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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Abbott and Barnett Mean Cuts to Hospitals and Schools

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THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

 

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

MEDIA RELEASE

ABBOTT AND BARNETT MEAN CUTS TO HOSPITALS AND SCHOOLS

WEDNESDAY 12 MARCH 2014

The Senate Election on 5 April gives Western Australians a chance to send a message to Tony Abbott and Colin Barnett that they don’t support their cuts to health and education.

Western Australians are rightly concerned that Mr Abbott wants to model his Government on the Barnett Government.

This time last year he said:

“How much I respect the Premier of this state, how much I have learnt from him. How much I wish to model myself on him, should I get the opportunity to lead our country.”

[Tony Abbott, 17 February 2013]

The Barnett Government’s track record is littered with broken promises, massive cuts to health and education and a stagnating local economy.

This includes a $180m broken promise to redevelop the Royal Perth Hospital, despite WA Liberals collecting a whopping 35,000 signatures petitioning for the redevelopment while in Opposition.

Just like Tony Abbott promised ‘no cuts to health, education or defence’ before the election, he has cut $10 million in specialist cancer care workforce funding for oncologists and radiologists in WA.

Just like Tony Abbott promised no new taxes before the election, he is proposing a new GP Tax every time you visit the doctor.

With the mining boom slowing Governments should be investing in WA to build more rail, road and energy infrastructure. Not cutting jobs and services like the Liberals want to do.

But Western Australians know the worst is yet to come, although Tony Abbott is refusing to tell them where the cuts are coming before the election on 5 April.

He is treating Western Australians with absolute contempt by hiding his Commission of Audit report until after the election.

WA is doing its bit for the national economy – it shouldn’t be suffering cuts to health and education.

Just a sample of Mr Barnett’s cuts include:

  • $183 million of cuts to WA schools, including 350 fewer teachers, 350 fewer education assistants and a 30 per cent cut to support school programs for children with learning difficulties and literacy and numeracy programs.
  • Fiona Stanley Hospital is being delivered a year late after Barnett Government mismanagement.
  • The promised $180m redevelopment of Royal Perth Hospital has been shelved.
  • 40 hospital beds and 200 staff will be cut from Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital.
  • $188 million has been cut from hospital upgrades in regional WA including in: Karratha, Tom Price, Newman, Collie, Northam, Katanning, Merredin, Narrogin and Manjimup.
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Recent Developments in Ukraine

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development 

Recent developments in Ukraine

3 MARCH 2014

CANBERRA

The Labor Opposition is deeply concerned by recent developments in Ukraine.

We support the UN Secretary General’s call for the preservation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and sovereignty.  Any threat to that is completely unacceptable.

Labor urges all parties to exercise restraint and to seek to resolve the situation peacefully.

Australia must work together with the international community, including as a member of the UN Security Council, to urge a peaceful resolution through dialogue.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade upgraded its travel warnings for parts of Ukraine on March 1.  We strongly encourage Australians to take that advice.

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Australia's Relationship with China

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development 

Australia’s relationship with China

27 FEBRUARY 2014

CANBERRA

Today, a Senate committee hearing revealed just how poorly the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is managing Australia’s relationship with China.

When Julie Bishop visited Beijing last year, she earned a scathing public rebuke from the Chinese Government about her actions as Foreign Minister. Chinese Foreign Minister Mr Wang Yi went so far as to state that Julie Bishop had ''jeopardised bilateral mutual trust and affected the sound growth of bilateral relations.''

Under questioning at the hearing today, the foreign affairs department’s North Asia division chief admitted the public rebuke of Julie Bishop was like nothing he’d ever seen in his 30 years as a diplomat.

This extraordinary evidence from one of Australia’s most senior diplomats shows Julie Bishop’s diplomatic missteps are damaging our significant international relationships.

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Uganda’s Anti-Gay Laws

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development

Uganda’s anti-gay laws

26 FEBRUARY 2014

CANBERRA

Labor unequivocally condemns Uganda’s new anti-gay laws that reportedly include life sentences for gay sex and same-sex marriage.

We are also alarmed by news that following the President’s assent to the laws, a Ugandan newspaper published ‘the names of 200 homosexuals…outing some Ugandans who previously had not identified themselves as gay’.

The new laws deny the LGBTI people of Uganda some of the most basic human rights.

We call on the Abbott Government to register Australia’s protest in the strongest terms.

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Bill to Legislate for Marriage Equality

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition 

Bill to legislate for marriage equality

25 FEBRUARY 2014

CANBERRA

Today, Labor’s federal partyroom endorsed my proposal to bring a Bill to the Parliament to legislate for marriage equality.

As I said last year, I will seek to bring the Bill forward in early 2014.

Marriage equality’s time has well and truly come.  This issue should be above party politics.

That’s why the introduction of the Bill will be contingent on Tony Abbott allowing his MPs a conscience vote.

Liberal MPs pride themselves on being able to cross the floor on issues.  Tony Abbott needs to confirm that includes marriage equality.

Ideally, I am looking for a Liberal MP to co-sponsor the Bill.

The text of the Bill is similar to legislation introduced by Labor MP Stephen Jones, voted on in 2012.

The proposal for this Bill follows the High Court’s confirmation that ‘marriage’ in the Australian Constitution includes a marriage between persons of the same sex.  This clears the way for the federal Parliament to legislate for marriage equality.

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Meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development  

Readout of meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird

24 FEBRUARY 2014

CANBERRA

Today, Ms Plibersek was very pleased to meet with the Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird, as part of his visit to Australia.

The Minister and Ms Plibersek discussed the importance of continuing a strong relationship between Australia and Canada.

Both the Minister and Ms Plibersek highlighted that our countries enjoy significant cultural, historical, and economic ties.

Foreign policy priorities we raised, including in relation to the Asia-Pacific where both countries play a major role.

On the subject of foreign aid, the Minister and Ms Plibersek agreed that a focus on gender based international development is critical to reducing poverty and improving opportunity across the globe.

 

 

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Cambodia

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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development

Cambodia

20 FEBRUARY 2014

SYDNEY

The Labor Opposition calls on the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, to register Australia’s concern about the civil unrest in Cambodia, including following its disputed 2013 general election.

It is understood the Foreign Minister begins a visit to Cambodia later today.

Reports say five people were killed by Cambodian security forces earlier this year while demonstrating in Phnom Penh.  And more than 20 people were detained for participating in protests to secure better wages for garment workers.

Violence against peaceful protestors cannot be tolerated.

Ms Bishop must ask Cambodian authorities to release those detained for their social and political activism.

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