THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
AM, ABC RADIO NATIONAL
FRIDAY, 22 AUGUST 2014
SUBJECT/S: Bill Shorten addressing claims; National security legislation.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Tanya Plibersek is Labor’s Deputy Leader and she joins me now. Tanya Plibersek welcome to AM.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER: Michael, how are you?
BRISSENDEN: What do you make of the decision to go public, it certainly would have come as a shock to most Australians wouldn’t it?
PLIBERSEK: Well I think it would have surprised many people that Bill has outed himself as the person that The Australian reported several months ago there was an investigation about. But it is important of course when such serious allegations are made that the police do thoroughly investigate those allegations and having seen that process completed now I think Bill thought it was time to hopefully put a line under this.
BRISSENDEN: How is it going to play out politically because Parliament is back next week, do you expect it will divert debate at all?
PLIBERSEK: Michael, I’m not a political commentator I think that’s really a question for someone else. This has been a very serious allegation, like any serious allegation it should have been thoroughly investigated by the police. They have taken some months to investigate it. They’ve spoken also to the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Victoria to confirm that there is no case to answer here. I think that does really need to be the end.
BRISSENDEN: Okay I know he says he wants that to be the end of it as well, but online is where this allegation first surfaced. Do you fear that this may be driven further by a non-mainstream media campaign?
PLIBERSEK: Well I don’t think any of us can control what’s said on the internet.
BRISSENDEN: Clearly there is a lot of chatter out there that will continue, I guess you have to find a way to deal with that somehow.
PLIBERSEK: Well Michael I don’t know, I don’t read that sort of stuff. I think we’d all go mad if we read and believed everything that’s on the internet.
BRISSENDEN: Did he and the Labor Party need to clear the air on this at this stage well before an election?
PLIBERSEK: No, Bill didn’t need to address this at all. He was not named in the original report, he could have carried on without ever expressing the fact that this report was about him. But you can imagine that it’s taken a significant toll on his family and he thought now that the police investigation is concluded it was a good time to say it was me – ‘I’m not hiding behind spin doctors and so on. I put my hand up, it was about me, but the police have thoroughly investigated as they should’ve and they’ve found that there’s no case to answer’.
BRISSENDEN: Do you expect the woman will continue with her claim?
PLIBERSEK: I couldn’t begin to speculate.
BRISSENDEN: Okay. On other matters the Prime Minister has been meeting with Muslim leaders this week trying to win their support for the planned changes to the terrorism laws. Would you urge the community to support those laws?
PLIBERSEK: Look I think it’s very important that David Irvine the head of ASIO was out yesterday saying that these laws are not about targeting any particular community. They’re about keeping Australians safe from potential acts of terrorism. We are very fortunate that we’ve been able to keep Australians safe but we shouldn’t ever be complacent about threats overseas. On the other hand it’s also very important – I mean one of the reasons terrorists behave in the way they do Michael is because they want to strike fear into people’s hearts, and we’ve been a free and functioning democracy. We can’t change the way we behave as Australians to behaving in a fearful way because of terrorist events overseas. So we need to find a balance. There’s a first lot of laws that the Parliamentary Committee that I’m on, the Intelligence and Security Committee is examining at the moment. We’re methodically examining those laws. The Prime Minister announced recently that he wants to introduce a second tranche of laws but we haven’t seen any of the details of those Michael. So we’d need to look at them, examine them methodically and make sure that they do help our security agencies do their job but they don’t change our Australian way of life.
BRISSENDEN: Do you agree with the Prime Minister when he says we need to remain vigilant and that these laws do that and that if we don’t beheading such as in Iraq could happen here in Australia at the hands of terrorists?
PLIBERSEK: I don’t know which laws he’s talking about because he’s made an announcement that there will be new laws but he hasn’t drafted them yet. So when those laws are drafted Labor will examine them closely and see whether they do assist the national security agencies do their work. The national security agencies do very important work, we are very supportive of the work they do. We want them to keep Australians safe but I have to say that we balance that against behaving fearfully. I don’t want terrorists to change the way that I live as an Australian.
BRISSENDEN: Okay Tanya Plibersek thanks for joining us.
PLIBERSEK: Thank you Michael.