THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
ABC RADIO SYDNEY WITH WENDY HARMER AND ROBBIE BUCK
FRIDAY 22 JUNE 2018
SUBJECTS: Jacinda Ardern’s baby.
WENDY HARMER, PRESENTER: Well I did see a very cheeky message on Twitter yesterday, from Tanya Plibersek, the Deputy Opposition Leader, Federal Labor Member for Sydney since 1998, and she cheekily tweeted that perhaps Tanya would be a very good name for the new baby in New Zealand, for Jacinda Ardern's bub. So I thought I would get her on to explain herself. Hello there Tanya.
TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hi Wendy, hi Robbie.
ROBBIE BUCK, PRESENTER: Morning Tanya.
HARMER: So did you get a reply?
PLIBERSEK: No, not yet. I think they might be a bit tied up, what do you reckon?
HARMER: But I did see a long text too from Helen Clark, really lauding this is a real big moment for women in leadership. What do you think?
PLIBERSEK: I think it really is. And you've been reporting on the ABC that Jacinda Ardern is only the second woman national leader who's had a baby while in office. I think the other one you said was Benazir Bhutto. So it is a terrific thing for women but most particularly for them as a family. I've obviously met Jacinda many time over the years because we've got a good relationship with the New Zealand Labour Party and I'm just delighted for them as a family.
HARMER: That's right. Well people were saying well she'll be back to work in six weeks. Is that possible? But then we've got Clarke Gayford looking after the baby?
PLIBERSEK: I think it was about six days before I had my staff bringing work to me at home after each of my babies, so I'm absolutely sure she'll be able to do it. And she's an adult. She can make those decisions. I'm sure she'll deal with it in the best interests of her baby and her. But I'm absolutely confident that she'll have no trouble.
HARMER: The point Helen Clark is making is sending a great message to young women around the world that this is possible.
PLIBERSEK: One thing I would say is political jobs are kind of different because you can't get someone to act for you long term. I don't want every woman to think that there should be pressure on her to be back at work within six weeks’ time, and the reason we did paid parental leave is because we know that that time with your new baby, establishing breast feeding, getting that lovely closeness that you get in those first few months, hunkered down a little bit at home, that is a beautiful thing and we shouldn't for a second say that that's the wrong thing for women to be doing. We want them to have that opportunity. But our jobs are a little bit different. You can't have someone acting for you too long term. It is, in the end, your responsibility, and she's very lucky, she's obviously got a fantastically supportive partner, and what I was able to do with our first child, my husband took six months off. He brought baby Anna to Canberra. We managed and you've got a lot of extra pressure in these types of jobs but you've also got a lot of extra flexibility. I used to be able to feed Anna during meetings and I think with probably Louis I'm sure I breastfed him in a Minister's meeting actually one time. You just manage, right?
HARMER: Well it's all, it's nice news, isn't it? It's really something to celebrate on the political scene. They don't come along all that often. Thank you very much for joining us this morning, Tanya.
PLIBERSEK: It's a pleasure.
HARMER: And we will wait to see whether that bub is in fact called Tanya.
PLIBERSEK: It was an ambit claim.
HARMER: Worth making. Good day. Thank so much. Tanya Plibersek there, Deputy Opposition Leader, Federal MP for Sydney of course.