The Liberal Party has abandoned liberalism - Speech

Matter of Public Importance Debate
House of Representatives, 
30 March 2023

A year ago, the coalition lost nine seats in South Australia and lost government. Ten months ago, they lost 17 seats federally and lost government. Last weekend, they lost at least a dozen seats in New South Wales and lost government. The coalition now holds no mainland state or territory. The most senior Liberal governing leaders in Australia today are Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff.

You'd think that the loss of 40 seats and three elections would provoke some soul-searching, but the main lesson that the coalition seems to be taking from this is that they're too woke and they need to move to the right. The fact is that the coalition hasn't woken up. The Australian people aren't buying what you're selling. This is no better epitomised than by the shadow Treasurer, a man who brought us the current energy crisis—a man who is best known for hiding energy price increases from the Australian people, for his Cayman Islands company, for the Jam Land scandal and for making things up about Clover Moore and Naomi Wolf. As he might have put it, 'Well done, Angus.' He thinks he's the second coming of the Messiah, but most Australians think he's more like Mr Burns from The Simpsons—just with a slightly greater tendency to look straight down the barrel of the camera.

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Sky News Newsday with Tom Connell - Transcript



TOM CONNELL (HOST): We have had retail spending figures out this week that show Australians are spending only the same amount they were spending in September last year. In other words, spending’s been flatlining since then. So, have Australians heeded the warnings or perhaps unable to spend anymore? Is this the end of rate rises? Joining me live now, Andrew Leigh, Competition, Charity and Treasury Assistant Minister. Thanks for your time.

ANDREW LEIGH: Always a pleasure, Tom.

CONNELL: We’ll know the figures soon enough. I kind of just want to fast‑forward 12 minutes and have it, but retail spending we know; does it feel like the rates have basically done their work? Do you think Australians can look forward to no more rate rises maybe even from here on in?

LEIGH: We certainly hope that the worst of inflation is behind us, Tom. But it does speak to the independence of the Australian Bureau of Statistics that I’m their responsible Minister but I get no heads‑up on the figure.

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Social Enterprise Round Table - Speech

Social Enterprise Round Table
Parliament House, Canberra
Monday, 27 March 2023

Thanks Jess [Moore] and Tara [Anderson] for the introduction. It’s delightful to have so many generous altruists here in Parliament today. I acknowledge that we're meeting on the lands of the Ngunnawal people, and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging. I also acknowledge parliamentary colleagues Daniel Mulino, Andrew Giles and Helen Haines.

What you do has support from across the parliament. For those on the business side, you're celebrating businesses. And for those who got into politics to help the most disadvantaged, you're doing just that. The work of social enterprises spans the Australian economy, I only need to walk a few steps from my electorate office in Gungahlin to see Krofne Donuts, which was set up to provide employment for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities .

Here in Canberra, Alicia Payne, David Smith and I recently visited mattress recycler Soft Landing with Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, learning about the environmental work they do, but also about the work that they provide for people who are formerly jobless. You’ll hear from the extraordinary Bec Scott shortly, somebody who Nick Terrell and I wrote about in Reconnected because we were inspired not just about what she does at Streat, but how she looks to seed new social enterprises, right across the community.

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Australian Competition Tribunal Appointments - Media Release


Today the Albanese Government is pleased to announce seven important appointments to the Australian Competition Tribunal (the Tribunal).

  • Justice Michael O’Bryan has been appointed as the part-time President of the Tribunal for a five-year period;
  • Justices Sarah Derrington AM, Kylie Downes, John Halley and Mark Moshinsky have been appointed as part-time Deputy Presidents of the Tribunal, each for a five-year period;
  • Daniel Andrews and Ray Steinwall have been appointed as part-time members of the Tribunal, each for a five-year period.

Justice O’Bryan was appointed to the Federal Court in 2019, and then appointed as a Deputy President of the Tribunal in the same year. In 2014, Justice O’Bryan was appointed as a member of the panel that conducted Australia’s last major competition law and policy review, the Harper Review, in 2015.

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Ministers Of State Amendment Bill 2022 - House of Representatives, 23 March 2023

House of Representatives
23 March 2023
Ministers Of State Amendment Bill 2022

This Ministers of State Amendment Bill 2022 seeks to implement the first recommendation of the Report of the Inquiry into the Appointment of the Former Prime Minister to Administer Multiple Departments by Virginia Bell AC. That first recommendation requires the publication in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette of appointments to administer departments, directions to a minister of state to hold an office, the swearing in of an executive councillor or the revocation of any of these appointments. This is only the first of six recommendations from the Bell report, and it's worth recalling the conduct of the former Prime Minister that led to this point.

Ms Bell's report found that the member for Cook had been appointed to administer six of the 14 departments of state. None of these appointments were disclosed to the parliament or the public, and, in several cases, the minister who was responsible for the portfolio wasn't even told. Ms Bell described the member for Cook's explanations of these appointments as 'not easy to understand', which puts it charitably. She noted that the appointments were not necessary, as an acting minister could have been appointed in a matter of minutes.

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Legislation to Help Charities and Small Business - Media Release


This week, the Albanese Government has introduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving Our Tax System) Bill 2023 (the Bill) into Parliament.

The Bill transfers administration of four unique Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) categories to the Australian Taxation Office, and repeals provisions relating to maintenance of departmental registers.

The ATO currently administers 48 of the 52 categories under which an organisation may be eligible for endorsement as a deductible gift recipient. Four deductible gift recipient categories – Environmental Organisations, Harm Prevention Charities, Cultural Organisations, and Overseas Aid Organisations – are currently administered by Ministers through departmental registers.

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How Uncompetitive Markets Reduce Wages - Op Ed - The Australian

How Uncompetitive Markets Reduce Wages

The Australian, 23 March 2023

Folk music is replete with songs about struggling employees in company towns. In Sixteen Tons, Johnny Cash sings ‘You load 16 tons, what do you get? / Another day older and deeper in debt / St. Peter, don't you call me 'cause I can't go / I owe my soul to the company store’.

Company towns were the extreme example of monopsony power. While monopolies hurt consumers, monopsonies hurt suppliers.

Today, company towns are rare, but monopsony power is growing. New research from economist Jonathan Hambur uses rich de-identified tax data. To measure concentration in labour markets across the country, it splits Australia into 290 working zones and 190 industries. For example, it might look at the concentration of employers for grocery workers in Wagga Wagga.

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Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving our Tax System) Bill 2023 - House of Representatives, 22 March 2023

Second Reading Speech
House of Representatives
22 March 2023
Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving our Tax System) Bill 2023

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving our Tax System) Bill 2023 contains a number of measures to remove unnecessary administrative and compliance burdens associated with our tax system.

Schedule 1 to the bill amends the International Tax Agreements Act 1953 to give the force of law to the new tax treaty signed by Australia and Iceland on 12 October 2022.

The number of Icelandic people in Australia is not large. The 2021 census counted 405 Icelandic-born people and 1,328 people of Icelandic ancestry. However, Iceland's GDP per capita is one of the highest in the world and this tax treaty will make Australia a more attractive investment destination for Icelandic capital. It will also reduce the tax barriers to Australian businesses trading with Iceland.

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JOY Drive with Emma & Warren - Transcript


SUBJECTS: Topics for the 2026 Census

WARREN ANDREW (CO-HOST): The Australian Bureau of Statistics has opened the first phase of public consultations on topics for the 2026 Census of Population and Housing. What sort of topics could be added to the census and how do we go about submitting them? Dr. Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. Andrew, welcome back to the programme.


WARREN ANDREW: Now, how do you go about selecting topics for inclusion in the census?

LEIGH: Well, it's important that the Bureau of Statistics go through a really open consultation process. What we saw last time round was that cut short by political intervention from the former government. And we really want the Australian Bureau of Statistics to be able to do a deep dive, talk to people in the community, work out what should be added and also what needs to be taken off the Census. Obviously, you can't just keep on adding questions forever. And so in the past, the Census has had questions taken off it about what sort of material your walls are made out of or whether you've got an indoor toilet. And that makes room for some of the important questions that can be added. Last time, veteran status and long-term health condition were added.

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Digital Competition And Economic Dynamism - Speech

Digital Competition And Economic Dynamism
Monash University Business School, Melbourne
Friday, 17 March 2023


I acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nations, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather today.

I pay my respects to their Elders, extend that respect to other First Nations people present today, and commit myself, as a part of the Albanese Government, to the implementation in full of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

I would also like to acknowledge Monash University and thank the Business School for putting together such a great event. I’m especially chuffed that you’ve invited Joshua Gans to join us. Joshua is one of Australia’s great competition thinkers, but now works out of the University of Toronto. He and I have co-authored nine journal articles and a book, but we’ve never before spoken at the same conference. So thanks to the organisers for allowing Joshua and me to tick that one off our academic bucket lists. 

I also recognise the work of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb and Productivity Commission Chair Michael Brennan.

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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.