Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Nov 10, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

WAYNE GOSS

Wayne Goss was a proud Queenslander, a dedicated servant of his state and a lifelong champion for social justice.

 

Wayne Goss was a truly great Labor man.

 

Today is a very sad day for the Labor Party – it’s an especially sad day for Labor in Queensland.

 

Beginning his working life as a solicitor for Aboriginal Legal Services, it was the injustice of the Whitlam dismissal which drove Goss to join the Labor Party in 1975.

 

Like Gough before him, Wayne would go on to achieve a drought-breaking electoral triumph, bringing with it a mandate for landmark progressive reforms.

 

His victory in the 1989 state election marked a new era – an end to the malaise and corruption that had eaten away at Queensland’s democracy in the final stretch of 32 years of Conservative rule.

 

The Goss Government rebuilt Queensland: restoring fairness and transparency to the electoral system, bringing in merit-based appointments for the public service and implementing many of the recommendations of the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption.

 

Goss’ reforms modernised Queensland: decriminalising homosexuality, creating new national parks, preventing logging and abolishing the anachronistic Imperial Honours system.

 

And the Goss Government proudly appointed Labor’s first female Cabinet Minister and Queensland’s first female Governor.

 

After leaving politics, Wayne continued to serve the state he loved so much, most notably as Chairman of the Queensland Art Gallery for nine years.

 

Today, all of us in Federal Labor give thanks for Wayne Goss’ life of service, and offer our condolences to his wife Roisin and his children, Ryan and Caitlin.

 

May he rest in peace.

 

MONDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 2014

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

Nov 10, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

NEW PETROL TAX HITS AUSTRALIANS TODAY

From today, every Australian will pay more for petrol because of Tony Abbott’s new $2.2 billion petrol tax.

 

Despite promising no new or increased taxes before the last election, Tony Abbott is making Australians pay more petrol tax.

 

The Abbott Government snuck this tax hike through, bypassing Parliament to ensure the petrol tax goes up and up and up.

 

The indexation of the petrol tax to CPI by the Abbott Government means Australians will pay around $19 billion more for petrol over the next decade.

 

Within the next five years, the average Australian will be paying an extra $135 for petrol every single year because of this new tax from Tony Abbott.

 

Australians are already struggling to make ends meet with the cost of living – the last thing they need is to pay more tax every time they fill up the car.

 

The regressive nature of the tax means low and middle income Australians will be hardest hit by the increasing petrol tax with a greater proportion of their income now going towards filling up the car.

 

Research from The Australia Institute shows that the poorest 20 per cent of households spend about three times the proportion of their income on fuel (4.45 per cent) than do those in the richest 20 per cent (1.37 per cent).

 

Australians in rural and regional areas and running small businesses will also be particularly hard hit by Tony Abbott’s increasing petrol tax.

 

No amount of spin from the Abbott Government will change the impact of this increasing tax on the cost of living – not even the Treasurer suggestion that poor people don’t drive cars –

 

“The poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far in many cases. But, they are opposing what is meant to be, according to the Treasury, a progressive tax.”

 

TREASURER JOE HOCKEY – ABC LOCAL RADIO BRISBANE – 13 AUGUST 2014

 

Tony Abbott promised that –

 

“Taxes will always be lower under a Coalition government.”

 

TONY ABBOTT – PRESS CONFERENCE – 6 AUGUST 2013

 

From today, every Australian who drives a car will pay for Tony Abbott’s broken promise from their own pocket.

 

MONDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 6277 4053

Nov 9, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

RESIDENTS SAY ‘NO’ TO GUY’S REDEVELOPMENT

Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten and Labor Candidate for Essendon Danny Pearson joined with local residents to protest the Napthine Liberal Government’s rezoning of the Moonee Valley Racecourse.

 

“Today, we have come to together to stand up to Matthew Guy and his proposed development,” Mr Shorten said.

 

“Despite assurances that he would not intervene, the Minister has handed over a blank cheque at the expense of our community.”

 

“The numbers here today show how passionate local residents are about this issue. Matthew Guy cannot just ignore our community,” Mr Pearson said.

 

Mr Pearson said the community did not oppose development on the site, but wanted to see it done in an appropriate way.

 

“We are not anti development, we are anti over-development,” he said. “But with no limit on the number of dwellings, no maximum heights and no review rights, Matthew Guy has let down Moonee Valley residents.”

 

“All the community is asking for is that any development be appropriate and sustainable. That the state government consider traffic, public transport and infrastructure,” Mr Shorten said.

 

 

Nov 5, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

EBOLA CRISIS

 

Labor welcomes the Abbott Government’s announcement of additional support to fight the Ebola crisis.

 

But by Mr Abbott’s own admission, it is possible no Australians will be involved in providing that additional support.

 

“Most of them [running the Ebola treatment facility in West Africa] will be locally engaged. Some will be international, and it’s quite possibly even likely that some will be Australian.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, press conference, 5 November 2014

 

Labor has been saying for weeks that the Abbott Government needs to do more, including supporting Australian health workers who are willing and able to fight Ebola at its source in West Africa.

 

Today’s announcement does almost nothing to facilitate that.

 

That’s despite calls from around the world for personnel to be supported to go to West Africa, including the UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, Médecins Sans Frontières, the American President and UK Prime Minister, the President of Sierra Leone, Oxfam, the Australian Medical Association, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, and the Public Health Association of Australia.

 

A UN Security Council resolution, which the Abbott Government both co-sponsored and voted for, calls on nations to:

” …facilitate the delivery of assistance, including qualified, specialized and trained personnel and supplies, in response to the Ebola outbreak…”.

 

Australia has some of the best trained, most dedicated health workers in the world.  We have been inspired by the many doctors and nurses who have selflessly offered to assist.

 

The Australian Medical Association says many Australian doctors are willing and able to go.

 

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation says more than 350 Australian nurses are willing and able to go.

 

Of course, going to help fight Ebola in West Africa would not be without risk.  That’s why we continue to stress how important it is that safety protocols are in place to support Australian personnel who volunteer.

 

But if, as an international community, we are to have a chance of getting this crisis under control, there isn’t a moment to lose.

 

The Abbott Government must do more to support Australians who volunteer to serve. Today’s announcement does very little to address that.

 

WEDNESDAY, 5 NOVEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:        LEADERS OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053

DAN DORAN 0427 464 350 (PLIBERSEK)

                                       STEPHEN SPENCER 0423 596 573 (KING)

 

Nov 3, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT’S CUT TO DEFENCE FORCE PAY & CONDITIONS IS A DISGRACE

The Abbott Government’s disgraceful decision to cut the real pay and conditions of Australian Defence Force personnel has today been confirmed by the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal.

 

Tony Abbott should hang his head in shame at cutting the real wages of our ADF personnel and cutting their Christmas and Recreational Leave compensation leave.

 

It is inexplicable that this Government can send our service men and women into harm’s way, and at the same time force the ADF to take a real pay cut.

 

There is no good reason why the Government couldn’t offer a fair deal – the Government’s own Budget papers reveal the funds for a fair pay deal had already been provided for.

 

This Government is cutting pensions including veteran’s pensions, it is cutting payments to families on low and middle incomes, it is cutting universities – and now it is cutting soldiers’ pay.

 

All at the same time as its shovelling money to big polluters, giving mining companies a tax cut and paying millionaires $50,000 to have a baby.

 

Over the past three years, ADF wages have increased by an average of 3 percent every year; the Abbott Government pay increase of 1.5 percent per annum – well below inflation.

 

The Abbott Government has gone ahead and cut the real pay of our service personnel, despite Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert saying in 2011 that it was ”outrageous” to make a pay offer below inflation.

 

Australia asks our ADF personnel to defend our country and protect our national security – Labor is asking the Government to pay them properly and give them appropriate leave.

 

Our Defence Force shouldn’t have to fight our Government for decent pay and conditions.

 

MONDAY, 3 NOVEMBER 2014

 

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

ADAM SIMS (CONROY) 0408 258 457

CLAIRE WHEATON (BRODTMANN) 0422 370 036

Nov 1, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

AUSTRALIA’S STANCE ON TAX AVOIDANCE OUT OF STEP

The “Double Irish Dutch sandwich” sounds like something questionable you’d find on the menu at backpacker-run cafe.

 

But it’s actually a notorious tax loophole in Ireland which allows huge multinational companies to get away with paying tiny amounts of tax through shifting money between multiple countries. For almost 30 years, some big global firms – including companies operating in Australia – have been using this loophole to pay tiny amounts of tax.

 

So while ordinary people are expected to pay their fair share of tax every year, some companies earning billions of dollars can get away with hardly paying a cent.

 

In Ireland, they are finally seeing sense and closing this loophole. Unfortunately, Australia is going in the opposite direction. While other countries are their closing their tax minimisation loopholes, the Abbott government has spent the past year opening them up.

 

One of Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first acts in office was to roll back Labor’s measures to tackle profit shifting and improving tax transparency – effectively handing back $1.1 billion to big global firms. That’s money that could have gone to helping struggling families with cost of living pressures, or improving our schools and hospitals.

 

But Mr Hockey wasn’t finished. He then pushed back the start date for Australia’s implementation of key global tax transparency measures that were recently negotiated through the G20. Transparency is one of the key weapons against multinational tax avoidance, and while the rest of the world’s major economies start sharing important information on company tax in 2017, Australia will sit on the sidelines.

 

To rub salt in the wound, the Treasurer has slashed nearly $200 million from the Australian Tax Office’s budget – sacking thousands of people who are on the frontline in making sure wealthy individuals and companies are pulling their weight when it comes to tax.

 

That the Abbott government is running a protection racket for corporate tax avoiders is bad enough, but it’s particularly galling at a time when average Australians are being slugged with higher taxes –  such as the new GP tax, the sneaky new petrol tax and the mooted increase in the GST.

 

It’s no wonder so many people think the Prime Minister’s first Budget is so unfair. It isn’t fair that the local newsagent is paying more tax in Australia than some huge multinational companies. And it isn’t fair that while ordinary Australians and small businesses are paying more tax, a few big firms doing the wrong thing are getting off scot-free.

 

As we’ve seen recently in the pages of the Herald, corporate tax loopholes are substantially eroding Australia’s company tax base and placing an unfair burden on people and businesses doing the right thing.

 

As the party of fairness, Labor believes in cracking down on multinational profit-shifting. Not for the sake of it, but to make sure everyone is doing their bit.

 

If big businesses are benefiting from Australian workers, Australian consumers and Australian services, they should make their contribution to Australia’s taxation. We believe that if a small business owner can pay her fair share of tax,  so can the biggest companies in the world.

 

In government, Labor introduced tax integrity measures that would have kept billions of dollars of revenue in Australia. As a constructive federal opposition, committed to policy solutions, Labor is working on new ways to tackle tax avoidance.

 

This week we convened a round table of tax experts from across the country to discuss the next steps Australia can take on multinational profit shifting.

 

Bringing together some of the country’s best accountants, tax lawyers and policy thinkers will help us work out what loopholes remain and how Australia’s tax laws can be strengthened.

 

We understand that in a fast-moving international business environment, Australia’s tax rules need to adapt and change to keep pace with corporate tax strategies. But we’ll always be guided by what is fair – for big firms, for small businesses and for ordinary workers.

 

We want to tackle corporate tax avoidance so that local and international businesses can compete on a level playing field – and so all Australians are getting a fair deal.

 

So while Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey keep working to open corporate tax loopholes, Labor will keep working to shut them down.

 

This opinion piece was first published by Fairfax Online on Sunday, 2 November 2014.

 

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

Nov 1, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Doorstop: Albany – Anzac centenary commemorations; Ebola;

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

SATURDAY, 1 NOVEMBER 2014

ALBANY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

SUBJECT/S: Anzac centenary commemorations; Ebola; national security, Tony Abbott’s Royal Commission into trade unions.

 

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: It’s great to be here in Albany commemorating that 100 years ago to the day the cream of Australia’s young men sailed off to the first World War. They came back, in many cases, changed people and in some tragic cases not at all.  But this is where it all began, the last site from the stern of vessels where Australia’s finest young men went off to war, it’s a very moving ceremony today.

 

JOURNALIST: Yesterday the PM responded to a letter and agreed to have the anti-terror laws that threatened journalists with 10 years jail reviewed by an independent monitor. Is that a backflip?

 

SHORTEN: Well Labor’s said all along that we need to make sure that the laws that we put in place to defend our national security are regularly reviewed to make sure that they’re having the intended consequences and not unintended consequences. Labor put provisions in that this section can be reviewed going forward. I made the decision this week to ask the Prime Minister, in the name of press freedom, to bring forward the review by the independent security monitor. I am pleased that Tony Abbott has backed in Labor’s call to bring forward the review to make sure that there’s no unintended consequences of security laws which would damage our press freedom. Now the Abbott Government has to appoint a security monitor to fulfil this review. Labor’s been calling for this position to be filled. Step one we’ve said to Tony Abbott, lets draw breath and review the laws which we’ve just passed in light of increasing community concern and step two now Tony Abbott, we need to have an independent security monitor to conduct the review.

 

JOURNALIST: He’s clearly has a dig at the timing of your letter, is that fair and why did you respond so late?

 

SHORTEN: Labor, before the bills were put into parliament, did express some concern about needing to make sure that journalists were able to carry out their job whilst protecting our national security. Labor put in place amendments which the government accepted. It’s become clear, however, that there’s more and more concern and debate about this section which goes towards press freedom and dealing with national security. So Labor took the step that we’d rather honestly admit that if there is a problem and deal with it through an independent review and bring it on quickly. The Prime Minister may be unhappy that its Labor who’s suggested to him that he do this but I’m all about outcomes. I’m all about making sure that on the one hand we have strong laws to protect Australians, but on the other hand in protecting Australians we don’t actually give away what’s important about Australia and press freedom is one of the things that’s important to Australia.

 

JOURNALIST: Is the Labor Party really offering bipartisan support to these tough new anti-terror laws?

 

SHORTEN: Our voting record speaks for itself. Labor and Liberal are in it together when it comes to fighting terror but as a conscientious opposition I have a role to make sure that we don’t damage fundamental liberties in this country whilst we are toughening our laws in terms of national security, we’ll get the balance right. I hope the Prime Minister’s not to unhappy that he’s had to go with Labor’s suggestion on this but I think that it is a sensible step to deal with concerns which have been expressed about press freedom in this country.

 

JOURNALIST: On terror, there’s some talk today that there might some attacks on Australian teachers working overseas, does that concern you?

 

SHORTEN: It’s very concerning news. One of the reasons why Labor’s taken such a strong position and working with the Government in tackling Islamic State and other terrorist groups is that we know that failure to act will increase the insecurity and threat to Australians both in Australia and overseas. We would strongly encourage people to be vigilant, I have a great deal of confidence, however, in our security agencies, their ability to carry out their task. But the very fact the threats are being made against Australians overseas to me highlights the need to deal with the problem now rather than wait, do nothing and have a bigger problem of terrorism further down the track.

 

JOURNALIST: And also in light of everything yesterday, do you think Julia Gillard’s name is now cleared?  Should this issue be put to bed?

 

SHORTEN: I’ve made it clear since Tony Abbott announced his Royal Commission into trade unions that I wouldn’t be providing a running commentary on matters as they come along. The Royal Commission’s still underway and I certainly do not intend to add to any of the debate or commentary around Tony Abbott’s Royal Commission into trade unions.

 

JOURNALIST: Do think Julia Gillard’s now been vindicated?

 

SHORTEN: I just don’t want to add to the commentary around this Royal Commission whatsoever. That has been Labor and my position from the outset and it continues to be our position.

 

[BREAK IN RECORDING]

 

SHORTEN: Revelations in the last 24 hours that the United States Government has been seeking Australia’s assistance to deal with the dreadful killer disease Ebola in West Africa and that the Abbott Government has done nothing so far is deeply concerning. Every Australia understands that we are far better of dealing with a dreadful disease which is killing thousands of people far closer to the source than waiting until it comes to Australian shores. The American Government’s requested our assistance, in other matters we work with Americans and other international counties in a coalition. It is now time that we joined the ranks of the rest of the world to tackle the scourge of Ebola where it’s happening and we don’t leave it to late and regret later on that we hadn’t done more earlier. Thanks.

 

ENDS

 

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

Oct 31, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

PETROL TAX HITS COMMUNITY HARD

Local motorists have been ambushed by the Abbott Government with the announcement of an increase to the fuel excise commencing from 10 November 2014.

Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten said the new petrol tax would hurt local resident, particularly in areas with limited public transport.

“Every time they visit the petrol pump, local residents will be paying Tony Abbott’s Petrol Tax,” he said.

“On top of his GP tax, increased cost for medicine and the reduction in family assistance, Tony Abbott also wants to slug residents whenever they fill up their car”.

Bill Shorten said the Abbott Government had effectively bypassed the Parliament in imposing the new tax.

“Before the election, Tony Abbott promised no new taxes. But it seems it’s just another day and another broken promise from this Government.”

“Even worse, the Abbott Government has sneakily slugged local residents by introducing this tax via the backdoor. Our community deserves better.”

Oct 31, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

COMMEMORATING THE CENTENARY OF ANZAC IN ALBANY

 

Federal Labor Leader, Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for the Centenary of Anzac, David Feeney will attend a series of special commemorative events beginning in Albany this weekend, to mark the first departing convoy to join the First World War in 1914.

 

In October 1914, Albany, Western Australia was the gathering point for ships carrying soldiers from the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), to the First World War.

 

This first convoy left for Egypt and Gallipoli on 1 November, 1914. These soldiers were to later to become known as the Anzacs.

 

Federal Labor Leader, Bill Shorten said the Anzac Centenary will be one of the most significant commemorations to take place for current generations.

 

“A century ago, more than thirty thousand soldiers from every part of Australia and New Zealand steamed away from these shores and into history. Many would never return.”

 

“In the weeks and months ahead, we will honour the bravery and sacrifice of all who served and reflect on how the Anzac legend has shaped our national consciousness.”

 

Shadow Minister for the Centenary of Anzac, David Feeney said, “What a great way to honour the first soldiers who departed for the First World War.”

 

“The Centenary of Anzac is a great initiative for Australians to learn about and remember our significant past.”

 

Albany begins its commemoration of centenary of Anzac campaign this weekend, 100 years since the first fleet of ships departed to join the First World War.

 

Services to honour this milestone include the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Ceremonial Sunset, Troop March, Commemorative Service, the opening of the National Anzac Centre, and a Ship Open Day.

 

The Centenary of Anzac program began on 4 August, 2014 and will continue until 2018.

More information on commemoration events and services can be found at http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au

 

FRIDAY 31 OCTOBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT: KATE HANNS 0423 974 363

Oct 31, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ASIAN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT BANK

 

Labor believes Australia should be actively engaging China on its proposal for an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

 

Of course, governance and transparency arrangements, as well as environmental, social, and labour matters will need to be worked through.

 

There is an enormous need for increased infrastructure investment in the Asia Pacific, and we welcome additional investment from China.

 

It’s clear from media reports that the Abbott Government is hopelessly divided on this issue.

 

These reports of division and dysfunction inside the Abbott Cabinet are extraordinary.

 

This is not how important economic decisions should be made.

 

The Prime Minister needs to show some leadership and pull his feuding Treasurer and Foreign Minister into line and immediately clarify the Government’s position.

 

The Government is continuing to seriously mismanage our economic relationship with China.

 

The Prime Minister, the Treasurer, and the Foreign Minister must immediately clarify the Government’s position.

 

FRIDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2014

 

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

                                       DAN DORAN (PLIBERSEK) 0427 464 350

                                      JAMES CULLEN (BOWEN) 0409 719 879

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