THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
TUESDAY, 15 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECTS: Liberal leadership.
LISA WILKINSON, PRESENTER: We’re joined by Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek. Good morning to you.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hi Lisa.
WILKINSON: You’re reaction this morning?
PLIBERSEK: Well, we’ve beat Malcolm Turnbull once, we can beat him again. And I think it’s very important to acknowledge that Bill Shorten has seen off Tony Abbott, he has seen off one Liberal leader and he will see off the next one.
WILKINSON: Did Bill Shorten see him off or was it his own party that saw Tony Abbott off?
PLIBERSEK: The reason that the Liberal party moved against Tony Abbott was because the Labor Opposition have held this Government to account. It has been two years of bad government. Two years of cuts to health, cuts to education, cuts to pensions, and no direction for the country. Unemployment going up, taxes going up, debt and deficit going up. The only thing that is going down is confidence. So we have, I think successfully, prosecuted that with the Australian people. It made Tony Abbott’s position untenable, and Malcolm Turnbull swooped. And he’s been planning this for some time, Lisa.
WILKINSON: The Labor Party has to be very careful about being smug though, we have lived through the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years and that had plenty of broken promises as well.
PLIBERSEK: Well I can tell you there were plenty of Liberals during our leadership instability, including Julie Bishop, including Malcolm Turnbull, talking about how dreadful it was to see that sort of instability. And it’s true, it is actually really bad for the country. They’ve gone there themselves within two years. It’s extraordinary.
WILKINSON: What do you think the Australian public’s reaction is to all of this?
PLIBERSEK: Well I think they will very quickly see Malcolm Turnbull for what he is, which is a man who is very ambitious, but he’s ambitious for himself. He is not ambitious for our country. He is a man who has been behind the scenes, incredibly indiscreet. He’s been talking to anyone who will listen about how he is going to be Prime Minister again. He’s indiscreet and he’s absolutely about himself, not about our country. He sat around the same Cabinet table as Julie Bishop and Tony Abbott, he’s been part of all of these same decisions. The only thing that he had actual responsibility for, the NBN, has been a disaster. It’s doubled in cost, it’s slower, it’s old technology, so I don’t know that Malcolm Turnbull’s got such a lot to point to, to differentiate himself from Tony Abbott.
WILKINSON: It’s no secret that Bill Shorten would have preferred to be going to the next election against Tony Abbott, he’s got a bigger fight on his hands against Malcolm Turnbull.
PLIBERSEK: I don’t think so. I mean, you look at the sort of things that Jeff Kennett has been saying, that Andrew Bolt has been saying. These are died in the wool Liberals, Liberals through and through and they are saying Malcolm Turnbull is only about Malcolm Turnbull. He is not about our country, and I think if you see, not just Liberal supporters but people who are Liberal in every cell of their being, saying that they can’t vote for Malcolm Turnbull, I think that’s a real problem. And you think, Malcolm Turnbull is said to appeal to the middle ground, but all of the issues that he talked about as appealing to the middle ground, he’s given up on those. He used to talk about climate change, he said about this Government’s policy that it was a fig leaf to cover up inaction on climate change. Well he’s adopted that policy. He said a few weeks ago that he wanted a vote on marriage equality in this term of Parliament, he’s adopted Prime Minister Abbott’s proposition that it should be a $150 million dollar vote, sometime off in the never never. He has sold out all of the things that made him appeal to the middle ground. But he doesn’t have the support of the conservatives in the Liberal party either.
WILKINSON: Alright okay, Tanya Plibersek we will have to leave it there. Thanks very much for your time.
PLIBERSEK: Thank you Lisa.