THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
FRIDAY, 25 JULY 2014
SUBJECT/S: MH 17, JOE HOCKEY, JACQUIE LAMBIE
LISA WILKINSON, PRESENTER: Joining us now is Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Shadow Foreign Minister Tanya Plibersek. I will start with you Tanya, Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop's response to this tragedy has been very widely praised. Do you think we are doing enough?
TANYA PLIBERSEK, ACTING OPPOSITION LEADER: Certainly. The Opposition has offered from the very beginning full support to the Government in its efforts. There is I think, every Australian, no question that we would all of us be determined to see all of these bodies returned home as quickly as possible. The concern, of course, has been even though Russia has agreed to the UN Security Council resolution, that they wouldn't use their influence with pro-Russian separatists in the area to allow access to the site. Access is slowly being allowed, but as you said in very small teams we have actually got around 50 police pre-positioned in London, we would like to see them having access to the site as well. And frankly in larger groups. It's very hard for a team of three or four people to cover sufficient area. You are talking about a crash investigation site of around 50 square kilometres. So it is important to get more Australian investigators in there as quickly as possible.
WILKINSON: Malcolm there is growing consensus that MH17 was shot down by a separatist using a Russian missile. If that is proven should Vladimir Putin be allowed into the G20 summit in Brisbane in November?
MALCOLM TURNBULL, MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: Well, I don't want to speculate about that, the G20 is an important economic gathering, it's not Australia - Australia is the host but it's not based on our invitation if you like. So there would have to be a degree of consensus between the G20 countries or the majority of them on that score -
WILKINSON: Do you think that's possible?
TURNBULL: Anything is possible but I think it is too early to, and not very helpful, to speculate about that. I mean what we are focused on and what Tony Abbott and our team, Julie Bishop, who is in the Ukraine at the moment, what they are focused on is getting access to the site, recovering the bodies of all of those who perished in that crash, and then of course being able to do the work to establish the cause of it. But I think the critical thing is to focus on that and not jump too far ahead.
WILKINSON: It would be unprecedented if it happened though, wouldn't it?
TURNBULL: As far as I'm aware, yes it would be unprecedented.
WILKINSON: Let's move on to domestic politics now. There has been intense interest in the launch of Joe Hockey's book yesterday. We need to clarify something here Malcolm, because he says in the book that two days after you told Laurie Oakes you were going to run for the leadership you promised Joe Hockey privately that you wouldn't. Both of you then of course went on to lose to Tony Abbott. Did you go back on your word?
TURNBULL: Well, I was I actually sitting in this chair when I said that to Laurie Oakes on national television. I think most people who know me know that it's - I'm not the sort of person that says one thing on national television and then does something different.
WILKINSON: You are saying you didn't tell Joe Hockey privately you wouldn't -
TURNBULL: I did not. Look, this is really ancient history.
WILKINSON: No, it is not actually because Melissa Babbage, Joe Hockey's wife says that Joe Hockey will never trust you again. And that's difficult. You are meant to be a Coalition. You are both senior ministers.
TURNBULL: I trust Joe and he trusts me. That's the important thing. As far as the history is concerned it was a very fraught period and it doesn't surprise me that people have different recollections of what was said. But the one thing that everybody knows is that both on Laurie's show, right here literally sitting in this chair, in this spot, I made it very clear that I would be a candidate in that ballot and I made it clear on a number of other occasions in the media too. So what is the likelihood that I would be saying one thing publicly and then giving private assurances to the contrary. The fact is I didn't. But, look it was a fraught and difficult period and I can understand people having different recollections.
WILKINSON: Do you agree with Tony Abbott's chief of staff, Peta Credlin's view that Joe Hockey is the next natural Liberal leader?
TURNBULL: I wouldn't ever - I have seen too many thrills and spills in Canberra to speculate on anything like that.
WILKINSON: Were you happy when you heard that? Does that fill you with joy that Joe Hockey might be the next chosen leader?
TURNBULL: Joe is a terrific guy. He's doing a fantastic job as Treasurer and he's very much admired within the party and across the nation. But there is no point in speculating about politics. I will leave that to you guys. You do it so well.
WILKINSON: Alright. Just finally, it's been a very fun week in politics this week. We saw Jacquie Lambie, basically opening up about her views on men and what's attractive. Is it nice to see pollies who are normally so stitched up, Tanya, just letting loose and doing a bit of pub talk?
PLIBERSEK: Not really. I didn't think she did herself any favours. I think if we have a standard in public life where if a man said, you know, a similar thing about what he likes in a woman, he would be pretty roundly condemned. I don't think you can expect that standard from men and then say it's OK if you're a woman.
WILKINSON: Malcolm, what do you think of Jacquie Lambie so far in her performance in the Senate?
TURNBULL: I just want to comment on another woman, and that's our colleague Julie Bishop. What an outstanding role model she is for young women, all women, what an amazing job she's done in New York. I mean, she's made all of us so proud by the way she has performed, getting that resolution through the Security Council. Tanya, I know she's your opposite number -
PLIBERSEK: Absolutely -
TURNBULL: But wouldn't you agree she's been an outstanding Foreign Minister -
PLIBERSEK: And I was so - we were so shocked all of us to hear this news, but from the moment I rang her she's been very good at making sure that we are briefed on what the Government's proposing and so on. I think at a time like this she's shown strong leadership, it's been very important for our nation to be able to come together.
WILKINSON: I don't think anybody would disagree with either of you. Malcolm, Tanya, great to see you.
PLIBERSEK: Thank you.
TURNBULL: Thanks very much.