By Tanya Plibersek

08 September 2021




SUBJECT: Women’s Safety Summit; ADF personnel and quarantine; Bickering between the state and federal governments; Scott Morrison’s Father’s Day trip to Sydney.

SCOTT EMERSON, HOST: And every week we are joined by the federal Shadow Minister for Education and Shadow Minister for Women as well. How are you Tanya? 


EMERSON: I'm good. Thank you. Let's go quickly to the Women's Safety Summit. Now it went for two days. Look, I was incredibly disappointed with this because I don't know if it necessarily achieved much there at the moment. I saw a lot of heat and light especially towards the Prime Minister right at the beginning. But what do the two days actually come away with?

PLIBERSEK: Look there were some excellent speeches from people, excellent contributions. I think the real challenge now is taking those contributions and changing them into action. And I guess like a lot of people, I feel like we've been talking about this for a long time and what we really need is to act and so there were calls, for example, to have 10 days' paid domestic violence leave. There was a lot of agreement that we need more emergency accommodation because as you know, people often ask ‘why didn't she leave?’ But the real question should be ‘where would she go?’ People also raised the fact that the government had the opportunity last week in Parliament to implement the [email protected] report from the Sex Discrimination Commissioner and they actually voted against a whole lot of things (break in audio) that we do need to change words to action. I agree with that. 

EMERSON: Now something’s just happened to your phone there Tanya, I’m not sure if you went onto speaker or not, suddenly it switched through there, but hopefully the line’s a little bit better in a moment. Just moving on from the Women's Safety Summit, we again saw more bickering between the state and federal governments over ADF quarantines today. I mean, let's get away from the actual issue being talked about but let's talk about what has happened. Why are we getting this constant argy-bargy between the federal and state governments?

PLIBERSEK: I don't think there should be any argy-bargy between the state and federal governments on this because everybody wants to same thing. We all want people who served us so bravely in Afghanistan home safe as soon as possible. My understanding is that the Defence Force and Queensland Health are working together to find a place where our defence personnel can quarantine together when they get home. They've apparently said that given they’ve served together, they've been travelling together, they want to quarantine in a bubble together and that they're looking for a place that that's possible. Let's hope it happens as soon as possible. These people have really done us proud and they deserve to be looked after.

EMERSON: Look, exactly right. That should be the priority about getting them back, getting them back with their families here after serving our nation overseas in obviously very difficult circumstances, very recently in Afghanistan there, but let's just go back to this bickering between the state and federal governments, and it seems indicative to me over a problem there, particularly with, say, Queensland and Canberra at the moment. Even on the amount of doses that are available or not for Queensland. Their lines of communications, the relationships we would be expecting during the middle of the pandemic just don't seem to be there at the moment?

PLIBERSEK: I always think it's important to put aside your own sort of political views or personal feelings and work together in the national interest and I certainly hope that others are going to do that because you know, like you say ,the main most important thing here is getting our personnel back safely and quickly. 

EMERSON: Now, let me ask you about the Prime Minister's Father's Day trip. Now, Bill Shorten came out of the blocks very early yesterday morning on the Today program and criticised the Prime Minister over that trip and I think it was a bad look, but he said, look, this is this wrong, this should not have happened. But I did see reports in the media today that your leader, Anthony Albanese. He actually sent a message to Scott Morrison saying, 'look, no mate. I'm on your side. I agree with you ScoMo'. Now who was right? Bill Shorten or Anthony Albanese?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I don't blame any dad to wanting to be with his kids on Father's Day. I suppose the reason the Prime Minister's copped so much heat over this is because so many of us can't be. There’s so many families separated by international and national border closures, so just like when the Prime Minister went to Hawaii during the bushfires, it feels like he's not in it with us. I think that's the feeling that people have and when they’re separated from family interstate-

EMERSON: So if that’s the case Tanya Plibersek, why did Anthony Albanese feel the need to contact the Prime Minister and say, 'no, no, I don't agree with what Bill Shorten has been saying'?

PLIBERSEK: Look I think he's really understanding of how a dad feels when he separated from his kids. Poor old Anthony hasn't seen his son Nathan in, I think the last time he said to me, is was something like 11 weeks or 12 weeks that he hadn't seen his son, so I guess he, like a lot of people, understands what it feels like to be separated from your family. It's a tough time for a lot of Australian families at the moment. 

EMERSON: All right, Tanya Plibersek. Great to speak to you. We’ll catch you again next week.