TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop Interview, Saturday 20 June 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
SYDNEY
SATURDAY, 20 JUNE 2015

SUBJECTS: Iran; Relationship with Indonesia; National security; Tony Abbott’s royal commission

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks for coming out this morning. There are a couple of things that I wanted to discuss today. The first is our relationship with Iran, and the second is Australia’s relationship with Indonesia. Going first to Iran, we’ve seen once again leaked reports from the Government about Australia’s security and international relations. Here we have Iran, a country that has had a difficult relationship with Australia and indeed a difficult relationship with the rest of the world, reports in the newspapers suggests that Australia might be downgrading its travel advisories for Iran. It might be making a number of other changes to our relationship with Iran if Iran is to take back unsuccessful asylum seekers. Now it’s extremely concerning that Australians are learning about this, once again, through a leak from Cabinet, and it’s also extremely concerning to imagine that Australia might trade off our travel advisories for another reason- bargain with our travel advisories. The Government needs to explain very clearly if there are any changes to the travel advisory warning to Iran, what has prompted that change, what’s changed on the ground that would make Australians any safer when visiting Iran.

Turning now to the relationship with Indonesia. A couple of years ago, the then Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, said that the relationship between Indonesia and Australia had never been better. In recent weeks we’ve heard Indonesia say that our actions have reached a new low. Before coming to government, Tony Abbott said that his foreign policy would be more Jakarta, less Geneva. In fact, we’ve seen our relationship under unprecedented strain. About ten days ago, the Foreign Minister and the Immigration Minister flat out denied that people smugglers had been paid to ferry around asylum seekers. They weren’t prepared to repeat that denial this week in the Parliament and indeed the Prime Minister gave every indication that in fact this may have happened. It is extraordinary that the Australian Government would be offering an incentive for people smugglers to ply their vile trade, and extraordinary that the relationship with Indonesia has reached such a low point. Any questions?

JOURNALIST: So do you think it’s reasonable for Indonesia to assume that people smugglers payments have been made?

PLIBERSEK: Look, I can’t comment on whether this has happened or not. We’ve seen a lot of footage, interviews with the people smugglers themselves, with the crew on the ship, the Indonesian police and so on, but a proper investigation should take place in a situation like this. What is extraordinary is that we have the Foreign Minister and the Immigration Minister flat out deny it and then the Prime Minister seemed to indicate that this may have happened. After all their talk of taking the sugar off the table for people smugglers, we now have a government putting the sugar on the table.

JOURNALIST: Do you want the Government to come out and admit they’ve done wrong?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think they need to explain to the Australian people exactly what’s happened here.

JOURNALIST: Obviously it’s quite concerning that the Indonesians are putting these allegations out, how do you think Abbott should actually be replying to this?

PLIBERSEK: I think it’s important to understand; Indonesia is one Australia’s most important strategic and economic partners. It’s a fast growing economy, directly on our doorstep directly to our north, and having a good relationship with Indonesia is important for our economic growth into the future, but it’s also important for security. It is absolutely vital that the Prime Minister does what he has to to get this relationship back on track.

JOURNALIST: How are you responding to Bill Shorten’s wife being [inaudible] in the Royal Commission?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think it’s truly extraordinary to see some of the reporting that’s coming out of the Royal Commission. Bill Shorten has said all along that he is prepared to cooperate with the Royal Commission, in fact he’s asked to be able to go to the Royal Commission earlier than he was called to answer any questions that they might have for him. So I mean- he’ll go to the Royal Commission and they put to him whatever questions they choose to. It would be excellent if that were done as quickly as possible so we can get on with the important issues that face us as a nation. We’ve got of course these troubled relations with our nearest neighbour to the north, we’ve got these extraordinary suggestions that we are downgrading travel warnings for Iran for a deal to do with asylum seekers. There are of course issues that face us as a nation that we’re being diverted from.

JOURNALIST: And in relation to- you were saying they leaked this information, that is quite concerning that again you think they’re being leaked.

PLIBERSEK: This Government’s whole approach to national security bears a great deal of scrutiny. As we say, this most recent story on Iran again seems to be a leak. We’ve had the Prime Minister talking about withdrawing Australian citizenship from Australians. None of that information has been given directly to the Australian people. For about 18 months now, the Government has been floating this idea, this thought bubble, that they might revoke Australian citizenship from Australians who fought overseas. About 18 months they’ve been talking about it, and there is still no legislation before the Parliament. What is even more extraordinary is that no legislation has gone to Cabinet, no legislation has gone to the national security committee of Cabinet, when asked about it, the Prime Minister has suggested that only two Ministers have seen legislation. We have suggestions legal advice from the Solicitor General that such legislation might not be constitutional and might be subject to High Court challenge. This is a mess. And what we’ve got is Tony Abbott out there demanding bipartisanship from Labor when there’s no legislation to scrutinise, when his own Cabinet are leaking against him, when we’ve had six Cabinet Ministers expressing their concerns coming out of the first Cabinet meeting where this was discussed, when there’s no agreement from the Government about what the proposal entails and no legislation to examine. We have been talking about this quite long enough, the Prime Minister should release draft legislation to be examined. Labor has said all along that when it comes to national security, we put the interests of Australia first. We are determined to do what’s in the best interests of Australia to keep Australians safe. When other pieces of national security legislation have been released, we’ve endeavoured to be bipartisan. Those pieces of legislation have been improved by examination by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Security and Intelligence. The same scrutiny should improve any further legislation. Of course, if the Government says to us that they are interested in updating Australia’s national security legislation so that people who would have previously lost their citizenship because they fought with an army of a nation with which we are at war, updating those provisions to include non-state actors like Daesh, ISIS, ISIL, whatever you want to call it, then we’ve said we’re inclined to support such a measure. If the legislation goes beyond that, it would be very important for the Prime Minister to release it so that it may be examined properly by the Parliament.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible] problem passing the legislation of revoking citizenship, where do you think he’s gotten this idea from if you’ve found lots of legal experts to say it’s not a good idea?

PLIBERSEK: I think it’s important to note that six members of his own Cabinet have objected to the idea so far. That there is no draft legislation that’s been circulated either to the Cabinet, to the national security committee of the Cabinet, to the Parliament, there’s been no details discussed with Labor. The Solicitor General and the former independent national security legislation monitor have raised questions about the legislation as it’s been described by the Government. We can reduce confusion and increase people’s feelings of security by releasing the legislation so that it can properly examined by the Government’s own legal advisers, by the Parliament itself, by the relevant Parliamentary Committee and really, I would have thought most importantly to the Prime Minister, by his own Cabinet and his own national security committee of the Cabinet. It is extraordinary that the Prime Minister- he’s said all along that this legislation will be introduced before the Parliament rises and so far we’ve seen nothing.

JOURNALIST: Tanya, there’s been polls suggesting that you would make a more preferred Opposition Leader. Do you have your sights set on the leadership anytime in the future?

PLIBERSEK: I have my sights set on being part of a great Labor team. Thank you.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC Lateline, Monday 1 June 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
MONDAY, 1 JUNE 2015

SUBJECTS: Marriage equality; Joan Kirner

STEVE CANNANE: Labor Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek seconded that private member's bill on marriage equality today and she joins us now in our Canberra studio. Tanya Plibersek, thanks very much for joining us.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hi, Steve. How are you?

CANNANE: I'm well, thanks. Now why was this private member's bill introduced today? Why didn't you wait and why didn't Bill Shorten wait until you had a co-sponsor from the Government?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think same-sex couples in Australia have been waiting an awfully long time, Steve, and in fact our whole community has been ahead of our Parliament. The Parliament's been dragging its feet. I wrote to Liberal and National MPs about 14 months ago asking one of them to co-sponsor a bill with me. In 14 months I've had not a single response. I've spoken to individuals, I've chased them up and all of them have said to me, even the supporters of marriage equality in the Liberal and National party rooms, which I know there are a number, have said that they could not co-sponsor a bill with me or with Labor until there was a decision for a free vote in their party room, but there could be no decision in favour of a free vote until there was legislation before the Parliament. So we've had a stand-off, a classic catch-22.

CANNANE: Okay, so you wrote to them 14 months ago, but since the momentum shifted with that Irish referendum, have you gone back to them? Have you got on the phone, for example, to Warren Entsch, who I would've thought would've been the obvious candidate to be a co-sponsor?

PLIBERSEK: And indeed, that's why Bill specifically approached Warren at the end of last week. I offered to stand aside as the seconder if we could get a Liberal or National MP to co-sponsor because my interest in this is just getting it done. And of course Warren is an obvious person because he was in the media last week speaking about this, and of course, I'm very pleased to see that he's said today that he'll work with Bill on either this bill or another one like it. But, as I say, I mean, it's been us chasing Warren Entsch and I'd be delighted if he were able to come to the table and say he's able to co-sponsor this bill.

CANNANE: Okay. Well the Prime Minister says he understands legalising same-sex marriage is important, but the coming parliamentary week should be about implementing the Budget and Warren Entsch has said that he thought he would have a draft bill ready by August. It seems like you may only have to wait a couple of months?

PLIBERSEK: Well, Stephen, it's extraordinary to say that Warren will have a draft bill ready by August. I mean, this bill is only a few sentences. It does the simplest thing in the world. It changes the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman to being between two people. And, in addition to that, it specifically says that no church will be forced to solemnise a same-sex union. Two very simple propositions. It would take you five minutes to read the bill that we've got before the Parliament. Nobody on the Liberal or National side have said that there's anything wrong with this bill as it stands, and, I mean, I'm perplexed at why it would take months to draft a different bill. I think it's also important to say- you mentioned that the momentum has changed. The Irish referendum has done something very important: it's reminded Australians that we are one of very few countries like us that have not taken this step. About 22 countries, Ireland most recently, New Zealand, UK, I think about 38 states in the United States, many European countries around the world have taken this step and it is extraordinary to say that we have to wait months, many more months again when this has been before the Parliament for 14 months now and for years in one form or another.

CANNANE: So, do you believe Tony Abbott should grant a conscience vote on this issue?

PLIBERSEK: Yeah. I think it's a very important step for the Liberal party room to allow people who are supporters of marriage equality to express that support publicly.

CANNANE: So, why do you think they should have a conscience vote in their party room when you don't want a conscience vote in your party room? You're taking it to conference, I think, next month that you want a binding vote on this.

PLIBERSEK: Well, I'll tell you, Steve, I have always said on this that it is an issue of legal equality, of being able to say that we will not discriminate against one group in our community. We will not deny them the legal protections and status that marriage brings, nor the social recognition that it brings. But a conscience vote in the Liberal party room would be a big step forward for the Liberal and National party rooms. It's a big advance on where they are now. And I've also said from the very beginning what interests me, Steve, is the outcome of this debate, not the tactics in Parliament, not the toing and froing about who's going to sponsor which bill when. We are interested in getting this done and today was a historic step forward because we've had, for the first time, the leader of a major party taking this proposal to the Parliament.

CANNANE: Now, there has been seemingly a big shift in your party. Five senior Labor right MPs who voted against same-sex marriage in 2012, Wayne Swan, Chris Bowen, Tony Burke, Joel Fitzgibbon and Ed Husic are now supporting marriage equality. What do you put that shift down to?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think they've been listening to their communities. The last public polling we saw on this had 72 per cent of Australians in favour of marriage equality. It takes people a while to get used to what is really a big social change. I understand that people have to think it through, talk to their communities. But as they've got used to the idea, as they've had more discussions with the people that they represent, I think many members of Parliament have learnt that the Australian community is ahead of the Australian Parliament on this issue.

CANNANE: So, have they listened to polling rather than argument?

PLIBERSEK: No, I think they've listened to their constituents and that's one of our jobs here in the Federal Parliament, Steve, is to represent the people that put us here.

CANNANE: Okay, do you think the Marriage Act will change by the end of the year?

PLIBERSEK: I very much expect so and I think it could happen a lot sooner than that. The simple thing that has to happen is for Tony Abbott to grant the Liberal and- Liberal members of his party and the Nationals to grant a conscience vote, and once that conscious vote or free vote is determined, then I think this has a very good chance of passing the Parliament very quickly. And I'd also say that this nonsense that you mentioned earlier about how we should be focused on other issues and this is too much of a distraction- we agree that the economy is the most important thing facing us as a nation. We agree that the last budget that increased debt, increased the deficit, increased taxes, increased unemployment and smashed confidence is the main thing that we should be debating at this time. But the idea that we can't do an economic debate and a social debate at the same time is nonsense.

CANNANE: Now, before I let you go, news broke tonight that the former Victorian Premier Joan Kirner has died. She was the first female premier of Victoria, the second female premier in Australia behind Carmen Lawrence. What are your thoughts on the passing of Joan Kirner and her contribution to public life?

PLIBERSEK: Well, she'll be deeply missed by her very many friends and her very loving husband and family. She was a great leader. She and Carmen Lawrence obviously both broke political records, being female premiers at a time when they were really trailblazers. But it wasn't just Joan's work as Premier and her work before that as Education Minister, it was what she did after she left Parliament that was so important too. She was a friend, she was a mentor to many women. And I don't think we've got two Labor governments that have basically equal numbers of men and women on their frontbenches today. I think it's the work of Joan Kirner, Emily's List, the organisation she helped found, and the great number of her friends and supporters that have made those big advances for women possible in this country.

CANNANE: Tanya Plibersek, we'll have to leave it there. Thanks very much for joining us.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you, Steve.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC 774 Melbourne, Monday 1 June 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
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC 774 MELBOURNE
MONDAY, 1 JUNE 2015

SUBJECTS: Marriage equality; Dual citizenship

RAFAEL EPSTEIN, PRESENTER: Tanya Plibersek is the Deputy Opposition Leader, thanks for joining us.

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

EPSTEIN: Why not work more closely with the Coalition on this issue and ensure that what you want happens?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I wrote to all Coalition MPs fourteen months ago asking for one of them to cooperate on a bill that would actually do what we have suggested, and that’s change the definition of the Marriage Act to being between two people rather than a man and a woman. In that fourteen months, no Liberal or National MP has come forward and the reason, Rafael, is despite the fact that many of them support marriage equality, there could be no movement from individual Liberal or National MPs until this issue had been debated in their partyroom, until there was a decision in their partyroom to allow a free vote. Now, what Liberal and National MPs have told me was that it wouldn’t be debated in their partyroom until there was a bill before the Parliament. So there was an absolute impasse here, a catch-22-

EPSTEIN: Can I ask if people said that to you since the Irish referendum?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we were speaking to Liberal MPs last week and offered for one of those Liberal MPs or National MPs to cosponsor this bill today. So we have spoken to them, yes since the Irish referendum offering bipartisanship on this legislation or indeed, as I say, for fourteen months previously.

EPSTEIN: Do you think the votes are there? Putting aside what might or might not happen in the Liberal partyroom, are there enough MPs in the Lower House for this to become reality?

PLIBERSEK: Well, you can’t put aside what will happen in the Liberal party room because unless there’s a free vote, no there won’t be enough votes. But if there’s a free-

EPSTEIN: But if there’s a free vote?

PLIBERSEK: Yes, I do think so. I mean, I’m obviously a much greater expert on how Labor Party MPs are going to vote than I am on how Liberal MPs are going to vote. But people in the Liberal Party tell me that there are large numbers of people who would like to vote for marriage equality and indeed many of those people have been public. Some have privately expressed that view to me. On the Labor side, we’ve got a lot of people who voted in favour of the existing definition of marriage the last time this issue came before the Parliament, who have now said very publicly that they would change their vote this time around. If there’s a similar trend in the Liberal and National partyroom then I think there’s no question that this will pass.

EPSTEIN: The Prime Minister said a number of times last weekend this week that it’s not a priority for this session of Parliament, the Budget is, national security is. Have you got any sympathy for that? They are things that matter to very many people.

PLIBERSEK: I agree. I think that of course our main focus as a nation has to be on the safety of our citizens, our economic prospects as a country, but the notion that the Parliament can’t deal with more than one thing at a time is nonsense. We very regularly have many pieces of legislation before the Parliament and we are able to consider all of them simultaneously. This bill’s been introduced today, it will be debated over coming weeks and the idea that we can’t think about this great and important social change at the same time as legislating for our economic future and for national security is nonsense.

EPSTEIN: It’s also about short-circuiting the issue from Bill Shorten, isn’t it? It stops you making this a policy issue for the ALP.

PLIBERSEK: I don’t really buy that argument. Like I say, it has been fourteen months since I last wrote to Liberal MPs offering to be bipartisan on this issue. Both Bill Shorten and I have been on the record many occasions saying that we are supporters of marriage equality. We both voted in favour of marriage equality last time this was before the Parliament. This is an issue whose time has come and if anything has changed in the last few weeks it’s the momentum that the Irish referendum has given the debate in Australia-

EPSTEIN: There’s definitely momentum but it’s a better look, isn’t it, for an Opposition Leader to be doing this than to be arguing with his Deputy about whether or not MPs in Labor could no longer have a conscience vote on this issue? That’s a much better place for Bill Shorten to be, isn’t it?

PLIBERSEK: Yeah, I think that’s a pretty cynical way of looking at it, Rafael. He’s a man who has supported marriage equality in the past very publicly who’s now the Leader of the Party saying this is the predominant position in the Labor Party on marriage equality. I think that’s a great thing, because it gives weight and substance to this argument in the Parliament- that the Leader of a major political party is prepared to put his name to such a bill. It certainly means that we can build on the momentum from the Irish referendum and say this is a change whose time has come.

EPSTEIN: Do you think the change will come by the end of the year? What’s your prediction?

PLIBERSEK: Yeah, I do. I mean, the only thing we’re waiting on really is for Tony Abbott to allow his MPs, many Liberal and Nationals MPs, who want to vote in favour of marriage equality to do that, and now there’s a bill before the Parliament. I frankly don’t see how they can delay having this debate in their party room. There’s been one excuse after another. I mean, Senator Leyonhjelm will tell you there were Coalition MPs urging him to introduce his bill because that would have prompted a debate in the Liberal partyroom and it didn’t do that sadly. Now, that we’ve had the Leyonhjelm bill, we’ve got a bill from a major political party, the Labor Party, it’s pretty hard to see how the Liberals and Nationals can continue to avoid having this debate inside their own party room when there are so many Liberal and National party supporters of marriage equality.

EPSTEIN: 1300 222 774 is the phone number. You are hearing Tanya Plibersek, the Deputy Opposition Leader, working with Bill Shorten, Shadow Cabinet. Tanya Plibersek, before you go, just on counterterrorism and citizenship, the Government put forward a simple principle for you to support. You can’t be in an army fighting Australian forces overseas, they want to extend that power to those with terrorist groups fighting those who are with Australia, who are allies with Australia. That’s a pretty simple proposition to back, isn’t it?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think the proposition that if you’re fighting with the army of another country and you lose your Australian citizenship that that proposition might be extended to non-state actors is certainly something that we’re very prepared to consider but of course we are interested in the further proposals that the Government have alluded to that have been the cause of so much controversy in the Liberal Party and National Party Cabinet.  We’ve had not just leaks from Cabinet but- it reads more like a transcript from the Cabinet meeting that discussed this, and indeed there have senior members of the Government’s national security committee who are alleged to have said they are not supportive and have been critical of the proposal. So it’s a little bit hard to be confident to talk about these debates and issues of principle when even members of the Government’s national security committee express concern.

EPSTEIN: Now, they’re united around dual citizenship, that question, can’t Labor put forward some simple backing to the Government on that? If you’ve got two citizenships, we’ll take one away if you’re fighting with a group like ISIS?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think our Shadow Attorney-General’s been very clear that we understand the parallels that are being drawn between people who are- lose their citizenship because they fight for the army of another country and people who lose their citizenship because they fight for a non-state actor particularly where Australia’s in conflict with that non-state actor. That’s a principle that we’re very prepared to look at. What we’re more concerned about are these additional proposals that involve potentially leaving people stateless. And the reason that we’re a bit nervous about that is because frankly, when you’ve got half a dozen members of the Government’s own Cabinet including members of its national security committee saying that it’s a bad idea, well, we really do want to read the fine print on that one.

EPSTEIN: Tanya Plibersek is the spokeswoman on foreign affairs for the Labor Party, she’s the Deputy Labor Leader as well. Tanya Plibersek, thank you.

PLIBERSEK: Thanks, Rafael.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop Interview, Tuesday 2 June 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
TUESDAY, 2 JUNE 2015

SUBJECTS: Joan Kirner; Marriage equality; South China Sea; Iraq

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Yesterday we heard the sad news that Joan Kirner had passed away after a long and difficult illness. Joan is someone that is held in great affection and esteem in the Labor Party. She’s been a soldier for the Labor Party for many years. Before entering Parliament, she was a teacher. She went on to become Education Minister and of course the Premier of Victoria through some very difficult times. Like many Labor MPs, when she left Parliament, Joan didn’t leave politics. She established with many other women an organisation called Emily’s List which has made a huge difference to the number of women in Parliament and also I’d have to say I don’t know whether we’d have two state Labor governments that have 50/50 representation of women on their front bench if it wasn’t for the efforts of Joan Kirner. Joan, as well as establishing Emily’s List-  lived its motto every day. Joan’s motto, Emily’s List’s motto was ‘when women support women, women win’. And she was always so quick with a phone call or an SMS when she saw you on TV or heard of an initiative that we were doing, she was always so quick to ring and offer a word of support and encouragement. That was true for me personally, but I know that I’m one of many, many, many women who Joan mentored and supported and showed friendship to throughout her life. She’ll be deeply missed by her Labor family and of course even more deeply missed by her own family and friends. It’s a very sad day for us to have lost Joan Kirner.

Just on another matter, the Liberal Party this morning will be meeting to discuss its legislative agenda over coming weeks and months and I’m very hopeful that they will discuss marriage equality. I was delighted to hear Sarah Henderson on the radio this morning saying that she had listened to her community and was a supporter of marriage equality and is keen to show that support in our Parliament. I know that she is one of many Liberal and National MPs who are supporters of marriage equality who would be very pleased to debate this in the Federal Parliament and indeed vote in favour of marriage equality. There is now a bill before the Parliament and it’s important that that bill is discussed by the Liberals and Nationals. We’ve already said that if there are Liberal and National MPs who want to be involved in cosponsoring that bill, we’d be delighted for bipartisanship. I wrote to Liberal and National MPs fourteen months ago asking for someone to cosponsor such a bill in the Parliament and Bill has said that he is delighted to work with Warren Entsch or any of the other Liberal and National MPs who want to come forward because this is a change whose time has come.  But it can only go through our Parliament when all parties have the opportunity of voting for marriage equality. Any questions?

JOURNALIST: There are reports this morning [inaudible] disputed islands over the South China Sea, is that something that Labor’s [inaudible]?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we have sought briefings from the Government about the escalation of tensions in the South China Sea. Of course, we take no position on the territorial disputes in question, but we do say that it is important to have freedom of navigation and freedom of flight through an area that is an extremely busy trading route, an area that Australian vessels have been traveling through for many years. We urge the parties of course to use international laws and norms to settle any disagreements about sovereignty and of course, it is important that this area remains open to trading. The very best thing for our region is if all the countries in the region- is continue to grow economically, to trade freely and to live in peace and harmony.

JOURNALIST: You stopped short yesterday of backing Kevin Andrews’ call for China to halt reclamation activities on some of those [inaudible]. Do you stand by that or do you think it’s a good idea [inaudible]?

PLIBERSEK: I think it’s important to say that we don’t have a position on any territorial disputes but that we are all interested, Australia has a very strong interest, in seeing peace in our region because the most important thing that we should be focusing on, Australia and countries in our region, is economic development that will raise millions of people out of poverty.

JOURNALIST: So do you think China should halt land reclamation?

PLIBERSEK: Well, as I say, we don’t have a position on any of the territorial disputes but it is plainly making some of China’s neighbours anxious, and I think it’s a matter for China and those neighbours to settle peacefully using international laws and norms.

JOURNALIST: What do you think of the latest Newspoll showing Tony Abbott ahead of Bill Shorten for the first time [inaudible]?

PLIBERSEK: Well, like I say, we don’t listen to polls day to day- I’ve got no particular view on it. We’ll go out and keep holding the Government to account. We’ve now got a budget that brings over all of the unfair measures from last year’s budget and adds to that higher debt, higher deficit, higher taxes, higher unemployment and a smashes of business confidence.

JOURNALIST: In the last couple of weeks [inaudible] Iraqi forces aren’t equipped to fight ISIS. We saw the Vice Chief of the Defence Force yesterday saying [inaudible] he says that essentially that’s not correct, not backing [inaudible]. What’s your understanding of whether Iraqi people should [inaudible]?

PLIBERSEK: Unfortunately, I’m using the same sources of information as you are. We asked for a briefing on Iraq, it was scheduled for about 2 weeks ago, we asked for it several weeks earlier than that. It was cancelled at very short notice. We’ve asked for it to be rescheduled and it hasn’t yet been rescheduled. So, I’m relying on the same information you are. There are obviously competing views about that issue and about the theatre of war in Iraq at the moment.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC 702 Sydney, Monday 1 June 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 RADIO 702 SYDNEY
MONDAY, 1 JUNE 2015

SUBJECT: Marriage equality

LINDA MOTTRAM, PRESENTER: 702 Mornings Linda Mottram with you. ‘End of the year’; that’s the prediction that has emerged in recent days from advocates of a change to the Marriage Act to enable gay couples to wed in this country. ‘Inevitable’ is another word being used, especially after the Irish Referendum success on this issue just over a week ago and the political momentum that seems to be well and truly underway. What is less likely to succeed though, is Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s Private Member’s Bill to amend the Marriage Act, which is going before the Parliament today. The Deputy Opposition Leader and Member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek, co-signed the Private Members bill and she joins me from Canberra this morning. Good morning Tanya.

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

MOTTRAM: You’re not in Government, you don’t have the Government’s support for this, this Bill is going to fail, isn’t it?

PLIBERSEK: Well it doesn’t have to fail. Bill Shorten has said that he will introduce the legislation today and of course I am available to second it, but I have offered to step aside if there’s a Liberal or National MP who’s prepared to second the Bill today. We know that there are many members of the Liberal and National Parties who are supporters of marriage equality and it would be terrific if one of them were brave enough to put their hand up today to second this Bill.

MOTTRAM: Unlikely though?

PLIBERSEK: Well I don’t see why Linda, I mean, if you actually agree with the proposition in the Bill, which is a very simple bill, it simply changes the definition of marriage in the Marriage Act. At the moment it’s defined as being between a man and a woman, it changes that definition to being between two people, and it strengthens the language that makes clear that no church would be forced to marry a same-sex couple. Two very simple propositions, very short bill- the Liberals and Nationals have had time to examine it, and indeed I wrote to Liberal and National MPs fourteen months ago, asking them to co-sponsor a similar bill. They’ve had a lot of time to debate this, I don’t know why one of them wouldn’t come forward today if they agree with what’s proposed in this Bill.

MOTTRAM: If this fails though, won’t it just fire up those people who oppose Marriage Equality and set you back even further?

PLIBERSEK: No, not at all. The usual way that Private Member’s Bills are introduced- and remember that this is something that happens very frequently in our Parliament- they’re introduced; Bill will speak today and describe the intention of the Bill and then it’s normal process for it to be laid on the table for some weeks for Members of Parliament to be able to discuss this proposition with their electorates, and it should be voted on sooner rather than later. There is no reason now for a Liberal or National MP who supports what’s proposed in this Bill to come forward as a sponsor or a seconder of this Bill. One of the problems that we had, Linda, was a classic catch-22 situation; when I wrote to Liberal and National MPs fourteen months ago asking them to co-sponsor a similar bill for marriage equality they said, ‘we can’t do that because there is no free vote in our partyroom’, and I said ‘when will you have a free vote, when will you know whether you’ve got a free vote?’, they said, ‘we can’t even have a debate about free vote in our partyroom before there’s a bill before the Parliament’. So, we had a stand-off. By introducing this legislation today, we’ve cracked through that stand-off, at the very least, and the Liberals and Nationals who are supporters of marriage equality are able to go to their partyroom and say, ‘It’s time that we had this debate in the party room about whether there’ll be a free vote’, and then they can come forward and be sponsors of legislation like this. To be honest, Linda, it’s not clear why those supporters in the Liberal and National partyrooms aren’t able to say about this legislation before the Parliament at the moment whether they would support it or not because it is very simple legislation.

MOTTRAM: One of the issues that was raised last week when I was chatting to a couple of people actually in Canberra was concern about continuing opposition or resistance to the idea of gay marriage, marriage equality among migrant communities. Do you think that that’s a legitimate concern, that more time is needed to discuss issues in that context?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I certainly think it doesn’t do any harm for Members of Parliament to have discussions with their electorates about this and every other issue that we debate in the Federal Parliament. I spent Saturday morning doing street stalls in my own electorate, I can tell you that this came up, but so did some of the measures from the last Budget and a wide variety of other issues. Members of Parliament should be talking to their electorates all the time. The last survey I saw had support for marriage equality in the Australian community at about 72%. I think this is an issue where the Australian public has been well ahead of the Australian Parliament for some time.

MOTTRAM: Tanya Plibersek, thank you very much indeed.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you Linda.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC 612 Brisbane, Monday 1 June 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
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RADIO 612 BRISBANE
MONDAY, 1 JUNE 2015

SUBJECT: Marriage equality

STEVE AUSTIN, PRESENTER: What is Marriage? Bill Shorten- Federal Leader of the Opposition- will today introduce his same-sex marriage bill, arguing the current laws don’t represent modern Australia. It will replace the words ‘Man and Woman’ with the term ‘two people’. As you know the Marriage Act in Australia was changed under the Prime Ministership of John Howard to insert marriage between a man and a woman. Well Tanya Plibersek is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Tanya Plibersek I know you’re extremely busy this morning thanks for coming on.

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

AUSTIN: First of all, just outline in basic form what is in the planned bill, by your boss Bill Shorten.

PLIBERSEK: Well, it’s very short, it’s very clear. It does exactly what you said- it changes the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman to being between two people, and it further strengthens the wording to make clear that no church would be forced to solemnize a same-sex union.

AUSTIN: So this is an attempt to ensure that people don’t get charged with discrimination under the Anti-Discrimination Act if someone complains?

PLIBERSEK: That’s right. It’s just to reassure churches that they’ll be able to choose not to marry same-sex couples.

AUSTIN: So it means that everyone, irrespective of your view of the world, can maintain their personal conscience on matters of conscience?

PLIBERSEK: Absolutely. It will give people the ability to be married in the registry office or by a civil celebrant, but it won’t force churches to marry same-sex couples.

AUSTIN: What is Marriage, Tanya Plibersek?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think it is a relationship entered into for life between two people who love and care for each other, who are prepared to support and protect each other- financially, emotionally and want to make that commitment in front of their friends and family.

AUSTIN: Can I ask you, the argument by Bill Shorten is that these current laws don’t represent modern Australia. I’m interested to get someone to define what ‘modern Australia’ is, can you do that for me?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we know that about 72 per cent of people in the last survey said that they support Marriage Equality and 22 countries around the world have already taken this step. I think if you’re asking for a definition of modern Australia, it’s hard to tack it to one sentence, but one thing we can say for certain is that we don’t, as a nation, generally support legal discrimination against one group in our community. At the moment, one group in our community, despite having strong, long-term, loving relationships is not able to have the legal protections and responsibilities that marriage provides.

AUSTIN: In France, the hot bed or the home of republican equity, you actually have two forms of marriage, the one in the church and the one in the registry office. Why is that not acceptable in modern Australia?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think it is acceptable in modern Australia. I think if this bill goes through, it would allow people to be married in the registry office. It would also give them the opportunity to be married by Civil Celebrants as well and it specifically excludes people being married in churches - if churches don’t wish to provide that marriage ceremony. So you end up with, in effect, a similar situation to France, and the difference in France is that if you’re married in the Church, you also have to be married legally in a civil ceremony as well- there’s a more direct difference between church and civil marriages but I don’t think we need to take that next step yet.

AUSTIN: Would it be a solution to ensure everyone’s conscience is free by repealing the Marriage Act- there are many who would argue that it came in around the time of Federation, is a direct result of a sort of Judeo-Christian view of the world and a lack of separation between church and state in Australia that we should actually fix that complete problem by repealing it all together?

PLIBERSEK: Look, I think that a big and radical change like that is not called for. I think the Marriage Act serves us very well in most respects. The minor change that we are trying to make in wording just reflects the fact that there is one group in our community that is legally discriminated against and most Australians don’t believe that discrimination should continue. I don’t think there’s a case for throwing the baby out with the bathwater at all.

AUSTIN: I’m speaking with Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Member for Sydney, this is 612 ABC Brisbane, thirteen minutes to nine. Tanya Plibersek, is there anything unique, or special in heterosexual marriage, in other words defining a man and a woman?

PLIBERSEK: Look, I think that most people would think that their own relationships are unique and special in all sorts of ways, and I’m not going to get into a debate about the quality of relationships. We know that everybody goes into marriage with the best of intentions and sadly some marriages don’t work out. Most people negotiate across the course of their married life different responsibilities and relationships change over time. None of that really, I think is the point of these changes here.

AUSTIN: Sure, but that’s not quite what I’m asking because if there’s nothing unusual or unique about any relationship whether it be same-sex or heterosexual, breaks up. I’m asking you, is there anything unique or civilizational in a heterosexual marriage?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I’m not sure you can ask the question in that way, I think that most people think that their relationships are unique and special and same-sex couples feel the same way about their relationships.

AUSTIN: So, the answer is no- you don’t see anything unique in a heterosexual relationship?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I see unique things in every relationship, Steve. I think it’s a slightly odd question to ask because you’re asking me to make a sweeping judgement about all heterosexual relationships or all same-sex relationships- I don’t see life like that- it’s complex-

AUSTIN: Well, I ask that because there are many groups who do- and you’d be well aware- I’m sure you’ve been lobbied on this behalf- there are many groups who see something that is civilizational in heterosexual relationships. But I just want to establish there, that obviously the Labor Party doesn’t.

PLIBERSEK: Well Steve, I guess the people who say that about heterosexual relationships often say that marriage is about procreation and about children and we know that many same-sex couples do have children, and we know also that some people choose to marry without the intention of ever having children, or they might marry when they are too old to have children. So I just think that our hard and fast rules about different categories of relationships has to be tempered by our experience in life.

AUSTIN: Feminists like Germaine Greer overseas, have criticised Elton John’s partner for putting himself down as the ‘wife’ in adopting their sons- arguing that it diminishes the role of a woman- in other words this blurring of the role of a woman and a mother- is there any concern amongst the Labor Party about the diminished role of a woman as a parent?

PLIBERSEK: Well, Steve, I don’t pay much attention to what Germaine Greer says. She says things for shock value more than talking sense most of the time. I think that the role of being a parent is a very very important role and that mothers and fathers both play an important role in their children’s lives, and many men are wanting to play a greater role in their children’s lives, but again we know that families come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s not for me, as a member of the Opposition, as a member of the Labor Party or indeed, when we were in Government to start dictating family shape or size to people. Parents play very important roles in their family lives and a lot of same sex couples do have children, and when you’re arguing that marriage can provide stability to family life and to children it’s important to recognise that there’s a lot of same-sex couples who have kids who’d love to have the social recognition that marriage would provide for their family.

AUSTIN: I’m very grateful that you have come on this morning; I know you’re very busy. Thank you so much for your time.

PLIBERSEK: It’s a pleasure to talk to you, thanks Steve.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: 4KQ with Gary, Laurel & Mark, Monday 1 June 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
RADIO INTERVIEW
4KQ WITH GARY, LAUREL & MARK
MONDAY, 1 JUNE 2015

SUBJECT: Marriage equality

GARY, PRESENTER: We’ve got Deputy Labor Leader, Tanya Plibersek, with us today. Good morning to you

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

GARY: What’s the process today?

PLIBERSEK: Today Bill Shorten will introduce a bill into the Parliament changing the Marriage Act, changing the definition from being between a man and a woman to being between two people and making it clear of course that no church would be forced to marry a same sex couple. Bill’s proposing the bill and we’ve asked a Liberal or National MP to second it because of course it has a better chance of passing if it is bipartisan. But if no Liberal or National is prepared to second it, then I will second it. I had a similar bill 14 months ago that I was looking for a Liberal or National to second and they said that nobody could second it until they had a debate in their partyroom allowing a free vote, but there could be no free vote unless there was a bill before the Parliament. So we were in this kind of catch-22; unless we introduce this bill, the Liberals or Nationals can’t even have a discussion inside their partyroom about whether there can be a free vote on this issue.

LAUREL: How sure are we that the majority of Australians want equality when it comes to marriage?

PLIBERSEK: The last polling I saw had 72 per cent of Australians supporting marriage equality. I think, on this issue, a lot of Australians are ahead of the Parliament. I mean, a lot of Australians are actively supportive and then there’s a whole group in the middle who don’t feel strongly about it either way. But if you ask them: do they think it’s fair that same sex couples that have been together a long time, support each other financially, emotionally in every other way, aren’t allowed to have the same legal recognition as opposite sex couples, heterosexual couples, most people don’t think that’s fair.

MARK: Now when you present this bill today, if the Liberals or the Nationals don’t support it, will it make them look out of step, out of touch with what we’re doing in this country?

PLIBERSEK: Look, it’s very difficult to understand why there wouldn’t be someone prepared to support it from the Liberal or National parties because I know that there are lot of Liberal and Nationals MPs who do support marriage equality. A lot of them have been outspoken about it publicly, they’re not shy to be in the media saying that this is a change whose time has come. So I think it would be a really good step forward if one of them were prepared to second the bill today.

MARK: But if they’re being told by Tony Abbott that ‘no, no, no, you’ve got to stick with the party line’, they don’t have a choice, do they?

PLIBERSEK: No, they don’t have a choice, but the simple fact is if we didn’t have this bill before the Parliament today, they wouldn’t even be talking about being allowed to have a free vote in their partyroom. Because what was happening is, all of those supporters of marriage equality were being told the party position is no free vote on this issue, and they weren’t even going to have a discussion on being allowed to have a free vote until there was a bill before the Parliament. So we had this kind of classic standoff, where the people who are supporters of marriage equality in the Liberal and Nationals partyroom couldn’t get that position even debated in their partyroom because there was no bill before the Parliament.

LAUREL: We are starting to hear in the media and social media ‘oh, come on, there’s more important things to discuss in Parliament’, but personally, I think with the majority of people, their relationship with their partner and their family is the most important thing in their life.

PLIBERSEK: A lot of people think this is a change that we’ve been waiting for for a long time as Australians. More than 20 countries around the world have made this change, countries a lot like us, the UK, the majority of states in the United States, as you said, Ireland last week, New Zealand, a lot of European countries have already made this change. And the simple fact is, the Parliament can deal with more than one issue at a time. Of course we should be focusing on jobs, on health, on education. Of course we should be working to make sure that our economy is strong and growing but we can actually walk and chew gum at the same time, I hope.

GARY: We don’t have to pass a bill for that too. I don’t know.

[Laughter]

PLIBERSEK: If we do have to, I hope its bipartisan.

LAUREL: Well, it sounds like a big day in federal politics. Tanya Plibersek, thank you so much for chatting to us this morning.

PLIBERSEK: It’s a pleasure.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: Sky News AM Agenda, Monday 1 June 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
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
SKY NEWS AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 1 JUNE 2015

SUBJECTS: Marriage equality; South China Sea

KIERAN GILBERT, PRESENTER: With me now, the Deputy Labor Leader, Tanya Plibersek. Why did Labor not wait for the Greens, for the Government to get on board as well?

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: We’ve been waiting too long. I mean, about 14 months ago, I wrote to all Liberal and Nationals MPs asking them to cosponsor a very similar bill to the one Bill will introduce today. And we were told by the supporters of marriage equality in the Liberal and National parties that they couldn’t cosponsor a bill until their partyroom decided on a free vote. But there could be no discussion in the partyroom about a free vote until there was a bill before the Parliament. So, for 14 months, we’ve had this standoff, this catch-22. I think after the momentum of the Irish vote last weekend, it was time for Australia to take this next step and to break this impasse. And as Bill said, I’m prepared to stand aside so that this can be seconded by a Liberal or National MP. I think that would make it bipartisan-

GILBERT: But that’s not going to happen, is it?

PLIBERSEK: But why not? I mean, this is the question, why not? Unless there is something specifically wrong with this piece of legislation that the Liberal and Nationals MPs can identify, something that they don’t support in this bill, why not support this bill that is before the Parliament now? You can only conclude that any delays are designed for political reasons of their own.

GILBERT: Well, in terms of the political reasons, though, is there anything in the Greens’ bill that Labor’s opposed to? Why didn’t you support that?

PLIBERSEK: Because this needs to be brought to the Parliament by the two major parties. The Greens have had bills in the past, they’ve got, you know, barely any votes. The last time this was brought to the Parliament, it was by Labor MP Stephen Jones, and about a third of the House of Representatives voted in favour and about two-thirds against. Since that time, a number of Labor MPs have said very publicly that they’ve changed their view on marriage equality because their communities’ views have evolved as well. This can succeed but it must have the backing of members of each of the major political parties to do so.

GILBERT: I know you’ve got to go, you have another commitment coming up, but just quickly on the comments made by Kevin Andrews to the Chinese Ambassador and at the Shangri La Dialogue warning China of a miscalculation given its actions in the South China Sea, does Labor support those comments?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think it’s important for us to be very careful and judicious in our language. Of course, we support continued freedom of navigation in this area, it’s a very, very important trade route, but Australia has always stood aside from any conflicts or language that would escalate tensions in this area. We think it’s very important to continue to say that, Labor supporting freedom of navigation in this area, we also work towards deescalating tensions.

GILBERT: Do you think that Mr Andrews’ comments risk escalating the issue?

PLIBERSEK: No I think it’s just very important to be clear that we don’t take sides in these territorial disputes and we think they should be decided by international law.

GILBERT: Tanya Plibersek, thanks for your time.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC RN Breakfast, Monday 1 June 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
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RN BREAKFAST
MONDAY, 1 JUNE 2015

SUBJECTS: Marriage equality; Dual citizenship; South China Sea

FRAN KELLY, PRESENTER: Tanya Plibersek, are you still going to introduce this Bill this morning even though it has no hope of going anywhere?

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well, I think it’s wrong to say it has no hope of going anywhere. I think it’s very important that we introduce the Bill this morning and it would be wonderful if Warren Entsch or one of the Liberals or Nationals who we know are supporters of marriage equality would be prepared to second it today. It’s a very, very simple Bill. It simply changes the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman to saying that it’s between two people and it additionally gives further information about churches not being forced to solemnise any marriage between same sex couples. So, it’s a very simple Bill, it’s only a few lines long, the Liberals and Nationals have had time to consider it. We know that there are supporters on their side on marriage equality. And frankly, Fran, I don’t even think we’d be having this debate if this Bill wasn’t proceeding because last year, about 14 months ago, I wrote to Liberal and National MPs asking them to sponsor an almost identical Bill, to cosponsor something like that with me and none of them have been able to do it with me because they say ‘we can’t cosponsor a Bill until we have a debate in our party room about a free vote, but there’s going to be no debate in our party room about a free vote until there’s a Bill before Parliament’. So, it’s been a classic standoff, a catch-22. This has to proceed today so that we can break the impasse.

KELLY: But in the sense, isn’t this a classic grandstanding to some degree because we already know that Bill Shorten, your leader, has spoken with Liberal MP, Warren Entsch, yesterday and agreed to sit down once the Budget sitting’s over at the end of June to work out a way forward. So doesn’t this make your Bill today a charade?

PLIBERSEK: That’s Warren Entsch’s proposed timing. I don’t see why there’s any need to wait for weeks and weeks. We’ve got many pieces of legislation before the Parliament at any one time and the notion that we can’t actually, during the Budget sitting, work on other issues is- it’s the first time I’ve heard anything like that. It should be introduced today. The usual way that these things proceed is it’s introduced, it sits on the table for a number of weeks, so Parliamentarians can speak with their electorates, so that people in the community who have a view about this may contact their Parliamentarians. But there is an opportunity today for this to become bipartisan by a Liberal or a National cosponsoring.

KELLY: Given the Prime Minister’s words about ‘it needs to be owned by the Parliament’, do you accept though that for a bill to have any chance of success it really does need to be supported by all parties, it needs to be a cross-party bill rather than Labor’s Bill cosponsored by, or seconded by?

PLIBERSEK: It’s the same thing, Fran. I mean, people propose legislation and it’s moved and seconded, that’s what cosponsorship means, that’s what ownership by multiple parties means. That’s what it’s always meant. And I have to return to this point. 14 months ago, I wrote to Liberal and National MPs asking whether one of them would cosponsor a piece of legislation. The legislation was there, they could’ve recommended changes, come into a dialogue with me at any time in the last 14 months, they haven’t done that. It has actually taken this next step of introducing legislation into the Parliament to even allow the room for a debate in the Liberal and National party rooms. We still, frankly, haven’t seen a debate about a free vote in the Liberal and National party rooms. There needs to be some time line for this even to be debated.

KELLY: Do you believe the numbers are there now in the Parliament to support legalising same sex marriage?

PLIBERSEK: I think so. I haven’t done an analysis of the numbers in the Liberal and National party rooms but I can tell you a number of people  in the Labor Party, a very substantial number of people in the Labor Party, who voted against marriage equality last time will vote for it this time. And I believe that there’s been a similar shift on the Liberal and Nationals party rooms so we’ll see. But frankly, Fran, we’ll never know if there’s never a chance to bring legislation to Parliament, we’ll never know. I’d like to see this change made by Christmas at the latest.

KELLY: You’re listening to RN Breakfast. Our guest is the Shadow Foreign Minister, Tanya Plibersek. Tanya Plibersek, on another issue causing divisions, certainly within the Coalition. The notion of stripping citizenship from suspected terrorists. Yesterday the Prime Minister said ‘we are going to strip the citizenship from terrorists who are dual nationals and I want to know where Labor stands on this’. Where does Labor stand on this?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we haven’t seen legislation, Fran. I mean, this is extraordinary. I think the first time this was raised was, I think it was raised last year, but it was certainly raised earlier this year. We’ve seen a lot of commentary by members of the Coalition, members of the Government about this, but we’ve seen no actual legislation. So we don’t know what any of the suggested hurdles are for this. We don’t know what any of the safeguards are-

KELLY: As a notion, though? As a notion, we have been talking about it for a year. Does Labor support it as a notion?

PLIBERSEK: Well, Fran, I don’t think you can say we oppose or support legislation as a notion, we have to see the legislation. I think if people are fighting with the armies of countries that are at war with Australia, they’ve been stripped of their citizenship in the past. I think that there is room for a similar approach when you’re talking about non-state actors. But as for speculating any further than that, I’m not prepared to do it until we see legislation. We don’t know who will be making the determination, we don’t the circumstances in which it would be determined, we don’t know what appeal mechanisms there might be. And it is foolhardy to speculate about whether you could support legislation without ever seeing it.

KELLY: Just on that, the Shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, did say yesterday the bedrocks should be nobody should be stateless by an act of the Australian Government which suggests Labor wouldn’t support a move we understand the Government is considering, or the Prime Minister is considering, and as you mentioned the backbench is calling for- to change a law allowing the Government to strip Australians engaged in terrorism of their citizenship if it’s reasonably believed there’s another nationality they could claim. So I’m not talking dual nationals.

PLIBERSEK: I’m not going to speculate, Fran. What I would say is it is extraordinary that we’ve got very long, specific verbatim quotes from Cabinet and from the National Security Committee of the Cabinet saying that very senior members of National Security Committee are opposed to this measure, that they don’t believe there’s enough information about this measure in the public domain and if Julie Bishop and Kevin Andrews and others are concerned then surely that rings some alarm bells.

KELLY: And just finally on China, growing unrest in our region and in the US about China’s activity of expansion in the South China Sea. Defence Minister Kevin Andrews has told the dialogue yesterday that other countries will respond if Beijing persists as called on China to stop its land reclamation. Does Labor support Australia backing the US in taking a tougher stand against China here?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think the most important thing to say on this issue is that Australia should be part of deescalating tension and it’s very important that we of course say that this is a region that is very important for shipping and for trade, that Australia and our ASEAN neighbours in particular, other countries in the region, have an expectation of being able to move freely now and in the future through this area, and our contribution should be to ensure that tensions are deescalated, that understanding between the parties continue to improve.

KELLY: Tanya Plibersek, thank you very much for joining us.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you, Fran.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC NewsRadio, Monday 1 June 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 NEWSRADIO
MONDAY, 1 JUNE 2015

SUBJECTS: Marriage equality; South China Sea

MARIUS BENSON, PRESENTER: Tanya Plibersek, the proposal from Labor today is simply to change a few words in the Marriage Act.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well, that’s right. There’s a bill going before Parliament today that will change the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman to being between two people, and just additionally it further clarifies that no church will be forced to solemnise a same sex union.

BENSON: And the bill is obviously supported by people on both sides of the House and those people who support it, particularly some of the Greens, are saying ‘don’t go ahead with this bill unilaterally, wait for a bipartisan approach’. You’re not prepared to do that?

PLIBERSEK: We were absolutely prepared to wait for a bipartisan approach - I mean, 14 months ago, Marius, I wrote to all Liberal and National MPs asking them to co-sponsor a bill, very much like this bill, and in 14 months there’s been no movement. Last week we asked Liberal and National MPs to consider co-sponsoring the bill that Bill Shorten will introduce today and we are still very hopeful that one of them will do that today. But up til now, what the Liberals and Nationals have been telling us is that they can’t co-sponsor a Labor bill, there can’t be a bipartisan bill because in their party rooms there’s no free vote given on this issue. And until there’s a free vote given, they can’t co-sponsor a bill. They also say there will be no debate about a free vote in their party room until there’s a piece of legislation before the Parliament. So there’s been a classic standoff, a catch-22 if you like. We’re saying we’d like a Liberal MP to co-sponsor today’s bill and this is, I mean, it’s a very simple bill as I’ve described to you, it’s only a few sentences long. They’ve had it for some time now. They’re very well able to have made a decision by now to co-sponsor today but if not today, we’ll continue to work with them in the future.

BENSON: So are you ready to abandon this specific bill proposed by Labor for another that comes from both sides jointly framed if that has a better chance of success?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we’re not prepared to abandon today’s bill because this is the only thing that’s seen any movement, any progress, any advance on this issue in more than a year and a half. I think it is very important that we do introduce this bill today and it would be preferable if Warren Entsch or one of the other Liberal or Nationals were prepared to co-sponsor it.

BENSON: This bill is being proposed by Bill Shorten and people are accusing him of political opportunism, saying he just jumped on this issue as the train doors were closing.

PLIBERSEK: Well, Bill Shorten voted in favour of marriage equality last time the issue was before the Parliament. He’s been a long-time supporter of this issue and I think it sends a very powerful signal that the Leader of the Labor Party is the one proposing this bill. I think it shows that we are a party that backs marriage equality.

BENSON: Can I go to another issue which is Kevin Andrews, the Defence Minister, has spoken at an Asian security conference issuing a warning that Australia and other countries will respond if China persists with assertive action in the South China Sea, referring there to the expansion of facilities on artificial islands. Do you support Kevin Andrews in that position?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think we need to be very careful about the language that we use around this area of tension. It is very important that countries in the region, Australia included, particularly our ASEAN neighbours, work cooperatively to deescalate tensions in the South China Sea. Of course, it’s important that we continue to see freedom of movement in that area, particularly freedom of shipping, but making sure that we use language that calms the situation rather than inflames it is very important.

BENSON: And has Kevin Andrews chosen language that calms or inflames?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think I’ll leave that for others to consider but I would say that our interests here as Australians is to make sure that this issue is resolved peacefully, cooperatively, using international laws and forums and the best thing that we can do is to deescalate tensions.

BENSON: Kevin Andrews says he wants a halt to the reclamation activities by China. Is that appropriate?

PLIBERSEK: I think it’s important that countries in the region are able to express their concerns where they have them but-

BENSON: But should China stop reclamation activity?

PLIBERSEK: Well, certainly I think any suggestions that islands that have been reclaimed have seen military facilities built on them, that gives concern to people in the region, neighbours in the region. But I think importantly, Marius, Australia should be playing a role in deescalating tensions.

BENSON: Tanya Plibersek, thank you very much.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you.

ENDS

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