Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Nov 27, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Statement – Phillip Hughes

STATEMENT

PHILLIP HUGHES

A freak accident and a truly tragic piece of misfortune have stolen the life of Phillip Hughes, just a few days before his 26th birthday.

For New South Wales, for South Australia and for his country, Phillip Hughes brought so much more to the dressing room than a piercing cut shot and prodigious talent.

He was a much-loved teammate, a country boy made good whose fighting qualities were admired in equal measure by friend and rival.

Before anything else, Phillip Hughes was a son and a brother.

Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family today, who were at his side for his peaceful passing.

Today we also think of Sean Abbott – a young man who did nothing wrong.

Right now Sean should know that Australians, indeed cricket-lovers everywhere, share his grief.

We wish him strength in this dark hour.

The game of cricket was enriched by Phillip Hughes’ life – and it will be different after his death.

Today Australia’s cricket family will be grieving.

And all of us have been reminded that life is bigger, more precious and more fickle than any game.

May he rest in eternal peace.

THURSDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2014

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

Nov 27, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Statement – Kate Lundy

STATEMENT

 

KATE LUNDY

 

Kate Lundy has made an outstanding contribution to the Australian Labor Party and the ACT.

 

Kate’s time in the Senate from 1996 has been underpinned by her belief in equality, her passion for technology and her deep understanding of the dreams of ordinary Australians.

 

During Labor’s time in Government, Kate showed the utmost commitment to her portfolios; whether it was in Sport, Multicultural Affairs, Industry and Innovation and the Digital Economy.

 

As Sports Minister, Senator Lundy steered through the most significant changes to the Australian Government’s funding of high performance sport since the Australian Institute of Sport was established in 1981.

 

In high-performance sport, Kate improved accountability, fought for integrity, boosted the profile of women, and gave Australia a winning edge.

 

In the community, Kate led programs to reach out to migrants and refugees, helping new arrivals engage with our culture, including through sport.

 

In her first speech to the Senate, Kate Lundy promised to represent ‘ordinary people’:

 

“people who are working or trying to work; the people who are caring for others and those that they care for; young people who are hopeful for the future and those that are in despair; older people, active in retirement or in need of care themselves; and, of course, the children whose future is in our hands”.

 

Kate fulfilled this promise, she lived up to this goal, she kept faith with ordinary people and for that we thank her.

 

Labor salutes Kate Lundy’s exceptional dedication, commitment and service to the Senate, and the people of the ACT.

 

We wish her all the very best for the next chapter of her life, and more quality time with her family which she adores.

 

THURSDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2014

 

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

Nov 27, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

GP TAX FAILURE A WIN FOR AUSTRALIANS, FOR NOW

MEDIA RELEASE

 

GP TAX FAILURE A WIN FOR AUSTRALIANS, FOR NOW

 

Reports today make it crystal clear that Tony Abbott remains committed to his GP Tax, and will introduce it by any means necessary.

 

Tony Abbott may have accepted defeat on getting his GP Tax through the Senate, for now.

 

But make no mistake, the Abbott Government remains hell-bent on introducing a GP Tax.

 

Tony Abbott’s failure is a victory for all Australians who believe in our world class universal healthcare system, Medicare.

 

But it is only temporary relief for millions of Australians who cannot afford a GP Tax.

 

Tony Abbott has only acted now because he was forced to.

 

And for as long as he is Prime Minister the GP Tax remains a threat to universal healthcare in Australia.

 

For as long as the Abbott Government remains in office, it will seize any opportunity to bring back the GP tax.

 

Just yesterday Health Minister Peter Dutton was insisting the GP Tax was good health policy, and expressing confidence he would soon win support in the Senate.

 

Tony Abbott has never believed in Medicare. Tony Abbott believes Australians should pay a tax every time they visit the doctor.

 

Putting a tax on the sick and vulnerable is not reform.

 

Labor introduced Medicare and only the election of a Labor Government will ensure Australians are safe from Tony Abbott’s disastrous GP Tax.

 

Labor believes Australians should get the health care they need, not just what they can afford.

 

Labor will fight the GP Tax, we will fight the destruction of universal Medicare by this Government.

 

WEDNESDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2014

 

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

STEPHEN SPENCER 0423 596 573

 

 

Nov 26, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

CENSURED DEFENCE MINISTER MUST RESIGN OR BE SACKED

The Senate has today censured Defence Minister David Johnston for undermining confidence in Australia’s defence capabilities with his disgraceful comments about submarine builder Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC).

The Prime Minister must now show leadership and sack the Defence Minister, if he refuses to resign.

By claiming that he wouldn’t trust ASC to build a canoe and in the process undermining Australia’s defence capabilities, Senator Johnston showed that he should no longer hold the position of Defence Minister.

Make no mistake, the work done at ASC plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of Royal Australian Navy sailors and through them the entire ADF.

The Defence Minister’s role is to ensure our national security. He should not be undermining our national security.

By dismissing his comments as rhetorical flourish, the Minister has displayed that he just doesn’t get it.

It is not rhetorical flourish for the Defence Minister to denigrate the workers who keep our submarines maintained and in the water.

It is not rhetorical flourish to attack the workers who keep sailors in the Royal Australian Navy safe.

The Minister has compromised the procurement of the Future Submarine Project and has disqualified himself from any future role.

He can no longer be trusted to keep his promise to build twelve new submarines in Adelaide.

The Defence Minister is also refusing to stand up for ADF servicemen and women, as the Government cuts their real pay and conditions, including Christmas leave.

On all counts, the Defence Minister deserved to be censured.

He must resign and if he refuses, the Prime Minister must sack him.

 

 

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

                                       ADAM SIMS (CONROY) 0408 258 457

SACHA FENTON (WONG) 0467 784 528

Nov 25, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Statement: ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE IN THE DISABILITY SECTOR

THE HON BILL SHORTEN

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

 

JENNY MACKLIN MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES & PAYMENTS

SHADOW MINISTER FOR DISABILITY REFORM

MEMBER FOR JAGAJAGA

STATEMENT

ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE IN THE DISABILITY SECTOR

Australians are rightly shocked by the allegations of abuse in the disability sector aired by the ABC’s Four Corners program last night.

It is important to acknowledge the courage of those who speak out. It is this courage that will ensure that abuse is exposed and those responsible held to account.

These allegations of violence, abuse and neglect of some of the most vulnerable members of our community are deeply disturbing.

Labor believes that any allegation of this nature should be investigated fully, and the perpetrators of any crimes brought to justice.

People with disability have every right to feel safe and supported in accessing services and care, as does every Australian.

Labor supports the call by former Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes AM and others for an independent investigation into these serious allegations.

We must do everything we can to ensure Australians with disability have the same rights and protections as all Australians.

TUESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2014

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

Nov 25, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

SHORTEN & CLARE – TRANSCRIPT – DOORSTOP – CANBERRA – TUESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2014

THE HON. BILL SHORTEN

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

 

THE HON. JASON CLARE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

MEMBER FOR BLAXLAND

 

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP INVTERVIEW

CANBERRA

TUESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2014

 

SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s broken promise on the ABC; Tony Abbott’s unfair ADF pay deal; Tony Abbott’s unfair changes to higher education.

 

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Great to be here with Jason Clare, our shadow spokesperson for communications. The Abbott Government has severely underestimated the backlash over massive swinging cuts to the ABC. Furthermore, we saw the ridiculous scenes in Parliament yesterday where Prime Minister Abbott tried to pretend that he never promised there would be no cuts to the ABC and SBS. The cuts to the ABC are drastic and unnecessary and the fact that the Prime Minister’s now lying about breaking his election promises creates a real cloud of uncertainty about whether or not you can trust this Prime Minister. What he said before the election is not what he is doing now. Labor is very committed to the ongoing maintenance of our ABC. Under Labor, we provided the largest increase in funding to the ABC in 25 years. Goodness only knows what damage this desperate Government, with its out of control unfair Budget, will do to the ABC by 2016. But I can certainly give the commitment that under Labor, we will increase the funding of the ABC. Of course we’re  going to need to see quite how much damage gets done and I sincerely hope that the Government listens to the people of Australia, maybe even Christopher Pyne’s petition and decides not to go hard with their cuts but Labor will increase the funding to the ABC and we will run hard on this campaign because this is a broken promise which damages the access of all Australians to the public broadcaster. I might ask my colleague Jason Clare to say a few words.

 

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATION: Thanks Bill. This is not just about the ABC, this is about trust. The Prime Minister has now broken so many promises that people wonder if they can trust him anymore. He’s broken more promises than most people have had hot dinners. This broken promise, the broken promise that there will be no cuts to the ABS or SBS, this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Not only have they lied about these cuts, but yesterday we saw they’re now lying about lying. The Prime Minister refuses to admit he’s broken a promise. Senator Mathias Cormann is still saying there are no cuts and Senator Eric Abetz yesterday said that no-one has been sacked. I don’t know what world they’re living on. They’ve now cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the ABC and 400 people are going to get the sack. You’ve got backbenchers in the National Party admitting this is a broken promise. There’s no-one outside the Liberal Party or the National Party that thinks this is not a broken promise. The Prime Minister can at least do one honest thing and admit that he’s lied.

 

SHORTEN: Thanks Jason, are there any questions?

 

JOURNALIST: When you say you’ll increase the ABC funding, is that a commitment to fully restore the cuts?

 

SHORTEN: Mark, you’ve been around politics probably longer than I have. We don’t know what damage Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey are doing to the Australian Budget. They’ve got an out of control deficit which they are increasing. They’ve got a Budget that no-one wants. It’s an orphan in the Parliament, but we are committed to increase funding to the ABC, because we have no doubt that Tony Abbott will cut too hard and cause too much damage. 400 people have lost their job. It is not the job of Tony Abbott to make other people lose their jobs. We see five different regional networks of offices being shut down. Yet again, Tony Abbott’s intervention in the Victorian election has been to cut back services to country Victoria, so we will improve the funding, but we’ll need to see the bottom line of the damage these vandals create in the meantime.

 

JOURNALIST: So are you saying reducing the ABC’s budget on the basis of the Budget is at least in some part justified?

 

SHORTEN: No, we’re not. This is a Government who said before the last election that there’d be no cuts to the ABC or SBS. It is important, Australians feel a disconnect from their political process when they see politicians say one thing before an election and do something after. Labor paid a price for that, but now Tony Abbott who made his reputation on being a different sort of politician. The only thing he is, he’s setting a world record for breaking his election promises. I do not believe and I don’t think any fair-minded observer thinks that this Government, be it Malcolm Turnbull, Joe Hockey or Tony Abbott, have handled these ABC cuts in any manner approaching honesty.

 

JOURNALIST: When you say Tony Abbott’s cut too hard, does that mean you think there’s a cut that’s not too hard?

 

SHORTEN: What’s wrong with just expecting Tony Abbott to keep his promises? When did that go out of fashion? Has Tony Abbott so lowered the expectations of Australian public life that we don’t even expect him to keep his word anymore? We know and you remember, you all reported Tony Abbott when he was Opposition Leader, he was going to be different. He was a man you could trust. Ever since he’s got in, it doesn’t mean if it’s make it harder for kids to go to university by doubling or tripling degrees, a GP Tax on the sick, cutting the indexation rate of pensions or now cutting the ABC; Tony Abbott has not delivered what he said before the election. He’s got a rotten Budget. He doesn’t know how to handle being in government and now he’s attacking the independent public broadcaster.

 

JOURNALIST: Jacqui Lambie is meeting with Tony Abbott in the next couple of days and she’s now talking about agreeing to cut the RET in return for an increase in defence pay. What would your advice to be to her on doing that on those issues?

 

SHORTEN: Well I think it’s a shame if Tony Abbott is using Defence Force pay as a form of blackmail to wreak his particular brand of bizarre climate change denialism.  I think it will be outrageous if Tony Abbott is willing to increase the pay if he gets a political kickback from the crossbench in the Senate. Tony Abbott should stand with our men and women. He loves a photo opportunity with people in our Defence Forces. How about he makes sure that their wives and husbands at home, when they’re serving overseas, can afford to pay for shopping next week? Tony Abbott should not be bartering about Defence Force pay. If he thinks it should be increased he should just increase it. It would be a new low for Tony Abbott if the only way that he will increase the pay of our Defence Forces is if he can get political favours from other people. That would be shameful. Last question.

 

JOURNALIST: Are you confident that the crossbench in the Senate still is strongly opposed to the higher education reforms?

 

SHORTEN: I’m confident that the Government’s higher education changes are a disaster for Australia. 20 per cent of the funding of universities is going to be taken away by this book-burning government. This is an appalling act against allowing ordinary people to be able to send their kids to university. I’m confident that doubling the interest rate on the HECS debt is a massive assault on good faith and it’s going to cost up to a million Australians a lot more in retrospective debts and I’m confident that Tony Abbott’s bad ideas are falling flat on the Australian people and the Senate will stand up for the Australian people against the Government. Thanks everyone, see you in Question Time.

 

ENDS

 

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

Nov 19, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT’S WEAKENING OF CONSUMER PROTECTIONS REJECTED

 

 

The Abbott Government has failed in its bid to water down consumer protections for investors seeking financial advice, with the Senate tonight fundamentally rejecting the weakening Labor’s Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) laws.

 

This is a monumental defeat for the Abbott Government and its determination to give the big banks a boost at the expense of consumers.

 

Today’s vote in the Senate is a victory for common sense, consumers and thousands of victims of dodgy financial advice – and it’s a stinging rebuke to the Government which continues to try to sneak around the Senate to pass its unpopular policies.

 

The disallowance is a major embarrassment for the acting Assistant Treasurer, Mathias Cormann.  It’s also a reminder of the need for the Prime Minister to appoint a full-time Assistant Treasurer who has the time to give his or her full attention to these serious matters.

 

The Abbott Government ignored serious community concerns by doing a dirty deal with Clive Palmer to sneak through changes that would have destroyed consumer protections in financial advice.

 

It is simply unbelievable that the Abbott Government remains so determined to reduce these critical protections, especially after so many Australians have fallen victim to dodgy financial advice in scandals involving Storm Financial, TimberCorp, the Commonwealth Financial Planning, Trio and Westpoint.

 

The Opposition remains extremely concerned that despite tens of thousands of investors losing their money, the Abbott Government remains determined to weaken – rather than tighten – consumer protections.

 

The Government’s regulations remove essential consumer protections by watering down the Best Interests Duty, removing the Opt -In Requirement and allowing for the return of previously banned forms of conflicted remuneration.

 

The Liberals’ changes come at a time when scandals involving inappropriate advice and behaviour, has reduced consumer confidence in the financial advice industry.

 

Today should be a wake-up call for the Prime Minister – when will he finally get the message that his changes to FOFA laws have failed?

 

Labor’s FoFA reforms ensured a strong, fair and efficient financial advice sector with strong safeguards in place.  After today’s failure in the Parliament the Government must give up on its efforts to unwind these important reforms.

 

Labor will always stand for ensuring important consumer protections. We will of course work with the Parliament to ensure that these laws remain effective into the future.

 

WEDNESDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2014

 

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

CHRIS RAMSAY (RIPOLL) 0430 009 434

                                      CAMERON SINCLAIR (DASTYARI) 0407 372 711

Nov 19, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABC AND SBS CUTS EQUAL HALF A BILLION LIES

ABC AND SBS CUTS EQUAL HALF A BILLION LIES

 

Malcolm Turnbull today confirmed that more than half a billion dollars would be ripped from the budget of the ABC and SBS despite the Prime Minister promising the Australian people that there would be “no cuts to the ABC or SBS”.

 

Speaking on SBS World News the night before the election, Tony Abbott promised:

 

“No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to ABC or SBS.”

 

TONY ABBOTT – SBS WORLD NEWS – 6 SEPTEMBER 2013

 

Since that lie Tony Abbott has cut more than $500 million from the ABC and SBS.

 

It is absolutely clear now that Tony Abbott stared down the barrel of a camera the night before the election and lied to the Australian people.

 

He has also confirmed this lie four times as Prime Minister.

 

1)   QUESTION: Do you stand by commitments not to cut the ABC and SBS?

 

PRIME MINISTER: I stand by all the commitments that we made prior to the election and that was certainly one of them.

 

Press Conference – 5 February 2014

 

2)   I said that there would be no cuts to the ABC, and ABC funding is more this year than last year.

 

Question Time – 2 October 2014

 

3)   BILL SHORTEN: My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister’s statement: No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS. Does the Prime Minister stand by this statement?

 

TONY ABBOTT: Of course I stand by all the commitments that this government made prior to the election. If there is one lesson that members opposite should have learnt from the experience of the previous term of parliament it is that you cannot say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.

 

Question Time – 13 February 2014

 

4)   BILL SHORTEN: My question is to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister promised the Australian people on the night before the last election: no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to the pension, no changes to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS. Will the Prime Minister repeat that promise now, and if not how can the Australian people trust anything this Prime Minister has to say?

 

TONY ABBOTT: I want to assure the Labor Party and all the people of Australia that we will fix the debt and deficit disaster that we were left by the Labor Party, and we will do it in ways which are faithful to the commitments we made pre-election.

 

Question Time – 13 May 2014

 

There is no other way to put it, Tony Abbott has lied to the Australian people, both as Opposition Leader and Prime Minister. You can clearly not believe anything he says.

 

For more information on the Abbott Government’s broken promises visit www.abbottslies.com.au

 

WEDNESDAY, 19 NOVEMBER  2014

 

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

RYAN HAMILTON 0414 599 468

Nov 17, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

CHINA FTA MUST DELIVER ON EXPORTS AND JOBS

 Labor welcomes finalisation of negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia and China and calls on the Abbott Government to release the text of the agreement for full public scrutiny.

 

China is already Australia’s biggest two-way trading partner.

 

This is an economic relationship which helped Australia to keep growing during the Global Financial Crisis and which will be critical for our future prosperity.

 

Labor supports freeing up global trade because it drives growth, generates jobs, improves living standards and reduces poverty, both at home and abroad.

 

We have been the party of trade liberalisation for more than four decades.

 

A decade of hard work has gone into creating this opportunity for Australia.

 

That is why we want to ensure this FTA is a high-quality trade agreement.

 

The fundamental test for any FTA is whether it achieves genuine market access for Australian exporters and supports and creates Australian jobs.

 

It’s important to look behind the Abbott Government’s political spin and examine the substance of any trade agreement.

 

Industry and the public need to be provided with the full text of the agreement so they can assess its impact.

 

It is disappointing that after days of choreographed leaks, the Government has failed to release the text of the agreement.

 

Improvements in market access for Australian goods and services are good news.

 

But Labor is concerned that the agreement will fail to improve market access for Australian sugar, rice, wheat, cotton, rapeseed and vegetable oils.

 

It is also disappointing that the FTA will not completely remove punitive new Chinese tariffs on Australian thermal coal for two years.

 

The Government must be clear on the details of temporary migration arrangements under the FTA – any provisions on labour mobility must increase, not reduce, jobs for Australians.

 

Labor has stated consistently that the benchmarks for a genuinely liberalising and high-quality FTA with China include:

 

  • New Zealand-plus market access outcomes for Australian farmers and other exporters;
  • Elimination or significant reductions in tariffs on Australian industrial goods;
  • Retention of Australia’s anti-dumping safeguards;
  • Major improvements in market access for Australian services;
  • Reduction in red-tape and other barriers to Chinese investment in Australia and to Australian investment in China;
  • No provisions which give Chinese companies operating in Australia superior legal rights to those enjoyed by Australian companies;
  • Retention of labour market testing or comparable safeguards on temporary migration.

 

Labor will use Parliamentary processes to assess the FTA against these benchmarks and to ensure that it is in Australia’s national interest.

 

 

MONDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2014

 

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

SACHA FENTON (WONG)                  0467 784 528

 

 

 

Nov 14, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

REMARKS AT WAR MEMORIAL

SPEECH

 

AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL –  CANBERRA

FRIDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2014

 

REMARKS AT WAR MEMORIAL

 

 

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***

 

 

Prime Minister Cameron, distinguished guests, veterans.

 

Prime Minister Cameron, thank you for your memorable address to our Parliament this morning.

 

Your speech showed such a deep understanding of our nation – and the values that our two countries are so proud to share.

 

Open economies, multicultural societies, freedom of speech, a free press, and the great gift of parliamentary democracy.

 

Today at the heart of our Australian democracy, we meet on ground made hallow by those who died for their country.

 

This building was not part of the original design of Canberra.

 

The brutal war and fragile peace that inspired its construction were beyond contemplation when the foundation stone of our capital was laid.

 

Today we cannot imagine Canberra without it –this great secular cathedral, dedicated to the courage, service and sacrifice of all those who risked their lives in Australia’s name.

 

It has become a focal point for our national memory – a permanent reminder of the dreadful cost that Britain, Australia and all our allies bore in the fight for freedom.

 

As your great wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said:

 

‘We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us’

 

At the official opening of this Memorial, on Remembrance Day 1941, our great wartime Prime Minister John Curtin said:

 

‘No-one who enters this building can leave it without some deepening and enriching of their inner spiritual life.’

 

Let that be true for all of us – Britons and Australians both.

 

Together, let us vow to live up to the standard of those who fought for us, and those now lost to us.

 

Together, let us celebrate and commemorate the values and ideals that our two countries have always stood for.

 

As Prime Minister Cameron said this morning:

 

‘[these values] are the best basis for the fulfilment of human ambitions and dreams, more so than ever in the 21st Century.’

 

Together, let us remember that, always.

 

Lest we forget.

 

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

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