Transcript: Sky News 7/11/2019

1.10pm | December 20, 2019


KIERAN GILBERT, SKY NEWS, HOST: Let's go now to the Labor review. Joining me is former ALP President, Jenny McAllister. Jenny, thanks so much for your time. Let's start with this news that I've been reporting this morning on the review. I know it's been tightly held but I've got a few elements of it here. First up, I want to ask you about the fact that the review, the first version by Jay Weatherill and Craig Emerson was re-written to be less harsh on Bill Shorten under pressure from various elements within Labor that there was nothing to be gained from going so hard on Bill Shorten in the review. The first version was re-written to not scapegoat him. What do you say to that?


SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER, SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES: Well, I actually don't have knowledge of the internal processes of the review but I would expect that a Labor review, as we usually have after any election loss, would be a really robust assessment of all of the elements of the campaign. And I would also expect that there'd be numerous drafts of that review as people assembled their ideas, road tested them and then refined them. So I'm not surprised that there's been more than one draft of the review, but I will say that I'm really looking forward to reading it. We asked for a data driven evidence based assessment of what went right and what went wrong, and it’s really important that we get something that's robust. Might be tough reading for some of us, but people like me need to hear it. Need to hear what went right and what went wrong, cause a lot of people depend on us getting this right.


HOST: Apparently as well, the review says that the campaign strategy was ad hoc. Nothing written down, no strategic plan to take on Morrison. It’s quite hard to believe that that was the case in 2019?


MCALLISTER: Like I say, I expect that there will be things in the review that are tough reading for the Labor faithful, and we all need to take responsibility for that. I was there. I was you know, part of the Shadow Ministry at that time. We need to take responsibility for what we did well and what didn't go so well. Because I think the result indicates that we didn't get it all right. I will say that I do think we got some things right. I was very proud to campaign with Bill. I was proud of the way that we stuck to Labor values but plainly, there were parts of the community that didn't like what we offered or didn't hear what we were offering and I hope that the review goes to both of those questions.


HOST: And in terms of the fact that obviously Bill Shorten, some of his people close to him, are worried he's going to be scapegoated but do they also need to have a dose of reality here because the fact was I think this was at the centre of some of the revision of the initial analysis by Jay Weatherill and Craig Emerson that he was unable to improve his standing with voters. That was a fundamental issue for the Labor Party.


MCALLISTER: As I say, I'm like everybody else waiting for the review's public release and I don't know what's in it. But, yes it’s incredibly important that we all proceed on the basis of reality. Just after the loss when Anthony Albanese was elected Leader, he said we need to hasten slowly. We need to get the data together and we need to deal with the realities. My hope and my expectation is that the review will be balanced. That it will go to the things that went really well, and the things that we can all be proud about, but that it won't pull back on the things that were hard for us. Because, the real work actually starts from here in many ways. We've been thinking about our priorities, our future directions, but the review represents a moment where we now have a chance to turn our minds to the future. To really start preparing and planning for what comes next, and the kinds of policies that we need to take into contemporary Australia in 2021-22, whenever the election is. We need to be ready and we need to speak to the concerns that animate Australians.


HOST: One of the concerns which I'm interested to get your thoughts on and the review does a thorough job on climate change. It is sympathetic to the approach that the Labor Party took to the election. Do you think that that's the right approach with a change of narrative as we've heard from Anthony Albanese but to remain 100 percent committed on that issue. As I say, the review quite thorough on that matter of climate change and largely sympathetic to the policies as led by Mark Butler.


MCALLISTER: It’s really important that Labor sticks to its values and one of our values is that every Australian has a stake in a safe climate and we are going to be guided by the science on that. We're not like parts of the Liberal Party or parts of the National Party, happy to put the science aside. We accept what the scientists tell us about the risks of a change in climate and we accept our responsibility to do something about it. The question we need to answer and Australians need us to answer is how do we do that in a way where the benefits and the costs of change are spread evenly and I guess shared fairly and I think it’s fair to say that there are parts of regional Australia that are very anxious about whether they will shoulder the burden, the overwhelming burden of the costs of climate transition. We have to answer that. We have to make sure that regional communities understand that we'll be standing alongside them. That there will be good jobs in the regions. That there will be good services. That people's kids can look forward to a great future in regional New South Wales, in regional Queensland, in WA. That must be a core part of our story and it is the only way that we get permission to deal with difficult global issues like climate change is by making sure that people feel secure and supported at that baseline economic level.


HOST: Yeah, that's a fair point I think. One that many of your colleagues would agree with and have argued in recent times in the wake of the election, but it’s quite the contrast isn't it between the Government getting on with drought assistance today, doing the job to help farmers, regional communities, while Labor's having this navel gazing. You've got to get this done quickly don't you, so that 2020 you can get things back on track?


MCALLISTER: I think it’s a little generous to the Government to say that they're getting on with it. They are in their seventh year of governing and just today they are coming up with another drought announcement. We still don't have a written down drought strategy. They still haven't released the Co-Ordinator General's report on the drought with its recommendations. They've been sitting on that since April. They still haven't got any meaningful explanation about how the money that they are spending on drought is actually going to help farmers and drought affected communities. That's on them. They are the Government and they actually need to start delivering. My general assessment is that country people are really upset about this. The Morrison Government had a plan to win but I don't think they had a plan to govern and people in the country are feeling it.


HOST: Jenny McAllister, appreciate it. Talk to you soon.


MCALLISTER: Thanks Kieran.