MEDIA RELEASE - Abbott Government Cuts Funding to UN Environment Programme

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

THE HON MARK BUTLER MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER

MEMBER FOR PORT ADELAIDE

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT CUTS FUNDING TO UN ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME

 

 

TUESDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2014

 

Labor condemns reports the Abbott Government has cut funding for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) by 80 per cent.

The 80 per cent cut to the UNEP represents a funding reduction of about $4 million.

The UNEP supports developing countries to implement policies and measures to enhance their environmental sustainability.

The UNEP also coordinates the United Nations’ environment policies, including global efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change, promote sustainable agriculture and development and disaster risk mitigation.

“It’s bad enough that Tony Abbott is taking Australia backwards on climate change. But now he wants to stop developing nations from taking action on climate change – as they try to grow their economies and reduce poverty.  It’s embarrassing,” Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Tanya Plibersek said.

“Tony Abbott tried to keep climate change off the G20 agenda, but he failed.

“That’s because other world leaders know climate change is both an environmental and economic issue.

“The cuts revealed today just reinforce that when it comes to climate change Tony Abbott is out on his own.”

These reports follow the Abbott Government’s refusal to provide funding to the Global Green Fund which provides financial assistance to smaller nations to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“Because Tony Abbott is blind to the impacts of climate change on Australia’s economic, social and environmental landscapes, our international friends and neighbours are paying the price,” Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change Mark Butler said.

“Australia is a rich nation that has a responsibility to assist those in need. Floods, rising sea levels, droughts and storms all pose a huge threat to the Pacific Island nations in our region, and to other developing countries.

“Tony Abbott has made Australia an international laughing stock with his backward policies on climate change and the environment.”

 

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MEDIA RELEASE - World AIDS Day 2014

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

THE HON CATHERINE KING MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

 

SENATOR LISA SINGH

SENATOR FOR TASMANIA

CO-CHAIR OF THE PARLIAMENTARY LIAISON GROUP FOR HIV/AIDS, BLOOD BORNE VIRUSES AND SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED

INFECTIONS

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

WORLD AIDS DAY 2014

 MONDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2014

World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness of HIV prevention and AIDS. The message of ‘getting to zero’ is tremendously important: zero new HIV infections; zero discrimination; zero AIDS related deaths.

Sadly, the battle to eradicate one of the most terrible epidemics of recent times is far from over, with an estimated 35 million people globally living with HIV.

Alarmingly, there are signs that Australia, which for so long has been a world leader with our education and information campaigns is losing ground, with increases in infections in recent years.

Australia has an outstanding record in tackling the AIDS epidemic. The initial response to HIV AIDS in the 1980s under the Hawke Government’s Health Minister Dr Neal Blewett has contributed to Australia today having an HIV infection rate around a quarter that of the USA.

But the recent upsurge in notifications is a reminder that task is far from complete, and it’s vital that we maintain the effort in the entirely achievable goal of eliminating new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS.

Prevention activities such as needle and syringe programs have helped Australia achieve the lowest rates of HIV among injecting drug users in the world. But we need to do more.

In 2015 we must redouble our efforts to educate all Australians about the risk of HIV AIDS, and work together to eradicate this terrible disease, while supporting those who live with HIV.

And we need to maintain our support efforts to fight AIDS in developing countries, including through the excellent work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

World AIDS Day is a chance to reinforce the message about persisting with those efforts, in Australia and globally, until we ‘get to zero’.

 

 

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MEDIA RELEASE - World AIDS Day - The Abbott Government Must Do More

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY 

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

WORLD AIDS DAY – THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT MUST DO MORE

 

 MONDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2014

World AIDS Day today reminds us that Australia must redouble its efforts to fight HIV/AIDS across the globe.

The international community’s work is paying great dividends.  Worldwide, new HIV infections have fallen by 38 per cent, and AIDS relate deaths have dropped by 35 per cent.

Which is why it’s so disappointing to see the Abbott Government cut overseas aid that goes towards work including programs aimed at fighting HIV/AIDS.

In Government, Labor increased funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria from about $75 million per triennium to around $200 million.

By contrast, the Abbott Government has fallen $175 million short of the expected contribution from Australia to replenish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. To put that in context, $175 million could provide about 1.1 million extra people in low-income countries with a year’s worth of anti-retroviral HIV treatment.

In Government, Labor almost doubled the aid budget – from $2.9 billion to $5.7 billion.

By contrast, the Abbott Government has cut $7.6 billion from the aid budget.  That includes, for example, a cut of $49 million from aid to Indonesia, where new HIV infections have increased by 48 per cent.  In addition, in its first Budget, the Abbott Government cut $1.7 million from UNAIDS and $2.8 million from the UNFPA, the reproductive health, family planning and sexual health arm of the UN.

We want support for serious action to combat HIV/AIDS to be bipartisan.  But international aid organisations, doing excellent work around the world, cannot continue to do more with less. 

 

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MEDIA RELEASE - More Overseas Aid Cuts

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

MORE OVERSEAS AID CUTS

 MONDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2014

Labor is very concerned about new reports the Abbott Government is set to make further cuts to the overseas aid budget. 

Instead of ruling out further aid cuts, the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, today took the extraordinary step of using a World Aids Day event to admit that if her Government’s unfair Budget wasn’t passed they would be looking elsewhere for savings.

Already the Abbott Government has cut our aid budget by $7.6 billion, the largest single cut in the Federal Budget, and on the back of the world’s poorest people.

Julie Bishop says “the flagship of our foreign policyis ouraid program”.  By her own test, Ms Bishop is conceding that by crippling our aid budget, she is crippling our foreign policy too.

Julie Bishop has repeatedly failed to win the support of her Cabinet colleagues for overseas aid, with cut after cut. How many more times will she be rolled by Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey?

Before the election, the Coalition promised to increase the aid budget by the Consumer Price Index, but after the election made $7.6 billion in cuts.

The Coalition said it would focus aid on our region, but instead cut $110 million from aid to the Asia-Pacific.

The Coalition promised certainty on overseas aid, but all it has delivered is uncertainty and cuts.

More cuts to foreign aid could not come at a worse time when we know that aid is an essential tool in building international security.

Constant speculation about the aid budget puts enormous pressure on the great work done by international aid organisations, and risks Australia’s reputation as a responsible global citizen. 

 

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MEDIA RELEASE - Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

THE HON CHRIS BOWEN MP

SHADOW TREASURER

MEMBER FOR MCMAHON

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

ASIAN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT BANK

 

MONDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2014

Labor is very concerned about new reports of division in the Abbott Cabinet over the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

We believe the Abbott Government should be actively engaging China on its proposal for an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.  That can’t happen if senior ministers like the Treasurer, the Foreign Minister, and now the Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, continue to squabble amongst themselves.

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

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

Today, reports say Andrew Robb has joined the Treasurer, Joe Hockey, in support of China’s proposal.  This pits them both against Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who is reportedly leading the charge against the bank.

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

These fresh 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, bring his feuding Cabinet to order, and immediately clarify the Government’s position.

 

 

 

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MEDIA RELEASE - Labor Welcomes Appointment of New Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

THE HON RICHARD MARLES MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION
MEMBER FOR CORIO

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

LABOR WELCOMES APPOINTMENT OF NEW AMBASSADOR FOR PEOPLE SMUGGLING ISSUES

 

Labor welcomes the appointment of Mr Andrew Goledzinowski AM as Australia's next Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues.

Mr Goledzinowskiwill bring his extensive diplomatic expertise to this important role.

His experience serving in senior positions with the United Nations, including as the Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative will be a great asset in leading Australia’s efforts to combat people smuggling and trafficking.

Mr Goledzinowskialso has a solid understanding of Pacific regional issues which will be of great importance in his role.

Labor would like to pay tribute to outgoing Ambassador Craig Chittick OAM for his efforts in pursuing Australian efforts to combat people smuggling and trafficking.

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MEDIA RELEASE - Lecture on Australia-India Relations in a Changing World

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS & INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

SENATOR THE HON LISA SINGH

SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER

LABOR SENATOR FOR TASMANIA

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

LECTURE ON AUSTRALIA-INDIA RELATIONS IN A CHANGING WORLD

 

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development, Tanya Plibersek, gave a lecture today on ‘the Australia-India Relationship in a Changing World’ at the Menzies Research Centre, in partnership with the Australian Institute of International Affairs and the University of Tasmania.

“With the visit of Narendra Modi to Australia last week, Australia’s relationship with the world’s largest democracy has been at the centre of national discussion” said the Deputy Opposition Leader.

“Only two months ago I visited India with Senator Singh to meet with political leaders, senior officials, academics and non-government organisations in New Delhi.

“Today I talked about the possibilities for the growth in the Australia-India relationship, building on our shared democratic values and the special connection that goes with the more than 400,000 people of Indian origin who live in Australia.

“The election of Modi has galvanized India and turned its focus out to the world” said Labor Senator Singh.

“The strength of our current relationship builds on the past work done by Labor Governments, including the pivotal visit by Julia Gillard to India in 2012.

“Prime Minister Modi visit to Australia this week marks another important milestone in our relationship.

“Mr Modi's visionary speech to the Australian Parliament highlighted his commitment to lift India out of poverty through social and economic development. Australia can play a key role in that vision," Senator Singh said.

“As two nations we share strong connections through democratic values, multiculturalism and of course cricketing culture. We can continue to grow our relationship into the future in trade, education, infrastructure development and tourism.”

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MEDIA RELEASE - Abbott Government Embarrasses Australia on the World Stage, Again

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

THE HON MARK BUTLER MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER

MEMBER FOR PORT ADELAIDE

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT EMBARRASSES AUSTRALIA ON THE WORLD STAGE, AGAIN

 FRIDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2014

In an extraordinary attack on our close friend and ally, the United States, the Abbott Government says it has “an issue” with a plea from President Obama to protect our beautiful Great Barrier Reef.

In a speech at University of Queensland during the G20 last weekend, President Obama pointed to the impact of climate change on the reef saying:

 

”I have not had time ... to go to the Great Barrier Reef and I want to come back and I want my daughters to be able to come back and I want them to be able to bring their daughters or sons to visit. And I want that there 50 years from now.”

 

The Abbott Government has criticised President Obama’s remarks, despite the fact they are consistent with the views of the World Heritage Committee.

Just this year, the World Heritage Committee “noted with concern” the Abbott Government’s lack of action to protect the Great Barrier Reef, and went on to recommend the reef for consideration on the list of “world heritage in danger” sites in 2015.

It seems it’s only the Abbott Government that fails to accept that climate change is going to take a significant toll on our Great Barrier Reef, unless we act now.  It is embarrassing.

The Abbott Government’s criticism of President Obama follows a similar attack from Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman.

Everyone knows Campbell Newman is no diplomat, but Australians expect better from their national government, especially the Foreign Minister.

World leaders, including Australia's largest trading partners, are taking action against climate change, but Tony Abbott would rather pay polluters to pollute.

While the rest of the world looks to a clean energy future, an economic advantage that could present jobs and investment for Australia, the Abbott Government continues to drag its feet on taking serious climate action.

Labor recently announced that, if re-elected, it would ban capital dredge spoil being dumped in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

We did this because we want to protect this vital heritage area from further degradation.

 

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MEDIA RELEASE - Visit to the Alliance of Girls School Leadership Forum

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS & INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

SENATOR THE HON LISA SINGH

SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER

LABOR SENATOR FOR TASMANIA

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

VISIT TO THE ALLIANCE OF GIRLS SCHOOL LEADERSHIP FORUM

THURSDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2014

This morning Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek and Labor Senator Lisa Singh visited Ogilvie High School to talk to female students from across Hobart high schools about leadership and the rights of women and girls.

“It's important to say to the girls of today that there is a place for women in every part of Australian life: every workplace, every company board and every Cabinet table,” said Tanya Plibersek.

“Speaking with the girls at Ogilvie today, we discussed the challenges and rewards of public life, and of the importance of feminism in empowering women to freely choose the lives that are most meaningful to them.”

“While there are areas where we have seen progress, such as the increase of women in positions of political leadership, there are many ways in which we are going backwards,” said Senator Singh.

“The appointment of only one woman out of nineteen members of Tony Abbott’s Cabinet is emblematic of this.”

“It is important that the next generation of women are aware of the inequities that women face across society, ranging from the 18.2 per cent pay gap to the levels of family violence that afflict one in three Australian women.”

The Alliance of Girls Schools which hosted the event is a network of schools advocating for girls' education.

 

 

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MEDIA RELEASE - President Obama Calls for More Action on Climate Change

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

THE HON MARK BUTLER MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER

MEMBER FOR PORT ADELAIDE

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA CALLS FOR MORE ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

 SATURDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2014

The President of the United States Barack Obama has today issued a strong call for Australia and the international community to lift its game on climate change.

President Obama’s speech clearly laid out the case for why Australian action is urgent:

“Nobody [Australia] has more at stake when it comes to thinking about and then acting on climate change. Here a climate that increases in temperature will mean more extreme and frequent storms, more flooding, rising seas that submerge Pacific Islands. Here in Australia it means longer droughts, more wildfires. The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened.”

Barack Obama, address at University of Queensland, 15 November 2014

 

In his address at the University of Queensland, President Obama said the world needs to work together to tackle climate change.

 

" No nation is immune and every nation has a responsibility to do its part…..we’ve got to step up”

Barack Obama, address at University of Queensland, 15 November 2014

 

We welcome President Obama's announcement today of $3 billion for the United Nations Green Climate Fund to help developing nations deal with climate change.

President Obama’s intervention today follows his announcement on Wednesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping about an ambitious climate deal on Wednesday and interventions in recent days from other world leaders.

Adding his voice to the deafening chorus of calls to deal with climate change, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban-Ki Moon, noted:

 

“Climate change is the defining issue of our times, therefore it's only natural that G20 leaders should focus much more on this as part of making this world sustainable in three dimensions - economic, social and environmental”

Ban-Ki Moon, Press Conference, 15 November 2014

 

Tony Abbott is the only person at G20 who doesn't want to talk about action on climate change.

Tony Abbott’s stubborn isolationism is not only costing Australia our economic competitiveness but also our international reputation.

 

 

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