TRANSCRIPT: ABC Central Coast, Tuesday 12 April 2016

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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 CENTRAL COAST
TUESDAY 12 APRIL 2016

SUBJECT/S: Tanya’s visit to the NSW Central Coast

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Sydney, Saturday 9 April 2016

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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 9 APRIL 2016

 

SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality; the Australian steel industry; Malcolm Turnbull’s chaotic Government; Royal Commission into the banking and financial services sector.

  

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: [audio cuts in]…I think Geoff speaks for many Australians, not just for his own son, when he says that a plebiscite is unnecessary and divisive. When Labor was in government, we changed 85 pieces of legislation to remove discrimination against gays, lesbians, same-sex couples. We also introduced a prohibition into discrimination legislation, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexuality or gender identity. But there is one last great piece of unfinished business, and that is in marriage equality. We know that the majority of Australians support marriage equality, not just like Geoff because they have someone in the family that would benefit personally, but because they see it as an issue of equity and justice; of fairness, so important in our Australian ethos. The other thing to consider of course is the cost of the $160 million plebiscite. Surely this government – intent on cutting education, intent on cutting Medicare, intent on cutting all of the services that Australians rely on, doesn’t want to spend $160 million on a plebiscite. Mr Turnbull says that this plebiscite is necessary to give Australians a say, but we know that conservatives in the Liberal and National Parties have already said that they’ll ignore the results of the plebiscite. So we’re having a $160 million plebiscite in order for the conservatives in Mr Turnbull’s own party to ignore the results.

As Geoff has said, as Ben has said, it’s also absolutely vital to consider the sort of messages that young people will hear during this debate. Young people – teenagers who are just thinking about coming out – will hear in our media, across social media and so on, that there is something wrong with being gay or lesbian. I think it’s appalling, knowing what we already know about the mental health effects for young gay and lesbians of hearing hate speech against people in their community. What about kids who have got same-sex parents? We know that there are thousands of families across Australia with same-sex parents. The messages that little children will hear, that their two mums, or their two dads, somehow make up a lesser family than the families of the other kids at school. Again, deeply harmful messages for those children.

So we say to Mr Turnbull - this can happen now. We know that the Parliament has the power to legislate – we’ve heard that even from John Howard and other conservatives. We know that this is the job of the federal Parliament to legislate, so let the federal Parliament legislate. There are bills ready to be voted on now, and I say this: if Mr Turnbull does not allow this legislation to be debated in the Parliament, then we will ensure that if we are elected, whenever the election might be, that within the first 100 days of a Shorten Labor Government, marriage equality legislation will be introduced to our Parliament and it will pass.  Any questions?

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

PLIBERSEK: Well of course, Labor is the only party that can deliver on marriage equality because at the next election there will be a choice between a Liberal Government led by Mr Turnbull who has already let down Australians who support marriage equality, or between a Labor Government led by Bill Shorten, who has made a commitment that marriage equality will be debated in our Parliament within the first 100 days of his government.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

PLIBERSEK: Whenever we’ve had changes to discrimination legislation – to sex discrimination legislation, or race discrimination legislation, the federal parliament has debated that legislation. At times it’s been very controversial – people said when sex discrimination legislation was introduced that it would change our society for the worse. They said it about race discrimination legislation and it’s interesting to note that Liberal members of parliament are still saying that section 18C of the Race Discrimination Act is a problem when it comes to our society. But what we say is just as the federal Parliament legislated to get rid of sex discrimination and race discrimination, just as it legislated to prohibit discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity, this next step in eliminating discrimination is the job of the federal parliament.

JOURNALIST: Richard Marles refused to back Bill Shorten on [inaudible]… does this represent a split in your party, or do you back the leader?

PLIBERSEK:  Oh absolutely we are consistent on this issue. We want Australia to have a strong steel industry. We’ve been in Whyalla this week with a Parliamentary inquiry set up by Labor into the future of the steel industry. Bill Shorten has written to the Government many months ago urging bipartisanship to ensure that we continue to have a steel industry in Australia. Now there are many ways that the government can encourage the use of Australian steel, and we are united as a party to ensure that we have a steel industry in Australia in the future. If you have a look at what’s happened to manufacturing jobs in this country in recent years, you have a government that has goaded the car industry to leave Australia. You have a government that has been completely inconsistent about the submarines and ship building industries here in Australia. We need to have a government that actually protects and prioritises Australian jobs, and that includes ensuring that we continue to have a steel industry in Australia.  

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

PLIBERSEK:  Well, I’m not sure what that question is really about. What I’d say is that it’s important in a country like Australia that every person who can work is working. That means that we need a plan for our economy that prioritises growth and jobs to ensure that people in towns like Whyalla have a future.

JOURNALIST: Just on the Prime Minister’s comments this morning about the budget. He says it won’t be about a fistful of dollars, is that fair enough in the current economic climate?  

PLIBERSEK: Well I think it’s extraordinary that just weeks out from the Federal Budget, we’ve had half a dozen different ideas floated and shot down by this Government for what should be in the Budget. We had Scott Morrison first of all saying how vital it was to do personal income tax cuts, well that idea has been shot down. We’ve had a plan for company tax cuts, which of course we know benefit the largest companies most, we’ve had that idea shot down. We had Scott Morrison talking about tackling the excesses of negative gearing, well that idea has been shot down. We’ve had a Prime Minister talking about state and federal income tax regimes, that idea has been shot down. And what have they got left? What they’ve got left is Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott’s 2014 budget. It’s back to cuts: further cuts in health, further cuts in education, further attacks on the pension and family tax benefit. This is a government with no plan for Australia’s economy. It is a government whose only solution to our economic challenges is further cuts. Now let me contrast what the Government has been up to this week and what we’ve been up to this week. This week we’ve had a government that has a Prime Minister and a Treasurer that has to set up photo opportunities to make it look like they’re besties. We’ve got a government that continues to ignore the threat of job losses in Whyalla. We’ve got a government that stands by its massive $80 billion cuts to health and education. In contrast, you’ve got an Opposition that invests in health and education, that is down in Whyalla talking to steel workers and the company that they’re employed by to ensure that they have jobs for the future.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] the Royal Commission will ruin Australia’s standing [inaudible] globally. Does Labor agree?

PLIBERSEK:  Well I think it’s the banks that have been undermining confidence in banking in Australia, because what we’ve seen is scandal after scandal in the banking sector.  Thank you.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC AM, Tuesday 15 March 2016

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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 AM
TUESDAY 15 MARCH 2016

SUBJECT/S: Iran, Syria

 

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN, PRESENTER: Tanya Plibersek, welcome to the program again.

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

BRISSENDEN: Julie Bishop will raise human rights with the Iranian Foreign Minister, and issues of national interest of course. Should she be asking the Foreign Minister to take back all of their asylum seekers?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think the most important discussion for our Foreign Minister to have is with the Australian people: to let the Australian people know what exactly has changed in our approach to Iran in recent years. Of course, Labor has always said that we should engage with Iran – it’s a country of significant size and of course a very important player in its region- has been a significant force in the Syrian conflict but also in a number of other conflicts, including in Yemen. So we believe engagement is very important but we’d like to know from the Foreign Minister why it is that Australia has changed – why she’s changed her position so quickly, and what her objectives are. Are they trading objectives, or do they include this objective of the involuntary return of people who have lodged asylum claims in Australia and have been unsuccessful? And, if they are the objectives, what are we prepared to give up or forego in pursuing those objectives? I would not like to think that Australia would be turning a blind eye to what we know are continued human rights abuses, continued support for the Assad regime, continued export of weapons, continued testing of ballistic missiles -

BRISSENDEN: Can we get to the broader engagement with Iran in a second, and just deal with the asylum seeker question first? Should Iran take back forcibly repatriated asylum seekers? Should we be asking them to do that?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think Australia would have to have some very strong assurances that people would be safe in returning to Iran. We know that journalists continue to be prevented from doing their work, we know that people are executed for being gay; It is a country that has a pretty poor human rights record, so you would need some very strong assurances that people are going to be safe on return.

BRISSENDEN: There does seem to be a concern, at least from your side, and from many quarters, that Australia is getting too close to Iran in the last little while. But clearly this does reflect, doesn’t it, a general pivot in Western diplomacy toward greater engagement with Iran?

PLIBERSEK: Greater engagement is a good thing. We supported the nuclear deal, we think it’s a much better option than any of the other options which were continued sanctions, which were obviously difficult to maintain into the future, or what some people were proposing which was a military response – I mean that would have been crazy. So we think that the nuclear deal was the right approach. But that doesn’t mean that countries should now turn a blind eye to behaviour like the continuing export of weapons to Yemen. Or the continued testing of ballistic missiles, or indeed the domestic human rights abuse, the continued support for the Assad regime. All of these things still need to be questioned and we can’t set them aside because we’ve got a new and more convenient priority before us.

BRISSENDEN: So do you think that’s what we’re doing? Do you think we are getting too close to Iran?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think it’s up to the Foreign Minister to explain why in 2012 she said that Iran was so bad that we shouldn’t even send public servants to a multilateral meeting in Iran, and today she has been very quick to visit Iran herself, and very quick to pursue some objectives – she’s not prepared to make clear exactly what those are.

BRISSENDEN: Was it wrong to suspend the sanctions against Iran?

PLIBERSEK: No, I think we are quite right to join the international community in suspending sanctions. I think we need to be very careful about making sure that when we suspend any of our particular sanctions that we don’t inadvertently support the building of weapons or– that it has no unintended consequences. And that’s why we’ve called for a proper parliamentary scrutiny of the lifting of sanctions.

BRISSENDEN: Okay. The situation in Syria surely has changed everything in this regard, in the way the West approaches Iran and in our relationship with almost everybody in that region, hasn’t it?

PLIBERSEK: Well the whole geopolitics of the region are changing, that’s certainly true, and they will change even more as Iran increases its wealth after the sanctions are lifted. We’ve always said that Iran will have to be part of the solution in Syria, and of course the Russian changes today – with Vladimir Putin saying that he’ll recall Russian troops – obviously changes the situation again. What concerns me is that the main objective of both Iran and Russia has been to prop up the Assad regime. That’s meant that the conflict has lengthened in time – we’re now at the 5 year anniversary – hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced, we know that there are more than 2 million child refugees from this conflict now.

BRISSENDEN: So how should we read Russia’s announcement that it will withdraw its troops? Does that suggest then that Russia believes the Assad regime can survive quite well without it?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think we have to be careful trying to read motivation, but the Russians have said that they’ve achieved their objective there. Well, it seems to me that Daesh, or IS, whatever you want to call it, has not yet been defeated so I’m not sure what the objective was unless it was to prop up the Assad regime and put it into a stronger position for negotiations.

BRISSENDEN: Well it certainly complicated the environment there, didn’t it?

PLIBERSEK: It has massively complicated the environment. And the other thing we have to look at of course is withdrawing troops is one thing, but ending the air bombing campaign that has predominantly targeted groups in the middle that are attacking the Assad regime, has been very counterproductive and, I mean if troops are withdrawn but the bombing continues of those groups in the middle we still have a situation where the Russians are trying to clear out the middle ground and make the West choose between the continuation of an Assad regime, or Daesh taking over.

BRISSENDEN: Just quickly, will you be meeting the Iranian Foreign Minister?

PLIBERSEK: Yes I will.

BRISSENDEN: And what will you be saying to him?

PLIBERSEK: Well of course, I’ll welcome his visit and I’ll welcome the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions. But what I will say is that countries like Australia very much value international laws and norms and those norms include allowing freedom of reporting, freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of political association, freedom of religion in a country, freedom of sexuality. And that we are very concerned about the continued support of the Assad regime, of the export of weapons to Yemen, the rhetoric against the United States, Israel: all of the aggressive moves that we continue to see from Iran.

BRISSENDEN: Okay. Tanya Plibersek, thanks for joining us.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop. Sydney, March 13 2016

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THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

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
SUNDAY 13 MARCH 2016

 

SUBJECT/S: Launch of Chris Gambian, Labor candidate for Banks’ campaign; Turnbull’s Liberals cutting the kids dental scheme; chaos in the Turnbull Liberal Government; Election timing; Queensland Nickel workers; WA Labor; Senate reform; Report into MP entitlements; asylum seekers.

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Brisbane, Friday 11 March 2016

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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
 
 

TERRI BUTLER MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE
SAFETY AND PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE
MEMBER FOR GRIFFITH

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
BRISBANE
FRIDAY 11 MARCH 2016

 

SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality, Safe Schools, PFLAG book launch, Clive Palmer, Iran, election

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Parliament House, Wednesday 2 March 2016

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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
 
 

TERRI BUTLER MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE
SAFETY AND PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE
MEMBER FOR GRIFFITH

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
PARLIAMENT HOUSE
WEDNESDAY 2 MARCH 2016

 

SUBJECT/S: marriage equality

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC Capital Hill, Wednesday 2 March 2016

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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 CAPITAL HILL
WEDNESDAY 2 MARCH 2016

 

SUBJECT/S: Pat Dodson; Joe Bullock; marriage equality; Safe Schools; senate reform

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Parliament House, Wednesday 2 March 2016

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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
PARLIAMENT HOUSE
WEDNESDAY 2 MARCH 2016

SUBJECTS: East Timor; marriage equality; foreign aid

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: When Malcolm Turnbull was in the United States he made a speech about how Australia should be a good global citizen and how the United States and China should follow the international rules-based order, that that was the best guarantee of safety and security globally. So, it’s quite believable that the Government of Timor-Leste would have imagined that they’d get a better hearing from Prime Minister Turnbull than they had from Prime Minister Abbott when it comes to the issue of finally settling the sea border between our two nations.  Our newest, smallest, poorest neighbour has been asking for many years for the issue of this border to be finally settled, and Labor’s policy, of course, is that we would expedite negotiations but if we’re not able to come to an agreement on the sea border between our nations that we would submit to international arbitration or adjudication to finally determine this matter. We heard yesterday, of course, that Prime Minister Turnbull is no different to Prime Minister Abbott on this issue and he has again sent a strong message that Australia – a large and wealthy country – will hold our smaller, newer neighbour, hold them up, and make sure that we don’t settle this issue anytime soon. It will be a great disappointment to the Government and the people of East Timor. But, of course, it’s pretty par for the course for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to be disappointing the people that had high hopes for him.

This weekend thousands of people will march in the annual Mardi Gras parade and thousands more will watch. For the first time the Leader of the Opposition will be marching and I know that people are delighted that Bill will be there with his family because it sends a very strong message that if Labor were to win government we would have marriage equality within the first 100 days. But of course, we could actually have marriage equality before the weekend if the Government was interested in moving on this issue. There is a Private Members Bill before the Parliament – we could bring that Private Members Bill on for debate immediately – it could pass the House of Representatives today, it could pass the Senate tomorrow. This could be done by the weekend if we had a Prime Minister that was prepared to allow a free vote in the Parliament right now. What’s extraordinary about Malcolm Turnbull’s about-face on marriage equality is that he is now to the right of John Howard on marriage equality. John Howard said earlier this week that he believed this is an issue for the Parliament and an issue for a free vote in the Parliament. So we have Malcolm Turnbull so desperate to win the support of the right wing of the Liberal Party that he is actually pursuing this $160 million, wasteful, expensive, divisive plebiscite – that the right of the Liberal Party have said that they won’t accept the results of in any case. So we have a proposition -  bring this legislation on now. Let’s vote in the House of Representatives this week, let’s vote in the Senate this week. We could have this done by Mardi Gras and it’s extraordinarily disappointing to millions of Australians that the Prime Minister they thought they were getting is not the Prime Minister they got. People hoped that Malcolm Turnbull would change the Liberal Party but in fact the Liberal Party has changed Malcolm Turnbull. Any questions?

JOURNALIST: Has this been a good move by Joe Bullock?

PLIBERSEK: Well, Joe Bullock made a very dignified speech in the Senate last night and his words speak for himself. He has spent decades representing some of the lowest paid workers in Australia. I wish him and his family well.  

JOURNALIST: Does he have antiquated views though?

PLIBERSEK: No I’m not going to make any comments about Joe Bullock’s views. He and I have different views on marriage equality and he has a right to those views. He made a very dignified speech last night where he laid out those views and his words stand on their own.

JOURNALIST: Gary Gray said on radio this morning that Labor should be more accommodating to different views in the caucus.

PLIBERSEK: Well I think we are pretty accommodating.  I go to a lot of Caucus meetings, as you can imagine, and we have some pretty fierce debates, and in fact the great thing about the Labor Party is at our national conferences, at our state conferences, you can go and hear those views expressed. In fact with our national conferences, most of the time you can see them broadcast live. So you saw very passionate debates at our national conference and at a range of state conferences, that’s one of the best things about the Labor Party and that’s why people join the Labor Party. We are a very broad church.  We have a lot of people with very passionately held views, we fight them out but once we come to a resolution, we stick together. That’s the way we have survived as long as we have as a party. Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t keep working as members of the Labor Party to progress our views, to update, to change, to develop the views of the Labor Party.  We’re not stuck in one place. But we make those decisions collectively and that’s what has made us successful as a party of government.

JOURNALIST: Why does there seem to be this exodus of Labor members from Western Australia, Joe Bullock just the latest?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think you’d hardly call a handful of resignations an exodus. I think it’s a very difficult life to be a member of the Federal Parliament from WA. I remember when Kim Beazley was the Leader of the Opposition and he used to, I mean the flying hours that those WA MPs do, particularly if they’ve got a ministerial or shadow ministerial responsibility in addition, is really hard on a person and it’s really hard on family life. So I wish all of the people who have said that they won’t be continuing all the best for the future, and I thank them for their service because it does take a higher toll than for someone like me – I hop on a plane in Sydney and I’m here in two hours.

JOURNALIST: Just back to East Timor. The Labor Party’s national platform used to be a commitment to the median line principle.  Why has the Party, why won’t Labor support that now?

PLIBERSEK: Well our platform is very clear on this: that we want to have a resolution that is in line with the most recent international law. So, if we can’t negotiate that with East Timor we will submit ourselves to adjudication by the International Court of Justice under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or one of the other appropriate treaties. I think it is very important to understand that this is a changing body of international law. We have every right as a sovereign nation to put our case strongly, but if we can’t get agreement with our neighbour we will then submit to international law and accept the resolution that comes about through that process. This has dragged on too long.  For decades now we have not had a proper border with East Timor and it’s an extraordinary situation that we’ve allowed this to continue for as long as we have. It’s not fair to the people of East Timor but it doesn’t benefit us in the long run either. If we say that the most important thing we can do for safety and security in our region is to urge all of our neighbours to accept the international rules-based order and to abide by that international rules-based order then we can hardly exempt ourselves from that. We can hardly lecture [inaudible] in the South China Sea about the land reclamation and militarisation efforts on the one hand and, as Malcolm Turnbull did lecture the United States about not being a signatory to the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, and then on the other hand say, “oh, except for when it doesn’t suit us – we’ll hold ourselves apart from it when it doesn’t suit us”.

JOURNALIST: Just quickly on foreign aid, the Australian Council for International Development [inaudible] its Budget submission yesterday warning that Australia was at increased risk of infectious diseases such as rabies from Indonesia or tuberculosis from Papua New Guinea because of the major cuts to foreign aid.  Is that a concern?

PLIBERSEK:  Well, we don’t just do aid because it’s the morally right thing to do. It is important for us as a relatively wealthy nation to play our part in the international community through our official development assistance budget. But we do it because it makes Australia safer and it makes Australia more secure. One of the ways it makes it safer is through this issue of pandemics or infectious diseases- if our neighbours have weak health systems, of course we are at higher risk. If we see the development of multi drug resistant tuberculosis and drug-resistant malaria, if we see an explosion of HIV, if we see viruses like the zika virus take hold, then of course we are at greater risk. Not only Australians here in Australia, but Australians who travel across our region very, very frequently are at greater risk of contracting these sorts of illnesses. And when it comes to security, we know that for example, the Australian aid budget built over 2000 schools in Indonesia. It’s to our advantage to have a strong Indonesia with good economic growth and an education system that doesn’t rely on extremist madrasas to educate their children. So there’s both health benefits, there’s the security benefits, and there’s the reputational advantage. Australia has always had a reputation as a good neighbour and we are losing that reputation because of the horrendous cuts to the aid budget - $11.3 billion so far from this Government. And despite the fact that the Foreign Minister promised her Pacific neighbours that they would be exempt from the cuts, some of those cuts in the Pacific have been severe. They have seen programs that were previously benefitting people – health programs, education, climate change adaptation and mitigation – gone - because the aid budget isn’t there for them anymore.

JOURNALIST: Shouldn’t Louise Pratt get the casual vacancy in Western Australia?

PLIBERSEK:  Well we’ll go through our processes. Louise has made a terrific contribution in the Senate in the past. She’s a great person and I’m sure she’s got a big future in the Labor Party but I’m sure there’ll be other people who will also be interested in nominating. Thanks.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Sydney, Wednesday 17 February 2016

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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
 
 

ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION
MEMBER FOR FRASER

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP
SYDNEY
WEDNESDAY 17 FEBRUARY 2016

SUBJECT/S: Labor’s positive plans for the sharing economy; negative gearing; GST; retirement of WA Labor MPs; population growth.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much to Sam and the COMMUNE team for having us here, and to Ruby from SheSays for giving us some insights into the important work that they are doing to make sure that the innovative start-up economy includes as many women as possible. Labor believes that the sharing economy offers great potential for tackling some of our big challenges, including creating more jobs and dealing with issues like congestion and housing affordability. That is why we engaged in extensive consultations last year, talking to Australians about the principles that should guide the sharing economy. Labor's principles include the notion that sharing economy firms should play by the rules, and should pay their fair share of tax. Labor understands that the sharing economy offers great potential for creating new jobs, but that we have got to be careful too that the new technologies do not leave people behind. It is only Labor that will ensure that an innovative economy protects workers as well as making sure capital owners do well. 

Just before handing over to Tanya, I want to make a couple of comments about Scott Morrison's address to the National Press Club today. We know that the Abbott-Turnbull Government has lost more ministers that it has had positive tax ideas; 14 more to be exact. All signs are pointing to Scott Morrison's address to the Press Club being just another Joe Hockey-style lecture on Australians living beyond their means. Here are a few facts that Scott Morrison probably won't share with the Australian people when he is at the Press Club: 80 per cent of his return to surplus by 2021 is based on bracket creep. He is unlikely to say that half of the benefits of negative gearing go to the top tenth, or that two-thirds of the benefits of the capital gains tax go to the top tenth. I'd be pretty surprised if Scott Morrison acknowledges that inequality in Australia is at a 75-year high, and that growth has been downgraded successively since the Abbott-Turnbull Government came to office. Australia needs the economic leadership that Malcolm Turnbull promised when he toppled Tony Abbott, but so far we've seen precious little of it. I'll hand over now to Tanya.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks everyone, and thanks particularly to Sam for having us here today. When I speak to the young people who are here today, they are doing jobs I couldn't have imagined ten years ago. The one thing we know for certain is that in ten years’ time or twenty years’ time, our young people will be doing jobs we can’t imagine today. That is why it is so very important that we get a few of our basics right. Of course we have to get the principles around the sharing economy right, as Andrew has said. We need to get investment in school education right, because we know that the kids who are going to pre-school now, and the kids who are starting in primary school, for them coding will be as important as literacy and numeracy. We also need to get right our National Broadband Network. We’ve got a Prime Minister who has had one job as Communications Minister, and that was getting the NBN right. Instead we have got a second-rate NBN that is slower and more expensive than what Labor proposed. We are very focussed on making sure our kids are prepared for the jobs of the future through our school education system, and that the biggest piece of infrastructure that we will build as a nation in coming years is not the second-rate slower and more expensive NBN that Malcolm Turnbull has promised.

I also want to add a few comments on negative gearing, as Andrew has done. This continues to be, obviously, a discussion in the Australian community, and I'm very pleased that it is being discussed around kitchen breakfast tables and around the water cooler at work. What we know for sure is that negative gearing has disproportionately benefited the highest income earners. Scott Morrison has been out there for months talking up a new tax; a GST on all of the areas that weren't previously taxed - a GST on food and other essentials of life - or a 15 per cent GST in the areas that are already taxed. Either way, he has been talking up a massive tax increase. It is a little bit rich now for Scott Morrison to be saying he is not interested in the revenue part of the equation, and it is all about spending cuts. We saw the sort of spending cuts this Government wanted to make in the 2014 Budget. In fact, those spending cuts are still being pursued by the Government. There’s $80 billion of cuts from health and education. We can't invest in the future productivity of our country if we don't invest in our education system. The $30 billion cut from schools across Australia affects not just the ability of individual kids to do those jobs of the future, but our whole future prosperity as a nation if we don't invest in making sure that we can continue to have high educational standards across Australia. Any questions?

JOURNALIST: Labor's three sitting MPs in WA are all stepping down at the next election. Is the branch in trouble?

PLIBERSEK: Not at all. We will very much miss Melissa Parke, Alannah MacTiernan and Gary Gray, but each one of them has made a long commitment to public life in Australia. It is impossible for people to stay forever, but these people have more than done their fair share for the Labor Party, and most importantly for their constituents and the people of Western Australia. We are looking forward to renewal, to new members of Parliament from WA, but of course we will miss our colleagues.

JOURNALIST: We've heard a lot about renewal from each of those that are stepping out. Is there any sense that they perhaps have been pushed rather than jumping ship?

PLIBERSEK: No, not at all. It is a really tough life being a federal MP from WA, flying to Canberra 20-something weeks a year, always jet-lagged; making that flight first to Sydney usually and then on to Perth. I mean, hours and hours of your life spent high above the countryside. It is a very difficult thing to ask someone to do for years at a time, and these three have made a substantial contribution. Alannah, of course, was for many years a state MP and a state Minister as well. It is impossible to ask people to do this sort of work forever, and that sort of travel in particular, so we understand. We'll miss them, but we understand.

JOURNALIST: One of those MPs, Gary Gray, has backed calls for changes in the Senate voting system. Is this Labor's stance?

PLIBERSEK: We are still discussing the proposals that the Government might put forward. We have seen the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters make some recommendations. We are examining those recommendations and considering what the Government might put forward. This is an area where we need to look at very small votes for micro parties seeing people elected to the Senate and whether that is in fact reflecting the views of the electors appropriately. It is something we need to make a considered and thoughtful response to.

JOURNALIST: On first glance it appears that if this shake-up does happen, Labor and the Greens will have the overwhelming balance of power in the upper house. Is that an attractive prospect?

PLIBERSEK: I don't think you can make a decision based on the electoral politics of today or tomorrow. You have to have system that has integrity over time.

JOURNALIST: Just with a bit of a curveball, Bob Carr yesterday came out talking about immigration rates, saying that they are vastly over-ambitious and they need to be cut back by up to half. Do you support that view?

PLIBERSEK: I think a lot of people who live in our major cities are really feeling the pressures of increased population in those cities. But, when we look around the world, there are very densely populated cities where people live very successfully because they have got great urban infrastructure in those cities. I don't think the problem is the number of people; I think the problem is our infrastructure hasn't kept up with population growth. We need to make sure we have got great public transport, and that needs to be planned and built now - not years after the population has increased. We need to make sure that we've got great urban design where people can socialise outdoors, use green open space, and have a good quality of life. We need  to make sure our building codes reflect the fact that people are living closer to one another, and make sure we have got good sound insulation, good common spaces in developments. It is, in my view, not so much the number of people but the way that we live in our cities and also the way, of course, that we share our resources. Australia is a very dry continent, we need to make sure we are energy and water efficient; and as our population increases, we continue to be more efficient in the use of our resources.

JOURNALIST: He seemed to shudder at the thought of people having to live in what he called 'Hong Kong-style towers'. Is that such an unattractive prospect, and would it, as he said, erode some of Australia’s great values?

PLIBERSEK: I think there are plenty of people who love living in a densely populated area as long as the urban design is good. We are in the heart of Sydney today, the biggest city in the country. We are in an area that is very densely populated, and I think one of the things people love about Erskineville, Newtown, the inner city of Sydney generally, is you can go out at any time of day or night and get cup of coffee, or pick up a litre of milk, you know your neighbours, there are terrific local services, public transport, restaurants and so on. If you have a good quality of life because of the services that are offered to you, a lot of people love living in densely populated areas. But it really depends a lot on getting urban design right and thinking ahead to what kind of city we want to live in, what kind of community relationship we want to support. Thanks everyone.

ENDS

 

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TRANSCRIPT: ABC 702 Drive, Monday 15 February

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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 702 DRIVE
MONDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2016

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