Case of cause and effect - Op Ed, The Daily Telegraph

In recent weeks, we’ve learned two troubling facts about young Australians: the prevalence of mental disorders has hit a new high, and the rate of volunteering has plumbed a new low.

According to the surveys, young Australians are more likely to be experiencing anxiety or depression. At the same time, this cohort is less likely to be joining with others to help their local community. With charities in desperate need of new helpers, many are pulling back from the civic work that is so vital to a strong society.

To get a sense of the scale of the problem, let’s look at the numbers.

Among young women, an extraordinary 47 per cent have experienced a mental disorder in the previous year – up from 30 per cent in 2007. Among young men, the rate of mental disorders has grown from 23 per cent to 31 per cent. Among young people, rates of depression have doubled, rates of social phobia have tripled, and rates of panic disorder have increased nearly four‑fold.

In terms of community involvement among 18‑24 year olds, the volunteering rate is now 25 per cent, down from 30 per cent in 2006. Many remarkable young Australians still give their time and energy to help out in their local community, but the net effect is that for every five young volunteers today, we would have had six young volunteers if the rate had remained as high as in 2006.

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Policy banning unfair contracts will shield SMEs from exploitation - Op Ed, The Australian

The cleaning companies were multi‑billion‑dollar firms, but most of their customers were small businesses. So the big firms wrote contracts that allowed them to increase their prices. To make things worse, the contract said that if the small businesses didn’t like the price rises, they had to pay huge penalties to cancel the contract.

Small companies often lack the resources and bargaining power to negotiate terms in standard form contracts. Existing laws haven’t stopped the use of unfair terms, which are hurting small businesses across Australia.

Right now, contract terms found by a court to be unfair are unenforceable, but they’re not illegal. That’s why we’ve announced that the Albanese Government will outlaw unfair contract terms. If companies put unfair terms in their contracts and a court finds they are unfair, then they can cop a penalty from the court.

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Labor wants to work with business in a race to the top - Op Ed, Australian Financial Review

Australian Financial Review, 9 August 2022

With an area of around 700 square kilometres, Singapore is about 1/10,000th the size of Australia. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t have much of a mining industry. But starting around 2006, Singapore suddenly began to play a key role in Australian commodities exports. From 2006 to 2014, BHP sold $US210 billion worth of resources to its Singapore subsidiary. They then marked it up by 10 per cent and sold it on. The iron ore never went near Singapore – it was shipped out of Western Australia to the final buyers in Korea, China, India and Japan. Yet somehow a chunk of the profits landed in Singapore.

The creation of Singapore marketing hubs isn’t the fault of the Singaporean government, which has a long and distinguished tradition of welcoming traders and financiers from around the world. It arose because some clever accountants at BHP and Rio decided to play a thimble-and-pea trick with their profits. Some called it ‘the Singapore Sling’, but while the cocktail is a deliciously sweet gin drink, these tax tactics left a sour taste in the mouth of Australian taxpayers.

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Work underway on crypto asset reforms - Media Release

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH

The Hon Jim Chalmers MP
Treasurer

The Hon Stephen Jones MP
Assistant Treasurer
Minister for Financial Services

The Albanese Government will improve the way Australia’s regulatory system manages crypto assets, to keep up with developments and provide greater protections for consumers.

Australians are experiencing a digital revolution across all sectors of the economy, but regulation is struggling to keep pace and adapt with the crypto asset sector.

The Australian Taxation Office estimates that more than one million taxpayers have interacted with the crypto asset ecosystem since 2018.

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Increase to penalties for breaches of competition and consumer law - Media Release

The Albanese Labor Government is delivering on its election commitment to protect Australian households and help ease the cost of living by increasing penalties for breaches of competition and consumer law.

Competition is key to driving down prices on everything from petrol to a packet of chips. But it’s hard for small businesses to compete if larger companies use sneaky tactics to try to dominate the market.

That’s why Labor is moving to increase penalties for corporations engaging in anti‑competitive behaviour from $10 million to $50 million, ensuring the price for misconduct is high enough to deter unfair activity.

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Historic charities consultation begins - Media Release

The nation’s largest consultation with Australian charities commences today, as sector representatives meet to discuss how to reverse the collapse in community life.

Over the past generation, Australia’s community bonds have frayed as people have become less likely to join, volunteer and participate in community activities.

The charity sector is critical in reconnecting people, but is facing unprecedented pressure. In recent years, charity staff and volunteers have helped millions of Australians rebuild their lives after floods and fires, and have kept communities together in the face of falling volunteer numbers and a decline in donations.

They need help, so they can continue helping others.

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Public consultation begins on Multinational Tax Integrity and Transparency - Media Release

The Hon Jim Chalmers MP
Treasurer 

The Hon Stephen Jones MP
Assistant Treasurer
Minister for Financial Services

 

The Albanese Government has released a discussion paper for public consultation on our election commitment to ensure that multinationals pay their fair share.

Multinational corporations making a profit in Australia should pay their fair share of tax in Australia.

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Keynote Address to the Australian Repair Summit - Speech, Canberra

KEYNOTE ADDRESS TO THE AUSTRALIAN REPAIR SUMMIT

CANBERRA

FRIDAY, 5 AUGUST 2022

Acknowledgements

I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land we are meeting on, the Ngunnawal people. I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the region, and I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.

Building on the success of last year’s event, I would like to thank Griffith University and the Australian Repair Network for hosting the second Australian Repair Summit.

In particular, I would like to acknowledge Professor Leanne Wiseman for her efforts in organising the Summit and bringing everyone together today. I would also like to acknowledge Professor Wiseman’s expertise in researching the links between intellectual property and the right to repair.

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Labor's plans for a better future for all - Transcript, Doorstop

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

PARLIAMENT HOUSE

WEDNESDAY, 3 AUGUST 2022

SUBJECTS: Labor’s plans for a better future; Productivity Commission report; Territory rights; Fuel excise.

ANDREW LEIGH, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY: Good morning. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. It's my 50th birthday today, and 50 years ago it was just on the cusp of the election of the Whitlam Government, a great reforming Australian government that changed the lives of so many Australians for the better. And it's a real pleasure today to be celebrating my 50th birthday as part of the Albanese Labor Government, a government strongly committed to making life better for Australians by taking action on climate change, taking on cost of living pressures, and making sure that we tackle the key challenges of inequality, slow productivity, and declining social capital.

In Australia today, we've had an economy which has been too stagnant, in which productivity growth has languished after nine years of neglect from the Coalition. The Productivity Commission's interim report today lays bare some of the real challenges that the Australian economy faces, and makes clear that the Productivity Commission's five year review is going to take a hard look at some of the challenges around building innovation, around ensuring that we've got a more skilled Australian economy, around making sure we've got cheaper energy prices, and ensuring that we have infrastructure which is focused on the needs of Australians, not the political imperatives of the Coalition.

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Why the ATM Governments Were Like the Useless Machine - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 2 AUGUST 2022

In 1952 Marvin Minsky invented the 'useless machine'. It was a little machine with a box with one switch on it, in the off position. If you turned it on then a little hand came out of the machine to turn it back off again. That was its only purpose. As Arthur C Clarke put it:

There is something unspeakably sinister about a machine that does nothing—absolutely nothing—except switch itself off.

And that's what Australians are saying about the last nine years. As the Economist has noted of the British conservative government, the Liberals were, when they were in government, the political equivalent of a useless machine: they know what they're against, they know what they want to turn off, but they have no idea what they are for.

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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.