TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST WITH VIRGINIA TRIOLI
THURSDAY, 16 MAY 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s stable and united team; Liberals fighting with Nationals; Liberal in-fighting; Labor’s positive policies; housing affordability; fake news.
VIRGINIA TRIOLI, HOST: Tanya Plibersek, good morning and the seat of Higgins - how confident are you feeling that the Labor Party might be able to wrest this seat from the hands of the Liberals.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well, it's extraordinary that we're even competitive in Higgins as you said in your introduction, Virginia. It is a seat that has traditionally been 100 per cent Liberal and the fact that we are competitive there has a little bit to do with our fantastic candidate, Fiona McLeod - a distinguished lawyer, made a huge impact in Victoria and nationally with her work in the past. It's got something to do with the united and disciplined team that we have had for six years, not for four weeks of the election campaign, but for six years. And it's got a lot to do with our policies. People are ready to vote for change. They want real action on climate change, they want power prices down and pollution down. They want better investment in schools and hospitals, TAFE and university, pensioner dental, cancer care, early childhood education, free or cheaper child care, they want the same or bigger tax cuts for 10 million working Australians and they understand that we have some unaffordable tax loopholes at the top end that benefit multinationals and millionaires and that we can better use that money to invest in the services that people rely on. So it's very interesting that today's pitch, you have got two leaders, you’ve got Bill Shorten saying, "Please vote for change", and you got Scott Morrison saying, "Vote for more of the same." I think that really encapsulates where this election campaign has been. Real change versus more of the same cuts and chaos.
TRIOLI: Interestingly, though, even some Liberal insiders are now telling me that Saturday is looking like it's going to be a boil-over for Labor. That is potentially, though, a perception problem for you, isn't it, and a danger that if people think it's that much of a whitewash for you, that the swing goes back the other way?
PLIBERSEK: This is a very close campaign. I have campaigned in, you know, I’ve lost count but well over forty seats, many of them I’ve visited on several occasions. I do understand that this is a very close contest. There's been a lot of scare campaigns, there's been a lot of misinformation - look, frankly lies told about Labor policies. But I think there is a very strong mood in the electorate for change and, I mean, yesterday you had Josh Frydenberg on your program who couldn't answer why Malcolm Turnbull’s no longer the Prime Minister. This morning I was listening on the way in to talk to you to Barnaby Joyce talking about, you know, how the Coalition might be off and you’ve got Barnaby Joyce fighting Tony Abbott fighting Jim Molan; and Scott Morrison trying to keep a lid on all of this by not allowing any of his ministers or any of his candidates actually out in public to speak to the media. You’ve got Clive Palmer calling the shots from the back of his yacht. It's chaos and I really hope that people understand that a vote for the Liberals, a vote for the Nationals, a vote for Clive Palmer is a vote for this chaos to continue.
TRIOLI: I wanted to ask you about a comment made by the Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen, which is getting some play on ABC websites this morning. It was a comment he made actually to Triple J's Hack about it being okay for home owners and younger home owners, in particular, to slip into negative territory - negative equity, when it comes to the equity they have in their homes? Do you agree with that and is that a good message to be sending out when Labor is trying to present itself as the party that has strong economic credentials and can look after the housing market even when you're proposing major changes to it?
PLIBERSEK: Look, I'm sorry, I didn't hear the comment, but what I'd say is this: We have, for six years, been saying that we want first home buyers be able to afford a property of their own. We have got a plan to build 250,000 additional affordable rental properties. We’ve got a plan to build new homelessness support services, $88 million for emergency accommodation. We have a plan for housing. The only thing the Liberals have is a scare campaign and, you know, on the one hand you got Scott Morrison saying he wants to help first home buyers. He knows, when he was Treasurer he said that there were excesses in negative gearing, that helping people buy their 10th or, you know, 30th investment property is not as important as making sure that first home buyers have a level playing field. Our negative gearing policy won't have-
TRIOLI: Tanya Plibersek, if I can - apologies for me jumping in, but I do want to direct you to the substance of that comment itself and notwithstanding the fact you didn't hear a quote, as a principle do you agree it's an okay thing for young home owners, for the value that they have in their home for that to slip into negative equity, is that a good thing, do you agree?
PLIBERSEK: It's obviously not desirable and I don't think anybody would say it's a good thing. I don't think anybody would say it's a good thing. I can't comment on-
TRIOLI: Chris Bowen says it was an okay thing.
PLIBERSEK: Well, I think if you hold on to your property and it recovers in value, that's a different proposition but obviously it's not a good thing for anyone to owe more than their property is worth; and you would seek to avoid that. And I think it's, you know, if you - if this comes from Scott Morrison's plan to help people have 5 per cent deposits on their properties, we see this as a modest measure around the edges of home ownership and housing affordability. What we really need to do to help first home buyers into the housing market is stop subsidising people buying their 10th or 20th investment property to compete with first home buyers at every auction that they're attending.
TRIOLI: I want to take you back to a point that you made at the start of our conversation which is about the scare campaigns and the fake news that's been around during this campaign and that certainly has been. The scare campaign around so-called death duties by the Labor Party, which as we know is a false one and has very interesting origins actually.
TRIOLI: How damaging has that been and have you managed to counter it?
PLIBERSEK: Look, Virginia, I'm so glad that you know that this is just a big, fat lie. I think's very instructive that mainstream media are not at all running this as a story, but on the internet, there is just so much crazy stuff going on. It's disturbing that some Liberal and National MPs have picked up this scare campaign, the death duties, pretending that it's Labor policy. We’ve got - I'm off to Gilmore today - down to Nowra, I believe Warren Mundine down there has been saying that if you renovate your home, you're going to have to put in an electric vehicle charging station. There's some crazy stuff out there. All we can do is present our positive vision for change, real action on climate change, better investment in health and education, the same or bigger tax cuts for 10 million working Australians, and hope that the scare campaigns are recognised for what they are. It's a very important reminder that we have to have a strong and independent media in Australia as well to call out these lies.
TRIOLI: Tanya Plibersek, we'll leave it there. Thanks for joining us and thanks for all the times you have joined us during the election campaign.
PLIBERSEK: Thank you, Virginia.