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Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, and Treasury, as well as the Federal Member for Fenner in the ACT. Before his election in 2010, Andrew served as a professor of economics at the Australian National University. He holds a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University, and graduated with first class honors in Arts and Law from the University of Sydney. Andrew has received numerous accolades, including the Young Economist Award from the Economic Society of Australia and being named a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences.
Andrew has authored several books, including “Disconnected” (2010), “Battlers and Billionaires: The Story of Inequality in Australia” (2013), “The Economics of Just About Everything” (2014), “The Luck of Politics” (2015), “Choosing Openness: Why Global Engagement is Best for Australia” (2017), “Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Changed Our World” (2018), “Innovation + Equality: How to Create a Future That Is More Star Trek Than Terminator” (with Joshua Gans) (2019), “Reconnected: A Community Builder’s Handbook” (with Nick Terrell) (2020), “What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Existential Risk and Extreme Politics” (2021), and “Fair Game: Lessons From Sport for a Fairer Society & a Stronger Economy” (2022).
Apart from his professional achievements, Andrew is also an avid triathlete and marathon runner. He hosts a podcast called “The Good Life: Andrew Leigh in Conversation,” where he seeks out wise men and women to discuss living a happier, healthier, and more ethical life. Andrew is a proud father of three sons - Sebastian, Theodore, and Zachary - and lives with his wife Gweneth in Canberra. He has been a member of the Australian Labor Party since 1991.
In addition to his podcasts, Andrew maintains another podcast featuring major speeches and conversations, which can be found on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.
Andrew’s office adheres to ten principles of politics, including treating co-workers, constituents, and colleagues with respect and dignity, engaging in communications that enrich the public conversation, cherishing the traditions and strengthening the Labor Party, being honest when unable to help someone and prioritizing important issues, learning from mistakes and sharing knowledge, fostering a positive and inclusive work environment, collaborating with colleagues and valuing diversity, prioritizing personal well-being and balance, and acting ethically with a sense of perspective and gratitude.
Andrew Leigh is a progressive leader who believes in practicing politics with integrity, compassion, and a focus on making a positive impact on the lives of all Australians.
Who is Andrew Leigh
Andrew Keith Leigh, born on 3 August 1972, is a prominent Australian politician, author, lawyer, and former professor of economics at the prestigious Australian National University. He currently holds the position of Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, and Treasury, and has a long and distinguished career in public service.
Leigh’s early life and education were influenced by his parents, who were both academics and social activists in the Christian socialist tradition. He received his primary education in Sydney, Melbourne, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and completed his secondary education at James Ruse Agricultural High School in Sydney. He then graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws in 1994 and 1996 respectively. He went on to earn a Master of Public Administration degree and a PhD in Public Policy from the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School, where his doctoral thesis focused on poverty and inequality.
Leigh’s professional career has been diverse and impressive. Before entering politics, he worked as a lawyer for renowned law firms such as Minter Ellison in Sydney and Clifford Chance in London. He also served as an associate to Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia and as a senior trade adviser to Senator Peter Cook, the Shadow Minister for Trade. Leigh was also a research fellow with the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., and a principal adviser to the Australian Treasury.
As an academic, Leigh was a Professor of Economics at the Australian National University from 2004 to 2010. He has also held visiting appointments at prestigious universities such as the University of Melbourne, New York University, the Research Institute of Industrial Economics, and the University of Michigan. Over his academic career, Leigh has published extensively in the disciplines of economics, public policy, and law, with over 100 journal articles and over 200 opinion pieces to his credit. Since entering parliament in 2010, Leigh has authored or co-authored ten books, showcasing his expertise in various areas of public policy.
Leigh’s political career has been marked by his dedication to public service and his commitment to social democratic values. He first entered politics in the 1995 New South Wales election as the Labor candidate for the state seat of Northcott, although he was unsuccessful. He was later selected as Labor’s candidate for the Australian federal seat of Fraser in 2010, following the retirement of Bob McMullan, and subsequently won the federal election held in August 2010.
Leigh has served in various leadership positions within the Labor Party, including as the Government Spokesperson on Opposition costings in 2013 and as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister under Julia Gillard’s ministry. He was later appointed by Bill Shorten as the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Competition after the 2013 federal election, and continued in this role after the 2016 federal election, where he took on additional portfolios such as Charities and Not-for-Profits, and Trade in Services. Leigh’s dedication to his principles and refusal to align with any faction within the Labor Party led to his appointment as the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities after the 2019 federal election, despite being dropped from the outer ministry of the Shadow Ministry of Anthony Albanese.
Following the 2022 federal election, Leigh was appointed as the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, and Treasury in the Albanese Government Ministry. In this role, he has been a vocal advocate for economic dynamism and social capital in the Australian community, and has championed policies aimed at improving the well-being of all Australians.
Leigh identifies as a social democrat and has consistently advocated for greater autonomy for Labor MPs to dissent from caucus decisions. In his book “The Prince’s New Clothes: Why Do Australians Dislike Their Politicians?”
Leigh has also been an advocate for campaign finance reform, arguing for stricter donation limits and increased transparency in political donations to reduce the influence of money in politics.
As a member of the Labor Party, Leigh has supported policies such as increased investment in education and healthcare, renewable energy, and measures to address income inequality. He has been a vocal critic of corporate tax cuts and has called for stronger regulation of multinational corporations to ensure they pay their fair share of taxes in Australia. Leigh has also been an advocate for addressing climate change and has called for stronger action on reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
In addition to his political career, Leigh is also an accomplished author and has published numerous books on economics, public policy, and social issues. His works often focus on inequality, poverty, and social justice, reflecting his academic background and his progressive political views. Leigh’s books have been widely recognized for their insights and contributions to public discourse in Australia.
In his current role as the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury in the Albanese Government, Leigh continues to work on issues related to economic policy, competition policy, and social justice. He has been an advocate for promoting competition in markets, supporting charitable organizations, and strengthening the Australian economy while addressing inequality and social issues.
Overall, Andrew Leigh is a prominent figure in Australian politics, known for his progressive views, academic achievements, and contributions to public policy discourse. His career has spanned academia, law, public service, and politics, and he continues to play an active role in shaping Australia’s economic and social policies.