interest rates; Cost of living measures; Stage 3 tax cuts.
MICHAEL ROWLAND (HOST): Okay, we're going to turn to our next story now. The impact of latest interest rate rise, the 13th since the rate hike cycle began last year. And bring in the Assistant Minister for Treasury, Andrew Leigh. Minister, thank you so much for joining us.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES, COMPETITION AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: Pleasure.
ROWLAND: We’ll on to rate rises in a moment. But what, if anything, does the government know about what's going on with Optus this morning?
LEIGH: Nothing at this stage that I've heard, Michael. Certainly it's up to Optus to quickly rectify this with its customers. It's clearly causing chaos across not only Melbourne's train network, but also for many people who rely on their mobile phones, it's just a reminder of how reliant we are on this instant connectivity. And like so many other Australians, I'm hoping the systems are back up quickly.Read more
‘Salvation Army: 140 Years of Social Mission in Australia’
Grand Hyatt, Melbourne
8 November 2023
The Origin of the Salvos in Australia
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and recognise all First Nations people present today.
The Salvation Army has been marching alongside Australians for over 140 years.
The Salvos have been with us through some of our toughest times and greatest milestones.
You were among the first to reach Darwin on Boxing Day 1974 after Cyclone Tracy hit. In 1977 you were supporting people affected by the Granville train disaster. In 2019 and 2020, the Salvos were dispersing funds and supporting thousands affected by the Black Summer bushfires.Read more
Appointment – Independent Reviewer, Food And Grocery Code
The Albanese Government has reappointed Mr Christopher (Chris) Leptos AO as the part-time Independent Reviewer of the Food and Grocery Code (the Code) for a three-year period.
The Code was introduced in 2015 to lift the standard of commercial conduct between the major supermarkets, wholesalers, and their suppliers. On 3 October 2020, further amendments were introduced to improve the operation of the Code, which included enhancing dispute resolution processes available to suppliers by requiring signatories to appoint Code Arbiters with the authority to resolve supplier complaints and issue binding compensation orders of up to $5 million. Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, and Metcash are signatories to the Code and are bound by it.
A government appointed Independent Reviewer role was also established to review complaints to ensure that suppliers are afforded due process throughout the dispute resolution process.
Ten Lessons for Economic Policymakers
Economic Society of Australia Annual Dinner 2023
Commonwealth Club, Canberra
Wednesday, 1 November 2023
Introduction: The Power of Ideas
John Maynard Keynes once wrote ‘The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else.’
In academia and parliament, I've certainly found that to be true. Economics is surprisingly powerful as a tool for public policy. Those of you who are established in your careers will know well the power that economics has had in terms of shaping Australia's trajectory.
Last month, we lost Max Corden, one of Australia's great economists, and somebody who, after fleeing the Nazis in 1939, became one of the great Australian pioneers of openness. Max's work on tariff reform was used by the Tariff Board, the predecessor to what is now the Productivity Commission, to make the case for Gough Whitlam’s 1973 tariff cut, in which all tariffs were cut overnight by 25%.
Max's story was one of coming to Australia, being welcomed here and becoming a great advocate for openness. He knew my grandfather, Keith Leigh, who died two years before I was born, and would tell me about how the two of them spoke of world events at Melbourne University in the 1950s and 1960s. That intellectual curiosity and global outlook reflects the very best of Australian academia and the economics profession.
You may have heard Thomas Carlyle’s put-down of economists as being ‘the dismal science’. Perhaps you know that the reason that Carlyle described our discipline as the dismal science was that we had what was in his mind the ‘dismal’ view that all human beings – whatever their skin colour – should be regarded as equal.
In that light, I proudly wear the badge of the ‘dismal science’. It is a reminder that economics has its origins in the notion of human equality; the principle that one person's wellbeing is as valuable to society as another's.
Max Corden was also a remarkably generous soul in terms of the time he spent with others. He always seemed to have time to ask junior researchers about their work. When I visited Melbourne University in 2006, I loved the chance to engage with Max, to chat with somebody who had worked on the world stage on issues of trade liberalisation.
My speech tonight proposes ten lessons for economics policymakers. When I refer to economic policymakers, I’m drawing a broad net. I'm including people who have made a contribution in consulting, those who have worked in the public service, those who are working in journalism, and those who contribute to the public debate. I'm thinking of the policy conversation writ large, not simply some narrow slice of it.Read more
RANDOM TRIALS OF POLICY ARE JUST WHAT DOCTOR ORDERED
The Daily Telegraph, 3 November 2023
One of the Australian Government's announcements this year has been the creation of the Australian Centre for Evaluation. The Centre will conduct rigorous evaluations, including randomised trials, to figure out whether policies are effective.
But why do we need randomised trials? To answer this, it helps to turn to medicine, a field that has been transformed by randomised trials.
A major reason why medicine saves more lives today than it did in the late-19th century is that theories are put to the test using trials.
SKY NEWS AFTERNOONS WITH KIERAN GILBERT
THURSDAY 2 NOVEMBER 2023
SUBJECTS: Cost of living; Bulk billing rebate; Charity town halls; Clean energy investment; Blueprint for the future of the not-for-profit sector.
KIERAN GILBERT (HOST): Joining me live in the studio is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Dr. Andrew Leigh.
Thanks for your time. The Prime Minister is saying cost of living is the number one game, we do know there are lots of other issues and those international headwinds, but that's the main issue dominating most people's time and focus right now in Australia.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES, COMPETITION, TREASURY AND EMPLOYMENT ANDREW LEIGH: Well, the world's throwing a lot of price pressures at us right now, Kieran. And through oil prices, through supply chain challenges flowing out of the war in Ukraine. We know that inflation is high and we're doing all we can to work alongside the Reserve Bank in reining it in. So, you just had inflation figures coming down that showed very clearly that if it wasn't for the government's measures, childcare costs would have gone up 13 per cent. Instead they went down 6 per cent. That energy price inflation and inflation in other areas was lower than it would have been had the government not taken those responsible cost of living measures.Read more
2CC CANBERRA BREAKFAST WITH STEPHEN CENATIEMPO
THURSDAY 2 NOVEMBER 2023
SUBJECTS: Bulk billing rebate; Charity town halls; Competition Review Taskforce.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO (HOST): Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition Charities Treasury and the Member for Fenner. Andrew, I need a bit of common sense after that, mate.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES, COMPETITION, TREASURY AND EMPLOYMENT ANDREW LEIGH: I'm sure you do, Stephen. Here I am.
CENATIEMPO: Thank you. Now, there's a couple of things I want to talk about this morning. The changes to the GP bulk billing rebates, just explain to us exactly what's happening here, because the headline is "tripling the bulk billing incentive", but it doesn't necessarily apply to everybody, does it?
LEIGH: So, this applies to patients who are bulk billed, which is about two-fifths of GP visits in Canberra, three-fifths nationally. And it means that for a GP who sees a bulk billed patient, the rebate they get from the government has gone up 34 per cent. That's the biggest increase in the bulk billing incentive since the inception of Medicare. It's a massive investment in Medicare and in sustaining bulk billing. That's critical for children, for pensioners, for people on those concession cards across Canberra and time of a cost of living crisis, it's absolutely critical that we put money back into people's pockets and sustaining bulk billing is one way we're doing that.Read more
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST WITH EMMA REBELLATO
THURSDAY 2 NOVEMBER 2023
SUBJECTS: IMF recommendations to reduce inflation; Government policies to respond to cost-of-living crisis; RBA decision on interest rates.
EMMA REBELLATO (HOST): Well, the International Monetary Fund has urged Australia's Reserve Bank to increase the official cash rate further citing the need to reduce inflation to the target rate of two to three per cent as soon as possible. Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh joins us now from Parliament House in Canberra.
Good morning to you.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES, COMPETITION, AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: Morning, Emma. Great to be with you.
REBELLATO: So, are the alarm bells ringing within the government now?
LEIGH: We've been very concerned about the global inflation crisis and the effect that it's having on Australians. In the last budget, we brought down a range of cost-of-living measures designed to work in tandem with the Reserve Bank in order to bring inflation back into the target band. So, for example, just in the last quarter, you saw the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting that if it hadn't been for our measures, then childcare costs wouldn't have gone up seven per cent. Instead they went down 13 per cent. And similarly, in the case of rents, they reported that our changes to Commonwealth Rent Assistance had put downward pressure on inflation. Likewise for energy prices with our energy bill relief package.Read more
Senator The Hon Katy Gallagher
The Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP
David Smith MP
Alicia Payne MP
Joint Media Release
MAKING MEDICARE STRONGER FOR CANBERRANS
Today, the largest investment in bulk billing in the 40-year history of Medicare takes effect thanks to the Albanese Labor Government, with the tripling of the bulk billing incentive for local GPs.
Bulk billing is the beating heart of Medicare.
After nine years of cuts and neglect by the former government, bulk billing rates have declined sharply and it’s never been harder or more expensive for Australians to see a GP.
This historic investment means in Canberra, there will be a 34% increase in the payments to a bulk billing GP.
On top of our investment in bulk billing, we are investing in an $1.5 billion indexation boost across the board to Medicare rebates, increasing the amount that doctors receive for Medicare services and reducing pressure on GPs.
The Albanese Government is committed to making it more affordable for you and your family to get the health care you need.
Quotes attributable to Senator Katy Gallagher.
“Our historic investments into bulk billing will make a big difference in Canberra.
“Doctors’ groups have called this a “game-changer” and GPs have said this will help them maintain and even shift back to bulk billing.”
Quotes attributable to the Hon Andrew Leigh MP, Member for Fenner:
"When I speak to doctors and nurses in my electorate the need for more support for Medicare to make bulk-billing sustainable is the first thing they raise.
“Labor's always backed Medicare in and these investments are very welcome after nine years of Coalition neglect."
Quotes attributable to Dave Smith MP, Member for Bean:
“Bulk billing is a significant issue in my community. It needs to be addressed.
“I welcome this initiative and look forward to seeing this make a real difference on the ground.”
Quotes attributable to Alicia Payne MP, Member for Canberra:
“Canberra has some of the lowest rates of bulk billing in the country, and Canberrans know how hard it can be to find a bulk billing doctor.”
“The Government’s historic investment in bulk billing means more children, families, pensioners and concession card holders in Canberra will have access to the universal, prompt and world class medical care they deserve.”