By Tanya Plibersek

21 April 2021




SUBJECTS: Visit to Tasmania; coal; Labor as the party of healthcare.
SCOTT EMERSON HOST: Every week we are joined by the shadow Minister for Education and Shadow Minister for Women, Tanya Plibersek. How are you Tanya? 
I'm really good, Scott, how are you?
EMERSON: I am sensational here at the moment because I'm in Brisbane and I can tell you, I don't know where you are today but I can tell you, you would be in heaven. If you're in Brisbane, it is just magnificent day out there.
PLIBERSEK: I bet it's a beautiful day, I'm Sydney now and it's lovely here but I started off the day in Hobart and it was beautiful, but so cold down there - so cold.
EMERSON: Well, I have to tell you that today I think I was getting up to about 31 degrees. I don't know if it got up to that but it was forecast for 31 degrees here. So you're missing out by not being in Brisbane. 
PLIBERSEK: In Hobart today it was five degrees and they told me that with the wind chill it was half a degree.
EMERSON: Well, I can tell you that wind chill makes all the difference. But I'm sure over the next 12 months, I reckon in about 12 months’ time from now, we'll be in an election campaign. I'm sure Tanya Plibersek, you're going to be in Queensland a lot over the next 12 months, along obviously with your colleagues including Albo as well. Now, we did have Richard Marles in Queensland and he's been going around talking about coal. There seems to be some sort of conversion on the part of Labor - they are now saying you love coal and you love coal mines.
PLIBERSEK: It's funny that people think this is a change, we've always said that mining has been a huge part of our economic success as a nation. We are a nation as wealthy as we are because of our strong mining and minerals resources sector, and that's going to be part of our future as well. I think the only person who's changing his position is Scott Morrison with his announcement on hydrogen today and carbon capture and storage. Not so long ago he was saying that this stuff was snake-oil, but because Boris Johnson's invited him to some summit, he's now finally seen the light. Really what we need is a strong energy policy that includes a range of energy options that will bring down power prices so that our businesses and our homes get the energy they need at the price that they need it to be. 
EMERSON: I think everyone out there wants a sensible energy policy. I think everyone is probably sick and tired over - and it's been not just a couple of years - it's been a long time we've been debating this issue. But let me just take up one point you just made there Tanya Plibersek, you said Labor's always been supportive of the resource sector. Let me play this, I'd have to say notorious interview with Richard Marles from Sky News, from before the last election. 
(Audio plays)
RICHARD MARLES: We know that without public money, in this space, it's unlikely to go ahead and that I think is the end of it. I mean, the global market for thermal coal has collapsed and, on one level, that's a good thing because what that implies is that the world is acting in relation to climate change.
HOST: The collapse of thermal coal is a good thing, you say?
MARLES: The global market for thermal coal, because what that implies is that the world is moving to more renewable energy sources.
HOST: Doesn’t that affect jobs in Australia quite significantly?
MARLES: Oh, it just - what it means is that the economic case for opening up with the Galilee Basin isn't now what it was a decade ago.

(Audio ends)
EMERSON: As I said, Tanya Plibersek that seems to be a big change. I know Richard Marles says that was wrong then, and what he's saying now, in terms of support of coal is right. So I think there has been a change on the part of Labor, but let's talk about this poll that's come out today as well because it shows that, well, Labor's doing reasonably well, not as good as the Coalition but it's probably on a head-to-head basis, maybe it would win the next election. And in terms of some of the issues there - we see that poll - does that give you confidence about the election next year?
PLIBERSEK: We're working very hard to make sure Australians understand that we've got the plans that will make sure there's enough jobs for them, that those jobs will get decent pay and conditions. That we'll work on the cost of living by doing things like bringing down the cost of child care. That we've got the plans to health and education and aged care. When people see Labor's vision for Australia, I think they're very supportive.
EMERSON: Well, this poll came out and did say that while the Coalition was seen as better at managing the pandemic, Labor is a better party to manage health and aged care. Are those the kind of things that are going to be running on at the next election? 
PLIBERSEK: I think that's just the truth, isn't it? We've always been better at health and aged care. We're the party of Medicare. We're the party that introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Scott Morrison when he was Treasurer cut $1.7 billion from aged care and he's turning around now saying: ‘oh what a shock, what a surprise aged care's in crisis in Australia’. We have a commitment to making sure that people are looked after when they need it and every Australian needs it on occasion. We all use Medicare. We hope we don't need aged care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme, but many, many of us will. 
EMERSON: All right, Tanya Plibersek, look forward to having you here in the studio so you can enjoy the beautiful weather here in Brisbane. Speak to you again next week. 
PLIBERSEK: Can't wait, see you.