Government only ever recovers payments from pensioners, and never billionaires - Transcript, ABC NewsRadio
TUESDAY, 10 AUGUST 2021
SUBJECT: The Government’s JobKeeper failings.
GLEN BARTHOLOMEW, HOST: Well, now to reports the Federal Government has sent thousands of people Centrelink debt letters claiming they were overpaid due to JobKeeper. According to a report in The Guardian, the Government sent more than 11,000 people Centrelink debt letters worth around are claiming rather that they were overpaid $32 million. All the while resisting frequent calls to reclaim money from the businesses who received the wage subsidy, but then went on to make a profit. Meanwhile, in Parliament yesterday, the Opposition suddenly dropped support for an amendment to the Government's new business payments which would have required companies to reveal how much money they received from the JobKeeper wage subsidy. Labor MP Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. He's led the charge on this. He says sending debt letters to Centrelink recipients smacks of a double standard.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: I'm disappointed, Glenn, but I'm not surprised. This is the Government that invented Robodebt, and which has gone soft on big firms getting JobKeeper despite rising earnings. How many of those firms have been asked by Scott Morrison to repay? Absolutely zero. But now we've got more than 11,000 people who've received JobKeeper who are getting debt collection letters from Centrelink. From the Government that wanted to put disability support recipients on to the automatic assessments, it's sadly no surprise.Read more
Government gave taxpayer dollars to billionaires, but only pursues repayments from pensioners - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 10 AUGUST 2021
Jan is a schoolteacher who works part-time, and her school received JobKeeper. As a result, according to Centrelink, she was overpaid $1,049.85 on her age pension. This is the letter that Centrelink sent to her, demanding the repayment of that amount.Read more
MONDAY, 9 AUGUST 2021
SUBJECTS: The Government’s JobKeeper failures.
CARRIE BICKMORE, HOST: Labor MP Andrew Leigh has been naming and shaming companies that profited off JobKeeper and he joins us now. Andrew, you've been pushing for transparency and accountability for big businesses receiving JobKeeper or other government support. Why did Labor back down?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Carrie, we need to make sure we prioritize support for people in lockdown right now. There's no way Labor was going to hold up money going out the door for people who are suffering under the weight of lockdown. No-one's been stronger on transparency around JobKeeper than me. It was a great program poorly implemented. Around 15 per cent of the money seems to have gone to firms whose earnings went up rather than down, like Best & Less, Harvey Norman, Premier Investments and Accent Group. Some of them used it to pay executive bonuses. We need to know more about this scheme, because it wasn't Liberal Party money they were spending, it was taxpayer money.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 9 AUGUST 2021
The convention on these things is to thank the member for Longman for bringing on the debate and to say how pleased I am that he has done it, but I'd be a hypocrite if I did that. The fact is that this is the most anti-university government in Australian history. It is bizarre that the member would bring on a motion praising the government's university policies. He should hang his head in shame for the way in which this government has treated universities. Universities are vital to Australia's future. Attending university boosts earnings by around 50 per cent compared to finishing high school, translating to some $600,000 of additional earnings for the median woman and $800,000 for the median man.Read more
ABC RADIO MELBOURNE MORNINGS WITH VIRGINIA TRIOLI
MONDAY, 9 AUGUST 2021
SUBJECTS: The Government’s JobKeeper failings
VIRGINIA TRIOLI, HOST: A quick update to a story that we covered off a few weeks ago now, and that was the payment of JobKeeper to a number of high-profile and less well-known companies that still enjoyed rising profits during that time, and so therefore, basically, were just able to put JobKeeper in the bank. It didn't just involve high-profile companies like Harvey Norman and Best & Less but many others as well. Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities has been really banging the drum on this, but it seems that his own party might be letting him down in this regard. Andrew Leigh, good morning to you.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Virginia. How are you?
TRIOLI: I'm well, thank you. Because an amendment's been introduced by the independent Senator Rex Patrick which would require all companies then to disclose, there'll be a transparency amendment so we'd know what they received, if they then went on to enjoy rising profits, but looks like looks like your party is backing down from supporting that amendment. Is that right?Read more
ABC RADIO CANBERRA MORNINGS WITH ADAM SHIRLEY
MONDAY, 9 AUGUST 2021
SUBJECTS: The Government’s failings on JobKeeper.
SHIRLEY, HOST: Andrew Leigh, Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Economics and Federal Member for Fenner, good morning to you and thank you very much for your time on ABC Radio Canberra.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Adam. Always great to be with you.
SHIRLEY: So this is a key question, depending on what happens in the Senate today: how disappointed in your Senate Labor colleagues would you be if they let big businesses be quiet about the JobKeeper money they've received and kept?
LEIGH: Adam, for a party of government this is an issue that comes up frequently. We want transparency, and we want to make sure this support goes straight out the door to help the businesses that need it. Unfortunately, it looks as though the Government isn't going to come to the party on transparency. The question for us is whether we then hold up this bill which provides support to New South Wales businesses. Our judgement is that it's important to provide that support, although it's late and inadequate, not only for those businesses that are in lockdown, but of course for Canberra, because Canberra is hurting too. If you talk to people in the tourism sector, newsagents, hospitality, this is a real hit on our economy as well. We need to make sure this support is provided.Read more
VACCINE INCENTIVES WORK, AND MR MORRISON KNOWS IT
The Canberra Times, 9 August 2021
Just 16 per cent of Australians are vaccinated against COVID-19 - the second-lowest rate in the OECD group of advanced countries. According to the Grattan Institute's modelling, Australia needs to vaccinate 80 per cent of the population (or 90 percent of adults, if children are unvaccinated) before life can return to normal. The Morrison government's modelling sets a slightly lower target, with Phase C of its plan (which lifts all restrictions on outbound travel) taking effect when 80 per cent of adults are vaccinated.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 6 AUGUST 2021
16 per cent of Australians are vaccinated, the second-lowest rate in the advanced world. The Grattan Institute estimates that we need to reach 80 per cent vaccination of the entire population, which is 90 per cent of adults, if we are to avoid overwhelming the hospital system. The government has a lower target; its phase C triggers when 80 per cent of adults are vaccinated. Until now, the problem has been supply—going back to that fateful decision the Morrison government made in July 2020 not to pay Pfizer a billion dollars for enough vaccine to vaccinate every Australian adult. But the government tells us that by 1 December there will be no problems with supply and that the challenge will then switch to getting the available vaccines into arms.Read more
Childcare central to boosting women's economic participation and equity - Speech, House of Representatives
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 4 AUGUST 2021
The female labour force participation rate in Australia is higher than the OECD average but so is the share of Australian women working part time. We know very clearly that childcare access is a core driver of women's labour force participation. You see this in studies that look across countries. You see this in individual studies by economists who have looked at particular policy reforms, such as Quebec's $5 a day early childhood or policy changes in Washington DC.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 4 AUGUST 2021
Westpoint, Trio, Opes Prime, CommInsure, Timbercore, Storm Financial, fees for no service, forged signatures on loan documents, breaches of anti-money-laundering laws—the list goes on. Australians have had a gutful of wrongdoing in the financial sector, and yet the Liberals have consistently fought against stronger consumer protections. Labor's Future of Financial Advice reforms, which required an annual opt-in to commissions so people couldn't simply have money taken out of their accounts without their knowing, was opposed by the Liberals year after year.Read more