By Tanya Plibersek

14 July 2021



SUBJECTS: COVID-19 in Sydney; Anthony Albanese in Queensland.
SCOTT EMERSON, HOST: This time of the week we always join with the Shadow Minister of Education and Shadow Minister for Women, Tanya Plibersek. Now, Tanya, New South Wales might have won the State of Origin for this year, but we've got the weather. 
TANYA PLIBERSEK, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN: You sure do, 26 degrees tomorrow, you're making me very envious. I'm in Sydney, obviously, and it's rainy and overcast and I guess the fact that we're not allowed out of the house and the rainy overcast weather, it's bit of a grim time to be here actually.
EMERSON: Well just talk to me about that, Tanya Plibersek. You are in Sydney, obviously, and saw the announcement today by Gladys Berejiklian that the lockdown has been extended by at least another two weeks. Just from those you are speaking to on the ground and around the place, what's the general mood? I assume it's fairly despondent?
PLIBERSEK: I think people are really worried. Obviously my electorate contains the CBD of Sydney, so it's been pretty tough for the businesses in my electorate for some time now; and they're worried whether they'll ever be able to reopen. I think a lot of people, I mean they've kind of given up. A lot of the small businesses think that they're not going to recover from this lockdown. That's really hard. And we've got a lot of people who work in retail, hospitality, arts, tourism, people who work for universities, who have lost their jobs or a really worried about losing their jobs. It's tough. Obviously people are very worried about their health as well, but I think for many of the constituents that are calling my office, their first concern is, 'how do I put food on the table? How do I keep a roof over our heads?'. It's not good.
EMERSON: No, and given we haven't gone through that in Queensland, but obviously we saw what unfolded in Victoria, and now we're seeing what's happening in in New South Wales. And of course the numbers went up again today, up from yesterday. Not as high as the beginning of the week, but still the second highest. So yes, we do feel for you in New South Wales. Just coming back here to Queensland. Your Leader, Anthony Albanese, was in Queensland this week and he made this – well it seems like an almost a mystery or secret tour to a coal mine. It's the first time he's been there since he's been the leader of the Labor Party for more than 700 days now. Why was it kept so secret?
PLIBERSEK: Do you know, Scott, I have never heard anybody complain that a politician isn't posting enough photos of themselves on social media. It's no secret. He went there. He went with our candidate. They went to the miners museum, he went to politics in the pub. I don't think it was a secret trip. And I guess what Keith Pitt, who's the Resources Minister, is complaining about - it's a bit rich. Keith Pitt has actually seen the Resources portfolio moved out of the cabinet. So he's been demoted and he's focusing on Anthony. I reckon what we would really like to see and what mining workers in Queensland would really like to see is a Government that actually sticks up for their pay and conditions. So, Keith Pitt's worried about Anthony Albanese not posting enough photos on social media. How about Keith Pitt stands up when mining companies try and cut the pay and conditions of mining workers, and Keith Pitt stands up for those mining workers. How about when you've got two people working side-by-side doing the same job and one of them is a full-time employee and one's a contracted employee and they're getting paid 20 per cent, 30per cent less for the work they're doing. How about the LNP stand up for same job, same pay. That'd be really good, instead of worrying about what's on Anthony Albanese's social media. 
EMERSON: Well I'll concede that the Resources Ministry should be back in cabinet. It should not have been moved out of cabinet. I think that is a mistake, clearly that's been made by Barnaby Joyce as a new leader, and I disagree with him completely about that. But I just want to get back, you say about, would anyone ever complain about a politician not posting on social media. But the thing is, he did post on social media lots of photos, but nothing about him being at the mine, and that is what makes people very suspicious and even some of your colleagues reported today saying that it was a really odd decision.
PLIBERSEK: I mean, I saw a report from an anonymous source, so I think that's it's a bit rich for an anonymous source to allegedly complain about someone being secretive, isn't it? I think it's just a storm in a teacup. Anthony Albanese went to a mine. He was very well-received. He had a great meeting with the local workers. We meet with coal miners all the time and I can tell you coal miners know that the Labor Party has got their back. We're the ones standing up saying ‘same job, same pay’. We're the ones standing up saying, we want to see decent pay and conditions. We want to see safety, decent pay rises in the mining sector. We know that mining has been a really important part of Australia's prosperity for generations and it will continue to be an important part of our prosperity in the future. We're saying we also have an opportunity with new Industries powered by cheap, clean renewables and we should be taking both opportunities.
EMERSON: All right, Tanya Plibersek, great to talk to you. Go Queensland tonight!
PLIBERSEK: Can't agree with you on that one, Scott, sorry. 
EMERSON: Alright. We'll catch you again next week.
PLIBERSEK: Take care. See ya.