Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
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)

May 5, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


The Abbott Government’s Commission of Audit is nothing more than a blueprint for broken promises, Leader of the Opposition and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten said today.


“The Commission of Audit is the Abbott Government’s plan for cuts to our community, instead of growth,” he said.


“It’s their plan to punish local young job seekers by removing income support, and then cutting the very education and training programs they need to help them gain employment.


“It’s their plan to make sure Maribyrnong families gets less, while millionaires get more.


“This is Tony Abbott’s Budget blueprint, and it’s clear his Budget will hurt local residents.”


Mr Shorten said the plan would make it harder for many in the local community, with cuts to:


  • Health, including a proposed a $15 GP Tax costing the people of Maribyrnong a total of $12.43 million annually to see their doctor;


  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme, with proposed delays to hurt over 2000 local residents living with a permanent disability;


  • Family tax benefits, with a single parent family with two children on $50,000 expected to miss out on thousands; and


  • Higher education, making it harder for the 2000 tertiary students in the local area to pay for their education costs.


“This blueprint of broken promises shows how out of touch this government truly is,” Mr Shorten said.


“Tough choices need to be made in every Budget. But by slashing health, education and family support at the same time as rewarding millionaires, the Abbott Government is showing just how twisted their priorities really are.”

May 1, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Commission of Audit


Today’s release of the Commission of Audit report confirms what everyone expected.


This report is the blueprint for Tony Abbott’s broken promises.


This is Tony Abbott’s plan to put up taxes.


It’s Tony Abbott’s plan for cuts, instead of growth.


It’s Tony Abbott’s plan to increase the cost of living, and cut the services that families rely on.


It’s his plan to make sure hard-working families gets less, while millionaires get more.


Tony Abbott will turn the most basic things in life – education, health care, support for older Australians – into a massive everyday struggle for families.


Tony Abbott confirmed the end of universal healthcare – a new GP Tax, a Hospital Tax and more expensive medicines.


He is flagging a brutal assault on the minimum wage – meaning our lowest income earners get even less.


He wants to demolish the Gonski reforms – which means less support for our kids and teachers.


With his attack on higher education and TAFE, he wants to make it harder for our kids to get a good education and a good job.


He will cut the pension, and put a handbrake on the NDIS.


He will sell off assets and sell off jobs.


And Tony Abbott will do nothing to invest in new jobs for the future.


This is a report written exclusively by powerful special interests – and it shows.


It shows how out of touch this Prime Minister is, and how twisted his priorities are.


Labor understands that Budgets mean tough choices. But Tony Abbott is making the wrong choices for our future.


Today, hard-working families finally know the truth: Tony Abbott’s Budget will cost them more.





Apr 30, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Tony Abbott’s Budget of broken promises and twisted priorities will hurt 98,800 pensioners in Tasmania according to new analysis.


This includes 65,400 full-rate pensioners, who currently have no income other than the $20,000 a year they receive from the Pension.


More people will be affected in Lyons than any other electorate in Tasmania, with the highest number (22,900) of pensioners followed closely by Braddon (21,900).


Any increase to the retirement age will particularly hurt around 40 per cent (39.8 per cent) of Tasmanians who work in physically demanding, blue-collar jobs.


The figure is nearly as high as 47 per cent in the electorate of Lyons, the seventh highest in the country according to the 2013 data.


Tasmanian pensioners will suffer because of Tony Abbott’s pledge to cut the pension.


These cuts will hurt pensioners in Tasmania, who are already struggling to make ends meet.


An increase to the retirement age will hurt Tasmanians who work in physically demanding, blue-collar jobs especially.


If the Prime Minister is so desperate to cut, he should leave pensioners in Tasmanians alone and start with his exorbitant paid parental leave scheme.


Tony Abbott wants to cut the pension at the same time as giving $75,000 to millionaires to have a baby, which will cost taxpayers $5.5 billion a year.


This is a complete betrayal of Tasmanian pensioners and says everything about Tony Abbott’s twisted priorities.


We don’t want Tony Abbott to forget his promise to Tasmanian pensioners – so we’ve made this short online ad to help remind him.


The Abbott Government’s first Budget is set to be a Budget of broken promises and twisted priorities.


This is not the government they said they’d be.






Apr 30, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Australia Paying for Broken Promises





No surprises? No excuses?


In seven months, Tony Abbott has given Australians plenty of both.


And the Prime Minister’s broken promises keep on coming.


This week it’s a new tax on income.


A tax increase for every Australian earning more than $80,000 – a new tax that the Prime Minister repeatedly ruled out before the election.


Tony Abbott is out there playing word games, but he cannot escape the truth.


A tax increase is a tax increase. A broken promise is a broken promise.


After seven months, the Australian people are onto him.


They have woken up to the Liberals’ phoney ‘Budget emergency’.


Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott spend lots of time talking about debt and deficit – yet they’ve added more than $68 billion to the national debt since they came to office.

$68 billion. The Liberals have more than doubled Australia’s deficit – and now they’re trying to use it to justify their broken promises and their new taxes.


But none of the Prime Minister’s slippery attempts to rewrite what he said before the election can disguise this budget for what it is: a budget of broken promises and twisted priorities.


The Australian people aren’t mugs.


When Tony Abbott said ‘no new taxes’ there was no asterisk, no fine print.


The Prime Minister can use all the weasel-words he likes, his new deficit tax is nothing but a deceit tax.


The deceit tax is a price that working Australians will pay for the Prime Minister’s broken promises and twisted priorities.


It is a tax grab that puts the politics of a manufactured ‘Budget emergency’ ahead of the welfare of millions of hardworking Australians.


It is a tax hike to pay for an extravagant paid parental leave scheme for multi-millionaires who don’t need an extra $75,000 to have a baby.


In the weeks ahead, I’m sure Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey will keep lecturing us about the need for heavy lifting.


There will be more sanctimony about ‘sharing the pain’.


Everyone knows that the Liberals desperately want this to be seen as a brave Budget.


But there is nothing brave about slugging ordinary Australians with an increase in their income tax.


There is nothing brave about forcing pensioners to wait longer for less.


There is nothing courageous about taking money from Australian families who feel like they are losing the battle with cost of living. There is nothing brave about deception.


Keeping promises takes courage, breaking them takes none.


Standing up for vulnerable Australians takes courage, picking on them takes none.


Governing for all Australians takes courage.


Labor is determined to stop Tony Abbot’s deceit tax.


We want nothing to do with a new tax on the income of ordinary Australians, and we will fight the Government every step of the way.


This piece was first published in The Daily Telegraph, p27, Wednesday 30 April 2014.



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