Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Sep 14, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

AUSTRALIAN MILITARY CONTRIBUTION TO FIGHTING EVILS OF ISIL

AUSTRALIAN MILITARY CONTRIBUTION TO FIGHTING EVILS OF ISIL

 

This afternoon, the Prime Minister briefed the Opposition on Australia’s contribution to an international coalition to fight ISIL.

 

ISIL is a barbaric organisation that is engaged in the massacre of innocent people.

 

The execution of British citizen David Haines is further sickening evidence of this.

 

This evil organisation must be defeated and their fighting capacity disabled.

 

We cannot co-operate with this insatiable ruthlessness by refusing to support the innocent.

 

The situation in Iraq remains deeply concerning and there’s no doubt that a humanitarian crisis continues to develop.

 

Labor has fully supported the humanitarian mission that Australia has been involved with in Iraq – our RAAF personnel have been doing a tremendous job providing humanitarian relief to people desperately in need.

 

Labor supports today’s announcement of the deployment of an Australian military force – including RAAF assets and personnel – to the United Arab Emirates.

 

We don’t do so lightly, but we support the Government’s decision that Australia has a role to play in eradicating this evil and we are reassured that our support is being provided at the request of, and in full coordination with, the Iraqi Government.

 

We are also greatly heartened by the progress being made by new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, in the formation of a unity government, which is vital to achieving a successful outcome against these terrorists.

 

President Obama made it clear that the United States will not be dragged into another ground war in Iraq – this is an important statement of principle and we support this.

 

There have been too many mistakes made in the past that western countries must avoid repeating.

 

In uncertain times such as these, we must refuse to submit to fear, prejudice and intolerance.

 

We must jealously guard the harmony of our society.  It’s what makes our country so remarkable.

 

The Australian men and women involved in this action – and their families – will be in our thoughts.

 

 

SUNDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

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

 

 

 

Sep 12, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

NATIONAL TERRORISM PUBLIC ALERT LEVEL

The determination of ASIO to increase the terror threat level and the Government’s decision to raise the National Terrorism Public Alert level to high is a most serious decision.

 

Since the current alert system started in 2003, four major terrorist attacks on Australian soil have been disrupted, with the participants prosecuted, convicted and jailed.

 

Labor has every confidence in our security agencies to keep Australians safe.

 

While we remain vigilant – Australians are smart and resilient people – and I know we won’t let threats interfere with the way we live our lives, or undermine our tolerant, inclusive society.

 

For the average Australian, these changes should not impact their daily lives.

 

Labor will continue to support the Government in its most important responsibility – ensuring the safety of Australian citizens.

 

The Prime Minister and I are partners when it comes to national security, and that is what Australians expect of us.

 

If people notice something out of the ordinary, they are encouraged to call the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400 or contact local police.

 

FRIDAY, 12 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

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

 

Sep 11, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT’S BUDGET UNFAIRLY IMPACTS ON AUSTRALIAN WOMEN

 

Independent modelling released today shows Tony Abbott’s Budget has an unequal and unfair impact on Australian women.

 

The modelling – from the independent think tank The Australia Institute – shows women will be more harshly affected by the Budget than men, with 55 per cent of the cuts to disposable income to be felt by women.

 

Even worse, it is women on low incomes that will lose the most.

 

From 2017, women in the poorest 20 per cent of Australian households will be more than $2500 a year worse off because of this bad Budget.

 

No matter how you cut it, this Budget is bad for Australians – but it’s even worse for Australian women.

 

This Budget is unfairly impacting on Australian women now, and it will impact on them in the future.

 

Tony Abbott’s broken promise on the superannuation guarantee means women will retire with thousands of dollars less in their super accounts.

 

The abolition of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution will rip up to $500 a year from 2.1 million women on low incomes.

 

And Tony Abbott’s retrograde changes to university fees will mean women will be saddled with more debt.

 

The cost of nursing and teaching degrees for women could double, and the cost of a science degree could as much as triple.

 

Because of Tony Abbott, a university degree will mean a debt sentence for young women.

 

This is a bad Budget written by an out-of-touch government.

 

With only one woman sitting around the Cabinet table, no wonder the impact on women is an afterthought.

 

Hard working women, trying to make ends meet and worried about how much they have saved for retirement, shouldn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting in this unfair Budget.

 

These alarming findings should be the wakeup call that Tony Abbott needs to change his Budget.

 

Australian women shouldn’t have to pay the price for Tony Abbott’s broken promises.

 

They shouldn’t have to bear all the pain of this unfair Budget.

 

THURSDAY, 11 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

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

Sep 10, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

TONY ABBOTT’S LIES SETTING BACK INDIGENOUS EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten and Senator Nova Peris today visited Bubup Wilam Aboriginal Children and Family Centre in Victoria to listen to the concerns of staff, families and members of the Indigenous community who will be hurt by Tony Abbott’s broken promise.

Next week, Tony Abbott will visit Arnhem Land, where he needs to explain how cutting over $500 million from frontline services helps Close the Gap.

Bubup Wilam Aboriginal Children and Family Centre is one of 38 centres which face closure because of Tony Abbott’s refusal to renew ongoing funding in his unfair Budget.

Before the last election, Tony Abbott said he would be a Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs. It’s now obvious that this was yet another broken promise.

“It’s my hope that I could be not just the prime minister but the prime minister for Aboriginal affairs. The first one that we have ever had”
TONY ABBOTT – SYDNEY MORNING HERALD – 10 AUGUST 2013

Indigenous Australians need more than words from the Prime Minister.

Centres like Bubup Wilam deliver early childhood education, antenatal care programs and maternal and child health services.

Tony Abbott’s decision to axe funding directly impedes the progress we have made on Closing the Gap.

Tony Abbott’s cruel and short-sighted cuts to Indigenous programs is undermining and putting at risk the hard work governments and Indigenous communities have done to Close the Gap.

What kind of ‘Prime Minister for Aboriginal affairs’ rips over $534 million from Indigenous programs and axes funding to Children and Family Centres that are trying to provide basic services to young families?

Bubup Wilam was built as part of the Council of the Australian Government’s approach to Closing the Gap, which seeks to reduce the gap in developmental outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children by addressing the needs of Indigenous children in their early years.

Instead, Tony Abbott has decided to turn his back on Indigenous communities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people cannot afford more empty words and lies from Tony Abbott.

WEDNESDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2014

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

Sep 8, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

TONY ABBOTT’S BROKEN PROMISE ON SUBMARINES A DISASTER FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will today visit ASC in Adelaide to meet workers whose jobs are on the line as a result of the Abbott Government preparing to break its promise to build future submarines in Australia.

 

Before the election, the now Defence Minister David Johnston stood outside ASC and promised that the Coalition would build twelve new submarines in Adelaide.

 

“We will deliver those submarines from right here at ASC in South Australia. The Coalition today is committed to building 12 new submarines here in Adelaide.”

Senator Johnston, Press Conference, 8 May 2013.

 

Tony Abbott and David Johnston have looked South Australians in the eye and lied to their faces.

 

This will be yet another broken promise from a Government that is addicted to lying – and South Australians will pay the price.

 

It’s another kick in the guts for South Australia, only months after the Abbott Government goaded Holden and Toyota into sending thousands of local jobs overseas.

 

Labor will fight the Abbott Government to ensure it keeps its promise to build Australia’s new submarine fleet in Adelaide.

 

It is time that Australia had a Government that stands up for our strategically vital submarine and ship building industries, not one that is prepared to see thousands of highly skilled Australian jobs leave the country.

 

Buying submarines from overseas will devastate South Australia and could irresponsibly put our national security at risk as a maritime nation.

 

In uncertain times, the last thing the Abbott Government should be doing is destroying our home grown submarine and shipbuilding industries.

 

No one can predict every threat or future conflict. But we do know that Australia will remain an island nation and submarine and ship building is a strategic asset that we can’t let wither and die.

 

To sign the Save Our Submarines petition go to: www.saveoursubs.com.au

 

TUESDAY, 9 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

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

DEE CAKIR (FEENEY) 0434 407 116

JO MEEHAN (BUTLER) 0408 803 428

Sep 4, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

PAYMENTS TO CHILDREN OF VETERANS TO BE CUT

Payments to the children of ADF veterans who have been killed or injured, including children who have been orphaned, will be cut by the Abbott Government according a clause hidden in the Abbott Government’s mining tax legislation.

 

The Bill – which passed the Parliament with the support of the Abbott Government and Palmer United Party – says additional legislation is required to cut the $217.50 Income Support Bonus to children of war veterans.

 

Page 70 of the Bill says the Department of Veterans Affairs will develop this additional legislation and the Abbott Government “will progress this separately”.

 

While Labor was successful in protecting these payments under the previous mining tax legislation – with two disallowance motions passed in the Senate – this legislation clearly states the Abbott Government will cut these payments.

 

Only around 1,200 children of veterans receive this modest yearly payment.

 

The cost of providing this assistance is only around $250,000 a year – less than 0.005 per cent of Tony Abbott’s universally-derided Paid Parental Leave Scheme for millionaires.

 

The Abbott Government and the Palmer United Party have left the children of war veterans out in the cold with no answers, no assurances and no protection.

 

The families of our veterans deserve respect and gratitude. Taking away their modest payments is incredibly insulting.

 

Tony Abbott should get his priorities right and guarantee the cuts to this assistance immediately.

 

This blow to the veteran community comes on top of the cuts announced in the 2014-15 budget including;

 

  • Cutting veterans’ pensions by reducing the rate of indexation to CPI;
  • Axing three months’ backdating of veterans’ disability pensions for new recipients, costing new recipients up to $8405; and
  • Scraping the $870 seniors supplement for some veterans.

 

Further, the Abbott Government announced last week the cancellation of funding to the Australian War Memorial for its popular travelling exhibition program.

 

THURSDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2014

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

                                      DEE CAKIR 0434 407 116 (FEENEY)

 

MRRT Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2014 – Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum

 

Page 38

 

Repeal of income support bonus

2.63 The income support bonus (ISB) is an indexed, non-means tested payment that is paid twice annually to eligible social security recipients. The ISB was intended to provide additional support for eligible income support payment recipients to manage unanticipated expenses. It is exempt from income tax.

2.64 ISB instalment rates are $107.80 for single people or $89.90 for most people who are an eligible member of a couple. Eligible members of a couple separated by illness, or couples where a partner is in respite care or in goal, receive the single rate of $107.80.

2.65 To be eligible to receive the ISB, a person must be a recipient of Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Youth Allowance, Austudy, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Special Benefit, Parenting Payment, Transitional Farm Family Payment, or Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment. The ISB is also paid to eligible recipients under the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme prepared under Part VII of the Veteran’s Entitlement Act 1986 and under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme established under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004.

 

Page 70

 

Abolishing the Income Support Bonus

 

3.133 Abolishing the Mining Tax Supplementary Allowance (Income Support Bonus) will require legislative amendment to the Social Security Act 1991the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999the Farm Household Support Act 1992 and the Education and Training Scheme and the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

3.134 The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) also needs to amend legislative instruments that sit under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 and will progress this 

Sep 2, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

TONY ABBOTT SNUBS HIS OWN SCIENCE COUNCIL

 

After one year in office, Tony Abbott has not once convened the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC).

 

Last week, while visiting the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Tony Abbott proclaimed: “This is a government which is dedicated to science.

 

But his actions shows his words count for nothing.

 

The Prime Minister’s unfair and short-sighted Budget gutted Australia’s investment in science, with a savage and short-sighted $836 million cut.

 

These cuts include $114 million ripped from the CSIRO, and hundreds of jobs losses in science and research agencies.

 

And not once did the Prime Minister seek the advice of the pre-eminent scientists and researchers on his own advisory council.

 

For the past 25 years, PMSEIC (and its predecessor, the Prime Minister’s Science Council) has been advising successive governments on critical issues at the intersection of science and policy.

 

Yesterday in the Senate, Eric Abetz couldn’t say when PMSEIC will meet again – if ever. He couldn’t even guarantee the future of this important advisory body.

 

Tony Abbott must today spell out his plans for the Science, Engineering and Innovation Council.

 

It’s bad enough that Tony Abbott doesn’t have a science minister in his government.

 

It’s a disgrace that he also ignores the people whose job it is to provide the Prime Minister with direct, independent and expert advice.

 

 

TUESDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

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

GIA METHERELL (CARR) 0427126 355

 

Sep 1, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

CUTS TO DEMENTIA PAYEMENTS TONY ABBOTT’S NASTIEST SURPRISE

 

One year ago today, Tony Abbott promised he would lead a Government of no surprises and no excuses:

 

“There will be no surprises and no excuses from a Coalition government.” [TONY ABBOTT - ABC INSIDERS - 1 SEPTEMBER 2013]

 

Since it was elected, all Australians have had from the Abbott Aovernment has been nasty surprises and pathetic excuses – a new GP Tax, increase in the petrol tax, cuts to pensions, cuts to schools and hospitals – measures Tony Abbott never told the Australian people about.

 

It’s nastiest surprise was the heartless decision from the Abbott Government to cut payments to aged care providers for elderly people with severe symptoms of dementia by $16 a day.

 

Today marks the beginning of Dementia Awareness Month and this morning Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shayne Neumann, and Shadow Parliamentary for Aged Care, Senator Helen Polley, visited the Kangara Waters Aged Care facility in Canberra to speak to those affected by this savage cut.

 

There are more than 330,000 Australians living with Dementia, by 2050 there will be almost one million. In spite of these alarming statistics, Tony Abbott has cut the DSBS without warning, consultation or solutions.

 

As our population ages we will need to do more – not less – to address dementia and support those affected by it.

 

This Government is burying its head in the sand and simply trying to walk away from a condition that already affects so many Australians.

 

This is yet another example Tony Abbott’s cruel and unfair budget that is hurting the most vulnerable Australians.

 

The previous Labor Government did the heavy lifting to make aged care sustainable and fairer, with wide community and sector support.

 

In contrast, the Abbott Government has dumped the DSBS; slashed the $652.7 million Aged Care Payroll Tax Supplement; made cuts to pensions which will affect aged care sector revenue streams; demolished the $1.1 billion Aged Care Workforce Supplement; and abolished the Health Workforce Australia.

 

Not only has Tony Abbott abandoned Dementia sufferers and the aged care sector, he has cut pensions, ripped money from veterans, and expects low and middle income earners to pay the GP Tax and a Petrol Tax,

 

At the same time Tony Abbott is content to give $50,000 cheques to millionaire as part of his $22 billion ‘signature’ Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

 

Labor’s petition against Dementia care cuts is available at: http://www.alp.org.au/dementia.

MONDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2014

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

Sep 1, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

LOCAL AUSTRALIAN HEARING SERVICES UNDER THREAT

Labor will fight the privatisation of Australian Hearing and the potential impact on local services, Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten said today.

Mr Shorten raised his concerns about how the Abbott Government’s proposed privatisation of Australian Hearing would hurt local services in Moonee Ponds, St Albans and Keilor Downs.

“Australian Hearing provides affordable, accessible hearing care for local residents who simply can’t afford to access fully commercial services” Mr Shorten said.

“The Abbott Government has not been able to make a case for privatisation and simply refused to address concerns about how this will impact on those accessing the service.”

Mr Shorten said that he had seen the importance of the Australian Hearing service first hand, after meeting local residents at the opening of the Moonee Ponds facility in 2012.

“I met pensioners and families with young children who spoke about how the care they had received at Australian Hearing had profoundly changed their lives.”

“Labor will fight to ensure that people with hearing impairments in our community and across the country, get the support they need.”

ENDS

Aug 28, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

PRIME MINISTER’S LIES ON WAR MEMORIAL EXPOSED BY HIS OWN MINISTER

 

 

The Prime Minister has contradicted his Veterans’ Affairs Minister, the Australian War Memorial and even himself in refusing to admit his $800,000 cut to the Australian War Memorial’s Travelling Exhibitions Program.

 

Today in Question Time, the Prime Minister said:

 

“I want to stress that the $800,000 that he refers to has not been cut.”

[Prime Minister – House of Representatives Question Time – 28 August 2014]

 

At the same time in the Senate, his Veterans’ Affairs Minister was asked about the funding cut and said:

 

“I did not do this with any joy.”

[Minister Ronaldson – Senate Question Time – 28 August 2014]

 

And the Australian War Memorial has said:

 

“The Department of Veterans Affairs informed the memorial last week that it has found it necessary to cease funding the travelling exhibition program effective immediately.”

[Australian War Memorial Statement – 25 August 2014]

 

The Australian War Memorial has said this is a cut, and so has Senator Ronaldson. So why can’t the Prime Minister own up to this broken promise?

 

It’s a disgrace that while the Government cuts the entire funding for this valuable program, they have ticked off $810,000 in media monitoring and market research programs for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

 

This cut is yet another broken promise from Tony Abbott, who before the election said:

 

“The Coalition will take the action necessary to preserve, protect and enhance the Australian War Memorial.”

 

In the year of the Centenary of Anzac, it is a disgrace that the Prime Minister has cut the funding of the Australian War Memorial’s Travelling Exhibitions Program.

 

These priorities are wrong and these cuts must be reversed immediately.

 

The Abbott Government has failed to give any reason as to why it is suddenly cutting this funding.  Last year, the Labor Government announced $10 million in additional funding for the War Memorial’s National Anzac Centenary Travelling Exhibition, an announcement Tony Abbott was trying to claim as his own today.

 

The Australian War Memorial has been conducting travelling exhibitions for 17 years, providing evidence of the lives, actions, and fate of the men and women who served and died for Australia.

 

To date, an audience of over 3.8 million visitors outside of Canberra have viewed the exhibitions, seen by over 200,000 people every year.

 

The latest funding cuts to the Australian War Memorial are on top of their unfair budget which unfairly targets veterans by:

 

·         Cutting veterans’ pensions by reducing the rate of indexation to CPI;

·         Axing three months’ backdating of veterans’ disability pensions for new recipients, costing new recipients up to $8405;

·         Scraping the $870 seniors supplement for some veterans; and

·         Cutting $217 annual payments for the children of war veterans.

 

THURSDAY, 28 AUGUST 2014

 

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

                                      LAURA WOOD (FEENEY) 0423 815 60

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