Government's $13 billion in JobKeeper overpayments - Transcript, 2SM Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER 2021

SUBJECTS: Kristina Keneally; Joel Fitzgibbon; $13 billion of JobKeeper overpayments

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Let's speak to somebody from Labor about this: Andrew Leigh, our #JobKeeperWarrior. Good morning, Andrew.

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

PAUL: Thank you, mate. Look, Kristina Keneally, there's an offensive being mounted by the federal government and Labor detractors, critics, that Kristina Keneally being parachuted into Fowler is not a good thing.

LEIGH: Kristina is one of our strongest performers, somebody who's a former premier of New South Wales, and has a strong policy mind, who's able to take the fight up to the opposition, but who also, I think, will be a terrific advocate for the people for the people of Fowler.

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Government won't learn from its JobKeeper mistakes - Transcript, 2SM Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2021

SUBJECTS: The Government’s JobKeeper secrecy and waste; National Women’s Safety Summit; Prime Minister’s travel on Fathers Day

[CLIP OF JOSH FRYDENBERG ON 7.30 REPORT PLAYS]

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew Leigh is our #JobKeeperWarrior. Good morning, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. We've been talking about this for a long time. It seems like everyone else is just catching up this last week, doesn't it?

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Government isn't doing a thing to get back $13 billion taxpayer dollars wasted on big business mates - Transcript, 6PR Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

RADIO 6PR MORNINGS WITH LIAM BARTLETT

MONDAY, 6 SEPTEMBER 2021

SUBJECTS: The Government’s JobKeeper waste and secrecy

[CLIP OF PARLIAMENTARY SPEECH PLAYS]

LIAM BARTLETT, HOST: That's Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities and he joins us this morning. Andrew, how are you?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Very well, Liam. Congratulations on your 60 Minutes work yesterday, an incredibly important forensic analysis of the biggest waste in Australian history.

BARTLETT: Well, you've been covering, as we just heard on the radio, you've been covering it on the floor of the House for weeks now, trying to make a dent in some of these huge, huge figures. But Andrew, as I just mentioned, I think it's really important that we, you know, it's one thing to reel off all those millions from the public side of things, but 97 per cent of it is private. We may never know.

LEIGH: That's exactly right, Liam. Now, what we've got from the private companies is absolute secrecy. We only have the public company transparency, as you pointed out in 60 Minutes, because ASIC, the corporate watchdog, required listed companies to disclose JobKeeper receipt to the share market. But there's a bunch of large private firms out there, which may or may not have gotten JobKeeper and may or may not have had rising revenue. At a time when people are being asked to tighten their belts, when real wages are forecast to fall for the typical Australian, it's only right to be putting a bit of a spotlight on who got JobKeeper and then saw their revenues rise.

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Has Australia ever had a more secretive government than the Morrison Government? - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 2 SEPTEMBER 2021

Has Australia ever had a more secretive government than the Morrison government? This is the government that set up a one-man cabinet committee in order to keep deliberations secret, that has presided over the secret trial of Witness K and that has refused Australians access to the spreadsheet that shows how the car park rort was perpetrated. This is a government that has maintained secrecy over the so-called national cabinet, despite the fact that it is nothing of that name, and now over the largest waste of taxpayer money in Australian history, the $13 billion of JobKeeper that went to firms with rising earnings, they want more and more secrecy.

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JobKeeper wasted billions, and the ‘politics of envy’ defence doesn’t stack up - Op Ed, The New Daily

JOBKEEPER WASTED BILLIONS - AND THE ‘POLITICS OF ENVY’ DEFENCE DOESN’T STACK UP

The New Daily, 3 September 2021

A billion is hard to wrap your head around.

Some billionaires say that they’re part of the ‘three comma club’. In the comedy series The Hollowmen, the political insiders decide they’ll need to spend billions of dollars before the public whistles in awe.

So if you haven’t been watching the scandalous waste from the JobKeeper scheme, don’t blame yourself for forgetting to groan on cue.

Some quick background. In the year from March 2020, JobKeeper paid out $89 billion to firms based on their salary bill.

For companies that would’ve otherwise fired their staff, that’s money well spent.

For those that would’ve kept trucking along regardless, it was free cash for the bottom line.

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Australians deserve to know where JobKeeper went, it shouldn’t be a state secret - Op Ed, Guardian

AUSTRALIANS DESERVE TO KNOW WHERE JOBKEEPER WENT – IT SHOULDN’T BE A STATE SECRET

The Guardian, 2 September 2021

As economies locked down in early 2020, many countries around the world established wage subsidy schemes. Economists know that employment relationships are easier to break than make. So wage subsidy schemes incentivise firms to maintain employment through a temporary slump.

The British scheme was called the job retention scheme. In New Zealand, it was the Covid wage subsidy. Canada set up the Canada emergency wage subsidy. The United States created the paycheck protection program.

Some of these schemes were established by progressive governments; others by conservative governments. But whether it was Johnson or Ardern, Trudeau or Trump, other countries’ wage subsidy schemes had one thing in common: full transparency. Taxpayers could log on to a website and find out the names of every firm that got wage subsidies.

Transparency isn’t a left- or right-wing value; it’s simply good government. It reflects the fact that taxpayers are the people who pay the government’s bills, and taxpayers should know how the money is spent. As former US supreme court Justice Louis Brandeis put it, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Australia too created a wage subsidy scheme (though not before Scott Morrison called it a “dangerous” idea). Yet JobKeeper didn’t include any transparency. The government provided no information about which firms received JobKeeper. None, zilch, nada.

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Australia’s most incompetent, thin-skinned, secretive, and cowardly government - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 31 AUGUST 2021

Australia has had bad Government's before, but have we ever had a more mendacious, incompetent, thin-skinned, secretive, cowardly Government than this one?

Australians are furious that the Morrison Government gave $13 billion of JobKeeper to firms with rising revenues.

In Britain, Canada, the United States and New Zealand, the public knew every firm that got wage subsidies. In Australia, the only reason we know anything about JobKeeper recipients is because ASIC required listed firms to disclose to the stock market. But only 3 per cent of JobKeeper went to listed companies.

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Government spent $13b on JobKeeper that didn't save single job - Transcript, ABC Radio Canberra

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC RADIO CANBERRA MORNINGS WITH ADAM SHIRLEY

WEDNESDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2021

SUBJECTS: $13 billion in JobKeeper waste; Stage 3 tax changes

ADAM SHIRLEY, HOST: The Member for Fenner, Dr Andrew Leigh, has been the chief agitator on the Government's JobKeeper program. Dr Leigh, good morning to you.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Adam. Great to be with you, and happy spring. Isn't it wonderful that Canberra's turned on the warmth for us?

SHIRLEY: Warming up a little bit, which I think will be positive news for a lot of people in lockdown currently. Are you satisfied with what Mr Harvey has done?

LEIGH: I'd certainly be pleased if he paid back on behalf of the franchisees as well, but the fact is he has paid back the component from head office. He's done so thanks to considerable public pressure. The only reason Gerry Harvey's paying back is because Australians know how much he received, and we know that because ASIC, the corporate watchdog, required all listed firms to disclose to the share market their JobKeeper receipts. But 97 per cent of JobKeeper has gone to firms that aren't listed on stock market and we don't know about that information. We're having a fight with the Government at the moment in the Senate where we want more transparency. We want the JobKeeper receipt by all firms with a turnover above $10 million to be disclosed on a public register, just like they do in New Zealand, Britain, and the United States. The Government's banging on with all kinds of arguments around protecting taxpayer secrecy, and yet Gerry Harvey, the great ad man, has given us the best advertisement for transparency in JobKeeper. He's only going back because of public pressure, and he's only got the public pressure because of transparency.

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Government wasted $13b in JobKeeper and won't ask for it back - Transcript, ABC Radio Melbourne

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RADIO MELBOURNE DRIVE WITH RAFAEL EPSTEIN
TUESDAY, 31 AUGUST 2021

SUBJECTS: The Government’s $13 billion in JobKeeper waste.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN, HOST: Hopefully my next guest will not hang up! [Gerry Harvey had just hung up on him.] It's 5.14pm. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities. He's one of the Labor MPs in Canberra. He's part of Anthony Albanese's shadow finance team. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Raf. I can absolutely give you a rock-solid guarantee I will not hang up on you. Look forward to your questions.

EPSTEIN: Firstly, it's significant, isn't it, if Gerry Harvey gives back some of the JobKeeper money? That's a good thing, no?

LEIGH: Absolutely. It's terrific that Gerry Harvey's done the right thing. He was refusing to do so six months ago. It's clear the reason that he repaid was the public pressure that has been placed on him. The only reason we got that public pressure is because the corporate watchdog, ASIC, required listed companies to disclose their JobKeeper to the share market, so it really points to the value of transparency.

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$13 Billion of JobKeeper waste - Speech. House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 31 AUGUST 2021

Seventy-year-old Jan Raabe is a pensioner in Frankston who works as a part-time teacher. Because her employer got JobKeeper, Jan received too much in her age pension. She's now repaying at a rate of $15 a fortnight because that's all she can afford out of her part pension. Still, she's repaying more than billionaires Brett Blundy, Marc Besen, James Packer, Nick Politis and Len Ainsworth combined. They're just some of the nearly a dozen billionaires who benefited from JobKeeper.

Jan is one of more than 11,000 Centrelink recipients who've gotten letters from the government asking them to repay their social security benefits because of JobKeeper receipt. This is a government that's writing letters to people in lockdown asking them to repay historic childcare subsidies.

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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.