Choosing Openness - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 19 OCTOBER 2021

Debates over trade have a long history in this place. At the time of federation, New South Wales Premier George Reid, who ran the one free-trading state, said that, for his state, going into a federation with the question of tariffs to be decided later was like a reformed alcoholic setting up house with five drunkards and leaving the question of beverages to be decided by majority vote. In the early years of the federation, my side of parliament allowed members a free vote on questions of tariffs, but, by 1905, we had decided to join with Alfred Deakin's Protectionists, and Labor supported tariffs—as, indeed, did the conservatives.  

Tariffs nearly doubled during the 1920s, the era of Smoot-Hawley, and by the late 1960s the Australian economy was, according to one analysis, 'the most protected economy in the advanced world'—what Black Jack McEwen called 'protection all-round'. Meaning that, if you wanted to sell a product in Australia, you either had to get an import licence or pay a tariff, which could often double the price of the product.

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How did Canberra become the most vaccinated city in the world? - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 19 OCTOBER 2021

Over recent months, Canberrans have rolled up our sleeves and got vaccinated. Today Canberra became the first state or territory in Australia to have more than 80 per cent of the over-12 population vaccinated. Ninety-nine per cent of Canberra's adults have had a first dose. Under the leadership of Andrew Barr, Rachel Stephen-Smith and Kerryn Coleman, we are on track to become the most vaccinated city in the world.

Why has Canberra done so well? It's true that Canberra is the most progressive jurisdiction in Australia: socially inclusive and internationally engaged. We're quick to take up new technologies and are enthusiastic about education. When I've spoken in this place about refugees, international development, marriage equality or climate change, I know I've been speaking for my electors.

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Canberrans should have the right to die with dignity - Op Ed, The RiotACT

CANBERRANS SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO DIE WITH DIGNITY

The RiotACT, 20 October 2021

What do 87 percent of Australians agree about? Not which party to vote for, and certainly not which football code to barrack for. You wouldn’t find 87 percent agreeing about tax or whether cats make better pets than dogs.

Yet when it comes to voluntary assisted dying, the ABC’s VoteCompass survey in 2019 found that 87 percent agreed with the statement ‘Terminally ill patients should be able to end their own lives with medical assistance’. That included 79 percent of Coalition voters, 77 percent of Catholics and 76 percent of Protestants.

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Do billionaires need our cash? - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 19 OCTOBER 2021

Judith Sloan, Janet Albrechtsen and Niki Savva are hardly Labor true believers, but they've been among the fiercest critics of the government's JobKeeper mismanagement, calling the overpayments 'irresponsible', 'inept' and 'inexcusable'.

JobKeeper saved jobs, but so much money was given to firms with rising revenues that the cost of saving each full-year job was up to $200,000. The Parliamentary Budget Office first estimated that $13 billion went to firms with rising revenues in the first six months of the scheme. Then the government said that figure was $14 billion. Now the Parliamentary Budget Office has looked at the full 12-month scheme, and they estimate that $20 billion went to firms with rising revenue. That's $2,000 for every Australian household going to companies that didn't need support—companies whose sales were higher in the pandemic than the year before. Among those who benefited from JobKeeper were offshore billionaires, such as Louis Vuitton's Bernard Arnault and Luxottica's Leonardo Del Vecchio.

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Goverment's JobKeeper overpayments in WA reach $1.6b - Transcript, 6PR Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

6PR MORNINGS WITH LIAM BARTLETT

TUESDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2021

SUBJECTS: JobKeeper

LIAM BARTLETT, HOST: Andrew Leigh is the federal opposition Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. He's been doing a lot of the front running on this, a lot of the research work and the back of house details. Andrew, good morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Liam. Great to be with you.

BARTLETT: And you, too. You're in Canberra at the moment, but you've been through some of this new analysis from the Parliamentary Budget Office.

LEIGH: Absolutely. JobKeeper was an important program, but very badly implemented, as you know better than most, Liam. A program that was meant to be about keeping battlers in jobs ended up delivering too much cash through to billionaire shareholders. We now know, thanks to this new analysis from the Parliamentary Budget Office, that there was some $20 billion delivered to firms whose revenues went up rather than down, and in Western Australia that's $1.6 billion going to firms who had a better 2020 than 2019. Now, we wanted JobKeeper to succeed, Liam. Labor was constructive and worked collaboratively with the Government to get it in place, but the leakage of money to firms that didn't need it is unprecedented in the history of the Commonwealth.

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The world's climate emergency is Australia's jobs opportunity - Transcript, 2SM Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2021

SUBJECTS: Climate change

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Can you believe Australia's best interests are being held ransom by an accountant in a cowboy hat? As Anthony Albanese confirmed on the program yesterday, the Nationals hold well less than 10 per cent of the national vote yet wield so much power. Barnaby Joyce seems to be engaged in a cunning, four-stage climate plan to do absolutely bugger all. Step one: eight years of doing nothing. Step two: congratulate yourself on doing nothing. Step three: win four more years of doing nothing. And step four: get ScoMo to blame someone else for doing nothing. They've had eight years, and I couldn't believe my ears the other day when I heard David Littleproud tell - I think it was the ABC, whoever it was, I don't care - he basically turned around and said, 'Oh, how can you expect us to possibly come up with some sort of solution in two days?' Moron. Dead set, you've had eight years - eight years of inaction. Andrew Leigh, federal Member for Fenner. Good morning, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. What a fabulous summary.

PAUL: Thank you. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told his Liberal colleagues he will forge ahead with a cut to carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 in a crucial call on climate policy that cannot be blocked by the bloke in a cowboy hat and his other small group of opponents in the Nations partyroom, no matter how much coal they smear on their faces.

LEIGH: This is their 22nd energy policy, Marcus. If you believe they're going to land this one I've got a bridge you might like to buy. The fact is that when Scott Morrison goes off to Glasgow, Barnaby Joyce will be in charge of the country, and all the way in the lead up to Glasgow, Barnaby Joyce has been in charge of Australia's climate policies. Scott Morrison is still committed to the 2030 carbon emission targets that Tony Abbott had, the 26 to 28 per cent reductions. Tony Abbott, as we know, is a climate change denier who once described climate change as ‘absolute crap’. Australia is the advanced country most of risk from climate change, yet we're the only advanced country yet to sign up to net zero by 2050.

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All leaders should be readers - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 19 OCTOBER 2021

I commend the member for Moreton for bringing forward this vital motion on the value of reading. Time will not permit me to mention all of the books that have touched me during this year, but I want to use the little time I have to give a short rundown of some of them. At the outset I want to give a shout-out to some Canberra region authors: Marion Halligan—hard to ignore—a great writer; crime writer Chris Hammer; historical writer Robyn Cadwallader; the new suspense writer Peter Papathanasiou, who has written a terrific book called The Stoning; and Omar Musa, a spoken-word poet and modern novelist.

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The Government's war on charities must end - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 18 OCTOBER 2021

Around Easter, Catholic church members often hold a walk in support of refugees. Yet as St Vincent de Paul head Toby O’Connor has pointed out, under the government's latest attack on charities if some of those people were blocking a public area and if they failed to move on under direction then any charity that is associated with that march could be disqualified. The most anti-charity government in Australian history is attempting to silence charitable advocacy in measures that the Reverend Tim Costello has compared to Putin's Russia and which Australian Council for International Development CEO Mark Purcell has likened to the Burmese junta.

This new measure would give charities commissioner, Gary Johns - who once compared Indigenous women to 'cash cows' - new powers to deregister charities. It's so extreme that a unanimous Senate committee report, chaired by Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, has recommended that parliament disallow the proposed regulation. Opponents of this latest attack on charities include ANTaR; the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services; the Australian Institute of Company Directors; Anglicare; and UnitingCare.

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Josh Frydenberg gave $20 billion to firms with rising earnings - Transcript, 5AA Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

5AA MORNINGS WITH LEON BYNER

THURSDAY, 14 OCTOBER 2021

SUBJECT: JobKeeper

LEON BYNER, HOST: I want to talk about JobKeeper. Now, nobody argues that it was a good scheme in principle, but it did spend an enormous amount of money. Now, we are told, initially, that $27 billion was what was spent and didn't need to be, when it turned out to be $40 billion. One of the people who I think in the parliament is one of the most qualified, and frankly, he's one of the cleverest in our Parliament today: he's got a PhD in public policy at Harvard; he's a Master in public administration at Harvard; he's a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts, so he's no slouch. I'm talking about a very capable politician. His name is Andrew Leigh. He's the Member for Fenner, in the lower house, the House of Reps, and he's with me now. Good to talk to you, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Always great to talk with you, Leon. Thanks for the generous words.

BYNER: Well, they're only the truth, and the people need to know that there are good people out there well-qualified to look after their interests. So, how did we discover this disparity from $27 billion to 40 billion? How did that happen?

LEIGH: Well, these are new figures from the Parliamentary Budget Office, and there's a blizzard of numbers coming around there, Leon, but the numbers you've talked about are those firms that didn't meet the forecast downturn. Another figure, which is perhaps even more stark, is that $20 billion went to firms whose revenues increased. A scheme that was designed for firms that had falling revenue actually ended up padding the pockets of firms who were having a better year during the pandemic than they had in 2019.

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JobKeeper overpayments hit $20 billion - Media Release

JOBKEEPER OVERPAYMENTS HIT $20 BILLION

Earlier this year, analysis by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office estimated $13 billion in JobKeeper was paid to firms with rising revenues over the first six months of the program. Now, updated analysis from the PBO finds that over the entire 12-month period of the program was an extraordinary $19.7 billion.

When the pandemic hit, Labor called on the Government to put a wage subsidy scheme in place. In five days, Scott Morrison flipped from calling it a ‘dangerous’ idea to announcing JobKeeper.

JobKeeper was a good idea that was badly implemented by the Morrison Government.

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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.