TRANSCRIPT: ABC Capital Hill, Monday 4 July




SUBJECTS: Labor's positive plan for Australia; division and disunity in the Liberal Party; Federal election.

TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: We're in Penrith today saying thank you to the voters of Western Sydney for the faith they've shown in Labor, the trust they’ve put in us. It's still very close; we don't know what the outcome will be over the next few days. As you know there's a number of seats yet to be decided or declared and there's a chance that we could form government. We certainly have...

GREG JENNETT, ABC CAPITAL HILL: What's your view on that, though? Is it worth trying to? Or is more damage inflicted in trying to hold these unholy alliances, for want of a better word, I know it's not an alliance. But there is risk attached, isn’t there, in trying to stand up a minority government on those sorts of numbers?

PLIBERSEK: Well, there's a real risk of letting the Liberals run the country again. We're interested in good quality jobs with proper pay and penalty rates. We’re interested in properly funding our school education system, in protecting Medicare. We absolutely need to fight for the Australians that have put their faith in us and we will do that to the best of our ability. Of course...

JENNETT: Does that mean you would negotiate your policies away or are they all set in stone from your point of view? In order to win the necessary support you would have trade off, wouldn't you?

PLIBERSEK: We've gone to the Australian people with a more comprehensive agenda than any opposition in recent years. We've laid out our policies and we'll stick to our policies. We think we've got the right formulation for the Australian people. I think the results on Saturday show that many, many Australians agree with us. Certainly in contrast to what Malcolm Turnbull was offering, which was a $50 billion tax cut that mostly went to foreign investors, we’ve talked about the things that matter to Australians - good jobs, decent healthcare and education and they're the policies we'd be pursuing. But I think the truth is it's too early to be talking about any of these things. We've laid out our policy agenda; we've run a great campaign. Yes, of course, we're talking to cross benchers but these things are very uncertain over the next few days.

JENNETT: And we've heard your leader Bill Shorten talking about all of the instability created. He lays the blame at the feet of Malcolm Turnbull in changing the Senate electoral laws. It is a reality though, isn't it, as you look at the Senate that we're going to get that they are not going to be inclined to pass that which is controversial. So if they don't like it the chances of you holding up your platform in its entirety would be much diminished, wouldn't it?

PLIBERSEK: I think the chances of the Government, the Liberal/National Government that we had just a week ago getting through its agenda in the new Senate is pretty slim. We, of course, will be talking to cross benchers both in the House of Representatives and the Senate to see whether we can pursue our agenda. We'll be working with anybody who is open to working with us. We've ruled out coalition of course, governments, but we are very keen to see how the next few days unfold and to offer the Australian people stability and certainty based on the 100 positive policies that we've made very clear over recent months.

JENNETT: Do you detect in the mood of the electorate as it was expressed on Saturday, a desire that you are actually serious about some of the things Bill Shorten's talking about - putting up olive branches to the Coalition and trying to work with them on something – an end to some of the stunts that Parliament has become accustomed to?

PLIBERSEK: I think we're very clear that we have worked cooperatively with the Government on a number of important issues during this last term of government. Obviously the things that we co-operate on don't get as much coverage as the things that we disagree on. That's a feature on the way our media environment operates. But for example we had a lot of good co-operation on some of the national security and intelligence laws and resourcing of our agencies. That's just one example where the, our changes to legislation proposed by the Government were agreed by the Government in recognition that our changes were only improving what they had proposed in the first instance. We believe that there is, of course, a desire amongst the Australian people to see real progress and co-operation and I think Labor's the best placed party to offer that. The Liberals are tearing themselves apart. We're already hearing yesterday and today, the right wing of the Liberal Party coming after Malcolm Turnbull and coming after Julie Bishop. The internal recriminations have been absolutely exploding.

JENNETT: Tanya Plibersek, let's see what the counting brings over the next few days. But for your thoughts thanks so much.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you.