Rushed bill lacks sophistication - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 10 NOVEMBER 2020

The bill before the House today is, at a high level, uncontroversial but, in the detail, deeply problematic. At a high level, it's perfectly sensible that the Commonwealth should have oversight over arrangements which states and territories make with foreign entities. But in the detail, this bill could well prohibit arrangements which many of us in this House would regard as desirable. Professor George Williams gave such example. He said:

… let's say, the United Kingdom government. They have a tender of some kind and perhaps the opportunity for a major research agreement—a collaboration dealing with COVID-19. In that case, the UK government may put something like that out to tender or competition. It will be on the basis that the Australian university can only take part in that if we can agree to the terms as preset by the government without any possibility of variation. We can't do that. A tender term is typically, 'You will accept these terms—no variation,' so you run the risk of locking us out of tenders from friendly governments that are highly advantageous to Australia because we no longer have the institutional autonomy that the UK and US universities will have to compete on that playing field.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Women have right to feel safe and respected in any workplace - Transcript, 2SM with Marcus Paul

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 2020

SUBJECTS: Australia’s largest ever e-petition for a strong and diverse news media; Four Corners allegations; JobKeeper.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Dr Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury is with us on the program. Andrew, good morning, mate.

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

PAUL: Alright. So at least it's now official, if you like, this e-petition calling for media diversity, and we played your piece just a moment ago of the tabling. I don't know, I might be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure I heard a very audible sigh from the Speaker and I thought that was a little rude.

LEIGH: I think it might have been just a reflection the sheer size of the petition. I know it’s an e-petition, but when you bring these things into parliament, you have to have them physically with you. It was about the size of two reams of paper, so he might have been looking at the weight I was lifting. And given I’m a runner rather than weightlifter, it probably looked like a fairly heroic feat.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Morrison Government attacking universities - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 9 NOVEMBER 2020

This government's attitude towards universities has been nothing short of outrageous. At a time when there is capacity in our universities due to the slowdown in the number of international students, we should be inviting more Australians to study at our great institutions. Yet what is this government doing? It's cutting government funding to Australia's higher education institutions on a per-student basis, and it's raising student fees, making it harder for Australians to get an education, at the very time at which we should be educating more young Australians.

This stands in complete contrast to the way Labor handled education in the early-1990s recession—the recession that those opposite referred to as the ‘Keating Recession’, despite the fact that many other countries in the world saw a global downturn at that point. They won't have this recession called the ‘Morrison Recession’, but they're happy to call the early-1990s global recession the ‘Keating Recession’.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Government needs to be fair on visa extensions - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 9 NOVEMBER 2020

For two years, Dipy Malik and her husband saved up to pay the $10,000 fee for a sponsored parent visa.

It was granted on 25 January 2020, the day before Australia Day and Indian Republic Day.

Ms Malik’s father, Shyam Lal Khatri, is 84 years old. The visa allowed him to stay in Australia for five years. 

As a result of the COVID-19 travel ban, Mr Khatri has been unable to travel to Australia.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Strong, diverse news media essential to Australia - Speech, House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 9 NOVEMBER 2020

I table Petition EN1938 on a strong and diverse news media.

The principal petitioner is former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

It is also signed by former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Begun just a month ago, this is the largest e-petition in our Parliament’s history, and I thank each of the 501,876 citizens who signed it. We in this parliament are the servants of the people, and a vital part of our job is to table the views of citizens.

Read more
2 reactions Share

Australia's charities need support, not silence - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES
MEMBER FOR FENNER 

SENATOR CATRYNA BILYK

SENATOR FOR TASMANIA

AUSTRALIA’S CHARITIES NEED SUPPORT, NOT SILENCE

Charities across Australia are struggling with increasing demand and dwindling resources as they step up to help people falling through the gaps left by the Morrison Government.

Since the spread of coronavirus started, demand for charities’ help has skyrocketing. Earlier this year, Foodbank reported that demand was up 78 per cent, yet their supplies of donated food had shrunk by 27 per cent. The Salvation Army has seen increased demand, but its Red Shield Appeal has raised less than half of its $8 million target.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Proposed CIC more cover up commission than corruption commission - Transcript, 2SM with Marcus Paul

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

2SM WITH MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 3 NOVEMBER 2020

SUBJECT: Commonwealth Integrity Commission.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury. He's on the program. Andrew, good morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus.

PAUL: You've campaigned long and hard for a federal ICAC. Are you at all surprised by the fact that this is a kind of watered down ICAC, if you like?

LEIGH: This is more a cover up commission than a corruption commission, Marcus. I mean, you've been on the case as much as anyone and I think the government is only acting because of the strong public pressure that has been on your program and from Labor, from independents like Helen Haines. What’s been delivered is just like Mike Carlton said - a corruption commission which can't initiate its own hearings, which doesn't have the power to sit in public, which wouldn't have the power to look back through so many of the scandals that have emerged under the Morrison Government.

Read more
1 reaction Share

The economics of generosity - Op Ed, Smart Company

THE ECONOMICS OF GENEROSITY

Smart Company, November 2 2020

In its early years, Sydney technology company Atlassian had a workplace giving program. Employees could choose to support any charity they favoured, but because of a lack of promotion and a cumbersome sign-up process, only around 2 per cent of Atlassian staff were part of the program. So in 2015 Atlassian revamped the program. They minimised employees’ ability to choose which organisation they would donate to, and focused on supporting the work in Cambodia of Room to Read, a charity that works to improve girls’ literacy. The sign-up pro-gram was massively simplified, so it took just two clicks and could be done in six seconds or less. The first 100 employees who signed up to the revised program were given an Atlassian Foundation sweatshirt.

A literacy charity wasn’t the obvious partner for an enterprise software company, but the firm has built ties by encouraging a group of staff each year to fund their own travel to Cambodia to assist with the charity’s work. Because the sign-up process was quicker and simpler, enrolments increased twenty-fold. Over 40 per cent of Atlassian employees now participate in the program. Room to Read has expanded to over a dozen developing nations, and the option to join Atlassian’s workplace giving program is now embedded in the sign-up process for all new employees.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Me versus we: ‘The Upswing’ - Op Ed, The Monthly

ME VERSUS WE: 'THE UPSWING'

The Monthly, November 2020

On a summer’s day in San Francisco, a university student waited to cross a zebra crossing. Some cars obeyed the law and stopped. Others whizzed through the intersection. A second student observed the cars and recorded their status, grading them on a five-point scale from beaten-up hatchbacks to luxury sedans. Afterwards, researchers tabulated the data. Among the most modest cars, all stopped at the crossing. Of the most expensive, almost half ignored the pedestrian and drove straight through.

Pan across to Australia in early 2020, as the federal government was devising its economic response to the coronavirus pandemic. While other countries had offered wage subsidies, the Coalition was initially reluctant. Then business leaders began turning up the pressure. In one telephone call, retail billionaire Solomon Lew reportedly cried as he spoke to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, urging him to provide wage subsidies to affected firms. At the end of March, a package was announced.

Because Solomon Lew had to shut many of his stores, his company – which owns Dotti, Just Jeans and Portmans, among others – experienced a drop in revenue, and qualified for around $45 million in JobKeeper payments. But it wasn’t long before the firm’s fortunes turned around, helped by strong online sales. At the end of September, Lew’s company announced that its profits had matched those in previous year, and paid shareholders a $57 million dividend. As the largest shareholder, Lew himself received more than $20 million. A policy designed to support workers ended up benefiting an Australian billionaire. And it wasn’t an isolated example. Other firms used JobKeeper to prop up profits, and even paid executive bonuses after receiving the taxpayer-funded assistance.

Read more
1 reaction Share

A proper COVID-19 recovery must start with big thinking in parliament - Opinion, The Canberra Times

A PROPER COVID-19 RECOVERY MUST START WITH BIG THINKING IN PARLIAMENT

The Canberra Times, 29 October 2020 

At the end of World War II, my grandparents Jean and Roly Stebbins built their own beachside house near the Melbourne suburb of Altona, making the bricks by hand. As a teacher and a railway worker, they raised four children into a society built on the promise that the 1950s would be better than the 1930s.

My mother's family were among the millions of Australians who benefited from the foresighted policies of that era. As the fight against fascism drew to a close, prime minister John Curtin commissioned H. C. "Nugget" Coombs to lead a team to write a white paper on full employment. The two men had gotten to know each other watching Aussie rules matches in Canberra, and Coombs was known for his breadth and boldness.

Produced in 1945, the white paper noted that from 1919 to 1939, "more than one-tenth of the men and women desiring work were unemployed", and it committed the nation to full employment as "a fundamental aim of the Commonwealth government". The white paper emphasised the need for high-skill jobs, harnessing the "spirit of enterprise". It focused on ways of raising productivity, and the importance of ensuring that workers received "a fair share of increased output flowing from the growing productivity of labour".

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.