THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
WEDNESDAY, 1 FEBRUARY 2016
SUBJECTS: The Liberals’ $30 billion cuts hurting Australian schools; US immigration ban.
TANYA WILKS, PRESENTER: Tanya Plibersek is in the region today and we just want to have a quick chat to her before we go, to find out what she's doing. Good morning, Tanya.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning, Tanya! Hi Steve.
STEVE G, PRESENTER: You'll never get enough, Tanya, I'm telling you. Now, why the visit?
PLIBERSEK: Well, a couple of reasons. This morning I'm visiting St Mary's Catholic College at Gateshead and that's really to see the great work that they're doing at the school. Pat Conroy, my colleague, their local Member, has told me it's a wonderful school and he wanted me to see what they're doing. And that's an opportunity for me not just to see their great work, but to remind people that over the next two years alone, the Central Coast and Newcastle region will lose $140 million from schools unless the Federal Government commits to fully funding schools and properly funding schools. So we'll be campaigning on school funding as well. And then this afternoon I'm going to Wyong because it's Medicare's 33rd birthday and my colleagues Sharon Claydon, Mike Freelander and Emma McBride will be talking all day to people about their experiences with Medicare - the fact that bulk billing rates are falling, the fact that some GPs and pharmacists are saying that the changes the Government has made is putting Medicare under a great deal of pressure. So we're celebrating Medicare's birthday and also saying we need to protect Medicare for the future.
WILKS: We've been curious ourselves with this whole Donald Trump thing going on, Tanya. How do you feel about Malcolm Turnbull's, I guess lack of chat about it?
STEVE G: Fence sitting, almost?
WILKS: Yeah it feels like that. Would you approach it differently? Would you be more outspoken? Or do you think he's playing it coolly and cleverly because there's a few deals on the table?
PLIBERSEK: Look I think it's really important to say that our friendship with the United States, the American alliance, is very important to Australia's foreign policy. But that doesn't mean we have to be silent if our friend does things that we don't like. And we've seen the German Chancellor, we've seen France, Canada, and the UK all say, for example, that this visa ban on some countries is unacceptable - it's a discriminatory sort of policy that they're very critical of. I think it would be well in-line for Australia to say, "you know, America: great friend, but we don't think you're doing the right thing in this instance". Good friendship allows for that sort of criticism. It's not a counterproductive thing to do, it's a very important thing to do.
STEVE G: Is there a course, Tanya, where politicians can go and learn the line, "I don't need to run a commentary on that"? Is there an actual course where, "here's one you can say and that means you don't have to say anything"?
PLIBERSEK: We practice in the mirror every morning.
WILKS: Look it's great. We would have loved more time with you, but we know you've got to get to St Mary's, so thank you so much for your time, and hopefully we'll see you again in our region soon.
PLIBERSEK: Looking forward to it, thanks very much.
STEVE G: And thanks for coming - haven't seen Malcolm since the election.
TRANSCRIPT: KOFM Newcastle, Wednesday 1 February 2017
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