Commission of Audit gives green light to Abbott Government’s $18 billion of 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

Commission of Audit gives green light to Abbott Government’s $18 billion of overseas aid cuts 

2 MAY 2014

SYDNEY

 

The Government’s razor-gang has given Mr Abbott the green light to cut more than $18 billion in aid from some of the poorest countries on earth.

All along Labor has said Mr Abbott deliberately designed the Commission of Audit to justify his deep cuts, and that’s exactly what’s happened.

On top of a massive overall funding cut, the Commission of Audit suggests reducing the number of countries that receive aid from Australia.  The Abbott Government must immediately explain which countries and programs will have their funding slashed.

Disturbingly, the Commission of Audit confirms, once and for all, that the Abbott Government has officially abandoned poverty reduction as the focus of the aid program.  If Australia’s aid program isn’t focused on things like education, health, water, or sanitation, it’s not an aid budget, it’s a trade budget.

In contrast, the former Labor Government nearly doubled the aid budget and introduced internationally recognised aid accountability and effectiveness measures.

 

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Cutting the Australia Network = A Broken Promise

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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 JASON CLARE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR BLAXLAND

MEDIA RELEASE

CUTTING THE AUSTRALIA NETWORK = A BROKEN PROMISE

 

FRIDAY, 2 MAY 2014

If Tony Abbott accepts the advice of his Commission of Audit to cut funding from the Australia Network, he will be breaking an election promise.

A cut to the Australia Network is a cut to the ABC.

Before the election Tony Abbott promised hand on heart there would be no cuts to the ABC.

He said on SBS News the night before the election:

“No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST, and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.”

The ABC is funded to run the Australia Network. If Tony Abbott cuts it, he will have broken another promise to the Australian people.

The Australia Network is a vital public diplomacy tool that reaches up to 167 million households, giving Asia and the world an insight into Australian life and values.

Tony Abbott’s Commission of Audit has recommended that funding be cut from the Australia Network.

If Tony Abbott cuts the Australia Network he will have shown you can’t believe anything he says.

 

 

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Abbott Government's ‘New Paradigm’ on Aid is Code for 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

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT'S ‘NEW PARADIGM’ ON AID IS CODE FOR CUTS

 

WEDNESDAY 30 APRIL 2014

The 'new paradigm' on overseas aid announced by the Abbott Government last night is just code for massive cuts.

These cuts will affect some of the poorest nations and people on earth.

So far, the Abbott Government's cuts to overseas aid total around $18 billion.

The announcement of a 'new paradigm' is clearly softening the ground for more.

The Abbott Government says one thing on aid, but does the opposite.

The Abbott Government said it would provide certainty on aid funding.  Instead, it's cutting it by $18 billion.

The Abbott Government said it would focus aid on our region.  Instead, it's cut $250 million in aid from the Asia-Pacific.

Abbott Government slogans like 'new paradigm' and 'economic diplomacy’ are designed to obscure the Government’s cuts to the aid program.

The Abbott Government's 'aid for trade' agenda must not come at the expense of support for education, health, water and sanitation, gender equality, infrastructure and governance.  The aid budget must not become a trade budget.

Australia’s aid and development program is in our national interest. It enhances our international influence, helps to prevent conflict and terrorism and builds our relationships of the future.

The Abbott Government's cuts to aid jumped from $4.5 billion to $18 billion after Mr Abbott abandoned the commitment to increase aid funding from 2017-18 that was detailed in his Government’s own Budget update.

In contrast, the former Labor Government nearly doubled the aid Budget and introduced internationally recognised aid accountability and effectiveness measures.

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Australia Network China Deal Puts Pressure On Tony Abbott To Keep His Promise

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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 JASON CLARE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR BLAXLAND

MEDIA RELEASE

AUSTRALIA NETWORK CHINA DEAL PUTS PRESSURE ON TONY ABBOTT TO KEEP HIS PROMISE

 

TUESDAY, 22 APRIL 2014

The deal announced last week between the Australia Network and Shanghai Media Group will give the Australia Network the most extensive access to Chinese audiences by any Western broadcaster.

The contract puts further pressure on the Abbott Government not to break another election promise by cutting the Australia Network.

The Australia Network is a vital public diplomacy tool that reaches up to 167 million households, giving Asia and the world an insight into Australian life and values.

Other countries are investing heavily in their international broadcast operations.  So if Tony Abbott cuts the network he will be putting Australia at a diplomatic disadvantage.

The Abbott Government has been softening the ground for weeks to scrap the network and break its promise not to cut funding to the ABC.

Before the election Tony Abbott promised hand on heart there would be no cuts to the ABC.

He said on SBS News the night before the election:

“No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST, and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.”

The ABC is funded to run the Australia Network. If Tony Abbott cuts it, he will have broken another promise to the Australian people.

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Visit to Indonesia

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development

 

Visit to Indonesia 

21 APRIL 2014

SYDNEY

 

This afternoon I depart for my first visit to Indonesia as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development.

I hope it will be the first of many visits.

Indonesia is a neighbour of paramount importance, and a great partner of Australia.  I look forward to doing all I can to help strengthen and deepen the relationship between our two nations.

During my visit I will be meeting with senior Indonesian ministers, members of parliament, as well as representatives from a number of non-government organisations.

 

 

 

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Tropical Cyclone Ita

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THE HON. TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

 

SENATOR THE HON JAN MCLUCAS

SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

 

MEDIA RELEASE

TROPICAL CYCLONE ITA

SUNDAY 13 APRIL 2014 

Federal Labor praises the efforts of local government authorities, emergency personnel and other agencies for their preparedness ahead of Cyclone Ita. But communities are urged to exercise caution as Cyclone Ita continues to move south.

“Communities across Far North Queensland have fared better than expected after Cyclone Ita crossed the coast late on Friday night," Acting Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek said.

“Most importantly, there has been no reported loss of life or serious injury.”

"We are incredibly grateful to the SES and other volunteers who are sacrificing time with their families and are away from their own properties to ensure the safety and wellbeing of others.”

“Considering the magnitude of Cyclone Ita as it approached, it appears Cooktown, Hope Vale and nearby communities including Rossville and Wujal Wujal have made it through.”

“Our thoughts, however, are with the business owners, farmers and local residents who have suffered significant property and crop damage.”

Queensland Senator Jan McLucas said the resilience of Far North Queenslanders has again shone.

"Credit must be given to Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott, Hope Vale Mayor Greg McLean and Wujal Wujal Mayor Clifford Harrigan and their support teams for their excellent preparation and continued information to residents in the days leading up to Cyclone Ita’s arrival,” Senator McLucas said.

“People in and around Cooktown, Hopevale and Wujal Wujal heeded the warnings, undertook the necessary preparations and bunkered down.

“There is of course a lot of rain and potential flooding to come, but I am confident our region will pull through this testing time and ensure those who need support in the days and months ahead are taken care of.”

People should continue to act on the advice of the authorities, including the SES.  As our emergency broadcaster, the ABC is there to help keep communities informed.

Federal Labor will support the Prime Minister and the Queensland Premier in ensuring communities across the Far North are appropriately resourced as the recovery and rebuilding efforts begins.

 

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Abbott Government Reveals Further Cuts to Overseas Aid

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development

Abbott Government reveals further cuts to overseas aid

25 MARCH 2014

CANBERRA

In Question Time today, the Abbott Government was forced to reveal it will cut a further $9 billion in overseas aid.

Mr Abbott described overseas aid funding from 2017-18 detailed in his Government’s own Budget update, the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook*, as just an ‘aspiration’.

This is yet another example of the Abbott Government misleading the Australian public about its real plans – to cut.

Today’s revelation comes on top of the Abbott Government’s earlier decision to rip $4.5 billion out of the overseas aid budget in the four years to 2016-17.

The extra $9 billion cut will put many outstanding international development programs at serious risk.  The impact will be particularly acute given the devastating effects of the Abbott Government’s first $4.5 billion cut are already being felt in our region, and around the world.

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Peter Greste

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development 

Peter Greste

 

25 MARCH 2014

CANBERRA

It’s time for Prime Minister Abbott to call for the release of Australian journalist Peter Greste from prison in Egypt.

Being a journalist is not a crime.

A free press is critically important.  Journalists shouldn’t be put on trial or locked up for doing their job.

At this terribly difficult time, our thoughts remain with Peter, his parents, family, and friends.

I commend the significant efforts of the Australian diplomats who are working so hard on this matter.

The Labor Opposition stands ready to assist the Abbott Government to do everything it sensibly can to secure Peter’s release.

Prime Minister Abbott has made much of his support for free speech.  If Mr Abbott really does support free speech, he must do more for Peter Greste.

Peter faced court again overnight and has been held in prison for nearly three months.

 

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Experts Agree that Australia Network is Vital

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HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

HON JASON CLARE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

MEMBER FOR BLAXLAND

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

EXPERTS AGREE THAT AUSTRALIA NETWORK IS VITAL

 

Three of Australia’s top businessmen, including the Prime Minister’s own key business adviser, and a top Australian diplomat have joined the campaign to stop the Abbott Government breaking another election promise by cutting the Australia Network.

The Australia Network is a vital soft diplomacy tool that reaches up to 167 million households, giving Asia and the world an insight into Australian life and values.

Despite this success, the Liberal Party is softening the ground to scrap the network and break its promise not to cut funding to the ABC.

Before the election Tony Abbott promised hand on heart there would be no cuts to the ABC.

He said on SBS News the night before the election:

"No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.

The ABC is funded to run the Australia network. If Tony Abbott cuts it, he will have broken another promise to the Australian people.

Experts from across the business and diplomatic world are joining forces to try to convince Tony Abbott to re-consider his slash and burn approach to the Australia Network.

Certainly there is a case to be made for having [the] Australia network in a soft-power advocacy role, particularly to the region. A BBC survey found that wherever the BBC was, the view of the UK was better than where the BBC was not. By extension if Australia Network portrays Australia in a positive light one might expect it to rub off favourably on people.”

-      Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, Maurice Newman

 

To pack up and go would send an immediate message, particularly if it is seen as retribution against the ABC in a political context. The signals would be ‘why the hell have you gone, we’ve spent all this time setting up, we thought you were coming to Asia’.”

-      Founding Chairman of the Asia Society, Hugh Morgan

 

The new geographic landscape for a developing Asia has many interests and countries which strongly present their point of view. We should do the same.”

-      Chairman of Free TV Australia, Harold Mitchell

 

We are really the only serious international broadcaster there. A lot of people could seek to fill the vacuum…it’s also highly desirable to keep Australian TV going into south-east Asia.”

-      Former senior diplomat, John McCarthy

 

Tony Abbott should listen to these experts, including his key business advisor Maurice Newman, and save the Australia Network from the axe.

 

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National Consultation Begins to Ban Cosmetics Tested on Animals

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Member for Sydney

 

Clare O’Neil MP

Member for Hotham

National consultation begins to ban cosmetics tested on animals

17 MARCH 2014

CANBERRA

This week, Labor will begin a national consultation on phasing out the importation, manufacture, sale and advertising of cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients tested on animals.

The national consultation was foreshadowed by Labor last year.  Given her keen interest in the issue, the Member for Hotham, Clare O’Neil will help lead the process.

While there are new animal-free testing methods being developed all the time, most Australians would be surprised to learn that some companies test their cosmetics or their ingredients on animals overseas before selling them here.

In addition, some companies manufacture cosmetics in Australia using ingredients tested on animals overseas, even though the finished cosmetic products are not tested on animals domestically.

Animals shouldn’t suffer in the quest for better mascara or lipstick.

Continuing to import cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients tested on animals is out of step with current community expectations.

Over ten years, the European Union phased out the importation and marketing of cosmetic products and their ingredients that were tested on animals.

Australia needs to play its part in the international movement against animal testing.

The ban would apply to new cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients only.

This is a complex matter, especially when we’re talking about things like imports, and dealing with a ban on cosmetic ingredients too.  To make sure we get this right, we will be working through all the issues carefully.  Legislation must drafted for best effect and we need to bring the community with us.

That’s why comprehensive consultation with animal rights groups, industry, and scientific researchers is particularly critical.

Labor has already had initial discussions with a number of key players.

Industry has confirmed that testing cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients on animals in Australia stopped many years ago, however it is not actually banned by law.  We will be consulting on that as well.

Under Australia's Constitution, each State and Territory is responsible for its own animal welfare legislation.

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