10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ACNC
Canberra via Video Link
FRIDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2022
Today is an auspicious day. Not only are we celebrating the 50th anniversary of the election of the Whitlam Government, but we also mark the tenth anniversary of Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. The ACNC was born of a vision that charities needed a one stop shop. That just as businesses had ASIC, so too, there should be a single regulator for the charities and not-for-profit sector.
I particularly want to thank Deborah Jenkins for your work stepping in as interim commissioner, Anna Longley, who has also served in the role, and to acknowledge Sue Woodward, who will soon take up the reins running the Charities Commission.
What does a ten-year anniversary mean? Well, as it happens, my youngest son is ten years old, so I have a bit of a sense as to what he does now that he couldn't do a decade ago. He's become more thoughtful, he's become wiser, he's become funnier. He is, in short, making a much greater contribution to the world than he did a decade ago.Read more
ABC SATURDAY EXTRA WITH GERALDINE DOOGUE
SATURDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2022
SUBJECTS: Competition policy, economic dynamism, tourism and accommodation consultation on price parity clauses, ACCC digital platforms inquiry.
GERALDINE DOOGUE (HOST): Well, we all know how time-consuming and frustrating it can be searching around online for the best rates for a hotel room or flight. Sometimes we're left scratching our heads, as every platform seems to be offering the same rate, give or take a dollar, even the hotel's own website. Well a new Federal Government review is looking at this exact phenomenon, which is called a price parity clause. That's where a hotel cannot offer rooms at a lower price than those on the platform to which it's contracted. These clauses may well be anticompetitive, with consumers adversely affected. To talk us through the review's objectives and for a fuller understanding of reforms that may be necessary in the competition space, I'm pleased to welcome back to the programme Dr Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. Welcome back, Andrew.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: Thanks, Geraldine, great to be chatting with you.
DOOGUE: How widespread are these price parity clauses in Australia and overseas?Read more
FIFTY YEARS ON, WHITLAM'S GOVERNMENT IS STILL WORTH CELEBRATING
CANBERRA, NATIONAL PRESS CLUB
FRIDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2022
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When Prime Minister William McMahon set the date for the 1972 election as December 2, Whitlam noted that it was the anniversary of the 1805 Battle of Austerlitz, when Napoleon defeated the Russian and Austrian armies. It was, he said, ‘a date on which a crushing defeat was administered to a coalition - another ramshackle, reactionary coalition’.
Whitlam was a reformer, but he valued tradition, and knew his history. Visiting Australia in 1974, Gore Vidal was struck to meet a Prime Minister who took issue with the historical accuracy of Vidal’s novel about the Roman Emperor, Julian.
It was, Vidal later noted, ‘an unusual experiment for Australia to choose as its Prime Minister its most intelligent man’. As Julia Gillard noted in her 2011 Whitlam oration, Whitlam – like his near namesake Whitman – could well have said ‘I am large, I contain multitudes.’
Scott Prasser and David Clune’s edited book ‘The Whitlam Era’ also contains multitudes – bringing together more than a dozen respected commentators to provide a critical analysis of the Whitlam Government, half a century today from its election.Read more
The Canberra Times, Friday 2 December 2022
When prime minister William McMahon set the date for the 1972 election as December 2, Whitlam noted that it was the anniversary of the 1805 Battle of Austerlitz, when Napoleon defeated the Russian and Austrian armies. It was, he said, "a date on which a crushing defeat was administered to a Coalition - another ramshackle, reactionary Coalition".
Whitlam was a reformer, but he valued tradition, and knew his history. Visiting Australia in 1974, Gore Vidal was struck to meet a prime minister who took issue with the historical accuracy of Vidal's novel about the Roman emperor Julian.
It was, Vidal later noted, "an unusual experiment for Australia to choose as its prime minister its most intelligent man". As Julia Gillard noted in her 2011 Whitlam oration, Whitlam - like his near namesake Whitman - could well have said "I am large, I contain multitudes."Read more
Saltmarsh ecosystems: helping to tackle climate change and protect coastal homes - Media Release
New data has shown that saltmarsh ecosystems are protecting over 88,000 homes from storm surges, and sequestered about 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2021.
Saltmarshes are coastal wetlands that are flooded and drained by salt water brought in by the tide.
This information comes from the second phase of the Australian Government’s National Ocean Ecosystem Account, released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Phase two has focused on carbon storage, gross carbon sequestration and coastal protection benefits of Australia’s saltmarshes, which are considered to be blue carbon ecosystems.
There are over 1 million hectares of saltmarsh in Australia, an area larger than Greater Melbourne.Read more
ABC CANBERRA DRIVE WITH ANNA VIDOT
TUESDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2022
SUBJECTS: COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRES, CHARITIES
ANNA VIDOT: Speaking of organisations that do a power of good in our community, for some of the most vulnerable people in Canberra, community legal centres are a vital service for accessing justice. Whether it was people who were caught up in the awful road [indistinct] saga, victims of domestic violence, public housing tents, First Nations people navigating the justice system, many of these clients are represented by not-for-profit community legal centres.
Now, clearly there are also a lot of policy questions around all of this, and the laws that affect all of these kinds of issues, but for almost a decade, community legal centres that receive Commonwealth funding have not been allowed to lobby government or advocate for policy change or law reform.
This dates back to a 2014 change when the Abbott Government restricted the right of these organisations to enter into public debate or criticism of the Commonwealth and its agencies, and that was a condition of their Commonwealth funding.
Well, that's been scrapped, the Federal Attorney General Mark Dreyfus has announced today, he says they're ending that what, he's called "censorship", of these community legal centres.
Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition Charities, appropriately enough, when we're talking charities today, Andrew Leigh. Andrew Leigh, thanks so much for your time.Read more
The Australian, Tuesday 29 November 2022
Earlier this month, the competition watchdog released its inquiry into digital services.
The report highlighted the massive market dominance of digital platforms, such as Google, which has a 94 per cent share of the search market. It recommended major reforms, such as a requirement that user interfaces are designed in the best interests of consumers, and a broadbased ban on unfair trading practices.
Since at least the days of Adam Smith, economists have spruiked the virtues of competition. Industries with plenty of competitors tend to deliver lower prices and more choice than sectors dominated by a single monopoly.
Yet over recent decades, the Australian economy has exhibited some worrying trends. The business start-up rate and job switching have declined, while market concentration and mark-ups have risen.
In considering what to do, there’s plenty we can learn from other countries.Read more
Supporting tourism and accommodation providers to set their own prices
The Albanese Government is delivering on its commitment to support tourism and accommodation providers to set their own prices when guests contact them to book directly.
Minister for Trade and Tourism, Don Farrell, and Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh, today announced that the Government will commence consultation to understand if online booking platforms are restricting the ability of tourism and accommodation providers to set their own prices, and to identify if any action is required to address this.
If online travel agents use price parity clauses or similar restrictions, this could overwhelmingly impact smaller accommodation providers, particularly smaller individual operators who rely on online travel agents to market their products.Read more
HEALTH INEQUALITIES IN THE COVID PANDEMIC: EVIDENCE FROM AUSTRALIA*
WEDNESDAY, 23 NOVEMBER 2022
I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather today, pay my respects to their Elders past and present, and commit myself to the full implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
It is my pleasure to be invited to talk at the Australian Population Association's 2022 Conference, and an honour to be giving the W.D. Borrie Lecture.
Appropriations Bill 2022
House of Representatives
22 November 2022
I am pleased to rise to speak on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2022-2023, a bill which reflects on the contributions of the Albanese government in taking action on climate change; beginning to make some of the much-needed investments into housing; and recognising the importance of fixing up parts of our education system that are not working as well as they can. This is a budget which deals with some of the rorts and mismanagement that have been locked in under nine lost years of coalition government. It is a budget which makes an investment in Australians' future.
I want to talk about much of that, but I want to anchor it in the aspirations, interests and commitments of some young Canberrans. I want to do so through an interesting initiative, the Raise Our Voice Australia initiative. Raise Our Voice is a volunteer-run organisation that seeks to amplify diverse young, female, trans and non-binary voices to actively lead conversations in politics and in domestic and foreign policy. They've asked me to amplify the voices of young people from Fenner by reading their words in this parliament. So I'm going to begin my speech today with speeches from four young Australians, beginning with Amelie Toogood, nine years old. Amelie says as follows:Read more