Canberra and Electric Cars - Op Ed - Canberra Times

Among Australian economists, few public servants are as revered as Roland Wilson, who ran the Treasury, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Labour, serving both sides of politics.

Yet Wilson wasn’t just a great public servant, he was also one of Canberra’s first electric vehicle owners. As Tim the Yowie Man reported on these pages, Wilson built his own three-wheeled electric vehicle using parts collected from junk shops and rubbish tips. During the 1940s, he drove it from his home in Forrest to his office in the Parliamentary Triangle. The car had a top speed of 20 km/h and a range of up to 64 km. Its twelve batteries charged overnight at Wilson’s home.

Earlier this year, I became one of the first Canberra politicians to switch to an electric vehicle, swapping my Honda Jazz for a Tesla 3. I’ve never been much of a car nut, but the Tesla is a joy to drive. It’s got enough range to get to Sydney, enough space to hold a family of five, and more than enough zip when you put your foot down. There’s also something fun about a car with automatic door locks, headlights and windscreen wipers. Where Roland Wilson had to sacrifice performance for environmentalism, today’s drivers can have both.

Yet while Teslas are fun, they’re not cheap. And that goes for other electric vehicles too. As Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen has pointed out, consumers in the United Kingdom can choose from 26 low-emission vehicles under A$60,000. In Australia, that number is only eight. That’s a key reason why electric vehicles comprise 15 per cent of UK car sales, compared with just 2 per cent of Australian new car sales. While Teslas currently account for around 60 per cent of new Australian electric vehicles, they may soon be outsold by cheaper alternatives.

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Motion of condolence on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II - Speech, House of Representatives



Only one serving British monarch has ever visited Australia. Only one British monarch has ever had her head appear on Australia’s decimal currency. 87 percent of Australians have only ever known one monarch in our lifetimes.

If the first Elizabethan Age represented the English renaissance, the second Elizabethan Age is marked by its extraordinary longevity. As the Prime Minister pointed out this morning, it spanned 16 Australian Prime Ministers, starting with Menzies; 16 Governors General, starting with McKell, and included 16 visits to Australia, the first lasting two months.

Queen Elizabeth did not live here, but during her 70-year reign, she met more Australians and travelled to more parts of Australia than most Australians. She made a broadcast over the Royal Flying Doctors’ network from Broken Hill, opened the Opera House and this Parliament House, consoled Australians who had suffered loss, and sent thousands of congratulatory messages to centenarians and couples celebrating their diamond anniversaries.

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Looking for an Electorate Office Manager

I'm looking for a full-time office manager to join my team, working out of my electorate office in Gungahlin. Women and people from racial or ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in politics are especially encouraged to apply.

This position will involve managing the office and coordinating my diary, plus lots of community engagement and local problem solving. In a typical day, you might be helping someone at the front counter with a Centrelink problem, coordinating a 5000-letter mailout, planning a campaign on local issues, and arranging an online community forum. Below, there’s some dot-points that will give you a better sense of what our office does.

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Sport Shows You Can Kick Goals in Careers - Op Ed - Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph 23 September 2022

Sarah ‘Fanny' Durack learned to swim at Sydney's Coogee Baths. When she was a teenager, her main rival was Wilhelmina ‘Mina' Wylie, the daughter of the man who ran Wylie's Baths, also in Coogee.

When the organisers of the 1912 Stockholm Olympics announced that women's swimming would be on the program, they had to pay their own way to Sweden.

In the first-ever women's Olympic swimming event, the 100m freestyle, Durack won gold and Wylie took silver. If Australia had sent two more women swimmers, they could surely have won the 4x100m relay.

Sport isn't perfect but it does offer lessons for narrowing the gender pay gap. Last year, Australia sent a majority-female squad to the Tokyo Olympics. That stands in contrast to those who run Australian firms.

Only six per cent of Australia's largest 300 companies have a female chief executive. Fewer big companies are run by women than by men named John.

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Interview with Adam Shirley - Transcript, ABC Radio Canberra


SUBJECTS: Changes to Australia’s currency as a result of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, changes to Parliament’s schedule, federal ICAC

ADAM SHIRLEY: Well, school holidays is not far off and I know if your parent care, guardian, uncle, aunt, always, well, how do I juggle the kids whilst still needing to work? That is going to be an issue now for MP staffers and Parliament Houseworkers because there will be now a sitting week, as you heard Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speak about yesterday during school holidays to make up for the time lost for this week, where the observance of the death of Queens mean that Parliament is not doing its regular business as was scheduled. Andrew Leigh's, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and treasury, soon and to talk with us in a moment about dollars and cents and whose face goes on some of our coins and notes from this point forward. But, Assistant Minister Leigh, thank you so much for your time on Mornings today.

ANDREW LEIGH: Pleasure, Adam. Great to be with you.

ADAM SHIRLEY: Let's talk about the juggle first. Many MPs staffers, permanent House workers have kids or other commitments in school holidays. I wonder, from your own perspective, how will you do the family juggle during that rescheduled sitting week?

ANDREW LEIGH: In parliamentary sitting weeks always put a bit more pressure on Gweneth and I think she'll be doing more than her fair share in this set of parliamentary sittings. The only excuse I've been able to offer her is ‘well, this only happens once every seven decades or so’. Hopefully it's not going to become a regular occurrence. I think it's good you're asking the question, because we ask a lot of our families and gives me a chance to publicly say thanks to Gweneth for the extraordinary work she does in helping raise our kids, particularly when parliamentary sittings are on.

ADAM SHIRLEY: So, amongst others, Green Senator, Larissa Waters, have said this is not family friendly when the Prime Minister pledged that this Parliament would be more family friendly, have any of you with kids in the Government said, hold on a second, Albo. Is there any other week we can use?

ANDREW LEIGH: Well, the challenge is that we're committed to a significant legislative agenda, including the National Integrity Commission, and so we do need to make up those sittings days and in doing so, now has been judged to be the most appropriate time. There's never a good time to put in additional sitting days, but people recognise these are extraordinary circumstances.

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Interview with Patricia Karvelas - Transcript, ABC Radio National

PATRICIA KARVELAS: One of the more tangible changes Australians will notice from the ascension of King Charles to the throne will be on our currency. According to the 1965 Currency Act, the face of the reigning monarch must be on all our coins, and pieces bearing the image of the new King will come into circulation from next year. But the face of Queen Elizabeth is also on the $5 note and replacing those will be a longer process. Responsibility for the Mint lies with the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh, and Andrew Leigh is our guest this morning. Andrew Leigh, welcome.

ANDREW LEIGH: Good morning, Patricia. Great to be you.

PATRICIA KARVELAS: How extensive will the changes to our currency have to be with the ascension of King Charles.

ANDREW LEIGH: Well, there will be a new effigy, so the back of every coin in Australia will change, and it’s a pretty historic change. The Queen has been on the back of Australian coins since 1966, when decimal currency began. Over that period, there’s been more than 15 billion Australian coins printed, all of which have had Her Majesty’s portrait on the back. So there’ll be a new effigy produced – King Charles III – and that will be appearing on Australian coins at some stage next year.

PATRICIA KARVELAS: Okay, so coins with a portrait of King Charles will come into circulation, as you say, from next year. Will coins with the face of his mother then stay in circulation? What’s the process for how that works?

ANDREW LEIGH: They will. People who are worried about whether they can use their coins should know that coins remain legal tender and will remain legal tender all the way in the future, but you’ll start to see this change as the effigy is produced. The protocol, Patricia, is that the Royal Mint in Britain supplies an effigy to the Australian Mint. That’s then confirmed with Buckingham Palace and the coins appropriately go into circulation.

One factor that your listeners might find interesting is that there’s a protocol of switching the direction that the effigy faces.

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Interview with Tom Connell - Transcript, Sky News


SUBJECTS: The passing of Queen Elizabeth II, and its impacts on Australia’s currency

TOM CONNELL, HOST: Well Australians can expect to see their King on coins within the next year as the transfer begins to introduce new money with a new monarch. The Royal Australian Mint will receive an approved effigy from Buckingham Palace which will be adapted for printing, the process will follow tradition. The one notable change is King Charles will face the other way compared to the Queen. Joining me live as Assistant Minister of Treasury Andrew Leigh, thanks very much for your time. So it's a different way that they face some sort of ancient tradition is it?

DR ANDREW LEIGH, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY: It is, every time the monarch changes, then the direction that the way in which they face changes. It is an extraordinary change for Australia, Tom and ever since we started decimal currency in 1966, the Queen has always been on the coins. Some 15 billion Australian coins have been minted with the Queen's face on them. So it'll be a huge change for Australians for the first time to have the king on decimal coins.

CONNELL: Yeah, just one of those things, I suppose you say used to that. The $5 note, of course has the queen on it. You've said there's no decision yet whether it will have the king back on it. Well, what does that hinge on? What are you weighing up?

LEIGH: Oh, that'll be a decision of government. And we'll make it in the appropriate time. But the effigy on the coins needs to change. We've got millions of coins being produced every year. And so we need to move and make a decision on that. And it will be quite a moment for coin collectors. So I mentioned that with some collectors, they'll be very keen to get their hands on some of those last coins with Queen Elizabeth’s face.

CONNELL: They’ll be the really valuable ones, won’t they? There’s a recent one in a little commemorative packet. So don't open them if you've got one of them, keep them mint. That would be your official advice?

LEIGH: Look, I would never want to give speculative advice. But certainly the small number of coins which have Queen Elizabeth's face on them, and the year 2023, I imagine will be quite sought after.

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Interview with Adam Shirley - Transcript, ABC Canberra



ABC Canberra


Subjects: New funding for the ABS to measure barriers to employment participation, use of data in policy making, Stage 3 tax cuts

ADAM SHIRLEY: Today, new funding is being announced to increase the collection of data on disadvantage. And there are many kinds of disadvantage, some of which you might be experiencing right now. The Australian Bureau of Stats will receive an extra $4 million to measure barriers and incentives to labour force participation, which then goes to or wages that you can rely on, that you can earn to then do things like buy a home. It's hoped this extra data will provide info on barriers for women, people with a disability, older people, First Nations people, for just a few. Andrew Leigh, Dr Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and treasury and he's keen on this. Dr Leigh, good morning to you. Thank you for your time.

ANDREW LEIGH: Good morning, Adam. Always great to be with you.

ADAM SHIRLEY: And I know that you've made a career out of collecting analysing data, but in the real world sense, in the examples I just provided, why is this data really important?

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Funding the Australian Bureau of Statistics to better collect data on disadvantage - Media Release










The Australian Bureau of Statistics will receive an additional $4 million to better measure barriers and incentives to labour force participation.  

Following the successful Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra last week, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh and Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth will today announce new funding to increase the frequency of data collection to annually, up from every two years currently, with a partial data release to occur quarterly.

The move will ensure Government, business and policy makers can be better armed with information on what is preventing disadvantaged cohorts from entering the workforce. For Government in particular it will assist in targeting future policy responses.

Current survey data does not allow for robust estimates on barriers and incentives for participation specific to key sub-populations. To supplement survey data and provide improved insights on the unique barriers and incentives relevant to these sub-populations, the ABS will work with key departments across government to identify and leverage existing administrative datasets.

The combination of survey and administrative data aims to provide information on barriers for women, unpaid carers, people with a disability, older people, First Nations people, culturally and linguistically diverse people and those living in remote areas

This further survey collection and release is estimated to cost up to an additional $4 million over the forward estimates.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said with record low unemployment it was crucial the barriers to employment were dismantled so everyone who wanted to work could obtain meaningful employment.

“We know there are many disadvantaged Australians who want to work but because of perceived bias or barriers, can’t get into the workforce,” Minister Rishworth said.

“This extra data collection and release will give us a clearer picture of what is happening and help formulate solutions to help those who need it most.”

Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh said while data had been collected over time, releasing more frequent data sets would help generate the best policy outcomes.

“Data is currently released every two years but will now be published every quarter alongside an annual release. This will include updated information in November,” Dr Leigh said.

“This is vital information to help employers tap into the full diversity of talent in Australia and support some of the most marginalised communities in the country to be part of the labour force.”

The Albanese Labor Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit has delivered a number of initiatives designed to build a bigger, better trained and more productive workforce, boost real wages and living standards, and create opportunities for more Australians.  

Today’s announcement is another example of what happens when industry, government, unions and stakeholders work together to address the challenges facing our nation.

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Why Electric Vehicles Make the Weekend More Fun - Speech, House of Representatives


It's no great surprise that the party that claimed that electric vehicles would end the weekend continues to be campaigning against this bill, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Electric Car Discount) Bill 2022—campaigning against a measure that would make electric vehicles cheaper. I switched to a Tesla Model 3 at the start of the year, and it is an absolute joy to drive. It is an extraordinary piece of technology. It's very quiet, environmentally sound and it does things that I've never before thought would just be natural for a car. You approach it and it unlocks, because your phone is in your pocket. It gets dark and the lights come on automatically. It rains and the windscreen wipers come on automatically. As an EV user I'm not unusual in driving a Tesla Model 3—according to the Electric Vehicle Council, they accounted for 60 per cent of all EV sales last year, followed by the MG ZS EV and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Teslas are terrific fun but they're too expensive right now, and this bill seeks to address the challenge of affordability.

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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.