Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Jul 23, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

WHY I SUPPORT A FREE VOTE ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Like the most Australians, I support marriage equality. I do not believe our current definition of marriage reflects the modern, generous and inclusive nation we love. It sends the wrong message to the world and to young Australians.

But I understand that not every Labor MP or party member feels the same way. Some, particularly people of faith, take a different view. I respect this. It’s why I support a free vote on marriage equality.

Solidarity still has powerful meaning in our party and a binding vote would put a handful of Labor MPs in a very difficult position. Either they vote against their conscience, or they vote against the party they’ve dedicated their working life to serving.

I was proud to move, with by deputy Tanya Plibersek, Labor’s historic Bill in June to reform the definition of marriage. But even if every Labor MP in the House of Representatives were forced to vote in favour of our marriage equality legislation, there would not be enough votes in the Parliament to make marriage equality law.

I believe the best way to ensure our Parliament passes a definition of marriage which includes, values and respects every Australian relationship is for all representatives, from all parties, to have a free vote. Liberal, Labor, National, Green and independent MPs all deserve the chance to engage with this issue.

I believe a free vote, or “conscience vote”, will foster the respectful, considered and diverse conversation the matter of marriage equality deserves. I’m hopeful Tony Abbott will allow his MPs a free vote when Parliament returns, to achieve this outcome.

If Labor gets hung up on procedural argy-bargy, we jeopardise this possibility. Not only is it far more difficult for us to call on Tony Abbott to give his party room a free vote if we bind ourselves, there is also the risk that the Coalition re-commits to binding against marriage equality.

In Australia, and around the world, marriage equality has come a long way. The referendum in Ireland and the decision by the United States Supreme Court have added vital morale and momentum to the Australian cause.

Frequently now people speak of marriage equality as an “inevitable” social change. In my experience, there is no such thing as inevitable progress, and worthwhile change is always hard-won. The best way to deliver reform is to bring people together. To build support by finding common ground; through consensus not coercion – not through the force of procedure but through the power of an idea whose time has come.

I believe it will be a proud day when Australia embraces marriage equality, an uplifting moment. All of us who support this overdue act of justice have a responsibility to focus on the best way of achieving it: a free vote for every member of our nation’s parliament.

This article was originally published in The Age online on Thursday, 23 July 2015.

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

Jul 22, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

LABOR WILL BOOST RENEWABLE ENERGY

A Shorten Labor Government will put a strong renewable energy sector at the centre of Australia’s response to the challenge of climate change, creating jobs, driving investment and pushing down power bills for families and small business.

 

Labor wants to see 50 per cent of our electricity energy mix generated by renewable energy by 2030.


We want to see more solar panels on the roof-tops of Australian homes and businesses.

We want to see battery technology developed to the point that electricity from solar panels can be stored in our homes and small businesses.

We want to make sure that investors in windfarms can be confident about investing in wind power.

There is an absolutely clear cut choice between Labor and the Liberals when it comes to renewable energy.

Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey hate windfarms; Labor will ensure renewable energy is a big part of the future for our country.
Tony Abbott has done everything in his power to destroy renewable energy in Australia.

 

Confidence for investors is the key to success for large-scale renewable energy.

 

Mr Abbott has tried his best to wreck it, but confidence must be rebuilt and Labor is committed to establishing consensus for an expanded renewable energy industry by 2030.

 

If we can do that, we can transform our electricity system into a cleaner energy future.

 

In Government, Labor will work with industry and the community to put in place the right policy settings to achieve this transition.
Only Labor will do this, and only Labor will look after the workers affected by the modernisation of our electricity generating system.

 

According to Tony Abbott’s own review, more renewable energy will push down power prices.  It will bring billions of dollars of new investment, creating jobs and reducing pollution.
Boosting renewable energy will be a centrepiece of our response to the challenge of climate change.

We will take steps to reduce pollution, and we will not be intimidated by ridiculous scare campaigns.

 

Only Labor takes the challenge of climate change seriously.


WEDNESDAY, 22 JULY 2015

 

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

JO MEEHAN 0408 803 428

Jul 22, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

LABOR WILL BOOST RENEWABLE ENERGY

A Shorten Labor Government will put a strong renewable energy sector at the centre of Australia’s response to the challenge of climate change, creating jobs, driving investment and pushing down power bills for families and small business.

 

Labor wants to see 50 per cent of our electricity energy mix generated by renewable energy by 2030.


We want to see more solar panels on the roof-tops of Australian homes and businesses.

We want to see battery technology developed to the point that electricity from solar panels can be stored in our homes and small businesses.

We want to make sure that investors in windfarms can be confident about investing in wind power.

There is an absolutely clear cut choice between Labor and the Liberals when it comes to renewable energy.

Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey hate windfarms; Labor will ensure renewable energy is a big part of the future for our country.
Tony Abbott has done everything in his power to destroy renewable energy in Australia.

 

Confidence for investors is the key to success for large-scale renewable energy.

 

Mr Abbott has tried his best to wreck it, but confidence must be rebuilt and Labor is committed to establishing consensus for an expanded renewable energy industry by 2030.

 

If we can do that, we can transform our electricity system into a cleaner energy future.

 

In Government, Labor will work with industry and the community to put in place the right policy settings to achieve this transition.
Only Labor will do this, and only Labor will look after the workers affected by the modernisation of our electricity generating system.

 

According to Tony Abbott’s own review, more renewable energy will push down power prices.  It will bring billions of dollars of new investment, creating jobs and reducing pollution.
Boosting renewable energy will be a centrepiece of our response to the challenge of climate change.

We will take steps to reduce pollution, and we will not be intimidated by ridiculous scare campaigns.

 

Only Labor takes the challenge of climate change seriously.


WEDNESDAY, 22 JULY 2015

 

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

JO MEEHAN 0408 803 428

Jul 22, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT’S FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH CHINA THREATENS LOCAL JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Trade is essential for a strong and growing Australian economy. A good trade deal can deliver lower prices, give consumers greater choice and drive economic growth that creates jobs. Increasing exports will boost living standards and open up new business opportunities.

 

Labor believes in a confident, open, competitive economy that is engaged with the world. Our commitment to open markets has never been an ideological, or theological one. It sprang from the realisation “Fortress Australia”, sheltered behind its high tariff wall, was not delivering for all Australians. The high tariff wall kept prices elevated and isolated firms from global competition. Businesses that might have thrived were kept cosseted. Labor’s three waves of tariff cuts in 1973, 1988 and 1991 delivered more than two decades of economic expansion.

 

We look at open markets as the most powerful engine for growth the world has known. And we know growth is the best way of creating good jobs in productive and competitive enterprises. As the Labor Party’s national platform says: “More trade is a pathway to a high-skill, high-wage future for Australians.”

 

Labor also knows there are tremendous opportunities as global economic activity shifts to the Asia-Pacific. Growing and diversifying our relationship with China — our largest trading partner — will be critical. We need to export more agricultural goods and food products to China. We need to see advanced Australian manufacturing integrated into the regional supply chains that are centred on China. We need to export more sophisticated services to China — such as education, healthcare, aged care, financial services, business and professional services, and tourism.

 

This is why both sides of politics have been negotiating for a free trade agreement with China. In government Labor worked to progress this deal.

 

Unfortunately, Tony Abbott brought home an FTA with China that undermines safeguards for jobs. Abbott has broken the community compact that has always accompanied trade deals — that they promote Australian jobs. Safe, secure and well-paid jobs.

 

Australia cannot and should not try to compete with other nations in a race to the bottom on wages and conditions. We should always play to our strengths as a high-skill, high-quality, fair-wage economy.

 

The deal Abbott has struck threatens the much broader consensus that trade is a cornerstone of economic growth and jobs.
And worse, Abbott is hiding the truth of his bad agreement by having the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade propagate myths about the agreement. For example, the government claims the FTA will not allow unrestricted access to the Australian labour market by Chinese workers. The fact is the agreement clearly states Australia will not “impose or maintain any limitations on the total number of visas to be granted” or “require labour market testing, economic needs testing or other procedures of similar effect as a condition for temporary entry”.

 

The government claims that under investment facilitation agreements Australian workers will continue to be given first opportunity at employment. The fact is there will be no requirement for labour market testing to enter into an IFA.

 

These are just two examples of the myths the government is pushing, and the flaws in the China FTA. Abbott simply didn’t stay at the table long enough. Instead of working harder to negotiate a trade agreement that supported local jobs, Abbott negotiated a deal allowing local workers to be bypassed. Instead of negotiating a trade agreement that protected skills and safety standards, Abbott negotiated a deal to water them down.

 

Trade agreements should enhance, not undermine, local job opportunities. Labor wants to fix Abbott’s mess and rebuild the consensus around trade. We will fight to reinstate the safeguards that Abbott wants to tear up under cover of the China FTA. In the parliament, Labor will fight to retain labour market testing, so employers need to show they cannot find suitable local workers before they turn to temporary migration for projects greater than $150 million.

 

And we will fight to maintain the integrity of Australia’s occupational skills and safety regulations.

 

We will do all we can in the parliament before the enabling legislation is passed. Labor’s approach will be to secure the economic benefits of the China FTA while protecting local job opportunities.


This article was originally published in The Australian on Wednesday, 22 July 2015.

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

Jul 21, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

PASSING OF DON RANDALL MP

Tonight I express my deep sympathies to the family and many friends of the Member for Canning, Don Randall MP.

 

Don was liked on both sides of Parliament and was counted as a friend by many in the Labor Party.

 

He was a thoroughly good and decent bloke.

 

West Australian through and through, Don was rightly proud of his fierce advocacy for his state and the people of Canning.

 

This sad news will have come as a shock to Members and Senators tonight. This is a moment that puts daily politics in perspective, it reminds us of how precious life is.

 

Our sympathies are with Don’s family, especially his wife Julie and their two children.

 

We are thinking of them as they mourn Don’s passing.

 

Jul 17, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

MORE SHIPBUILDING JOBS GO WITH ABBOTT ALL AT SEA

Tony Abbott’s neglect of Australia’s strategically vital shipbuilding industry has resulted in another 101 workers being laid off in South Australia.

 

Earlier today 101 contractors at the ASC worksite in Adelaide were told to pack up their tools just before they started their lunch break.

 

Labor’s first thoughts are with the affected workers and their families who are dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty of losing their jobs.

 

We met with workers at ASC on Monday to express our support and to reassure them that Labor is committed to building, maintaining and sustaining 12 Future Submarines in South Australia.

 

We also called on Mr Abbott to guarantee the future of Australia’s shipyards.  Yet Mr Abbott has been silent while this industry withers.

 

On Mr Abbott’s watch the industry has lost 610 jobs at Forgacs in Newcastle, more than 200 jobs at ASC in Adelaide and hundreds more at BAE in Williamstown.

 

Thousands more highly-skilled Australian jobs are still at risk.

 

These latest layoffs follow yesterday’s alarming report in the Australian Financial Review that the Abbott Government is planning to have just one shipyard in Australia to service all of our naval shipbuilding needs.

 

Yesterday’s report also indicated that the Abbott Government intends to break its promise to build 12 submarines, instead reducing the number to eight and thereby effectively abandoning a local continuous build.

 

Since coming to power nearly two years ago the Abbott Government has done nothing but create dysfunction and chaos within Australia’s shipbuilding industry.

 

Last year Mr Abbott sent the construction of the Navy’s new supply ships offshore without allowing Australian companies to compete, ships that the former Labor Government would have built in Australia.

 

Just weeks later the industry learned about the Prime Minister’s secret deal to send the construction of Australia’s Future Submarines to Japan.

 

At the height of Liberal Party leadership tensions, Mr Abbott invented his sham submarine process to save his own job.

 

Now 101 more hard-working South Australians have paid the price for Mr Abbott’s negligence.

 

Mr Abbott must act immediately to provide certainty for the shipbuilding industry and its workers.

 

Mr Abbott must act now to secure Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding industry while there is still an industry left to save.

 

FRIDAY, 17 JULY 2015

 

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

   ANNIE WILLIAMS (WONG) 0428 040 522

   GARTH MORRISON (CONROY) 0408 896 036

   JO MEEHAN (BUTLER) – 0408 803 428

Jul 17, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT’S BUDGET CUTS HIT POOREST HARDEST  

 

New analysis by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) shows that low income suburbs will be hardest hit by Tony Abbott’s cuts to families.

 

This is the definitive proof of how unfair Tony Abbott’s Government actually is.

 

Households in Mount Druitt in Western Sydney will be the worst off, losing an average $1066 by 2018-19.

 

By contrast households in Darlinghurst in Malcolm Turnbull’s blue ribbon Liberal seat of Wentworth will be $177.90 better off in 2018-19.

 

Why should a family in Mount Druitt suffer these sorts of cuts while those in Point Piper are better off?  What planet are Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey living on if they think that’s fair?

 

Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey are forcing families who can least afford it to do all the heavy lifting.

 

Nine out of the 10 suburbs worst affected by the impact of the Abbott Government’s two budgets are in Labor-held seats.

 

The closer you look at the second Abbott-Hockey Budget, the worse it gets.

 

Tony Abbott’s second budget has the same unfair cuts from the last budget and more.

 

Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey are ripping money from the pockets of the most vulnerable families across Australia.

 

Tony Abbott just doesn’t get fairness.

 

He doesn’t get that families are already struggling to make ends meet.

 

The last thing families need is savage cuts that make it even harder to get ahead.

 

Importantly the modelling takes into account any benefit families receive from the Government’s new child care package.

 

NATSEM analysis indicates that one in four families in the child care system – over 270,000 families – will be worse off as a direct result of the Government’s child care changes.

 

Labor will continue to fight Tony Abbott’s cuts to Australian families.

 

Families will always be better off under Labor.

 

FRIDAY, 17 JULY 2015

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LACHLAN POULTER 0423 937 655

Jul 14, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

TIME FOR TONY ABBOTT TO GIVE AUSTRALIAN SHIPBUILDERS A FAIR GO

Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten today met South Australian ship workers to call on Tony Abbott to give Australia’s vital shipbuilding industry a fair go.

 

While Tony Abbott continues his ideological political campaign against the union movement and Australian workers, Australia’s strategically vital shipbuilding industry is withering on the vine.

 

On Tony Abbott’s watch 120 jobs have already been lost at ASC in Adelaide, 610 jobs at Forgacs in Newcastle, and hundreds more lost at BAE in Williamstown.

 

The Abbott Government’s inaction is putting thousands more highly skilled Australian jobs at risk.

 

Today Labor is calling on Mr Abbott to guarantee the future of Australia’s shipyards.
If any Australian shipyards are abandoned, blame will rest at the feet of Tony Abbott and the Liberals.

 

Before the last election the Liberals promised that 12 new submarines would be built in South Australia.

 

But everything Mr Abbott has done since has undermined the future of shipbuilding in this country.

 

Mr Abbott has abandoned his party’s commitment to build 12 submarines in South Australia.

 

He also abandoned Labor’s plan that would have maintained industry capacity, created jobs and maximised value for Australia’s Defence acquisitions.

 

South Australia has a proud history of building, maintaining and sustaining the ships and submarines that are vital to Australia’s national security.

 

Sadly Tony Abbott seems committed to letting this vital industry wither and die, just as he did with South Australia’s car industry.

 

Tony Abbott must give South Australia a fair go and fulfil his Government’s pre-election promise to build 12 submarines in Adelaide.

 

All South Australian companies and workers are asking for is a fair go – a fair opportunity to compete for Government work.

 

Instead, Mr Abbott is sending high-skilled jobs overseas without allowing local companies to bid and has invented a sham submarine process to save his own job.

 

It’s time this Abbott Government lived up to its pre-election promise, joined with Labor and committed to building, maintaining and sustaining 12 submarines right here in Adelaide.

 

MONDAY 13 JULY 2015

 

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

 

 

Jul 12, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

MESSAGE FROM THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

I have spent my entire adult life standing up for the pay and conditions of working people, and I am not about to stop now.

 

As Parliamentary Secretary I fought to introduce the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

 

As a union leader at the Beaconsfield mine tragedy, I saw how important our fight for workplace safety is.

 

A Shorten Labor Government will be about fighting for a future where every child can look forward to good schools, good jobs and good hospitals.

 

But if Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey’s Liberals win the next election there will be nothing to stop them doing what they have wanted to do since their first Budget.

 

They will cut $80 billion from Medicare, hospital and education services that families rely upon.

 

They will introduce $100,000 university degrees and make further cuts to pensions and family payments.

 

That’s the wrong choice for your future, and our country’s future.

 

I am recording this message because I want to tell people that I am more determined than ever to stand up for a future that makes good jobs, good schools and good hospitals accessible for all Australians.

 

That’s a fight I will never back down from.

 

To download broadcast SD for TV click here

 

SUNDAY, 12 JULY 2015

 

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

Jul 11, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

THE SREBRENICA GENOCIDE

 

Today, twenty years on, we pause to remember the approximately 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys brutally massacred in Srebrenica and its surrounds.

 

Families were destroyed, and generations were lost.

 

The horror that is felt when recognising the sheer numbers of lives lost in such a short time is matched by a complete disbelief that some could commit such an atrocity in the first place.

 

While much has been done to improve relations and move beyond the pain, we must always be mindful of the overwhelming need to build and maintain strong, diverse communities.  Communities united by a commitment to respect others, value the rule of law, and preserve social harmony and cohesion.

 

The Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition, Michael Danby, is representing Labor at commemorations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

SATURDAY, 11 JULY 2015

 

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

                                      DAN DORAN (PLIBERSEK) – 0427 464 350

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