Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Jul 18, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

LABOR STRENGTHENS QANTAS

 

This afternoon, the Government has voted for Labor’s amendments to the Qantas Sale Act, ensuring the national carrier remains majority Australian hands and keeps jobs onshore.

 

Labor is pleased the Parliament has had the sense to agree to the fair and reasonable changes that we proposed.

 

Australians value Qantas as our national carrier and they want jobs to stay in Australia.

 

For months, Labor has advocated for a common sense solution which allows Qantas greater access to capital while safeguarding jobs and keeping the airline Australian.

 

Labor moved amendments to the Qantas Sale Act in the Senate to remove the so-called 25-35 provisions which limit foreign ownership in Qantas by an individual foreign investor to 25 per cent and by foreign-owned airlines to 35 per cent.

 

There is no change to the existing foreign investment limit of 49 per cent, meaning Qantas will remain majority Australian owned.

 

Labor’s amendments also protect other elements already contained within the existing Qantas Sale Act including:

 

  • Retention of the majority of the airline’s jobs in Australia

 

  • Ensuring at least two-thirds of the Qantas board are Australians, including the chairperson;

 

  •  Keeping the head office in Australia; and

 

  • Ensuring the majority of international maintenance is conducted in Australia.

 

At the time Labor released the amendments, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said they were ‘nothing new’ and refused to support Labor’s plan.

 

We are pleased the Government has now decided to support our amendments, despite insisting there was “no Plan B” for Qantas should its proposal to sell Qantas to foreign owners fail to pass the Parliament.

 

We are proud that because of Labor, the flying kangaroo will still call Australia home.

 

Qantas will be stronger and more competitive, and remain majority Australian owned.


FRIDAY, 18 JULY 2014

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

HANNAH FRANK (ALBANESE) 0427 636 837   

Jul 18, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 17

This tragedy is devastating news.

 

Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of all those on board, including at least 23 Australians.

 

We are advised the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has established a 24 hour hotline. Anyone with concerns about loved ones should call 1300 555 135.

 

The Labor Opposition will do all it can to support the Government at this terrible time.

 

FRIDAY, 18 JULY 2014

 

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

                                       DAN DORAN (PLIBERSEK) 0427 464 350

Jul 17, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

THANK YOU, JOE HOCKEY

 

In Question Time today, the Abbott Government showed once and for all just how out of touch they are.

 

Despite overseeing a budget train wreck that will hurt millions of ordinary Australians, the Prime Minister had this to say about his flailing, failing Treasurer:

 

I am proud of this Treasurer.

 

Frankly, Madam Speaker, the country should be pleased and grateful…

 

Thank you, Joe Hockey.

 

TONY ABBOTT – QUESTION TIME – 17 JULY 2014

 

The arrogance is astonishing. It’s offensive to every Australian who will be hurt by this Prime Minister’s broken promises.

 

Australians are not thanking Joe Hockey.

 

They aren’t thanking Joe Hockey for his new GP Tax, which will hurt them every time they visit their doctor.

 

Motorists aren’t thanking Joe Hockey for his new petrol tax, which will hit them every time they fill up the car.

 

Families aren’t thanking Joe Hockey for leaving them more than $6000 a year worse off.

 

Australian pensioners aren’t thanking Joe Hockey for cutting their modest pension and increasing the retirement age.

 

They aren’t thanking Tony Abbott or Joe Hockey for the lies they told before the last election.

 

When Coalition members return to their electorates this week, I encourage them to talk to their constituents about the GP Tax, the petrol tax, the cuts and the broken promises.

 

And I encourage Coalition members to ask their community for its gratitude.

 

Ordinary Australians are paying the price for Tony Abbott’s arrogance and incompetence – and he wants their thanks.

 

Labor will continue to fight this budget because it is unfair, short-sighted and based on lies told to the Australian people.

 

THURSDAY, 17 JULY 2014

 

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

Jul 16, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT WILL HIT AUSTRALIANS WITH MORE BUDGET PAIN

In Question Time today, the Prime Minister refused to rule out his government making further cuts, including to hospitals, schools and family support, which will hurt Australians more.

 

Labor repeatedly called on the Abbott Government to rule out more cuts and broken promises, following the Treasurer’s threat today that he is willing to inflict even more pain to rescue his shambolic Budget.

 

The Prime Minister comprehensively failed to guarantee that schools, hospitals and families won’t be hit with a double-whammy of unfair Budget cuts.

 

On radio this morning, Joe Hockey threatened the Senate that if he didn’t get his way, he would bypass Parliament completely by making cuts via regulation.

 

Now, if the Senate chooses to block savings initiatives, then we need to look at other savings initiatives that may not require legislation and I would ask the Greens and the Labor Party who between them hold 35 votes on the floor of the Senate – to understand that there are alternatives for a Government.

 

JOE HOCKEY – AM PROGRAM – 16 JULY 2014

 

Tony Abbott is already cutting $50 billion from hospitals – and he wants to cut more.

 

He is cutting $30 billion from our schools – and he wants to cut more.

 

And he is leaving a typical Australian family more than $6000 a year worse off – and he wants to cut even more.

 

Tony Abbott was more than willing to rule out including the family home in the means test for the Age Pension, but he wouldn’t rule out abolishing Family Tax Benefit B – as recommended by his Commission of Audit.

 

And he wouldn’t rule out increasing his unfair GP Tax to 15 dollars – also recommended by his Commission of Audit.

 

The Government’s arrogant threat to hurt Australians more won’t hide the fact that they have failed to get this unfair Budget through the Parliament.

 

If the Prime Minister wants to blame someone for the chaos his unfair Budget has caused – he should start with his inept Treasurer.

 

Ordinary Australians shouldn’t have to pay the price for this government’s incompetence and arrogance.

 

Labor will continue to fight this Budget because it is unfair, short-sighted and based on lies to the Australian people.

 

WEDNESDAY, 16 JULY 2014

 

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

Jul 9, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

BANK SCANDAL SHOWS NEED FOR STRONG CONSUMER PROTECTIONS

The Opposition will establish a fresh Senate Inquiry into how thousands of Commonwealth Bank customers lost their savings and whether the Abbott Government’s weakening of consumer protections will place investors at greater risk.

What occurred at the Commonwealth Bank is a scandal of shocking proportions – and it should never be allowed to occur again.

No one knows how many people have lost their savings, nor how much was lost.

It beggars belief that the Abbott Government is watering down consumer protections in financial advice, particularly in light of what has occurred at the Commonwealth Bank.

The new inquiry will be asked to consider:

• The actions of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) including those of the executive during the misconduct;
• Why financial advisors who were known to be behaving unethically were promoted;
• The performance of Australian Securities and Investments Commission in its initial investigation and whether stronger laws are required; and
• The implications of financial advice reforms on the financial services sector, including moves to reduce consumer protections in light of the CBA misconduct.
This isn’t just about the Commonwealth Bank, this is about the investments and savings of millions of Australians.

The Opposition is extremely concerned that despite all these events, the Abbott Government is weakening – rather than tightening – consumer protections.

The Abbott Government has been too slow to respond to this scandal and the Opposition is concerned it will simply sweep it under the carpet because it finds the issue politically inconvenient.

While the Commonwealth Bank’s announcement last week of compensation for victims is a good first step, it falls well short of what’s needed. The onus shouldn’t be on customers to come forward – the Bank should be working its hardest to identify customers.

More importantly, this should never be allowed to occur again.

The inquiry will be asked to provide an interim report by 1 September. Full draft terms of reference are below.

DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE:
That the following matters be referred to the Senate Economics References Committee for inquiry and an interim report by 1 September 2014, with the final reporting date to be agreed by the Committee:
(1) The actions of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) in relation to the misconduct of advisers and planners within the CBA’s financial planning businesses including, but not limited to:

a) a thorough examination of the actions of the CBA executive in uncovering and responding to episodes of misconduct, including allegations of a cover up;
b) the circumstances surrounding decisions to promote financial advisors who were known to be behaving unethically, including decisions as to their ongoing employment;
c) examination of the initial evidence provided to the inquiry into the performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission by the Senate Economics References Committee regarding compensation provide to CBA clients, and the revision of that evidence;
d) identification of any conduct that may amount to a breach of any law or professional standard; and
e) identification of any clients affected or likely to be affected by the misconduct and assess the appropriateness of the compensation processes provided by the CBA to these clients.

(2) Consider mechanisms, including a centralised register, that would ensure financial planners found to have breached any law or professional standards in their employment at one firm are transparent to the sector and consumers;

(3) Consider the implications of financial advice reforms on the financial services sector, including moves to reduce consumer protections in light of the CBA misconduct;

(4) Consider any recommendations the Committee views necessary, and further to the recommendations contained in the report of the inquiry into the performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission by the Senate Economics References Committee, regarding regulatory or legislative reforms that may be required.

(5) Consider other similar episodes of financial advice, planning or services that may amount to a breach of any law or professional standards;

(6) Seek the views of people affected by financial services misconduct regarding responses from financial services providers, government regulations, industry standards and other matters relevant; and

(7) Any related matters that the Committee regards as relevant.

WEDNESDAY, 9 JULY 2014

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

Jul 6, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

VISIT TO WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND

 

Federal Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten is visiting Wellington to discuss Australia’s important strategic and people to people links with New Zealand, and how they can be strengthened.

 

In his first visit to New Zealand as Leader of the Opposition, Mr Shorten will receive a number of briefings including from the Australian High Commission in Wellington.

 

In discussions with both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in New Zealand, a number of areas for improved cooperation and stronger relations with Australia have been raised for further work.

 

Mr Shorten took a deep interest in relations with New Zealand as Minister for Superannuation, progressing the portability of superannuation agenda significantly and will meet with the New Zealand Institute for Economic Reform.

 

Australia and New Zealand have sustained close and longstanding defence relations. Mr Shorten will visit the Joint Forces Headquarters New Zealand in Trentham and receive a briefing from the senior officer on operations in our region.

 

As we head towards the centenary of ANZAC it is timely for us to reflect on this special relationship and how it may be even further enhanced to deal with the range of environmental, economic and security challenges that face us in the coming years.

 

Mr Shorten has also addressed the New Zealand Labour Congress in Wellington.

 

SUNDAY, 6 JULY 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:        KIMBERLEY GARDINER 0427 230 685 (WELLINGTON)

 

Jul 1, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT’S SUPERANNUATION FREEZE STARTS TODAY

More than 8.4 million Australians will receive additional money in their superannuation accounts from today thanks to Labor’s increase to the Super Guarantee.

 

But today’s rise in the superannuation guarantee to 9.5 per cent will be the last increase workers see until 2018 – because Tony Abbott has frozen superannuation increases for the next four years.

 

As a result of the Abbott Government’s superannuation freeze, the superannuation guarantee will now not reach the full 12 per cent until 1 July 2022, a full three years after it would have under Labor.

 

Despite promising “no adverse unexpected changes to superannuation” before the election, since being elected Tony Abbott has announced two freezes to the increase of the superannuation guarantee. The second was announced just weeks ago in Tony Abbott’s unfair and unaffordable Budget.

 

Industry estimates the Abbott Government’s first superannuation freeze alone will mean approximately $40 billion less in Australian superannuation accounts by 2023 – this figure does not include the impact of the second pause.

 

These hits to the super balances of millions of Australians are coming from a Prime Minister who said “we have always as a Coalition been against compulsory superannuation increases.”

 

[Tony Abbott – Press Conference – 23 March 2012]

 

Today’s freeze comes on top of the Tony Abbott cutting the Low Income Superannuation Contribution – which will see super tax increase by up to $500 a year for 3.6 million low income Australians earning $37,000 or less, including 2.1 million women.

 

Tony Abbott has cut pensions, he’s cut assistance for seniors – now he’s cutting the superannuation savings of every working Australian.

 

Australians will receive less in their superannuation accounts every single day they work because of Tony Abbott.

 

Superannuation contributes significantly to national savings, employment, financial stability and economic growth and takes the pressure off the Age Pension.

 

Labor created universal superannuation, we have grown it, supported it and we will always fight for it.

 

What Tony Abbott’s superannuation freeze will mean for Australians:

 

Year

SG charge percentage

Labor

Coalition

Year Commencing 1 July 2013

9.25

9.25

Year Commencing 1 July 2014

9.5

9.5

Year Commencing 1 July 2015

10

9.5

Year Commencing 1 July 2016

10.5

9.5

Year Commencing 1 July 2017

11

9.5

Year Commencing 1 July 2018

11.5

10

Year Commencing 1 July 2019

12

10.5

Year Commencing 1 July 2020

12

11

Year Commencing 1 July 2021

12

11.5

Years starting on or after 1 July 2022

12

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TUESDAY, 1 JULY 2014

 

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

                                      CHRIS RAMSAY 0430 009 434 (RIPOLL)

 

Jul 1, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

STATEMENT ON THE FIRST BIRTHDAY OF THE NATIONAL DISABILITY INSURANCE SCHEME

Today marks the first birthday of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, one of the greatest social reforms of our generation.

 

Labor would like to congratulate everyone who has worked so tirelessly to get this ground-breaking reform off the ground.

 

Because of your hard work, one year on the NDIS is transforming the lives of people with disability every single day.

 

For the first time in our nation’s history, people with disability are getting the care and support they need to live the lives they deserve.

 

For too long, people with disability have been treated like second class citizens.

 

Because of the NDIS, that is now changing.

 

The NDIS is a transformative reform for people with disability, their carers and families.

 

It is also transformative for our national economy, as new opportunities for work and participation open up for people with disability and their carers.

 

Labor is proud to have been the party that delivered this life changing reform.

 

And we are proud to have been able to deliver it through the parliament with bipartisan support.

 

For people with disability, their carers and families and all those people involved in the development of the NDIS, you can rest assured that you will always have the support of the Australian Labor Party.

We look forward to working with you to see this reform grow.

 

Tony Abbott must re-commit to funding the rollout of the NDIS on time and in full, as promised.  Any cap, cut or delay to the scheme will be a devastating broken promise  to hundreds of thousands of people with disability.

TUESDAY, 1 JULY 2014

 

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

CATHERINE CHARLESON 0419987947

Jun 30, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

LABOR TO FIGHT UNFAIR CHILD CARE CUTS

Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for Education and Early Childhood Kate Ellis today visited the Jindi Woraback Children’s Centre in St Albans, to launch a new national campaign against the Abbott Government’s cuts to child care assistance.

Mr Shorten and Ms Ellis met with local staff and parents to discuss the impact of the Abbott Government’s plan to freeze the income thresholds for the Child Care Benefit.

“The Child Care Benefit is means-tested and assists thousands of local low and middle income families with the cost of child care,” Mr Shorten said.

“This is in complete contrast to the Abbott Government’s unfair and unaffordable Paid Parental Leave scheme which isn’t properly targeted.”

“Under the Abbott Government’s cuts, Brimbank families earning as little as $42,000 a year will be hit.”

Mr Shorten said that Early Childhood Australia modelling suggests that in some cases, families will have to pay between $3,000 and $5,000 extra because of these cuts.

“This is yet another attack on Brimbank families already feeling the pain of the Abbott Government’s GP tax, petrol tax and cuts to family assistance,” he said.

To take a stand against Tony Abbott’s cuts to child care, sign the petition here: www.alp.org.au/targetedchildcarecuts

ENDS

Jun 30, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO UNITE AGAINST ABBOTT’S CHILD CARE CUTS

Labor will today launch a new national campaign against the Abbott Government’s cuts to child care assistance, writing directly to more than 14,000 child care centres and services to urge them to speak up and stop these cruel cuts.

 

The Abbott Government has introduced legislation with the sole purpose of cutting the Child Care Benefit, which more than 80 per cent of Australian families who use child care rely on. The Education Department estimates this will leave more than 500,000 families worse off.

 

This will hit families earning as little as $42,000 a year. Early Childhood Australia modelling suggests some of the lowest income families will have to pay between $3,000 and $5,000 extra because of these cuts.

 

This is unprecedented – no previous Government has ever moved to cut the Child Care Benefit.

 

These cruel and unfair cuts will hurt families who can least afford it.

 

These child care cuts are imminent but not unstoppable. Every family, every child care provider, every educator, everyone who cares about decent access to affordable child care has the chance to make their voice heard.

 

What sort of government will make families on low and middle incomes pay up to $5,000 a year extra for child care – at the same time as giving $50,000 to wealthy families to have a baby?

 

These latest cuts will mean over $1 billion in child care support has been cut by this government since it came to office – including cuts to outside school hours care, family day care, the Child Care Rebate, the Child Care Benefit, Indigenous child and family centres, qualifications and professional development support for educators among other cuts.

 

This is another attack on the most vulnerable in our community who are already feeling the pain of Tony Abbott’s cruel budget through the new petrol tax, cuts to family assistance and the GP tax.

 

A single income family with two children earning $65,000 a year will be more than $6,000 a year worse off because of Tony Abbott’s unfair budget.

 

To take a stand against Tony Abbott’s cuts to child care, sign the petition here:

 

www.alp.org.au/targetedchildcarecuts

 

 

MONDAY, 30 JUNE 2014

 

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

                                 HANNAH MACLEOD 0437 526 210 (ELLIS)

 

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