Australia needs royal commission into veteran suicides - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 22 MARCH 2021

I shan't detain the House long. But I did want to add my voice to the many who've spoken in favour of a royal commission into the issue of veteran suicides.

The number of veterans who have written to me on this issue is astonishing. A man who wrote to me on Saturday night said:

'As a veteran who served 30 years and did tours of Somalia, Afghanistan, two in Iraq, one in East Timor and one in Timor-Leste, I would like to thank the Senate for voting to have a royal commission into veteran and serving ADF member suicides. I have suffered from PTSD since 1994 and recently it became the catalyst for my medical retirement from the workforce. I implore my local federal members and the Senate to vote for a royal commission.'

Read more
1 reaction Share

Women need to see themselves in Parliament - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 22 MARCH 2021

Today I was joined in my office by Sharmini Caldwell, who's taking place in Jasiri Australia's Girls Takeover Parliament, a program encouraging young women to engage with politics.

After similar takeovers in previous years, nine out of 10 participants left wanting to pursue a career in politics. But this month, founder Caitlin Figueiredo surveyed those same participants again, and she found that, right now, only one in 10 would consider running for office.

That survey result echoed what happened when Australian of the Year Grace Tame was asked at the National Press Club if she would run for politics. Her response was, 'Noooooo.'

Read more
1 reaction Share

Corporate welfare doesn't pass pub test - Transcript, 6PR Perth Live

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

6PR PERTH LIVE WITH OLIVER PETERSON

THURSDAY, 18 MARCH 2021

SUBJECT: Morrison Government’s JobKeeper waste exposed.

OLIVER PETERSON, HOST: More than 30 ASX listed companies have recorded higher profits in the last six months of last year than the previous year. That's after they received hundreds of millions of dollars in JobKeeper subsidies. On the line, joining me live from Canberra this afternoon in Parliament House is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. Andrew, good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Oly. Great to be with you and your listeners.

PETERSON: You've been naming and shaming these companies which have profited from JobKeeper. Now we've got one fifth of the companies listed on the ASX, it turns out, grew their earnings through the pandemic with thanks to JobKeeper. That doesn't seem to pass the pub test, Andrew?

LEIGH: It certainly doesn't, does it? JobKeeper was meant to be helping out firms that would otherwise have hit the skids. And yet it has gone - a huge amount of it - has gone to firms whose profits were rising. You think of firms like Harvey Norman that had their best ever profit year in 2020. Those firms didn't need taxpayer handouts. Good luck to them on their profitability, but the idea that JobKeeper - a program designed to keep battlers in work - should be funding billionaires buying their next racehorse is just an abomination.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Australia can't afford corporate welfare - Transcript, 2CC Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2CC CANBERRA LIVE WITH LEON DELANEY

THURSDAY, 18 MARCH 2021

SUBJECTS: Morrison Government’s JobKeeper waste exposed; the Morrison Government withdrawing support too soon for those who need it; unemployment rate.

LEON DELANEY, HOST: I'll bet you're very pleased you're not in the Senate, Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon. Yes, always pleased. Every day, I get out of bed in the morning and I'm pleased I'm not in the Senate. It's a delight to be in the people's house.

DELANEY: Indeed. What do you make of that motion that was passed by the Senate? Is it bigoted, as the Greens senator suggested, or is it just a merely a reflection of common sense?

LEIGH: Leon, we've just had some massive rallies across Australia over the issue of sexual harassment, which we know affects two-fifths of women. We've had a woman allegedly raped within 50 metres of the Prime Minister's office. The idea that motions like this are what the Senate should be debating seems utterly ludicrous to me. Let's focus on the big issues.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Frydenberg defends taxpayer-funded executive bonuses - Media Release

FRYDENBERG DEFENDS TAXPAYER-FUNDED EXECUTIVE BONUSES

In Question Time today, I asked the Morrison Government “how much of the taxpayer money used to fund JobKeeper has been spent on executive bonuses?”

Rather than condemn the misuse of JobKeeper to fund million-dollar bonuses for millionaire CEOs, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg defended the practice, saying “decisions by businesses about remuneration are matters for them”.

This bizarre defence of BonusKeeper is at odds with the many who have criticised the practice of firms paying executive bonuses after receiving JobKeeper, including:

  • The Australian Taxation Office
  • The Business Council of Australia
  • The Council of Small Business of Australia
  • Former Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett
Read more
1 reaction Share

Billions wasted where it wasn't needed - Transcript, 5AA Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

5AA MORNINGS

THURSDAY, 18 MARCH 2021

SUBJECT: Morrison Government’s JobKeeper waste exposed.

LEON BYNER, HOST: I'm going to talk to a bloke who is a former professor of economics at the Australian National University, and he's got some very interesting data about JobKeeper. I'm talking about the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, Dr Andrew Leigh. Andrew, thanks for joining us today.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Always a pleasure, Leon.

BYNER: Now, you've uncovered that one fifth of JobKeeper payments made to major listed companies in the second half of last year went to firms who grew their profits during the pandemic. Just explain this.

LEIGH: That’s right, Leon. So JobKeeper could be claimed based on a forecast downturn, but not all firms who said their profits were going to go down actually saw them fall. And this new report from Ownership Matters highlighted that for listed companies, a fifth of the money went to firms that very clearly didn't need it, that had a better 2020 than 2019. You think of firms like Harvey Norman or Premier Investments, which owns Just Jeans and Smiggle - these retailers saw a bonanza profit in 2020. They didn't need money, but they got it anyway. And if these findings are replicated right across the JobKeeper recipients, that would be somewhere between $10 and $20 billion going to firms with rising profits.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Where did our JobKeeper cash go? - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 18 MARCH 2021

The Morrison government's thrown a shroud of secrecy over the JobKeeper program, but a new report finds that half of the public companies that got JobKeeper saw their earnings go up, not down. One-fifth of the JobKeeper dollars went to firms that were more profitable than before the pandemic.

This is waste on a colossal scale.

The report suggests that $10 billion to $20 billion in JobKeeper payments may have gone to firms with rising profits—firms that never needed it, firms that gave it to billionaire shareholders and millionaire CEOs.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Government waste on colossal scale - Transcript, Sky News First Edition

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TV INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION

THURSDAY, 18 MARCH 2021

SUBJECTS: Morrison Government’s JobKeeper waste exposed; Tax cuts; the Morrison Government’s poor plans for workers.

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: There are fresh concerns this morning, one fifth of JobKeeper payments made to major listed companies in the second quarter of 2020 went to firms who grew their profits during the pandemic. Joining me live now is Labor MP, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, good to see you. Thanks for joining us this morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Pleasure, Pete.

STEFANOVIC: So what is your issue with this?

LEIGH: JobKeeper was meant to keep battlers in jobs, not to have money flowing to billionaire shareholders to buy the next yacht. And this new report shows really troubling findings about the extent to which JobKeeper was going to firms whose profits were rising. Think of firms like Harvey Norman or Premier Investments, big retailers who saw the best ever sales in 2020. Firms like that didn't need JobKeeper, and this report suggests that about a fifth of the money could have been going to firms with rising profits. We only know about the listed companies because the government hasn't released the rest of the information. But if this is true across the entire program, Pete, that means more than $10 billion was wasted. That's money that could extend JobKeeper for another six months right now.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Morrison's JobKeeper waste exposed - Transcript, 2SM with Marcus Paul

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

THURSDAY, 18 MARCH 2021

SUBJECTS: Morrison Government’s JobKeeper waste exposed; the need for Indigenous recognition.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: One fifth of JobKeeper payments to major listed companies in the second half of last year went to firms who grew profits during the pandemic, sparking fresh concerns the $83 billion scheme has been abused by parts of corporate Australia. Is it any wonder the critics have called JobKeeper in some form corporate welfare? Fresh analysis from corporate governance advisory firm Ownership Matters has shown 66 of the Australian stock exchange's top 300 companies claimed a total of $1.38 billion in JobKeeper payments for the six months to the end of December. Of those, 58 reported positive profit figures during the period, and around half or 34 companies told investors their underlying earnings had improved. Now our #JobKeeperWarrior on this issue, of course, is Andrew Leigh. Andrew, good morning to you mate.

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

PAUL: Thank you. Look, the irony of course - I'm reading the story on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘business profits in a welfare rainbow’, right underneath is a half-page advertisement for Harvey Norman. 60 months interest free, no deposit, no interest. Would have cost-

Read more
1 reaction Share

JobKeeper waste could cost 250,000 jobs - Media Release

JOBKEEPER WASTE COULD COST 250,000 JOBS

A new report from Ownership Matters today analyses ASX300 firms that received JobKeeper subsidies in the second half of 2020. It finds that one-fifth of the JobKeeper they received went to entities that reported an increase in their underlying earnings metrics from pre-pandemic levels.

This is a shocking waste. JobKeeper was suppose to support firms that were suffering. JobKeeper was never meant to go to firms whose profits were rising.

The Treasurer has refused to release data on overall JobKeeper payments. If the pattern identified by Ownership Matters holds up for firms outside the ASX300, then it suggests that in the second half of 2020, almost $10 billion of JobKeeper went to firms whose profits rose.

Read more
2 reactions Share

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

Search



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.