Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
May 28, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Moonee Ponds born Strathmore resident Laurie Larmer is to be awarded France’s Legion of Honour for his service as an air force pilot with Bomber Command in World War Two.


The Legion of Honour is France’s highest honour.


Mr Larmer flew Halifax bombers and completed 9 sorties during his time in the Royal Airforce. He served in Bomber Command along with 10,000 other Australians,  3,500 of whom were killed in action.


“It’s hard enough to imagine let alone put into words what the fellows in Bomber Command went through high above Europe in World War Two,” said Federal Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten.


“The losses were incredible. Out of 125,000 airmen, 55,573 were killed. More than 44 men in a hundred were lost.”


“Thankfully Laurie Larmer returned to us. He has gone on to have a family, a successful businesses and become a life member of the Australian Labor Party.”


“The Legion of Honour is an extraordinarily high honour, France’s highest. I congratulate Laurie for his service and welcome this recognition.”


“I know Laurie is a humble bloke and wouldn’t want to make a fuss about all this, but when people do extraordinary things, especially in the service of their country, they ought to be recognised.”


Laurie will receive the award in Melbourne.



Thursday, 28 MAY 2015


Media Contact: James Kenyon 03 9326 1300

May 28, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


This National Public Education Day, Labor is celebrating the immense value and huge achievements of our public education system.


The right of every Australian to access a quality education – regardless of background or circumstance – is the cornerstone of our social and democratic traditions, and the key to our economic success.


We also acknowledge the hard working teachers, principals and support staff who are the heart and soul of public education.


There is no better expression of Labor values than our commitment to building our public education system: from the Whitlam Government’s federal funding for schools to the landmark Gonski reforms. Labor introduced the Gonski reforms and remains committed to a needs-based, sector-blind school funding system.


We have committed to ensuring that computer coding is taught in every primary and secondary school, to ensure every child has the opportunity to learn to read and write the global language of the digital age. We will also boost the skills of primary and secondary school teachers to assist students to prepare for the jobs of the future.


In contrast, our public schools are facing an uncertain future under the Abbott Government, with this year’s Budget locking in $30 billion of savage cuts to education. Tony Abbott has also trashed Labor’s Gonski blueprint, and the students who need the most help will be the ones hardest hit.


We will fight the Government’s cuts every step of the way – because every child in every school deserves support to achieve their best.


If the Government cared about public education, they would mark National Public Education Day by reversing their cuts.





JO CLEARY (BUTLER) 0428 816 751

May 27, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has given notice that he will move a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Representatives on Monday which will finally bring about marriage equality in Australia.


The Bill will be seconded by Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek.


“The time has well and truly come for the Parliament to debate marriage equality,” said Mr Shorten.


“Our current law excludes some individuals – and to me, that is unacceptable.


“It says to them: your relationships are not equally valued by the state, your love is less equal under the law.


“I know this Private Member’s Bill will not have the universal support of my colleagues. It will challenge the deeply held personal beliefs of MPs and Senators on both sides of politics.


“This is why Labor Members have a free vote – a freedom Tony Abbott is currently denying his party.


“For marriage equality to happen, Tony Abbott has to give his MPs a free vote.”


Tanya Plibersek said its clear there is mood for change in the community.


A recent poll indicates about 72 per cent of Australians support same sex marriage.


“In Government, Labor amended 85 Commonwealth laws to eliminate discrimination against same sex couples including for superannuation, Centrelink, Medicare, and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme,” Ms Plibersek said.


“We also passed legislation to provide protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status.”


“But marriage equality is unfinished business.


“Let’s get this done.”





DAN DORAN (PLIBERSEK) 0427 464 350

May 26, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Today Labor joins with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to reaffirm our shared commitment to healing and reconciliation.


National Sorry Day is a time to reflect on the profound grief and trauma experienced by members of the Stolen Generations, and to celebrate the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Labor pays tribute to the Stolen Generations and their families and acknowledges the pain and suffering caused by past government policies and practices that robbed the Stolen Generations of family, language and culture.


We recommit to the promise made by the Parliament, on behalf of all Australians, to close the gap in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.


Australia still has further to go in our national journey of reconciliation.


Our next step as a nation is one of our most important – the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution.


We cannot afford to lose momentum. Labor stands ready to work with the Prime Minister to bring together a gathering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to advance the next step in achieving Constitutional Recognition of our First Peoples, as well as meaningful engagement on the impediments to achieving the Closing the Gap targets.


Today we celebrate the progress we have made and we remind ourselves that there is always more to do.


We cannot rest until opportunity belongs to every Australian, until the gap is closed, until our two Australias are one.






                                                CHANSEY PAECH (SNOWDON) 0431 810 758

May 26, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


The Abbott Government must immediately reverse its pathetic, unfair and heartless attack on Australians suffering from debilitating Inborn Error of Metabolism (IEM) conditions.

Around 900 Australians are diagnosed with rare genetic conditions such as Phenylketonuria (PKU) and Homocystinuria (HCU) which, require them to have an expensive, and protein restricted diet, to prevent then developing brain damage.

For over decade the federal government has been providing a small subsidy, currently worthy $250 per month, to these 900 families to enable them to purchase the special food they need so children with this condition do not suffer brain damage.

With no warning or consultation, these families were last week informed by The Department of Health that the Budget had ended this payment.

No decision more highlights the unfair and heartless nature of this government, and its Budget.

This is a pathetic and small-minded measure which punishes families reliant on this small contribution to help cover the costs of protecting children with this very rare disease from suffering brain damage or premature death.

That is why Labor has written to the Prime Minister urging him to immediately reverse this decision which has such serious implications for people living with an Inborn Error of Metabolism both now and for the rest of their life.


These are the last people that the Government should be going after and they should not have to fight their Government for continued support.


We are hugely concerned that this is just the tip of the iceberg.


We’re concerned the Government has hidden cuts like this to small programs for Australians suffering severe health conditions as part of its overall $2 billion cut to health in this year’s Budget.


TUESDAY, 26 MAY 2015



STEPHEN SPENCER 0423 596 573                                     


May 26, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Labor mourns the passing of an honoured son of our party and a distinguished servant of our nation, Leslie Royston Johnson AM.


Les, as he was known to one and all, gave a quarter century of service to our Parliament and our nation. Between he served as the Member for Hughes, a Minister in the Whitlam Government and later Deputy Speaker.


Les Johnson was Labor to his bootstraps.


As a child, he knew the hardship of the Great Depression.


As a young man, aged 14, he went to work to support his family and later put himself through night school.


He fought for the rights of working people on the shop floor and in the community, from when he was first elected in 1955 until his retirement in 1983.


Les served our nation in turbulent times, from ‘The Split’ to the dismissal. In many ways he was made for them: tough, resolute and resilient.


He was a steadfast and forthright opponent of the war in Vietnam and along with being one of the first to speak against it in Parliament, he also visited allied forces in Vietnam at his own expense in 1966.


Les was also a strong supporter of independence for Bangladesh and his commitment was recognised in 2012 when that nation honoured him as a ‘special friend’.


Les was a local champion as well as a great internationalist; he understood the power of community, particularly as Minister for Housing, which he saw as a powerful economic catalyst as well as a human right.


With the loss of Les Johnson, another Labor giant moves into history.


The Labor Party offers our heartfelt condolences to his friends and loved ones, especially his wife Marion, his children and grandchildren.


We salute Les Johnson’s service, his passion and his never-fading faith in the light on the hill.


May he rest in peace.


TUESDAY, 26 MAY 2015



May 25, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins



Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for Research Senator Kim Carr today welcomed the Australian Academy of Science’s election of 21 new Fellows for their outstanding contributions to science and scientific research.


The new Fellows were admitted to the Academy today in a ceremony in Canberra, and will make presentations about their work tomorrow at the Academy’s annual flagship event Science at the Shine Dome.


“Labor congratulates the new Fellows, who have been elected by their peers for their work across a broad range of areas including diabetes, cancer and kidney disease, advanced fuel cells, and new plastics technology,” Mr Shorten said.


“The Academy plays an important role in promoting public awareness of science in schools and the broader community, which Labor strongly believes in.


“In my Budget Reply I announced a suite of policies that put science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at the centre of a Labor Government’s agenda, because we know that to create the jobs of the future we must see the future as one defined by science, technology, education and innovation.


“It is especially encouraging to see that almost half of the new Fellows elected to the Academy this year are women.


“A Shorten Labor Government will build the STEM workforce of the future by encouraging more young people to choose a career in STEM. As part of this measure, we will specifically seek to support more women to take up careers in science disciplines where they are currently under-represented.


“To achieve our national goals, we also need upskill existing STEM teachers so they can teach with passion and confidence, and ensure that computer coding – the digital language of the 21st century – is taught in every primary and secondary school in Australia.”


Senator Carr said today’s awards were an acknowledgement of world class research of Australian scientists.


“Each of the newly elected Fellows has dedicated their working lives to achieving excellence in research and working to solve the challenges we face as a society.


“Today, their names are added to a roster of Australia’s best scientists – including Elizabeth Blackburn, Suzanne Cory, Frank Fenner, Mark Oliphant and Brian Schmidt.


“Like these science leaders, Labor understands the importance of science in driving innovation across our economy and creating the jobs of the future.” Senator Kim Carr said.


Labor’s Jobs For the New Economy package will:


  • Work with states and territories, teaching bodies, schools systems and the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to lift the status of coding to a core skill that is part of learning from the start of schooling


  • Establish a STEM teacher training fund to support 25,000 primary and secondary school teachers over five years to undertake professional development in STEM disciplines. Coding and programming will be a key focus of this program


  • Encourage STEM graduates to teach, by offering 25,000 Teach STEM scholarships over five years to recent STEM graduates, to address the shortage of qualified teachers. Recipients will get $5000 when they commence a teaching degree, and $10,000 when they complete their first year of teaching


  • Provide 100,000 STEM Award Degrees – 20,000 a year for five years – that will provide a financial incentive for students to enrol in and complete a STEM undergraduate degree, in recognition of the significant public benefit of growing Australia’s STEM capacity. STEM Award Degree recipients will have their HECS debt written off upon graduation.


Labor values the significant contribution that science and research makes in our community, and it is important that we acknowledge and value the work of Academy, its Fellows, and their peers.


The Australian Academy of Science is a private organisation of Australia’s leading research scientists, elected for their personal contributions to science. You can find out more about the Fellows elected today at


MONDAY, 25 MAY 2015



THOMAS MOORHEAD 0427 126 355


May 25, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Labor congratulates Mr Moriarty on his appointment.


He brings a wealth of experience to his new role: in our region, the Middle East and in Australia’s intelligence community.


We thank him for his continued service to our nation.


Labor believes in a seamless, integrated national security system, at every level.


Our goal must be to guarantee the best tactical response for any situation is available, and employed, without qualification or delay.


Labor will continue to be constructive, bipartisan and considered in our approach to national security.


Nothing matters more to Labor than keeping Australians safe and our country united.


Our record – in Government and Opposition – makes this plain.



MONDAY, 25 MAY 2015



   MARCUS PRIEST (DREYFUS) 0402 914 466

   KATE HANNS (FEENEY) 0423 974 363

May 25, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Labor welcomes the Abbott Government’s offer to repatriate the remains of 25 Australian servicemen who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.


Of the 521 Australians killed in the Vietnam War, 496 were repatriated to Australia with full military honours.


There are 24 Australian servicemen buried at Terendak, Malaysia and one other buried at Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore.


These 25 soldiers are the only remaining Australian servicemen killed during the Vietnam War who have not been returned to their families for burial.


During the early days of the Vietnam War families would have their son’s body sent home only if their next of kin or benefactor were willing and able to pay 500 pounds for their repatriation to Australia.


If families could not afford this, the soldier would be buried in Terendak, Malaysia.


In January 1966, the Australian Government resolved that all soldiers killed in Vietnam were to be returned to Australia at the expense of the Commonwealth.


Labor has continued to support the Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia (VVFA) and the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA) in their campaign to repatriate these remains:  ‘Operation – Bring Them Home’


We make special mention of the efforts and advocacy of the coordinators of ‘Operation – Bring Them Home’, Vietnam Veteran Bob Shewring, and former ADF member Luke Gosling OAM.


As we move into the 51st year since the first Australian serviceman was killed in the Vietnam War, we must remember that we owe these men, and their families, an enduring obligation and respect for the sacrifice they made.


Today, we right a half-century old wrong.


We offer 25 families the chance to bring home their loved ones from the far corner of a foreign field.


In doing so we honour, equally and anew, all who served in Vietnam.


And we remind ourselves of the solemn duty our country owes to the loved ones of the lost.


MONDAY, 25 MAY 2015



May 25, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


New independent analysis from NATSEM has found this year’s Budget contains a hidden hit on Australian families.


Nine out of ten of the lowest income families lose under the Abbott Government’s Budget, while nine out of ten of the wealthiest families benefit.


It also shows that families will be slugged thousands of dollars even when the Government’s new child care measures – that start in 2017 – are factored in.


This includes:


  • A family with a single income of $65,000 and two children will be $6,164 a year worse off by 2018-19.


  • A single mother with an income of $55,000 and two children will be $6,107 a year worse off by 2018-19.


  • A family with a dual income of $60,000 and two children will be $3,843 a year worse off by 2018-19.


This is proof that Tony Abbott’s promise not to hurt families was only ever a desperate lie to save his own job.


This is what the Budget papers refused to tell Australians – the true impact on families.


This Budget has all the same unfairness and pain for families hidden in the fine print.


This is Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey’s hidden hit on Australian families – the closer you look, the worse this Budget gets.


Tony Abbott promised to make things better, but for Australian families he just keeps making things worse.


This proves that despite the spin job, families who can least afford it are being hurt the most by this Budget.


It proves that this Budget just isn’t fair.


Table One


Family: Couple, single income of $65,000 with 2 kids (one in primary, one in high school)
2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Total
Annual Impact -$ 3,734.01 -$ 4,914.23 -$ 6,012.84 -$ 6,164.62 -$ 20,825.70
Weekly Impact -$       71.81 -$       94.50 -$     115.63 -$     118.55


Family: Sole Parent with income of $55,000 with 2 kids (one primary, one high school)
2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Total
Annual Impact -$ 3,714.86 -$ 4,865.38 -$ 5,959.72 -$ 6,107.80 -$ 20,647.76
Weekly Impact -$       71.44 -$       93.57 -$     114.61 -$     117.46


Family:  Couple, dual income of $60,000 with 2 kids (both in high school)
2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Total
Annual Impact -$     825.56 -$ 2,285.68 -$ 3,648.76 -$ 3,843.44 -$ 10,603.45
Weekly Impact -$       15.88 -$       43.96 -$       70.17 -$       73.91


Table Two


Lowest income families (first quintile) with children will lose up to 7.1% of the total disposable income under the Government’s unfair Budget by 2018-19.


The most well off families will actually be slightly ahead under the Government’s Budget, with a small increase in their disposable income.



Quintile breakdown by income (couples/children):


  • Q1 –        0-$47,000
  • Q2 –        $47,000-$59,000
  • Q3 –        $59,000-$83,000
  • Q4 –        $83,000-$119,000
  • Q5 –        $119,000 +


MONDAY, 25 MAY 2015


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