Increase to penalties for breaches of competition and consumer law
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.
Historic charities consultation begins
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.
Public consultation begins on Multinational Tax Integrity and Transparency
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH
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.Read more
KEYNOTE ADDRESS TO THE AUSTRALIAN REPAIR SUMMIT
FRIDAY, 5 AUGUST 2022
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 1 AUGUST 2022
In 2016, Canberra man Nebojsa Pavkovic died on his 61st birthday.
He was at the end of a five-week hunger strike inside a body which he knew was no longer working. Mr Pavkovic had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for a decade and had come to the decision, speaking with his family, that he wanted to end his life. He was, however, unable to do so through voluntary assisted dying and had to do so through the much more traumatic and painful approach of a five-week hunger strike. As daughter Katarina Knowles said, 'He was really, truly bedridden, and it was just the worst.'
I spoke to Katarina a year ago, when I was moving a private member's motion in this place to repeal the Andrews ban - to finally allow the ACT and the Northern Territory to have the same rights as the states to legislate over voluntary assisted dying.Read more
LABOR DELIVERING ON PROMISE TO BAN UNFAIR CONTRACT TERMS
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH
THE HON JULIE COLLINS MP
MINISTER FOR HOUSING, MINISTER FOR HOMELESSNESS
MINISTER FOR SMALL BUSINESS
The Government is delivering its election commitment to make unfair contract terms illegal, protecting small businesses and the hard-working Australians they employ.
Small businesses and consumers often lack the resources and bargaining power to effectively review and negotiate terms in standard form contracts. Existing laws haven’t stopped the use of unfair terms, which remain prevalent in standard form contracts.
The Government will introduce legislation in the upcoming sitting period to strengthen unfair contract terms protections for small businesses and consumers.Read more
TAKING ACTION TO STOP TAX TREATY SHOPPING
The Australian, 25 July 2022
At first blush, treaty shopping might sound like a fun excursion to the gift store with your primary schooler. Yet far from being a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon, treaty shopping is a worrisome lurk that undermines the tax system.
On July 20, the tax office released an alert about a high-risk activity that has been observed and will be subject to increased scrutiny: companies restructuring their tax affairs to take advantage of reduced withholding tax rates under a tax treaty in relation to royalty or dividend payments from Australia. As the it noted, such a restructure might involve creating a new entity in a favourable treaty jurisdiction, interposed between the foreign parent and the Australian operation in order to access the reduced tax rates under the tax treaty.Read more
Looking for a Media Adviser
I’m inviting applications for a Canberra-based media adviser.
I have a pretty broad range of ways I engage on policy issues, from op-eds and interviews to social media, tele townhalls, podcasts, and public events.
My media adviser helps draft and coordinate those ideas. This involves drafting media releases, speeches and op-eds, liaising with journalists, crafting content for social media and working with the wider Labor team. The hours tend to exceed 40 hours a week and can be unpredictable, which is why there's an overtime allowance.Read more