SUBJECTS: By-election 'Super Saturday'.

MONIQUE WRIGHT, PRESENTER:  I’m sure you know by now it’s Super Saturday by-elections today, with all eyes on the seats of Longman in south east Queensland and Braddon in Tasmania. We are joined by Minister for Law Enforcement Angus Taylor and Labor Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek. Good morning to you both. Tanya, we’ll start with you. If Labor was to lose either Longman or Braddon it would be catastrophic for Labor, wouldn’t it?

TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well, certainly, these are seats that we are working very hard to keep – they are very marginal seats for Labor. I’m in Longman today. We’ve only – before Susan won this seat last time round – we’ve only held this seat for three years out of the 20 previous years. Braddon, again, a very marginal seat. We won them both on preferences last time. But we are absolutely convinced that we have the best candidates and the best policies. We’ve been focused on health – restoring funding to hospitals; education – making sure our schools are properly funded; jobs with decent pay and conditions; infrastructure. These are the things that matter to the people of Braddon and Longman, and also Mayo and Perth, and Fremantle. We’ve actually got five by-elections on today.

WRIGHT: Yes. But if you lose, Tanya, will it be the end of Bill Shorten as leader?

PLIBERSEK: I know that people would like us to be talking about ourselves – we’re just not going to do it. What matters to us is what matters to the people who live in Braddon and Longman. That’s the state of their local school. It’s funding for their local hospital. It’s being paid properly. If they work on a Sunday – they give up their Sunday with their friends and family – they should get decent penalty rates. That’s what our campaign has been focused on. That’s what we will continue to fight for. In contrast, you’ve got a candidate here in Longman for the LNP, who’s argued for cuts to health and education. He was part of Campbell Newman’s Government that cut health and education, that sacked thousands of teachers and nurses, lied about his military record. In Braddon we’ve got a candidate who was part of the last Liberal Government in Canberra that was cutting health and education funding. He’s argued for a GST on fresh food. He’s said that people get paid too much. I mean – these are the choices that people will make. Fund our schools and hospitals or give tax cuts to the big banks.

BASIL ZEMPILAS, PRESENTER:  All right, Angus Taylor, Tanya Plibersek has done a good job not making it about Bill Shorten in the minute or so that we’ve spoken. The polls do suggest that Labor are going to win these seats. It will be tight but they will win it. Is that a reflection on Malcolm Turnbull’s campaigning ability? Because at one stage it looked like he might win one or both of them?

HON ANGUS TAYLOR MP, MINISTER FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT: Well, the truth is that history is against us with these by-elections. We know a government hasn’t won a seat from opposition since 1920, almost a hundred years. But look we are hopeful, Basil, because at the end of the day I know that Australians want lower taxes, they want more jobs, they want a stronger economy, they want strong borders. That’s what we are offering. And I don’t believe the people of Braddon and Longman believe Labor’s lies about health and education. The truth is that even the ABC has accepted that there’s record spending on health in Australia and in seats like Braddon and Longman. So, I’m confident. I think ultimately though it is a tough barrier to get over. What’s very clear here, though, is that the drums are beating for Bill Shorten. We’ve got Albo in the wings. I suspect we’ve also got Tanya in the wings – she’s very popular amongst the Labor Party base – and we’ll see how that one plays out.

WRIGHT: There’s a Newspoll out today…

PLIBERSEK: Basil – one minute – what’s really interesting is that Malcolm Turnbull hasn’t even turned up to fight in Western Australia. We’ve got two seats there. Perth with a margin of just 3.3 percent, very winnable for the Liberals. Why hasn’t Malcolm Turnbull even stood a candidate there? And…

WRIGHT: Why don’t you have a seat there, Angus?

PLIBERSEK: …Mayo – that should be the jewel in the crown of the Liberal Party.

WRIGHT: …why aren’t you – why aren’t you putting anyone up there?

TAYLOR: Well, we’ve put out – we don’t have the resources that the Labor Party has with the union movement…

PLIBERSEK: Oh, you’re kidding me.       

TAYLOR: …with huge amounts of dollars and huge numbers of people…

PLIBERSEK: What a joke.

TAYLOR: …so we’ve focused our limited resources where we need to. But look, at the end of the day here, what we’ve got is an important question…

PLIBERSEK: Why don’t Liberals in Perth have a Liberal to vote for?

TAYLOR: …an important question about whether Australians want lower taxes, which I know they do; whether they want the anti-business sentiment that we get from Bill Shorten…

WRIGHT: Well, we haven’t got much time…

PLIBRESEK: Or whether they want their schools properly funded.

WRIGHT: Alright, now, there’s a Newspoll out today that shows Anthony Albanese would record a thumping in both of the marginal seats. Angus, there’s a theory that the Coalition would much prefer for Bill Shorten to be Leader going into the next federal election?

TAYLOR: Well, these are matters for the Labor Party. But, it’s very clear, Monique, that the drums are beating. The drums are beating, and, there are many within the Labor Party – look, I speak to a lot of people within the Labor Party – there are many within the Labor Party that would like to see a change of leadership. There’s no doubt that Bill Shorten’s position has weakened in recent weeks and months…

PLIBERSEK: Our unity and discipline…

TAYLOR: …and it will be very interesting to see how this unfolds over the coming days and weeks.

ZEMPILAS: Angus Taylor and Tanya Plibersek, a happy Super Saturday to you. Good luck to both of you today.

WRIGHT: We wish you both well. Thanks for being with us, we appreciate it.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you.