MEDIA RELEASE - One Year of the Abbott Government: A Disaster for Overseas Aid

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

ONE YEAR OF THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT: A DISASTER FOR OVERSEAS AID

 

SUNDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2014

One year of the Abbott Government has been a disaster for Australia’s overseas aid program, with nothing but massive cuts and broken promises.

In his first Budget, Prime Minister Tony Abbott cut $7.6 billion from overseas aid, breaking his pre-election promise to increase investment in line with the Consumer Price Index.

Two days before the election, Mr Abbott promised:

“We will index the increase to the Consumer Price Index.”

COALITION ELECTION POLICY, 5 SEPTEMBER 2013

The $7.6 billion cut to overseas aid was the single biggest cut in the Budget.

And despite promising before the election to focus overseas aid on our region, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has cut $110 million from aid to the Asia-Pacific - in just one year alone.

On focusing overseas aid on our region:

“The Coalition will focus our…foreign aid activities on our region…”

JULIE BISHOP - ADDRESS TO THE ASIA SOCIETY AUSTRALIA - 23 MAY 2013

For more information visit www.abbottslies.com.au

 

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STATEMENT - Loss of Life in Pakistan

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

STATEMENT

LOSS OF LIFE IN PAKISTAN

 

THURSDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2014

Labor welcomes reports Pakistan’s political crisis may be nearing resolution, with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPs returning to the parliament.

Labor is extremely concerned at the loss of life around recent protests in Pakistan, and by reports of three dead and at least two hundred wounded.

We urge all parties to exercise calm and restraint to limit any further risk to human life.

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STATEMENT - Events in Israel and the West Bank

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

STATEMENT

EVENTS IN ISRAEL AND THE WEST BANK

 

TUESDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER 2014

The Labor Opposition is extremely concerned by reports the Israeli Government has claimed almost 400 hectares of land in the West Bank.

The Israeli Government must offer an immediate explanation.

Unilateral action, by any party, only undermines the peace process and the prospect of successfully negotiating a two-state solution.

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STATEMENT - Australia's Relationship with Indonesia

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

STATEMENT

 

AUSTRALIA’S RELATIONSHIP WITH INDONESIA

 

THURSDAY, 28 AUGUST 2014

Labor welcomes the agreement signed today between Australia and Indonesia.

Given cooperation between our two nations had been suspended in critical areas like defence and people smuggling for almost nine months, we are disappointed it took the Abbott Government so long to reach agreement with Indonesia.

When we are able to see the text of the agreement, we will go through it carefully.

Labor always said we wanted Australia’s relationship with Indonesia back on track, and we hope today’s agreement helps achieve that.

Indonesia is a neighbour of paramount importance, and a great partner of Australia.  Labor is keen to see that warm partnership grow.

 

We pay particular tribute to the leadership of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who has been a very good friend to Australia over many years.

 

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MEDIA RELEASE - Long-Term Ceasefire in Israel and Gaza

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 THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

LONG-TERM CEASEFIRE IN ISRAEL AND GAZA

 

WEDNESDAY, 27 AUGUST 2014

Labor warmly welcomes the long-term ceasefire in Israel and Gaza.

With reports of more than 2000 dead, the human toll of this terrible conflict has been unspeakable.

We welcome both the agreement of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza to halt all rocket and mortar fire into Israel, and Israel's agreement to stop all military action including air strikes and ground operations.

In addition, more border crossings will be opened with Gaza to allow the easier flow of goods, including humanitarian aid and reconstruction equipment.

Labor calls on the Abbott Government to do everything it can to assist with humanitarian relief in the region.

Now a long-term ceasefire has been agreed, we support a return to negotiations between the parties for a lasting peace through a two state solution

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STATEMENT - Labor Backs Iraqi Christian Calls for Support

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

THE HON CHRIS BOWEN MP

SHADOW TREASURER

MEMBER FOR MCMAHON

 

THE HON CHRIS HAYES MP
CHIEF OPPOSITION WHIP

MEMBER FOR FOWLER

 

STATEMENT

 

LABOR BACKS IRAQI CHRISTIAN CALLS FOR SUPPORT

 

WEDNESDAY, 20 AUGUST 2014

Federal Labor backs calls by Australian representatives of the Iraqi Assyrian and Chaldean Christian community for the Government to help alleviate the suffering of the humanitarian disaster in northern Iraq.

The Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Tanya Plibersek, the Shadow Treasurer and Member for McMahon, Chris Bowen, and the Chief Opposition Whip and Member for Fowler, Chris Hayes, met today with community leaders to hear their concerns.

Assyrian and Chaldean Christians have lived in northern Iraq for millennia, but more than 150,000 have been displaced in recent months as they fled Islamic State insurgents, taking refuge in Syria, Lebanon, Iran and other neighbouring countries.

All Australians are appalled by the vicious and brutal terror campaign undertaken by Islamic State forces, which reportedly includes killing those who do not support their radical agenda.

Ms Plibersek, Mr Bowen and Mr Hayes met in western Sydney with leaders of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Saint Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church and other community groups.

The community and church leaders have called on the Government to support proposals to establish an autonomous region in the Nineveh plains, to increase humanitarian refugees from the region, and to increase Australian humanitarian aid.

Even though the humanitarian crisis on Mount Sinjar has eased after US air strikes, hundreds of thousands of people forced from their homes still need food, clothing and shelter.

Federal Labor welcomes the decision by the Iraqi Government to support in principle the creation of an autonomous region in the Nineveh plains. We are hopeful that the new government soon to be formed in Iraq will find ways to ensure security and autonomy for minority religious groups.

Federal Labor welcomes the decision of the Australian Government to provide $5 million in emergency humanitarian aid for those fleeing IS – after it had previously cut the Australian aid budget to Iraq from $7.7 million last year to zero – but much more is needed. Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war gives us a particular responsibility to support those who have been displaced.

Federal Labor also welcomes the Government’s decision to allocate 4400 existing refugee places to people from Iraq and Syria, but regrets the Government’s decision to reverse the previous Labor Government’s increase in the humanitarian quota to 20,000.

 

 

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STATEMENT - Labor Condemns Beheading

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

STATEMENT

 

LABOR CONDEMNS BEHEADING

 WEDNESDAY, 20 AUGUST 2014

The beheading of an American journalist by Islamic State shows the extreme brutality and disregard for human life of the terrorist group.

The family and friends of the journalist, James Foley, must be greatly distressed at the news, and the way it has been broadcast. Federal Labor offers them our condolences and sympathy.

This atrocity illustrates the terrible risks faced more generally by foreign correspondents reporting in war zones.

Mr Foley’s life is just one of hundreds of thousands to have been lost in Syria and now Iraq, but it highlights graphically the extreme and shocking tactics used by IS.

This event reinforces the need for an urgent solution to the conflict in Syria and Iraq.

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STATEMENT - Labor Backs Call for More Help to South Sudan

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEDIA STATEMENT

 

LABOR BACKS CALL FOR MORE HELP TO SOUTH SUDAN

 

FRIDAY, 15 AUGUST 2014

Australia can and should do more in response to the food crisis in South Sudan.

The ‘fair share’ analysis released by Oxfam shows Australia should be contributing around $26 million this year – almost twice the amount it currently does.

Instead of lifting our efforts, the largest single cut in the Abbott Government’s Budget was to foreign aid, with one in every five dollars saved at the expense of the world’s poor.

Now we are seeing the Government having to provide emergency humanitarian aid to countries where they have cut Australia’s normal aid program earlier in the year, like Iraq and the Palestinian Territories.

In the last two years of the Labor Government, the aid provided to Syria was more than three times the amount given by the Abbott Government to date, even though the number of refugees in need is increasing every day.

 

The Government’s $7.6 billion cuts to foreign aid are a blow to the ability of countries in the developing world to build up their stability, independence and self-reliance.

It is in Australia’s interests to help countries build stable and thriving economies and societies, rather than waiting to respond to a humanitarian crisis.

Like the Abbott Government’s short-sighted cuts in so many other areas, their cuts to foreign aid are setting us up for much larger costs down the track.

And, as always, the Abbott Government places the heaviest burden on the people least able to shoulder it.

 

 

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MEDIA RELEASE - Labor Welcomes Ausmin Outcomes

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

SENATOR STEPHEN CONROY

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

LABOR WELCOMES AUSMIN OUTCOMES

Federal Labor has today welcomed the signing of the Force Posture Agreement between Australia and the United States.

The agreement creates the legal framework for the rotational presence in Australia of US marines.

It follows the agreement reached between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and US President Barack Obama in 2011, which paved the way for US marines to conduct exercises and training on a rotational basis with the Australian Defence Force in Australia.

Federal Labor also welcomes the continued support for close links between Australian and US special forces, as well as further cooperation on ballistic missile defence.

Today’s announcements build on the work done by the Labor Government and further Australia’s long-held strategic interests in supporting US engagement in our region in a manner that promotes peace and stability.

Federal Labor has welcomed ongoing cooperation between Australia and the United States to address urgent and complex challenges including in Iraq, Gaza and Syria.

Labor supports the leadership shown by the United States in meeting the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, as well as the offer of humanitarian assistance from the Australian Government.

Australia and the United States have been Allies for more than sixty years and we welcome steps that continue to underpin and strengthen this relationship.

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STATEMENT - Humanitarian Situation in Iraq

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THE HON. BILL SHORTEN

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

 

TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

STATEMENT

 

HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN IRAQ

 

FRIDAY, 8 AUGUST 2014

The humanitarian need in Iraq is significant, urgent and increasing.

We note that President Obama has authorised airstrikes in Iraq as a response to the US assessment that strikes may be necessary to prevent massacres of civilians.

Labor has been extremely concerned about reports of civilian deaths, and most recently, the targeting of tens of thousands of Yazidis trapped on a mountain without food and water.

The reports emerging from Iraq about the persecution by ISIS of any religion other than Sunni Islam are deeply troubling and we understand that strong action may be necessary to protect civilians.

In addition to the authorisation of air strikes should they become necessary, the United States has made airdrops of food and water to besieged civilians.

Australia must also offer humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq.

I note that Australian government assistance to Iraq last year was $7.7 million. In the May budget that was cut to $0.

The leaders of Iraq should resolve immediately to form an inclusive government and settle the Presidency so that a united front can be presented against ISIS, a violent, extremist organisation.

If Australia is asked to provide military assistance, we would expect detailed briefings from the Government before making an assessment.

I will be meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Sydney next week and will raise the situation with him then.

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