Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
May 20, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins














Tony Abbott’s Budget of broken promises will mean concessions will be cut for more than 600,000 Queensland pensioners and almost 50,000 Queensland Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders.


Around 650,000 Queenslanders will have concessions cut for vital services such as public transport, electricity and water bills.


Because of Tony Abbott, the National Partnership Agreement on Certain Concessions for Pensioners and Seniors Card Holders will be axed from 1 July this year. The cuts will start in just 42 days.

This is another hit to the retirement security of Queensland pensioners and self-funded retirees.

The Agreement provides Commonwealth financial support to the Queensland Government to provide pensioners and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Holders discounts for essential services such as public transport and help paying their electricity and water bills.

Queensland was scheduled to receive up to $47 million under this Agreement in the 2014-15 financial year. Over the next four years, this could amount to a cut of as much as $188 million to Queensland.

Either the Queensland Government will now need to foot the bill or pensioners will have their concessions cut.

Just like he lied before the election, Tony Abbott is lying to pensioners after the election. These cuts will hit pensioners from July, not in three years like the Prime Minister says.

This is a further blow for Queensland pensioners who will have their pension cut at the same time as they are being slugged with new taxes for fuel and visits to the GP.

These cuts will hurt more than 600,000 Queensland pensioners, including more than 400,000 full-rate pensioners who currently have no income other than the $20,000 a year they receive from the Age Pension.


Tony Abbott’s first Budget is an unprecedented attack on the standard of living of Queensland pensioners, and a complete betrayal of the promises he made to them before the election, when he said:

 “No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.”


Tony Abbott has broken this promise and betrayed Queensland pensioners and it will hit them hard.

Tony Abbott cannot be trusted.

TUESDAY, 20 MAY 2014



May 19, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Tony Abbott has betrayed more than 23,000 local pensioners by breaking the promises he made before the election, Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten said today.


“Local pensioners now know that this is a Prime Minister who cannot be trusted,” Mr Shorten said.


“Before the election, Mr Abbott promised that there would be ‘no changes to pensions’. But yet again, he has walked away from his promises.”


“It was Labor’s reforms in 2009 which ensured pensions kept pace with the cost of living. But under the Abbott Government’s savage plan, pensions will instead be indexed according to the consumer price index – resulting in aged pensioners being left around $1500 worse off over the next four years.”


Mr Shorten said that those receiving the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carers Payment, Veterans’ Pensions, Wife and Widow Pension and Parenting Payment Single would be affected by Tony Abbott’s cuts.

Locally, that means around:

  • 18,000 aged pensioners;
  • 5,000 receiving the Disability Support Pension;
  • 2,000 receiving the Carer Payment; and
  • 1,000 receiving a Veteran’s Affairs pension.

“This is an unprecedented attack upon the living standards of thousands in our community,” Mr Shorten said.

“While Mr Abbott breaks promise after promise, Labor will fight for a fair pension.”



May 19, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten has said Labor will fight Tony Abbott’s attack on Medicare.


“As the party that built Medicare, Labor will fight the Abbott Government’s attack on universal healthcare,” he said.


“Tony Abbott promised before the election that there would be ‘no cuts to health’. But yet again we see he has broken his promise and betrayed the people of Maribyrnong.”


“In contrast to Tony Abbott’s Budget of Broken Promises, we will fight to ensure Medicare remains something that belongs to all Australians.”


Mr Shorten said that under the Abbott Government’s $7 GP Tax, local residents would pay more than $6.2 million annually to see their doctor.


“Under the Abbott Government’s plan, local residents will pay more to see their doctor and more for their medication.


“But Labor will not stand by while local families, the sick, the elderly, might have to choose between putting food on the table or seeing a doctor.”




May 19, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Parents, students and teachers will be seriously impacted by the Abbott Government’s decision to cut funding from local schools, Leader of the Opposition and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten said today.


“Our community deserves the full six years of Gonski funding we were promised by the Abbott Government, not the cuts they have now delivered,” Mr Shorten said.


“After all, Tony Abbott said there would be ‘no cuts to education’ – but yet again we are being left high and dry by his broken promise.”


“If the Budget is the best indicator of a Government’s priorities, Tony Abbott’s is showing his unwavering commitment to inequality – inequality in our schools and inequality across our community.”


Mr Shorten highlighted that even the Victorian Liberal Government had argued the need for the Abbott Government to honour the signed agreement and support years five and six of Gonski funding:


“In line with its own six-year funding commitment, the Victorian Government will seek to ensure the Commonwealth also delivers on its commitment of an additional $6.8 billion for Victorian schools over six years.” (Victorian Budget Paper 2, 2014)


“Even their Liberal state counterparts recognise what Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne do not – our local schools need the additional funding for a fully implemented Gonski deal,” Mr Shorten said.


“If the Abbott Government were serious about our kids’ future, they would have stepped up and delivered funding for our schools across the whole six years.”



May 19, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten has condemned the Abbott Government’s decision to cut local youth employment services, highlighting the record levels of unemployment for those aged 24 and under.


“The Abbott Government decision to terminate the Youth Connections program and the Partnership Brokers program is deplorable,” he said.


“With local youth unemployment a huge issue for our community and our nation, the Abbott Government should understand that these services are more important than ever.”


Mr Shorten said the Abbott Government’s Budget had demonstrated their commitment to ideology, rather than helping young Australians into work.


“On the one hand, the Abbott Government is saying that young people need greater motivation in order to get a job, but on the other they are ripping away the very services that can help,” he said.


“I am particularly disappointed that the decision to cut these local services is supported by Senator Scott Ryan, Parliamentary Secretary for Education.”


“As a representative of Melbourne’s west, he should know how much our community needs these programs.”




May 19, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Statement: Jack Brabham




Federal Labor pays tribute to the life of Australian sporting hero, Sir Jack Brabham.


A Flight Mechanic in the RAAF, Jack retained a lifelong love of engine design, construction and repair and once said that driving was the ‘relaxing part’ of the world of Formula One.


Jack won back-to-back world Formula One Championships in 1959 and 1960, however his most remarkable victory came in 1966 when he won the championship in a car that he had built himself – a sporting feat that will never be replicated.


Jack Brabham’s success was part of the collective Australian psyche. He was truly the Don Bradman of the racing circuit, with a laconic modesty that predated the era of fist-pumping.


Federal Labor offers its heartfelt condolences to Lady Margaret, Jack’s sons Geoff, Gary and David and his grandchildren.


MONDAY, 19 MAY 2014



CHRIS RAMSAY 0430 009 434 (RIPOLL)

May 16, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Broken promises, and trust betrayed

Broken promises, and trust betrayed

Australians had every right to wake up on Wednesday morning feeling more than a little angry at the Prime Minister. Angry at a Prime Minister who pretended to be on their side. A man who promised one thing before the election and has done something completely different after.


Everything Tony Abbott said before the election now lies in a heap of broken promises. Millions of Australians now know that in the Abbott Australia pensioners, people on low and middle incomes and families will face the incredibly tough choice of having to find extra money every time they fill up the car, buy medicine or go to the doctor.


Tony Abbott’s Budget is heavy with broken promises, it is filled with the wrong priorities but it offers nothing in the way of decency and fairness.


If you sift through all the broken promises and check the fine print, the Budget papers reveal Australia’s economy is strong — low inflation, low interest rates and a triple-A credit rating from all the rating agencies — one of only eight countries in the world with this achievement.


In fact, if you check the fine print you quickly realise Tony Abbott’s budget emergency is nothing more than a cheap attempt to justify unnecessary taxes and unfair cuts.


Completely missing from the Budget is jobs. No plan for creating jobs, despite telling Australians they need to work for longer. No vision for how to create new industries despite telling Australians he expects everyone to work until their 70.


This Budget betrays the people that voted for Tony Abbott and leaves every single Australian paying for his broken promises.


All the hardworking families trying to make ends meet, repay the house, juggle the bills and hope just around the corner nothing goes wrong.


Now, thanks to Tony Abbott, something has.


Now, under this government the GP tax, the hospital tax, the increased cost of medicines and the petrol tax will cost them more than an extra $450 each year.


In Abbott’s Australia every time someone in the family gets sick, getting help will cost money. This assault on Medicare is an attack on the Australian way of life.


Labor created Medicare because we believe the health of each of us is important to all of us. It is one of the pillars of our society and differentiates us from the US-style system where your wealth determines your health. Imagine getting sick and only being able to get access to the treatment you can afford — unthinkable for most of us — but probably not for Tony Abbott, if this Budget is anything to go by.


Labor will not stand by and let Australia become a country where the old and at risk have to choose between eating or seeing the doctor.


Labor will fight this government to stop the GP tax. We will fight to make sure Medicare remains something that belongs to all of us and is there to help all of us.


Labor believes Australians that have worked hard all their lives, who have paid taxes all their lives, have earned a dignified and secure retirement.


What we saw in Tony Abbott’s Budget is a manifesto that has no regard or respect for Australia’s pensioners. Before the election Tony Abbott kept repeating he would not cut or change the pension. That betrayal threatens to hurt some of our most vulnerable people.


Pensioners shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not they can turn on the heater, visit the doctor, buy a treat for their grandkids or take their dog to the vet — that’s why Labor introduced reforms when we were in government to guarantee that the pension would keep pace with the cost of living.


Tony Abbott wants to change this. He thinks the pension goes up too quickly.


Try telling anyone making ends meet on $20,000 a year that their pension is too generous.


Australians living longer shouldn’t be treated as a burden, Mr Abbott.


They might not warrant your respect, Mr Abbott, but they certainly do ours.


That’s why Labor will fight this government’s cruel attempt to punish pensioners. We will fight for a fair pension.


The ink is barely dry on Tony Abbott’s Budget but it is already threatening to demolish what makes our country a great one — Medicare, education for all and a fair pension. The very things the Prime Minister promised not to touch are the first casualties of an Abbott Government.


Labor will not stand by and let this Prime Minister trash the living standards of all but a few of his cigar chomping mates.


Labor will stand up for opportunity, reward and the fair go. We will fight for an Australia that helps everyone, s not just the few.


This piece was published in the Daily Telegraph, Friday 16 May 2014.

May 14, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Tony Abbott’s claim to be a ‘Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs’ has been exposed as a hollow platitude.


His Budget of broken promises has gutted more than $500 million from programs that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


No true Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs would be so heartless about one of the most important policy challenges facing our Parliament.


The Prime Minister has broken the fundamental commitment he made to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples before the election:


“Should the Coalition win the election, Aboriginal people will be at the heart of a new Government, in word and in deed.”



This broken promise goes to the character of the Prime Minister. He gave solemn commitments to Indigenous Australians, and he has not kept them.


Under the sneaky cover of ‘streamlining,’ this Budget of betrayal does not explain where most of the $500 million in cuts will fall. This has left service providers out in the cold, and Indigenous people and communities facing an uncertain future.


What we do know is that Tony Abbott has abandoned Indigenous early education, which could see the closure of up to 38 Children and Family Centres.


He has ripped more than $165 million out of Indigenous health programs over the next four years.


And he has cut $15 million from the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples – an empowering voice for Indigenous Australians and the only national representative body.


Closing the Gap is a national journey that depends on co-operation and support. Tragically, this Budget puts at risk all the progress that we have made.


After six years of unprecedented investment, national goodwill and sustained effort, real progress has been made in a number of target areas.


In government Labor invested $5.5 billion in health, education, housing and essential services, welfare reform, recognition and advocacy, and Indigenous languages and art.


We are on track to reach the Closing the Gap target ensuring all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities have access to early childhood education.


We are on the way to having mortality rates for Indigenous children under five by 2018.


Closing the Gap requires more than words. Whether we will succeed or fail will depend on a relationship of trust and support between the Commonwealth Government – and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia.




MEDIA CONTACT:    Leader’s Office Media Unit 02 6277 4053

                                Madonna Oliver (Neumann) 0416 199 808


May 14, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


The Abbott Government has delivered a Budget of broken promises that that will hurt local residents already struggling to make ends meet, Leader of the Opposition and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten has said today.


“Maribyrnong residents have every right to feel betrayed. Before the election, Tony Abbott promised no cuts to health, no cuts to education and no changes to pensions.”


“But in his first Budget, he will gut $80 billion out of hospitals and schools, he will cut pensions and force Australians to work longer.”


“Tony Abbott promised no new taxes and no tax increases, but this Budget means you will pay every time you see the doctor and pay more every time you fill up the car.”


“Local residents will pay for the Abbott Government’s Budget of broken promises.”


May 7, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Tony Abbott’s Commission of Audit has clearly ignored Australia’s health experts, and its Budget blueprint will result in a weaker and more expensive health system.


Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King met with experts from across the health sector this morning to discuss the effects of the Commission of Audit’s recommendations.


The report is a blueprint for the complete destruction of universal healthcare in Australia and does not reflect the wide ranging positions or submissions from across the health sector.


It is a report based on ideology, not informed policy or the recommendations of experts in health on where efficiencies in the system can be realised.


The Commission of Audit Chairman’s explanation for recommending Australians pay more to see a doctor was:

         “I just don’t think we’re that crook’”

[Tony Shepherd, press conference, 1 May 2014]


This is the level of analysis that Tony Abbott is relying on as he gets ready to break his promises on healthcare in this Budget.


This is not a report about improving Australia’s health system.  It is a blueprint for the destruction of Medicare  and a template for the two tiered, American health system Tony Abbott seeks to impose on Australia.


Labor is joining with Australia’s health experts to stand up for families, the sick and the elderly and against the Prime Minister’s attempt to destroy Medicare.


Labor believes that all Australians should get the healthcare they need, not just the healthcare they can afford. The Abbott Government’s commitment to give wealthy people $75,000 to have a baby, while making healthcare more expensive for ordinary people, shows how twisted their priorities are.


Before the election, the Prime Minister promised to protect Medicare. After the election, he is promising a new GP Tax, a new Hospital Tax, more expensive medicines and restricting access to the best quality care to only those who can afford it.


Tony Abbott is not the Prime Minister he promised he would be.

ALEXANDER WHITE 0488 134 359  (KING)


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