Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Mar 26, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

BRANDIS’ DEVASTATING CUTS TO CONTINUE

 

Labor calls on Senator Brandis to fully reverse his cruel cuts to legal assistance funding.

 

Senator Brandis may have restored some of the funding increase Labor gave to Community Legal Centres in 2013, but he has not backed away from the $6 million cut in the last Budget.

 

His half-hearted announcement today confirms that the Government has still ripped more than $20 million from Community Legal Centres, Legal Aid, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Family Violence Prevention Legal Centres.

 

As his own Liberal Party colleagues have warned, the Abbott Government’s savage cuts are endangering the most vulnerable Australians, including women and children affected by domestic violence and Indigenous Australians.

 

The uncertainty created by these cuts means Community Legal Centres across Australia have already lost experienced staff and reduced the services they provide.

 

For more than a year Senator Brandis has maintained his cuts were aimed “policy reform advocacy” and would not affect frontline services.

 

Now in the face of public pressure over the clear effect of his cuts he has finally seen sense.

 

This is an admission that the Abbott Government’s cuts were affecting the most vulnerable Australians.

 

Labor has called on the Prime Minister to hold a National Crisis Summit on Family Violence and announced a $70 million interim package of measures to make sure women get the legal support they need and can access critical services.

 

This includes:

  • Almost $50 million to legal services, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services to ensure women suffering from family violence have appropriate legal support;
  • Initial investment of $15 million in Safe at Home grants to help people affected by family violence stay safe in their own home; and
  • An investment of $8 million to improve perpetrator accountability, tracking and diversion strategies to prevent violence.

 

Labor will continue to fight the Abbott Government’s attacks on legal assistance funding.

 

THURSDAY, 26 MACRH 2015

 

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

                                 ANNIE WILLIAMS (DREYFUS)    0428 040 522
MEREDITH HORNE (MOORE)     0408599800

Mar 26, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

DEFENCE FORCE SERVICE CHIEF APPOINTMENTS

 

Federal Labor has today welcomed the appointment of the new Chief of the Air Force, Air Marshal Gavin Davies AO, CSC and the Chief of the Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell DSC, AM.

 

We also acknowledge and thank the outgoing service chiefs, Air Marshall Geoff Brown and Lieutenant General David Morrison.

 

Both have served our country with distinction and provided outstanding leadership to the Air Force and Army respectively.

 

Air Marshall Brown has prepared the Air Force for the acquisition of the Joint Strike Fighters, as well as overseeing the arrival of other essential Air Force capabilities.

 

Under his leadership, the Air Force has made a vital contribution to many varied operations around the globe, including relief and disaster responses and the very testing Middle East Area of Operations.

 

Lieutenant General Morrison leaves behind an Australian Army that has been transformed by his leadership and has made his mark on the wider culture of the Defence Force.

 

He has overseen the implementation of the army’s biggest reorganisation since World War II. He has set Army on the road to dealing with the complexities of contemporary operations with the establishment of multi-role brigades and the integration of new capabilities and systems.

 

Federal Labor welcomes the new appointees and we are confident they will continue the exceptional work of their predecessors in protecting Australia’s national security interests.

 

THURSDAY, 26 MARCH 2015

 

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

Mar 26, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

VISIT TO CHINA

 

This evening, I travel to China to attend the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference.

 

The Boao Forum has emerged as our region’s premier meeting of business leaders, policy makers and academia, all working to secure better economic integration across the dynamic and growing Asian region.

 

I will be meeting with Chinese and global leaders to talk about the big questions facing Australia’s region: economic development, climate change, regional cooperation, infrastructure and digital disruption.

 

I will also join discussions on the future of skilled manufacturing in the digital age and how Australia can harness the jobs and opportunities which will come from the rise of Asia and an interconnected global economy.

 

As well as participating in the Conference, I will be meeting with business leaders and academics including Jiang Jianqing (Chairman, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China), Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University), Hans-Paul Bürkner (BCG) and Andrew Forrest (Fortescue Metals Group).

 

On the conclusion of the Boao Conference I will travel to Beijing, where I will meet with senior members of the Chinese Government.

 

I will also be meeting with representatives of Australian businesses working in China, along with members of China’s business, education, health, civil society and arts communities.

 

This will be my first visit to China as Opposition Leader, following my previous visits representing workers, as a Parliamentary Secretary, and as a Minister.

 

On each visit, I join the rest of the world in marvelling at the transition underway in China as it embraces its responsibility as a world power, with energy, confidence and a clear eye on the future.

 

Tanya Plibersek will be Acting Opposition Leader while I am overseas.

 

THURSDAY, 26 MARCH 2015

 

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

Mar 25, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

BUILDING OUR FUTURE SUBMARINES IN AUSTRALIA

 

Australia’s Future Submarines will be built, maintained and sustained in Australia under Labor’s policy announced today in Adelaide.

 

The decision of Australia’s Future Submarines is central to the national security interests of Australia until at least 2050 – well beyond the life of any Government.

 

That’s why it is critical the bipartisanship that existed before the election on where Australia’s Future Submarines are built is restored.

 

Building and delivering Australia’s new submarine fleet is an inter-generational decision.  Future Prime Ministers, from both sides of politics, will have to live with the decision that is taken.

 

This is the most significant procurement decision of our time, with construction and maintenance costs going beyond many billions of dollars over the life of the project – it is vital that we get it right.

 

For strategic defence reasons, it is critical that Australia retains an independent capability to build, sustain and maintain our next fleet of submarines.

 

It is simply too important for flawed selection processes and partisan politics, certainly too important to be used as a bargaining chip in a leadership contest.

 

Before the last election, the future construction of Australia’s submarine fleet was bipartisan, with both Liberal and Labor declaring the next generation of submarines will be built here.  Today’s policy announcement aims to restore that.

 

To achieve bi-partisan consensus on the selection process for Australia’s Future Submarines, Labor proposes that a Competitive Tender Process, including a Funded Definition Study, is undertaken.

 

This includes:

 

  • Request for Proposals (RFP): An RFP process would include the most prominent relevant submarine builders from Germany, France, Japan, and Sweden. The Commonwealth and the Royal Australian Navy would provide high-level submarine capability requirements, including range, endurance and stealth, to the four builders involved. Each participant would be provided $7 million from the Commonwealth for this process, similar to what is already provided by the Government.
  • Request for Tender (RFT): Following the RFP, two contenders would be chosen to deliver full submarine concept and fixed priced contract bids to the government. These competitors would receive an additional $8 million each for the RFT, similar to current arrangements. The final bids would include full design concepts, fixed-prices, build schedules (including through life support), guaranteed performance, and Australian access to all intellectual property.

 

The final selection for the Future Submarine Project would be made by the end of 2016, ensuring there will be no capability gap.

As part of this selection process, Labor would make it a condition that the successful tenderer build Australia’s Future Submarines in Australia.

 

This rigorous procurement process will ensure Australia secures a future submarine fleet that meets Australia’s defence requirements at the most competitive price for taxpayers.

 

Labor will also review the organisational structures required to best deliver that outcome.

 

Labor’s process would include Sweden, which the Government bizarrely excluded from its so called Competitive Evaluation Process without adequate explanation.

 

If the Government signs up to this process, including the condition of having the submarines built and maintained in Australia, Labor will provide bipartisan support.

 

WEDNESDAY, 25 MARCH 2015

 

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

   ADAM SIMS (CONROY) 0408 258 457

   KATE HANNS (FEENEY) 0423 974 363

Mar 25, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

GERMANWINGS FLIGHT 9525

Labor expresses its deep sadness at the news that Germanwings flight 9525 crashed over Southern France, with 150 passengers and crew on board.

 

We are particularly saddened to learn that two Australians, a mother and her adult son from Victoria were on board flight 9525.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of all of those on board, as well as with the people of Germany, Spain, and France.

 

We have asked the Australian Government for more detailed information.

 

Labor offers its full support for any help Australia may be able to provide in investigating this terrible tragedy.

 

WEDNESDAY, 25 MARCH 2015

 

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

   DAN DORAN (PLIBERSEK) 0427 464 350

Mar 24, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

LABOR LAUNCHES NEW PENSION CAMPAIGN

Labor today launched a new campaign calling on Tony Abbott to drop his planned pension cuts.

 

Australians can now visit www.dontpocketourpension.com.au to tell Tony Abbott to drop these cuts.

 

Before the election, Tony Abbott lied to each and every Australian pensioner telling them there would be no cuts to their pension – cuts he since announced in his chaotic first budget.

 

Tony Abbott now has a clear choice: abandon these cuts, or Labor will take this fight right across Australia between now and the next election.

 

We will remind Australia’s 3.7 million pensioners that Tony Abbott wants to leave them as much as $80 a week worse off within a decade.

 

And what’s worse – every Liberal and National Member has already voted for this cut.

 

They voted for the highest retirement age in the world.

 

And they voted to slash the deeming thresholds for part pensioners.

 

Labor wants to ensure that they don’t get away with it a second time.

 

Tony Abbott should drop his cuts immediately.

 

He should take them out of the Parliament.

 

And out of the budget.

 

And he should do so forever.

 


TUESDAY, 24 MARCH 2015

 

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

                               LACHLAN POULTER (MACKLIN) 0423 937 655

Mar 23, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

PASSING OF LEE KUAN YEW

STATEMENT

 

PASSING OF LEE KUAN YEW

 

Labor is saddened to learn that Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, has died.

 

Mr Lee was the father of modern Singapore.

 

He led his nation to independence and through its evolution into an economic powerhouse.

 

Singapore is now Australia’s fifth largest trading partner, and a leader in our region.

 

Mr Lee’s leadership was well respected on the international stage.  We have all learned much from his example.

 

His achievements in helping to build great education and healthcare systems are recognised around the world.

 

Labor’s thoughts are with Mr Lee’s family, friends, and the people of Singapore.

 

 

MONDAY, 23 MARCH 2015

 

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

DAN DORAN – 0427 464 350

Mar 21, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

NATIONAL COMMEMORATION FOR OPERATION SLIPPER

STATEMENT

 

NATIONAL COMMEMORATION FOR OPERATION SLIPPER

 

Federal Labor has today joined Australians across the country in commemorating the end of Operation Slipper.

 

Operation Slipper involved more than 34,500 Australian personnel, encompassing Australia’s contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan, and the International Coalition against Terrorism mission across Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Operation Slipper is the longest military commitment in Australian history, commencing in October 2001 and concluding in December 2014. It involved the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Federal Police, and many Australian Public Service staff.

 

Labor honours and is proud of all Australians who were involved in this vital mission.

 

Although far from home, their contribution has made our country more secure.

 

Today is also a day to remember the dedication, courage and sacrifice of our service men and women, especially the families of the 41 Australian soldiers killed during Operation Slipper.

 

The ADF can be rightly proud of the role they have played in defeating the Taliban and creating a more stable and secure environment to allow the Afghan Government to establish itself.

Commemoration events have been held in every capital city, and Townsville.

 

SATURDAY, 21 MARCH 2015

 

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

   ADAM SIMS (CONROY) 0408 258 457

   KATE HANNS (FEENEY) 0423 974 363

   MADELEINE FIRTH (BRODTMANN) 0422 664 772

Mar 20, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

THE RT HON MALCOLM FRASER AC, CH,GCL

THE RT HON MALCOLM FRASER AC, CH,GCL

 

Labor salutes the life of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, who passed peacefully today at the age of 84.

 

As the Member for Wannon, a Minister, Prime Minister and elder statesmen, Malcolm Fraser gave six decades of tireless service to our nation.

 

As Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser showed international leadership of great integrity in condemning the evil of Apartheid.

 

He immeasurably enriched Australia’s multicultural society, offering refuge to tens of thousands of vulnerable people driven from Vietnam by the horror of war.

 

He maintained the Whitlam Government’s commitment to the cause of reconciliation and recognising the land rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

In the long third act of his public life, Malcolm won many new admirers as a powerful voice for human rights and reconciliation and a deep thinker regarding Australia’s place in the world.

 

Famously, he and Gough made their peace in these later days too.

 

The friendship that grew between these two titans was more than just an act of personal forgiveness, it was a symbol of national healing.

 

The sight of Fraser and Whitlam campaigning together for a Republic and standing together at the National Apology warmed our hearts and showed how far we had all travelled since the torrid acrimony of the Dismissal.

 

We offer Malcolm’s family our deepest sympathies and we respect their call for privacy in their grief.

 

May he rest in eternal peace.

 

FRIDAY, 20 MARCH 2015

 

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

Mar 19, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

SENATE SETS MINIMUM PAY STANDARD FOR ADF PERSONNEL

Today Labor has voted to ensure that increases in pay for Australian Defence Force personnel can never fall below inflation.

 

The Defence Amendment (Fair Pay for Members of the ADF) Bill 2014 links, as a minimum, ADF pay to the higher percentage increase of either the Consumer Price Index or politicians pay.

 

This puts in place a floor below which ADF pay can’t fall.

 

Through this Bill, ADF personnel know that their pay will – at the very least – always keep up with the cost of living.

 

Nothing in this Bill stops the Government of the day providing a higher increase.

 

What it will prevent is the Abbott Government trying once again to cut the pay of our servicemen and women.

 

This government simply can’t be trusted to do the right thing when it comes to the pay and conditions of ADF personnel.

 

The only party that has cut the pay and conditions of our defence force personnel is the Liberal Party.

 

The Bill has a three-year sunset clause and ensures that if inflation moves above the Government’s recent pay increase, then the ADF won’t be worse off.

 

The process for the determination of ADF pay must be effective and transparent and properly take into account the unique nature of military service. This should be done in close consultation with Defence advocacy groups.

 

THURSDAY, 19 MARCH 2015

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:        LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053
ADAM SIMS (CONROY) 0408 258 457
MADELEINE FIRTH (BRODTMANN) 0422 664 772

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