TRANSCRIPT: ABC 7:30, Thursday 22 September 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
ABC 7:30
THURSDAY 22 SEPTEMBER 2016

SUBJECTS: Gonski needs based school funding, Essential poll on Muslim immigration, marriage equality plebiscite

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC RN Thursday 22 September 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RN
THURSDAY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2016

SUBJECTS: Gonski needs based school funding; Essential poll on Muslim immigration

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DOORSTOP: Monash University, Monday 19 September 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
MONASH UNIVERSITY
MONDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2016

SUBJECTS: The backpacker tax; marriage equality 

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you very much, Vice-Chancellor, [inaudible] it's a real pleasure to be here at Monash University at the Woodside FutureLab with my colleague, the Member for Bruce, Julian Hill. Julian is a great booster of Monash University; he's been telling me what a fantastic university it is, in part because he of course is a graduate of Monash University. So, he's reflecting on his own excellent education here. But the work we've seen this morning here in the FutureLab is so very exciting. We're seeing, really, 3D printing being used in a way that suggests all sorts of possibilities for the future: being able to manufacture objects much closer to where they're needed, much closer to the time when they're needed. But also using alloys, shapes, that weren't previously available in the old sort of manufacturing techniques that we’ve had in the past. So it is wonderful to see the work that is happening here at Monash. Of course Labor is very concerned about the cuts to higher education that mean Victoria alone will lose $1.2 billion from its higher education sector in years to come. We want to ensure that students are able to have fantastic new facilities like this. Of course in partnership with industry, but also properly funded with taxpayers' support. We want to make sure that young Australians can get a great education, not $100, 000 university degrees. Any questions?

JOURNALIST: What is Labor's position on the backpacker tax? Do you support it in its current form?

PLIBERSEK: We have great concerns about the backpacker tax because of course we're hearing from farmers that it is dampening the number of young people who are willing to work fruit picking, vegetable picking, and so on. We believe it's up to the Government to come back with a much better and clearer proposal than the one that they rushed out at the time of the last budget. It is curious, of course, that George Christensen seems to be calling the shots on the backpacker tax, just as he has on the plebiscite; just as he has on the relationship between the LNP in Queensland and Pauline Hanson's One Nation. It is about time that the Prime Minister and the Treasurer took control of the nation's direction and the nation's finances, rather than farming it out to backbencher, George Christensen.

JOURNALIST: What changes would you like to see the Coalition make to the same-sex marriage plebiscite for Labor to support it?

PLIBERSEK: We are gravely concerned about the plebiscite. We think that the plebiscite is an enormous waste of money - we're talking about $170 million cost of running the plebiscite, plus an extra $15 million for a 'yes' and 'no' case. So, the cost is one thing that the Government can't really reassure Labor on. That’s something that, come what may, will be an enormous waste of money given that we know that this is just a glorified opinion poll that Liberal members of Parliament won't even have to respect once the plebiscite is complete. We're also worried about the precedence this sets - I mean, the Attorney General made the point very eloquently today that this is an unusual approach to something that is not a change to the constitution - that it is in fact highly irregular to farm out difficult decisions instead of getting the Parliament to do its day job, which is to make those decisions that we as parliamentarians are expected and required to make. We make difficult decisions all the time in the Federal Parliament; we have made decisions about changes to the Marriage Act before; we've made decisions about euthanasia; we make decisions about how to raise taxes and how to spend the money that we raise; we send Australians to war; all of that without a plebiscite and there is no question that we could make this decision - we could tale this decision in the very next week of Parliament if we chose to. We've also expressed concern about the divisiveness of this debate: the fact that young Australians, particularly those who are just coming out, will hear a whole lot of extremely negative messages about there being something wrong with them, or something wrong with their relationships, during this plebiscite debate. So, I'll be very interested to hear what the Government has to say on all three of those issues.

JOURNALISTWill Labor's position on the plebiscite soften if the plebiscite is self-executed - if it doesn't have to go back to the Parliament?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we're now talking about how to put lipstick on a pig. This is a fundamentally flawed approach to a decision that the Parliament should be making. So any suggestions that the Government has, I expect will be tinkering around the edges. George Christensen - the man who is in charge of absolutely everything in the Government at the moment - is already saying, for example, that public funding of the 'yes' and 'no' cases is a bottom-line requirement for him. Well, that's a real problem for us. We don't think that the plebiscite itself is good value for money, and then you throw $15 million extra on top of the already extraordinarily high cost of the plebiscite, and it just shows you what a waste of taxpayers' funds this is. I mean, this comes at a time when we are cutting services: we're cutting children and family centres, family violence prevention, legal services, in my own electorate a health service that has been serving the needs of homeless Australians for 40 years has closed because the Government can't find $900,000 a year to run it. When we are cutting health and education, legal services, all sorts of things, why on earth does anybody think that spending close to $200 million of taxpayers' money is a good idea on something like the plebiscite?

JOURNALIST: Are you aware of any Labor MPs or Senators who actually favour the plebiscite?

PLIBERSEK: No. I haven't spoken to a single one of my colleagues who thinks the plebiscite is a good idea. And the more we hear about it from the Government, the worse it seems to be. We've seen reports in the Guardian - we're yet to have the Government confirm these - that there will be, for example, what's called a conscientious objector clause, which would mean that people would be able to refuse service perhaps to same-sex weddings. And there are all sorts of unanswered questions about the plebiscite as it stands now.

JOURNALIST: Just finally back to the backpacker tax, why can't Labor find [inaudible]?

PLIBERSEK: We're very interested to hear what the Government's position is in the first instance. This is something that was announced in the budget in May. We are close to the end of the year now and we still don't have a clear position from the Government about what their proposal is. We can't say whether we agree or disagree with what the Government is proposing until we know actually what it is that they’re proposing. We’ve had Scott Morrison say that it's on, Kelly O'Dwyer say that it's on, we’ve had George Christensen say that it's completely off, we now have Scott Morrison saying that they're looking for some compromise arrangement. I mean it really is well and truly time that the Government simply tell us what their proposal is, and then we’ll give them an answer on whether we can support it or not. Thanks everyone.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Parliament House, Monday 29 August 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
PARLIAMENT HOUSE
MONDAY, 29 AUGUST 2016

SUBJECTS: marriage equality

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Sydney, Friday 5 August 2016

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THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

THE HON LINDA BURNEY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HUMAN SERVICES
MEMBER FOR BARTON

 

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
SYDNEY
FRIDAY, 05 AUGUST 2016

SUBJECTS: Labor's plan for schools; Banking Royal Commission; Kevin Rudd; State Attorneys-General in Canberra to discuss post-sentence preventative detention; Changes to the Racial Discrimination Act

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TRANSCRIPT: Sky News PM Agenda, Wednesday 3 August 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

 E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
SKY NEWS PM AGENDA
WEDNESDAY, 3 AUGUST 2016

SUBJECTS: Release of preliminary NAPLAN results; the Government's cuts to schools; Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report: Indigenous recognition in the Constitution

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC AM, Wednesday 3 August 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC AM
WEDNESDAY, 03 AUGUST 2016

SUBJECTS: Release of preliminary NAPLAN results; the Government's cuts to schools

 

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN, PRESENTER: Tanya Plibersek, thanks for joining us.

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

BRISSENDEN: How do you explain the plateauing of results here, because after all the first 3 years of the Gonski model had gone ahead as negotiated by the previous Labor Government?

PLIBERSEK: Well the first 3 years of the Gonski school education funding were important, but they were just a fraction of what we intended to do in our schools to lift teacher quality, to invest more in individual students, to make sure that kids who were falling behind in maths or reading were able to catch up, to make sure that kids who were gifted and talented were extended. This is not a reflection of the implementation of the Gonski School Funding arrangement, it’s a reflection of the fact that this Government has failed to fully implement a needs-based funding system. It’s very disappointing to see that Australian schools have plateaued in this way and I think that the Minister likes to say that it’s not all about money; that’s just a cover up for the fact that they’re ripping $29 billion out of our schools. Of course it’s not all about money, it’s about what we do with that money in our schools to lift our standards.

BRISSENDEN: But again, the money that’s been spent so far – the 23% funding increase as the Minister points to – is pretty much what either side of Government had committed to up to this point, isn’t it? And yet, we still see a plateau.

PLIBERSEK: And we know that years 5 and 6 of the Gonski school funding -

BRISSENDEN: Yeah but we haven’t gotten there yet, have we? 

PLIBERSEK: - was due to ramp up very substantially and that’s where we expected to see a take-off in improvements. But there’s a couple of other things that I’d say Michael that are very important here. This Government came in saying that they’d be on a unity ticket with Labor on school funding, and then they did a couple of things that were very importantly different from what we were proposing. First of all, there’s the future funding cuts that we’ve talked about - $29 billion – but they also retreated from the demands that we made of states, about how they would use that extra funding, the transparency and accountability measures that we had. And in fact they gave extra funding to some states with no strings attached that saw some states then decrease their own investment in education at a state level. So, for a party that says this is not all about funding, they’ve been pretty quick to spray around the extra funding without the extra accountability measures that would have driven higher student performance, that we -

BRISSENDEN: So they should be tougher on the states, is that what you’re saying?

PLIBERSEK: No, they should have a cooperative relationship with the states that actually ensures that we invest extra funding in what we know works. We know that it works to invest in teacher quality, to give teachers the supports they need in classrooms to self-evaluate and continue to improve their own teaching. We know what works is investing one-on-one with kids who are falling behind. And that’s happening at a school-level – I can see improvements as I visit schools. I went to a school in my own electorate last week where they’ve invested the early years of their extra Gonski funding into speech pathology and occupational therapy. So kids who are starting school who couldn’t speak a sentence or hold a pencil properly were catching up with their peers. That’s how you launch a kid on a lifelong learning journey. We’ve seen schools across Australia that have invested in more individual attention that are seeing extraordinary, outstanding results in improving, not just their NAPLAN performance – that’s only one measure of performance – but certainly improving their NAPLAN performance, but improving the engagement of kids at school, the attendance of children at school.

BRISSENDEN: Much of what you said there basically, essentially, have been said by the Minister, Simon Birmingham in the previous interview. Because he points to better targeting incentives for teachers, better targeting of spending, early intervention – all those areas where the Government says it’s working hard to improve.

PLIBERSEK:  But they’re doing it at the same time as cutting $29 billion from our schools. You can’t achieve better results while cutting funding. This is the smoke and mirrors trick of Simon Birmingham, he says it’s not all about -

BRISSENDEN: But funding hasn’t been cut though, has it?

PLIBERSEK:  $29 billion will be cut from our schools over coming years, compared with what the Government agreed to do, which was fully implement the Gonski School Funding arrangement, they said they were on a unity ticket with Labor on that. They will in fact cut the guts out of our schools. They’ve also allowed states to cut their school funding, they’ve also abandoned a number of national partnership agreements with our schools. So this is a, you know, distraction technique. It’s a, “look over here!” technique, “it’s not about the extra money” while cutting extra money.

BRISSENDEN: OK. We are talking though about the money that’s been spent to this point and the results that we’ve seen up to this point, aren’t we? I mean we’re not really talking about what’s going to happen in years 5 and 6 of the proposed Gonski model, we’re talking about what’s happened to this point and the Government says funding is increased 23%, it’s spending $16 billion a year now – it’s a lot of money and funding has increased. But yet, we’re still seeing a plateauing.

PLIBERSEK:  And you’re talking about a very short timeframe in the life of a school, even in the life of a child. To see that turnaround in a year or two, you can’t expect to see that in national results. We are at the very beginning of implementing a needs-based funding system that would invest the most in the kids who need the most help. We’ve only just started on that journey – to say that these NAPLAN results are a reflection of a needs-based funding model is just not true. We haven’t even launched the full needs-based funding model yet.

BRISSENDEN: So you’re argument is essentially unless you do substantially increase the money along the lines of the Gonski model, you won’t get an improvement?

PLIBERSEK:  My argument is we have to do better in our schools, we have to invest more in supporting teaching and learning. More individual attention, more tailored support, more extra support for literacy and numeracy for kids who are falling behind, more extension activities, better support for principals to make sure that they can be the most effective school leaders. That’s where we need to invest: making sure that science teachers actually have science qualifications when they’re teaching science – that takes extra funding. It’s not just about tipping extra money in, it’s about what we do with that funding. This Government is not pursuing excellence in schools, because you can’t do it at the same time as cutting funding.

BRISSENDEN: Ok Tanya Plibersek, we’ll leave it there. Thank you very much for joining us.

PLIBERSEK:  Thank you Michael.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Townsville, Friday 29 July 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

CATHY O'TOOLE
CANDIDATE FOR HERBERT



E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
TOWNSVILLE
FRIDAY, 29 JULY 2016

SUBJECTS: The federal seat of Herbert; the Coalition not supporting Kevin Rudd's nomination for UN Secretary-General; Royal Commission into Northern Territory juvenile detention system.

 

 

JOURNALIST: So Cathy, there’s no result yet?

 

CATHY O’TOOLE, CANDIDATE FOR HERBERT: No but why I’m here today is to welcome the Acting Opposition Leader, Tanya Plibersek here to Townsville on this momentous occasion for us, this 50 year celebration of the Lavarack Barracks. It’s really fantastic to have Tanya here with us to celebrate what is for Townsville a demonstration of a huge commitment to defence personnel, and I’d just like to introduce Tanya.

 

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you. It’s a delight to be here with Labor’s candidate for Herbert, Cathy O’Toole and to be here for the 50th anniversary of the Lavarack Barracks. 50 years ago, 1966, Prime Minister Harold Holt opened these Barracks and a lot has changed in Australia in the last 50 years. But what hasn’t changed is the contribution the Lavarack Barracks make to Australia’s national security and to the society and the economy of Townsville. This is the largest facility of its type in Australia. Thousands of people live here today, about 8,000 people - armed services personnel and civilians. But the contribution is a much greater contribution than that because thousands of people have passed through these Barracks over the last 50 years. They take with them fond memories of Townsville, fond memories of the time that they spent here, and they leave behind them a contribution to the local community and to the local economy as well. It's a real pleasure to have been invited today to represent the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, at this very special occasion, and I bring the best wishes of the opposition with me today.

 

JOURNALIST: The seat of Herbert has almost been declared. Were you hoping to be celebrating a victory here as well?

 

PLIBERSEK: Well, I am celebrating today. I'm celebrating the history of Lavarack Barracks and it's a proud history at that. Of course, we are watching with enormous interest the finalisation of the count in Herbert. And we have very high hopes - Cathy O'Toole is a marvellous candidate who's run a marvellous campaign with a dedicated, hard-working, enthusiastic campaign team, and the support of the local community. So our hopes are great. But of course, the result hasn't yet been declared and we'll wait with interest until it is officially declared.

 

JOURNALISTIs it a concern that the Coalition is talking already about legal challenges to the result should Cathy O'Toole win?

 

PLIBERSEK: Look, it’s not the day really to go into those sorts of details. We're watching, as I say, with great interest for the declaration of the poll. We are a very proud of the campaign that Cathy has run. Anything more than that, we're just waiting on advice from the AEC.

 

JOURNALIST: If we could turn to other things - Labor elected Kevin Rudd as their leader. He won the election and was knifed before his first term was up. Is it hypocritical then for the Labor Party to criticise the way he's been treated by the Coalition?

 

PLIBERSEK: Kevin Rudd is a distinguished Australian. He was a diplomat of many years' standing before he ever went into politics. He's an acknowledged expert on China, on Asia more generally. His advice is sought around the world. He's been Foreign Minister, he's been Prime Minister. And frankly, what is incredible about the Government's decision not to back Kevin Rudd is that this would bring such credit to Australia, to have a former Australian Prime Minister as the head of the United Nations would bring such credit to Australia. It would be undeniably a great thing for Australia's international reputation, for our authority on the world stage. Sadly, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister show they have no authority at home. The Foreign Minister clearly made a case to her Cabinet colleagues that Kevin Rudd should have the endorsement of the Australian Government for this absolutely important, vital role. The Prime Minister is not able to assert his authority in the Cabinet, to bring the nasties into line. Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, the right-wing extremists in the Liberal Party have got the Prime Minister on a short leash. He was not able to insist that what any right-thinking Australian would think, that an Australian should be backed for an international job like this. He was not able to get that through his Cabinet. It shows the weakness of the Prime Minister, it shows the weakness of the Foreign Minister.

 

JOURNALIST: Will it have an impact on the way Labor approaches future nominations from the other side of politics?

 

PLIBERSEK: Labor has always been bipartisan in areas like this. We appointed several former ministers, Coalition ministers to important posts overseas. Tim Fischer, for example, Brendan Nelson and others were appointed with Labor's blessing, or allowed to complete postings with Labor’s blessing. We appointed Peter Costello, the former Treasurer, to the Future Fund here in Australia. We've never played politics with the national interest. We've always put the national interest first. It's a real shame that Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop don't have the courage to put the national interest first.

 

JOURNALIST: Just on that - the ALP refused to nominate Peter Costello for the International Monetary Fund post in 2011. Are you really able to claim a bipartisan record on this issue?

 

PLIBERSEK: I mean really, this is pretty extraordinary thing because this story has been going around, and my information is that Peter Costello never formally contacted the Government and asked for a nomination. We appointed him to the Future Fund. We appointed him to one of the most prestigious domestic responsibilities that we could have appointed him to. And I certainly haven't seen any nomination from Peter Costello for this role. You have to have a look at the people that we did appoint. We appointed Brendan Nelson, we appointed Tim Fischer. We appointed a number of coalition figures to very important jobs overseas without having our arms twisted, without any sort of lobbying. We did it because it was the right thing to do.

 

JOURNALIST: Indigenous groups are angry about the lack of consultation over the terms of reference of the Royal Commission. Do you feel like this process has been rushed?

 

PLIBERSEK: I do feel like this process has been rushed. The Government had the complete support of the Opposition for a Royal Commission. We absolutely, 100 per cent, agree with the government that there needs to be a Royal Commission into what has happened in the juvenile justice system in the Northern Territory. Several Government ministers claimed that there was consultation with the Opposition and with Indigenous groups. That certainly hasn't been the case. We were not consulted on the terms of reference. We were not consulted on the appointment of a Commissioner. What's worse is that Indigenous Australians, the people who are best placed to say how we can have the most thorough, the most helpful, the most productive Royal Commission, they were not consulted either. I think it's time that the Government reconsider some of the process around this Royal Commission, act in a bipartisan manner in the way that Labor did in establishing the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and go back to the drawing board, including by appointing an additional Commissioner, an Aboriginal Australian. We've got many highly qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who could be a Royal Commissioner, and we'd certainly like to see the appointment of at least one additional Commissioner. We also would like to say that one of the most important things about this Royal Commission is that people living across the Northern Territory have the opportunity to make their case, to state their piece, to have their say. We absolutely need to make sure that that will happen, and if the Government continues in the way that it has started, without consultation, rushing the terms of reference, rushing these announcements, I think it's possible that we won't get the thorough result that all Australians want from this Royal Commission.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

JOURNALIST: What do you make of the Northern Territory Government counter-suing two boys who were tear-gassed by prison guards at the Don Dale Detention Centre?

 

PLIBERSEK:  Look, I'm sorry, I don't know the details of the legal case. What I would say is the images that we saw on Monday night on the Four Corners program were shocking in the extreme. Shocking in the extreme. With very large adults attacking very slight young men, young boys. I would - I think it's absolutely vital that we, in the first instance, investigate the incidents that we saw on Monday night, make sure that those young men are safe from further violence, and from further victimisation. We should ensure in the medium to longer term that these sorts of incidents can't happen again. Thank you.

 

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Brisbane, Friday 29 July 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

TERRI BUTLER MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR FAMILY VIOLENCE AND CHILD SAFETY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR UNIVERSITIES

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EQUALITY
MEMBER FOR GRIFFITH

MURRAY WATT
SENATOR-ELECT FOR QUEENSLAND

  

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
BRISBANE
FRIDAY, 29 JULY 2016

SUBJECTS: Kevin Rudd's nomination for UN Secretary-General; Royal Commission into Northern Territory juvenile detention system.

 

PETER COALDRAKE, VICE-CHANCELLOR, QUT: It is my pleasure to welcome to QUT this morning, the acting Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek who is here with Terri Bulter who is the Opposition spokesperson for Universities and Senator-elect, Murray Watt. They are here at the Science and Engineering Centre and here at the Cube. And in a sense, what goes on in this building is a metaphor for what should be going on for research and science in Australia. So welcome, Tanya.

TERRI BUTLER, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR UNIVERSITIES: Thanks, Peter. It's actually such a pleasure to be here at the Queensland University of Technology, which is well known for being a university that is a leader in science and technology. Less well known for being my alma mater but it is something that has a good and strong and fond place in my heart as well. It's a great opportunity for us to see the work that's being done in science and technology here at QUT. As the new spokesperson for universities from Labor, as the Assistant Shadow Minister for Universities, it's particularly wonderful for me to get the opportunity to come here and see the work that's being done for this university and for the technology of the future. So it's wonderful to be here and it's particularly a pleasure to be here with Tanya Plibersek, the acting Leader of the Opposition. Tanya is someone who has a great interest in the role of universities, not just for the strong economic benefits that we get through universities, not just because universities are such an important part of our exports as Australians, not just because universities help individual kids to benefit from this nation's prosperity, but also because universities actually help build equality in Australia by making sure that all kids, or should make sure that all kids, regardless of their background, get the opportunity to benefit from our nation's economic growth and our prosperity. And so it's been wonderful to be here with Tanya today and of course with Murray Watt, Senator-elect for Queensland. I'd now like you to welcome Tanya to the microphone, thanks very much.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks very much, Terri, and thanks very much to Vice Chancellor Coaldrake for welcoming us here today. It is wonderful to be here with him, his staff and also, with Terri Bulter and Murray Watt. This university is doing what we hope all universities will do; that's focussing on excellence and equity. This is a university that puts a lot of emphasis on making sure that kids from poorer backgrounds, from regional areas, from families where they're the first in their generation to go to university, are able to have a successful university education here. That's obviously transformational for the lives of those individual students. But what we also want to see from universities is investment in excellence. The sort of excellence that drives productivity and economic growth for our nation. Today, we've seen upstairs some incredible science, some science that will change the lives, particularly of children who are born, for example, with a missing part of their body, a missing ear in the case that we were looking at, looking at the sort of bio-engineering that would mean the replacement of that ear. You can imagine the kind of difference that can make in the life of an individual child. But it's that sort of research and innovation and the commercialisation of those discoveries that will also underpin our economic productivity and our wealth as a nation in the future. 

So what we're doing today is looking at this combination of equity and excellence that we expect across our university sector, that we hope for and will build towards across the university sector. We're also here today to reiterate the fact that under Labor there will never be $100,000 university degrees in an American-style user-pays system, where if you're lucky enough to have wealthy parents you can make it to university, but if you're an ordinary kid from an ordinary family, no matter how hard you work, no matter how good you are at school, you will be put off going to university by the lifetime costs of that university degree.

We want to make sure that every kid in Australia has a great education through their school years. But that they can go on beyond their schooling to TAFE or to university, to further study, to make the most of their advantages, to make the most of their interest, to pursue the things that they're passionate about, to get a well-paid, highly-skilled job in the future. So thanks very much. Happy to take any questions on higher education or the issues of the day.

JOURNALIST: Do you think Kevin Rudd should be captain's pick for Malcolm Turnbull?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I absolutely think that Kevin Rudd is a distinguished Australian: successful diplomat, successful Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and it would be extraordinary if the Government didn't support such a distinguished Australian. Kevin Rudd is an acknowledged international expert on Asia, on China in particular. His advice is sought by governments around the world. The work he's been doing since he left Australia shows that he is internationally seen as a foreign affairs expert and he's eminently well qualified for the position that he's seeking.

JOURNALIST: Don't you think his management style and skills raises some questions and we've seen examples of that in the past.

JOURNALIST: Peter Garrett said he was a megalomaniac, Conroy said he had contempt for Cabinet, Gillard said operating style dysfunctional and Burke said impossible micromanagement. Yet you support him in being in the UN, how do you think he will deal with those people behind closed doors if he can't deal with your party behind closed doors.

PLIBERSEK: Well I'm sure that Kevin's experience as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, as a diplomat of decades of standing would be very well put to use at the United Nations. The United Nations is a large organisation with reach right around the world. Intervening to support peace and prosperity, making sure that we reduce conflict, that we grow economic strength. I think Kevin's experiences would be very well put to use at the United Nations. And I think the real question is, given that the Foreign Minister clearly believes that it would be in Australia's national interest to have an Australian serving in such an important role, whether she has the power in the Cabinet to back her pick or whether Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop are captive to the right wing of the Liberal Party who are prepared to put petty politics ahead of the national interest.

JOURNALIST: If the PM supports the nomination, what should happen next?

PLIBERSEK: Well, if the Prime Minister supports the nomination of Kevin Rudd for this position, Kevin is very well able to campaign with the leaders of the countries that will be making this decision in coming months. I'm sure that Australian diplomats would be very enthusiastic about supporting the nomination of an Australian for such an important role.

JOURNALIST: Isn't this a sign of how divisive Kevin Rudd is three years after he lost the federal election?

PLIBERSEK: No, I think this is a sign that Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop don't have the strength to influence their Cabinet in the way that they should be able to. There is no question that it is in our national interest to have an Australian in this vital role. There is no-one who could argue that it is anything other than in our national interest to have an Aussie doing this job. If the cabinet don't back Kevin Rudd for this role, it will show that they are putting their pettiness and their political interests ahead of the national interest. 

JOURNALIST: Is he a better choice than Helen Clark? 

PLIBERSEK: I think Kevin Rudd is the best choice. He's the Australian in an international contest. I would always back the Aussie in an international contest.

JOURNALIST: Can you address his negotiating skills behind closed doors and what they'll be like at the UN? Because that's where all the criticism came from your party about what he was like behind closed doors, not how he was in public?

PLIBERSEK: I'm sure that Kevin has all of the skills necessary to undertake this role with distinction and I'm sure that every sensible Australian would see the benefit to our national reputation, to our standing in the world in having one of our own in such an important position.

JOURNALIST: So his negotiating skills aren't relevant then, is that what you're saying?

PLIBERSEK: I'm saying that he has all of the skills necessary to do the job. I don't doubt that he could do it for a moment. He was a very successful diplomat for many decades. He's very well regarded internationally. He has received the support of people on our side of politics but also Liberals like Brendan Nelson. He's got the support of international figures, leaders and foreign ministers of nations around the world. I don't doubt for a moment that Kevin Rudd could do this job.

JOURNALIST: If his nomination is blocked, do you think there would be retribution further down the track if Labor is returned to power and, for instance, Tony Abbott puts up his hand for a similar kind of job?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we don't play those games. When we were last in Government, we supported the nomination of a number of very senior Liberals to very important roles overseas. Brendan Nelson, Tim Fisher and others were asked to serve overseas by a Labor Government despite the fact they came from conservative backgrounds. We have - we appointed Peter Costello to the Future Fund. We are prepared to back the best person for the job. It would be terrific if the Government made a clear statement today that they are prepared to back an Australian for a position that would bring a great deal of credit to our nation.

JOURNALIST: Is it embarrassing - just on the royal commission, the Federal Government says it doesn't want the royal commission to be delayed by consultations, isn't that fair given how lengthy that would be?

PLIBERSEK: No, it is a simple fact that Government ministers have said that the Opposition has been consulted and Indigenous Australians have been consulted about these terms of reference and it is simply not the case that that has happened. Labor has been very clear from day one that we back a Royal Commission. We're not interested in delays, we're interested in getting to the bottom of the shocking failures of the juvenile justice system in the Northern Territory, just as the Government is. We are absolutely prepared to work with them hand in hand to ensure that both the terms of reference and the appointment of the commissioner are unequivocally supported across the board. We had Government ministers saying that the Opposition was being consulted and that Indigenous leaders were being consulted and that hasn't happened and that is deeply, deeply disappointing. I would certainly say that it would have been a very good idea to consult with Indigenous leaders and I would certainly say that it would be a good idea to consider the appointment of an additional commissioner, an Aboriginal commissioner to this Royal Commission. I think we would see a better result in the long term if the Government paused now, reconsidered the rushed job they have done on the terms of reference and took some soundings. I said to Prime Minister Turnbull yesterday when he rang me about this, after the terms of reference had been set and after the commissioner had been selected, that Labor was very prepared to work cooperatively to make sure that all the initial decisions were right and had broad spread public support.

JOURNALIST: Who do you think that Indigenous Commissioner should -

PLIBERSEK: Can I just finish this comment? And Prime Minister Turnbull did say to me that it was possible to amend the terms of reference during the course of the Royal Commission should that become necessary. I am disappointed that that is the attitude. I would have thought it would be good to get this right the first time.

JOURNALIST: Who do you suggest that Indigenous commissioner should be?

PLIBERSEK: There's a number of distinguished Australians who could do the job. I don't think it's appropriate for me to start naming names. I think the better thing to do would be for the Prime Minister to have a talk with the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, or with me while I'm acting this week, and determine one of any number of people who could do it.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Sydney, Thursday 28 July 2016

commonwealthcoatofarms_4_.png 

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
  

THE HON ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIES
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TOURISM
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
SYDNEY
THURSDAY, 28 JULY 2016

SUBJECTS: Domestic violence; Royal Commission into Northern Territory juvenile detention system; Kevin Rudd's nomination for UN Secretary-General.

 

ANTHONY ALBANESE, MEMBER FOR GRANDYLER: [audio cuts in] things I said to Karen earlier that it would be great if your service didn’t exist. But there is a need for it and today has been an opportunity for myself as the local Member but Tanya as the Shadow Minister to get briefed on the needs of these services and I might ask Karen to make some remarks.

KAREN WILLS, EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Thank you very much. It's a great honour to have both Anthony and Tanya with us today. The work that our counselling team does is often difficult and always challenging, and so it's great to see people of the calibre of our two representatives here coming today being interested in what people are doing, talking to our counsellors and expressing their support of this service. So I thank both of you very much for that, I absolutely guarantee this will be the topic of conversation for quite a considerable while to come in our organisation.

In Australia one in four women will experience sexual assault or domestic violence at some stage in their adult life. Last year 79 women lost their lives at the hands of the person who says I love you. The most common reason for people aged - for women aged 24-45 in this country to be hospitalised is as a result of domestic violence. One in four children in our country will grow up witnessing violence, usually by their father against their mother.

We have a massive problem and we absolutely need to do a whole range of things to change that and firstly preventing the violence is absolutely critical. But when that violence occurs we also need to make sure that we have high quality, professional services to support that person and their dependants towards safety and recovery. 1800RESPECT and NSW Rape Crisis which are two of our services, that’s absolutely what we aim to achieve. Thank you to all of those people in Australia who support our service and also to those who are experiencing violence, please consider, pick up that phone, have a chat, because perhaps there are options and ways towards safety and recovery and a life of absolute marvellousness, which of course is what everybody should have a right to expect for themselves. Thank you.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, ACTING OPPOSITION LEADER: Thanks so much Karen. I want to start by thanking Anthony for hosting me today in his electorate. This part of the electorate used to be in Sydney and it's always great to be in Balmain, and it's really wonderful to know that this part of my electorate has gone on to be so well represented by the Member for Grayndler - as part of the seat of Grayndler.

I also want to pay particular tribute to Karen Wills, who has been a force to be reckoned with for decades when it comes to issues around violence against women, sexual assault and domestic violence. The 1800RESPECT service is one that did come out of the National Plan on Violence Against Women and their children, which I developed when I was the Minister for Women. But the work that Karen has done
precedes 1800RESPECT, it goes right back to the roots of the New South Wales rape crisis counselling service. She has been absolutely instrumental in legal changes here in New South Wales, in changes to community attitudes, changes to policing practice and legal practice, and this most recent service that she’s been involved with the 1800 Respect and online counselling has benefited enormously from her experience, her leadership, her advocacy. This is a service that exists for people who are experiencing violence, or friends or family members of someone who’s experienced domestic violence or sexual assault. To be able to call to get trauma counselling, to get advice about how to proceed to the next stage of rebuilding their lives or how to help someone in their family or a friend who's experienced sexual assault or domestic violence. We could not survive as a community without this service and I am so proud of the work that's being done. This is one of three services, three foundational services that were funded out of the National Plan on Violence Against Women and their Children - ANROWS and Our WATCH are two other services and before the last election Labor committed to funding these services to the end of the period of the national plan which is 2021-22 because the services have worked and the idea that they should be forced to re-tender for work that their they’re doing so well just doesn't make sense. I don't doubt for one second that the whole of the Federal Parliament is absolutely united in our wish as members of Parliament to see a community that is safe for women and children. Where domestic violence and sexual assault are a thing of the past. I sincerely believe that all members of Parliament remain united in this aim. But it takes more that goodwill to deliver this in the Australian community, it will always take better resourcing.  So resourcing for 1800 Respect, Our WATCH, ANROWS, that’s critical. Resourcing for legal services that help women who've experienced violence bring their perpetrators to justice. Emergency accommodation, making sure that people have a safe place to go if there's violence in the home. All of these are critical and they are areas where the current Government has let down the Australian community. I don't doubt that the will is there but the will has to be backed up with the resourcing to make sure that we have great services like this and front line emergency response, that we have homelessness services that can provide safe shelter for people fleeing violence, we have legal services that ensure that victims have true access to justice. So thank you to Karen and everyone working at 1800 Respect. I am very happy now to answer questions about this service or about issues of the day.  

JOURNALIST: Ms Plibersek you've worked very closely with Kevin Rudd. Just on his bid to become Secretary General, do you think that he has the right temperament for that job?

PLIBERSEK: I don’t think I could imagine anyone who is better qualified for this job than Kevin Rudd. He was a distinguished former Prime Minister of Australia. A very successful Foreign Minister. A diplomat, a very successful diplomat with decades worth of diplomatic experience. He's acknowledged in the United States as an expert on China and Asia more generally. His skill is acknowledged around the world. I don't doubt that he should receive the full support of the Australian Government and frankly I am mystified that there would even be a proposition that the Australian Government is not backing the Australian candidate for such a distinguished position.

If the Cabinet today decides not to offer its endorsement to Kevin Rudd, it will show that the petty, small-minded right-wing of the Liberal Party have Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop on a short leash. Julie Bishop as the Foreign Minister absolutely has the ability to make an important decision like this in her own portfolio, and her Cabinet should back her in this position. Malcolm Turnbull should have the courage to stare down the extremists in his own party and put the national interest first instead of putting his factional fears above the national interest.

JOURNALIST: Do you believe they're playing politics if they didn't do that?

PLIBERSEK:
I think it would be small-minded, I think it should be short term, I think it would be embarrassing for the nation, I think it would be misguided and I think it would be wrong.

JOURNALIST: On the Royal Commission into juvenile justice centres in the Northern Territory, have you seen any of the terms of reference?

PLIBERSEK: No. I haven't seen the terms of reference. Let's go back to the beginning on this. The footage that Australia saw on Monday night was deeply disturbing. There is something very wrong with the juvenile justice system in the Northern Territory. And our first responsibility is to absolutely ensure that those young men whose abuse was documented on Monday night are safe, that they are protected wherever they are at the moment and that proper consideration is being given to how they can be helped to rebuild their lives after the abuse that they've suffered. Labor has been absolutely unequivocal in our support for the Government in its proposal for a Royal Commission. We believe that it is critical that we don't just look at the juvenile justice system in the Northern Territory. Of course that must be a large part of this investigation - what went wrong in the Don Dale facility for the sort of levels of violence we saw on Monday night to be occurring, it seems quite regularly. But we do need to look deeper than that as well. We need to look at what is going wrong that children as young as ten or eleven are ending up in the juvenile justice system. What is going wrong in our communities and in our families that these kids are ending up in the juvenile justice system? And I think it is extraordinary that the Prime Minster has already ruled out looking more broadly at other States, looking at juvenile justice in other States. My experience is that when you have a story like this, that is so shocking, it often encourages other victims to come forward. We certainly saw that with the institutional - the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, that the more people came forward, the more people who had kept secret their experiences were encouraged to trust that perhaps their complaints would now be taken seriously. It is very possible that in coming days, and weeks, and months we will hear more than once of similar experiences in other places, things that have happened to other children in the juvenile justice system. And we have to be open to investigating those as well - to making sure that if there are systemic failings in other States that we are able to examine that. We have been told that these issues are going to the Cabinet today. We have been told that - told by the media I don't mean contacted directly - told by the media that both the terms of reference and possibly even the selection of the Royal Commissioner will happen today at Cabinet. I am deeply disappointed that, given how bipartisan Labor has been in supporting this Royal Commission, the Attorney-General has not consulted properly with us about possible terms of reference, about possible commissioners - a commissioner or commissioners - for this Royal Commission because we want it to work. We want it to get to the bottom of the systemic failings in juvenile justice.

JOURNALIST: Do you believe that the Northern Territory Government should be excluded from any other role than as a witness?

PLIBERSEK: I think any Royal Commission should not be influenced in any way by any government. The Government's role is to set up the Royal Commission, to choose the commissioner, to set the terms of reference and then any Royal Commission should be completely independent of any interference by any government - Federal or State or Territory.

JOURNALIST: Colin Barnett obviously had some interesting words for his counterpart in the Northern Territory there. Do you mirror that? Do you agree with his statements?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I haven't seen the details of the statement, so I can't comment.

JOURNALIST: Are there any current or former Labor representatives who knew about the abuse?

PLIBERSEK: Again, I can't comment but that is exactly the sort of thing that a Royal Commission should look at. And I have been very clear that Labor is not running away from taking our share of the responsibility of systemic failings. The reason we support a Royal Commission is because we have to get to the bottom of what has gone wrong here. I think it is absolutely critical that we don't engage in a blame game. What is important here is protecting children from physical abuse, from emotional abuse, from isolation, from what seems from the evidence we saw on Monday night, to torture.

JOURNALIST: Just lastly back on Kevin Rudd, given his rather colourful way of describing the Chinese in relation to rats, do you think that would have damaged his ability to get this job?

PLIBERSEK: I know that Kevin Rudd is very well regarded by the Chinese leadership. He's got excellent connections that he has built up over very many decades and I don't doubt for a moment that he could be a very successful UN Secretary-General. I am sure that the connections that he's made in China, in the United States, across Europe, right through Asia, right around the world would serve him very well. Thanks everyone.

ENDS

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