Abbott Government Must Rule Out More Cuts to Overseas Aid and Australia’s Diplomatic Service

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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 MATT THISTLETHWAITE MP

SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR IMMIGRATION

MEMBER FOR KINGSFORD SMITH

 

MEDIA RELEASE

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT MUST RULE OUT MORE CUTS TO OVERSEAS AID AND AUSTRALIA’S DIPLOMATIC SERVICE

 

16 JULY 2014

CANBERRA

 

I call on the Abbott Government to immediately rule out more cuts to overseas aid and Australia’s diplomatic service following the Treasurer’s announcement that he is looking for further cuts to rescue his unfair, chaotic Budget.

The $7.6 billion cut to aid was the single biggest in the Abbott Government’s first Budget.

The Abbott Government’s cut to aid has already hit some of the world’s poorest nations hard, including countries in Australia’s own backyard.

Our aid program helps to enhance global prosperity, and Australia's own security. The Abbott Government's cuts put both at risk.

Mr Abbott’s $400 million cut to our diplomatic service seriously jeopardises Australia’s influence on the international stage.

Labor will continue to fight this unfair, chaotic Budget.

Now, if the Senate chooses to block savings initiatives, then we need to look at other savings initiatives that may not require legislation and I would ask the Greens and the Labor Party who between them hold 35 votes on the floor of the Senate - to understand that there are alternatives for a Government.

JOE HOCKEY – AM PROGRAM – 16 JULY 2014

 

 

 

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Events in Israel and the Palestinian Territories

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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

 

EVENTS IN ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

MONDAY, 14 JULY 2014

CANBERRA

Labor urges calm and supports the calls of the UN Security Council for a ceasefire.

We encourage all parties to do everything they can to stop violence and de-escalate tensions, to end the deaths and the human suffering.

Labor is committed to supporting an enduring peace for Israelis and Palestinians through a just two-state solution.

For their own safety, Australians should follow the latest travel advice for the region from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

 

 

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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
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

PETER GRESTE

MONDAY, 23 JUNE 2014

CANBERRA

Labor is appalled by the seven year gaol sentence given to Australian journalist Peter Greste.

We remain ready to help the Abbott Government do everything it can to assist in securing Peter’s release.

Our thoughts are with Peter, his parents, family, colleagues and friends at this incredibly difficult time.

Being a journalist is not a crime.

Journalists shouldn’t be put on trial or locked up for doing their job.

We commend the ongoing efforts of Australian diplomats who are working so hard on this matter.

 

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The Abbott Government's 'Fresh New Approach' on Overseas Aid

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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

THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT'S 'FRESH NEW APPROACH' ON OVERSEAS AID

WEDNESDAY, 18 JUNE 2014
The Abbott Government is wrong if it thinks its 'fresh new approach' to aid can explain away its devastating $7.6 billion cut in aid to the world's poor. The aid program doesn’t need cosmetic makeovers, it needs appropriate levels of funding and experienced delivery.

Julie Bishop must explain to the world's poorest nations how her 'fresh new approach' will make all the difference while she rips billions from the budget that supports things like food programs, childhood immunisation, maternal health, and treatment for HIV and malaria.  Ms Bishop must rule out cuts to programs like these.

Labor is also concerned by Ms Bishop's suggestion that Australia's overseas aid can be outsourced to the private sector.

The Abbott Government's $7.6 billion cut to aid includes a $110 million decrease for the Asia-Pacific in one year alone - despite the Government's claims that its aid program would focus on our region.

This comes on top of the Abbott Government sacking 500 staff from the foreign affairs department, including former AusAID experts with critical experience in delivering overseas aid.  The loss of that expertise threatens the effectiveness of Australian aid.

Labor supports efforts to increase the accountability and effectiveness of Australia's overseas aid.  That's why, in Government, Labor undertook a review of aid effectiveness and implemented internationally recognised aid accountability and effectiveness measures.

In contrast to the Abbott Government, Labor improved accountability and effectiveness while at the same time nearly doubling the aid budget - from $2.9 billion to $5.7 billion per year.

 

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The Budget that Forgot Women

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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 BUDGET THAT FORGOT WOMEN

 

OPINION PIECE

THE HOOLPLA

TUESDAY, 3 JUNE 2014

 

Last week former Prime Minister Julia Gillard summed up the government’s budget perfectly. At the Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration, she said:

“Budgets are made up of choices. They make us – all of us, no matter what side of politics we are on – think about what we care most about – what we
want valued in our society. What we want to create and reward, preserve and defend.”

By that measure, Tony Abbott’s first Budget is terrible for Australian women. And you don’t have to look hard to see why.

Mr Abbott had all the credentials to be the Prime Minister for women, said the Liberals before the last election. He’s got a wife and three daughters, they said – what else is there to know? He wants to pay millionaire women of ‘calibre’ $50,000 to have a baby. What more proof did we need of genuine commitment to women?

Let’s take a quick look at some examples of what’s happened since:

FAMILY BUDGETS

The facts

Many Australian families are already struggling to make ends meet.

Tony Abbott’s promise

“A dumb way [to cut spending] would be to threaten family benefits or to means test them further.” Speech, 4 May 2011

Tony Abbott’s Budget

For example:

  • A family with two kids aged 5 and 12, on a combined income of $95,000 will be nearly $5,000 a year worse off with cuts to family tax benefits, the GP tax, the petrol tax, cuts to the Schoolkids bonus, and the increased cost of medicines.
  • An unemployed 26 year old will be nearly $7,000 a year worse off with no Newstart payments for six months, increased health costs, and cuts to the income support bonus.

HEALTH

The facts

Women account for around 60 per cent of GP visits. Under the former Labor Government, GP bulk-billing rates rose to record highs, with around 82 per cent of visits to the GP free to the patient.

Tony Abbott’s promise
“…no cuts to health…” SBS News , 6 September 2013

Tony Abbott’s Budget

  • A $7 GP tax every time you visit your family doctor. $55 billion cut from health, which means hospital beds will close and waiting times will blow out.
  • Price of medicine goes up to $42.90 per script.

EDUCATION

The facts

Many Australian families are finding it hard to meet the costs of education for their children.

Tony Abbott’s promise

“…no cuts to education…” Channel 7 News , 6 September 2013

Tony Abbott’s Budget

  • $30 billion cut from schools.
  • Cuts all federal funding for preschool – $500 million.
  • Schoolkids bonus cut, costing a family with two kids $15,000 through the course of their children’s schooling

PENSIONS

The facts

Most aged pensioners are women, because men usually have more superannuation savings.

Tony Abbott’s promise

“…no changes to pensions…” ABC News, 6 September 2013

Tony Abbott’s Budget

  • Cut fair indexation of the pension which made sure the pension kept pace with the cost of living. Had Tony Abbott’s new indexation system been in place for the last four years, a single pensioner on the maximum rate would be $1,560 a year worse off than they are today.
  • Increased the pension age to 70.
  • All pensioners and state seniors card holders are set to lose valuable concessions for public transport and utilities.
  • Veterans have also had their entitlements cut.

EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN AND SUPERANNUATION

The facts

In Australia, women still earn 17.1 per cent less than men. Women make up 2.1 million of the 3.6 million workers who benefit from the Low Income Superannuation Contribution from the government. Women typically have lower superannuation assets because of lower workforce participation and the wage gap, so are less able to afford to fund their own retirement.

Tony Abbott’s promise

“…the commitment that the Coalition has given is that there will be no unexpected adverse changes to people’s superannuation.” Press conference, 2 April 2013

Tony Abbott’s Budget

  • Cut the Low Income Superannuation Contribution up to $500 a year for workers on incomes below $37,000.
  • Delayed Labor’s plan to increase compulsory superannuation contributions from 9 per cent to 12 per cent, which would have seen a 30 year old on average wages with an extra $100,000 in super when they retire.

HOUSING

The facts

Women and girls make up about 60 per cent of all people accessing homelessness services – about a quarter of those are fleeing domestic and family violence.

Tony Abbott’s promise

“The Coalition believes it is fundamental that women and their families are safe from violence.” Coalition election policy, 2013

Tony Abbott’s Budget

  • $44 million cut from homelessness services in the first year alone.

OVERSEAS AID

The facts

Last year alone Australia’s aid budget: meant 305,000 additional births were attended by a skilled birth attendant; 2.76 million children were vaccinated; and 24,800 women survivors of violence received counselling, crisis accommodation, legal and medical support.

Tony Abbott’s promise

“The Coalition remains committed to the Millennium Development goal of increasing foreign aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI.” Coalition election policy, 2013

Tony Abbott’s Budget

  • Cut $7.6 billion from the aid budget.
  • Abandoned the Millennium Development Goal target of 0.5% of Australia’s Gross National Income to be spent on aid.

This federal Budget makes it harder for women to balance the family budget, and it cuts all the services we rely on – health and education especially.

As Julia Gillard put it, government Budgets are about choices and values. Tony Abbott has delivered a Budget that takes away choice and security for women.

Mr Abbott’s choices in this Budget so clearly reveal his values.

Tony Abbott has chosen to pay millionaires $50,000 to have a baby, while at the same time cutting family tax benefits for ordinary families, cutting $500 million from preschools, cutting $450 million from Outside School Hours Care, and scrapping the Schoolkids bonus. This comes on top of cuts to the wages of childcare workers. That really says it all.

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Events in Thailand

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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

EVENTS IN THAILAND

FRIDAY, 23 MAY 2014

Labor is extremely concerned by news that the armed forces and police have seized control of Thailand.

Democratic rights and processes should be restored.

We urge a peaceful solution in accordance with Thailand’s constitution and democratic principles.

All Australians should follow the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's latest travel advice for Thailand - available at www.smartraveller.gov.au.

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Floods in the Balkans

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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

 

FLOODS IN THE BALKANS

 

THURSDAY, 22 MAY 2014 

The Labor Opposition’s thoughts are with the many people affected by the devastating floods in the Balkans.

It is reported more than 50 people have died and around 500,000 people have been displaced.

The scale of the devastation is enormous.  It is understood around 100,000 homes, 230 schools and 3,500 kilometres of road have been destroyed, and landmines remaining from the recent war have been disturbed.

I call on the Government to offer affected countries all assistance possible.  The Labor Opposition stands ready to support.

 

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Abbott to Rip $15 Billion from New South Wales Hospitals

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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

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

ABBOTT TO RIP $15 BILLION FROM NEW SOUTH WALES HOSPITALS

 

Tony Abbott’s first budget will cut more than $15 billion from New South Wales hospitals.

Tony Abbott lied to Australians before the last election. Tony Abbott promised Australians there would be “no cuts to health”.

(TONY ABBOTT, ABC NEWS, 6 SEPTEMBER 2013)

Instead he plans to cut more than $15 billion from New South Wales hospitals.  This will see wards close and doctors and nurses sacked.

This is on top of Tony Abbott’s plans to tax New South Wales patients more than $285 million a year for visits to GPs.

Labor will stand up to Tony Abbott’s $3.5 billion GP tax based on broken promises and a false claim about over servicing by doctors.

The plan for a GP Tax is lazy policy that will damage Australia’s health system, putting additional pressure on emergency departments that are already struggling because of the state Liberal government’s hospital cuts.

Tony Abbott’s first budget also includes almost $400 million cut from adult dental services across Australia and a $368 million cut to the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health.

Medicines will cost Australians an extra $1.3 billion in this budget because Tony Abbott wants to put the price of prescriptions up to $42.70 for most Australians and to $6.90 for concessional patients.  Labor will stand up for Australian families and oppose this measure.

Reports last week show the cuts the Abbott government intends to make to the Medicare Benefits Schedule will cost Australians another $1.7 billion in this budget and see specialist visits cost ordinary Australians $100.

In another blatant lie before the last election Tony Abbott promised “we’re not shutting any Medicare Locals”.

(TONY ABBOTT, LEADERS’ DEBATE, 28 AUGUST 2013)

Instead he plans to shut every single Medicare Local in the country, further jeopardising after hours GP services, cutting frontline services, and abandoning preventive health programs.

These are changes that the Vice President of the Australian Medical Association has warned will ‘set back healthcare in Australia by over 50 years’.

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Tony Abbott’s Budget Lets Down Ethnic Communities

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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

MICHELLE ROWLAND MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURALISM

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

MEMBER FOR GREENWAY

SENATOR SAM DASTYARI

SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

 

MEDIA RELEASE

TONY ABBOTT’S BUDGET LETS DOWN ETHNIC COMMUNITIES

 

Today in Sydney we briefed ethnic organisations about the terrible impact of the Abbott Government’s Budget on culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The key concerns raised at the briefing included cuts to funding for multicultural programs, the SBS, health and education, as well as changes to the pension.

In his Budget, Mr Abbott cut $33 million from ethnic community organisations.  These groups work hard to help build a cohesive and inclusive Australia, often on very modest budgets.

The Abbott Government’s cuts have created great uncertainty in the sector, putting many critical programs and services at risk.

Some organisations that were awarded funding by the previous Labor Government have had it ripped from their hands.

Before the election, Tony Abbott promised no cuts to the SBS.

“…no cuts to the ABC or SBS”

Tony Abbott - SBS News – 6 September 2013

But he’s broken that promise by ripping $8 million out of the SBS in his Budget.

This will seriously affect ethnic communities in Australia as many migrant communities rely heavily on specialist news and language services that are only provided by SBS.

Before the election Tony Abbott also promised he wouldn’t cut health, education, or change the pension.

“…no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no changes to pensions…”

Tony Abbott - ABC News – 6 September 2013

But, in his Budget, he broke every single one of those promises.

Mr Abbott’s Budget cuts $80 billion from hospitals and schools – the biggest in Australian history.

Tony Abbott’s broken promise on changes to pensions is an unprecedented attack on Australia’s pension system, and the millions of people who rely on it.

Tony Abbott will slash the current fair indexation system – which makes sure the pension keeps pace with the cost of living.

Had Tony Abbott’s new indexation system been in place for the last four years, a single pensioner on the maximum rate would be over $1,500 a year worse off than they are today.

The Budget will also increase the pension age to 70 by 2035.

Australians will have to work longer, and their pension will be significantly reduced when they finally do retire.

Australia’s 3.2 million pensioners – already living on a very modest pension of around $20,000 – are going to have their pensions cut, while millionaires will get up to $50,000 to have a baby.

On top of this, all pensioners and state seniors card holders are set to lose valuable concessions for public transport and utilities with the abolition of the National Partnership on Certain Concessions for Pensioners Concession Card and Seniors Card Holders.   

In attendance today were members of the Chinese, Sub-Continent, Vietnamese, Greek, and African communities, all interested in hearing about the effects of the Abbott Government’s Budget of broken promises.

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Schools to Feel Effects of $30 Billion Cut Immediately

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TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

KATE ELLIS MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD

MEMBER FOR ADELAIDE

 

MEDIA RELEASE 

SCHOOLS TO FEEL EFFECTS OF $30 BILLION CUT IMMEDIATELY

 

TUESDAY, 20 MAY 2014

Teachers, parents, students and schools are bracing themselves for the worst after Tony Abbott announced a $30 billion cut to education in last week’s Budget.

 

Today Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek, and Shadow Minister for Education, Kate Ellis, visited Sturt St Community School in Adelaide to talk to students.

“These young students are the ones that will be hit hard by the Abbott Government’s biggest ever cut to education,” Tanya Plibersek said.

“Tony Abbott and his ministers have tried to play down the effects of the cut, saying it won’t hit schools until 2017, but this is simply wrong”.

“Schools need certainty in their funding for planning, for investing in teachers and for growing their school community.”

State Premiers met on Sunday with the same demand Australian schools have – reverse this $30 billion cut.

“Premiers know our schools won’t be able to sustain this massive cut, that it will absolutely devastate them,” Kate Ellis said.

When Tony Abbott promised to be on an “absolute unity ticket” with Labor on school funding, he told schools his change of mind was to “end the uncertainty”.

“All we’ve seen from this Government when it comes to education is lies, backflips and cuts – this is hardly the certainty promised to schools,” Kate Ellis said.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said there’s no such thing as a cut in three years. He said the ratings agencies will be asking State Premiers where the funding will come from now, and they don’t have an answer.

“The only answer is for Tony Abbott to reverse this cut and resolve the huge problem he has caused with his deceit,” Tanya Plibersek said.

 

 

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