Is Social Media Worsening Youth Mental Health - Speech





Thank you very much for that generous introduction. Chris Siorokos and I have known one another for 32 years, and he doesn’t look like he’s aged a day since we first met. As well as having the gift of eternal youth, Chris is a man of remarkable intellect, generosity and purpose. You are fortunate to have him as your Executive Director.

We’re meeting on the traditional lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. I acknowledge their Elders, past and present and acknowledge any First Nations people present.

It is a real honour to be speaking to the Lifeline Australia Annual Members Forum in this year, the 60th anniversary of Lifeline. My grandfather, Keith Leigh was a Methodist minister, a bit like Alan Walker, who founded Lifeline back in 1963. I never had the chance to meet my paternal grandfather, but that ethos of service was one that I was very aware of growing up. The story of Alan Walker's founding Lifeline is remarkable. Lifeline Australia took its first telephone call within a minute of the telephone lines opening. It took 100 calls on the first day and it now routinely takes over 1000 calls a day. You've been an inspiration to similar organisations around the world ever since you were profiled in Time magazine back in 1964. Your introduction of a text messaging service and online platforms are absolutely vital. You have saved many Australian lives and brought meaning to many more.

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Charity is at heart of Australia - Opinion Piece


Across the world, democracy is under pressure. According to one set of experts, the world entered a ‘democratic recession' in 2016 and is yet to recover. Russia, Peru, Turkey and Myanmar are among the nations whose democracy scores have slumped.

While democracy is down, populism is up. According to a recent study, populism is at an all-time high, with more than 25 per cent of nations now governed by populists. Populists tend to erode democratic institutions and undermine economic growth. Fifteen years after populists take power, income per person is 10 per cent lower than it would otherwise have been.

Worst yet, populists make catastrophic risks more likely. Confronting dangers such as nuclear war, bioterrorism, climate change and rogue AI requires mobilising our intellectual powers, strengthening institutions, cooperating internationally and remaining calm. Yet by definition, populists are anti-intellectual, anti-institutional anti-international and anti-calm.

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ABC's The Money with Richard Aedy Thursday 23 November 2023 - Transcript

E&OE Transcript

SUBJECTS: Merger reform.

RICHARD AEDY: Let's start with competition. For consumers, here isn't enough of it. In 17 industries, we have more market concentration than America does. And in a few it's very, very obvious. Four big banks, two big supermarkets, two big airlines. Part of the reason for this is mergers and the way that they've been regulated. The Government wants to change that and has just put out a consultation paper. The Minister for Competition is Andrew Leigh. Minister, thanks for joining us. What is wrong with our merger control regime at the moment?

ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES, COMPETITION, TREASURY AND EMPLOYMENT ANDREW LEIGH: Richard, we've seen a big increase in market concentration and a big increase in markups. We've had the lousiest decade of productivity growth in the postwar era, and many people think that that might be because our markets aren't dynamic enough. Pretty much wherever you turn, from banking to baby food to beer, Australian consumers only have a couple of choices. And in that environment where large firms are ruling the roost, I think it's important for us to take a careful look at our merger laws.

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Sky Afternoon Agenda with Kieran Gilbert Thursday 23 November 2023

E&OE Transcript

SUBJECTS: Inflation; Capacity Investment Mechanism; Consultations on merger reform.

KIERAN GILBERT: Joining me live in the studio is the assistant Minister for competition, Charities and Treasury. And the assistant Minister for employment, Andrew Leigh. Thanks for your time.


GILBERT: Lots to talk about today. Let's start with Julia's report there on the comments by the RBA Governor on homegrown inflation. We're above comparable nations now internationally. Are you hoping that, like the US, like Europe, ours will track down over coming months? That's the hope is it? The anticipation?

LEIGH: That's what we're anticipating, Kieran, and that's certainly what we're seeing. Australian inflation peaked lower and later than other countries, so it makes sense that its trajectory will take a little longer to come back into the target band. Based on forecasts, both the Reserve Bank and Treasury have inflation returning to the target band. Inflation is pernicious. It damages savings, it decreases the incentive to invest. The Reserve Bank even says it can worsen inequality. So, it's important that we get inflation back under control. And on Michele Bullock’s speech, her comments also reflect the very strong employment performance we've seen. We’ve now had 20 months in a row with unemployment below 4%, and of course, 17 of those 20 months have been under this Labor government.

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2CC Drive with Leon Delaney Monday 20 November 2023 - Transcript

E&OE Transcript

SUBJECTS: Merger reforms; Government’s cost-of-living measures; independence of Reserve Bank; Stage 3 tax cuts; multinational taxation.

LEON DELANEY: The Federal Government is considering some major changes to the rules around mergers and acquisitions. To tell us why, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, Employment, this, that and everything else, as well as our local Member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.


DELANEY: Mergers and acquisitions. It sounds like something that, you know, the fellow on Wall Street, Gordon Gekko, might be excited about, but why is this important to ordinary everyday Australians?

LEIGH: Ultimately, Leon, mergers goes to cost‑of‑living. If you get big firms getting together, and they end up driving up prices, then that's bad for consumers. It can also be a risk to productivity if you've got mergers that aren't good for growth.

Obviously most mergers will pass the test, but over recent years, we've seen quite a few other jurisdictions – the US, UK, Canada and European Union – all review or amend their mergers rules. And an environment in which we've seen increasing market concentration and increasing mark‑ups, Jim Chalmers and I are concerned that we need to review our merger laws to make sure they're getting a good deal for Australian consumers, and the economy at large.

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Press Conference Saturday 18 November - Transcript

E&OE Transcript
Press Conference

Saturday, 18 November 2023

SUBJECTS: Cost-of-living; Labour force figures; Energy efficiency measures for ACT public housing.

ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES, TREASURY AND EMPLOYMENT ANDREW LEIGH: Thank you for coming along to Ainslie Village today. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, Treasury and Employment. I should say at the outset that we're holding this press conference in the afternoon rather than the morning, because I was running an ultramarathon this morning, part of the Stromlo Running Festival, which is a terrific running participation event here in the ACT, with hundreds of people participating in this great community festival.

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From Éros to Agápe: 75 Years of Relationships Australia - Speech

75th Anniversary of Relationships Australia Dinner
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Tuesday, 14 November 2023

Thank you Nick [Tebbey] for the generous introduction. I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people and all First Nations people present tonight. I recognise former senator and High Commissioner George Brandis, and my parliamentary colleague Amanda Rishworth. I'm your appetizer. Amanda is main course. So her comments will be much deeper and more substantive than mine.

Strengthening Relationships

My thanks to Nick Tebbey and Lyn Littlefield for inviting me to speak today. It is exciting to be speaking at the 75th anniversary of Relationships Australia. I loved looking through the 75th anniversary brochure, which outlines how Relationships Australia emerged from the Melbourne Marriage Guidance Council, and notes that the council ‘was the first attempt at making a scientific approach to one of the world’s greatest problems – the problem of marital relationships’.

For those of us who are married, ‘the problem of marital relationships’ is a beautiful phrase that encapsulates the joy and the challenge of marriage. As an economist, I think of a good relationship as less like mining, and more like manufacturing. The idea of mining is that you simply find ‘the one’ and live happily ever after. But as The Whitlams put it, ‘She was one in a million. So there's five more just in New South Wales.’ Regarding relationships as manufacturing reminds us that relationships require ongoing work, as the two of you evolve together.

My parents, Barbara and Michael, who were married in 1967, talk about themselves as being two quite different people today than they were when they when they first got married 56 years ago. They’ve told me about the joy and the challenges of developing their relationship, as the two of them have grown.

One of the most poignant stories of marriage is that of Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Her husband, John Jay O'Connor, was also a prominent jurist, and suffered from Alzheimer's disease, which played a part in Sandra Day O’Connor’s decision to retire from the Supreme Court. In his later years, John Jay O’Connor lived in an Alzheimer’s care facility in Phoenix. It came to a point where John Jay O'Connor entirely forgot who Sandra Day O'Connor was. He decided that instead, there was a woman in the home who he was had fallen in love with. In his final days, he would want only to hold the hands of the hand of his new love. Rather than disavowing him, Sandra Day O'Connor would sit there with him, holding his other hand. That for me reflects some of the majesty and the beauty that a lifelong relationship can encompass.

What I love about Relationships Australia is that you have evolved from your origins as marriage guidance counsellors to encapsulate a broader view of relationships. Just as Australia has become more diverse in our acceptance of same sex marriage and in understanding of the diversity of families. As a nation, we now recognise that marriage is just one way of forming connections. There are many Australians who maintain happy relationships outside of marriage.

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Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 - Speech


Second Reading Speech
House of Representatives, 14 November 2023

Short-sighted employers would like to have highly-paid customers and low-paid workers. Wise employers recognise that their employees and their customers are ultimately the same pool of people and that paying workers well sustains strong demand within the economy.

Labor is strongly committed to ending the flatlining of wages that we saw under those nine long coalition years, a period in which productivity growth was appalling, in which wage growth was sluggish and in which household income growth languished. Under the period of the coalition government, Australians had a government for whom keeping wages low was a 'deliberate design feature' of their 'economic architecture'. These were the words of the former finance minister.

When we came to office, we set about changing that. Over our first year in office, our government saw more jobs created in the Australian economy than were created in any first year of a new government. In fact, more were created in our first year than were created in the first term of any former government. We have unemployment sitting below four per cent—full employment by anyone's definition. Since the monthly unemployment series began in 1978, there have been only 19 months in which unemployment has been below four per cent. Sixteen of those 19 months have been under this government. Of the half-a-million jobs created since we came to office, some 85 per cent have been full time. The gender pay gap has fallen to its lowest level ever. The number of days lost to industrial action has fallen sharply.

We understand that there are many employers in Australia who are keen to ensure that we don't have a race to the bottom in standards. Australia's comparative advantage in the world will not be that we have the lowest-paid workers in the world. If companies want to find the place where labour is the very cheapest, they're going to find other countries than Australia. What Australia's economy will do well is to ensure that we have workers who are well-trained and are able to use new technologies, such as generative artificial intelligence, in an environment in which firms are competing based on the best product and service that they're offering, not based on a race to the bottom.

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Review of Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon


In 2021, Forbes magazine put cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried on its cover. He had just debuted on their rich list. Forbes estimated his net worth at US$22.5 billion, ranking him the 32nd richest person in the world. He was 29 years old.

Enter Michael Lewis. The Moneyball author first met Bankman-Fried when an investor friend asked him to do some due diligence on the entrepreneur. Intrigued, Lewis ended up writing a book about him. During the year that Lewis followed Bankman-Fried, his subject went from the world’s richest person under 30 to an arrest that led to seven criminal convictions for wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering.

The son of two Stanford professors, Bankman-Fried loved mathematics and puzzles. After graduating from MIT, he worked at Jane Street, a high-frequency trading firm that encouraged its traders to hone their thinking by betting with one another. The point was to see how fast you could juggle probabilities and how adept you were with uncertainty.

At Jane Street, Bankman-Fried’s most ambitious numbercrunching exercise involved the 2016 US Presidential election, for which he designed a model that accessed local voting data more quickly than the television networks, and computed the probability that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would win. In a narrow sense, it worked spectacularly well, informing Jane Street traders that Trump would win before anyone else caught on. Throughout the campaign, Trump’s success had been inversely correlated with the strength of the sharemarket, so Jane Street bet several billion dollars against the S&P 500.

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ABC Afternoon Briefing with Greg Jennett - Transcript

E&OE Transcript


SUBJECTS: ATO Corporate Tax Transparency Report; Multinational tax reform; Stage 3 tax cuts; Optus outage.

GREG JENNETT: Now, new data out today gives us a better idea which companies are paying corporate tax in this country and how much of it, for that matter. In total, the biggest firms liable to pay company tax are paying more of it, but that doesn't mean they all pay it. Assistant Minister for Competition and Treasury Andrew Leigh joins us in the studio. Welcome back, Andrew.


JENNETT: I think in foreshadowing this corporate tax transparency report today, you observed ‘when multinationals pay less, Australians pay more’. How so? Which taxes have Australians borne more of because of an underpayment by multinationals?

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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.