By Tanya Plibersek

05 November 2020



SUBJECTS: Presidential election; Renewable energy policy.

 ALAN JONES, HOST: But back to this Australian perspective on the American election. I'm joined by Tanya Plibersek the former Deputy Leader of the federal Labor Party. And I tell people put your politics aside from moment. One thing can't be denied of this woman. She knows how to prosecute a case on behalf of her side, and that's her job. And I'm joined by Jason Falinski the man who replaced Bronwyn Bishop in the seat of Mackellar in 2016, born and raised in Sydney's Northern beaches. Grew up in Belrose, he was a local Councillor on the Warringah Council, he founded in 2005 CareWell Health to provide a better way to deliver aged care. It's now one of the largest providers to Australian and New Zealand nursing homes. So to you Tanya first, how do you read what has happened in America?
TANYA PLIBERSEK, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Well, it's awfully close Alan. I think it's a real nail-biter. I'm not going to make any predictions at the moment. I do note that Joe Biden is about- more than three million votes ahead in the presidential vote. But you know, a real nail-biter. I'd say the thing for us to learn from this is that it's good to have an independent federal electoral commission because a lot of the legal challenges and rumours circulating could be avoided if we actually have an independent body.
JONES: Very good point. Very good point. Jason Falinski, a lot of conjecture hear about pre polling. What do you make of this? 
JASON FALINSKI, MEMBER FOR MACKELLAR: Look Alan, the truth is no one know, and that's part of the problem. Until we have an agency that sort of has a very clear answer to what's going on - so in some states it’s very clear what's happened, in other states, it's not so clear. And I think you know when you look at some of the polling before this election that had Joe Biden up by eight points in Pennsylvania, and it looks like he lost by six or seven points, that it was line ball in Florida and he's lost that by quite a substantial number as well. I think there's a lot of questions to be asked. 
JONES: All right Tanya, it is fair to say that what used to be known as polling day is progressively losing its significance. 140 million Americans voted, 100 million before polling day. What are your thoughts on that?
PLIBERSEK: I think at a time when Covid-19 has killed a quarter of a million Americans it's no surprise that people don't want to queue up for hours waiting to get into the polling booth on a Tuesday. Don't forget Americans vote on a Tuesday. So many of them have to take the day off work. In Australia last election about 40 per cent of Australians voted before polling day, either through postal ballots or pre polling and you know, it is very convenient for a lot of people...
JONES: But we have strict rules here. Don't we? We check on them? We have strict rules.
PLIBERSEK: Well you are supposed to have a reason like you're working on polling day or caring for someone on polling day. I think the real loss for us will be the democracy sausage Alan and the cake stalls at the schools where, you know, a lot of schools have their fete that day because they know there are going to be a lot of people trooping through the gates. I'd be really sorry to see that go.
JONES: Just while I've got you there. Many people in the Labor party here would be happy with the Biden victory because he's talking about a carbon-free electricity system by 2035. You're a very level-headed woman. Do you think that's possible without damaging the economy?
PLIBERSEK: Well Alan, we know – the International Energy Agency said that solar is the cheapest form of electricity now – two and a half million Australians have worked that out for themselves. Of course, we need firming, we need backup for that. We need to work on our transmission system. There's a lot of technical things that we need to do in Australia.
JONES: Can you say coal?
PLIBERSEK: Yes of course – I've said a million times that coal and gas will be part of our energy mix for the foreseeable future. But when renewables get cheaper than coal and gas as they are now, then you're going to see that economic transformation. And the real jobs killer - I just need to say this – the real jobs killer is the uncertainty – 22 energy policies from Jason's mates. He would agree with me on renewables, I dare say. 
JONES: Well Jason, you've got a one minute to wind it up for your final say, what are you saying about that? 
FALINSKI: Well look, I think his two trillion dollar green deal –  noticed that Bjorn Lomborg supported the R&D and part of it. The solution here is in technological development and what governments can do to move that along the road is what we're trying to do and if that's what the Biden plan involves then that's a good thing. 
JONES: All right good to talk to you both, I would have liked to have talked longer but was so much on it's been a hell of a week. But thank you for being with us and we'll see you next week Tanya.