Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Aug 1, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins



Today, Alcoa workers at the Point Henry site near Geelong will leave work for the last time.


Alcoa announced in February that it would close the plant that has been in continuous operation for over 50 years.


Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten and Local Federal Member, Richard Marles joined workers to show Labor’s support for future opportunities.


In total, the closure of the Point Henry plant today will see 500 workers out of a job.


The majority of those workers are aged between 40 and 50 years of age.


Around 4 in 5 of those workers have an uncertain future.


Labor is calling on the Abbott Government to urgently step up and support these hard working Australians, their families in the Geelong and Yennora communities at this difficult time of transition.


Geelong and its region have been hit devastatingly hard by job losses and have heard nothing from the Abbott Government.


No one is asking for a hand out.


But these highly-skilled, productive workers deserve better than silence from the Prime Minister.


With the right support, Alcoa employees can continue to contribute to their family’s financial security, their community’s prosperity and our nation’s productivity.


Securing their future should be the Government’s priority.


Alcoa has been a part of the Geelong landscape for more than half a century and this is a very sad day for the entire community.


Our economy is changing and the Abbott Government has a responsibility to support these highly skilled workers into new opportunities.


The Abbott Government has abandoned the people of Geelong and the region at a time when they need support the most.


This announcement happened nearly six months ago and the Prime Minister is nowhere to be seen.


Either the Prime Minister has forgotten Alcoa workers or he just doesn’t care.


When will Tony Abbott and his Government start fighting for Australian jobs?


Now is the time for Prime Minister to deliver a plan for jobs in Geelong and a plan for jobs across Australia.


A further 300 workers will lose their jobs when Alcoa closes its rolling mill in December.





Jul 31, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


The Australian Government must use its position on the United Nations Security Council to push for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.


With reports of more than 1300 dead, including many children, the fighting must end now.


Labor is appalled by the recent shelling of a UN school in a Gaza refugee camp, and attacks on similar facilities.


Labor deplores the abuse of civilian facilities for military purposes, including a Gaza school that was used to hide rockets.


Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel – more than 2600 so far, and Israel must restrain its response, which has cost far too many civilian lives.


The scale of human suffering has shocked the world.


Australia needs to work urgently with the international community to bring this terrible conflict to an end.




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Jul 30, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Students in Western Sydney will be amongst the hardest hit by Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s decision to cut education funding, with schools across the region to lose $3.1 billion over the next decade.


These cuts are equivalent to sacking one in seven teachers and will mean a cut to the average school of $3.2 million.


This is the biggest ever cut to schools funding in NSW.


Kids all over Australia deserve the best possible education, not to be sent to the back of the class by the Abbott Government.


The impact of these cuts are very real – every student in Western Sydney will get $1,000 less support, every year.


More than one tenth of the Abbott Government’s national cut to schools of $30 billion will fall on Western Sydney schools. Nearly one third of the NSW-wide cut of $9.5 billion will hit Western Sydney schools.


Schools in Mount Druitt are amongst the worst off, losing $270 million over the next decade, while schools in Parramatta will lose more than $230 million.


Our teachers want to be working to improve our schools, not spending their time and energy planning for how they will cope with these cuts.


Tony Abbott must explain why he thinks families in the Western Suburbs should bear the brunt of his pre-election lie that there would be no cuts to schools under his Government.


Labor is calling on principals, teachers, parents and students across Queensland to get involved in National Gonski Week this week, and stand up against school cuts.


Schools funding cuts in Western and South Western Sydney:


Electorate                 Funding lost over the next ten years
Parramatta $231m
Blaxland $211m
Greenway $220m
Chifley $270m
Lindsay $241m
McMahon $228m
Fowler $237m
Werriwa $239m
Hughes $251m
Mitchell $235m
Reid $211m
Banks $155m
Watson $193m
Macquarie $192m
Western Sydney Total $3.1 billion


Source: Based on 2012 student enrolments provided by the Department of Education and published by the Parliamentary Library.



                                       HANNAH MACLEOD 0437 526 210 (ELLIS)

Jul 29, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins



Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten today visited Doutta Galla Aged Services in Avondale Heights to speak with staff and patients about the Abbott Government’s cut to the Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement.


Mr Shorten said that following the sudden axing of the funding, local aged care providers would struggle to maintain the same level of care for dementia patients.


“The Avondale Heights facility receives the $16 a day supplement for 35 residents,” Mr Shorten said.


“It’s not a king’s ransom, but for these providers, it’s a cut that will mean less for services, less for infrastructure and less for ensuring dementia patients get the quality of care they deserve.”


“It’s a cut that will just make life harder for local people living with the dementia, their families and staff.”


Mr Shorten said the sudden end to the Dementia Supplement came on top of cuts to the indexation of pensions and the removal of the Aged Care Payroll Tax Supplement.


“Yet again, the Abbott Government is attacking the most vulnerable in our community,” he said.


“Just when you thought Tony Abbott’s unfair budget couldn’t get any worse, dementia patients and their families are now being hit.”



Jul 28, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Eid Mubarak


Eid Mubarak  


مبارك عيد


It gives us great pleasure to take the opportunity to send our best wishes to you, your family and friends as you celebrate Eid al-Fitr, concluding the month of Ramadan. Eid Mubarak. I hope your family enjoy this blessed occasion, particularly children for whom it is such a joy.

Many of those celebrating Eid al-Fitr celebrate it today, and many more will celebrate tomorrow following the sighting of the moon.


Eid al-Fitr is an important time of intense devotion; of spiritual renewal; of celebration and joy; and a time of thanks. This is a joyous time of celebration and unity, where the Islamic community comes together to pray and celebrate as one, to support those in need, and to promote goodwill and harmony across the world.


Australia is home to just under half a million Muslims, and over 1.6 billion worldwide. Throughout Ramadan this year, the prayers and thoughts of many Australian Muslims have been with all their brothers and sisters, families and friends throughout the world who face uncertainty and unrest. Islamic values such as selflessness, charity, compassion and justice are values all Australians share.


As you celebrate and rejoice in the glory and the graces of Allah, we wish you all the best on this auspicious occasion. Kul ‘am wantum bikhair.


بخير انتم  و عام  كل


Jul 28, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Despite the Abbott Government’s Work for the Dole program beginning on July 1, the local area coordinator has yet to be announced, Leader of the Opposition and Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for Employment and Member for Gorton, Brendan O’Connor said today.


“The Abbott Government promised to deliver a Work for the Dole coordinator in the Westgate region, which includes Brimbank and Melton,” Mr Shorten said.


“Almost a month on and there is no one to coordinate it.”


“How does the Abbott Government expect young jobseekers in Melbourne’s west will meet their obligations if the necessary support services don’t even exist?”


“Tony Abbott just wants to punish young jobseekers without offering any real plans to help them find a job.”


Mr O’Connor said the Abbott Government was failing to provide young jobseekers in Melbourne’s west with the support they need.


“The Local Employment Coordinator position for North Western Melbourne was scrapped in the Budget,” Mr O’Connor said.


“This was on top of cuts to other local employment services including the Youth Connection and Partnership Brokers programs.”


“The Abbott Government is also cutting support for jobseekers under 30, leaving them with no income whatsoever for six months – even if they are looking for work each and every day.”


“Job seekers in Melbourne’s west have been abandoned by the Abbott Government.”


Mr Shorten and Mr O’Connor said advertising for the Work for the Dole coordinators had only been available since 29 May 2014.


“This is just another example of an Abbott Government thought bubble that has failed to deliver,” Mr Shorten said.


“By contrast, Labor is committed to ensuring young people get a real job through the right training, work experience and incentives, and the appropriate level of support.”


Labor’s Local Employment Coordinators worked with local employers, community groups and all levels of government to coordinate actions to protect and increase local jobs.


They also assist retrenched workers and other job seekers to connect with employment and training opportunities.


“Without a Local Employment Coordinator, job seekers in Melbourne’s west will find it harder to gain employment,” Mr O’Connor said.




Jul 27, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins



More than a week has passed since 298 people, including Australian citizens and residents, were shot out of the sky in an act of barbarous terror.


The nation’s shock and grief has turned to frustration as we wait for answers to this unspeakable crime.


This afternoon I spoke with the Prime Minister regarding the deployment of Australian Federal Police officers to Ukraine as part of a Dutch-led, unarmed police operation.


I offered the Prime Minister Labor’s full support for this mission.


The priority is and must continue to be the recovery of the bodies, their identification, and their repatriation to grieving families.


In a dangerous and volatile environment, this is the most sensible course of action.


There is no doubt this will be a difficult mission, but Labor has full confidence in the skill and professionalism of the AFP officers undertaking this task. I know all Australians will keep them in their thoughts.


Labor will continue to seek regular briefings from the Government as the mission progresses.


We owe it to the families of the victims to bring their loved ones home.



SUNDAY, 27 JULY 2014



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Jul 23, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Labor has secured the future of the Schoolkids Bonus for thousands of local families, Leader of the Opposition and Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten said today.

“The Bonus provides eligible families with $410 for every primary school child and $820 for every secondary school child, to help cover the costs of uniforms, books and stationery,” Mr Shorten said.

“Once again, Labor has stood up for low and middle income Australians and prevented the Abbott Government from ripping away this much needed support for local families.”

Mr Shorten said that despite the importance of the payment to local families, the Abbott Government had attempted to abolish the Bonus but had been unable to pass the cuts in the Senate.

“In contrast to the Abbott Government, Labor understands how much this assistance means and refused to be a part of the cruel plan to punish low and middle income families.”

“I know how much of a relief this news will be for local  families, many of whom were deeply concerned about their ability to cover the costs of their child’s education without this support.”

Mr Shorten said that the SchoolKids Bonus was introduced in 2012 by the Federal Labor Government to help families with the ongoing costs of their children’s education.

“The payment, made in January and July of each year, provides assistance to thousands of local families.”



Jul 22, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Do you need assistance filling out your tax return? Tax Help and the Office of Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten can help.

Tax Help provides free and confidential service for local residents needing assistance with their tax returns and will be operating from Mr Shorten’s Moonee Ponds office from August 2014.

“I am pleased that my office is able to host Tax Help again,” Mr Shorten said.

“This free service provides assistance to local residents who have difficulties submitting their tax returns and I encourage eligible individuals to contact my office.”

Mr Shorten said Tax Help could assist individuals with simple tax affairs who earn around $50,000 a year or less.

“Supported by volunteers who are fully trained and supported by the Australian Taxation Office, Tax Help can assist local residents on low incomes.”

“This may include – but is not limited to – seniors, students, part-time workers or residents receiving government payments.”

Appointments are limited, so those in need of assistance are urged to contact Mr Shorten’s Moonee Ponds office on (03) 9326 1300.

More information about the Tax Help program can be found at:


Jul 21, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins



Labor welcomes the UN Security Council’s unanimous adoption of a resolution that condemns the downing of flight MH17 and calls for unimpeded access to the crash site.


This is a strong expression of the international community’s collective outrage at this terrible tragedy.


Critically, the resolution calls for the bodies of all victims to be accorded the utmost dignity and respect as they are recovered and repatriated.


It also underscores the importance of a full independent, international investigation.


Now, it is vital that all parties act in accordance with this binding UN Security Council resolution so the perpetrators can be brought to justice.


At this difficult time, our thoughts remain with the families, friends, and colleagues of the victims, including 37 Australians.


The Opposition continues to offer its full support to the Government.






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