Labor leadership, ABC Radio Drive Hobart with Louise Sanders
LOUISE SAUNDERS: Can I ask you first about the mood, the tone inside the party room this morning, for the ballot.
JULIE COLLINS: Well, I think it was fairly subdued, as these things always are, as people have a big decision weigh upon them about what they’re going to do. But certainly there was also a real resolve to come out of the party room united to get on with running the country. Certainly everybody in the room is really concerned about what an Abbott government might mean for this country. And people were united about making sure that we came out of the party room, that we got on with running the country for the right reasons. Things like building the NBN, things like getting on with the National Disability Insurance Scheme, things like implementing the carbon price, things like implementing the mineral resources rent tax, the superannuation increases. We’ve got a lot of work that we’ve done and to be proud of, but there’s still a lot to go yet.
LOUSIE SAUNDERS: Could the party have done a little better in its fight to try to defeat Tony Abbott at the next election by not indulging of the events of the past week?
JULIE COLLINS: I think that the events of the last week ended up becoming necessary so that we can get on and unite. Obviously, I would prefer that they hadn’t happened and I think many members of the Labor Party would prefer that it hadn’t happened. But we were in that situation and I think it’s good that we had such a clear decision and that we can now get on with running the country.
LOUISE SAUNDERS: Is it going to be a big ask to rebuild the trust in the Australian electorate?
JULIE COLLINS: Well, certainly we know that we’ve got a big task ahead of us, but we also have a lot to be proud of. We’ve done a lot of good things as a Labor Government, you know, the pension reforms, the way we handled the economy during the global financial crisis, the jobs growth, when all other countries are having decreases in employment, the building of the NBN, which is obviously very important for Tasmanians. So we do have a lot to be proud of. Also as part of our stimulus funding of course, the rebuilding of many schools in Tasmania. You know, the social housing, we’ve invested very heavily in the State of Tasmania and right around the country and I think we do have a lot to be proud of and we need to tell our story about what we’ve done and what we’re hoping to achieve for this nation. We have a clear vision for the country and we need to get on and start articulating it.
LOUISE SAUNDERS: Senator Mark Arbib’s resigning from both the Ministry and he’s also leaving the Senate. He’s doing it for family reasons he said. He’s described also his resignation as a gesture of goodwill to the party. Do you believe, in that statement, he’s made the right decision?
JULIE COLLINS: Obviously, I’ve just listened to Senator Arbib also. I’ve known Mark for quite some time, we were both state secretaries going back some time and I know him very well and I believe he’s very sincere about his reasons for doing so. You know as a parent, I also understand the family side of why he’s doing this. But he’s been really clear that part of it is about healing the party, he’s doing it as a gesture of goodwill, he wants action to unite the party and he thinks that maybe him stepping aside will help some of that, obviously.
LOUISE SAUNDERS: I was going to ask you about the family side of it. I’m sure it’s not you alone, or he alone either, who probably thinks about it every day. How tough can it be when you start to consider your career and the demands of your family, Julie Collins?
JULIE COLLINS: I think, you know, it’s just like any other family trying to juggle that work-family life balance side. It is difficult when your work takes you away from your home and your family on occasions, and I’ve been very frank about it. It is not easy, but I know other working families who are not in my position who have those same difficult decisions to make. And you make because you think what you’re doing at the time is important and you know, it’s for the greater good and that’s why you keep doing it.
LOUISE SAUNDERS: And just finally, part of this week of course, when you arrive back in your electorate at the end of this week … what do you do to try selling the merits of the Gillard Government?
JULIE COLLINS: I’m always out and about in my electorate Louise and always hearing from my constituents. I also, while I’ve got the opportunity, would like to thank those many constituents who did email me over the weekend and the last few days. There’s been so many that I haven’t actually had time to reply to them all.
LOUISE SAUNDERS: What were they saying? What were most of them urging you to do?
JULIE COLLINS: Well, people were letting me know their views about how it’s important that we get on and make a decision about how we can win the election. They were fairly divided on who they thought I should support.
LOUISE SAUNDERS: Evenly?
JULIE COLLINS: I haven’t done a count because there’s too many of them Louise to actually have done these. To be frank, I think there’s about 1200 emails overall from across the country and from my actual electorate.
LOUISE SAUNDERS: Right.
JULIE COLLINS: We’re still counting in the hundreds.
LOUSIE SAUNDERS: All right, acknowledge there Julie Collins and thanks for your time today.
JULIE COLLINS: Thanks Louise