Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Aug 25, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

DESPERATE GOVERNMENT’S TAX HIKE THREAT

In an extraordinary development, the Abbott Government has begun the Parliamentary sitting period by threatening Australians with higher taxes.

 

Yesterday, after five weeks of failing to convince Australians of its unfair Budget measures, the Government decide to threaten them with even more unfair taxes:

 

“The only alternative to balance the books is to increases taxes.”

MATHIAS CORMANN – INSIDERS – SUNDAY 24 AUGUST 2014

 

Tony Abbott has comprehensively failed to convince Australians of his Budget measures over the past five weeks.

 

This Budget hits low income households the hardest – and the Prime Minister’s answer to his Budget failings is to make it even harder for struggling families.

 

The Government’s cruel game of threatening something even more draconian if they can’t get an unfair Budget through is extraordinary. They’re engaging in extortion when they should be governing.

 

Tony Abbott needs to come clean on what tax hikes he is threatening.

 

Will Australians be hit with an increase in the GST? A road tax? Death duties?

 

On top of his new GP tax and his new fuel tax, what other taxes will this Prime Minister hurt Australians with?

 

Tony Abbott’s tax threat comes as he and his pack of incompetent Cabinet Ministers meet behind closed doors today in another desperate attempt to rescue their bad Budget.

 

That Tony Abbott thinks his Budget has a ‘strategy’ problem says everything about this government.

 

This Budget has a fairness problem. Tony Abbott can’t dress up this bad Budget with a new three word slogan.

 

This Budget is about making life harder for low and middle income families and destroying Medicare as we know it.

 

Labor will never support the destruction of universal healthcare – and will never support unfair taxes that hit struggling Australians the hardest.

 

Tony Abbott should stop threatening Australians with new taxes and drop the unfair measures in his Budget.

 

MONDAY, 25 AUGUST 2014

 

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

 

Aug 21, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

STATEMENT

STATEMENT

 

***Please check against delivery***

 

Late last year I learned that a claim had been made about me, going back to when I was nineteen.

 

It was made on social media, when I was elected Opposition Leader.

 

I will not go into details, except to say that the allegation was untrue and abhorrent.

 

The allegation was made by someone I knew briefly at that time.

 

There is absolutely no basis for the claim.

 

The claim has now been thoroughly and rigorously investigated by police, as is entirely proper.

 

I fully cooperated to clear my name. And that is what I have done.

 

I freely answered all questions the police asked of me.

 

Now the police investigation has concluded, I can make this statement.

 

This has been deeply distressing for my family.

 

I am thankful for the love and support of Chloe, and the support of my staff and parliamentary colleagues.

 

Others who were aware of the investigation have acted with the utmost integrity by leaving the police to do their job.

 

The police have now concluded the investigation.

 

The decision speaks for itself.

 

It is over.

 

I have no intention of making any further comment.

 

ENDS

 

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

 

Aug 20, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

A DEGREE SHOULDN’T BE A DEBT SENTENCE FOR REGIONAL STUDENTS

A DEGREE SHOULDN’T BE A DEBT SENTENCE FOR REGIONAL STUDENTS

 

Opposition leader Bill Shorten, Shadow Higher Education Minister Senator Kim Carr and Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters MP will today join students at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus as part of Labor’s ‘A Degree Shouldn’t Be a Debt Sentence’ campaign.

 

Mr Shorten said regional universities, such as the Bendigo campus, would be particularly hard hit by the Abbott Government’s budget cuts to universities and radical plans for fee deregulation.

 

“La Trobe University stands to lose more than $141 million as a result of Tony Abbott Government’s cuts, which means students at regional campuses like Bendigo will suffer,” he said.

 

“We know that many more students in regional areas than in our capital cities are from low socioeconomic backgrounds and simply cannot afford Tony Abbott’s $100,000 degrees.

 

“A degree should open, not shut, the door to opportunity and prosperity for young Australians – Labor believes a degree shouldn’t be a debt sentence.

 

“Since we launched our online petition against these short-sighted and unfair changes last week, there have been more than 19,000 signatures.”

 

Senator Carr said regional universities and campuses will find themselves having to make tough decisions about how to deal with these cuts.

 

“Do they charge an extra 30 per cent just to make up shortfall, do they slashes their courses or do they wind back research?” said Senator Carr.

 

“Labor doesn’t believe regional universities should be forced into having to make these unfair choices.

 

“The Abbott-Pyne plan to Americanise our universities will shatter the dream of a university degree for many of these young people and their families.

 

“It’s not for students to pick up the tab – they already pay some of the highest universities fees in the developed world – and we shouldn’t let the Government off the hook for its responsibilities for proper funding.”

 

Ms Chesters said people in Bendigo and central Victoria were angry the Abbott Government had lied when it promised before the election “no cuts to education”.

 

“Many people are worried that these changes will mean university will become too expensive for young people,” she said.

 

“La Trobe’s Bendigo campus has significantly higher numbers of students from a low socio-economic background than the national average, so this will hurt our region more than most.

 

“This is not the Australia we want. This is not fair and Labor will fight these changes every step of the way.”

 

The Abbott Government’s changes to higher education are a triple-hit to students:

  • Cutting funding for undergraduate places by up to 37 per cent;
  • Deregulating fee levels, allowing universities to charge what they like; and
  • Introducing a compounding real interest rate of up to 6 per cent for all HECS-HELP debts – future and existing.

 

Overall, the Abbott Government’s Budget cut $5.8 billion from higher education. This means universities will be forced to put up fees by at least 30 per cent just to cover the loss of funding.

 

WEDNESDAY, 20 AUGUST 2014

 

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

 

Aug 15, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

INDIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY

Sixty-seven years ago, the saffron, white and green of the Indian tricolour was hoisted above the gates of the Red Fort to mark the historic moment when India kept its ‘tryst with destiny’.

Today, on Indian Independence Day, millions of people will be joined in celebrating all that India has achieved.

There is so much for modern, independent India to be proud of.

In 1947, Prime Minister Nehru spoke of a nation waking to ‘light and freedom’ while the world slept.

In 2014 India is a beacon of democracy, a nation turning economic growth into social progress and freeing its citizens from poverty, while the world watches in admiration.

Today all Australians rejoice in India’s progress, and we give thanks for the contribution that the Indian people have made to our society, to our culture, to our cuisine and to our country.

I wish you all the very best for a joyous celebration.

FRIDAY, 15 AUGUST 2014

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

 

Aug 15, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ROUNDTABLE – MELBOURNE

THE HON. BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

TIM WATTS MP

MEMBER FOR GELLIBRAND

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ROUNDTABLE – MELBOURNE

 

Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten and Labor Member for Gellibrand, Tim Watts held a Roundtable discussion with leading domestic violence advocates in Footscray today.

 

The Roundtable follows the death of Fiona Warzywoda in Sunshine on April 16 and involves leaders from local, state and national organisations.

 

“The biggest risk factor for becoming a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or family violence is being a woman,” Mr Shorten said.

 

“Our system failed Fiona, our nation failed Fiona – and we fatally fail at least one woman in Australia every week.”

 

“Today’s Roundtable is an opportunity for me to hear directly from the leading advocates, community organisations and academics on this issue.”

 

“We must put domestic violence at the centre of national political debate in order to change these chilling statistics,” said Mr Shorten.

 

Labor Member for Gellibrand, Tim Watts thanked local services for the work they do and for participating in this important forum.

 

“I know how hard the local service providers attending today work to help women and children at risk of family violence. It’s our job – political leaders and the broader community as a whole, to help to ease their load.”

 

“Men’s violence against women is a difficult and confronting issue – but through forums like this we’ll slowly but surely tackle this challenge head on.”

 

Around 20 leading advocates and community organisations are attending the Roundtable in Footscray today including from White Ribbon Australia, No to Violence Campaign, Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and Their Children, Women’s Health West, Women’s Legal Services Australia, Relationships Australia (Victoria), Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, Monash University, inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, Municipal Association of Victoria, University of Melbourne, Women’s Health Association of Victoria, Footscray Community Legal Centre, Western Family Regional Integration Coordinator, Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria and Domestic Violence Victoria.

 

The Leader of the Opposition convened a similar Domestic Violence Roundtable in Sydney in October last year with leading advocates and local organisations.

 

MELBOURNE

FRIDAY, 15 AUGUST 2014

 

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

Aug 14, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT TO CUT $471 MILLION FROM UNIVERSITIES IN WA

 

Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten will join Shadow Assistant Minister for Higher Education, Amanda Rishworth and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Western Australia and Member for Perth, Alannah MacTiernan in Perth today to demand the Abbott Government scrap plans to cut $471 million from WA universities.

 

The Abbott Government must abandon its plans to Americanise universities by introducing $100,000 degrees in Australia.

 

“A degree shouldn’t be a debt sentence in this country,” said Mr Shorten.

 

“The Abbott Government has broken its promise not to cut education funding, and students in Western Australia will be forced to pay more as a result.

 

“$100,000 will push a university degree out of reach for many young Western Australians and their families, and that’s the wrong direction for the nation.”

 

Labor will meet with students at four Western Australia universities today to hear their concerns about the Abbott Government’s unfair higher education changes, which will burden past, present and future university students with a debt sentence.

 

Western Australian universities are set to lose a massive $471.3 million in funding over four years because of the Abbott Government’s savage cuts, and it will be students who foot the bill when universities are forced to increase the cost of degrees.

 

Amanda Rishworth said young people were upset and angry about the prospect of deregulated university fees and savage cuts to funding, which may lead to some degrees costing students over $100,000.

“Students in Western Australia are very concerned about the Abbott Government’s plans to impose real interest rates on students HECS/HELP debt,” Amanda Rishworth said.

 

“Soaring university fees and huge debts will prevent many students from being able to afford to go to university, and those who do make it to university will be burdened with debt that will take decades to pay off.

“This is not what the Australian people voted for.”

 

Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne lied to Australians when they promised there would be “no cuts to education” [Tony Abbott, Insiders, 1 September 2013] and “we’re not going to raise fees” [Christopher Pyne, Sky News, 17 November 2013].

 

Alannah MacTiernan said “Many young Western Australians are now being frightened off higher education by the size of the debt they may face.”

 

“It is already hard for young people working and saving to buy a house in Perth – they know starting with a $100,000 HECS debt will make the opportunity of home ownership even more remote.”

 

“Furthermore, with the Abbot Government’s anti-jobs policies, they question whether their education will lead to a job,” Alannah MacTiernan said.

 

Labor’s petition to fight the Abbott Government’s radical and short-sighted changes is available at www.alp.org.au/debtsentence

 

PERTH

 

THURSDAY, 14 AUGUST 2014

 

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

(RISHWORTH) BEK HUPPATZ 0422 687 199

(MACTIERNAN) REWI LYALL 0434 874 329

 

 

The Abbott Government’s changes to higher education include:

  • Cutting $5.8 billion from universities, including slashing funding for undergraduate places by up to 37 per cent;
  • Deregulating fee levels, allowing universities to charge what they like so students may face degrees costing over $100,000;
  • Charging up to $3,900 per year for Higher Research Degrees, such as a PhD and Masters programs; and
  • Introducing a compounding real interest rate for all HECS-HELP debts – both future and existing. HECS-HELP debts will now be indexed by the 10-year government bond rate, capped at 6 per cent, rather than the consumer price index (CPI).

 

 

Source: NTEU Briefing Paper Higher Education Changes 2014-15 Federal Budget

 

Aug 9, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Death of Peter Sculthorpe

 

The death of Peter Sculthorpe is a great loss to Australian music and to the nation.

 

He was one of Australia’s most distinguished composers, who wrote music inspired by our unique landscapes.

 

We mourn his passing, but are grateful for his legacy.

 

His music is distinctively Australian.

 

Irkanda, Kakadu, Memento Mori, Rites of Passage and Requiem are great works which reflect the sounds of our ancient land.

 

Peter Sculthorpe’s music helps us understand what it means to be Australian.

 

It includes Indigenous and Asian influences, and the vast and open landscape.

 

His generous assistance to students and young composers will be long remembered.

 

His music has enriched us all.

 

SATURDAY, 9 AUGUST 2014

 

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

ANNIE WILLIAMS – 0428 040 522

 

Aug 9, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

THE CONFLICT IN ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

 

Labor calls on all parties to agree to a continuation of the 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, which is scheduled to end at 3:00pm AEST on Friday 8 August.

 

With reports of almost 1900 dead, including hundreds of children, we urge the parties to agree to an extension of the ceasefire and work to achieve a permanent end to the conflict.

 

Labor has been especially concerned that even when taking shelter in UN run facilities, residents of Gaza have not been safe.

 

Labor deplores the abuse of civilian facilities for military purposes, including reportedly to hide rockets.

 

Australia needs to work with the international community to facilitate lasting peace and an end to this terrible conflict – including through our position on the United Nations Security Council.

 

Labor supports an Australian contribution to the huge humanitarian task in Gaza. Gaza has faced enormous social and economic difficulties due to the blockade, even before the recent fighting.

 

Labor welcomes the $5 million the Australian Government has recently contributed to humanitarian efforts, but notes that this follows an earlier decision by the Government to cut $4.5 million in Australian aid funding this year to the Palestinian Territories.

 

While the conflict in Gaza has been distressing it is important that debate is kept within civil bounds. Labor utterly condemns any racist, bigoted or sectarian attacks directed at members of our own community or the communities in the Middle East.

 

THURSDAY, 8 AUGUST 2014

 

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

 

Aug 8, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN IRAQ

HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN IRAQ

 

The humanitarian need in Iraq is significant, urgent and increasing.

 

We note that President Obama has authorised airstrikes in Iraq as a response to the US assessment that strikes may be necessary to prevent massacres of civilians.

Labor has been extremely concerned about reports of civilian deaths, and most recently, the targeting of tens of thousands of Yazidis trapped on a mountain without food and water.

The reports emerging from Iraq about the persecution by ISIS of any religion other than Sunni Islam are deeply troubling and we understand that strong action may be necessary to protect civilians.

In addition to the authorisation of air strikes should they become necessary, the United States has made airdrops of food and water to besieged civilians.

Australia must also offer humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq.

I note that Australian government assistance to Iraq last year was $7.7 million. In the May budget that was cut to $0.

The leaders of Iraq should resolve immediately to form an inclusive government and settle the Presidency so that a united front can be presented against ISIS, a violent, extremist organisation.

If Australia is asked to provide military assistance, we would expect detailed briefings from the Government before making an assessment.

 

I will be meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Sydney next week and will raise the situation with him then.

 

FRIDAY, 8 AUGUST 2014

 

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

MICHAEL VAUGHAN (PLIBERSEK) 0413 473 773

 

 

Aug 8, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT’S WORK FOR THE DOLE DISASTER TO COST SMALL BUSINESS $700M A YEAR

MEDIA RELEASE

 

ABBOTT’S WORK FOR THE DOLE DISASTER TO COST SMALL BUSINESS $700M A YEAR

 

The Abbott Government’s policy to force job seekers to apply for 40 jobs a month could result in a $700 million hit on small businesses across Australia, according to the Government’s own Business Cost Calculator.

 

Despite the Prime Minister promising again and again to cut red tape, he is actually wrapping thousands of small businesses up in more red tape – which will cost time, money and jobs.

 

Forcing job seekers to submit 40 job applications a month to qualify for their payment shows the Government has no understanding of small business.

 

Using the Government’s own Business Cost Calculator, Labor has calculated the massive cost Tony Abbott’s ill-informed policy wreak on small businesses.

 

Assuming that small businesses spend just one additional hour a fortnight processing the increased number of job applications, this policy will have an economic cost of nearly $700 million per year.

 

This means a $2.1 billion hit to small business over the three years of the program.

 

For the sake of a couple of tough-talking tabloid headlines, the Government is prepared to unleash a tsunami of unsolicited and underprepared resumes on the small businesses of Australia.

 

Instead of freeing up small businesses to do what they do best, Tony Abbott is turning them into desk clerks for his unfair and ineffective policy.

 

With this single decision, the Abbott Government has wiped out their claimed savings from the increasingly discredited “repeal day” – and obliterated the Abbott Government’s promise to be “open for business”.

 

The Abbott Government may be open for a few multinational corporations – but they are making it harder and harder for thousands of small businesses to get ahead.

 

This stupid policy is on top of Tony Abbott’s attempt to repeal Labor’s smart and fair tax breaks for thousands of small businesses.

 

The Abbott Government can’t be trusted to support Australia’s small businesses.

 

FRIDAY, 8 AUGUST 2014

 

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

JAMES CULLEN (BOWEN) 0409 719 879

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