Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Oct 13, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Labor will support Australian jobs, wages and workplace skills and safety standards with a comprehensive package of safeguards around the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA).


The new safeguards will allow Australian exporters and consumers to secure the benefits of ChAFTA while ensuring the trade deal does not jeopardise employment opportunities for Australian workers.


Boosting Australia’s trading relationship with China is critical to our nation’s economic future.


However, the deal brought home by the Abbott-Turnbull Government has significant shortcomings and has raised widespread community concern.


The Abbott-Turnbull deal allows employers to hire 457 visa workers without having to advertise jobs for local workers first.


It also abolishes mandatory skills assessments for important trades occupations.


Labor will tackle these shortcomings by moving amendments to the Government’s ChAFTA enabling legislation.


Our amendments will introduce new safeguards into the 457 visa system including:

  • Requiring employers entering Investment Facilitation Arrangement work agreements under ChAFTA to advertise jobs locally before turning to overseas workers;
  • Increasing the minimum base rate of pay for 457 visa workers to $57,000 a year;
  • Requiring 457 visa workers in trades like electrical work or plumbing to obtain the relevant occupational licence or registration within 60 days of arriving in Australia.


These safeguards will support local job opportunities, support Australian wages and conditions, maintain workplace skills and safety standards, and deter exploitation of overseas workers.


Labor’s safeguards are complementary to ChAFTA: they will not breach the agreement, they will not require it to be renegotiated and they will not discriminate against Chinese workers or companies – in fact they will improve protections for Chinese and other 457 visa workers in Australia.


Labor has today released an exposure draft of its proposed amendments along with explanatory materials for comment from stakeholders and the public. A summary of the details of the amendments are available at


Labor’s responsible stance on ChAFTA means the only barrier to the agreement entering into force with safeguards for jobs is the Turnbull Liberal Government.





ANNIE WILLIAMS (WONG) 0428 040 522

Oct 13, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Today I am proud to announce the team Labor will take to the next Federal Election.


It is a team of dedicated, talented Labor people that will drive Labor’s policy development and outline Labor’s positive plans for all Australians.


This is the team that will continue to hold the Abbott -Turnbull Government to account, as we have successfully done over the last two years.


Labor is rightly proud that we have stood up to the Liberals’ unfair Budgets, and forced them to dump the worst Prime Minister in modern history.


Labor’s reshuffle comes following the retirement of long-time Labor advocates and true representatives of Queensland, Senator Jan McLucas and Bernie Ripoll.


We are proud to welcome two new Labor women to the Shadow Cabinet in Senator Katy Gallagher and Michelle Rowland, bringing the total number to seven.


Katy Gallagher will join the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness, and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations. Katy will also take responsibility for women’s policy within the Shadow Cabinet.


Katy brings a wealth of experience to Federal Labor having served as Chief Minister, Treasurer and Minister for Health over her 13 year career in the ACT Legislative Assembly.


Malcolm Turnbull’s failure to appoint dedicated Ministers for Mental Health and Housing and Homelessness show the Abbott – Turnbull Government is not capable of tackling these fundamental issues of social justice and productivity.


Katy will continue to build on Senator Jan McLucas’ significant legacy of advocacy for people with mental illness and their carers, as well as homeless people.


Demonstrating Labor’s commitment to small business, Michelle Rowland will join the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Small Business, and continue in her role as Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism.


Michelle is a fierce representative of Western Sydney, one of the most diverse and economically exciting communities in Australia, and I have no doubt she will bring those insights and her trademark advocacy into the Shadow Cabinet.


Michelle will be ably assisted by Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business Julie Owens, who will also become Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education.


Labor also congratulates two proud and incredibly talented Queenslanders on their elevation, Jim Chalmers and Terri Butler.


Dr Jim Chalmers will become Shadow Minister for Superannuation and Financial Services, Shadow Assistant Minister for Trade and Investment, Shadow Assistant Minister for Productivity and Shadow Minister for Sport.


Jim is one of our team’s finest minds, with a wealth of experience in economic policy.


Terri Butler will work closely with Katy as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Child Safety and Prevention of Family Violence, and has also been appointed Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition.


Ed Husic will add to his existing Treasury portfolio responsibilities and will be appointed Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Digital Innovation and Startups.


I am also pleased to announce that Sam Dastyari will be appointed Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Youth, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate, a reflection of the significance of education to Labor and of his consistent hard work holding this Liberal Government to account.


The entire Labor team will continue to put forward our positive plan for all Australians – for today and the decades to come.


An updated Shadow Ministry list is attached.





Oct 12, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Our thoughts and sympathy are with the Turkish people.

It is a tragedy that so many innocent lives have been lost to violence.

The targets of these brutal attacks had gathered to call for peace.  In Australia, we are fortunate to be able to resolve political differences democratically, and peacefully.  We know the Turkish people wish to do the same.

It is our hope, as it is the hope of so many in Turkey, that elections scheduled for November can be carried out peacefully and safely, and that this may be a step along the path to more lasting peace and security.

Violent extremism is a global problem and Labor will support our government to work closely with the international community to enhance our cooperative efforts to defeat such threats.

On behalf of Labor, the Leader of the Opposition conveyed his condolences and assurances of solidarity to the Turkish Ambassador designate this morning.


Oct 9, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


A Shorten Labor Government will ensure mental health is a national priority, with a new regional or place-based approach as recommended by the National Mental Health Commission.

1 in 5 Australians experience mental ill health each year and yet the system is fragmented and incredibly difficult to navigate.
Under Labor, mental health will be person-centred and designed specifically to meet the needs of local communities.
A Shorten Labor Government will build on Labor’s strong legacy in mental health by ensuring investment goes to where it is needed most.
Labor will be guided by the recommendations of the National Mental Health Commission and  outline our priorities for implementation within our first 100 days.
Nearly half of all adult Australians will experience mental ill health in their lifetime.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples suffer mental illness at three times the rate of other Australians.
A Shorten Labor Government will use existing Primary Health Networks to deliver regionally tailored mental health programs, as recommended by the National Mental Health Commission.
Labor will also commit to reducing suicides in Australia by 50 per cent over the next ten years.
Recommended by the National Mental Health Commission, this target will focus the work of all governments on a holistic approach to suicide prevention.
Each year it is estimated that approximately 65,000 Australians attempt to take their own life.
The rate of suicide in rural and remote Australia is 66 per cent higher than in our cities.
As part of Labor’s interim response we commit to the National Mental Health Commission’s target to reduce suicides by 50 per cent over the next ten years through:

  1. The development of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.
  2. The development and implementation of a National Suicide Prevention Frameworkwhich establishes clear incremental targets and measurable outcomes.
  3. The establishment of 12 suicide prevention initiatives– six urban, four regional and two remote – for place based initiatives tailored to local community need.
  4. The development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Planto improve mental health and prevent suicides of Indigenous Australians.
  5. The establishment of thefirst national minimum data set on deaths by suicide and suicide attempts to build an accurate picture of the problem and the effectiveness of prevention initiatives.

If elected, Labor will ensure those living with mental illness, and their carers, who will not receive a package of support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme still receive the support and care they need.
The annual cost of mental illness in Australia has been estimated to be between $20- 60 billion a year including lost productivity and labour force participation.
Labor will actively support and promote the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance to better support mental health and wellbeing at work, and remove the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental ill health.
Labor will also establish a new Heads Up award for excellence in mental health and wellbeing at work, as part of our recognition of the best employers in Australia.
A Shorten Labor Government will restore the independence, integrity and transparency of the National Mental Health Commission.
Labor’s regionally- based approach to mental health and measures to prevent suicide will be funded by the reallocation of funds as recommended by the National Mental Health Commission.
More information on Labor’s mental health plan can be found here.


                                     BELINDA FEATHERSTONE (MCLUCAS) 0408 743 457


Oct 8, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


 A Shorten Labor Government will transform the way infrastructure is funded in Australia, beefing up Infrastructure Australia to unlock tens of billions in capital investment for key projects in every state and creating tens of thousands of jobs.


Labor will elevate Infrastructure Australia to an active participant in the infrastructure market, mobilising private sector finance, Australia’s superannuation industry and international investors to bring a national pipeline of investment online.


Labor established Infrastructure Australia as an independent advisor on nation-building infrastructure, and we now powering it up to create more jobs, boost our productivity and improve our competitiveness.


Infrastructure Australia will be backed by a $10 billion financing facility that will give Infrastructure Australia the ability, as required, to deploy a combination of guarantees, loans or equity to jumpstart new projects.  This will not be a grants program – the Government will receive a return on these commercial investments.


By 2025, Australia’s superannuation savings will be $4 trillion – this is money we should be putting to work on nation-building.


Labor will establish this facility through the proven process for establishing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.


Labor’s plan will leverage $10 billion of government-backed financing into tens of billions of dollars of private sector investment.  For example, in the case of the CEFC, every dollar of government financing is leveraging $2.20 in additional investment.


Using a conservative analysis, prepared by Infrastructure Partners Australia, which assumes no additional leverage, a $10 billion infrastructure investment:


  • Will directly create approximately 26,000 jobs.


  • And add around an extra $7.5 billion every year to our GDP.


We will appoint an Expert Panel to determine a Financing Mandate and advise on the appropriate structure for the new facility within six months of coming to Government.


This will ensure that Infrastructure Australia operates as a catalyst for private sector investment, with the strictest financial discipline, commercial rigour credit risk assessment capacities and a commitment to nation-building.


Today we are announcing an initial short-list of projects that Labor supports as well as providing a commitment to work with State Government to encourage the development of an ongoing infrastructure project pipeline.


The initial list of projects that Labor will support include:


  • The Airport Rail to Badgerys Creek, connecting the Western and South lines.
  • The Melbourne Metro.
  • The Cross River Rail project in Brisbane.
  • The ‘G’ Light Rail on the Gold Coast.
  • Planning work on the Ipswich Motorway Darra to Rocklea.
  • Tasmania’s Midland Highway.
  • Perth public transport.
  • Gawler Line electrification in Adelaide.
  • The Pacific and Bruce Highway packages, projects that have been underway for several years, but need to be fast tracked to completion.


These are projects that Infrastructure Australia has either assessed, or Labor will work with state government to fast-track assessments – they are Australia’s national to-do-list of priority infrastructure projects.


Right now, capital investment on infrastructure by governments is falling.


Infrastructure Australia has estimated that the economic cost of underinvestment is projected to reach $53 billion a year by 2031.


As the mining boom eases, quality infrastructure is central to driving Australia’s economic growth, creating jobs and boosting our productive capacity.


Labor will work with the private sector to overcome market failures, to get good projects up and going.


The old way of doing business, the traditional Commonwealth grant funding approach, simply cannot fund the infrastructure Australia needs.  We need to look at new ways of securing private sector finance.


Australia has a need for significant investment in long term physical assets to underpin our future growth and productivity, but governments at all levels are not able to sufficiently fund them.


We have a deep pool of domestic capital in superannuation as well as significant global investors that are searching for stable and reliable assets to invest funds over extended periods.


Re-booting investment, lifting productivity and driving growth – requires us to face up to the sticking-points and stumbling blocks currently stand in the way of good infrastructure projects from being financed and taken to market.


Beyond the immediate priorities announced today, Labor will develop a long term pipeline for projects and ensuring the steady movement of projects through the assessment, development and financing phases.


By establishing an independent, funded project-broker, we will provide new and greater certainty to investors as well as creating a powerful incentive for State governments to propose and approve projects.


Just as the Reserve Bank of Australia is the independent authority at the centre of monetary policy, Infrastructure Australia will be at the centre of capital investment, driving results that are in the national interest.


A Shorten Labor Government will properly consult the Opposition on all board appointments and restore faith and confidence in the infrastructure process.


Australia’s future prosperity depends on a better way of securing investment in infrastructure.


A Shorten Labor Government will deliver better infrastructure to ease congestion, create jobs and improve productivity.


More information on today’s announcement is available here.





                                    MATTHEW FRANKLIN (ALBANESE) 0411 659868

Oct 8, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


After years of hard work and campaigning the St Albans community is delighted to see work progress on the removal of the dangerous Main Road level crossing.


Federal Member for Maribyrnong and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews today inspected the work underway on the removal of Main Road Level crossing this morning, marking the beginning of its construction phase.


“This crossing has claimed far too many lives and there have been countless near misses,” said Mr Shorten.


“We recall Christian Dejanovic’s death at the Main Road crossing, St Albans in January 2012 and since then his mother Dianne has not stopped campaigning to have those level crossings removed.”


“The work we have seen today wouldn’t have happened without Dianne’s hard work and commitment.”


“This crossing is not just dangerous; it has become notorious for causing frustration in our community and wasting people’s precious time.”


“When a community unites, great things can happen. The St Albans community united, and now we see the fruits of good people coming together for a common cause.”


“I congratulate the Andrews Labor Government for listening and acting on our communities concerns.”


Labor has worked together at both a state and federal level, and I also congratulate including State Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman and all western suburbs Labor Members for their work on having these level crossings removed.


An alliance including Leighton Contractors, Aurecon and Hyder Consulting has been formally announced. The work will be completed in 2017. The package of works will cost $481.2 million.





Oct 6, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Labor welcomes the finalisation of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).


Today’s news comes at the end of five years of negotiations under both Labor and Liberal Governments.


The TPP has significant potential benefits for Australia including improving market access for our goods and services in 12 countries accounting for 40 per cent of global GDP.


The TPP could also be a stepping stone to closer economic engagement across the Asia-Pacific region.


The Government must release the text of the agreement as soon as possible.  Right now, the Government is asking Australians to take its word for it.


Labor notes the assurance that no element of the agreement will increase the price of medicines for Australians or undermine the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.


We will hold the Turnbull Liberal Government to that assurance.


Labor opposes the inclusion of Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions in all trade agreements, and will carefully scrutinise relevant provisions in the TPP, including claimed carve-outs.


We will examine the agreement in detail once the text has been released.




   ANNIE WILLIAMS (WONG) 0428 040 522

Oct 3, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


This is a truly shocking incident in one of Sydney’s busiest CBDs.


Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Curtis Cheng, particularly his colleagues in the NSW Police Force who are in mourning today.


As NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said this morning, there is no doubt lives were saved yesterday by the heroic actions of three Officers from the NSW Police Force.


Our thoughts are also with the family of the alleged young perpetrator. Like all Australians, they will be struggling to comprehend how someone so young could be part of such a terrible crime.


Australians should be reassured that our security and police agencies are among the best in the world and its important fans are not deterred from attending this weekend’s AFL and NRL Grand Finals.


This incident is being urgently investigated by the NSW Police Force, the NSW Coroner and security agencies.  At times like this, it’s critical that we guard against dangerous division – we are stronger and safer when we stand together.


We must not surrender the very qualities and liberties that we seek to protect.


Labor will continue our bipartisan approach to the most important responsibility of government – ensuring the safety of Australian citizens.





Oct 1, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


If you’re reading this on the way to work, there’s a better than 50:50 chance that within 10 years you’ll be working for a business that doesn’t exist yet.

The majority of jobs created in Australia over the next decade will be in companies that don’t exist today.

The rise of these new businesses and the creation of new opportunities is just one part of the disruptive, creative force of the digital revolution.

Change is coming, and in many cases is already here.

If we are smart, if we are bold, Australia can own the benefits of this transformation.

We can make change work for all Australians.

We can build new prosperity and discover new ways of learning from each other, working with each other and caring for each other.

As Labor leader, I’ve put our focus on positive plans to prepare Australia for the future.

Labor’s vision is built on ­investing in schools, skills, universities and technology, giving every Australian a head start in the race for the jobs of the future.

Our vision is for a smarter, more prosperous Australia, a more productive economy growing more strongly and more fairly.

In Sydney last week, I ­announced the next steps in our plan to support a new generation of Australian innovators, attract the best minds from overseas and encourage our great expats to return home.

I want Australia to be the start-up capital of Asia.

Our policy, Getting Australia Started, will offer start-up loans to 2000 Australian students through the HELP system each year.

An extra year, similar to a graduate year, to build and fine-tune a new business and prepare it for the marketplace.

It’s a plan to support enterprising graduates with good ideas, helping them to ­develop and commercialise their ­concepts in partnership with universities, as well as private sector mentors and ­investors.

Building this co-operation is important because, right now, Australia trails the world in collaboration between its universities, researchers and businesses.

There’s far too big a gap ­between the world-class ­research we produce and what our businesses use.

Far too many enterprising Australians end up going overseas in search of a first opportunity. My plan is about making sure ideas born here, grow up here and create the jobs here.

There are more than 500,000 new jobs up for grabs in start-ups.

Government has a role to play in securing these opportunities for Australia.

This is not about replacing private investment, or crowding it out.

It’s a matter of fostering a culture of innovation, rewarding people for their good ideas and getting behind Australian creativity and enterprise.

With the mining boom at an end, Labor believes it’s time to invest in Australia’s best ­resource: the ingenuity and talent of our people.

Whether it’s backing startups, teaching coding and computational thinking in schools, supporting technology at TAFE or science in our universities, Labor’s plans are built around a central idea and a simple message.

We believe in the innate ­capacity of the Australian ­people. Our goal is to reward hard work, support good ideas and help every Australian fulfil their potential.

This is how we grow our economy, boost productivity and create jobs.

This opinion piece was first published in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, 1 October 2015


Sep 26, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins


Nominations for the two positions within Labor’s Shadow Ministry made vacant by the retirement of Bernie Ripoll and Senator Jan McLucas have now closed.


Two nominations were received, from the Member for Rankin Jim Chalmers and from Senator for the ACT Katy Gallagher.


Both are outstanding nominations and will be welcome new additions to Labor’s frontbench team.


The addition of Jim and Katy allow Labor to present our team for government to the Australian people, whenever the election may be.


Labor is ready for an election; ready to put forward our big ideas to the Australian people to judge.


Senator Katy Gallagher, the former Chief Minister of the ACT, brings a wealth of experience to the Labor team.


Katy replaced former ACT Senator and Labor Minister Kate Lundy and epitomises Labor’s core values through her relentless pursuit of quality health care and education for all Australians.


Dr Jim Chalmers was elected as the Member for Rankin in 2013 following the retirement of longstanding Labor member and former Minister, Craig Emerson.


Jim’s rise can be put down to his capacity for hard work and his determination to see Australia seize the opportunities of the future.


These two highly talented, highly intelligent individuals will bring new enthusiasm and ideas to Labor’s future focused agenda.


Labor will continue to do the hard work of opposition by putting our evidence-based, detailed, positive policies on the table.


Once again we acknowledge the outstanding contributions of Queenslanders, Bernie Ripoll and Senator Jan McLucas both in government and opposition over almost two decades.


The allocation of portfolios will be announced following the next Labor Caucus meeting in Canberra on Tuesday 13 October.






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