Joining us at the dinner party this week is Tanya Plibersek, Federal Labor member for Sydney and Minister for Health. Tanya has made appearances on Mamamia before, talking about vaccination and abortion. This time we spoke to her about something a little different….
MM: What made you get interested in politics in the first place?
TP: I remember being interested in politics from a very early age, so even as a four-year-old sitting on my dad’s lap I used to see Gough Whitlam on the nightly news and I could recognise him. I had a good feeling about Gough and Margaret Whitlam even at that age.
I guess I’ve always been interested in fairness – I was the kind of annoying kid at school who was always making suggestions about improving the playground equipment or doing this or that at school, so it’s really grown out of that.
MM: You hold an inner-city seat that is increasingly under threat from the Greens. Do you think Labor will be able to retain these seats in the future as the party seeks to maintain the centre ground as well?
TP: I never take my seat for granted. I’ve got a strong margin at the moment, my vote at the last election was high – but I don’t for a second take it for granted, I think that it’s really important to campaign continuously so that the people in your seat know that you are available to them and that you’re listening to their concerns and acting on them. I think that my electorate know me pretty well by now and they know what I stand for.
I’m very fortunate that I represent an electorate that is a progressive electorate and they support progressive people like me. I think the local government elections probably are a good indication recently that there’s been a return to Labor in the areas that I represent. I think that’s a good sign that when you have strong local candidates and strong local campaigns that people support the Labor party in the inner city.