The World, ABC

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW
THE WORLD, ABC

FRIDAY, 1 AUGUST 2014

Subject: conflict in Gaza.

BEVERLEY O’CONNOR, PRESENTER: The Opposition says Australia has a critical role to play at the UN given its temporary role as chair of the Security Council when it comes to Gaza. We spoke to Opposition foreign affairs spokesperson, Plibersek, thanks Tanya Plibersek. Tanya Plibersek, thanks for talking to The World. Have you been concerned up until now how little effect the United Nations actually has had?

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER: Well I think everybody's concerned that the conflict has lasted as long as it has and that the death toll has been as high as it is. It is important that Australia as a member of the Security Council express a view and do what we can to assist in bringing about a lasting ceasefire and moving of course to a permanent peace. We can’t afford a situation where we have just three days of peace and then the bombardment starts again. As I said before, the civilian death toll has been extraordinarily high, we’ve seen reports now of over 1300 dead and the majority of those unfortunately civilians, and many many of those are children.

O’CONNOR: Let’s talk about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. What role do you think Australia should be playing.

PLIBERSEK: So the immediate priority is a ceasefire and ensuring that that ceasefire lasts, but there will be a massive task of rebuilding as well. Gaza was already experiencing social and economic deprivation, a very serious level of unemployment and very difficult economic circumstances. Of course that is exacerbated by this now – a massive task of rebuilding. I was pleased to see that the Government had donated $5 million last week for humanitarian causes in Gaza but I guess I have to point out that this only just replaces the $4.5 million that was cut from Australia's usual overseas development assistance to the Palestinian Territories in this year's Budget, in the most recent Budget. So there's only an extra $500,000 from Australia after all of this devastation. I think certainly Australia could increase its contribution to the rebuilding of Gaza that will be critical.

O’CONNOR: Is it a financial priority, though, for the Government when you see both sides of this conflict not taking a step back?

PLIBERSEK: Well I guess it's never the kids who are making the decision for their Governments to go to war and when I see footage of the incredible toll this is taking on civilians in Gaza who have lost their homes, schools have been bombed, hospital facilities and so on, I think there is an opportunity for Australia to help in the reconstruction. It is important for both parties to stop the hostilities. It is important for Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel, for them to stop using their tunnel system to try and get into Israel but, equally, it is critical that Israel shows restraint and does not continue the military offensive that has cost so many lives.

O’CONNOR: And also of using course we hear that Hamas is using their own civilians as human shields, they're placing their armoury within schools, right next to families and homes. This is an ongoing problem in terms of who to believe in this conflict.

PLIBERSEK: Well, of course if any civilian facilities have been used to hide rockets, there were reports during the week that that's the case, of course that's unacceptable. Absolutely 100 per cent. But it is also so important to understand that the capacity for Israel to retaliate has to be restrained because the collateral deaths, the number of civilians who have been killed in this conflict is completely unacceptable.

O’CONNOR: Tanya Plibersek, The thanks so much for talking to The World.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you.

ENDS

Add your reaction Share

The Conflict in Israel and the Palestinian Territories

coats-arms.jpg

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

STATEMENT

 

THE CONFLICT IN ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

 

THURSDAY, 31 JULY 2014

The Australian Government must use its position on the United Nations Security Council to push for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

With reports of more than 1300 dead, including many children, the fighting must end now.

Labor is appalled by the recent shelling of a UN school in a Gaza refugee camp, and attacks on similar facilities.

Labor deplores the abuse of civilian facilities for military purposes, including a Gaza school that was used to hide rockets.

Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel - more than 2600 so far, and Israel must restrain its response, which has cost far too many civilian lives.

The scale of human suffering has shocked the world.

Australia needs to work urgently with the international community to bring this terrible conflict to an end.

 

 

Add your reaction Share

Insiders, Sunday, 27 JULY 2014

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW
INSIDERS, ABC

SUNDAY, 27 JULY 2014

 

Subject/s: MH17; Middle East, Asylum Seekers, Paid Parental Leave, Greg Combet, Joe Hockey.

FRAN KELLY, PRESENTER: Tanya Plibersek, welcome to Insiders.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER: Thank you, Fran.

KELLY: Tanya Plibersek, we've heard this morning from Angus Houston that this will be a police and civilian operation on the site in Ukraine, not a military one. It's unlikely, he suggests, that armed Australian soldiers certainly will accompany the police force to keep them safe. There seems to be some confusion around this. Have you had a briefing from the Government - can you clarify it for us. What do you know?

PLIBERSEK: We did have some briefings earlier in the week. Unfortunately we asked for a briefing on this latest development recently and we weren't able to get that. I guess what I would say is that Angus Houston is a highly experienced, very trusted commander, and in a situation like this, I would accept Angus Houston's advice about whether a police and civilian team is the best way to go. He is on the ground there. He is absolutely the right person to make that decision.

KELLY: Have you been able to speak to the ADF about any concerns, because initially when this was announced by the PM, the first question was, "Is it safe to send unarmed police into a war zone?"

PLIBERSEK: Earlier in the week I had the opportunity of speaking with the ADF and at that stage 50 officers had been pre-deployed to London. The ADF at that stage said that they believed that they had the resources, the training, the expertise to be involved in a recovery mission, and were comfortable at that time, that they would - if they were allowed onto the site, that they would be able to do the job.

KELLY: Are you happy with the level of information you are getting from the Government on this? You mentioned you had been denied a briefing?

PLIBERSEK: Look, I think - we have had a number of briefings along the way. We haven't had all of our requests for briefings granted, but really at this stage I'm much more interested in supporting the Government's efforts. I don't think anybody really wants to be listening to me complaining about whether I get briefed or not. I think the most important thing is to take the advice of Angus Houston who is there on the site and make sure that we support his efforts there, whether it's with police, a civilian team, whether they need some ADF support for logistics and protection, he is the best person to make that decision.

KELLY: Tony Abbott has received accolades in foreign media and respect from foreign leaders for the leadership he has shown on this issue, particularly in terms of a tough response to Russia and pushing for a UN resolution. Do you join in that praise of the PM and how he has managed this?

PLIBERSEK: I think it was very important that Australia put the resolution at the United Nations Security Council and I certainly think that Australian leadership, given the number of Australian lives lost, was critical to convincing Russia to use its influence with the Russian-backed separatists in the area. I think it shows how important it is that international organisations like the Security Council have our support and work. It's times like this when those organisations really come into their own. We have gone out of our way, as a Labor Opposition, to be supportive of the Government's efforts. We think that this is a time for national unity. The families of the victims of MH17 want to know that both the Government, the Opposition and all Australians are 100% committed to bringing their loved ones home.

KELLY: Tanya Plibersek, can I ask you now as Shadow Foreign Minister you're also focused on events going on in Gaza of course. On Friday, an Israeli bomb struck a UN school site. There were deaths reinforcing comments from UN chief Valerie Amos when she said it was almost impossible now for Palestinians to shelter from Israeli air strikes in the densely populated Gaza Strip. In your view, is Israel's response to this, to missiles going over their border been proportionate?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think with over a thousand deaths and pictures every day of bodies being carried from rubble, including many, many children, I think the international community is very concerned with the level of civilian deaths and particularly the level of children who have been caught up in this conflict. It is critical that the 12-hour pause in fighting be extended immediately to a ceasefire and that parties return to the negotiating table to negotiate a durable peace. We cannot have a situation where every few months or every few years the rockets start firing from Hamas and Israel retaliates in this way, causing many, many civilian deaths. It is an unacceptable situation.

KELLY: The Australian Government supports the need for a two-state solution. It also supports Israel's right to defend itself and that's Labor's position too, long-held. This weekend at the NSW ALP Conference, a motion put up by Bob Carr was passed, which seems to go a little further, suggesting Labor recognises a Palestinian state if there is no official progress on a two-state solution. That's a distinct tilt, isn't it, towards Australia recognising a Palestinian state. What would that mean in practice, and is this a change in Labor's position?

PLIBERSEK: Well, not really. Labor for many decades has supported a two-state solution. That means an Israeli state behind internationally recognised secure borders, and a Palestinian state which is economically viable, which has responsibility for its own security. You can't have a two-state solution without a Palestinian state. The only change that's occurred in recent months has been a change in the Government's position. Until recently there was bipartisan agreement that the building of settlements was not in line with international law and that East Jerusalem - bipartisan agreement that East Jerusalem is occupied territory. It has seemed, from Julie Bishop's comments and George Brandis' comments that they have retreated from that position.

KELLY: On another issue, can I ask you about the asylum seekers, the 157 people who have been aboard an Australia Customs vessels now for a month. Reportedly they will arrive in the Curtin Detention Centre on Australian soil as early as today. Indian officials, in an agreement struck with the Government, will then travel to the detention centre to interview these people. Is that appropriate, in your view, in Labor's view, officials from another country, a country from where some of these people are fleeing, be invited onto Australian soil to interview them in this way?

PLIBERSEK: I think the whole handling of this has not been appropriate, these people floating around on the ocean for three weeks, they could have been processed on Christmas Island weeks ago and the only thing that stopped that was Scott Morrison's ego. I can't tell you how these people will be processed, the Government has not made that clear. We don't have the details and it is exactly the sort of thing you should ask Scott Morrison if you can get him to turn up to a press conference and get him to answer some questions.

KELLY: In your view, is it the job for the Australian Government to talk these people or the Indian Government?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think if people are on Australian soil, they should be dealt with by Australian authorities and it should have happened weeks ago.

KELLY: A couple of other domestic matters arising this week, the Productivity Commission released a draft report into the childcare system. It noted that funds for Tony Abbott's paid parental leave scheme would be better spent, perhaps some of them, not all of them, on improved childcare options. You've been a consistent critic of Tony Abbott's paid parental scheme, you've dubbed it a Rolls-Royce scheme. But if his is a Rolls-Royce scheme, is the current Labor scheme more like a Datsun 180B. It’s 18 weeks minimum wage, no superannuation. It’s out motored, lacks a bit of grunt. Why shouldn’t women who take time out of the workforce to have a baby get superannuation, doesn't it need to be upgraded?

PLIBERSEK: That's something that could be considered in the future.

KELLY: Would you support that?

PLIBERSEK: Well it's something you can consider in the future. Tony Abbott's scheme pays the greatest benefit to people who already earn the most money. It makes no sense to use taxpayers' dollars to give the biggest benefit to people who already have the most - that's been my criticism. Something else to be said about it, at a time when pensioners have been told the pension is too high, they should wait longer and get less, and when unemployed people have been told they should live on nothing for six months of the year, when funding has been cut from education, from health, despite promises before the election that that wouldn't happen, to introduce a scheme worth $5 billion a year or more makes absolutely no sense. If we are in austerity times and pensioners and students and unemployed young people and families on low incomes all lose money, how can it be that someone on a million dollars a year would get $50,000 from the taxpayer?

KELLY: On another issue, there has been a fair bit of attention on the biography of Joe Hockey, but there is a Labor autobiography coming out this week, Greg Combet, he is revealing in his memoirs that Julia Gillard suggested, in the dying days of her Prime Ministership, that she could step down and Greg Combet could put his hand up in a caucus ballot. You are a strong supporter of Julia Gillard. Did you know about that?

PLIBERSEK: That was obviously a conversation between the two of them, but what I would say is that Greg is a fine Australian and many people thought for many years that he could be a future Labor Prime Minister, and I guess the other thing I would say is what a contrast - here is Greg Combet's book which is about his battle for asbestos victims, his time as a minister fighting for policies that would put a cap on pollution and a price on carbon, and here is Joe Hockey, the longest job application in history, and by the sounds of the book, a very petulant one.

KELLY: But here’s Greg Combet, you could say, back then at the time really at the height of Labor's leadership tensions and the Prime Minister at the time suggesting perhaps another leadership change to somebody that the voters haven't even thought about. It is completely untenable, wouldn't it have been?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think from listening to Greg's interview earlier in the week, that was his conclusion too.

KELLY: What would you have concluded if that had have been put up?

PLIBERSEK: I'm not going to look back at history. What I would say is that Greg Combet is a great loss to the Parliament. He is a great Australian.

KELLY: Tanya Plibersek, thanks very much for joining us.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you.

ENDS

Add your reaction Share

AFP Mission in Ukraine

coats-arms.jpg

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

 

STATEMENT

 

AFP MISSION IN UKRAINE

SUNDAY, 27 JULY 2014

More than a week has passed since 298 people, including Australian citizens and residents, were shot out of the sky in an act of barbarous terror.

The nation’s shock and grief has turned to frustration as we wait for answers to this unspeakable crime.

This afternoon I spoke with the Prime Minister regarding the deployment of Australian Federal Police officers to Ukraine as part of a Dutch-led, unarmed police operation.

I offered the Prime Minister Labor’s full support for this mission.

The priority is and must continue to be the recovery of the bodies, their identification, and their repatriation to grieving families.

In a dangerous and volatile environment, this is the most sensible course of action.

There is no doubt this will be a difficult mission, but Labor has full confidence in the skill and professionalism of the AFP officers undertaking this task. I know all Australians will keep them in their thoughts.

Labor will continue to seek regular briefings from the Government as the mission progresses.

We owe it to the families of the victims to bring their loved ones home.

Add your reaction Share

Press Conference, Saturday, 26 July 2014

coats-arms.jpg

TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

PRESS CONFERENCE

SATURDAY, 26 JULY 2014     

SYDNEY

 

Subject/s: MH17; Middle East, Asylum Seekers.

 

TANYA PLIBERSEK, ACTING OPPOSITION LEADER: I wanted to take the opportunity of commenting on the Prime Minister’s announcement that further Australian Federal Police Officers will be pre-deployed to London, in order to be able to search the wreckage site of MH17. Of course, Labor supports the deployment of further Australian Federal Police. We believe that our personnel are the best people for this job. Experienced, dedicated, very competent and we support their deployment. The next challenge is ensuring that teams are allowed onto the site, more than three or four at a time. It is critical now that the site is secured, it's a very large site for the wreckage, spread over I'm told 50 square kilometres. There needs to be a proper methodical search of the site from one end to the other. That can only happen with a large deployment of our own police force and any other members of the international team working together methodically across the site. It is critical that the Ukraine government now use all of their efforts to argue for access to the site. And that Russia uses its influence with pro-separatist rebels to allow teams larger than three or four people to have access to the site. We know that Angus Houston is on the ground now. He's a highly skilled, highly respected individual, and we support any efforts that Angus Houston calls for in terms of additional supports for the site.

JOURNALIST: Earlier this afternoon, the Prime Minister wasn't able to confirm the exact number of personnel that will be going over. Is that reasonable, that he wouldn't be able to do that?

PLIBERSEK: I won't criticise the Prime Minister for not being able to confirm an exact number. We were told several days ago there were already 50 people pre-deployed to London. Unfortunately we haven't had a briefing about this additional pre-deployment, but he has said publicly around 90 people. I think that that's acceptable. This is a critical thing, to get Australian boots on the ground. Australian lives lost, we know that we can make a contribution to the international investigation because of the professionalism of our Australian Federal Police and so we want to see a contingent able to thoroughly investigate the site as quickly as possible.

JOURNALIST: Will armed officers on the site increase tensions for separatists?

PLIBERSEK: Well, this is something that Angus Houston will have to examine very carefully. We don't want to send - we don't want to send unarmed Australian Federal Police into a situation where they might be injured, they might be taken hostage. Of course our first responsibility is to ensure that our Australian Federal Police are protected, can protect themselves. Whether or not having an armed guard would increase tension is something that Angus Houston is best placed to examine and to answer. Someone with his experience is the ideal person to make that assessment on the ground.

JOURNALIST: Thank you.

PLIBERSEK: I also wanted to say a few words about what's happening in Gaza at the moment. Anybody who's been reading the papers or watching television would be completely distressed to see image after image of people injured, bodies being carried out of the rubble. So many of these injured civilians are children. Children who've been sheltering in hospitals or in schools. It is completely unacceptable to continue to see this death toll rise to around 900 now. So Labor welcomes the 12-hour pause in fighting, but we say that this should be extended to a permanent ceasefire immediately. Too many people have lost their lives, too many of those people have been civilians, too many of those civilians have been children. It is critical, too, that parties come back to the negotiating table for a durable peace. We cannot afford a situation where every few months or every few years, the rockets start firing again. Civilians lose their lives. Hostilities increase. The only possibility for a durable peace is a two-state solution. An Israel behind secure internationally recognised borders, and a Palestinian State that is economically viable, that is able to provide its own security on its own territory. It is critical that the parties return to the negotiating table because too many people have lost their lives already in this tragic conflict.

I wanted to say a few words also about the asylum boat that's been on the high seas recently. It is extraordinary that Australians are still not being informed by their government, the government that they elected and put into place about what their government intends to do in this situation with asylum seekers who've been intercepted on the high seas. It appears likely that those asylum seekers will be brought now to Australia for processing. Well they could've been brought to Christmas Island weeks ago, as Labor suggested and processed there. The only thing that stopped the processing of these asylum seekers weeks ago is Scott Morrison's ego. It is important now that the government fully answer questions about where the asylum seekers are, where they're going, and what's going to happen to them. It is extraordinary that we have a minister who has, from the day he was elected, refused to answer the most basic questions about his portfolio - has put his own ego ahead of managing his portfolio responsibilities and who's now turned asylum seeker policy over to the High Court.

 

ENDS

Add your reaction Share

Doorstop Interview, Friday, 25 July 2014

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW

FRIDAY, 25 JULY 2014

ULTIMO

 

SUBJECT/S: MH 17; Australian Federal Police deployment; Scott Morrison back-flip.

 

TANYA PLIBERSEK, ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well thanks for coming out this evening. There’s no one better to search for Australians on this crash site than Australian Federal Police and if necessary, Australian defence personnel. Labor has supported from the beginning every effort to ensure that our police have access to this 50 square kilometre crash site. We are determined to see every Australian brought home and the sooner we have access to the site and the broader that access, is the better. Labor has supported from the beginning the sending of Australian Federal Police to Europe. We received a briefing yesterday from the Prime Minister’s office and the Federal Police and this extra deployment wasn’t mentioned but of course we support Australian Federal Police as the best people to search in this site for remains and for any evidence of what exactly has happened to MH17.

JOURNALIST: Does the Prime Minister have to spell out what the troops will be doing and how many will be going?

PLIBERSEK: My understanding is so far the Australian defence personnel that have been sent have for example been providing personal security to Angus Houston. This is a very dangerous area of Ukraine, there are heavily armed rebels on the site. They have been haphazard about allowing access to the site, its plain that not all of the rebel groups are cohesive, that there are different units operating that don’t follow a clear command structure. So, making sure that Angus Houston, that our police, Federal Police who are on the site, making sure that any consular officials who are on the site are safe. If that takes Australian defence personnel then of course we support that.

JOURNALIST: I guess the question was, does the Prime Minister have to spell out what they’ll be doing?

PLIBERSEK: Well look, so far the Prime Minister has said that there’s a small number of defence personnel and they’re there for reasons of providing security. I think that that’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. I think it’s important that Australians are aware that Australian Federal Police and Australian defence personnel in some instances, are there to support our efforts, our share of the efforts, of recovering the remains of people who have lost their lives in this terrible crash. I think it’s important that when they cleared that as part of the Dutch lead investigation, Australia is very, very keen to have its own people on the ground. We rate our people highly, we know that they are highly experienced. We know that some of these police for example have had experience in working through the rubble after the tsunami in Japan. They are highly experienced people and they can contribute to this operation and so we support the fact that they’ve been sent there. There are defence personnel providing security on the ground, that’s a good thing.

JOURNALIST: You’ve talked about the lawlessness in the region. Are you concerned about the safety of Australians troops or police in the region? Do you trust President Putin’s assurances that they will be safe?

PLIBERSEK: Well I am concerned about any Australians in the area, as I am concerned about the Dutch personnel, who are leading this investigation, as I am concerned about anyone who is working on this investigative and recovery effort. It is clear that these rebels have the backing of Russia. We hope that the Russian President is able to use his influence firstly to ensure access to the site, secondly to ensure that access is safe, and thirdly to ensure that we can have a big enough force on the ground to actually make an effort of collecting evidence across a very large site, to undertake that very large and difficult task appropriately. President Putin, I hope, is able to use his influence to ensure the safety of Australians. But I wouldn’t want to take any risks with Australian Federal Police. I wouldn’t want to take any risks with foreign affairs staff or consular staff who are on the ground. So it is important to have backup there in case it’s needed.

JOURNALIST: Just on another topic, on the issue of asylum seekers. Has the High Court challenge forced the Government [inaudible] deal with India, and bring 157 to Australia?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think the announcement today shows that the last few weeks have been all about Scott Morrison’s ego, and nothing about making sensible decisions in the interests of Australia and certainly not in the interests of the people on board this vessel, including the children who have been detained for several weeks on this vessel. Labor said many weeks ago that as the vessel was close to Christmas Island it made sense to process people on Christmas Island, it’s only been Scott Morrison’s ego that’s prevented that.

JOURNALIST: What do you know about their legal rights once they do enter Australia? There is some conjecture that they are going to be sent to Curtin in the end. Obviously if they are sent to Curtin then that’s in the migration zone, so will they have legal rights to fight for asylum?

PLIBERSEK: Look I’m afraid I can’t answer that question; we’ve only read what you’ve read in the papers. We haven’t received any special information from Scott Morrison or from the Government, so it’s up to him to answer those questions, if you can get him to a press conference. Thanks.

ENDS

Add your reaction Share

Today Show Friday, 25 July 2014

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW

TODAY SHOW

FRIDAY, 25 JULY 2014

 

SUBJECT/S: MH 17, JOE HOCKEY, JACQUIE LAMBIE

LISA WILKINSON, PRESENTER: Joining us now is Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Shadow Foreign Minister Tanya Plibersek. I will start with you Tanya, Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop's response to this tragedy has been very widely praised. Do you think we are doing enough?

TANYA PLIBERSEK, ACTING OPPOSITION LEADER: Certainly. The Opposition has offered from the very beginning full support to the Government in its efforts. There is I think, every Australian, no question that we would all of us be determined to see all of these bodies returned home as quickly as possible. The concern, of course, has been even though Russia has agreed to the UN Security Council resolution, that they wouldn't use their influence with pro-Russian separatists in the area to allow access to the site. Access is slowly being allowed, but as you said in very small teams we have actually got around 50 police pre-positioned in London, we would like to see them having access to the site as well. And frankly in larger groups. It's very hard for a team of three or four people to cover sufficient area. You are talking about a crash investigation site of around 50 square kilometres. So it is important to get more Australian investigators in there as quickly as possible.

WILKINSON: Malcolm there is growing consensus that MH17 was shot down by a separatist using a Russian missile. If that is proven should Vladimir Putin be allowed into the G20 summit in Brisbane in November?

MALCOLM TURNBULL, MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: Well, I don't want to speculate about that, the G20 is an important economic gathering, it's not Australia - Australia is the host but it's not based on our invitation if you like. So there would have to be a degree of consensus between the G20 countries or the majority of them on that score -

WILKINSON: Do you think that's possible?

TURNBULL: Anything is possible but I think it is too early to, and not very helpful, to speculate about that. I mean what we are focused on and what Tony Abbott and our team, Julie Bishop, who is in the Ukraine at the moment, what they are focused on is getting access to the site, recovering the bodies of all of those who perished in that crash, and then of course being able to do the work to establish the cause of it. But I think the critical thing is to focus on that and not jump too far ahead.

WILKINSON: It would be unprecedented if it happened though, wouldn't it?

TURNBULL: As far as I'm aware, yes it would be unprecedented.

WILKINSON: Let's move on to domestic politics now. There has been intense interest in the launch of Joe Hockey's book yesterday. We need to clarify something here Malcolm, because he says in the book that two days after you told Laurie Oakes you were going to run for the leadership you promised Joe Hockey privately that you wouldn't. Both of you then of course went on to lose to Tony Abbott. Did you go back on your word?

TURNBULL: Well, I was I actually sitting in this chair when I said that to Laurie Oakes on national television. I think most people who know me know that it's - I'm not the sort of person that says one thing on national television and then does something different.

WILKINSON: You are saying you didn't tell Joe Hockey privately you wouldn't -

TURNBULL: I did not. Look, this is really ancient history.

WILKINSON:  No, it is not actually because Melissa Babbage, Joe Hockey's wife says that Joe Hockey will never trust you again. And that's difficult. You are meant to be a Coalition. You are both senior ministers.

TURNBULL: I trust Joe and he trusts me. That's the important thing. As far as the history is concerned it was a very fraught period and it doesn't surprise me that people have different recollections of what was said. But the one thing that everybody knows is that both on Laurie's show, right here literally sitting in this chair, in this spot, I made it very clear that I would be a candidate in that ballot and I made it clear on a number of other occasions in the media too. So what is the likelihood that I would be saying one thing publicly and then giving private assurances to the contrary. The fact is I didn't. But, look it was a fraught and difficult period and I can understand people having different recollections.

WILKINSON:  Do you agree with Tony Abbott's chief of staff, Peta Credlin's view that Joe Hockey is the next natural Liberal leader?

TURNBULL: I wouldn't ever - I have seen too many thrills and spills in Canberra to speculate on anything like that.

 

WILKINSON:  Were you happy when you heard that? Does that fill you with joy that Joe Hockey might be the next chosen leader?

TURNBULL: Joe is a terrific guy. He's doing a fantastic job as Treasurer and he's very much admired within the party and across the nation. But there is no point in speculating about politics. I will leave that to you guys. You do it so well.

WILKINSON:  Alright. Just finally, it's been a very fun week in politics this week. We saw Jacquie Lambie, basically opening up about her views on men and what's attractive. Is it nice to see pollies who are normally so stitched up, Tanya, just letting loose and doing a bit of pub talk?

PLIBERSEK: Not really. I didn't think she did herself any favours. I think if we have a standard in public life where if a man said, you know, a similar thing about what he likes in a woman, he would be pretty roundly condemned. I don't think you can expect that standard from men and then say it's OK if you're a woman.

WILKINSON:  Malcolm, what do you think of Jacquie Lambie so far in her performance in the Senate?

TURNBULL: I just want to comment on another woman, and that's our colleague Julie Bishop. What an outstanding role model she is for young women, all women, what an amazing job she's done in New York. I mean, she's made all of us so proud by the way she has performed, getting that resolution through the Security Council. Tanya, I know she's your opposite number -

PLIBERSEK: Absolutely -

TURNBULL: But wouldn't you agree she's been an outstanding Foreign Minister -

PLIBERSEK: And I was so - we were so shocked all of us to hear this news, but from the moment I rang her she's been very good at making sure that we are briefed on what the Government's proposing and so on. I think at a time like this she's shown strong leadership, it's been very important for our nation to be able to come together.

WILKINSON:  I don't think anybody would disagree with either of you. Malcolm, Tanya, great to see you.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you.

TURNBULL: Thanks very much.

ENDS

Add your reaction Share

Pre-Deployment of Australian Federal Police Officers

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

MEDIA RELEASE

 

PRE-DELPOYMENT OF AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE OFFICERS

 

THURSDAY, 24 JULY 2014

The Opposition welcomes the Government’s announcement that around 50 Australian Federal Police officers have been pre-deployed to assist with investigations into the flight MH17 crash.

The priority must continue to be the recovery of Australians, their identification, and their repatriation to grieving families.

This cannot occur without properly securing the crash site. We understand that, if deployed, the AFP officers will form part of an international team tasked with securing the site and properly examining it.

Labor pays tribute to the highly skilled work of the Australian Federal Police, and all other Australian personnel involved.

Labor will continue to seek briefings from the Government as the situation unfolds.

Add your reaction Share

Sky News Afternoon Agenda

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

E&EO TRANSCRIPT
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
SKY NEWS AFTERNOON AGENDA
WEDNESDAY, 23 JULY 2014

SUBJECT/S: MH17; Indonesian Presidential election; Middle East.

DAVID LIPSON: Meanwhile as recriminations fly back and forth over who is responsible for the downing of the aircraft, the Opposition has raised the prospect of Australian action against Russia with Bill Shorten in the United States, the shadow Foreign Minister Tanya Plibersek is acting as Labor leader. I spoke to her a short time ago and started by asking about the 100 bodies still unaccounted for.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Shows how important it is to get an international team on to the crash site very promptly. It is a very difficult task finding and securing and then transporting all of the bodies and it's not a job that should be left to amateurs. It's critical – we’ve got a Dutch team on the ground now, there are other international people there who could assist. The rebels need to allow access to that international team to recover any other remains over the crash site.

LIPSON: Tony Abbott has outlined several priorities. Firstly the proper treatment and ultimately repatriation of the bodies. Also an investigation. Now they are comparatively easy to achieve compared to his third goal, which is to bring those responsible to justice. There are all sorts of complexities in actually carrying out a punishment. First and foremost the mechanism for doing so.

PLIBERSEK: Look, I think they are the right priorities in the right order. We of course need to return Australian citizens and permanent residents to their loved ones. We need to get an independent transparent international investigation started straight away and that third priority of bringing people to account I think that will be demanded by the international community. Yes it's tough, but almost 300 people have lost their lives. It is not beyond us. Particularly if there is unimpeded access to the site and to any evidence that's available to find out first of all what happened to confirm what type of missile it was, and then after that to confirm who fired it and how they got it in the first place.

LIPSON: Bill Shorten says the Opposition would be open to supporting the Government if it wanted to impose sanctions against Russia. Should Russia choose not to cooperate to an adequate level. At what point is it appropriate to start seriously pushing for sanctions on Russia?

PLIBERSEK: Look I think it is, first of all to be recognised that Russia felt enough international pressure to agree to the security council resolution to - that has led to this investigation. I think the next step is for Russia to clearly show that it's not all talk, that it is actually prepared to use its influence with Russian backed separatists in the area in question to allow this investigation to take place. If there is any suggestion that Russia is not cooperating appropriately, that it's interfering with the investigation, that it's not using its influence with the rebels then that's a time to start talking about sanctions. If it's found - as has been speculated - that this weapon has been provided by Russia, if there has been any training of the people who have fired it, if indeed there has been a Russian team associated with it, because there has been movement of troops back and forth across the border, then that brings us to another degree of - well another degree of culpability and again,

LIPSON: Even US intelligence says that Russia may have created the conditions that enabled the that Russia may have created the conditions that enabled the rebels to shoot down the plane, but nothing suggested beyond that at this point..

PLIBERSEK: No. What we have heard overnight from US intelligence sources is the suggestion that this is most likely Russian separatists who have fired on this plane. They have mistaken it for Ukrainian troop transport or some other military aircraft. But I think there are two questions here. The first question that we need to establish is who fired the missile and where did they get it. There is a degree of culpability there.  There is a second question about the - what you have described as the conditions for this missile being fired and there is also a degree of responsibility and potentially culpability around that too.

LIPSON: What sanctions would be appropriate should they be required against Russia? Because there are already sanctions against Russia that are really having little or no effect.

PLIBERSEK: Well, I wouldn't agree that the sanctions are having little or no effect. In fact I think because the sanctions disproportionately affect Vladimir Putin's friends and allies, the oligarchs of Russia, I think you can assume that they are being felt. We know that Russia –

LIPSON: Isn't the fact the conflict continues proof that the sanctions are not having the desired effect?

PLIBERSEK: Look I think ideally the sanctions would have already encouraged Russia to withdraw its support from the rebels that it's armed and trained and funded. But, so I guess to a degree you could question the effectiveness. What we hear though are that there is a level of discomfort being felt by the Russian oligarchs whose depend on financial services, and minerals exports and of course most importantly gas exports, for their income. The difficulty for Europe of course in engaging in sanctions is that European countries rely on that gas. So there is a complex set of circumstances to be worked through. Australia of course has to be thinking about if we are calling for sanctions what we can do to assist Europe to cope with the effects on European countries, of those sanctions, because the effects obviously are felt on both sides. If you're not selling gas you're not making a profit. But if you are not receiving gas and winter approaches you get a little bit nervous about how your domestic economy and most particularly the people that live in your country are going to cope with that –

LIPSON: If Australia imposes any sanctions here as well would local industry be a consideration for that? Because for example we export something like $160 million worth of beef to Russia, there is also butter and live animals as well.

PLIBERSEK: No, frankly I wouldn't - I mean I would obviously prioritise the international response to show unequivocally how important it is to hold the perpetrators of this horrendous crime to account. That would be our first and most important responsibility. But I do think it's, as I said earlier, important to go through these steps methodically. We need to have a very clear idea of where this missile came from. Who is responsible for shooting it, where they got it from. The next discussion, the discussion that you have engaged in, what kind of sanctions might be appropriate, that is a discussion for some time in the future.

LIPSON: Moving on to the Indonesia election. Joko Widodo has emerged the victor as the President elect in Indonesia. You have welcomed his election. He is more moderate than the vanquished former general Prabowo Subianto, will Jokowi do you think be easier for Australia to deal with.

PLIBERSEK: I think it is important to say up front that Australia would never express a view about the Indonesian presidential election in favour of one candidate versus the other. We have certainly welcomed the election I think the clear win of Jokowi. We admire incredibly Indonesia's democracy. More than 133 million people voted out of around 190 million eligible to vote. That's an impressive achievement all of its own. Making sure that the results of the election are adhered to will be an important next step of course in Indonesia. But yes we are very happy to see the election of Jokowi.  We would have been happy with either candidate. But my congratulations to Jokowi, and my congratulations more importantly I suppose to the people of Indonesia for the amazing journey they have made to democracy with 133 million people voting in around half a million polling booths.

LIPSON: Just to Gaza quickly. And there are been a number of airlines in the United States and Europe that have stopped flying into Tel Aviv because of the latest violence that's been raging for about three weeks now. What's your view on this round of violence?

PLIBERSEK: Well, the first and most important thing to say is there should be an immediate ceasefire. We have seen the loss of more than 600 lives already, around 100 of those have been children. There must be an immediate ceasefire. Of course Hamas must agree to stop firing rockets into Israel but equally the response now with more than 600 dead, the toll is unspeakable. And I'm pleased to see that both Ban Ki-Moon and John Kerry in Egypt obviously, and Ban Ki-moon has been in Israel, with putting their full efforts into securing a ceasefire. It is critical that the violence stops now. The cost has been much too great already.

LIPSON: Bob Carr wants Labor to adopt a more pro-Palestinian stance. Is that under active consideration in the Labor Party?

PLIBERSEK: Well I don’t really know what that means. I mean Australia has consistently under both sides of politics, Liberal and Labor, advocated a two state solution that allows Israel to live behind secure internationally recognised borders but also meets the absolutely justified aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own. I don't think that it makes a lot of sense to talk in terms of being closer to one side or the other. Our aspiration is for peace. A two state solution, where two nations live side-by-side in peace and security and I think that the most important thing we can be saying –

LIPSON: You reject Bob Carr on that?

PLIBERSEK: I think the most important thing we can be saying when 600 people have already lost their lives is that there needs to be an immediate ceasefire and that we need to proceed to a two state solution. This conflict has cost too much, too many lives, too much hurt already. And the only solution is a two state solution - the only solution that can last.

LIPSON: Tanya Plibersek thanks so much for your time today.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you David.

ENDS

Add your reaction Share

Joko Widodo Elected President of Indonesia

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

JOKO WIDODO ELECTED PRESIDENT OF INDONESIA

 

WEDNESDAY, 23 JULY 2014 

The Labor Opposition congratulates Joko Widodo on his election as the next President of Indonesia.

We look forward to working closely with him to further strengthen and deepen the relationship between our two nations.

Indonesia is a neighbour of paramount importance, and a great partner of Australia.

The Indonesian elections were an inspiring exercise in democracy, with around 190 million voters casting ballots at nearly half a million polling stations, spread across 33 provinces.

Labor pays tribute to current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who has been a very good friend to Australia and who has played a superbly calm and steadying role throughout the election process.

We are confident that Australia and the President-elect can continue and grow this warm relationship.

 

 

Add your reaction Share