Andrew Leigh calls for “a brighter future”

Andrew Leigh MP 9 May 2019 20
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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20 Responses to Andrew Leigh calls for “a brighter future”
Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 6:23 pm 13 May 19

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

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 6:22 pm 13 May 19

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

Natalie Porter Natalie Porter 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.

Nick James Nick James 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 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

Mike of Canberra 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.

Mac John Mac John 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.

Capital Retro 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 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!

Andrew Duncan Andrew Duncan 7:42 pm 09 May 19


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

Grimm 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 Capital Retro 1:16 pm 09 May 19

….”rebuild apprenticeship numbers”….

For what trades?

    Grimm Grimm 9:11 am 10 May 19

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

    Gilavon 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 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.

Jason Preston Jason Preston 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 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 Capital Retro 3:35 pm 10 May 19

    Doesn’t fit the narrative.

    Malcolm Davies 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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