TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Devonport, Tuesday 17 November 2015

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 
 

SENATOR ANNE URQUHART
LABOR SENATOR FOR TASMANIA

JUSTINE KEAY
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BRADDON

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
DEVONPORT
TUESDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2015

SUBJECTS: Cuts to services in Tasmania

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TRANSCRIPT: Sunday Agenda Sky News, Sunday 15 November 2015

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 
 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
SUNDAY AGENDA, SKY NEWS
SUNDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2015

 

SUBJECTS: Paris attacks, South China Sea, Port of Darwin, the Pacific and climate change.

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TRANSCRIPT: Press Conference, Sydney, Saturday 14 November

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 
 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
PRESS CONFERENCE
SYDNEY
SATURDAT 14 NOVEMBER 2015

 

SUBJECTS: Paris attacks

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC RN Breakfast, Wednesday 4 November 2015

A

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 
 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RN DRIVE
WEDNESDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2015

 

SUBJECTS: Climate Change, the Pacific, GST

 

FRAN KELLY, PRESENTER: Labor’s leadership team will today wrap up its mini tour of the Pacific. Leader, Bill Shorten and Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek have visited several Pacific Island nations to highlight the catastrophic dangers rising sea levels pose to low-lying communities in Australia’s own neighbourhood. This fact-finding mission comes ahead of the Paris Summit on climate change where world leaders will be under pressure to make moves to limit rising global temperatures to below 2 degrees. Labor Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek spoke earlier this morning with our political editor, Alison Carabine, she’s in Kiribati.

ALISON CARABINE, POLITICAL EDITOR: Tanya Plibersek, good morning.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning.

CARABINE: The Tuvalu President, Enele Sopoaga told the UN Climate Summit in Peru that his nation faces the threat of literally disappearing: “it keeps me awake at night: will we survive or will be disappear under the sea?”  From what you’ve seen this week, could that really happen throughout the Pacific, or is it a touch alarmist?

PLIBERSEK: Well yesterday in the Marshall Islands, the Foreign Minister, Tony de Brum, took us out to see, well, where an island used to be, the island of Anebok– an island that had a home on it, a garden, spread fruit trees, palm trees, it’s just literally disappeared into the sea. So, I’m not surprised that Pacific leaders are worried about the future of their nations. We met last night with the President, Anote Tong of Kiribati, who said, “this is all we have: when it’s gone, we are gone with it”, talking about his land. And Ali, the thing that you really notice in both Marshall Islands yesterday and in Kiribati today, was when you fly in you can see these small strips of land, tiny and just barely above sea level, you know you could see how one big wave would wash it away. One you know, very serious storm surge could wash it all away so I’m not surprised that people feel that their future is precarious.

CARABINE: Well yesterday we spoke with the Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, Tony de Brum, and he told Fran about how the normal way of life of locals is being compromised. Drought and floods at the same time, salt water creeping into the soil and into fresh water lakes. Once salt enters the lands, crop production is almost impossible. Kiribati has also bought land in Fiji to produce food, so it’s trying to address its food security. But relocating an entire country is probably the last option, but could it really come to that?  

PLIBERSEK: Well, I hope not and I think this is the responsibility of the global community to keep, you know, warming to no more then 2 degrees. Even at that level, a lot of these nations face very serious and very expensive challenges of preparing for the effects of climate change. You’ve mentioned food security as one of those challenges. We’re going out today to see causeway damage that’s caused by the obviously changed weather conditions and rising sea levels. It’s expensive to prepare for these challenges, it’s seriously going to affect the way of life that you’re describing – the agricultural production is already affected – people don’t know the season to plant and the season to harvest because the weather is so unpredictable. It is a major challenge to the way of life that people have had for generations.  

CARABINE: Now you did mention the 2 degrees temperature target at next month’s Paris climate change talks. Pacific nations want a much tougher target, they want to limit the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees, rather than the 2 degrees preferred by Australia and much of the rest of the world. But will it take the more ambitious target to stop some Pacific islands going under?

PLIBERSEK: Look, I think it’s very important that Australia helps Pacific leaders make their case that even 2 degrees will seriously affect their way of life and the way their people have lived for generations. If we can do better globally, of course that’s better for all of us, not just Pacific nations but for all of us.

CARABINE: So Labor would prefer 1.5 degrees rather than the 2 degrees?

PLIBERSEK: Well we’ll continue to argue domestically that our targets need to be in line with the international agreement that has us at no more than 2 degrees. We’ll base our commitments on the science, and make sure that we reduce carbon emissions in the most efficient way. But certainly here, meeting with Pacific leaders, helping them make their case to the global community, I think that’s a very strong responsibility for Australia as well.

CARABINE: The Federal Government in Australia, in this country, has released its post-2020 emissions targets: 26-28 percent by 2030. You have said that that will put Australia at the back of the pack in Paris but how seriously can we take your criticism when we are still to see Labor’s targets?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we’ve announced a great deal of detail about our policies and we’ll announce more. We’ve said very clearly that we’ve got a target of 50 percent renewable energy. We’ve said that we’ll be guided by the international community at the no more than 2 degrees warming. We’ve said that we’ll use the best science to get there. And of course, you know we’re a long way out from an election; we’ll continue to announce policies between now and the election so people can make a choice.  

CARABINE: But Tanya Plibersek, we’re not a long way out from Paris and we are yet to see Labor’s emission reduction targets. What’s the hold up?

PLIBERSEK: We’re consulting with the global community; we’re looking at what the large nations are doing. But Ali, we’re out there with a 50 percent renewable energy target – that is the best down payment we can make to decarbonise the Australian economy and our own nation.

CARABINE: Tanya Plibersek, if I could just take you finallly to the pressing domestic issue at the moment, the GST. The Financial Review is reporting this morning that a future Labor Government would not seek to unwind any changes to the GST, neither any increases nor any broadening of the base. So if the Coalition manages to legislate the changes, Labor wouldn’t subsequently unpick them. Is that the lesson learned from the 2001 election – rollback is unworkable and would be a flop, yet again for Labor?

PLIBERSEK: Well, let’s deal with the issue from the beginning: we don’t see an increase in the GST as either fair or efficient. The Government has been talking a lot about tax reform. This isn’t reform, it’s just a flat out increase. And it’s an increase that affects lower income and middle income families the most. So, we’ll be campaigning against an increase in the GST, and we’re going to focus on that.

CARABINE: But if the increase is legislated, regardless of how unfair or inequitable it is, it would stay under a Labor Government?

PLIBERSEK: Well I’m not going to get into hypotheticals about what may or may not happen if the Government is foolish enough to pursue this as its centrepiece tax reform.

CARABINE: And if the Coalition wins next year’s election on the back of a GST campaign, would Labor accept that it has a mandate to introduce the changes, regardless of your opposition in the lead up to the election? If it has the mandate, would you not oppose the legislation, the Government legislating the changes in Parliament after the next election?

PLIBERSEK: We’ll do what we’ve said we’ll do. I mean, Look at the things we’ve managed to prevent or mitigate in this term of Government. We’ve managed to prevent pension cuts for full rate pensioners; we’ve managed to prevent $100,000 university degrees. Sadly there are some things we haven’t been able to stop, like the cuts to health and education and the Greens deal with the Government to cut the part pension. But we’ll stand up for our values, and that means, particularly, protecting low and middle income earners from a flat out tax grab.

CARABINE: Tanya Plibersek thanks for joining RN Breakfast.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you, Ali.

 

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC Lateline, Thursday 29 October 2015

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
ABC LATELINE
THURSDAY, 29 OCTOBER 2015

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: We approached the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop but she was unavailable for comment but for a different reaction to the cuts in foreign aid I was joined a short time ago from Cairns by Labor's Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tanya Plibersek. Tanya Plibersek thanks for being there. 

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: It's a pleasure.

JONES: Now, the Fred Hollows Foundation in Kenya lost $5 million, but Australian aid to Africa overall was cut by nearly $200 million. Would a Labor Government restore all of that?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we've already made an announcement that we would increase funding by $30 million a year to the Australian non-government cooperation program, which is the program that Fred Hollows was relying on for that $5 million. $5 million, obviously, makes a huge difference to an organisation like Fred Hollows. They're talking about 200,000 surgeries that they can't do because of this cut and we are determined to restore and increase - indeed, increase funding to the Australian non-government organisations that do such a great job in developing countries.

JONES: It sounds from what you're saying that you aren't committing to restoring the entire $200 million. Much of which was ramped up during a period when a Labor Government was seeking a seat on the UN Security Council. Are people right to be a bit cynical about that?

PLIBERSEK: Well, Tony I think it's impossible to restore in one go the $11 billion, over $11 billion that's been cut from the aid budget. To get to .5 per cent of our gross domestic product in aid funding, as we were on track to do when we were in government, would cost an extra 18 to $21 billion, depending on when we come back into government. It's impossible to do that in one go. The cuts have been so deep from this government that it will take us some time to fully restore the aid budget. But we know that this particular part of the aid budget, which has non-government organisations like Fred Hollows, like CARE Australia, Oxfam, Plan International, doing fantastic work, we get great value for money. We also see Australian citizens being able to donate to those organisations and then the co-funding of the government actually increases the effectiveness of the donations that individuals are making. It's a great way to really see value for money programs delivered across the globe, including in Africa.

JONES: One of the big problems you face is that even when Joe Hockey cut the largest chunk of that $7.6 billion in foreign aid out of his first Budget, opinion polls showed in a very unpopular Budget that was a popular measure. How do you turn around public perception about Australian Aid?

PLIBERSEK: Well, it's interesting, if you ask people how much they think we give in aid, they always overestimate how much Australia's giving in foreign aid. We in fact give a very modest amount. Our target, when we were in government, we almost got there, was .5 per cent of gross national income. We got - we doubled the aid budget when we were in government. We got almost to .5 per cent, but we're now back down at about .22. That means about 22 cents in every hundred dollars. If you asked people what they thought we were giving, you almost always get estimates of maybe 10 times that amount. So it's been popular, I guess, in an environment where people dramatically overestimate what we give. And they dramatically underestimate the value not just to the recipient countries but to Australia itself. If you look at a country, for example, like South Korea, where we were once an aid donor, it's now one of our major trading partners because a little bit of assistance when it was needed has helped build a very impressive economy in South Korea, where we've now got consumers buying Australian goods.

JONES:  Now, when the government cut African aid along with its other big aid cuts, it actually said it was doing that because it was refocusing on the Asia Pacific. Now, that's where you're heading in coming days. Are you going to be offering any guarantees to those Pacific nations about what a Labor Government would do in terms of increasing aid?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I can tell you, they said that they were going to focus on our region but we've seen $110 million cut from our region as well. And I was on a trip with the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop soon after those cuts were announced. Before it was made clear which countries would be hit by the cuts and she assured a number of Pacific leaders on that trip that their budgets, their aid budgets were safe. In fact, that's not been the case. Of course we think that it is important to focus on our region. We have a greater responsibility to people who are in the Pacific because they are near neighbours and because one of the huge challenges they face is the challenge of climate change, and Australians are some of the largest per capita emitters of carbon pollution in the world and our Pacific neighbours are really on the front line of climate change.

JONES: Could I just interrupt you there? On that point, how much damage did Peter Dutton's rather clumsy joke about the impact of global warming on pacific islands do to Australia's reputation?

PLIBERSEK: Well, it's one of the dumbest things I've ever seen an Australian public figure do. And these people are not - they're not worried about what will happen in future because of climate change. They are living it right now. They're seeing storm surges; they're seeing extreme weather events. They are actually making plans in some cases for whole populations to have to move from the countries that they call home, and the insensitivity of Peter Dutton's comment, it's frankly mind blowing and that's how Pacific leaders responded to it; they gave it all the treatment that it deserved.

JONES: Finally, the Amnesty International allegations, are you satisfied the Australian Government did not commit any criminal acts in its sovereign borders operations?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we have supported a Senate inquiry into these allegations. We do think obviously that the Australian Government has questions to answer about the - well, the legality of the actions that they've undertaken. I haven't had the chance to read the full report yet, so I will look forward to doing that, but the reason that we supported a Senate inquiry into suggestions that there had been improper behaviour is to shine a light on exactly what's been done and the legal status of what's been done.

JONES: Tanya Plibersek we’ll have to leave you there, thanks very much for joining us.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you, Tony.

ENDS

SUBJECTS: Foreign aid; Amnesty report.

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Cairns, Thursday 29 October 2015

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
CAIRNS
THURSDAY, 29 OCTOBER 2015

SUBJECTS: Youth unemployment and education in Cairns, the Cairns economy, Amnesty report

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well I’m here today with our fantastic candidate, Sharryn Howes to talk about some of the issues that are affecting Cairns and the region. We’ve been talking - right now - to people who support young people to get into work. Sadly, Cairns has a very high youth unemployment rate that’s just been getting higher under the Abbott-Turnbull Government. So we’ve been hearing from local service providers about what we can do to create jobs in the local community and to better support young people in Cairns and the region to get those jobs, to be work-ready.

JOURNALIST: Is it the worst in the state, Cairns?

PLIBERSEK: Well, it’s equal-worst in the state which is a really sad thing for parents who are worried about their kids getting work when they leave school, and it’s a great frustration for young people themselves who are studying hard, working hard, hoping for a future in the region, who are facing unemployment rates of well over 20 percent when they leave school.

JOURNALIST: Are there any particular policies which you think have contributed to the rise?

PLIBERSEK: Well absolutely. I mean, the economy under Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull has worse unemployment rates now than during the Global Financial Crisis. And on top of those worse unemployment rates, we’ve seen all the services that help young people get work cut. We’ve seen a billion dollars cut from apprenticeships, we’ve seen cuts to vocational education – so TAFE has seen funding cuts. Successful programs like Youth Connections – that had an 80 percent success rate of kids still in work or training two years after they’d done the program – that’s been cut, nothing in its place. We’ve seen, of course, the retreat from needs-based funding for schools that will really badly affect communities here in Cairns. Cuts to multiple schools that will affect the long-term job prospects of young people. And on top of all of that, a hundred thousand dollar university degrees; it’s completely unreasonable to say that we can punish young people into getting a job. That if only you make a hard enough, people will take jobs that just aren’t there.

JOURNALIST: And we’ve done so many stories – I’ve only been here a short time, and how many stories have I done – It’s almost feeling like one a week. So I’d really love to know what you think the solution is? And how quickly do we need to figure this out and just do something about it?

PLIBERSEK: Well, there’s a number of things that we have to do. The first thing we need to do is make sure that the Cairns economy is growing and generating jobs. That means a better economic policy than Tony Abbott or Malcolm Turnbull have got on offer. It means greater investment in infrastructure; it means making sure that Cairns has the jobs of the future, and it means not cutting investment in schools and hospitals and other services. Longer term, we need to make sure that we’re investing in our young people. That starts from preschool and goes all the way through schooling, vocational education and university. To make sure that our young people are equipped for the jobs of the future. It means teaching science, technology, engineering and maths to our young people so that they’re ready for the jobs and industries of the future. And it means making sure that terrific industries, like hospitality and tourism, that Cairns is so famous for, continue to get the support and growth that they need.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

PLIBERSEK: Well I think that every region is unique and Cairns, of course, is unique; it’s an area that has depended a lot on tourism and hospitality, and so when you see an economic downturn across Australia, you see the effect of that very quickly in a community like Cairns. You’ve seen a real slowing of residential and other construction in the area, so you see a lack of apprenticeships for young people in the local community. Yes, it’s a unique community. But some of the approaches that we need to take here are common across Australia. We need to make sure that the economy is growing, not slowing. We need to make sure that we’re creating jobs and the Abbott-Turnbull Government has dropped the ball on that. We’ve got a higher unemployment rate today than during the global financial crisis

JOURNALIST: Do you think it is a lot to do, and solely to do with there’s just not enough jobs, or do you think, you know, social issues also have a huge impact?

PLIBERSEK: Well, the first thing is to make sure there are enough jobs, and there aren’t. We’re actually seeing unemployment increase in Cairns. We’re not seeing job creation keep up with the number of new people entering the labour force. That’s the first and most important thing to fix and Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull have got no plan for that. But there are also social issues. We need to make sure that our young people are getting the best quality education. And for the young people who have got additional problems, we need to make sure that we’ve got services out there that can help them. We know that ice, for example, is destroying families and communities. And yet, we’re seeing cuts to programs that help young people get off drugs. It’s crazy when you see the services that are actually working to help with the issues where we know we’ve got a real crisis in our community – those services are actually seeing funding cuts and further uncertainty.

JOURNALIST: And how soon do we need to start seeing these changes and will you be calling on Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull to fix it?

PLIBERSEK: Well we need to see changes from yesterday. We’re actually in an environment where we’re seeing unemployment increasing, we’re seeing wages stagnating, we’re seeing growth slowing, we’re seeing all of the economic indicators that would tell you if our economy was healthy – they’re all going in the wrong direction. So in terms of our whole economy – the economic growth we need to drive job creation – that’s all going in the wrong direction. And when it comes to services for young people specifically, we’re seeing cuts to education, cuts to vocational education, hundred thousand dollar university degrees, cuts to programs that have successfully gotten young people into work, again, on every measure we’re going in the wrong direction.

JOURNALIST: And are you here discussing this with what kind of representatives, and to do what?

PLIBERSEK: Yeah well we’ve got terrific representatives from local youth services, from vocational education, TAFE, local government – right across the board. All of the organisations that help create a local economy that creates jobs.  We’re meeting with all the representatives of the local community that help with job creation, so, local government, and representatives of local business – I’ll be having lunch with a business round table this afternoon. And, we’re also meeting with people who deal with the most disadvantaged young people as well, to deal with some of the social issues that get in the way of employment, like drug and alcohol use, family violence, homelessness and so on. It’s important that all of those organisations work together but it’s certainly important that they get the help and support of their Federal Government, too.

JOURNALIST: How important is the role of the Northern Australia White Paper in all of this? And [inaudible] .  

PLIBERSEK: Well, we’re very open minded when it comes to the Northern Australia White Paper, but sadly it’s lacking in a lot of detail. We think it’s very important to take a region-specific approach and, you know, a city like Cairns, so far away from Brisbane, of course we’ll have to have specific approaches here and think about job creation regionally, in a regional sense. Sadly the Northern Australia White Paper is pretty short on detail when it comes to what type of jobs, what type of economic investment we can expect in the future. And same goes for this Northern Australia Investment Fund – again, very short on detail. We don’t actually know what it’s going to do, what the criteria are going to be for that investment. Whether it will be a loan that has to be repaid, what sort of projects might be funded. So, of course we’re supportive of an approach that prioritises regional centres, like Cairns, that’s specific to them, but at the moment we’ve heard a lot of talk and not much detail.

JOURNALIST: How many jobs do they need to create through infrastructure, do you have like, an amount?

PLIBERSEK: Well, it depends on how quickly the population keeps growing. What you want to be doing, of course, is creating enough jobs and even more than enough jobs for the growing population of centres like Cairns. And they need to be across the board jobs – hospitality and tourism have always been important here, construction jobs are really important. But also thinking about what kind of jobs people will be doing in 10 years’ time and 20 years’ time, making sure our kids, for example, are learning coding in schools so that they can speak the computer language of the future, so we’re also doing high-tech jobs in regional centres like Cairns.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] Amnesty Report that the Government paid off people smugglers?

PLIBERSEK: It’s only just been released, so I’ll examine the report in some more detail when I’ve had the opportunity to do that. I think it is important for the Government to answer questions about these very serious allegations and Labor in the past, has supported a Senate Enquiry into the allegations that were made, that the Government has paid people smugglers.

JOURNALIST: With that in mind, the idea that the Government has to answer questions, what do you think of Peter Dutton’s response to the report that it was “disgusting”, or “disgraceful”, sorry?

PLIBERSEK: Well, Peter Dutton has gone from being the worst Health Minister in history to the worst Immigration Minister in history.

JOURNALIST: [To Sharryn Howes] So tell us what your input is today.

SHARRYN HOWES, ALP CANDIDATE FOR LEICHHARDT: So today we invited Tanya up to listen to our concerns because youth unemployment in our region is a growing concern, because it is – it’s just increasing rather than decreasing. So, we really need to have effective strategies within our region to address those issues, and particularly expanding our employment. So for example, maybe expanding our aviation industry to be a service hub for the Asia Pacific. Expanding our universities into being the tropical world leaders, because over 40 percent of the world’s population lives in the tropical belt of the globe, essentially. So I think engaging and talking to our locals in the business sector about how we can really create more jobs, but we also need support for our kids because from transitioning from school into employment, there’s no net, a safety net. So I’m finding a lot of kids I deal with through my work, are, they’re just falling through the gaps. They have low numeracy or literacy, they are confused about the system, they don’t want to get Centrelink because they might not want to be, you know, tracked by the Government. So it’s putting more pressure onto their families, excuse me, so yes, in a nutshell, that is pretty much what we’re doing today.                

JOURNALIST: Are people crying out for more opportunities here? Is this becoming an ongoing issue?

HOWES: Yes, look, absolutely. And look, it’s so evident, you know, our unemployment – youth unemployment – is over 22 percent, it’s one of the highest in the nation. Labor does have a policy – the Youth Jobs Connect policy, which will pilot 15 sites. I’m really going to strongly advocate that Cairns in our region is part of that pilot. It’s an effective measure where we have a strong case management approach, to really support our children and to ensure that they have those support needs to be able to transition from school to employment.

JOURNALIST: What’s the future of Cairns going to look like if we don’t?

HOWES: If we don’t, plan to have high increasing unemployment, we’re going to have more social issues, we’ll have increased drug and alcohol and ice problems, and we really need to just step up on it. And look, given that it is Gonski week, we do have a Government who just wants to rip the absolute guts out of our education funding, for our region it means it’s over $288 million in funding cuts to our region. Now the impact that that will have, again on our current situation, will not be any better at all. So, we really want the Turnbull Government to really say, “hey, what’s wrong with investing in our future and our children?”.

JOURNALIST: Do you know if the current figures that you have, the 22 percent unemployment really reflects how bad the situation is? I guess it doesn’t take into account kids that move away to find jobs.

HOWES: Yeah, look my understanding from the data is that there is a mix in the 22 percent, some may be on a disability support pension, to be honest, I don’t know the exact breakdown but it does indicate that we just don’t have enough support services and employment for our kids leaving school.

JOURNALIST: And just 10 years down the track, I just want to hear like, what you envision, if you know we keep saying “22 percent”, next year it might be 25, I don’t know. 10 years down the track, what do you envision if it just keeps sky rocketing [inaudible]?

HOWES: Yeah sure, look I think one; it means a government is not being responsive enough. Two, ideally what I would like to see is a policy – the policy arm of governments at all levels should be actually localised. So you’ve got local policies developed by locals for locals. I think that locals have a better understanding of what goes on in their patch than say, you know, a policy development team down in Canberra who has never stepped foot in Leichhardt. So, look and given that too, that would create more employment opportunities for our locals. Rather than have a blanket approach, have a really targeted approach so our communities can aspire, or meet their aspirations.  

JOURNALIST: Good job, thank you so much.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: Radio Interview, ABC AM, Friday 16 October 2015

commonwealthcoatofarms.png

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC AM
FRIDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2015

SUBJECTS: South China Sea, Overseas aid, Bill Shorten, Malcolm Turnbull 

ABC JOURNALIST, MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: It’s been a big week in domestic politics and in international affairs. This week marked the first week of Parliament for Malcolm Turnbull’s new front bench and two years since Bill Shorten took the job as Leader of the Opposition. Elsewhere Australia’s Foreign Minister was in the US discussing tensions in the South China Sea, Russia’s escalating involvement in Syria and the Dutch report into the downing of MH17. To discuss some of these issues I was joined earlier by Labor’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Foreign Minister, Tanya Plibersek. Let’s start with foreign affairs: do you support the Government’s stand on the tensions around China’s activities in the South China Sea? Beijing was critical of Australia’s support for US plans to sail war ships into the region. It does seem to be getting pretty serious, doesn’t it?

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well I think it’s very important to take a calm approach to an area where there is significant tension. Australia has consistently said that we don’t take sides in any territorial dispute in the South China Sea and that they have to be settled in accordance with international laws and norms. I think that’s certainly a bipartisan position. We also, of course say that as so much of our international trade goes through this region, through the South China Sea, it is important that there is freedom of navigation. We agree that the very fast land reclamation program – not just China but other countries also have engaged in is not particularly productive and really should cease.

BRISSENDEN: What about China’s criticisms though – it’s pretty delicate diplomatically for us, isn’t it?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think we have to take a deep breath. This is an area where there is significant tension between a number of important countries, countries that are important to Australia’s future. We consistently say that we don’t take sides in territorial disputes, we need to of course reassert that. But we also agree that it is important that there is freedom of navigation and movement through in this vital area.

BRISSENDEN: Ok. Well you’re announcing today you intend to overturn the cuts made to Australia aid organisations by this Government of $30 million dollars a year. But there’s been a lot more cut from the aid budget over the years, hasn’t there? Will you restore all of that if you return to government?

PLIBERSEK: Well first of all I want to say that what we’re announcing today is that we will increase funding of the various successful programs where the Australian Government matches funding provided by donors – Australian citizens – through terrific non-government organisations that have great international reputations and terrific success. We’ve also said that we’ll increase accountability and transparency. The $11.3 billion dollars cut by this government from aid has gone along with the worst accountability and greatest secrecy that we’ve seen in the aid budget for some time. The Government has completely got rid of the usual budget time accounting, what’s called “the blue book” and we would restore that including legislating those accountability and transparency measures. We’ve also set money aside for outside contestable advice on the effectiveness of the aid program, particularly as we change from the millennium development goals to the sustainable development goals which were adopted in New York recently. We want to make sure we’re getting maximum aid effectiveness from the money that we invest.

BRISSENDEN: And the broader aid cuts? Because governments of all persuasions have been shaving international aid money.

PLIBERSEK: I think- that’s just not right. We actually doubled the aid budget when we were in government. This government has cut $11.3 billion dollars. It’s now at about 22 cents in every hundred dollars we spend, it’s going down to 17 cents.

BRISSENDEN: So the question is will you restore that?

PLIBERSEK: It is impossible to restore $11.3 billion dollars overnight and frankly we don’t know whether Malcolm Turnbull will make further cuts to our aid budget.

BRISSENDEN: Ok let’s turn to domestic politics. Bill Shorten – two years in the job this week. We all recognise that the political landscape has changed. The polls certainly suggest that Labor has a lot of work to do before the next election. Are you disappointed with where you’re at, at this point?

PLIBERSEK: I don’t know how anyone could be disappointed with 50/50. We are in an absolutely winnable position and I think Bill Shorten should be given credit for getting rid of a first-term Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, the most unpopular Prime Minister Australia has had in generations. That happened because Bill Shorten held him to account and Labor held him to account and it happened because we’ve presenting a positive policy alternative. There’s been, as Bill said at the beginning of the year, a year of ideas and we’ve successfully ended the prime ministership of Tony Abbott. We would have preferred to end it, of course, at an election but I think you have to give Bill credit for that.

BRISSENDEN: Why did you decide to go after Malcolm Turnbull’s wealth so hard this week? With hindsight, was it the right thing to do?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think it’s pretty extraordinary that we’ve got at the moment in Canberra measures to reduce the transparency of the tax affairs of private companies with turnovers of more than one hundred million dollars – that’s been reversed. Labor’s proposals to more fairly tax multinational companies would raise about $7 billion dollars – the Government has rejected that. So you have this pattern of supporting tax avoidance of multinational companies, reducing the transparency around people’s private companies with turnovers more than a hundred million and we’ve got a Prime Minister investing in a notorious tax haven -

BRISSENDEN: But as he points out, he’s not the only one. Bill Shorten, Tony Burke, even you have funds tied up in the Cayman Islands.

PLIBERSEK: Actually, do I? You’ve alleged that.

BRISSENDEN: Well no he has alleged that.

PLIBERSEK: I have no idea where my superannuation invests its money – I’m in the Parliamentary super scheme, I have been since 1998 and I would have to spend hours of my time – that’s not really the point Michael. Ordinary people who have an ordinary superannuation account, like a woman with an average balance of 40 thousand dollars in her super in an industry superfund might have what, $30? tied up in some managed fund in the Cayman Islands. We’ve got a Prime Minister buying into schemes that have a million dollar US minimum buy in, in a notorious tax haven and he’s trying to say, “oh look, I’m just like everybody else – we all do it”.

BRISSENDEN: But is it the politics of envy? Because, you know, clearly he’s been careful with his investments and he’s paying his tax in Australia. After all this time in Parliament, you’d expect his affairs to be squeaky clean, wouldn’t you?

PLIBERSEK: Oh look I have no idea. I just think it is extraordinarily out of touch to say that, you know, a cleaner or a taxi driver, as he said yesterday, you know investing in their superannuation as they’re legally required to do by law, trusting that their, say industry superfund or bank superfund is looking after their money properly should be treated in the same way- or the allegation is that’s just the same as these very large investments in vulture funds, it’s an absurd proposition.

BRISSENDEN: Labor’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Foreign Minister, Tanya Plibersek.

ENDS

 

 

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Sydney, Friday 16 October 2015

commonwealthcoatofarms.png

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY



E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
SYDNEY
FRIDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2015

SUBJECTS: Labor’s announcement on overseas aid 

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well thanks for coming out this morning. I’m very proud to announce today that Labor will increase funding to Australian aid organisations to do the work that they do so well. An extra $30 million dollars a year to these terrific organisations will allow them to better deliver health and education, clean water and sanitation, medicine, medical services, reductions in child mortality, all of the things that our aid program has done so successfully. As well as extra funding, we want to see extra accountability. So I’m also announcing today that in government Labor will continue to publish – or begin to publish again – what’s known as “the blue book”: a full account at budget time of where our aid dollars go. As well as massive cuts to Australia’s aid budget, the Government has also decreased transparency; made it much harder to know what our dollars are doing and where they’re being sent. So I’m delighted today to be able to announce both extra funding and extra accountability and transparency in our aid budget. With the new sustainable development goals replacing our millennium development goals our targets are more ambitious and so our work has to be more ambitious. This extra funding, extra accountability, allows us to meet those new ambitions. 

JOURNALIST: Have you had much feedback from NGOs recently?

PLIBERSEK: Yeah they’re pretty happy!

JOURNALIST: From your announcement, and in the last couple of years from the funding that they have received recently?

PLIBERSEK: Look, I’ve received very positive feedback on this announcement of extra funding for non-government organisations in the aid sector. We know that NGOs do more with every dollar they receive from government funding. They raise money from the Australian public and they work with public and private partners to deliver on the ground. So we think that this is a terrific way of getting maximum value for tax payers’ dollars. I’ve had very positive feedback from the NGO sector about this extra funding and many of them have been speaking to me in recent years about how difficult recent cuts and uncertainty of where those cuts will land have made delivering services. Many organisations have told me about successful programs in developing nations, serving the poorest people that they’ve had to cut because they lost funding. We hope that this extra money will give those organisations the ability to do what they do best: help the world’s poorest people.

ENDS

 

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TRANSCRIPT: Television Interview, Wednesday 14 October 2015

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY



E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
ABC'S CAPITAL HILL
WEDNESDAY, 14 OCTOBER 2015

SUBJECTS: MH17 Report

ABC JOURNALIST, GREG JENNETT: Labor's Tanya Plibersek has also been absorbing news of the Dutch investigation into MH17. We spoke to her about the tragedy, about Syria and the disputed territorial waters of Asia. Tanya Plibersek , the Dutch investigation into MH17 has told us what happened, do you think we'll ever know by whom?

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well this investigation was designed to be conclusive about what actually happened to the plane and I think the evidence is overwhelming that the MH17 was tragically shot down by a BUK missile system. It’s identified around 320 square kilometers from which the missile was fired. This investigation wasn’t designed to determine who fired the missile, that will continue to be the subject of an international criminal investigation and I think that’s completely appropriate. This investigation should continue until the people who fired the missile are held to account.

JENNETT: Is it plausible the Russian explanation that the particular type of BUK missile is an older type, not one that the Russian military currently has and that it may well have been operated by Ukrainian authorities

PLIBERSEK: Well I think the Russian position on this report that it’s not a credible report, that it has been politically motivated is not right. I think this is very clearly a credible report conducted by the international community, led by the Dutch and it’s disappointing to see Moscow trying to undermine the value of the report.

JENNETT: Well still on Russia we have the AUSMIN  talks happening in Boston, the question of Syria has obviously come up there and our military mission. Do you think Russia’s airstrikes in Syria, should in any way cause Australia to rethink its role in the Middle East and specifically in Syria?

PLIBERSEK: Well the first thing to say of course is that a monstrously complex situation has just become even more complex. The Russian interest in Syria is I think one that we should be concerned about, certainly any support for the Assad regime that has killed more than 200,000 of its own citizens is deeply concerning, there are credible reports that the Russians are not just attacking IS but also attacking moderate forces that are opponents of the Assad regime. So yes of course the situation as it becomes more complex needs to be reevaluated.

JENNETT: [inaudible]  Australia possibly pulling back because the Russians are operating militarily in those skies now?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think we need to take their involvement, the Russian involvement, into account when we're making operational decisions and I'm confident that our defence personnel can do that. I think it's also very important to be clear with Russia that any attack on moderate forces opposed to the Government, the Assad Government is not something that we can support or tolerate.

JENNETT: Now let’s go closer to our own region again off the AUSMIN talks in Boston, there seems to be an agreement for expanded naval cooperation with the US and with Australia, what message would that send to China?

PLIBERSEK: Our message to China has always been that we don't take positions on territorial disputes in the South China Sea or indeed the East China Sea, but that any difficulties should be resolved in accordance with international laws and norms. That said, I think our region is looking on with some consternation at the rate of building, the artificial islands, expansion of tiny specks of rocks in the ocean to become more substantial land masses. And indeed it seems some military type construction on some of these islands. So, while we don't take any position on territorial disputes we would certainly urge a halt to the building and land reclamation activities that we've seen not just from China but from a number of other countries as well.

JENNETT: But if the implication coming from the AUSMIN talks are that more Australian naval ships and that maybe more US naval ships are going to be moving in the South China Sea, are you saying that's OK, that's just us exercising our rights?

PLIBERSEK: Let’s see what the specific proposal is, of course Australian ships and US ships and the ships of any other nation have the right to traverse international waters in accordance with the usual the laws and norms, let's just see what the specific proposal  is before we start commenting.

JENNETT: And the US navy pulling into port more often in Australia, possibly having some more fixed facilities in Australian ports too? What would be the attitude to that on Labor's side?

PLIBERSEK: Again, we don't deal with hypotheticals when talking about issues of such importance, we have a long, strong and close relationship with the United States, one of our most important allies but I'm not going to deal in hypotheticals  

JENNETT: And just finally on China still,  is the ALP open to the idea of rejecting the China free trade agreement if its three suggested amendments can't be negotiated or agreed to by the Government?

PLIBERSEK: Well I certainly hope it doesn't come to that, we are great supporters of increasing our trading relationship with China, indeed we were negotiating this free trade agreement with China when we were in Government. We would like to see a good quality agreement that delivers jobs for Australians, we'd ask for some very sensible reassurances that Australians will benefit from the jobs created, that the pay and conditions of the workers will be appropriate and the skills and training of the workers will be appropriate, they're not unreasonable conditions.

JENNETT: Alright Tanya Plibersek, thank you.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you, Greg.

ENDS

 

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop Interview, Parliament House, Wednesday 14 October 2015

commonwealthcoatofarms.png

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
PARLIAMENT HOUSE
WEDNESDAY, 14 OCTOBER 2015

SUBJECTS: MH17 Report; ChAFTA; Israel attacks

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning and thank you for being here this morning. I wanted to make a few comments about the report released overnight by the Dutch authorities into their investigation of the downing of MH-17. This will be a sad and a confronting time for the families and friends of those who lost their lives tragically when MH-17 was shot down. 38 Australians, 298 people, lost their lives in this tragedy. I hope the report that was released overnight gives some comfort to the families and friends of those who lost their lives. This is a serious and a credible report by the Dutch authorities that shows clearly that a Buk missile system is responsible for the downing of MH-17. It gives further information that the people onboard MH-17 were unlikely to have had any inkling that this was upon them. This report, of course, doesn't apportion blame. It identifies the fact that this is a Russian missile system. It identifies an area of around 320 square kilometres from which the missile was fired but it doesn’t say who fired the missile. We are very concerned to ensure that continuing criminal investigations hold to account those responsible for firing this missile. This is a crime on an enormous scale and the memory of the victims demands that investigations continue into who was responsible for firing the missile. Any questions on this?

JOURNALIST: What action would you like to see from Russia moving forward?

PLIBERSEK: Well, in the first instance I think the Russian Government and the makers of this missile system should stop pretending that this is a politically motivated investigation. This is a very serious and credible report. We, of course, have seen the leadership of the Dutch authorities in this instance but there's been an international team investigating this issue, including Australians, and the Russian Government should not, for a moment, pretend that this is not a credible report.

JOURNALIST: How confident are you that the criminal investigation will lead to prosecutions?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I can't answer in terms of how confident I am. What I can say is it's necessary that this criminal investigation continue, that the Russian authorities should urge every cooperation from separatists working in the Ukraine that they have contact with. That the Ukrainian Government, of course, continues to offer its support and access to the area that needs to be investigated and that the international team do their very best to bring those responsible to justice.

JOURNALIST:  The report has been quite critical of Ukraine for keeping the air space open over a conflict zone. How much responsibility does Ukraine have to take for this?

PLIBERSEK: I think the report has made a number of suggestions about overflying of aircraft in conflict zones and I think it's important that the international community take note of those suggestions. The report's also made some suggestions about passenger lists and how information about passengers should be better collated so that it is more quickly available at a time like this, a time of crisis. I think it's important that the international aviation bodies take note of these additional suggestions and, of course, that countries in conflict consider the lessons learnt.

JOURNALIST: On the China free-trade agreement the union has vowed to continue their campaign against the deal regardless of the [inaudible] that Labor is proposing. How damaging will this be for diplomatic ties with China?

PLIBERSEK: I think it’s important to say that Labor has always supported a free-trade agreement with China. We were involved in negotiating the free-trade agreement with China when we were in Government but we want an agreement that delivers good jobs to Australians and we’ve been working with the Government in recent days to iron out the areas of difference between us. We believe that the legislation supporting this agreement can give us the reassurances that would say that good quality jobs are offered to Australians and that their pay and conditions don’t undercut local workers so that this agreement can proceed. I think that questions for the union moment are questions for the union moment and I’d add that my colleague Penny Wong will be making further comments about the free-trade agreement later this morning on doors on the Senate side.

JOURNALIST: Should the union movement back down?

PLIBERSEK: Well that’s a matter for the union movement - what I’d say is that Labor has always been a party that supports greater trade because we know that there are jobs in exports.  I did also want to make a few comments about the outbreak again of hostilities in Jerusalem and in Israel more generally and the Palestinian Territories. We’ve seen in recent days the loss of three lives, 20 people injured and continuing escalation of conflict. Australian’s greatest hope and greatest interest is in a peaceful resolution of these conflicts and we would certainly urge the parties to do all they can to restore peace. It is a tragedy after so many lives have been lost in Israel and the Palestinian Territories in recent years that we would see any additional loss of life. So we strongly urge the parties to sit down to negotiate and for this type of conflict to end.

ENDS

 

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