THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
WEDNESDAY 17 OCTOBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Liberal dysfunction, Pauline Hanson One Nation motion, Israel Embassy move, Wentworth by-election
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well, this is one of the most chaotic and dysfunctional weeks we've seen so far this year, and it's only Wednesday. I mean, this week, we've seen a government that voted in favour of a Pauline Hanson One Nation motion that included white supremacist language. We then had senior Ministers tweeting in support of that motion and then pretending that they voted for it by accident. We have a Prime Minister who's making foreign policy on the run; overturning 70 years of bipartisan foreign policy - hoping to win votes in the seat of Wentworth - not thinking about the Australian jobs that he's imperilled with his actions. You can see from the reaction in our region and across the Middle East to Australia's announcement how this puts Australian jobs at risk, and we see also in the reaction in Israel that people are concerned that they are being used for domestic political purposes here in Australia.
Well I think the voters of Wentworth are too smart to support a government that thinks Donald Trump's foreign policy is a model; and I think the voters of Wentworth see right through a government that, first of all, votes for then doesn't vote for, pretends it voted by accident for a Pauline Hanson One Nation motion that includes white supremacist language. What we need in Australia is a government that is focused on the needs of the Australian people, not focused on itself. We need a government that has the national interest at heart, not self-interest and that's what Labor's offering. We're offering a government that is focused on jobs with good pay and conditions for Australians. We're focused on rebuilding our health and education. We're focused on an energy policy that delivers lower power prices and lower pollution. We're focused on an economy that works for all. That's Labor's focus and that's why we are saying to people of Wentworth, people of Australia that - put your trust in us, not in the divided, dysfunctional rabble opposite. Any questions?
JOURNALIST: What's the mood in the - Wentworth. Is Kerryn Phelps the main alternate candidate there, is Labor still a chance in that seat?
PLIBERSEK: Well, I've really enjoyed campaigning in Wentworth with our fantastic candidate, Tim Murray. He's a very impressive man. He's very impressive in his professional life, he speaks Mandarin, he's worked in China, he's built up businesses. He's also very impressive in his community involvement, he's the President of the Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club - as a local dad, who doesn't have to commute in from Turramurra to campaign in the electorate. I'd say he's a terrific candidate but I saw the polling that you're referring to, today, that suggests that Kerryn Phelps is way ahead of the Liberal candidate in Wentworth. Now, you've got to take with a grain of salt, don't you, polling that is leaked by the Liberal Party. This is obviously a tactic to scare people who are usually Liberal voters, who want to send a protest vote because they're still mystified about why Malcolm Turnbull is not the Prime Minister and not the Member for Wentworth. The Liberals are trying to scare those voters into voting Liberal this time, as well. I can tell you when I've been handing out on the pre-polling, when I've been campaigning in the electorate of Wentworth, I've had so many people walk up to me and say; "I've voted Liberal all my life but not this time, what they did to Malcolm Turnbull was appalling and, frankly, this, this other guy - Scott Morrison doesn't impress me one little bit; and I think after this week, using Australian foreign policy, risking Australian jobs for what he perceives will be a short term benefit in Wentworth - it shows just how unfit Scott Morrison is to be Prime Minister.
JOURNALIST: If Kerryn Phelps does win Wentworth, what does that mean for this Parliament?
PLIBERSEK: Well, it means that people have sent a very strong message to Scott Morrison that the division, the dysfunction, the self-interest, the infighting, the back biting that has become the modern Liberal Party is not acceptable.