THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
SUNDAY, 29 MARCH 2015
SUBJECT: NSW state election.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN, PRESENTER: Tanya Plibersek, Sam Dastyari, the New South Wales Labor Senator and former General Secretary of the NSW Party said last night that Martin Ferguson should be expelled from the party for what he said about the way Luke Foley conducted the campaign. Do you agree?
TANYA PLIBERSEK, ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Look, I certainly think it wasn’t helpful for Martin Ferguson to make the intervention that he did but that’s something that we’ll discuss in due course inside the Labor Party.
BRISSENDEN: What’s your view of the campaign? Do you support the privatisation for instance?
PLIBERSEK: I’d like to talk about my view of the election campaign and that is that Luke Foley had a very good result last night, half a million more people voted for Luke Foley last night than voted Labor at the previous election, with about a 9 per cent swing to Labor. That’s a very good result and unfortunately we were working off a very low base and it wasn’t enough to win us government.
BRISSENDEN: Should Labor now accept and support the privatisation of the electricity network? Because certainly that was the issue that was front and centre in the campaign, wasn’t it?
PLIBERSEK: Well, it was the issue that was most talked about during this campaign because people are very nervous about electricity privatisation. I think Luke Foley’s made very clear that he will continue to oppose electricity privatisation come what may. I don’t really think how he could credibly run a campaign during a election against it and then vote for it five minutes later.
BRISSENDEN: Even though clearly, the electorate doesn’t think it’s such a big issue or in fact they support the idea.
PLIBERSEK: Well I don’t think you could draw that interpretation. If the electorate are so very supportive Mike Baird will get enough votes in the upper house as well to pass his agenda.
BRISSENDEN: And if it does?
PLIBERSEK: Well then it’ll get through whether Labor supports it or not.
BRISSENDEN: Okay, but then shouldn’t that influence how the Labor Party views the issue I guess, in the next election or in the coming years?
PLIBERSEK: I think it’s important to do what you said you were going to do. And Tony Abbott broke faith with the Australian people, he said before the election no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no cuts to the ABC and SBS, no new taxes, no change to pensions, and by breaking faith on each of those commitments, he has suffered a great deal. And of course the Australian community suffered a great deal as well. If you say one thing before an election, you should do it after an election.
BRISSENDEN: Luke Foley says he’s brought the heartland, the Labor heartland back, but the swing wasn’t as comprehensive as you might have expected, and certainly wasn’t perhaps as comprehensive as many in the Party would have expected in some of the heartland, particularly in Western Sydney, wasn’t it?
PLIBERSEK: Look I think it was around about the swing that most people expected and that’s certainly brought back at least 10 seats, probably up to 14 seats. That’s a very good result after a very bad loss at the last election. It looks like we’ll hold up to 34 seats off a base of 21 seats, that’s a very good achievement by Luke after a very hard fought campaign.
BRISSENDEN: What about the result for the Greens? Because clearly there is still a challenge, a continuing challenge for the Labor Party in some parts of the state, the inner city areas of Sydney and in the north coast of NSW.
PLIBERSEK: It’s a very interesting result for the Greens because of course statewide their vote hasn’t improved at all, their percentage of the vote across NSW was what it was at the last election. But there are of course seats that look like they might go to the Greens, up to 4 seats, so the concentration of the Greens vote are in the inner city and the north coast.
BRISSENDEN: It’s a challenge though, and particularly for you personally given that much of that Green action is happening in your own seat of Sydney.
PLIBERSEK: I’ve never taken my seat for granted. I’ve always treated it like a marginal seat.
BRISSENDEN: How do you address this? Because you are losing if this is the case and the Greens do win 4 seats, that’s a pretty significant loss to you
PLIBERSEK: It’s a trend that we’ll have to look at but it won’t change anything I do, I have always treated my seat like a marginal seat. I’ve always worked extremely hard in my seat so it won’t change my behaviour at all.