Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Feb 4, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Reports that Malcolm Turnbull has signed off on hundreds of CSIRO job losses, and has all but ended climate research at the CSIRO, underscore just how little has changed since Malcolm Turnbull took over from Tony Abbott.


Malcolm Turnbull is happy to use the CSIRO for a photo-op but his cuts are vandalising a great Australian institution.


The Turnbull Liberal Government is cutting 110 jobs in CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere division, along with jobs in the Manufacturing division, Land and Water division and the newly created Data61.


The Turnbull Liberal Government slashed CSIRO’s budget by $115 million, resulting in the loss of one in five jobs – the biggest job losses in the organisation’s history.


This is not agile or innovative from Malcolm Turnbull, this is a disgrace and he should hang his head in shame.


The only people cheering this decision from Malcolm Turnbull will be the far-right of the Liberal Party who are calling the shots.


According to Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, these new job cuts will result in a “catastrophic reduction in our capacity to assess present and future climate change”.


They will also have a devastating impact on CSIRO’s capacity to conduct research into carbon capture and storage and energy efficiency, and to prepare Australia for the jobs of the future.


Today’s job losses are just another example of Malcolm Turnbull saying one thing and doing another.


Malcolm Turnbull has talked a lot about his commitment to action on climate change but the reality is Tony Abbott’s anti-climate science agenda is continuing under the Turnbull Liberal Government.


Almost 1400 CSIRO employees have been shown the door since  the Liberals came to government.


Our thoughts are with CSIRO staff and their families at this difficult time.


Our thoughts are also with Australian scientists who believed that Malcolm Turnbull’s innovation rhetoric might actually mean science being taken seriously.


Instead, yet again, the Liberals are fuelling a brain drain from Australian science and undermining manufacturing innovation.

Today’s news highlights the need for the Turnbull Liberals to review all their cuts to science, research and innovation, including:

  • $107 million from the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program
  • $75 million from the ARC
  • $27.5 million from ANSTO
  • $7.8 million from AIMS
  • $16.1 million from Geoscience Australia
  • $20 million from the Bureau of Meteorology
  • $120 million from DSTO
  • $174 million from the Research Training Scheme

Since the 2013 election, the Liberals have slashed support for science, research and innovation by more than $3 billion.


It is crucial that Australia understands the impact of climate change on our economy, environment and society; that we move to cleaner, more efficient energy sources to reduce emissions; and that we invest in manufacturing and ICT innovation to support the jobs of the future.


The work of the CSIRO is integral to achieving these goals, yet the Liberals continue to white-ant this vital national science organisation at every turn.


Under the Liberals Australia’s pollution levels are going up, and Malcolm Turnbull’s answer is to sack the experts who are working to cut pollution and find the innovations in renewable energy that will help create the jobs of the future in Australia.





                                THOMAS MOORHEAD  0488 305 088 (CARR)

Feb 1, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


A Shorten Labor Government will put in place a suite of reforms to protect rights at work by cracking down on unscrupulous employers who are willing to exploit workers.


Recent examples of clear and widespread worker exploitation at notable companies have been met by silence and inaction from Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals, despite continuous calls from Labor for action to protect working people and jobs.


While the Liberals have spent all their energy playing politics with their $80 million royal commission, they have done absolutely nothing about the numerous examples of workers being blatantly exploited at work.


In 2015 we saw too many instances of workers’ rights trampled, not just by fly-by-night operations, but by household names:



These high profile examples are just the tip of the iceberg. In 2014-15 the Fair Work Ombudsman recovered $22.3 million in back pay for over 11,000 workers.


Labor’s Fair Work Taskforce have held meetings with workers throughout the country who have provided evidence of the breadth of this problem.


Malcolm Turnbull talks about better conditions for workers – but as with everything else, he says one thing and does something completely different.


As the Liberals refuse to act, Labor will.


More must be done to protect these workers from exploitation.


A Shorten Labor Government will stand up for middle and working-class families. Labor will put people first, strengthening and protecting workers’ rights at work by:


  • Cracking down on the underpayment of workers, with significantly increased penalties for employers who deliberately and systemically avoid paying their employees properly
  • Ramping up protections for workers from sham contracting, by strengthening legal protections for a worker’s entitlements and increasing penalties
  • Giving the Fair Work Ombudsman more power to pursue employers who liquidate their companies in order to avoid paying the money they owe their workers
  • Introducing reforms to ensure that temporary overseas workers are not being exploited and underpaid and that there is a level playing field for all workers in Australia


We will consult employers and their representatives, workers and unions on the scale of the increase to penalties to ensure there is an appropriate deterrent in place to protect workers from unscrupulous employers.


Labor’s package of reforms builds on our strong record of protecting wages and conditions and cracking down on worker exploitation. That is because only Labor understands that fairness at work helps to drive a more productive, competitive and prosperous economy.


Rather than engage in the Liberal Party’s race to the bottom on wages and conditions, Labor will invest in the high-skilled, high-wage, good jobs of the future.


Only Labor can be trusted to stand up for the wages and conditions of workers in Australia, and only Labor will protect Australian families from Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals’ plan for a 15 per cent GST on everything and attacks on penalty rates.


The full details of Labor’s plan to protect workers from exploitation can be found here:





ERIN SMITH (O’CONNOR) 0458 950 010

Jan 29, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Today’s announcement that the Liberal Government is finally committed to a national approach to redress for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse is too little, too late.


The Royal Commission recommended that, if a National Redress Scheme was to commence operation by 2017, the Australian Government should determine and announce its support by the end of 2015.


After months of unnecessary delay, the Government still can’t say how exactly they intend to develop a national approach to redress, or give any indication on how long this process will take. This simply isn’t good enough.


The Government must immediately make clear when a national scheme will start, and what the Commonwealth’s financial contribution will be. It is important that this happen quickly so that the Royal Commission has sufficient time to examine and report on the scheme’s initial stages.


In October last year Labor announced that a Shorten Government would invest $33 million to implement a National Redress Scheme. This includes an initial $20 million contribution to establish the National Redress Agency, as well as a National Redress Advisory Council to work with all governments and institutions on the development and operation of the scheme.


Labor believes that all institutions must accept the legal, financial and moral responsibility for failing to protect children in their care.


But our society also has a collective responsibility to provide redress to those for whom other avenues of justice are not available.


Labor established the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2013 to give the thousands of people affected by these crimes an opportunity to finally be heard. We always knew this would only be the start of the healing process. A National Redress Scheme is the next important step. The Government needs to stop dragging its feet.


For more information on Labor’s plan for a National Redress Scheme, visit






Jan 28, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Every school, every child better off WITH Labor’s Your Child. our Future PLAN FOR AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION

A Shorten Labor Government will deliver the most significant improvement in school education in Australia for two generations.


Labor’s Your Child. Our Future plan announced today will ensure:


  • A strong focus on every single child’s needs;
  • More individual attention for students;
  • Better trained teachers – and more of them;
  • More targeted resources and better equipped classrooms; and
  • More support for students with special learning needs.


With Labor’s policy, every Australian school – and every Australian child – will benefit.


Ensuring Australia’s workforce is ready for the jobs of the future begins in schools – Your Child. Our Future will build the education system our children, and our nation, needs for the future economy.
To achieve this, a Shorten Government will fully implement and fund the Gonski reforms on-time and in-full.


Labor’s Your Child. Our Future plan will see an additional investment in our education system of $4.5 billion over school years 2018 and 2019 and a total provision of $37.3 billion for the package over the decade. Labor’s plan will drive innovation and opportunity by improving education outcomes for all Australian students.


Talk about innovation without a commitment to quality education is just talk.


Australian schooling is falling behind internationally and this presents an immense threat to Australia’s future economic and social prosperity.


In the year 2000, only one country outperformed Australia in reading and maths, and only two countries outperformed Australia in science. Today, 16 countries outperformed Australia in maths; 9 countries outperformed Australia in reading and 7 countries outperformed Australia in science.


That will change with a Shorten Labor Government.


Labor will invest in schools, Mr Turnbull and his Liberals will cut.


With Labor’s Your Child. Our Future plan, every student, in every school will get the support they need to achieve their potential. It will include:


  • More individual attention to our students
  • Tailored attention and more one-on-one time with students including  literacy and numeracy programs and support;
  • More subject choices, extension classes and extra-curricular activities, so that every child is engaged at school;
  • Funding based on  individual needs, which will give greater power and flexibility to schools to tailor programs to meet the needs of their students
  • Real time analytics for teachers in the classroom, making better use of NAPLAN data to ensure students are on track.


  • Better trained teachers
  • Improving initial teacher education and toughening entry standards; More professional support for teachers in the classroom;
  • Lifting the qualifications of STEM teachers in the classroom, ensuring that by 2020, all secondary STEM teachers are tertiary qualified in their discipline;
  • More support for principals and better school leadership.


  • More support for students with special learning needs
  • More early intervention programs in every school and more one-on-one time with students including one-on-one literacy and numeracy programs and support, so no student is left behind.
  • Providing $320 million over three  years in additional funding from 2017 – more than reversing the Turnbull Liberal Government’s cuts to students with disability;
  • Work with the states and territories to fully implement the Gonski disability loading once data on the required levels of adjustment is available and fully

implementing the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the Education and Attainment of students with Disability.


Labor’s Your Child. Our Future plan will drive opportunity, innovation and the economy through education.


Every Australian child should have the same chance of succeeding at school as any other kid in the country – no matter their background, no matter where they live, and no matter what type of school they go to – Government, Independent or Catholic.


Your Child. Our Future plan properly funds Australia’s schools to make them world class with new clear benchmarks, including:


  • By 2020, Labor will ensure 95 per cent Year 12 (or equivalent) completion.


  • By 2025, Labor will return Australia to the top 5 countries in reading, maths and science.


Today’s announcement puts education right at the centre of Labor’s positive program for government.


Today’s announcement is in addition to Labor’s plans for a strong TAFE and a stronger vocational education sector through the TAFE funding guarantee.


Labor will also make significant investments in higher education which, from 2018, will boost per student funding by $2,500 a year, compared with the Liberals’ plan. We will also drive a significant quality and completions agenda so that, by 2020, there will be 20,000 more graduates per year.


Education is a key driver of a country’s economic growth and  capacity to innovate and  Labor will provide the investment needed for Australia’s future prosperity.


Nothing creates equality of opportunity like access to quality education for all.


If we can equip all Australian high school graduates with the basic skills needed for the global economy by 2030, it would be the equivalent to adding 2.8 per cent to our GDP today.  This would represent a $44 billion expansion in our economy.


Labor’s Your Child. Our Future plan gives voters a clear choice.


Labor will invest in the education system that our children, and our country, needs for the future. Mr Turnbull and the Liberals will cut it.


Under the Liberals, education funding has been slashed with an average cut of $3.2 million per school – the same as sacking one in seven teachers.


At the next election, once again there will be a clear choice when it comes to education – invest in our children’s and nation’s future with Labor, or more of the same cuts to education under Mr Turnbull and his Liberals.


Labor’s Your Child. Our Future plan is fully funded by existing improvements to the Budget proposed by Labor including making multinational companies pay their fair share of tax, reducing superannuation tax concessions for millionaires, increasing the tobacco excise, ceasing the Emissions Reduction Fund, and scrapping the Liberals’ new Baby Bonus.


For more information on Labor’s Your Child. Our Future plan, visit


A link to the policy factsheet is available here.





JOANNE CLEARY (ELLIS) – 0428 816 751

Jan 27, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

2016 Australian of the Year: Lieutenant General David Morrison AO

I am delighted to offer my congratulations to the 2016 Australian of the Year, Lieutenant General David Morrison AO.


David Morrison has lived a life of service before self.


Long after his bravery, judgment and leadership earned him the deep respect of his comrades-in-arms, Lieutenant General Morrison won a new legion of admirers for his powerful public condemnation of sexism in the Australian military. Importantly, he backed those words with deeds, as a champion of cultural change and diversity.


As a leading voice for equality for women, Lieutenant General Morrison is a worthy successor to the advocacy and energy of Rosie Batty.


Throughout his 36 years in uniform, including four years as Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Morrison has served Australia with courage and integrity. At home and abroad, he has put duty first.


We are fortunate indeed that he has answered our nation’s call once more.


I congratulate Senior Australian of the Year Professor Gordian Fulde, Young Australians of the Year Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, and Local Hero of Australia, Dr Catherine Keenan on their awards.


As the Director of Emergency at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, selflessly working countless nights in the Emergency Department, Gordian Fulde has won the admiration and respect of the entire community.


Catherine Keenan, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett have pioneered extraordinary and inspiring initiatives that make a difference to the lives of tens of thousands of Australians every year.


Their awards tonight are well-deserved and an acknowledgement of their exceptional contribution to the Australian community.


I also congratulate the other finalists for tonight’s awards – it is testament to the richness of our nation that we are blessed with so many remarkable individuals who contribute so much.


On behalf of all Australians, I wish our new Australian of the Year and tonight’s other award winners all the very best for 2016.






Jan 25, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins



I want to thank Rosie Batty for her outstanding service to our nation as 2015 Australian of the Year.

Rosie’s story is every parent’s worst nightmare – an unspeakable tragedy no one should ever endure.


By sharing her story and Luke’s, she has shone a bright light on the crisis of family violence and put it firmly on the national agenda.
Rosie is an unlikely hero of our times – a remarkable and inspiring woman who has given a voice to so many who suffer in silence.

Rosie’s grace and courage has forced us all to look beyond the silence and ambivalence that has shrouded family violence for too long.

She has inspired change, forced action and moved this country all closer to stamping out the shame of family violence.

As nation, we owe Rosie more than our humble thanks. We must continue to act.


Australia can best honour Rosie’s ongoing work by pledging ourselves to the elimination of family violence, once and for all.

All of us in the Labor party rededicate ourselves to that goal today.





Jan 22, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


All of us in Federal Labor thank Melissa Parke for her years of dedicated service.


Since she won the seat of Fremantle in 2007, Melissa has been an unstinting champion for human rights, international development and social justice.


Melissa, like so many fine Labor foreign policy thinkers before her, is an internationalist. She has devoted her intellect, effort and energy to serving vulnerable people not only here in Australia, but anywhere Australia could lend a helping hand.


Melissa can be particularly proud that as Minister for International Development, she appointed Australia’s first Ambassador for Disability and Inclusive Development, with the goal of empowering people in some of the world’s poorest nations.


In the Caucus and the Parliament alike, Melissa has always stood up and spoken out for her beliefs, with an eloquence and fearless passion drawn from a deep well of integrity. For every minute of her time as a Federal MP, she has been true to herself.


As her friends and colleagues, we wish Melissa and her husband Warwick every happiness together in the next phase of their lives, and whatever the future brings.







Jan 22, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Labor pays tribute to the work of Professor Ian Chubb, who today completes his term as Australia’s Chief Scientist.


Professor Chubb is an outstanding public intellectual who has strongly defended the role of science in the life of the nation during a time when it too often came under attack from those with scurrilous agendas.


“Professor Chubb was an energetic advocate for Australia’s scientists and their vital research when the Liberals did not even see fit to appoint a Minister for Science,” said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.


“He stood against the irrationality of those who contested the science of climate change, and strongly argued that Australia must foster education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills from the earliest levels of schooling.


“Professor Chubb insisted that without a solid basic education in STEM and a broad popular appreciation for the work of science Australia would lag behind other developed economies in its innovation capability.


“His advocacy is one of the principal reasons innovation has returned to the forefront of the national political conversation,” Mr Shorten said.


Senator Carr said Professor Chubb had rightly rejected the arguments of those who contend that an active role for government in science and innovation policy would stifle productivity.


“He dismissed that sort of argument as ‘voodoo economics’ ”, Senator Carr said. “Professor Chubb pointed out that the most advanced economies are in fact those in which the role of government is accepted and upheld.


“His vision for Australia has always been one in which Government, business, universities and our excellent public research agencies work together.”


Senator Carr  said he was confident that Professor Chubb’s retirement as Chief Scientist would not mean the end of his contribution to public life.


Before becoming Chief Scientist, Professor Chubb held leadership positions in four Australian universities, including being vice-chancellor of two of them.


“I look forward to the next stage of Professor Chubb’s distinguished career,” said Senator Carr.





RAY CASSIN (CARR) 0417 329 343

Dec 24, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Last week I was delighted to join Malcolm Turnbull at the first meeting of the Referendum Council.

The creation of this bipartisan council is an important step towards recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution.

With the collective wisdom and experience of its eminent members, the Referendum Council will lead national consultations and community engagement so the voices and ideas of all Australians, especially the first Australians, are at the centre of the recognition conversation.

I know many in the community are frustrated by the slow pace of progress to date, and the feeling that things are not moving as fast as they should.

But as the real work of the council gets under way, I want to make it clear at the outset that I and Labor will do everything we can to make recognition a reality.

Constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is an overdue act of justice. It is a national wrong that must be made right. We need to pursue change that goes beyond symbolism or poetry. Recognition can’t just be a nod to good intentions, it needs to be meaningful.

History tells us that constitutional change is difficult and it cannot be rushed. But this does not mean we should risk losing momentum by signing off on nothing more than a strategy for delay. I believe the council and its consultations will bring new energy and clarity to the recognition process, including a community consensus on the framing of the referendum question.

Without an agreed question, it’s impossible for supporters of recognition to advocate a concrete case for constitutional change. Instead we end up arguing in a vacuum, filled from time to time by the tiny minority that does not want to see any change at all.

Above all, the question we take to Australians must be shaped by real and substantive engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, guided by the principles of inclusion and respect and informed by an acknowledgment of culture and connection with land and sea. We need a proposal formed by the empowered voices of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, a case for change they can own, advocate and vote for with pride.

For all its incontestable merit, recognition alone is not a substitute for tackling disadvantage or closing the gap.

Recognition will not stop young Aboriginal people being put in jail when they should be going to university. On its own, recognition won’t create new jobs or fill the void left by cuts to essential community services.

But if recognition is about equality in the Constitution, it is also a bigger declaration of intent. It is a promise to pursue equality in every facet of our national life: from health, education and housing to jobs, justice and the right to grow old.

Turnbull is the fifth prime minister to pledge support to recognition and I am the fifth opposition leader. However, the answers will not come from us, any more than they came from our predecessors. Whether we succeed or fail depends on the empathy and imagination of the Australian people.

I am confident, as a country, that we can find it in our hearts to accord the first members of our Australian family a place of honour on our national birth certificate. When it comes to delivering historical justice, there’s no time like the present.

This opinion piece was first published in The Australian on Thursday, 24 December 2015


Dec 24, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Most of us are lucky enough to spend this time of year celebrating with the people we love.

I’m looking forward to spending time with my wife Chloe and our  3 kids – and millions of Australians feel the same way about spending time with their loved ones.

But let’s also spare a thought for those Australians who will not be home for Christmas.

The men and women in our defence force, serving abroad and their families and loved ones who will especially feel their absence at a time like this.

To our emergency services personnel: fire-fighters, ambos, nurses and police officers – we also hope they have a safe and quiet break.

And all those Australians working unsociable hours, who will be giving up time with their family to work.

To those Australians I say thanks and be assured Labor will always stand up for your penalty rates.

I also want to send a special thank you to all the remarkable organisations helping Australians who are doing it tough at Christmas-time.

Their hard work and generosity helps bring a bit of Christmas cheer into the lives of people who would otherwise go without a good meal, or a safe place to stay.

And we count on these organisations to help women and children who live in fear of family violence, which is, tragically more common at Christmas.

If you can make a donation, or give up some of your time to join in this assistance- I encourage you to do so.

Christmas is a time to reflect on the things that matter most – families, our health and happiness.

Merry Christmas everyone – and all the very best for a safe and happy new year.
To download the video click here.



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