Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Aug 27, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT SPENDS $440,000 TO HELP SELL OFF AUSTRALIAN HEARING

Labor is alarmed that the Abbott Government has already spent nearly half a million dollars on business and legal consultants in its desperate bid to sell off Australian Hearing.

 

According to the AusTender website, the Government has issued tenders for $300,000 for legal services and $137,500 for ‘business advisory services’ to privatise Australian Hearing.

 

The clear message from the Hearing Awareness Week breakfast held in Parliament House this morning is that privatisation of Australian Hearing will not help people with hearing impairments and the Abbott Government’s intention to privatise Australian Hearing is bad policy.

 

It’s an absolute disgrace that the Government is spending this money to find a way to provide inferior services to Australians with hearing impairments.

 

Hearing disorders place severe limitations on peoples’ ability to lead healthy, happy and fulfilling lives and they should be able to access affordable hearing care services. Australian Hearing provides those services right around Australia.

 

Since 1947, Australian Hearing has provided hearing care services to children, young adults, indigenous Australians, former military personnel and age pensioners with complex hearing needs.

 

Australian Hearing is the only organisation in Australia that trains paediatric audiologists.

 

People with hearing impairments and their advocates are simply gobsmacked that the Abbott government is going to privatise Australian Hearing.

 

People are worried and anxious that if Australian Hearing is privatised, their ability to access quality, affordable hearing care will be put at risk.

 

It is also clear that Coalition backbenchers have concerns over privatising Australian Hearing.

 

Australian Hearing provides affordable, accessible hearing care services to many Australians who simply can’t afford fully commercial services.

 

Like Medicare, the services provided by Australian Hearing are the envy of the world.

 

WEDNESDAY, 26 AUGUST 2014

 

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

Aug 25, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

DESPERATE GOVERNMENT’S TAX HIKE THREAT

In an extraordinary development, the Abbott Government has begun the Parliamentary sitting period by threatening Australians with higher taxes.

 

Yesterday, after five weeks of failing to convince Australians of its unfair Budget measures, the Government decide to threaten them with even more unfair taxes:

 

“The only alternative to balance the books is to increases taxes.”

MATHIAS CORMANN – INSIDERS – SUNDAY 24 AUGUST 2014

 

Tony Abbott has comprehensively failed to convince Australians of his Budget measures over the past five weeks.

 

This Budget hits low income households the hardest – and the Prime Minister’s answer to his Budget failings is to make it even harder for struggling families.

 

The Government’s cruel game of threatening something even more draconian if they can’t get an unfair Budget through is extraordinary. They’re engaging in extortion when they should be governing.

 

Tony Abbott needs to come clean on what tax hikes he is threatening.

 

Will Australians be hit with an increase in the GST? A road tax? Death duties?

 

On top of his new GP tax and his new fuel tax, what other taxes will this Prime Minister hurt Australians with?

 

Tony Abbott’s tax threat comes as he and his pack of incompetent Cabinet Ministers meet behind closed doors today in another desperate attempt to rescue their bad Budget.

 

That Tony Abbott thinks his Budget has a ‘strategy’ problem says everything about this government.

 

This Budget has a fairness problem. Tony Abbott can’t dress up this bad Budget with a new three word slogan.

 

This Budget is about making life harder for low and middle income families and destroying Medicare as we know it.

 

Labor will never support the destruction of universal healthcare – and will never support unfair taxes that hit struggling Australians the hardest.

 

Tony Abbott should stop threatening Australians with new taxes and drop the unfair measures in his Budget.

 

MONDAY, 25 AUGUST 2014

 

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

 

Aug 24, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Young Local Sports Stars Recognised

Nine talented young athletes have been selected as Local Sporting Champions, Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten announced today.

Mr Shorten congratulated the successful applicants, aged between 12 and 18, who will receive a grant of $500 to help with the costs of travel, accommodation, uniforms or equipment associated with their chosen competition.

“These grants acknowledge the commitment and passion of these local young athletes,” Mr Shorten said.

“As potential future world-class champions, these grants provide the support our athletes need as they work towards achieving their dreams.”

Mr Shorten said that for many, reaching a state, national or international sporting competition came after years of training and hard work.

“These grants can help cover the costs associated with competing, while at the same time recognising the dedication of these athletes – and their families – so far.”

Mr Shorten said that the next round of applications for aspiring champions was open, with more information available at www.ausport.gov.au/participating

Aug 21, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

STATEMENT

STATEMENT

 

***Please check against delivery***

 

Late last year I learned that a claim had been made about me, going back to when I was nineteen.

 

It was made on social media, when I was elected Opposition Leader.

 

I will not go into details, except to say that the allegation was untrue and abhorrent.

 

The allegation was made by someone I knew briefly at that time.

 

There is absolutely no basis for the claim.

 

The claim has now been thoroughly and rigorously investigated by police, as is entirely proper.

 

I fully cooperated to clear my name. And that is what I have done.

 

I freely answered all questions the police asked of me.

 

Now the police investigation has concluded, I can make this statement.

 

This has been deeply distressing for my family.

 

I am thankful for the love and support of Chloe, and the support of my staff and parliamentary colleagues.

 

Others who were aware of the investigation have acted with the utmost integrity by leaving the police to do their job.

 

The police have now concluded the investigation.

 

The decision speaks for itself.

 

It is over.

 

I have no intention of making any further comment.

 

ENDS

 

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

 

Aug 20, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

A DEGREE SHOULDN’T BE A DEBT SENTENCE FOR REGIONAL STUDENTS

A DEGREE SHOULDN’T BE A DEBT SENTENCE FOR REGIONAL STUDENTS

 

Opposition leader Bill Shorten, Shadow Higher Education Minister Senator Kim Carr and Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters MP will today join students at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus as part of Labor’s ‘A Degree Shouldn’t Be a Debt Sentence’ campaign.

 

Mr Shorten said regional universities, such as the Bendigo campus, would be particularly hard hit by the Abbott Government’s budget cuts to universities and radical plans for fee deregulation.

 

“La Trobe University stands to lose more than $141 million as a result of Tony Abbott Government’s cuts, which means students at regional campuses like Bendigo will suffer,” he said.

 

“We know that many more students in regional areas than in our capital cities are from low socioeconomic backgrounds and simply cannot afford Tony Abbott’s $100,000 degrees.

 

“A degree should open, not shut, the door to opportunity and prosperity for young Australians – Labor believes a degree shouldn’t be a debt sentence.

 

“Since we launched our online petition against these short-sighted and unfair changes last week, there have been more than 19,000 signatures.”

 

Senator Carr said regional universities and campuses will find themselves having to make tough decisions about how to deal with these cuts.

 

“Do they charge an extra 30 per cent just to make up shortfall, do they slashes their courses or do they wind back research?” said Senator Carr.

 

“Labor doesn’t believe regional universities should be forced into having to make these unfair choices.

 

“The Abbott-Pyne plan to Americanise our universities will shatter the dream of a university degree for many of these young people and their families.

 

“It’s not for students to pick up the tab – they already pay some of the highest universities fees in the developed world – and we shouldn’t let the Government off the hook for its responsibilities for proper funding.”

 

Ms Chesters said people in Bendigo and central Victoria were angry the Abbott Government had lied when it promised before the election “no cuts to education”.

 

“Many people are worried that these changes will mean university will become too expensive for young people,” she said.

 

“La Trobe’s Bendigo campus has significantly higher numbers of students from a low socio-economic background than the national average, so this will hurt our region more than most.

 

“This is not the Australia we want. This is not fair and Labor will fight these changes every step of the way.”

 

The Abbott Government’s changes to higher education are a triple-hit to students:

  • Cutting funding for undergraduate places by up to 37 per cent;
  • Deregulating fee levels, allowing universities to charge what they like; and
  • Introducing a compounding real interest rate of up to 6 per cent for all HECS-HELP debts – future and existing.

 

Overall, the Abbott Government’s Budget cut $5.8 billion from higher education. This means universities will be forced to put up fees by at least 30 per cent just to cover the loss of funding.

 

WEDNESDAY, 20 AUGUST 2014

 

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

 

Aug 15, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

INDIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY

Sixty-seven years ago, the saffron, white and green of the Indian tricolour was hoisted above the gates of the Red Fort to mark the historic moment when India kept its ‘tryst with destiny’.

Today, on Indian Independence Day, millions of people will be joined in celebrating all that India has achieved.

There is so much for modern, independent India to be proud of.

In 1947, Prime Minister Nehru spoke of a nation waking to ‘light and freedom’ while the world slept.

In 2014 India is a beacon of democracy, a nation turning economic growth into social progress and freeing its citizens from poverty, while the world watches in admiration.

Today all Australians rejoice in India’s progress, and we give thanks for the contribution that the Indian people have made to our society, to our culture, to our cuisine and to our country.

I wish you all the very best for a joyous celebration.

FRIDAY, 15 AUGUST 2014

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

 

Aug 15, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ROUNDTABLE – MELBOURNE

THE HON. BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

TIM WATTS MP

MEMBER FOR GELLIBRAND

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ROUNDTABLE – MELBOURNE

 

Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten and Labor Member for Gellibrand, Tim Watts held a Roundtable discussion with leading domestic violence advocates in Footscray today.

 

The Roundtable follows the death of Fiona Warzywoda in Sunshine on April 16 and involves leaders from local, state and national organisations.

 

“The biggest risk factor for becoming a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or family violence is being a woman,” Mr Shorten said.

 

“Our system failed Fiona, our nation failed Fiona – and we fatally fail at least one woman in Australia every week.”

 

“Today’s Roundtable is an opportunity for me to hear directly from the leading advocates, community organisations and academics on this issue.”

 

“We must put domestic violence at the centre of national political debate in order to change these chilling statistics,” said Mr Shorten.

 

Labor Member for Gellibrand, Tim Watts thanked local services for the work they do and for participating in this important forum.

 

“I know how hard the local service providers attending today work to help women and children at risk of family violence. It’s our job – political leaders and the broader community as a whole, to help to ease their load.”

 

“Men’s violence against women is a difficult and confronting issue – but through forums like this we’ll slowly but surely tackle this challenge head on.”

 

Around 20 leading advocates and community organisations are attending the Roundtable in Footscray today including from White Ribbon Australia, No to Violence Campaign, Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and Their Children, Women’s Health West, Women’s Legal Services Australia, Relationships Australia (Victoria), Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, Monash University, inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, Municipal Association of Victoria, University of Melbourne, Women’s Health Association of Victoria, Footscray Community Legal Centre, Western Family Regional Integration Coordinator, Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria and Domestic Violence Victoria.

 

The Leader of the Opposition convened a similar Domestic Violence Roundtable in Sydney in October last year with leading advocates and local organisations.

 

MELBOURNE

FRIDAY, 15 AUGUST 2014

 

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

Aug 15, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ST ALBANS ‘BRIGHT SPOT’ LAUNCHED

St Albans Secondary College has been named as one of eight schools participating in Social Ventures Australia (SVA)’s Bright Spots Schools Connection.

Launching the partnership today, Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten said the College was a deserving choice for selection.

“St Albans Secondary College continues to go from strength to strength. The school’s excellent outcomes reflect the dedication and hard work of staff and students alike,” Mr Shorten said.

“By participating in the Bright Spots program, the College can build on this work by joining a network of high achieving schools, learning from the successes of each other.”

Mr Shorten said that as part of the Bright Spots program, the College would also receive assistance to further integrate technologies and ensure that St Albans students were ready to meet the challenges of the next digital age.

“The outcomes of this program mirror Labor’s firm belief that a young person’s postcode should not determine their future,” he said.

“And thanks to the vision of its school leaders, the future of St Albans Secondary College and its students looks very bright indeed.”

ENDS

Aug 14, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT TO CUT $471 MILLION FROM UNIVERSITIES IN WA

 

Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten will join Shadow Assistant Minister for Higher Education, Amanda Rishworth and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Western Australia and Member for Perth, Alannah MacTiernan in Perth today to demand the Abbott Government scrap plans to cut $471 million from WA universities.

 

The Abbott Government must abandon its plans to Americanise universities by introducing $100,000 degrees in Australia.

 

“A degree shouldn’t be a debt sentence in this country,” said Mr Shorten.

 

“The Abbott Government has broken its promise not to cut education funding, and students in Western Australia will be forced to pay more as a result.

 

“$100,000 will push a university degree out of reach for many young Western Australians and their families, and that’s the wrong direction for the nation.”

 

Labor will meet with students at four Western Australia universities today to hear their concerns about the Abbott Government’s unfair higher education changes, which will burden past, present and future university students with a debt sentence.

 

Western Australian universities are set to lose a massive $471.3 million in funding over four years because of the Abbott Government’s savage cuts, and it will be students who foot the bill when universities are forced to increase the cost of degrees.

 

Amanda Rishworth said young people were upset and angry about the prospect of deregulated university fees and savage cuts to funding, which may lead to some degrees costing students over $100,000.

“Students in Western Australia are very concerned about the Abbott Government’s plans to impose real interest rates on students HECS/HELP debt,” Amanda Rishworth said.

 

“Soaring university fees and huge debts will prevent many students from being able to afford to go to university, and those who do make it to university will be burdened with debt that will take decades to pay off.

“This is not what the Australian people voted for.”

 

Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne lied to Australians when they promised there would be “no cuts to education” [Tony Abbott, Insiders, 1 September 2013] and “we’re not going to raise fees” [Christopher Pyne, Sky News, 17 November 2013].

 

Alannah MacTiernan said “Many young Western Australians are now being frightened off higher education by the size of the debt they may face.”

 

“It is already hard for young people working and saving to buy a house in Perth – they know starting with a $100,000 HECS debt will make the opportunity of home ownership even more remote.”

 

“Furthermore, with the Abbot Government’s anti-jobs policies, they question whether their education will lead to a job,” Alannah MacTiernan said.

 

Labor’s petition to fight the Abbott Government’s radical and short-sighted changes is available at www.alp.org.au/debtsentence

 

PERTH

 

THURSDAY, 14 AUGUST 2014

 

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

(RISHWORTH) BEK HUPPATZ 0422 687 199

(MACTIERNAN) REWI LYALL 0434 874 329

 

 

The Abbott Government’s changes to higher education include:

  • Cutting $5.8 billion from universities, including slashing funding for undergraduate places by up to 37 per cent;
  • Deregulating fee levels, allowing universities to charge what they like so students may face degrees costing over $100,000;
  • Charging up to $3,900 per year for Higher Research Degrees, such as a PhD and Masters programs; and
  • Introducing a compounding real interest rate for all HECS-HELP debts – both future and existing. HECS-HELP debts will now be indexed by the 10-year government bond rate, capped at 6 per cent, rather than the consumer price index (CPI).

 

 

Source: NTEU Briefing Paper Higher Education Changes 2014-15 Federal Budget

 

Aug 13, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

LOCAL FAMILIES STILL WAITING

Local families have been left in the lurch, with the Abbott Government still refusing to commit to ongoing kindergarten funding.

Leader of the Opposition and Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten said the Abbott Government was refusing to fund Universal Access kindergarten hours from next year.

“Moonee Valley, Brimbank and Maribyrnong families have been left waiting, with the Abbott Government still refusing to provide any certainty about whether they will fund these hours or not,” he said.

“With the funding due to expire in just months, local families and kindergarten need to know what to expect.”

“Without this Federal money kindergarten hours will be slashed, fees will rise and some services could be forced to close their doors.”

“This is yet another shocking example of this Budget putting more pressure on the cost of living, not less.”

Mr Shorten said the current funding ensured that all four-year-olds had access to 15 hours of education in the year before school.

“We know that attending kindergarten helps ensure our kids get the best start in life,” he said.

“But if the Abbott Government refuses to provide this support, kindergarten hours will be slashed from 15 to just 10.”

Established under Labor in 2008, Universal Access funding aims to ensure that over time, every Australian child has access to 15 hours of quality education in the year before school.

ENDS

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