THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST
WEDNESDAY 22 AUGUST 2018
SUBJECTS: Liberal leadership crisis; Labor ready to govern.
VIRGINIA TRIOLI, PRESENTER: Alright let's go back to Canberra where Michael is now joined by the Deputy Labor Leader, Tanya Plibersek. Michael.
MICHAEL ROWLAND, PRESENTER: I am indeed Virginia. Good morning. Let's go straight to Tanya Plibersek. Good morning to you. Thanks for joining us on News Breakfast.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning.
ROWLAND: What's your take on what's unfolding on the other side of politics this morning?
PLIBERSEK: Well, it's chaos and while chaos reigns, the country is ungoverned. We now don't have an energy policy, we don't have a climate policy, we don't have a tax policy. We have got a Government at war with itself and that is bad for the country and it's bad for Australian families.
ROWLAND: How do you see this playing out? Of course having lived through yourself Labor leadership spills in the past, would you expect Peter Dutton to come back for the Prime Minister as early as this week?
PLIBERSEK: Oh look I can't really guess what's happening in the Liberal Party internals. It seems to me that that's where it's headed. But the truth is it doesn't really matter whether it's Malcolm Turnbull or Peter Dutton or some other candidate, the problem is the policies. This Government, in five years, does not have an energy policy to bring down bills, a climate change policy to bring down pollution. They have cut health and education, their one point economic plan, the company tax cuts for big business, has failed. What they have been doing for five years and what's their plan for the future? That's the question.
ROWLAND: Is the Labor Party preparing for the possibility of an early election? Are you ready to go, if for instance, either Malcolm Turnbull or Peter Dutton pull the trigger pretty soon?
PLIBERSEK: We're ready. Whenever the Government calls an election, we will be ready. We're ready to campaign and ready to govern.
ROWLAND: Candidates selected, all ready to go?
PLIBERSEK: We are - we are ready to go. There's - you know, couple of little things that we'd like to tighten up, but we are ready to go.
ROWLAND: Do you see that as a realistic possibility?
ROWLAND: A pre-Christmas election?
PLIBERSEK: Yeah, I do. But look, the question is - are we ready to campaign? Yes, we are. Are we ready to govern? I think that is the much more important question because at the moment we have got a Government that's been in power for five years and I think most Australians would struggle to point to a single positive achievement in those five years. In contrast, we have used those five years to prepare our policies for Government. We got a plan for bigger tax cuts for low and middle-income earners, tax cuts for business that keep investment in Australia. We have got a plan to bring down energy prices and bring down pollution. We will reinvest in health and education, the things that make a big difference in people's lives. That's what matters.
ROWLAND: Just take a step back and look at the big picture as somebody who lived through the Gillard-Rudd circus and all the leadership spills there, looking at the prospect of yet another Prime Minister being rolled, how have we got to this place in Australian politics, this short termism? This revolving door in the Prime Minister's office, and importantly - and this applies to both sides - how do we get out of it?
PLIBERSEK: Well I think we have certainly learned our lesson. What you have seen from Labor in the last five years is unity and discipline and a focus on the policies that will make a difference to people's lives. I think it's sad that those opposite haven't learned that Australians are very intolerant of political parties that focus on themselves instead of focusing on the best interests of the people they represent.
ROWLAND: Yeah but there was a fair bit of that as well on your side pre the Super Saturday by-elections, to be honest?
PLIBERSEK: No I don't think that's fair. I think there was a little bit of media speculation driven by media organisations that wanted Labor to lose, not people who were interested in Labor winning. And I think you have got to say that over the last five years, under Bill Shorten's leadership, we have been united, we have been disciplined, we have been putting forward the better policies and what you saw from the Super Saturday by-elections is we have got by far the better candidates too.
ROWLAND: OK. We'll see how this week plays out, Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Labor leader, thank you for joining us on News Breakfast.
PLIBERSEK: Thank you. It's a pleasure.