Competition Drives Innovation - Speech


Closing Remarks to the Australian Auto Aftermarket Innovation Awards Breakfast

Melbourne, Thursday 11 April 2024

In the 1950s, Sweden’s national electricity company noticed something curious. Although they managed a network of high-voltage cables, the biggest risk of death didn’t come from electricity. Instead, the greatest danger came when their employees were driving. At the time, cars either had no seat belts, or simple lap belts. If they crashed, deaths were common – even at low speeds.

So the company did something remarkable. Two safety engineers, Bengt Odelgard and Per-Olof Weman, developed the three-point lap-sash belt. Swedish inventor Nils Bohlin developed it for Volvo. In 1959, three-point seatbelts were installed in all Volvo cars.

Then Volvo did something remarkable too. It allowed any car company in the world to use its patent. Where lap belts had done little to save lives, lap-sash belts turned out to be the best piece of safety equipment ever installed in a car.

Just over a decade later, in 1970, the state of Victoria became the first place in the world to enact compulsory seat belt laws; after a trial of seat belts in police cars proved their effectiveness. In the 65 years since three-point seat belts were patented, they have saved over a million lives (O’Grady 2009).

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ABC Canberra Drive with Ross Solly Wednesday 10 April 2024 - Transcript


SUBJECTS: Palestinian statehood, merger reforms, competition policy, Australia’s Indigenous history, British influence and multicultural story.

ROSS SOLLY: Great to have you on the show, Dr. Leigh.

ASSISTANT MINISTER, ANDREW LEIGH: Great to be back with you, Ross.

SOLLY: Just before we talk about this, can I get your thoughts on what Penny Wong had to say last night? About the only way to work towards a long-term peace prospect in the Middle-East is that maybe we should recognise Palestine as a state. What are your thoughts?

LEIGH: Well, I think everyone recognises that the two-state solution is the only lasting way of achieving peace. And this is about building the pathways out of an endless cycle of violence. You only get security and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians with a two-state solution. So, while Australia is a respected voice, we're not a central player in the Middle East. Our role is to argue for a humanitarian ceasefire, return of hostages, the protection of civilians, but also to give our support to what the international community has broadly recognised. A two-state solution.

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Healthy Surprises: How Randomised Trials Can Challenge Conventional Wisdom And Debunk Dogma - Speech


Danks “Leaders in Science” Seminar

Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne

Tuesday, 9 April 2024

I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, the traditional owners of these lands, and pay respects to all First Nations people present.

Professor Goldfeld, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute staff, and researchers across laboratory, clinical, public health, and health services: Thank you for inviting me here today.

My thanks to the Institute for what you do each day to help improve the lives of children through rigorous research. I also pay tribute to Professor David Danks (1931-2003) who established Victoria's first genetics health service, which became this Institute, after whom today’s Seminar is named. As one obituary described him, ‘David was a remarkable doctor, scientist, teacher, mentor, family man, friend, and champion of good causes’ (Choo, 2003).

My focus today is on randomised trials – a central tool in medicine, but underutilised in policy. In particular, I want to focus on the way in which randomised trials in medicine can upend conventional wisdom, producing results that improve patient outcomes and extend lifespans. You might call these ‘healthy surprises’.

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Foreign investment is great, until it becomes a drain - Opinion Piece

Foreign investment is great, until it becomes a drain

A few years ago, the Australian Taxation Office won a court case against energy giant Chevron that saw the company pay an extra $10bn over the following decade.

That's equal to 10 hospitals, hundreds of schools, or thousands of kilometres of rail.

One way Chevron cut its tax bill was by lending money to itself. Interest payments are tax deductible, so by creating an internal loan from the US parent to its Australian subsidiary, Chevron reduced its taxes.

Over the past two centuries, Australia has benefited greatly from foreign investment. But multinationals still have an obligation to pay their fair share. Multinational companies benefit from Australia's infrastructure and rule of law. It's only fair that they contribute.

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Afternoon Briefing with Greg Jennett 8 April 2024 - Transcript


SUBJECTS: Reforms to the Food and Grocery Code, divestiture powers, merger reforms, non-compete clauses.

GREG JENNETT, HOST: So, a mandatory code of conduct is on the way, or soon will be for Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and Metcash. That is the interim recommendation from Craig Emerson. But that represents only a part of the project the Government's doing on competition. Assistant Minister for Competition Andrew Leigh joins us in the studio now. Welcome back to the programme, Andrew. So, a firm recommendation just to clarify the status of Craig Emerson's advice in the Interim Report. He says a firm recommendation. There's no doubt, is there, that the Government will proceed with this mandatory code?

ASSISTANT MINISTER ANDREW LEIGH: Well, we clearly need to go through cabinet and caucus processes, but we're certainly looking very seriously at the important recommendations that Craig Emerson has made. And I was pleased, Greg, that you put that into context. The broader work that we're doing on competition, the ACCC's grocery review, the CHOICE price monitoring to ensure Australians can see where they can get the best deal, the first report of which will be coming out towards the end of June.

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ABC Radio Melbourne Drive with Ali Moore 8 April 2024 - Transcript


SUBJECTS: Divestiture powers for competition regulators, the government’s work to improve supermarket competition.

ALI MOORE, HOST: Well, as I said, we've been talking about how to make the supermarkets play fair for a long time. Today, one recommendation, a mandatory code of conduct and you've been hearing about that during the news today with the Interim Report of the Review into the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, which right now, of course, is not mandatory, it's voluntary.

Now, that Review also recommends hefty fines. What difference would they make? And will the government accept the recommendations? Dr Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. Dr Leigh, welcome to Drive.

ASSISTANT MINISTER ANDREW LEIGH: Thanks, Ali. Great to be with you and your listeners.

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Joint Press Conference with Treasurer Jim Chalmers 8 April 2024 - Transcript

E&OE Transcript

SUBJECTS: Interim report on the Food and Grocery Code, mergers process, cost of living, divestiture powers.

JIM CHALMERS, TREASURER: I wanted to thank Craig Emerson for his interim report reviewing the grocery code and I wanted to acknowledge Andrew’s work in the competition policy space as well. This interim report will help us strengthen the Food and Grocery Code for the better. This is all about a fair go for farmers and families - that's what this is all about. It recognises that by replacing a voluntary code with a mandatory code, it's easier to enforce. We can impose penalties on people who do the wrong thing, and it's also harder for people to walk away from. This is about getting a better deal for people right up and down the supply chain. This is a perennial challenge in our economy and in our markets and this interim report from Craig Emerson will help us address that.

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Release of Food and Grocery Code Review Interim Report - Joint Media Release




Today we have released the interim report of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct independent review, commissioned by the Albanese Government.

We want a fair go for families and a fair go for farmers.

This work is all about making our supermarkets as competitive as they can be so Australians get the best prices possible.

Following extensive stakeholder engagement, the interim report recommends the Code be made mandatory, with heavy penalties for major breaches.

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Address to the National Co-operative Producers Roundtable - Speech


It is a pleasure to be here today, with cooperative producers from across industry and around Australia. Thank you to Melina Morrison, chief executive of the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals, for convening today’s conversation, and to all participants for joining us in Sydney, on the lands of the Gadigal people.

Let me start off with a with a story. My grandfather Keith Leigh was born in 1912. In 1929, when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began, he was just 17 years old. In order to make ends meet, he hit the road as a travelling salesman, largely selling hosiery. As Keith liked to say of his business role, he was a ‘traveller in ladies’ underwear’.

The 1930s were tough on Keith, as they were for many Australians. At the end of the decade, he and his friend Lindsay Brehaut set up the Hobson’s Bay Co-Op, named after the little bay that sits at the top of Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne. The Hobson’s Bay Co-Op allowed locals to pool their buying power at a time when so many were feeling the pinch.

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ABC Canberra Drive - with Ross Solly - Transcript


SUBJECTS: Voting age, Non-compete clauses

ROSS SOLLY (HOST): Andrew Leigh, do you think there is a case for 16 year olds to be allowed to vote?

ANDREW LEIGH: Thanks Ross. The challenge is how it meshes with compulsory voting laws. Universal voting has always been something that the Labor Party has felt passionately about. And the proposals to have a portion of the electorate who are voluntary voters is something that Labor hasn’t supported.

SOLLY: People have floated the option of making it non compulsory for 16 and 17 year olds, and then if they are interested enough in politics, they can vote, and then once they turn 18, it becomes compulsory.

LEIGH: Well, there you're undermining the principle of universal voting, Ross. You've got a share of the electorate who are voluntary voters. That's concerned us, and that's the reason why Labor representatives on the past inquiries into this issue have said they don't believe that Australia ought to move to voluntary voting for 16 and 17 year olds.

SOLLY. So, let's talk about compulsory voting for 16 year olds. Do you feel they're mature enough?

LEIGH: I have got to be pretty careful here, Ross, because I worry my 17 year old is going to be listening to this right now and take personally whatever I say! Look, I think he's brilliant and highly engaged with politics. The question is whether you want to go so far as to compel every 16 and 17 year old to vote. Not many countries around the world take that view. 18 has traditionally been the cut off. But look, it's an important conversation and the Labor party has been engaged in it.

SOLLY: All right, let's talk about non compete clauses. You've delivered a speech today taking aim, particularly at franchise businesses, accusing them of cartel like behaviour. How is this system still allowed to operate in Australia, Dr Andrew Leigh, when in many other countries around the world this sort of behaviour is illegal?

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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.