Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Jul 28, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Eid Mubarak

 

Eid Mubarak  

 

مبارك عيد

 

It gives us great pleasure to take the opportunity to send our best wishes to you, your family and friends as you celebrate Eid al-Fitr, concluding the month of Ramadan. Eid Mubarak. I hope your family enjoy this blessed occasion, particularly children for whom it is such a joy.

Many of those celebrating Eid al-Fitr celebrate it today, and many more will celebrate tomorrow following the sighting of the moon.

 

Eid al-Fitr is an important time of intense devotion; of spiritual renewal; of celebration and joy; and a time of thanks. This is a joyous time of celebration and unity, where the Islamic community comes together to pray and celebrate as one, to support those in need, and to promote goodwill and harmony across the world.

 

Australia is home to just under half a million Muslims, and over 1.6 billion worldwide. Throughout Ramadan this year, the prayers and thoughts of many Australian Muslims have been with all their brothers and sisters, families and friends throughout the world who face uncertainty and unrest. Islamic values such as selflessness, charity, compassion and justice are values all Australians share.

 

As you celebrate and rejoice in the glory and the graces of Allah, we wish you all the best on this auspicious occasion. Kul ‘am wantum bikhair.

 

بخير انتم  و عام  كل

 

Jul 27, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

AFP MISSION IN UKRAINE

 

More than a week has passed since 298 people, including Australian citizens and residents, were shot out of the sky in an act of barbarous terror.

 

The nation’s shock and grief has turned to frustration as we wait for answers to this unspeakable crime.

 

This afternoon I spoke with the Prime Minister regarding the deployment of Australian Federal Police officers to Ukraine as part of a Dutch-led, unarmed police operation.

 

I offered the Prime Minister Labor’s full support for this mission.

 

The priority is and must continue to be the recovery of the bodies, their identification, and their repatriation to grieving families.

 

In a dangerous and volatile environment, this is the most sensible course of action.

 

There is no doubt this will be a difficult mission, but Labor has full confidence in the skill and professionalism of the AFP officers undertaking this task. I know all Australians will keep them in their thoughts.

 

Labor will continue to seek regular briefings from the Government as the mission progresses.

 

We owe it to the families of the victims to bring their loved ones home.

 

 

SUNDAY, 27 JULY 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:        LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

DAN DORAN 0427 464 350 (PLIBERSEK)

 

 

 

Jul 21, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION ON FLIGHT MH17

 

Labor welcomes the UN Security Council’s unanimous adoption of a resolution that condemns the downing of flight MH17 and calls for unimpeded access to the crash site.

 

This is a strong expression of the international community’s collective outrage at this terrible tragedy.

 

Critically, the resolution calls for the bodies of all victims to be accorded the utmost dignity and respect as they are recovered and repatriated.

 

It also underscores the importance of a full independent, international investigation.

 

Now, it is vital that all parties act in accordance with this binding UN Security Council resolution so the perpetrators can be brought to justice.

 

At this difficult time, our thoughts remain with the families, friends, and colleagues of the victims, including 37 Australians.

 

The Opposition continues to offer its full support to the Government.

 

TUESDAY, 22 JULY 2014

 

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:        LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

      DAN DORAN 0427 464 350 (PLIBERSEK)

 

 

 

Jul 19, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES

 

This week I will visit the United States for a range of meetings and to take part in the 22nd Australian-American Leadership Dialogue (AALD).

 

Australia’s relationship with the United States has been one of our country’s deepest and most enduring, based on shared fundamental values.

 

Our countries share a bond forged in the midst of many conflicts, where our service men and women have literally stood shoulder to shoulder in the cause of freedom.

 

This trip, I will meet United States Vice-President Joe Biden and National Security Advisers to President Obama about security issues including terrorism and energy security.

 

I will also hold talks with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns about significant international developments including the need for an independent investigation as part of the global response to the MH17 tragedy.

 

In New York, I will be briefed by Australia’s UN Mission about efforts to secure a binding resolution at the UN Security Council for an investigation into MH17.

 

I will also be meeting with a number of Congressional, business, economic and science leaders in Washington DC and New York.

 

Along with discussions about the response to the MH17 tragedy, issues such as energy security, climate change and transition to renewable energy will also be discussed.

 

This will be in light of recent policy developments in the US and Australia – and in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris next year.

 

Australia’s relationship with the United States is remarkably strong and will remain so as we deal with a number of deeply concerning international security issues and ongoing economic challenges.

 

The AALD has been an excellent forum for bringing together high level participants from government, and many areas of business and other sectors to canvass the most significant contemporary challenges that are common to our nations.

 

I will also speak at the Peterson Institute of International Economics and paying my respects at both Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC and the National September 11 Memorial in New York.

 

Deputy Leader Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP will be Acting Leader of the Opposition from today until the morning of Sunday 27 July.

SUNDAY, 20 JULY 2014

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

Jul 18, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

LABOR STRENGTHENS QANTAS

 

This afternoon, the Government has voted for Labor’s amendments to the Qantas Sale Act, ensuring the national carrier remains majority Australian hands and keeps jobs onshore.

 

Labor is pleased the Parliament has had the sense to agree to the fair and reasonable changes that we proposed.

 

Australians value Qantas as our national carrier and they want jobs to stay in Australia.

 

For months, Labor has advocated for a common sense solution which allows Qantas greater access to capital while safeguarding jobs and keeping the airline Australian.

 

Labor moved amendments to the Qantas Sale Act in the Senate to remove the so-called 25-35 provisions which limit foreign ownership in Qantas by an individual foreign investor to 25 per cent and by foreign-owned airlines to 35 per cent.

 

There is no change to the existing foreign investment limit of 49 per cent, meaning Qantas will remain majority Australian owned.

 

Labor’s amendments also protect other elements already contained within the existing Qantas Sale Act including:

 

  • Retention of the majority of the airline’s jobs in Australia

 

  • Ensuring at least two-thirds of the Qantas board are Australians, including the chairperson;

 

  •  Keeping the head office in Australia; and

 

  • Ensuring the majority of international maintenance is conducted in Australia.

 

At the time Labor released the amendments, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said they were ‘nothing new’ and refused to support Labor’s plan.

 

We are pleased the Government has now decided to support our amendments, despite insisting there was “no Plan B” for Qantas should its proposal to sell Qantas to foreign owners fail to pass the Parliament.

 

We are proud that because of Labor, the flying kangaroo will still call Australia home.

 

Qantas will be stronger and more competitive, and remain majority Australian owned.


FRIDAY, 18 JULY 2014

MEDIA CONTACTS:        LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

HANNAH FRANK (ALBANESE) 0427 636 837   

Jul 18, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 17

This tragedy is devastating news.

 

Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of all those on board, including at least 23 Australians.

 

We are advised the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has established a 24 hour hotline. Anyone with concerns about loved ones should call 1300 555 135.

 

The Labor Opposition will do all it can to support the Government at this terrible time.

 

FRIDAY, 18 JULY 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT:          LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

                                       DAN DORAN (PLIBERSEK) 0427 464 350

Jul 17, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

THANK YOU, JOE HOCKEY

 

In Question Time today, the Abbott Government showed once and for all just how out of touch they are.

 

Despite overseeing a budget train wreck that will hurt millions of ordinary Australians, the Prime Minister had this to say about his flailing, failing Treasurer:

 

I am proud of this Treasurer.

 

Frankly, Madam Speaker, the country should be pleased and grateful…

 

Thank you, Joe Hockey.

 

TONY ABBOTT – QUESTION TIME – 17 JULY 2014

 

The arrogance is astonishing. It’s offensive to every Australian who will be hurt by this Prime Minister’s broken promises.

 

Australians are not thanking Joe Hockey.

 

They aren’t thanking Joe Hockey for his new GP Tax, which will hurt them every time they visit their doctor.

 

Motorists aren’t thanking Joe Hockey for his new petrol tax, which will hit them every time they fill up the car.

 

Families aren’t thanking Joe Hockey for leaving them more than $6000 a year worse off.

 

Australian pensioners aren’t thanking Joe Hockey for cutting their modest pension and increasing the retirement age.

 

They aren’t thanking Tony Abbott or Joe Hockey for the lies they told before the last election.

 

When Coalition members return to their electorates this week, I encourage them to talk to their constituents about the GP Tax, the petrol tax, the cuts and the broken promises.

 

And I encourage Coalition members to ask their community for its gratitude.

 

Ordinary Australians are paying the price for Tony Abbott’s arrogance and incompetence – and he wants their thanks.

 

Labor will continue to fight this budget because it is unfair, short-sighted and based on lies told to the Australian people.

 

THURSDAY, 17 JULY 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

Jul 16, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT WILL HIT AUSTRALIANS WITH MORE BUDGET PAIN

In Question Time today, the Prime Minister refused to rule out his government making further cuts, including to hospitals, schools and family support, which will hurt Australians more.

 

Labor repeatedly called on the Abbott Government to rule out more cuts and broken promises, following the Treasurer’s threat today that he is willing to inflict even more pain to rescue his shambolic Budget.

 

The Prime Minister comprehensively failed to guarantee that schools, hospitals and families won’t be hit with a double-whammy of unfair Budget cuts.

 

On radio this morning, Joe Hockey threatened the Senate that if he didn’t get his way, he would bypass Parliament completely by making cuts via regulation.

 

Now, if the Senate chooses to block savings initiatives, then we need to look at other savings initiatives that may not require legislation and I would ask the Greens and the Labor Party who between them hold 35 votes on the floor of the Senate – to understand that there are alternatives for a Government.

 

JOE HOCKEY – AM PROGRAM – 16 JULY 2014

 

Tony Abbott is already cutting $50 billion from hospitals – and he wants to cut more.

 

He is cutting $30 billion from our schools – and he wants to cut more.

 

And he is leaving a typical Australian family more than $6000 a year worse off – and he wants to cut even more.

 

Tony Abbott was more than willing to rule out including the family home in the means test for the Age Pension, but he wouldn’t rule out abolishing Family Tax Benefit B – as recommended by his Commission of Audit.

 

And he wouldn’t rule out increasing his unfair GP Tax to 15 dollars – also recommended by his Commission of Audit.

 

The Government’s arrogant threat to hurt Australians more won’t hide the fact that they have failed to get this unfair Budget through the Parliament.

 

If the Prime Minister wants to blame someone for the chaos his unfair Budget has caused – he should start with his inept Treasurer.

 

Ordinary Australians shouldn’t have to pay the price for this government’s incompetence and arrogance.

 

Labor will continue to fight this Budget because it is unfair, short-sighted and based on lies to the Australian people.

 

WEDNESDAY, 16 JULY 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACTS: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

Jul 9, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

BANK SCANDAL SHOWS NEED FOR STRONG CONSUMER PROTECTIONS

The Opposition will establish a fresh Senate Inquiry into how thousands of Commonwealth Bank customers lost their savings and whether the Abbott Government’s weakening of consumer protections will place investors at greater risk.

What occurred at the Commonwealth Bank is a scandal of shocking proportions – and it should never be allowed to occur again.

No one knows how many people have lost their savings, nor how much was lost.

It beggars belief that the Abbott Government is watering down consumer protections in financial advice, particularly in light of what has occurred at the Commonwealth Bank.

The new inquiry will be asked to consider:

• The actions of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) including those of the executive during the misconduct;
• Why financial advisors who were known to be behaving unethically were promoted;
• The performance of Australian Securities and Investments Commission in its initial investigation and whether stronger laws are required; and
• The implications of financial advice reforms on the financial services sector, including moves to reduce consumer protections in light of the CBA misconduct.
This isn’t just about the Commonwealth Bank, this is about the investments and savings of millions of Australians.

The Opposition is extremely concerned that despite all these events, the Abbott Government is weakening – rather than tightening – consumer protections.

The Abbott Government has been too slow to respond to this scandal and the Opposition is concerned it will simply sweep it under the carpet because it finds the issue politically inconvenient.

While the Commonwealth Bank’s announcement last week of compensation for victims is a good first step, it falls well short of what’s needed. The onus shouldn’t be on customers to come forward – the Bank should be working its hardest to identify customers.

More importantly, this should never be allowed to occur again.

The inquiry will be asked to provide an interim report by 1 September. Full draft terms of reference are below.

DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE:
That the following matters be referred to the Senate Economics References Committee for inquiry and an interim report by 1 September 2014, with the final reporting date to be agreed by the Committee:
(1) The actions of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) in relation to the misconduct of advisers and planners within the CBA’s financial planning businesses including, but not limited to:

a) a thorough examination of the actions of the CBA executive in uncovering and responding to episodes of misconduct, including allegations of a cover up;
b) the circumstances surrounding decisions to promote financial advisors who were known to be behaving unethically, including decisions as to their ongoing employment;
c) examination of the initial evidence provided to the inquiry into the performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission by the Senate Economics References Committee regarding compensation provide to CBA clients, and the revision of that evidence;
d) identification of any conduct that may amount to a breach of any law or professional standard; and
e) identification of any clients affected or likely to be affected by the misconduct and assess the appropriateness of the compensation processes provided by the CBA to these clients.

(2) Consider mechanisms, including a centralised register, that would ensure financial planners found to have breached any law or professional standards in their employment at one firm are transparent to the sector and consumers;

(3) Consider the implications of financial advice reforms on the financial services sector, including moves to reduce consumer protections in light of the CBA misconduct;

(4) Consider any recommendations the Committee views necessary, and further to the recommendations contained in the report of the inquiry into the performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission by the Senate Economics References Committee, regarding regulatory or legislative reforms that may be required.

(5) Consider other similar episodes of financial advice, planning or services that may amount to a breach of any law or professional standards;

(6) Seek the views of people affected by financial services misconduct regarding responses from financial services providers, government regulations, industry standards and other matters relevant; and

(7) Any related matters that the Committee regards as relevant.

WEDNESDAY, 9 JULY 2014

MEDIA CONTACTS: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

Jul 6, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

VISIT TO WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND

 

Federal Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten is visiting Wellington to discuss Australia’s important strategic and people to people links with New Zealand, and how they can be strengthened.

 

In his first visit to New Zealand as Leader of the Opposition, Mr Shorten will receive a number of briefings including from the Australian High Commission in Wellington.

 

In discussions with both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in New Zealand, a number of areas for improved cooperation and stronger relations with Australia have been raised for further work.

 

Mr Shorten took a deep interest in relations with New Zealand as Minister for Superannuation, progressing the portability of superannuation agenda significantly and will meet with the New Zealand Institute for Economic Reform.

 

Australia and New Zealand have sustained close and longstanding defence relations. Mr Shorten will visit the Joint Forces Headquarters New Zealand in Trentham and receive a briefing from the senior officer on operations in our region.

 

As we head towards the centenary of ANZAC it is timely for us to reflect on this special relationship and how it may be even further enhanced to deal with the range of environmental, economic and security challenges that face us in the coming years.

 

Mr Shorten has also addressed the New Zealand Labour Congress in Wellington.

 

SUNDAY, 6 JULY 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:        KIMBERLEY GARDINER 0427 230 685 (WELLINGTON)

 

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