MONDAY, 3 APRIL 2023
SUBJECTS: MULTINATIONAL TAX AVOIDANCE; PETROLEUM RESOURCE RENT TAX; OECD TWO-PILLAR SOLUTION; PASSING OF YUNUPINGU
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: Thanks everyone for coming along today. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Minister for Competition and Charities and Treasury. I'll make a few remarks and I'll hand over to the OECDs Deputy Director of Tax David Bradbury.
I want to begin by acknowledging today the passing of Yunupingu, one of the most extraordinary Indigenous leaders in this country. As a Yolngu elder he was instrumental in crafting the Yirrkala Bark petitions and somebody whose influence has ranged across the nation. It is a reminder of the power of work that came to form the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which the government strongly hopes will translate into a successful vote at the referendum later this year for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
This morning, we've held a very successful roundtable on multinational taxation, with a range of entities representing corporate Australia, the union movement and the community sector. We've done this because we understand that multinational tax avoidance is a first order issue for many Australians.Read more
Matter of Public Importance Debate
House of Representatives, 30 March 2023
A year ago, the coalition lost nine seats in South Australia and lost government. Ten months ago, they lost 17 seats federally and lost government. Last weekend, they lost at least a dozen seats in New South Wales and lost government. The coalition now holds no mainland state or territory. The most senior Liberal governing leaders in Australia today are Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff.
You'd think that the loss of 40 seats and three elections would provoke some soul-searching, but the main lesson that the coalition seems to be taking from this is that they're too woke and they need to move to the right. The fact is that the coalition hasn't woken up. The Australian people aren't buying what you're selling. This is no better epitomised than by the shadow Treasurer, a man who brought us the current energy crisis—a man who is best known for hiding energy price increases from the Australian people, for his Cayman Islands company, for the Jam Land scandal and for making things up about Clover Moore and Naomi Wolf. As he might have put it, 'Well done, Angus.' He thinks he's the second coming of the Messiah, but most Australians think he's more like Mr Burns from The Simpsons—just with a slightly greater tendency to look straight down the barrel of the camera.Read more
SKY NEWS NEWSDAY WITH TOM CONNELL
WEDNESDAY, 29 MARCH 2023
SUBJECTS: INTEREST RATES, INFLATION, HOUSING AUSTRALIA FUTURE FUND, DGR STATUS FOR ORGANISATIONS CAMPAIGNING ON THE REFERENDUM FOR AN INDIGENOUS VOICE TO PARLIAMENT REFERENDUM
TOM CONNELL (HOST): We have had retail spending figures out this week that show Australians are spending only the same amount they were spending in September last year. In other words, spending’s been flatlining since then. So, have Australians heeded the warnings or perhaps unable to spend anymore? Is this the end of rate rises? Joining me live now, Andrew Leigh, Competition, Charity and Treasury Assistant Minister. Thanks for your time.
ANDREW LEIGH: Always a pleasure, Tom.
CONNELL: We’ll know the figures soon enough. I kind of just want to fast‑forward 12 minutes and have it, but retail spending we know; does it feel like the rates have basically done their work? Do you think Australians can look forward to no more rate rises maybe even from here on in?
LEIGH: We certainly hope that the worst of inflation is behind us, Tom. But it does speak to the independence of the Australian Bureau of Statistics that I’m their responsible Minister but I get no heads‑up on the figure.Read more
Social Enterprise Round Table
Parliament House, Canberra
Monday, 27 March 2023
Thanks Jess [Moore] and Tara [Anderson] for the introduction. It’s delightful to have so many generous altruists here in Parliament today. I acknowledge that we're meeting on the lands of the Ngunnawal people, and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging. I also acknowledge parliamentary colleagues Daniel Mulino, Andrew Giles and Helen Haines.
What you do has support from across the parliament. For those on the business side, you're celebrating businesses. And for those who got into politics to help the most disadvantaged, you're doing just that. The work of social enterprises spans the Australian economy, I only need to walk a few steps from my electorate office in Gungahlin to see Krofne Donuts, which was set up to provide employment for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities .
Here in Canberra, Alicia Payne, David Smith and I recently visited mattress recycler Soft Landing with Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, learning about the environmental work they do, but also about the work that they provide for people who are formerly jobless. You’ll hear from the extraordinary Bec Scott shortly, somebody who Nick Terrell and I wrote about in Reconnected because we were inspired not just about what she does at Streat, but how she looks to seed new social enterprises, right across the community.Read more
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION TRIBUNAL APPOINTMENTS
Today the Albanese Government is pleased to announce seven important appointments to the Australian Competition Tribunal (the Tribunal).
- Justice Michael O’Bryan has been appointed as the part-time President of the Tribunal for a five-year period;
- Justices Sarah Derrington AM, Kylie Downes, John Halley and Mark Moshinsky have been appointed as part-time Deputy Presidents of the Tribunal, each for a five-year period;
- Daniel Andrews and Ray Steinwall have been appointed as part-time members of the Tribunal, each for a five-year period.
Justice O’Bryan was appointed to the Federal Court in 2019, and then appointed as a Deputy President of the Tribunal in the same year. In 2014, Justice O’Bryan was appointed as a member of the panel that conducted Australia’s last major competition law and policy review, the Harper Review, in 2015.Read more
House of Representatives
23 March 2023
Ministers Of State Amendment Bill 2022
This Ministers of State Amendment Bill 2022 seeks to implement the first recommendation of the Report of the Inquiry into the Appointment of the Former Prime Minister to Administer Multiple Departments by Virginia Bell AC. That first recommendation requires the publication in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette of appointments to administer departments, directions to a minister of state to hold an office, the swearing in of an executive councillor or the revocation of any of these appointments. This is only the first of six recommendations from the Bell report, and it's worth recalling the conduct of the former Prime Minister that led to this point.
Ms Bell's report found that the member for Cook had been appointed to administer six of the 14 departments of state. None of these appointments were disclosed to the parliament or the public, and, in several cases, the minister who was responsible for the portfolio wasn't even told. Ms Bell described the member for Cook's explanations of these appointments as 'not easy to understand', which puts it charitably. She noted that the appointments were not necessary, as an acting minister could have been appointed in a matter of minutes.Read more
LEGISLATION TO HELP CHARITIES AND SMALL BUSINESSES
This week, the Albanese Government has introduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving Our Tax System) Bill 2023 (the Bill) into Parliament.
The Bill transfers administration of four unique Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) categories to the Australian Taxation Office, and repeals provisions relating to maintenance of departmental registers.
The ATO currently administers 48 of the 52 categories under which an organisation may be eligible for endorsement as a deductible gift recipient. Four deductible gift recipient categories – Environmental Organisations, Harm Prevention Charities, Cultural Organisations, and Overseas Aid Organisations – are currently administered by Ministers through departmental registers.Read more
How Uncompetitive Markets Reduce Wages
The Australian, 23 March 2023
Folk music is replete with songs about struggling employees in company towns. In Sixteen Tons, Johnny Cash sings ‘You load 16 tons, what do you get? / Another day older and deeper in debt / St. Peter, don't you call me 'cause I can't go / I owe my soul to the company store’.
Company towns were the extreme example of monopsony power. While monopolies hurt consumers, monopsonies hurt suppliers.
Today, company towns are rare, but monopsony power is growing. New research from economist Jonathan Hambur uses rich de-identified tax data. To measure concentration in labour markets across the country, it splits Australia into 290 working zones and 190 industries. For example, it might look at the concentration of employers for grocery workers in Wagga Wagga.Read more
Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving our Tax System) Bill 2023 - House of Representatives, 22 March 2023
Second Reading Speech
House of Representatives
22 March 2023
Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving our Tax System) Bill 2023
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving our Tax System) Bill 2023 contains a number of measures to remove unnecessary administrative and compliance burdens associated with our tax system.
Schedule 1 to the bill amends the International Tax Agreements Act 1953 to give the force of law to the new tax treaty signed by Australia and Iceland on 12 October 2022.
The number of Icelandic people in Australia is not large. The 2021 census counted 405 Icelandic-born people and 1,328 people of Icelandic ancestry. However, Iceland's GDP per capita is one of the highest in the world and this tax treaty will make Australia a more attractive investment destination for Icelandic capital. It will also reduce the tax barriers to Australian businesses trading with Iceland.Read more
JOY DRIVE WITH EMMA & WARREN
THURSDAY, 16 MARCH 2023
SUBJECTS: Topics for the 2026 Census
WARREN ANDREW (CO-HOST): The Australian Bureau of Statistics has opened the first phase of public consultations on topics for the 2026 Census of Population and Housing. What sort of topics could be added to the census and how do we go about submitting them? Dr. Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. Andrew, welcome back to the programme.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: Thanks, Warren. Good to be with you both.
WARREN ANDREW: Now, how do you go about selecting topics for inclusion in the census?
LEIGH: Well, it's important that the Bureau of Statistics go through a really open consultation process. What we saw last time round was that cut short by political intervention from the former government. And we really want the Australian Bureau of Statistics to be able to do a deep dive, talk to people in the community, work out what should be added and also what needs to be taken off the Census. Obviously, you can't just keep on adding questions forever. And so in the past, the Census has had questions taken off it about what sort of material your walls are made out of or whether you've got an indoor toilet. And that makes room for some of the important questions that can be added. Last time, veteran status and long-term health condition were added.Read more