Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Jun 18, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Respons to Age editorial

I read with some interest the editorial in The Age on Wednesday. I certainly can’t disagree that the Coalition has made a poor start to government. Like all Australians, I’ve witnessed a failure of leadership on too many fronts. I’ve seen the policy hypocrisy and the internal divisions – and I’ve been as shocked as anyone by the cruelty that underpins the Prime Minister’s first budget.

But, perhaps unsurprisingly, I can’t agree that Labor is “staying under the radar”. The Age is absolutely correct that the opposition has a big challenge ahead of it. Labor will continue to be passionate but responsible opposition – ferocious in our attack on the Prime Minister’s policy failures, but always ready to work together in the national interest.

 

What we will never do is be mere spectators as Tony Abbott tries to take our country backwards and wreck our fair society. Some might call that negativity – but I call it doing my job, and I don’t think The Age’s readers would expect anything less from me. Labor will keep fighting Tony Abbott’s $7 GP tax because it is nothing other than the destruction of universal healthcare as we know it.

 

Four decades ago, the sick and the vulnerable were being let down or left out of a hopelessly inadequate health system – so Labor built Medibank. We became the first developed country in the world to introduce a universal health insurance scheme. A few years later, the Liberals made sure we were the first in the world to dismantle it.

 

After the Liberals destroyed Medibank, Labor built Medicare. Thirty years later, history is on the cusp of repeating. Medicare was brave and visionary policy in the finest Labor tradition. It stands alongside the minimum wage and the old age pension as a social reform that embodies the best ideals of Australian fairness. We’ve seen the Liberals destroy it once before, and we won’t let them do it again.

 

Like his GP tax, we will fight the Prime Minister’s retrograde changes to our universities. We’re doing this because his changes – increasing student fees and student debts – pull apart the very notion of an equitable society, and they short-change our future. If we want our kids to get meaningful and well-paid jobs in a globalised and competitive world, they need the chance to get a good education. The Prime Minister says these changes are just “deregulation”, but in reality they lock the gate on our best universities, and shut out kids from poorer backgrounds. Once again under the Liberals, higher education will be a privilege for the wealthy few, not a birthright for all Australians.

 

Labor will oppose this government’s attempt to cut the already modest age pension, because we don’t think it is beyond the capacity of a wealthy and generous nation like ours to provide security and dignity to its citizens in retirement.

 

And we will stand up to the Prime Minister’s attempt to push young unemployed people off social security and into the margins of society – possibly the cruellest of all the cruel measures in this budget. It is shameful that Tony Abbott’s response to this youth unemployment crisis is to condemn jobless young Australians to poverty and despair. It is a bleak, heartless policy that shows he doesn’t understand the crushing emptiness of long-term unemployment. All this policy will do is turn the middle-class into the under-class, and Labor won’t support it to.

 

Labor is fighting this budget because it is unconscionably unfair. Underpinning it all is the cold reality that that the Prime Minister doesn’t see Australia in the same way that most of us do. When we look at Medicare, an equitable university system and a reasonable social safety net, we see the pillars of fairness that have helped build our strong society. The Liberals just see the cost, not the value.

 

There is plenty in this budget to fight – and we’ll keep fighting it because that’s what Australians need us to do. But I know Labor needs to do more than oppose. And I’m not like Tony Abbott – I’m not an ideological warrior. When there’s a sensible idea, I’ll sign up to it. Our task is to offer a better alternative – and it’s a task we’ve begun with vigour.

 

We know we can’t win the 2016 election with the policies from 2013. That’s why Labor’s shadow cabinet – in consultation with our colleagues, rank and file members and policy experts – has started developing a positive vision for Australia’s future. And we are rebuilding Labor to make sure our party is as modern, democratic and outward-looking as we want our country to be.

 

As I said at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne earlier this year, Australia has always been at its best when we are pushing the boundaries. With Medicare, with higher education, with superannuation and with the national disability insurance scheme – it has always been Labor that has fought and won the big policy contests to keep building our decent and fair society.

 

That contest is as important now as it’s ever been before. At stake is the kind of country we want to be – Tony Abbott’s sterile view of a colder, meaner Australia, or an Australia where hard work is rewarded, and those who need our help aren’t ignored.

 

That’s our challenge – and Labor is up for it.

 

This piece was published by Fairfax on Thursday, 19 June 2014.
MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

Jun 16, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT WIPES FLOOR WITH CLEANERS’ PAY

ABBOTT WIPES FLOOR WITH CLEANERS’ PAY


Prime Minister Tony Abbott has this afternoon deliberately deceived low-paid cleaners with false hope that his Government won’t cut their wages.

 

As hundreds of Australia’s lowest paid workers gathered in Canberra to recognise International Cleaners’ Day, Mr Abbott used Question Time to wipe the floor with their future.

 

Mr Abbott said:

 

“I want to make it absolutely crystal clear that no cleaner’s pay is reduced. No cleaner’s pay is reduced.”

 

TONY ABBOTT – QUESTION TIME – 16 JUNE 2014

 

The Prime Minister knows that is a lie – because his Government is axing vital cleaning industry guidelines that will see cleaners lose thousands of dollars a year from their pay packets.

 

The Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines, which regulate minimum pay and conditions for cleaners, will be abolished on 30 June this year as part of Mr Abbott’s red tape stunt.

 

The guidelines apply to cleaners working for Australian Government agencies and contractors.

 

As a result, cleaners stand to face a pay cut of $22 an hour to $17 an hour.

 

The axing of the guidelines will see many cleaners shifted to the existing industry award and its reduced pay rates – losing up to $170 every week in pay.

 

Tony Abbott’s unfair Budget already targets low and middle income earners – these disgraceful cuts will hit Australian cleaners already doing it tough.

MONDAY, 16 JUNE 2014

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

Jun 16, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

TONY ABBOTT DECEIVES CARERS ON BUDGET CUTS

TONY ABBOTT DECEIVES CARERS ON BUDGET CUTS

 

This afternoon, Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the House of Representatives that his unfair Budget cuts would not impact carers.

 

In Question Time today, the Prime Minister said:

 

“There are no changes, there are no changes to carers as a result of the Budget.”

Tony Abbott – Question Time – 16 June 2014

 

This is wrong.

 

Tony Abbott’s Budget cuts to the Carers Payment, with indexation to be reduced to CPI, rather than the more generous MTAWE rate.

 

This is clearly written on page 203 of the Prime Minister’s own Budget:

 

According to ACOSS, this change will leave people on the Carers Payment around $80 a week worse off within a decade.

 

Carers make incredible sacrifices and a priceless contribution to our community – they should be recognised for their remarkable efforts, not lied to by the Prime Minister.

 

Carers are some of the most remarkable people in this country and it is a disgrace the Abbott Government is cutting their payments.

 

There is no low to which this government won’t stoop – it would rather cut payments to pensioners and carers than scrap its unfair plans to give $50,000 to millionaires to have a baby.

 

MONDAY, 16 JUNE 2014

 

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

Jun 10, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

FRIENDS OF SANDY RECIPIENT OF ANZAC GRANT

The Friends of Sandy will receive $17,622 in funding for a memorial to pay tribute to the contribution of the Australian Light Horse, Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten announced today.

Mr Shorten said the project would be funded under the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program and would honour the contribution of Sandy and the light horse to the nation’s World War I effort.

“Sandy holds a unique place in Australia’s wartime history as the only horse who returned home after serving in the First World War,” he said.

“Deployed at the outbreak of the war, Australian Light Horsemen would go on to serve in the Gallipoli campaign, the Middle East and the Western Front. This project will immortalise their courageous contribution.”

Mr Shorten said the Grants Program had been established under the former Labor Government and provided up to $125,000 in funding for local electorates to commemorate the Centenary of Anzac.

“Sandy, who lived out his retirement in the fields at Maribyrnong, has become the stuff of local legend,” he said.

“Symbolic of the 169,000 horses sent to the war, it’s only fitting that a lasting memorial is established to honour his memory.”

ENDS

Jun 7, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

STAY SMART ONLINE

The 2014 Stay Smart Online Week reflects the importance of being safe and secure online, Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten said today.

“In its seventh year, the Stay Smart Online Week will be held between 2 and 6 June and aims to raise greater awareness of the perils and pitfalls of being online,” he said.

“With the internet becoming a day-to-day part of many Australians’ lives, it’s vital that everyone knows how to protect their personal and financial information online.”

Mr Shorten said that events and information sessions were being held around the country, including online.

“This Wednesday, Twitter Australia and Project Rockit will host a LiveTweet Q&A to discuss cyber bullying and how our young people can stay safe online.”

“Bullying – whether in schools, in the workplace or online – cannot be tolerated.”

“So together, as a community, it’s vital we do all we can to tackle the issues of cyber bullying and cyber safety.”

ENDS

Jun 6, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

COALITION RISKS THOUSANDS OF AUSTRALIAN SHIP BUILDING JOBS

COALITION RISKS THOUSANDS OF AUSTRALIAN SHIP BUILDING JOBS

 

The Abbott Government’s decision not to build two new Royal Australian Navy supply ships here in Australia will cost jobs and puts at risk Australia’s vital ship building industry.

 

The Coalition’s decision to send this work overseas means that the Valley of Death cannot be avoided.

 

Before the election, the Defence Minister said he didn’t want to see our Defence manufacturing base given away to foreign companies:

 

“I get really fired up when I find us giving away our manufacturing base in the Defence space to foreign manufacturers, it’s just not on.”
- 9 August 2013, ABC Newcastle.

 

This is yet another Abbott Government broken promise.

 

It will result in jobs being lost, along with the skills and training that are vital to this strategically important industry.

 

It will undermine our ability to build the Future Frigates here in Australia, as well as our Future Submarines.

 

You don’t boost the ADF’s maritime capability by putting at risk Australia’s ship building industry.

 

You don’t secure Australia’s long-term national security interests, by making short-term job-destroying decisions.

 

You don’t put at risk an entire industry and thousands of jobs based on a secret Government report.

Labor had a $1.5bn plan to bridge the Valley of Death by bringing forward the purchase of new supply ships and replacement patrol boats to be built here in Australia.

 

By not taking decisive action, the Coalition puts at risk the jobs of about 1000 workers at BAE Williamstown, 900 workers at Forgacs in Newcastle, and 1100 workers at ASC in Adelaide.

 

This decision is further evidence that the Abbott Government doesn’t care about jobs and doesn’t care about Australia’s long-term manufacturing base.

 

It is another example of the Defence Minister being rolled by his colleagues and explain why he was waving the white flag when questioned about his future in the role earlier this week.

 

Thanks to the Abbott Government, it’s possible that the ship building industry could end up going the way of Holden, Ford, and Toyota.

 

 

FRIDAY, 6 JUNE 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:          

LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

ADAM SIMS (CONROY) 0408 258 457

DEE CAKIR (FEENEY) 0434 407 116 

Jun 6, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

70TH ANNIVERSARY OF D-DAY

HON BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

 

SENATOR DON FARRELL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE CENTENARY OF ANZAC
SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

STATEMENT

 

70TH ANNIVERSARY OF D-DAY

 

Seventy years ago, 156,000 Allied troops landed on five beaches on the Normandy coast.

 

The D-Day landings were an operation of unprecedented size, scale and difficulty.

 

The fighting was fierce and more than 10,000 Allied troops lost their lives, including 18 Australian servicemen.

 

The Battle of Normandy turned the tide of the Second World War and marked the beginning of the end for Nazism.

 

As Churchill wrote in his history of the Second World War:

 

All the ships were at sea. We had the mastery of the oceans and of the air. The Hitler tyranny was doomed.

 

By the end of June, more than 850,000 Allied soldiers had landed at Normandy and within a year, Europe was at peace.

 

More than 3,000 Australians from the Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army participated in the Normandy landings.

 

Australians will always be proud of the part our country played in the liberation of Europe and the defeat of fascism.

 

We pay tribute today to the heroism of all those who risked, and lost, their lives.

 

We remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their brothers in arms, and their nation.

 

Lest we forget.

 

 

FRIDAY, 6 JUNE 2014

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

 

 

Jun 3, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

QUEENSLANDERS PAYING FOR TONY ABBOTT’S LIES

 

QUEENSLANDERS PAYING FOR TONY ABBOTT’S LIES

 

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has called Tony Abbott out on his lies and broken promises.

 

Today’s Queensland Budget revealed that Tony Abbott is costing Queenslanders $16 billion in cuts to hospitals and schools in their state.

 

Queensland Budget Papers clearly state:

 

‘Of particular concern, the 2014-15 Commonwealth Budget indicated that the Australian Government will amend funding arrangements for public hospitals and schools to generate savings across all states of over $80 billion in the period 2024-25. Queensland’s per capita share of this saving would amount to a reduction of around $16 billion in Australian Government funding’ [i]

 

Queenslanders are paying a high price for Tony Abbott’s unfair budget.

 

His unfair budget means Queensland families won’t get the healthcare they need, and Queensland students won’t get the great education they deserve.

 

If massive cuts to hospitals and schools weren’t enough, Tony Abbott’s budget will also impact Queensland state seniors card holders and more than 600,000 Queensland pensioner concession card holders. These concessions are currently worth a total of $335.6 million to Queenslanders.

 

Of that $335.6 million, the Commonwealth provides $54.2 million in 2014-15 – money that Tony Abbott is ripping away.

 

Queensland concessions to be hit include:

 

  • Electricity Rebate Scheme
  • Pensioner Rate subsidy scheme
  • Vehicle Registration Concessions
  • TransLink Transport Concessions (South East Queensland)
  • Rail Concession Scheme

 

And the Designated Public Transport Concession for Seniors Card Holders will be abolished all together.

 

Queensland’s Budget confirms that Tony Abbott lied when he said there will be “no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions.”

TONY ABBOTT – INTERVIEW – 6 SEPTEMBER 2013

 



[i]  Page 105 of Budget paper No.2: Budget Strategy and Outlook 2014-15

 

TUESDAY, 3 JUNE 2014

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

Jun 2, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

BUDGET CUTS TO IMPACT ON LOCAL COUNCILS

Moonee Valley, Brimbank and Maribyrnong Councils will be left worse off with the Abbott Government slashing funding, Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten said today.

Mr Shorten said the Abbott Government had cut over $900 million in funding by freezing the Financial Assistance Grants indexation arrangements, leaving local councils with less money to maintain roads and deliver essential community services.

“It was confirmed by the Government last week that grants to local councils would be frozen,” Mr Shorten said.

“This decision will mean that assistance for councils will no longer be indexed in line with CPI or population increases.

“Many people will suffer as a result of the Abbott Government’s Budget – pensioners, families, students and parents with sick children. Now even local councils are being slugged.”

Mr Shorten said that local councils relied on funding provided under the Financial Assistance Grants program.

“But under the Abbott Government, our local councils will have less money for local roads and infrastructure and less money for community services,” he said.

“Local councils will be forced to look at other ways of making ends meet – including increasing council rates, considering staffing cuts, reducing services for local residents and increasing charges.

“On top of cuts to health, education and family assistance, this will be yet another financial burden for local residents imposed by the Abbott Government.”

ENDS

Jun 2, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

KEILOR EAST RSL RECIPIENT OF ANZAC GRANTS

Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten has congratulated the Keilor East RSL for securing $7,800 in funding for two local projects to commemorate World War One.

Mr Shorten said the two projects would be funded under the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program and would pay tribute to local servicemen and women.

“Keilor East RSL has received $6,880 to erect a water feature at the entrance of the Club building to honour the local men and women who served our nation in World War One,” he said.

“The RSL has also received funding to restore and reframe a photograph of the men from the Essendon district attending a dinner on 8 September 1914, prior to their deployment to Egypt.”

Mr Shorten said the Grants Program had been established under the former Labor Government and provided up to $125,000 in funding for local electorates to commemorate the Centenary of Anzac.

“As the largest veteran organisation in our community, it’s great that Keilor East RSL is the first local Anzac Grant recipient,” he said.

“This funding will assist the Club in developing these two fantastic projects, both of which will serve as lasting reminders of the personal sacrifices made by men and women from our local community.”

ENDS

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