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
SKY AM AGENDA WITH KIERAN GILBERT
WEDNESDAY 22 AUGUST 2018
SUBJECTS: Liberal Leadership Crisis; Peter Dutton Ministerial history; United Labor team.
KIERAN GILBERT, PRESENTER: Let’s get back to our top story now and the Liberal dramas. With me from the perspective of the Labor Party is senior figure, the Deputy Labor leader, Tanya Plibersek. And it's hard not to smile from your perspective, I guess, in a political contest view, this is almost laying out the red carpet for Labor, isn't it?
TANYA PILBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well, it's not good for the country. We're not happy about this sort of instability because while the Government is unstable, they're not governing in the best interests of Australia. It hurts the country and it hurts Australian families. This Government has been around now for five years. Their one economic policy, the big business tax cuts, has gone. They don't have an energy policy that will bring down bills. They don't have a climate policy. Cuts to health and education stand. We are worried about the country. So, we're not excited by this.
GILBERT: Because disunity is death, as we've said so many times over the last decade or so. It seems it is Groundhog Day and as the Daily Telegraph reported today on its front page and do you think that there is a way that they, you know, Eric Abetz says if they get the policies right, they can move forward, but for Labor, I guess, it’s maintaining the unity which is key?
PLIBERSEK: Absolutely, Labor has been united and disciplined for five years and that's why we've got the better policies out there. You saw on Super Saturday that we've got the better candidates. We are ready to campaign and we are ready to govern. But, I agree with Eric Abetz, in that this is about policy and it's about the complete lack of ability for the Government to deliver its - any policies, really. It's pretty hard to think of a real win or a real improvement that this Government has made. Their childcare changes are chaotic, the cuts to aged care are biting, cuts to TAFE - all of that is really bad, and I think the problem with a switch to Peter Dutton is – look, not many people know who he is, they don't know his name, they don't really know his face, but they know his handiwork. They know, for example, that when he was Health Minister he presided over the $50 billion of cuts to hospitals in the 2014 budget. He is the Health Minister who launched the Medicare privatisation task force. He is the Health Minister that tried to get the GP co-payment in. He tried to increase the cost of all medicines. He cut hundreds of millions from dental care, from mental health, from preventative care, including the anti-smoking campaigns, like-
GILBERT: But he is also seen as an effective Minister. You look at most recent history in terms of border protection and Home Affairs, does he have respect for that?
PLIBERSEK: He was voted by doctors as the worst Health Minister in forty years. And look, border protection, have a look at the Cambodia deal. How much did we spend? Tens of millions of dollars re-housing three people. He won’t accept-
GILBERT: So you are not worried about a Peter Dutton leadership?
PLIBERSEK: Well, I tell you, we are ready to campaign on the issues. We've got tax cuts that give millions of low and middle income Australians almost twice the tax cut that the Government is offering them. We've got business tax cuts that funnel new investment into Australia, that keeps the money here-
GILBERT: But it sounds like, you've launched into Dutton's record as Health Minister and that is fair game, he is obviously will be scrutinised for all his time as a Minister, fourteen years on the frontbench, but it sounds to me like Labor is preparing for a Dutton Prime Ministership, if you’ve come out all guns blazing against him this morning on that?
PLIBERSEK: Well, we are ready to put our case to the Australian people about why people should vote for us, for Bill Shorten and for a united Labor team. It doesn't matter who we're facing. We will make the case about our tax policies, our climate policies, our energy policies to bring down bills, our health policies, our education policies, because we have a vision for the nation.
GILBERT: Mr Dutton this morning has articulated some more of his vision, saying that there needs to be a Royal Commission into the energy companies and fuel companies and the GST should be removed from some power bills for some consumers. What are your thoughts on that? Are they worthwhile issues?
PLIBERSEK: Well, I honestly, I think he is, I think he is reaching around for anything that he thinks will be popular. He voted against the banking Royal Commission. The Liberals and LNP have always supported privatisation in the electricity markets, and right now Peter Dutton is supporting Government policy that cuts hundreds of dollars a year from pensioners with their energy supplement. He has voted to cut pensioners' energy supplements. He has voted to protect the banks from the Royal Commission. He has supported electricity privatisation. What's new? What's new here is that he wants to appear like he is in touch with ordinary Australians. Well, how about they get an energy policy that actually works to bring down bills, instead of reaching into the back pocket and pulling out something that is un-costed and un-thought through?
GILBERT: All right, Tanya Plibersek, we're out of time. Deputy Labor Leader, we will talk to you soon. Thanks for that.