Engaged Egalitarianism: Why the Australian Recovery Must Prioritise Openness - Speech, Melbourne

ENGAGED EGALITARIANISM: WHY THE AUSTRALIAN RECOVERY MUST PRIORITISE OPENNESS

Stan Kelly Lecture
Economic Society of Victoria, Melbourne

Whenever I take one of my sons to an outdoors shop, I like to point out the Clif Bars. ‘Do you remember how they got their name?’, I’ll ask them. Wearily – because we’ve done this routine a dozen times – they’ll roll their eyes. ‘Yes, dad’, he’ll reply. ‘Gary Erickson had the idea for a great product and named it after his dad’. ‘That’s right, son!’, I’ll reply. ‘And don’t you think there’s a lesson for all of us in that?’.

Like Gary Erickson, Bert Kelly honoured his father in creating today’s talk – truly the act of a ‘modest member’. Stan Kelly was a campaigner for free trade in an era when it was deeply unpopular. When Australian industry was settling down for a long snooze behind high tariff walls, he was arguing for the benefits of trade liberalisation. In 1929, Stan Kelly joined the Tariff Board. The next year, President Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Act into law, raising tariffs on over 20,000 goods. This was not a propitious time to be a free trader.

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Honey, I shrank the groceries - Op Ed, The New Daily

HONEY, I SHRANK THE GROCERIES

The New Daily, 2 April 2022

Freddo Frogs were reduced from 15g to 12g – but the price stayed the same. New varieties of Tim Tams mostly have nine biscuits in a pack, not the 11 biscuits you’ll find in the original pack. Many brewers have shrunk the size of their beers down from 375ml to 330ml, while some winemakers are selling 700ml bottles rather than the usual 750ml.

Dubbed ‘shrinkflation’ by US economist Pippa Malmgren, the term refers to a cunning trick that manufacturers like to pull: Selling us less product for the same price. In recent times, Maltesers fun-size bags have dropped in weight from 144g to 132g. Smiths chips have shrunk from 200g to 170g. A tube of Pringles has downsized from 165g to 134g.

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Bob Hawke: Demons and Destiny - Book Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Bob Hawke: Demons and Destiny

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, 29 March 2022

The first time I met Bob Hawke in person, he shook my hand and looked directly into my eyes. It felt like the two of us were in a bubble, cordoned off from the rest of the world. Hawke was 70 years old, and eight years out of the prime ministership, but he still had his famous animal magnetism. The only other time I’ve experienced this magic trick was when I shook hands with Bill Clinton.

Troy Bramston’s new biography of Bob Hawke captures the energy and achievements of Australia’s longest-serving Labor prime minister. Raised by parents who often told friends that their son would be prime minister, Hawke made his reputation by winning substantial wage rises for workers. It earned him the admiration of the union movement and the epithet “Mr Inflation” from the conservatives.

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Pro-growth and business - Op Ed, The Australian

PRO-GROWTH AND BUSINESS

The Australian, 1 April 2022

Labor’s credentials on social justice are well known. Ours is, after all, the party that was founded by workers in 1891, and whose achievements include the pension, Medicare and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

But Labor’s economic credentials are also an important part of our story. Trade liberalisation, floating the dollar, and competition reform are enduring achievements of my side of politics. We know that you can’t have a strong labour market without strong companies. Unlike left-wing extremists who criticise economic growth, we’re passionate pro-growth progressives.

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Vale Moss Cass - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 30 MARCH 2022

The Whitlam government changed Australia and it encapsulated the spirit of the 1960s. And no-one did that better than Moss Cass. Long haired, bearded and described by the Sydney Jewish News as 'with it', he was happy to invite colleagues to smoke pot in his office when they critiqued Australia's drug policy. He was somebody who didn't always get on with the Prime Minister. He carried with him the same drive and passion as his parents, who'd fled the anti-Jewish pogroms in tsarist Russia.

He was a trailblazer in the area of the environment. He was frustrated at the timidity of the Australian Conservation Foundation, which was then chaired by Sir Garfield Barwick and whose patron was Prince Philip. He was an activist in the environmental area, effectively managing to stop sand mining on Fraser Island—an outrage that, when you go to Fraser Island today, you cannot believe ever occurred—and curtailing the Ranger Uranium Mine in Kakadu. He began that process of turning the Labor Party into Australia's leading environmental party, which it remains today.

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Great potential in careful use of big data - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 30 MARCH 2022

Fifty-five years ago, in 1967, Edward Gough Whitlam gave the budget reply speech. In that speech he said, 'One of the problems in discussing health policy in Australia is the lack of reliable official information.' Fifty-five years on, not as much has changed as we might have liked. As my co-author Philip Clarke, the director of the Health Economics Research Centre at Nuffield's Department of Population Health at Oxford University, notes, 'There is still great potential to learn more from using administrative data on improving health efficiency.' In Philip's paper—co-authored with Xinyang Hua, Guido Erreygers, John Chalmers and Tracey-Lea Laba, in Health Policy—when they used linked Medicare data, in the first year of life Medicare spending was actually regressive. Their paper notes that analysis of out-of-pocket expenditure could be much more detailed if there was better access to linked administrative data and suggests a number of important ways forward.

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Australia needs real plan, not political ploys - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 30 MARCH 2022

Last Friday I did a street stall at the Charnwood shops, and a bloke came up to me to tell me his story. He's a bricklayer, a single dad with two kids. He said it doesn't matter how much overtime he does, he still finds himself struggling to make ends meet at the end of the week.

Then I turned around and spoke immediately to a single mum whose kids have left home and who is a public servant working from one short-term contract to the next. She told me that that very day she'd finished one short-term contract, and on Monday morning she'd be turning up to the Centrelink office to sign up. She hoped she'd be able to get another short-term contract, because if she didn't she didn’t know how she'd be able to continue to pay her mortgage.

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A Budget That's Past Its Use-by Date - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 30 MARCH 2022

A muesli bar, a can of chicken, a jar of Vegemite: what do they have in common? All of these products have longer use-by dates than the promises of last night's budget, which had a one-off cash handout in April, a one-off tax payment in July and petrol price relief that ends in September.

The cost-of-living problem might be new to this government, but it's not new to the Australian people.

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Vale Kimberley Kitching - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 30 MARCH 2022

In her first speech to parliament, on 9 November 2016, Kimberley Kitching described herself as a swimmer thrown in the deep end. She was somebody who brought a powerful voice to the Labor caucus. It has to be said that she was from quite a different part of the Labor Party than me. She came from the crucible of Victorian factional politics; I'm an independent from the ACT. She named her dogs after Ronald Reagan and his wife, she was a member of the Wolverines, and she was an unabashed defender of Israel. Yet I greatly admired her and enjoyed her company.

I shared her passion for the Labor Party, for workers' rights, and for ridding the world of prejudice. I loved the way she expressed what it is to be a trade union leader in her very first speech.

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Budget weighed down by rorts, waste and mismanagement - Transcript, 6PR Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
6PR MORNINGS
WEDNESDAY, 30 MARCH 2022

SUBJECT: Federal Budget.

LIAM BARTLETT, HOST: To discuss the federal budget today, the ramifications and the fallout from the government and the opposition, we welcome the federal Liberal Senator for WA and Attorney-General Michaelia Cash. Michaelia, good morning. How are you?

MICHAELIA CASH, ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Good morning, Liam. I think more appropriately, I hope you're doing all right.

BARTLETT: I'm in splendid isolation. I can't complain.

CASH: I do apologise. You can actually hear the bells in the background. So I'm calling in from Canberra where the Senate is sitting.

BARTLETT: Absolutely. We understand that. We appreciate your time this morning, Minister. And from the opposition in our Canberra studio, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, good morning to you.

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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.