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Andrew Leigh calls for “a brighter future”

Andrew Leigh MP 9 May 2019 42
Andrew Leigh. Photo: George Tsotsos.

Andrew Leigh. Photo: George Tsotsos.

Every now and then, governments have a chance to change the course of a nation. Within a year of Bob Hawke’s election, Medicare was up and running. Justin Trudeau was a breath of fresh air to Canadian politics, justifying gender equality with the simple reply ‘because it’s 2015’.

Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generations. Julia Gillard’s government created the National Disability Insurance Scheme. In recent months, Jacinda Ardern drew her nation together in the face of awful tragedy.

It’s easy to be cynical about elections, but politics is also the profession of Mandela and Churchill, Lincoln and Pericles. Done right, it can be part of that great journey towards a world that is more open, prosperous and inclusive.

It’s been just over two thousand days since Labor lost office. Throughout that time, Bill Shorten has led a united Labor team that has focused on hard reform, honest engagement and crafting positive policies.

We know that technology demands a more educated workforce, so we’ll extend preschool to three year-olds, invest in every public school, rebuild apprenticeship numbers, and uncap university places.

We will expand Medicare to cover more out-of-pocket costs for cancer patients, and dental care for seniors. Labor will reduce carbon emissions, and bring humanity back into asylum seeker policy.

We’ve scrutinised the tax system, and identified the tax loopholes that must be closed if we’re to pay back the government debt that has doubled under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government. Labor will ensure multinationals pay their fair share of tax, foster a more dynamic and competitive economy, and engage with charities and non-profits to build civic community.

When it comes to climate change, wages policy and tax reform, Labor’s policies represent the sensible centre in Australian public life. While Coalition ministers decry our childcare affordability policy as ‘communism’ (really!), economic frontbenchers like Chris Bowen, Jim Chalmers, Clare O’Neil, Madeleine King and myself are pro-market progressives. We’ll work with business, but we won’t work for business.

There have been plenty of Labor policies announced nationally, but as an unabashed champion of the bush capital, I’m especially proud of what a Labor Government would do for our city. With the public service decimated under the Coalition, we’d remove the arbitrary public service cap, ensuring agencies can hire permanent staff, rather than being forced to rely on consultants.

We’d invest in the second stage of Light Rail, making it possible to travel by rail all the way from Gungahlin to Woden. For Canberra’s health care system, a Shorten Government would build a new dedicated outpatient clinic, establish a new palliative care in-patient unit and upgrade support services for new mums.

New funding for the University of Canberra would see them establish a unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Entrepreneurs Program, while investment in the Holt District Playing Fields at Kippax will provide better changing room facilities for female players.

To address acute poverty, we’d boost funding for emergency relief, provided by terrific local organisations like Communities@Work and Companion House. A Shorten Labor Government will be as principled, ambitious and unified as the nation deserves.

Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fenner.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the position of Region Media.

Region Media’s election coverage policy can be found here.

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42 Responses to
Andrew Leigh calls for “a brighter future”
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Lucy Baker 6:23 pm 13 May 19

Any plans to be proactive on closing the gender pay gap?

Lucy Baker 6:22 pm 13 May 19

How’s Riotact’s promised “fairness” election tally going? Transparency would be welcome! : )

6:24 pm 12 May 19

Mr Leigh, have you ever been on minimal wage? Lived off the same amount of a pensioner or newstart? Had to pay so much rent that you only had $100 to feed your family? Been within day of having to move out of your rental without being able to get a new one to move in to? Sat and cried while no being able to pay for your child's school excursion or toy they wanted so badly? Had your children taken away because the child protection have been given to much power but ignore the children who are actually need? Sat in an hospital wait room for hours? Had a child need extra help in school? Not been able to pay to go to the doctors?

How can you say we have a brighter future when more families are struggling each year and they constantly get ignored.

12:14 am 12 May 19

Love this "top end of town" stuff. The top 10% of taxpayers contribute more than 30% of tax collected. Nearly 50% of Australian households pay zero net income tax. Let's see how squeezing harder goes.

andrewtt 3:10 pm 11 May 19

Franking credits.
People worked hard all their life, bought shares due to the always changing rules regarding super and now will be penalised

Has Bill considered the cost increases to the welfare system when he strips the self funded retirees franking credits from them
not to mention extra health costs when they opt out of private health insurance

10:32 am 11 May 19

So The RiotACT has a political colour. Disappointing. What are other parties saying?

    3:30 pm 13 May 19

    Canberra luvvoids don't want to know anyone else's opinion, RiotACT's biase is the same as Nine-C'Times … and they wonder why neither of the major parties pays any attention to the ACT.

Mike of Canberra 11:34 pm 10 May 19

Andrew, your ALP promises to put lead in our economic saddlebags by bringing an additional $387bn of taxation to an economy that’s already slowing down. They promise to confound normal labour market functioning by arbitrarily using taxpayers’ funds to increase the pay of childcare workers, thus setting a precedent that will bring Labor’s own Fair Work system to its knees. I see one of Labor’s Green critics in the comments section demanding no Adani mine. Does she not know that the coal from Adani is destined for India, which currently relies on burning very high carbon-emitting materials to generate electricity? Does she not realise that Adani coal will, in fact, enable India to reduce its carbon emissions within a short time?

As for negative gearing, you can be assured that by far the bulk of the risk in residential property investment lies with the investor. In particular, it can be quite hard to become positively geared in the early stages of the ownership of such properties, especially in the ACT where landlords and their tenants are saddled with astronomically high rates, land tax and other government imposts courtesy of that man of the people, Andrew Barr. Negative gearing at least gives such investors the chance to write off their losses against other income. Keating removed negative gearing in the 1980s and, within a couple of years, had to reverse the change in the face of steepling rents derived by a capital strike in investment property markets. Shorten will exempt existing negative gearing arrangements, but this policy will effectively cause a collapse in the on-selling of existing investment properties, sending many investors broke and ultimately creating rental property shortages. Watch what happens to rents then! Australia simply can’t afford these leftist fantasy policies.

6:48 pm 10 May 19

But this man is spending many millions of dollars subsidising the big end of town. How is it fair that a person who owns 1o rental homes can receive a subsidy of $10.000 per home per year. Over six years this person has received $600,000. How is it fair that a family is struggling to buy their first home at higher prices (Mr Morrison has admitted that subsidies increase prices in the third debate) caused by this subsidy or the family struggling to pay their rent at higher prices caused by this subsidy? Put the liberals last.

11:25 am 10 May 19

Your party needs to promise to #StopAdani Andrew. And 100% renewable energy by 2030. Otherwise I'm not voting for you.

    1:18 pm 10 May 19

    So Rachel wants to deny millions of Indians from getting electricity, improving their lives? Good stuff Rachel. Were you out cheering the brats striking from school?

    2:27 pm 10 May 19

    Ray Atkin ? I'm referring to Australia going 100% renewable (it's an Australian election Ray). In answer to your second question, you bet I was :-)

    4:05 pm 10 May 19

    Uh huh. So the coal stays in the ground, Australia earns no export income meaning the country quickly goes broke, thousands of Australians lose their jobs, the government receives less tax payments, those on Social Security increase thereby exacerbating the country's financial status. Meantime millions of people not that far away from us continue to suffer hardships such as cooking by burning dried cow dung and lack of pumping of potable water instead of drawing from a polluted village well because of the lack of sufficient electricity supply. Your concern for the welfare of others and the level of your strategic thinking is truly amazing … and do you really think Andrew Leigh gives a rats whether you vote for him or not? The "Australian election" has far greater repercussions than you appear to realise.

    6:02 pm 10 May 19

    Yes, the coal stays in the ground. Andrew is my local member. He's a good guy. I think he cares about the concerns of his constituents.

    10:01 pm 10 May 19

    Ray Atkin the repercussions of voting for the LNP is what truly scares me!!

    10:26 pm 10 May 19

    In which case Margaret you aren't paying attention to the "policies" GreLab intend imposing, nor the implications on the economy in, say, two-three years time. The GreLab's, with something like $4.4B already "promised" have no idea how they will pay for except to hit the "top end of town", small business and pensioners, but that won't cover half of it. Shorten and his mob are Whitlam, Rudd, Gillard and Rudd repeated.

    10:27 pm 10 May 19

    Rachel Woolf What has he demonstrably done for his constituents Rachel? He got more media attention at a speech he made last year in the US where he bagged much about Australia.

    9:00 am 11 May 19

    As opposed to your Liberal Senator and poster boy Zed Seselja has done the following for Canberra:

    9:10 am 11 May 19

    Malcolmd Davies If you're thinking I'm a big L-NP fan you're wrong. If I have 100 reasons to hate Labor and it's camp followers I have 95 to hate the L-NP. The only real difference as far as I'm concerned are the leaders. Shorten is a hypocritical opportunist, has demonstrated time and again to be a back-stabber. He wants nothing other than adulation and the keys to the Lodge. Morrison falls just short of being an oaf but has a good heart, I'd generally trust him to do the right thing. I would only trust Shorten while having him in gunsights.

    9:53 am 11 May 19

    Ray Atkin So you don't think the "top end of town" should actually pay tax commensurate with their actual earnings rather than a fudged profit/loss statement produced by highly paid and creative accountants? ... Let's just let the big companies find tax havens and other legal measures to avoid paying tax which wage earners, etc can't use - that is ok with you? By small business I assume you mean initiatives such as the reversal of the change to weekend/ph penalties - since the penaties were reduced my local cafe hasn't taken on any new staff and I still have to pay a weekend/ph surcharge ... so seems to me the extra money went from staff, working while the rest of us are relaxing, to their bosses. By pensioners I assume you refer to the franking credits removal ... it's one thing to reduce your tax liability via deductions but to may no tax and still get a payment from the ATO is a handout - and Centrelink is responsible for welfare not ATO ... if people are going to suffer hardship then the welfare system should look after them not the tax system. Oh and your assertion of Shorten being a back stabber whereas you would "trust ... " Morrison to "... do the right thing ..." - was he not complicit at best / involved at worst in the knifing of Abbot - oh and look who benefitted most from the knifing of Turnbull? Like you I am no fan of Labor or Liberal but I actually try to understand a policy before I accept/dismiss it. Which means I try to get both sides of the argument - and it's definitely getting harder to get balanced journalism these days ... but I certainly don't accept the word of the likes of Jones, Bolt and Hadley et al - whose playbook you seem to be quoting from above. Just in case you haven't heard, the worst debt ever imposed on Australian people and future generations by the Labor party has doubled since the LNP got into power and ordinary Australians (read wage earners) are no better off. Forgive me if I don't join you on the LNP yellow brick road. Personally I'd like to see more (IMHO) intelligent independents of the likes of Andrew Wilkie, Kerryn Phelps and Cathy McGowan (or her annointed replacement if she wins) who actually seem to be using their seat in the House of Reps to vote on the merits of legislation rather than just following the party line like sheep. These are the type of people who would ensure that the end of the world that you predict under Shorten's Labor would not happen. We (the electorate) need to stop this attitude of Labor bad / LNP good or vice versa and think about what our vote actually menas - by looking at what is going to be good policy - whoever comes up with it. Bipartisanship for the actual good of all Australians not only the unions (Labor) and big-end of town (LNP). Guess it's time to click my heels and head back to Kansas with Toto.

    10:07 am 11 May 19

    The "top end of town" should pay their fair share of taxes like everyone else, as I understand it the ATO is achieving success in the task of roping in the money which gives Shorten less reason to bash "top end of town" but he does so because he knows there are sufficient numbers of people among the battlers will swallow his shrill. He should also not be supping with the likes of Anthony Pratt and accepting money from them, would not many in the proletariat wonder why their hero is sitting down with the Bosses? The "backstabbing" style of the main players is well known, I consider Morrison less a risk than Shorten. I do not follow the Hadley's et al, my TV viewing nowadays is limited to "Coast", "Great Euro Train Journeys" and "Mr. Foyle" when he's screened. My radio's are tuned to either Classic FM or Artsound. Many of the "independents" aren't. They are accepting admin and financial assistance from Labor. McGowan would be about the only true independent and I admire her, too bad she's leaving after too short a tenure in the Parliament.

    12:35 pm 11 May 19

    Ray Atkin The participants of the climate were brats? They actually care about the future.

    2:28 pm 11 May 19

    I'm not really making myself clear. I like Andrew Leigh because I see him down the shops with his family & he writes some great books about Aust economics (see 'Battlers and Billionaires'). I won't vote for him unless his party reverses the Commonwealth approval to start building the Adani mine (which Melissa Price did two days before the election was called). Why won't I vote for Leigh? Because we're in the middle of the sixth great extinction and environmental collapse. It's not fake news. It's not a drill. Please, however you vote (ALP, LNP, Greens, Independents) don't vote for personalities or isolated policies. Vote for the people who promise to do everything they can to support 100% renewable energy. If Leanne Castley (Liberal) did that tomorrow (and so did her party) she would have my vote. Climate science, politics and economics can all be very complicated (and actually, how to lift the third world out of poverty is one of the very complicated bits). But this is simple. That's why the kids get it: this is the Climate Election. My kids (who can't vote yet) have asked me to cast my vote with them in mind, and I will:

    5:40 pm 11 May 19

    We are still coming out of the last Ice Age, as I understand it (and if there's a genuine scientist out there to set me straight I'd like to know) I understand we have about another 5,000 years to run before reaching what might be called "Peak Warm". So we ain't seen nothin' yet. You may remove mankind and all his works from planet Earth but that won't stop the re-warming. The greatest influence on warming is to do with planet Earth's wobble and gyrating orbit around the Sun which occurs at about 25,000 - 30,000 year cycles, as I understand it, that's what causes ice (and warm) ages. I repeat, if there is a cluey scientist out there who can set me straight on that please do so.

    5:53 pm 11 May 19

    … oops, hit "enter" … To continue: Children demonstrating will not stop warming and has virtually no influence on politicians or those with a vested interest in the topic. Seems to me a lot of people have cranked up an alarmist scenario which will achieve nothing positive and bombards children with needless worry and trauma. Global warming and it's peripherals had no influence or consideration in my pre-poll last Monday. I voted on what I considered to be the credibility of the two main protagonists, Morrison and Shorten. I consider Morrison to be almost an oaf but more honest and trustworthy than Shorten who I consider is interested in only two things, adulation and the Lodge. Despite the froth and bubble this is not a climate election, it is an election to do with economic credibility.

    2:54 pm 13 May 19

    Ray Atkin Even on the matter of economic credibility the LNP can't claim their usual front running ... as at July 1 2018, the budget estimate of net debt in Australia was about A$341.0 billion, up from A$174.5 billion in September 2013, when the Coalition took office - that's just short of double in 5 years. And you can't blame Labor for their usual nay-saying-stance-of-the-Opposition as the Libs had plenty of ideologically equivalent cross benchers to get their supposed "debt reducing" legislation passed - it's just no-one believed that things like the flow-on affect of huge tax cuts to the large corporations and banks were of true benefit to the economy.

    No-one is disputing the natural warming of the earth - but the facts do show that that warming has accelerated in the past century as per the following from NASA (

    "Scientific Consensus

    Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.

    Click here ( for a partial list of these public statements and related resources."

    So forgive me if I choose to listen to a far more credible source than the usual climate denier rhetoric.

    And many of those "Children demonstrating ..." will be eligible to vote at the next election, so I would suggest the people who dismiss them should not get too comfortable as these kids may have a say on whether or not those politicians keep their jobs in 3 or so years time.

    3:46 pm 13 May 19

    Hugo Young Uh huh. So did the brats go and demo in front of the Chinese Embassy (y'know, the Chinese are building all those coal-fired power stations), did they demo in front of the Indonesian Embassy (y'know, like the Brazilians ,the Indon's are clearing thousands of acres of forest every year and doing a demo at the Indon Embassy also gives the brats a chance for a double-header, "Save The Orangutans") . They did do that didn't they? If they didn't they demonstrate a hypocrisy of selective intimidation, why just pick on Adani when there are three other coal mines right next door to where Adani want to set up. So their "caring about the future" may be more about them being conned and manipulated by vested interests: follow the money.

    6:48 pm 13 May 19

    Ray, can I just ask one thing of you please? Don't call the young, well read, passionate people of this city - and many others from Helsinki to Capetown - "brats". You might disagree with their cause, but it is founded on research informed reports from the UN and the IPCC, and has been supported by members of governments throughout the world. They're overwhelmingly sincere and respectful. Their vast numbers also include my own children. I ask you to show some courtesy.

Capital Retro 7:59 am 10 May 19

Is “a Brighter Future” going to be the title of your next book, Mr Leigh?

Sounds like your first foray into fiction.

Gilavon 10:23 pm 09 May 19

Ba ha ha !!! A brighter future??? Shorten wants to run the country like a union so really McManus and Setka will be calling the shots, he wants to dud retirees of superannuation entitlements, he can’t come up with costings for his emissions scheme, he wants to pay pre-school teachers more but ignores aged-care workers and nurses, he’s so far run up a “promises tab” of around $130 billion with no clear explanation of how he’ll cover the cost with our money … and Leigh reckons we’re in for a brighter future??? From the look on Leigh’s face in the photo I reckon he knows he’s dreaming but can’t get out of it …. and all of that before the Greens enforce their balance of power!

7:42 pm 09 May 19


Yeah....inclusive you don’t disagree or not conform.

Grimm 1:24 pm 09 May 19

Same old thing from the ALP. Claiming companies and “the rich” pay no tax. The ABS already shows that >50% of Australian households pay no net income tax and that about 5% of the population pay over 50% of income tax collected. These are “the rich” that the ALP always like to lie about to stir up the low income voter base.

You have nothing but inciting class warfare and pretending you are going to play robin hood. Buying votes with promises of more free cash. Some of us know the reality is that the ALP and their union mates have their nose just as deep, or deeper in the trough as everybody they accuse of doing the same. Even though they are only slightly less garbage, at least the Libs aren’t controlled by union thugs and shady deals that allow the greens to dictate policy.

Capital Retro 1:16 pm 09 May 19

….”rebuild apprenticeship numbers”….

For what trades?

    Grimm 9:11 am 10 May 19

    Whichever ones have basically compulsory union membership if you ever want to work.

    Gilavon 1:16 pm 10 May 19

    Yep, same as pre-school staff getting higher wages: Must Join Union, place must become a union shop.

bj_ACT 1:16 pm 09 May 19

Meanwhile many people from Tuggeranong, have seen their local schools close, their infrastructure crumble, their jobs move to Civic or the Airport, their Lake suffer severe environmental and climate damage, their sporting and play facilities handed over to developers, their public transport taken away and federal Government’s of both parties ignore the area.

This message shows that nothing is going to change for the Tuggeranong region under Mr Leigh or Labor. Or under Morrison and Zed either.

Time to vote independent. PS I know Leigh is not the Tuggers rep, but he talks Canberra.

12:33 pm 09 May 19

It can only be prosperous if it’s all inclusive and they don’t target classes of people, which they certainly will.

maxblues 12:02 pm 09 May 19

Andrew Leigh missed out the bit about no Labor Prime Minister ever supporting same-sex marriage and leaving it up to a Liberal Prime Minister to support it.

    Capital Retro 3:35 pm 10 May 19

    Doesn’t fit the narrative.

    Malcolm Davies 5:55 pm 13 May 19

    Apart from the fact that the majority of Libs (including our current PM) fought tooth and nail to avoid even discussing it, we now have same-sex marriage, so nothing to see here – move on ….

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