Media Release: AUSTRALIA’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE GLOBAL FUND TO FIGHT AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS, AND MALARIA

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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

AUSTRALIA’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE GLOBAL FUND TO FIGHT AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS, AND MALARIA

The Abbott Government needs to confirm immediately that Australia will continue to be a strong contributor to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

The Coalition is ripping $4.5 billion out of Australia’s international aid budget. But Tony Abbott won’t tell Australians, or the international community, where the axe will fall.

Mr Abbott’s cuts to international aid must not be allowed to compromise the important work of the Global Fund in fighting AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in developing countries, including some of Australia’s nearest neighbours such as Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste.

Since 2002, with Australia’s help, the Global Fund’s more than US$22.4 billion of programs in around 150 countries have saved an estimated 8.7 million lives by providing anti-retroviral treatment for people living with HIV, and tuberculosis treatment for 9.7 million people.

Around 21 per cent of the Global Fund’s grants are directed to Asia and the Pacific.

These grants have resulted in more than 500,000 people on lifesaving HIV treatment; 46 million insecticide-treated bed nets distributed; and the treatment of 6.6 million cases of tuberculosis.

In 2013 alone, a commitment by the former Labor Government saw Australia give $100 million to the Global Fund – the largest contribution our country has ever made in a single year.

The Global Fund is an international financing institution established in 2002 to dramatically increase resources for the fight against the three pandemics. It is a partnership between government, civil society, the private sector, and affected communities.

TUESDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2013

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Media Statement: Readout of meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

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THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

 

 

THE HON TANYA PLIBSERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR 
SYDNEY

  

MEDIA STATEMENT -  READOUT OF MEETING WITH DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI 

 

The Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition met with Myanmar’s Opposition Leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, this afternoon as part of her first official visit to Australia.

Mr Shorten and Ms Plibersek conveyed the Opposition’s support for the political reforms underway in Myanmar, and discussed the importance of increasing people to people and economic ties between our two countries. This visit to Australia helps strengthen our bilateral relationship.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a global leader in human rights and democratic reform, and one of the greatest figures of our time.

The Opposition welcomes Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s involvement in World AIDS Day activities while she is here in Australia.

HIV/AIDS remains a serious challenge for many countries, including some of Australia’s nearest neighbours.  Australia must do everything we can, through our aid program and otherwise, to increase access to testing, treatment, and prevention, particularly in developing countries.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi indicated that openness and compassion are critical to responding effectively to HIV/AIDS in Myanmar.

She also expressed that that business confidence to support investment and economic growth was essential – and that political stability and enforceability of the rule of law are critical to this.

THURSDAY, 28th NOVEMBER 2013

 

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Statement: UN vote regarding Israeli settlement activity

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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


Change in Australia's Position on UN vote regarding  Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories

Today, the Foreign Minister must personally explain why the Abbott Government has changed Australia's position on a United Nations vote calling for a stop to Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories.

This change is something that seems to have occurred with little or no consultation.

It's also quite extraordinary that the Government would make such a change without reporting back to the Australian people about it.

Ongoing tension around settlements highlights the need to progress, as quickly as possible, the direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to resolve outstanding final status issues.

The expansion of settlements outside areas that will clearly remain part of Israel under a territorial exchange agreement undermines the prospect of a lasting peace through a two state solution.

25 NOVEMBER 2013
SYDNEY

 

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Media Statement: Arctic 30

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TP: We know the relationship with Indonesia is under strain at the moment. And it will be very important for the Government to take steps to restore normal relations. Our relationship with Indonesia is one of our most important. We’ve got strong security links with Indonesia, we’ve got cooperation to stop people smuggling, to stop terrorism. We also have very strong economic links with Indonesia.

At the moment, the relationship is under a great deal of strain, and it’s very important that the Australian Government take steps to restore normal relations. We can’t let problems like this fester. Our friendship is a long one and a strong one, and I’m confident that we can restore normal relations but it will take some work.

Question: Is there bipartisanship on this?

TP: Well absolutely. The Opposition sees our relationship with Indonesia as critically important, and we will support any steps the Government is taking to restore normal relations with Indonesia. I think the key difference is that before the election, the now Government, the then Opposition, made some injudicious comments about their policies and they came into Government with a relationship that was already under stress. The Coalition said a number of things about buying back the boats and turning back the boats and so on that the Indonesians were concerned about. The Coalition was making announcements about things that would be happening on Indonesian soil and in Indonesian waters without ever having discussed it with the Indonesians. Tony Abbott on his first trip to Indonesia locked Indonesian journalists out of a press conference.  So you see the level of media coverage in Indonesia at the moment isn't helped by the fact that Tony Abbott offended the whole of the Indonesia press core on his first visit there. So we need to take a few steps back and look at the lead-up to this most recent strain in the relationship, go back to basics and restore friendly relations with a nation that is a near neighbour and a good friend.

 

Journalist: (inaudible) in 2009, there are allegations that happened under the former Labor Government. Shouldn’t the Opposition now be doing more to help patch up this relationship?

 

TP: Well as I say we are absolutely committed to working with the Government to restoring good relations with Indonesia, and abs­olutely we need to support any moves they make to restore the relationship to its normal footing. We never comment on matters of national security or intelligence, but I would say there is a deeper issue here, and there is a deeper issue of the diplomatic relation between our nations. We need to work on a relationship that has been stressed for some time and is now at a very strained stage, we need to make sure that the difficulties between us don’t fester and that we very quickly restore good relations between our nations.

 

Journalist: Should the Prime Minister pick up the phone and speak to the Indonesian President?

 

TP: Look I think it’s very important that the Prime Minister take the advice of the professionals in this area. The diplomats that he has in Indonesia, he’s got a Department of Foreign Affairs that can advise him, a range of people who  have long-standing and good relations with Indonesia that can advise him. I’m not going start dictating what the government should do. I would simply say that it is important that we re-establish good relations with Indonesia. It’s important for Indonesia and it’s very important for Australia too.
Journalist: What should Julie Bishop be doing to restore that relationship?

 

Well in the same way that I’m not going to dictate what the Prime Minister should do, I’m not going to dictate what the Foreign Minister should do. She has a range of very good, very professional advisers now that can tell her the best way forward. But it is important that we move forward, at the moment it seems we seem stuck in a spiral that’s worsening – we need to ensure that we get back to normal good relations as quickly as possible.

 

Journalist: If Bill Shorten is talking about (inaudible) and you’re out here this morning talking about missteps that have led up to this incident, are you doing your bit to push this along? Shouldn’t you be on Bill Shorten’s ticket calling this (inaudible) Australia?

 

TP: Well I would say that I’m doing exactly that, I’m out here saying that the Opposition is ready to stand with the government to repair the relationship. I’m giving some context explaining why the issue has progressed in the way it has. But I can’t be clearer than to say that he Opposition is absolutely committed to working with the government on any measures that they take to restore good relations with our neighbour.

 

Journalist: Can I just ask you about Mark Textor’s Tweet yesterday, he was criticising, and it wasn’t clear in fact who he was criticising, but he was referring to a 1970’s porn star when talking about one of the Indonesian officials.

 

TP: Look I did have those drawn to my attention and I frankly I was quite shocked. They’re highly inappropriate comments and I’m pleased to be told that they have now been taken off the Twitter feed, but I was frankly quite shocked at the comments. This is a person who is in the Prime Minister’s inner circle. The Indonesians know that he is a long-standing adviser to the Liberal Party and I think these sorts of loose comments can do nothing to restore the relation between our two nations.

 

Journalist: Just onto the debt ceiling, is it damaging for Australia’s reputation that this issue hasn’t been resolved?

TP: Well it could be resolved today - it could have been resolved last week. The Opposition has offered the Liberal Government a $400 billion debt ceiling - an extra $100 billion dollars. If they want more than an extra $100 billion, then maybe they should say why. Maybe they should release the mid-year economic forecast which is due now. This is a government that came to government saying that they are going to cut debt, and they want to increase it by $200 billion without saying why. And this goes back to the fact this is not the government that they said they’d be. They said that debt was the problem, and that more debt wasn’t the answer. They said they’d cut debt and they want to increase it.

Journalist: The carbon tax is due to be voted on today in the House of Representatives and there is a stalemate expected in the Senate. Has Labor changed its view on the issue?

TP: Well absolutely not, we have said for many years now - since I think 1988 - in our party platform that climate pollution causing climate change is an environmental economic problem that we need to take action on. In 2007, there was bipartisan agreement on that. John Howard went to the election, Labor went to the election, promising to take action on climate change. Ever since then we have said that this nation has to take action on climate change. We introduced an emission trading scheme that was working, it was cutting dirty power generation and increasing clean energy generation. Now the new government want to scrap that scheme without describing in any detail what will replace it. They claim that they can drop pollution with their new scheme but they don’t say how. They also say that if it costs more than expected then we’ll just skip our pollution target. Most Australians agree that there is something happening to our climate. They can see that our summers are getting hotter, that our weather is changing. That affects our economy, it affects our oceans, and it affects our farming communities. They agree that we need to take action. The government is saying ‘Trust us, repeal these bills and we’ll do something about climate change down the track’. It’s not good enough. Thanks everyone.

ENDS

 

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Media Statement - Mr Colin Russell

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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 DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR
ISAACS

MEDIA STATEMENT - MR COLIN RUSSELL

The Labor Opposition calls on the Abbott Government to step up diplomatic efforts to help secure bail for Australian, Colin Russell, who remains in pre-trial detention in Russia.

Mr Russell is one of 30 Greenpeace activists (the ‘Arctic 30’) from around the world facing charges following a protest at the Gazprom Arctic oil drilling platform.

We are advised that three Russians have recently been granted bail, but it is understood a Russian court yesterday extended Mr Russell’s pre-trial detention by three months.

The Australian Government should explore, directly with the Russian Government, whether assurances can be given to secure bail for Mr Russell.

Reports indicate the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding UK citizens involved.

Prime Minister Abbott and his Foreign Minister must act as well, to urge proportionality and fairness in Russia’s response to the Arctic 30.

TUESDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2013

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Statement: Prime Minister Abbott's Comments on the Use of Torture

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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 DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR
ISAACS

MEDIA RELEASE 

PRIME MINISTER ABBOTT’S COMMENTS ON THE USE OF TORTURE

Today Prime Minister Abbott failed to explain to the Parliament his suggestion that torture can be excused in some circumstances.

When asked about torture at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held recently in Sri Lanka, Mr Abbott said:

“…we accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen.”

Mr Abbott today refused to explain those comments to the Parliament.

Australia is a signatory to the United Nations’ Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol.

The Labor Opposition unequivocally condemns the use of torture, without exception.

The Prime Minister’s comments signify a radical departure from Australia’s commitment to human rights and damage Australia’s standing in the international community.

MONDAY, 18 NOVEMBER 2013

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Statement on Typhoon Haiyan - 10 November 2013

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development

Typhoon Haiyan

The Opposition’s thoughts are with the people of the Philippines who have suffered such terrible loss as a result of Typhoon Haiyan.

Our thoughts are also with other nations, including Vietnam and Laos, who authorities report remain in the path of the devastating typhoon.

It is understood an Australian man is among the dead. We express our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

The Opposition stands ready to assist the Abbott Government, in any way we can, to facilitate Australia’s contribution to relief efforts.

10 NOVEMBER 2013

CANBERRA

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Opinion Piece - Rocking The Boats: Abbott Needs to Salvage Indonesian Ties

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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
 

OPINION PIECE ON AUSTRALIA’S RELATIONSHIP WITH INDONESIA

ROCKING THE BOATS: ABBOTT NEEDS TO SALVAGE INDONESIAN TIES

Over the last several weeks, many have looked on shocked as the Abbott Government has turned Australia’s once strong relationship with Indonesia sour.

Unfortunately this is hardly a surprise.

Indonesia is an important neighbour.  It is an important trading partner and friend.

In Government, Labor worked with Indonesia to strengthen the relationship between our two countries.

From closer defence ties to helping build two thousand schools, Labor carved out a deeper partnership with Indonesia.

We handed over a relationship in fine working order – strong and productive.

Despite claiming their foreign policy would be “more Jakarta and less Geneva”, Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop have weakened that relationship in just a matter of months.

The new government has taken a number of diplomatic missteps.

Before the election, the Liberals made claims about how their asylum seeker policies would operate on Indonesian soil and in Indonesian waters without discussion or consultation with Indonesia.

Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop failed to talk to Indonesia about their ‘turn back the boats’ or ‘buy back the boats’ policies leading the Indonesian Foreign Minister to describe these announcements as ‘unilateral’ and ‘worrying’.  The Indonesian Foreign Minister warned Julie Bishop that “Indonesia cannot accept any Australian policy that would, in nature, violate Indonesia’s sovereignty.”

People smuggling is a regional problem that requires regional cooperation.  The Liberals’ unilateral announcements undermine that cooperation and have plainly made the Indonesian government disinclined to accept asylum seeker boats which Australia has sought to return.

We know this through the Indonesian media – not our own government which refuses to answer questions about the ‘turn back the boats’ policy it took to the election.  The Jakarta Post is telling Australians more than our own government.

While Tony Abbott made much of his first official visit to Indonesia, he was forced to spend much of his time apologising for things he said during the election campaign, and came back empty handed on both his ‘turn back the boats’ and ‘buy back the boats’ policies.

The state of our relationship with Indonesia is the result of the Liberal party in opposition and now in government continuing to insult our neighbour.

Diplomacy is a two way street.  You can’t act disrespectfully to our international partners and expect cooperation in return.

The recent stand off on asylum seeker boats is a very practical manifestation of that, but it is just one example of the deteriorating relationship.

Julie Bishop visited Indonesia last week, but has refused to explain to the Australian people how she will repair our relationship with our neighbour. It is plain that her belated efforts to fix the friendship have failed so far.

The Vice President of Indonesia is visiting Australia this week.  The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister must meet with the Vice President to reassure Indonesia of the Abbott Government’s goodwill.

The test for the new Government is to restore the long standing and friendly diplomatic relationship with our neighbour.

Anything less undermines future cooperation with Indonesia, and the stability that brings to our region.

Originally published online by the Sydney Morning Herald

MONDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2013

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Appointment as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development

Appointment as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development

It is a great privilege to be appointed Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development.

The Australian Labor Party has a proud history on the international stage ‐ from its role in the formation of the United Nations to the development of APEC.

I look forward to leading work on Labor’s vision for Australia’s future in our region, and in the world. I also welcome the opportunity to work cooperatively with the Government on foreign policy and international development matters, where possible.

In addition, I am delighted to be working with Senator Claire Moore on women’s policy, Senator Don Farrell on the Centenary of ANZAC, and Matt Thistlethwaite as the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

18 OCTOBER 2013

CANBERRA

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Election as Deputy Leader of the Opposition

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Election as Deputy Leader of the Opposition

It is an honour to be elected as Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party.

I thank my colleagues for putting their faith in me.

My congratulations go to Bill Shorten on his election as Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party.

Together with Bill and the Labor team, I will work as hard as I can to rebuild a united, strong, progressive party. That is what we owe to Australians who depend on Labor for a strong economy and a fair society.

I would like to pay tribute to Anthony Albanese, for the excellent campaign he ran, and for his work as Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Labor Leader. He was the most formidable Leader of House I have ever seen.

I would also like to thank Chris Bowen. His efforts as interim leader have been greatly appreciated by both the caucus and members of the Labor Party.

14 OCTOBER 2013

CANBERRA

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