Browsing articles in "Interview Transcripts"
Mar 8, 2019

Transcript of Doorstop – Balmain – Friday, 8 March 2019

Subjects; Shore power for White Bay Cruise Terminal, NSW Election, Stadiums, Malcolm Turnbull. 

ELLY HOWSE, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BALMAIN: Good morning. I’m Elly Howse, Labor’s candidate for Balmain in the State Election and I want to welcome everyone today to White Bay in Balmain. Today we have an excellent announcement for the people of Balmain. Today Labor is announcing that we will be funding shore power in the White Bay cruise ship terminal. I want to thank Michael Daley, the Opposition Leader, and Penny Sharpe, Deputy Opposition Leader, for this announcement as well as Anthony Albanese, the Federal Labor Member for Grayndler and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure. I also do want to thank hundreds of local residents who have been speaking to me for months and months and we have been fighting on this issue. Local residents have had to shut their windows every time a cruise ship is in and docked. We’ve had local schools like Balmain Public School and Father John Therry where students have to shut their windows in the classrooms and they can’t go out into the playground because of the fumes and the noise from the cruise ships when they’re docked.

Today’s announcement is a game changer for the cruise ship industry and for this area in Balmain. For six years since the facility opened under the Liberal Government residents have been talking and writing and emailing the Government asking for action on this issue but they have been ignored by the current Government. Today that changes. Today Labor is the one who is listening to our local residents. Today Labor is announcing that we will deliver shore power. It is only a Labor Government that is going to be able to deliver this for the residents in Balmain and I thank Labor for this really important commitment. It shows we are really committed to improving air pollution and air quality in this area and I think it’s something that local residents will be ecstatic to hear about.

I’ll now introduce Anthony to say a few words.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR TOURISM: Thanks very much Elly and it’s great to be here with someone who can actually stand up for the residents of Balmain and more importantly actually deliver real solutions to the issues which are here. And to deliver it through a Labor Government, which would be led by Michael Daley and Penny Sharpe. I want to thank Michael in particular for listening to the concerns of the electorate that I represent and the one that Elly seeks to represent after March 23.

I also make this announcement as the Shadow Tourism Minister because cruise ships are a vital part of our economy. They bring in jobs and economic activity. But with that needs to be a social license to operate. And that social license has got to be based upon sustainability and environmental best practice. Environmental best practice is ship to shore power and that’s what this announcement will deliver. And indeed I’ve spoken to the industry including Ann Sherry from Carnival who will work with us to deliver this because she knows how important this issue has been over recent times.

The fact is that the Berejiklian Government, just like the various incarnations of Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison Governments, have ignored this issue. Cruise shipping is vital not just to Sydney and New South Wales but to the national economy. And people who come to Australia to participate in cruises from overseas want to go to Sydney. And Sydney needs somewhere for these cruise ships to be parked. Right here at White Bay, it is not acceptable that you have fumes spewing out at the same height that residents are here in this park and, more importantly, just up the road at Father John Therry and Balmain Public School, where I’ve had students come to me in the electorate office and talk about the illnesses, produced doctors’ certificates, saying their health has been impacted by this.

Well Labor Governments don’t just sit back and watch, we take action. And a Daley Labor Government, along with a Shorten Labor Government will fund this capital infrastructure and recuperate it over time with an increase in charges for ships, which are berthed here in Sydney. It’s a practical response and stands in stark contrast to the hand ringing and non-action of the sitting State Member Jamie Parker representing the Greens Political Party who can complain but can’t actually deliver anything, like he hasn’t delivered anything of practical input with regard to the impact of Westconnex on this electorate or the impact of cruise ships. What this electorate needs is a Labor Member and Elly Howse will actually be able to deliver for this electorate.

MICHAEL DALEY, NSW LABOR OPPOSITION LEADER: Thank you Anthony, not only for the funding but for the commitment that you’ve given to this facility for a long time. We’re here really today because Elly Howse is a very determined person. She has driven me mad about this since she has become the candidate. I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve had with her. She just keeps saying: ‘Ship to shore power Michael, ship to shore, don’t forget, don’t forget. It’s vital for the people of White Bay and this area’. And it is. It’s just unacceptable that when a ship comes in that children have to flee the playground, go into the classroom and shut the windows and shut the doors. It’s unacceptable that people who are living in this beautiful part of Sydney have to shut their doors and windows whenever there is a ship in.

We want these ships here. We want what the cruise ship industry brings to Sydney. But we also understand that it has to be fair. It has to be fair and sustainable. So with this announcement today it just means that the people who live in this area don’t have to breathe in fumes. They don’t have to worry about pollution confronting them on a daily basis and it’s taken long enough. We’ve given the government eight long years to do this. We’ve given the Berejiklian Government eight long years to do something about it. They’re not interested in doing it and as Anthony said, what we want to do if we form Government in 15 days is to reset the discussion about the environment and climate change all over New South Wales. This is emblematic of what we want to do: make sure that there are places for industry on a long term and sustainable basis. This is a terrific outcome for the people of White Bay, for the seat of Balmain. It sends a clear signal to them; they have a choice on election day. If they want to continue to have a Greens Member in Balmain that can’t deliver, that’s fine. If they want ship to shore power, if they want a material difference to their lives, then vote for Elly Howse and for change.

JOURNALIST: Mr Daley, how much of an election sweetener do you think this will be for the residents of Balmain in bringing them back to Labor?

DALEY: Elly’s been raising this with me, but I’ve been talking to people in this area for many, many years about this in my capacity as Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Planning. I haven’t had a single resident in this area say that it’s not an important issue. They all say for them it’s a game changer, a life changer and a vote changer. But it’s not about the election, it’s about fairness and sustainability and you just can’t have a proposition that people are going to be potentially poisoned when a ship comes in. It’s not acceptable in the 21st century for this sort of interface between industry and residents. We don’t accept it in other areas. I’ve got Port Botany in my electorate there are buffer zones between residents and the ships. There’s no buffer zone here. People live right on the water and this is really in the scheme of things a small but very significant investment for the people of this area.

JOURNALIST: Eighteen million dollars is a small price to return a seat that was the birthplace of Labor to the Labor Party though isn’t it?

DALEY: There’s no doubt we’d like to get Balmain back, but I think the people of White Bay would like their lives back more than we’d like the seat back. That’s what today is all about.

JOURNALIST: So if you win Government will you proceed with this promise even if you don’t win the seat of Balmain?

DALEY: Absolutely. We’re not like the Liberals. It’s not like the oval in Orange. If we don’t win the seat we’ll still proceed with it, but if we don’t win Balmain the likelihood of us forming Government is made more difficult. So I’m saying to the people of Balmain, ensure there is a Daley Labor Government. Put us into power, vote Elly in. If we win Balmain, the likelihood of us being able to form Government is greatly enhanced. So no pressure; the people of Balmain have a choice to make and it’s a very significant one in a number of ways.

JOURNALIST: But this issue does go to the heart of a big platform for you and that is the noise and development and amenity of Sydney, doesn’t it? You’ve got fumes, you’ve got noise from one particular spot and it just feeds into that wider narrative you’re trying to make.

DALEY: I said on my very first day as Leader that there’s a madness that’s descended upon Sydney. And a ship on the doorstep of a house and a school spewing fumes into the living rooms and playgrounds of residents, that’s part of the madness of Sydney. This is a significant investment today to lift that madness.

JOURNALIST: Do you know at this stage what the increase in fees would be for cruise ships following this commitment of money?

DALEY: As Anthony said, we’ll sit down with the industry and work this out. We’re not about ambushing industry at all. Anthony’s been in touch with Carnival Cruises already. We’ll work it out amicably and over a long period of time it would be not a significant increase at all.

ALBANESE: That’s right. Look the industry understands that it has a responsibility here. And they, I’m sure, will work with us constructively. They’ve said that and what they want is a clear direction forward. It’s what industry is looking for in general from government and certainty is what they’re not receiving from either the Berejiklian Government or the Morrison Government. We’re providing them with certainty. We’re providing the upfront capital cost. We’ll recoup that over a period of time because we know that the cruise ship industry does deliver an important economic boost for Sydney, New South Wales and for the nation. So as the Tourism Shadow Minister, I’m about growing tourism. Not just here, but right throughout the country. Sydney is a global capital, but Sydney could be so much better. This is just one of the ways, let alone before we start on the issues that Michael is leading on like having a night time economy here in Sydney. And really we can do so much better. Because at the moment, frankly, Melbourne is ahead of Sydney on so many issues when it comes to delivering for people who visit. Sydney should be the global capital. We have this magnificent natural beauty of this harbour, which is here. And it’s why people who travel on cruise ships want accessibility to Sydney. But it needs to be done in a way that’s sustainable. And we can hear the noise here behind us. It is absurd that in 2019 a ship keeps its engines running at a great cost to the environment, to emissions but importantly to the amenity and liveability of people who live in this local community.

JOURNALIST: So Mr Albanese, how long would a ship keep its engines running while it’s docked here, is it a few hours?

ALBANESE: They’re there the whole time – 24 hours a day. Now, we’re here in the middle of the morning. At 3am that same level of noise is a lot louder and that is why there is an absolutely legitimate reason why this needs to be fixed and I have implored the various Infrastructure Ministers in the revolving door that is the Government at a Federal level to do something about this. And they’ve ignored it and enough is enough. This is 24 hours a day – completely unacceptable, not just the noise, but of course the smell and of course the health impacts. Spewing out particulates onto a local community is unacceptable in 2019.

JOURNALIST: While I’ve got you Mr Albanese, the ABC revealed today that a hotel in Alice Springs is segregating guests based on their race. What’s your response to this kind of blatant racism in 2019?

ALBANESE: Well it’s just completely unacceptable. Completely unacceptable. In 2019 we need to understand that people are just people, regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexuality. We need to treat people with dignity and with respect and this is an appalling revelation today.

JOURNALIST: What should the Government do?

ALBANESE: Well I’ll tell you what should happen, is that the Government should be condemning this, point one. Point two it should be demanding that they immediately stop this practice and never be done anywhere in this country again. We’re a better country than that. We’re an inclusive country. We’re one that has respect for people, whether they be Australian residents or whether they be people who come here.
JOURNALIST: What should the company itself do?

ALBANESE: Well the company should hang its head in shame, is the first thing they should do, and they should take action. In my view, anyone who engages in this sort of practice has no right to continue employment in their job.

JOURNALIST: If you become the Minister for Tourism and the company doesn’t act, what would you do about this?

ALBANESE: I think, hopefully, that happens well beforehand. This needs immediate action, not to wait until May 11 or May 18. But like in other areas, Labor is leading from Opposition, Federally and in New South Wales, and if current governments of the Coalition don’t act then we won’t be found wanting.

JOURNALIST: If no action is taken, would you consider placing a ban on government and public service staff staying at Accor Group hotels?

ALBANESE: We would consider whatever action is appropriate. But I’m sure that the leadership in Accor, that have by the way a fantastic Indigenous traineeship program, that I know are making sure they have a very strong apprenticeship program, bringing people through of diversity as well. They, I’m sure, will be just as shocked as I am about these revelations and I’m very confident that they’ll take action.

JOURNALIST: And lastly, Malcolm Turnbull did an interview overnight. Is he right when he says that some within the Coalition moved on him because they were worried he would win the election?

ALBANESE: Well Malcolm Turnbull is right. It is difficult to understand why the August coup against Malcolm Turnbull happened, let alone why anyone on Earth would think that Peter Dutton would be a stronger candidate for Prime Minister than Malcolm Turnbull at the Federal election. What we see here is a Coalition that’s obsessed by itself. We’re very different from that. What we’re obsessed by is lifting the living standards of Australians, creating opportunity in education, building infrastructure, making sure that healthcare is available to all.

This Government moved against Malcolm Turnbull, in spite of the fact that he was on 49 per cent so almost a 50-50 result from the previous Newspolls. He’d led as preferred Prime Minister on 58 consecutive occasions and the truth is that so many people in his own party were determined to destroy Malcolm Turnbull as their priority and that’s why they are not fit to govern. They have Scott Morrison as Prime Minister who was the fourth choice. Malcolm was first, Dutton was second, Bishop was third. Scott Morrison was the Steven Bradbury of Australian politics, who skated through and became Prime Minister, even though he didn’t need two hands to count how many supporters he actually had who thought he was the best person to be Prime Minister.

I mean that’s why this Government needs to be put out of its misery and Malcolm Turnbull, with his comments overnight, has belled the cat when it comes to their priorities. They’d rather fight each other than govern the country. How about we give them a bit of time in Opposition, where they can fight each other without creating such destructive consequences for our nation.

JOURNALIST: Mr Daley, so we had a decision in the Land and Environment Court this morning on the stadiums. So the original injunction has been vacated and there’s currently no injunction stopping the demolition of the Sydney Football Stadium. What’s your response?

DALEY: Well if the Premier is true to her word, the wrecking balls will be coming in this afternoon in defiance of the wishes of the people of New South Wales. Fifteen days to go until an election. Only someone spectacularly arrogant would send the wrecking balls in to knock that stadium down now, given that the anger about this is white hot. I’m advised that Local Democracy Matters are contemplating an appeal to the Court of Appeals as early as Monday. What the Premier should do is wait until the judicial processes have taken their course. Only a Government dripping in arrogance would seek to proceed in the manner that they said they would, but we’ve had Dominic Perrottet out the other day saying to me and to the people of New South Wales: ‘Just get out of the way’.

This is not just about stadiums. The stadiums are emblematic of everything we’ve seen with this Government. They change their minds, they don’t do the planning, when the business case doesn’t stack up they ignore it anyway, communities aren’t consulted, plans aren’t done. It’s like the light rail, it’s like the Westconnex, it’s like the Opal Building, it’s like a million dead fish in Menindee. This Allianz Stadium debacle is emblematic of everything this Government does and you know, at the end of the day, it’s always the taxpayer, it’s always the ordinary citizen of New South Wales, that gets stung with this mob. The top end of town, they just do fine, thanks very much, but it’s always the ordinary citizen that gets burned.

JOURNALIST: Do you think the Government would be as brazen as to send in the wrecking balls this weekend, while there’s no injunction?

DALEY: Absolutely. They haven’t said they wouldn’t. In fact, the Treasurer said: ‘Get out of the way of our wrecking balls’. There was a rally there yesterday afternoon, ordinary people expressing themselves, and we had the farce yesterday of me standing there giving a press conference while an injunction was in place, while the thing was being demolished behind us. If there’s one thing you can count on with this Government, it’s that arrogance reigns supreme and on stadiums it’s business as usual, in that regard.

JOURNALIST: What did you make of the fact that the Premier was pressed on this repeatedly yesterday, about when the stadium would be demolished, and she didn’t use the word stadium, but said it was business as usual?

DALEY: That’s just a bewildering lack of leadership. It means that this stadium issue, having been such a hot button issue, it’s been so controversial for so long, the Premier either didn’t know what to do, or she did and she just wouldn’t be honest about it. That’s a comprehensive failure of leadership – a bewildering failure of leadership.

JOURNALIST: And I want to ask you about this point about the injunction and the demolition. So the injunction was against a so called ‘hard demolition’ of the roof and walls, but as you rightly pointed out yesterday, there was demolition work taking place. Is that disingenuous?

DALEY: Well we don’t know what was going on there yesterday, because just like the secrecy that surrounded the Westconnex, just like the secrecy that attends the light rail, what’s happening inside the stadium is a secret as well, because members of the public aren’t allowed in. How about the Premier opening the gate and letting a delegation of people come and see what has been happening there under the cover of darkness or in the morning yesterday? It’s secretive, chaotic, business as usual.

JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, I might get your thoughts on this. I mean, how interesting is it for you that a stadium, a $730 million stadium, has become a defining issue in the State Election?

ALBANESE: Well what we see here is that Sydney and New South Wales, because New South Wales isn’t just Sydney, in spite of what the Berejiklian Government seems to think. It needs a whole range of infrastructure – a whole range of it. But what we’re seeing is a State Government, that refused by the way, when I was the Infrastructure Minister, we put $2.1 billion on the table, New South Wales had to contribute $500 million, for the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link.

That would have opened up those high value jobs around the Macquarie precinct and Macquarie University, to the people of Western Sydney. That would have been opening now. That would have been opening right now, but the New South Wales Government refused to build it, because they’re obsessed with toll roads and they’re obsessed by not doing the right thing. Now, I’m a football fan, along with Michael, a fan of the Rabbitohs, and the fact is that Allianz Stadium was a perfectly good stadium. And the idea that you knock it over to build another one is just all about the arrogance of the Berejiklian Government and the elite who run the SCG Trust, who are completely out of touch with the needs of the people of New South Wales and I congratulate Michael on his stance. He’s been consistent, he’s been strong and he’s showing leadership. The fact that Gladys Berejiklian can give a press conference and not use the word stadium shows that she knows, deep down, that she’s doing the wrong thing, but because the top end of town have called for this, then she’s incapable of showing the leadership to say: ‘No, enough is enough. This is a mistake. I will change tack’. And the arrogance of knocking over the stadium just days before a State Election, I think she will be punished and I think she deserves to be punished by the voters if this proceeds.

DALEY: Can I also add that the Premier is at Parramatta Stadium today, or is going to be at Parramatta Stadium. Whilst the Premier is at Parramatta, she needs to explain to the people of Western Sydney and to the people of New South Wales, how it can be that Parramatta Stadium was $360 million, but Allianz Stadium in Sydney’s east, which has a slightly larger capacity, is double the cost. Where is the money going?

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 8 MARCH 2019

Mar 8, 2019

Transcript of Television Interview – SKY News First Edition – Friday, 8 March 2019

Subjects: Malcolm Turnbull, Barnaby Joyce, opinion polls, White Bay, Home Affairs, border security.

KIERAN GILBERT: Let’s go live to the Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

GILBERT: I wonder, what’s your view on the broader issue of instability that we have seen across our political discourse over the last decade? How much is that really in people’s minds, or is it all going to be down simply to the hip pocket when we go to the polls in May?

ALBANESE: Well I think Malcolm Turnbull is right with his comments on the BBC. It was madness in my view for him to be replaced with a fourth choice Leader in Scott Morrison, who only got elected Prime Minister because people disliked either Malcolm Turnbull or Peter Dutton more. Since then of course we know the Scott Morrison hasn’t been able to explain why he is the Prime Minister rather than Malcolm Turnbull, who was elected by the Australian people at the last election. And when you look at the facts, the Coalition was on 49 per cent for a couple of polls in a row. They were increasing their primary and their two-party preferred vote and Malcolm Turnbull had won 58 Newspolls in a row as preferred prime minister.

So it was a very strange event indeed and I think when Australians go to the polls, whether it is May 11 or May 18, they will have front of mind that the Coalition will continue to be unstable. They are now talking about knocking off Michael McCormack after the election is the word, but perhaps beforehand, as the National Party Leader and the Deputy Prime Minister and replacing him with of all people Barnaby Joyce. You know the idea that Peter Dutton could be a preferred choice as Prime Minister or Barnaby Joyce, in all of the circumstances which are there about him, that people of regional Australia are saying “bring him back” is just bizarre frankly and shows how out of touch they are.

LAURA JAYES: It’s interesting that you want to keep talking about Barnaby Joyce and Malcolm Turnbull …

ALBANESE: The Coalition wants to talk about it.

JAYES: With these two in in the headlines, this is just a gift to Labor going into the election isn’t it?

ALBANESE: Well of course it is but the truth is that their activity over a long period of time has undermined their own credibility. They have stopped governing and what you have with Labor is us leading from Opposition. Today I will be with Michael Daley, the New South Wales Labor Leader, announcing our support for ship-to-shore power down at White Bay, the cruise ship terminal; making sure that there is appropriate infrastructure there that supports the tourism industry but at the same time provides protection for the local community from fumes just leaking out all over the local public schools in particular and the local Catholic school – a practical initiative. We have Bill Shorten in Adelaide today announcing our support for upgrades on the South Road – a process that we began when we were last in government with projects like the South Road Superway and Torrens to Torrens. We have shadow ministers right around the country announcing policies at the same time the Government is just talking about themselves.

GILBERT: What do you say to people who might be thinking why should of all the people that benefit from a yearning for stability that people would vote for your Leader, who stabbed a couple of prime ministers in the back? What do you say to people in the electorate who might be thinking that?

ALBANESE: What I would say is that Labor has been very stable in recent years. I’m very much on the record at the time and I think it was proven correct that what Labor did in 2010 was a mistake and not just in terms of short-term politics, but we have seen the impact that it has had over a number of years now with four prime ministers replaced. And when you look back at the previous history, that didn’t occur. What I would say to them is that we go to an election where we have had the same Leader, the same Deputy Leader, the same Shadow Treasurer, the same Shadow Infrastructure Minister, the same Shadow Health Minister over the entire period. And we are ready to hit the ground running. We are focused on lifting up the economy, which is slowing. We are focused on lifting wages. We are focusing on building infrastructure.

JAYES: But who is going to be the Home Affairs Minister if you win Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: Well that will be a decision for Bill Shorten to make and he will announce that at the appropriate time. But what we have is an outstanding team. And what’s more, we have got an outstanding team in the wings, the sort of people elected in the last couple of terms who could be cabinet ministers.

JAYES: You just outlined an outstanding team but Shayne Neumann is in the role at the moment and everyone is being talked about but him. What does it say about the person that you have and their strength in this portfolio at the moment?

ALBANESE: Shayne Neumann I think has been doing a very good job.

JAYES: Why isn’t he good enough to be in that role in Government then?

ALBANESE: Well he is the Shadow Immigration Minister and he has been doing an excellent job in holding Peter Dutton to account for his failure for example to settle the people who have been there for more than five years on Manus and Nauru. It’s far too long.

GILBERT: On that front, what do you say about this report on the front of The Australian suggesting it’s a $6 billion bill to increase the humanitarian intake to 32,000 refugees a year?

ALBANESE: Seriously, these so-called reports with so-called costings of Labor policies; what I would say is that it shows yet again that the Government isn’t focused on governing. It is focused on putting out these nonsense reports, usually that get found out that Treasury and Finance and no-one has had anything to do with them and they were done on the back of a Wheaties packet. Seriously, this Government cannot give an interview about policy and what it is doing governing the nation without talking about Labor, and that says it all about the fact that they don’t have a positive agenda.

GILBERT:  It won’t cost anywhere near this number? Is that right? Is that your view?

ALBANESE: Well I haven’t even seen the report Kieran. Frankly one of the things I have done is not worry too much about so-called reports put in there by the Government about what the Opposition is doing. I think one of the problems that the Government has in getting a message through is these daily dropouts, you know “exclusive report”, that Labor’s policy would have this impact with some big figures. I don’t know why they talk about billions. Why don’t they talk about trillions given they make stuff up all the time?

GILBERT: Anthony Albanese, Labor frontbencher, we will talk to you soon. Thanks for your time.

ALBANESE: Thanks for having me on the program.

Mar 8, 2019

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 8 March 2019

Subjects; Malcolm Turnbull interview, Nationals leadership, Prime Minister’s Christmas Island trip, Christopher Pyne’s retirement.

DEBORAH KNIGHT: Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has unleashed on his Liberal colleagues, revealing in an interview with the BBC that he was dumped because his party didn’t want him to win the next election and calling the coup: ‘A peculiarly Australian form of madness’. The Government’s Christopher Pyne joins me now from Adelaide, along with Labor’s Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you both, fellas.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

KNIGHT: Christopher, you were in the Malcolm Turnbull cheer squad. Is he on the money here or is he just delusional?

PYNE: Look I think we’ve raked over those coals quite enough in the last few months, Deb, and I don’t propose to talk about it any further.

KNIGHT: It is damaging though, for this to be raised with just a few months now before the election. It seems for outside observers that this is the ultimate act of revenge.

PYNE: Well Deb, my focus is on keeping Labor out of office. We have a growing economy, growing jobs, we have the policies to keep that going. Labor instead wants to smash people’s incomes with a retiree tax, a housing tax, capital gains tax being cut by 50 per cent, and we have to keep them out of office.

KNIGHT: Would a party ever though vote out a leader because they didn’t want them to win?

PYNE: Look as I said, you know Malcolm can do whatever interviews he likes, as can other people, but the reality is we’ve got a job to do and that is to stop Labor from wrecking our economy, stop them from wrecking our border protection.

KNIGHT: Okay Albo, Labor wrote the playbook really on revolving leaders. Is this is a peculiarly Australian form of madness, as Malcolm says?

ALBANESE: Well Malcolm Turnbull’s right in saying that the coup last year was an act of madness. The fact is that you went from someone who was on 49 per cent two party preferred, had been ahead in 58 Newspolls in a row as preferred Prime Minister –

KNIGHT: But had lost 40 consecutive.

ALBANESE: – And chose someone who was the fourth choice, in Scott Morrison, to be Prime Minister and the fact is that no one can explain, not Scott Morrison, not Christopher Pyne, no one, still will explain to the Australian people why that happened.

KNIGHT: Well it’s damaging to be raised, that is sure, for old wounds to be opened up so close. But Christopher, it seems there’s no end to all of this – reports this morning that Barnaby Joyce could be back as Leader of the Nationals, with Michael McCormack losing the confidence of his party. Could we see yet another coup?

PYNE: Look I very much doubt it. I’m not responsible for the National Party, nor am I responsible for the number of leaders that the Labor Party churned through in the time that they were…

KNIGHT: But is Michael McCormack safe?

PYNE: I think the bottom line is what the public want is a government that moves forward with stability. We’re united behind our policies of reducing taxation, growing the economy, protecting our borders, sticking behind our leader Scott Morrison.

KNIGHT: You’re on message today, Christopher.

PYNE: And Labor are a danger to all of those things.

ALBANESE: It’s just talking points. The Government’s reduced to these simplistic talking points. Speaks about the economy, well the economy’s slowing, we saw that this week. Speaks about living standards, well wages are in decline in real terms, that’s one of the big issues at this election. And speaks about unity, yes people do want unity, they’ll get with the Labor Government. What we have here – the idea that Barnaby Joyce could come back as the Deputy Prime Minister quite frankly is farcical.

KNIGHT: Now the other big issue that’s being touted around, of course, is border protection and the Prime Minister toured the detention centre on Christmas Island this week, ahead of it reopening. It was a short trip, but a costly one, costing taxpayers around $60,000. Christopher, do you think that was money well spent?

PYNE: Well of course it was, because the Prime Minister wanted to see what it will look like when we reopen the Christmas Island detention centre because of Labor’s policy.

KNIGHT: Couldn’t he have raised those issues from here in Australia, though?

PYNE: Well he got briefings and viewed the various different facilities on Christmas Island as Prime Minister. This wouldn’t be necessary – it’s going to cost $1.4 billion – it wouldn’t be necessary if Labor hadn’t weakened our border protection policies when the Parliament last sat. It’s a disgraceful thing that Labor did. They did it to score political points, but it’s going to cost money and it will put people’s lives at risk.

KNIGHT: Albo, Bill Shorten was very strong on claiming this was a waste of money yesterday.

ALBANESE: As he should have been. Scott Morrison could have stood in front of a palm tree in Cronulla. He didn’t have to go anywhere outside of his electorate to do this press conference. What it showed is that the Government is all about politics with this issue. There’s been no weakening of any of our borders. You can have strong borders without being weak on humanity. That’s the position we’ve brought to this issue and the Government is just determined to run scare campaigns, because they haven’t got a positive agenda. They’ve run out of ideas.

PYNE: Goodness gracious.

ALBANESE: And in May, I hope they’re out of time as well.

KNIGHT: Triggering a ‘goodness gracious’.

PYNE: Last time Labor was in power Deb they had 50,000 unauthorised arrivals on 800 boats and the opened 17 detention centres. That’s what Labor’s policies look like.

ALBANESE: And last year you had a record number – a record number of people applied for asylum, last year. Twenty eight thousand here on your watch.

PYNE: That’s what Labor’s policies look like. You can talk over me all you like.

KNIGHT: This is like the old gang, hey? This is it. You’re back to normal now.

ALBANESE: On your watch, Christopher. Twenty eight thousand people while Peter Dutton is the Minister applied for asylum here last year. Record numbers.

PYNE: You can talk over me all you like. The public know you can’t protect our borders and we can. That’s the bottom line. We’ve got the record from your period in government.

KNIGHT: We are going to miss this when you go Christopher. You’re leaving us. You’re pulling the pin on Parliament. Breaking up the band.

PYNE: Well, you know, 51 years old I can start another career now, Deb, after 26 years in politics.

KNIGHT: What will you do?

PYNE: I haven’t decided finally yet. I’ve had a lot of offers. I’ve had a lot of offers.

ALBANESE: He’s got to work out what else he’s good at.

PYNE: I’ve got to work out exactly what I want to do, but it’s going to be a quieter life, perhaps less prominent, but I’ll still be barracking for the Liberal team, there’s no doubt about that.

KNIGHT: You would never be less prominent, Christopher, goodness me.

PYNE: A little bit less prominent.

ALBANESE: It’s one thing to leave Parliament, but he’s leaving the Today Show.

KNIGHT: I know.

ALBANESE: He’s breaking up the segment.

KNIGHT: I know. What are you going to get him as a farewell gift?

PYNE: What will I do without this money? What will I do without the salary from the Today Show?

KNIGHT: Oh the salary.

ALBANESE: I think his farewell gift is not having to turn up to Parliament.

KNIGHT: That’s the gift that keeps on giving, you reckon?

ALBANESE: That’s absolutely right.

PYNE: Anthony won’t be far behind, he’s desperate to get out.

KNIGHT: Really Albo?

ALBANESE: I’ll be there for a very long time. I’m just getting started.

PYNE: You won’t be able to go on without me. You’ll miss me.

ALBANESE: I wish Christopher and Caroline and the kids all the best.

PYNE: Thank you Anthony. I appreciate that.

KNIGHT: There you go. Well we will continue the sparring at least, as we head closer to the election.

ALBANESE: And we actually have had the discussion, we’re two of the people who will actually talk to each other post-Parliament.

PYNE: It’s true.

KNIGHT: That is true.

ALBANESE: That’s includes some of our colleagues.

PYNE: Anthony is a friend.

KNIGHT: Well gentleman, thank you for joining us and we’ll work on a gift for you, don’t you worry about that, Christopher. We’ll come up with a creative Today Show idea has a parting farewell gift.

PYNE: I look forward to it.

KNIGHT: Alright, careful. Thanks fellas.

ALBANESE: Careful what you wish for.

KNIGHT: Yeah.

 

Mar 6, 2019

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa Adelaide, Two Tribes – Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Subjects: Retirement of Christopher Pyne.

HOST: Well, perhaps giving us something of a taste of the future, he jokingly last night tweeted that he’s looking forward to becoming One Tribe, Anthony Albanese’s on the line. Albo, good morning to you.

ALBANESE: I reckon me arguing with myself would be gold.

HOST: Well, guess what Albo? You get to audition in that capacity this morning because, I don’t know, maybe Christopher’s just turned off all the alarms now.

ALBANESE: He’s given up. He’s given up.

HOST: He’s checked out already.

ALBANESE: He’s gone. He’s slept in.

HOST: Normally he’s extremely fastidious. He’s normally even quicker than you when it comes to calling in, but we’re chasing him down ourselves so hopefully we’ll get him on the line shortly.

ALBANESE: I can speak on his behalf perhaps.

HOST: What do you reckon he’ll say?

ALBANESE: I reckon he’ll say, “I’ve recognised after all these years that my party is hopeless, the Government is hopeless, all is lost and that’s why I’m going.”

HOST: “I am leaving a sinking ship”. Hey Albo, last time we spoke …

ALBANESE: “I’m so in favour of subs I got on one and it sunk.”

HOST: We only make the best here in South Australia. Hey, when we last spoke a couple of weeks ago …

ALBANESE: They are meant to sink, by the way.

HOST: Yeah, they just come back up again. There was a great poll out for Chris, clearly wasn’t great enough that he wants to stick around after the next election, but you made the point then that you don’t think you’re targeting Sturt, has that changed with Christopher Pyne now stepping away from the seat?

ALBANESE: Look, I think it’s a whole new dynamic. On a serious note, I very much wish Christopher well, for both him and Caroline and the kids. I spoke to him after his resignation and I must say he wasn’t having second thoughts, and I think that it opens it up. He’s obviously been a very strong representative. He’s also been, I think, a progressive within the Liberal Party. He’s obviously supported Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership strongly and was a strident opponent and blocker of Peter Dutton becoming the Prime Minister. I think that would reflect the views of his electorate, of Sturt. It’s a progressive electorate, and I think we certainly are targeting Boothby in Adelaide with Nadia Clancy who we think is a fantastic candidate. I think we’ll wait and see how it goes.

HOST: Do you shift your focus now though? Incumbency – the word meaning the level of support for a long-term sitting member has – can be worth five percent, even more in some seats. He’s been there for three decades almost. Does it mean that you guys now regard Sturt as winnable?

ALBANESE: I think we regard all seats as winnable as our starting point, but we’ll be campaigning there. We regard the sitting member in Boothby, who supported Peter Dutton as Prime Minister, as being an asset for us in the election campaign. It’s not always a plus.

HOST: Those flyers are out in the seat, that’s for sure. Christopher Pyne now is on the line. Christopher, good morning to you.

PYNE: Good morning. I apologise for not being available when you were ringing. It’s very unlike me.

ALBANESE: I’ve been speaking on your behalf, Christopher.

PYNE: I’m sure you’d have been saying nice things too, especially now that I’m retiring. When you’re retiring everybody wants to be nice.

ALBANESE: Exactly.

HOST: Chris, can we ask, was there a moment or event that galvanised your decision to quit?

PYNE: No, not really. I decided in January and February down at the beach and then back to work, I thought I’d better think about whether I’m going to go on or not. I went to Canberra on about February the 6th to get ready for Parliament and do some ministerial duties and thought, “I’m not certain I want to necessarily be here after the election,” and I thought, “I’ll get them through the two weeks of the sitting, and think about it on the weekend.” I did that and I decided enough was enough. Twenty-six years have been great, I’d been very lucky, but it was time for renewal and I told the Prime Minister on Tuesday and told the world on Saturday.

HOST: So how do you want to be remembered and, separately from that, how do you think you’ll be remembered?

PYNE: A difficult question. Look, I’ve absolutely loved being a local member of Parliament, representing my electorate and dealing with the individual constituent concerns which, for those people who come to see a Member of Parliament, or write or phone – to them that’s a very big issue in their day, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing that. So solving their problems has been a very exciting part of the job. Then there’s the big parts of the job, like the Submarine Project, the Hunter Class of frigates, the Space Agency, the various things that I’ve brought to our State, and invested in through defence capability. But I guess if you summed all that up I’d like to be remembered as a fierce advocate for my electorate, for my State, and for my country.

HOST: A lot of people, in covering your departure, talk about the factional player, the numbers man.

PYNE: Well, as you said in your column on the weekend, you can’t actually get to be a Cabinet Minister, a Member of Parliament, an advocate for your side of politics, unless you win the internal battles which are inevitable in every political party, to get elected. There’s a lot of people who wanted to be the Member for Sturt over the last thirty years, or wanted to be Minister for Defence or Defence Industry, or Education, or whatever it might have been, but I played politics in the situation where I was in a position to get appointed to those jobs or to get elected. Now, there’s a lot of people who turn up with a handful of want and a mouthful of gimme, but unless you’ve got the numbers, you don’t win.

HOST: Do you have any concerns now, you step aside at the same time as Julie Bishop, and you’re probably one of the most influential, progressive voices within the party, that it’s been lauded by some on the Right as a sort of a returning to conservatism in the Liberal Party federally? Have you got any concern about the shift or where the party is broadly?

PYNE: Look, the Liberal Party has been a broad church since 1944. We’re not shifting to any particular political dynamic. There’ve always been a large number of people who would regard themselves as more to the centre of the political spectrum in the Liberal Party, particularly in South Australia, and there are people who regard themselves to the right of the political spectrum, but one person retiring, in my case, doesn’t mean that that has changed that shift or that dynamic. There’ll always be two wings of the party and for the party to be successful both of those wings need to be healthy.

HOST: Do you want to respond to Julie Bishop suggesting that you were influential in orchestrating, in denying her the leadership of the party?

PYNE: I don’t see any point in raking over those old coals, it’s time to look to the future and I’m sure Anthony’s desperate to say something about how much he likes me.

HOST: He got a huge run at the start.

ALBANESE: I’m just being polite now, Christopher.

PYNE: Thank you. Thank you.

ALBANESE: Can I make this point though? On Saturday I put out a positive tweet about Christopher. We’re genuine friends. One of the things that we’ve spoken about is that we would catch up post politics, and that’s something that I won’t do with all of my side, let alone people on the other side. Some of the responses to that, I just say to people look, you can have political differences whilst having having respect for people from the other side, and Christopher and I have a friendship, and if people don’t like that, well frankly, bad luck. I genuinely wish him well, both privately and publicly, and I stand by that. I am disappointed at some of the polarisation that has happened in politics. It seems to be exacerbated by Twitter and by people saying things behind fake names or in private that they’d never say to your face. Christopher has been an honourable opponent.

HOST: It’s a generous assessment. You guys are like Sam and Ralph in the Warner Brothers cartoon – you tear each to shreds during the day and then knock off.

PYNE: Morning Ralph.

ALBANESE: Morning Sam.

HOST: Chris, finally, have you got any ideas about what you’re going to do next, because you’re young enough to have a second career?

PYNE: Well that was a big part of my consideration. One, I’d been in Parliament for over a quarter of a century. Two, I’m fifty-one, and three, it’s nice to choose your own time of departure in politics, and it’s quite frankly very rare. Most people lose their seats or their pre-selection. But my intention is to have another career, to go into business, to promote defence, defence industry, to work with businesses here in South Australia that want to export, trade, grow, and I think that’ll be something I’m excited about. I’ll bring that same energy to that passion that I’ve brought to politics and I’m looking forward to it.

HOST: A lot of ex-politicians Christopher, go into the media. You’ve always been a sensational media performer, maybe could we find a role for you here behind the microphone?

PYNE: Maybe as a guest commentator every now and then. I could come in and replace you so you could go on holiday.

HOST: I like that idea.

ALBANESE: I’d have to come in too.

PYNE: You would.

ALBANESE: But they wouldn’t let that happen because the ratings would jump.

HOST: You never want to be replaced by someone that’s better than you, that’s for sure. Guys, we would love to keep Tribes going up until the election. Obviously after that we’ll have to have pack down and rethink.

ALBANESE: After that it’s One Tribe, we’ve done that deal.

PYNE: Well I’m in.

HOST: I’m not sure what ACMA would think about that. Good on you, Chris. Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese, thank for joining us this morning. We’ll do it again next week.

ALBANESE: Good on you, guys.

 

Mar 1, 2019

Transcript of Radio Interview – ABC Northern Tasmania – Friday, 1 March 2019

Subjects: Tasmanian Tourism; Quality Tourism Framework.

PIAA WIRSU: Anthony Albanese is the Federal Shadow Minister for Tourism. He arrived not that long ago, mere minutes ago in fact, I believe for the Awards. Welcome to Drive, what will you be talking to operators about at the awards tonight?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well I’ll be talking about what they’re interested in, which is how government can actually facilitate tourism investment here in Australia and particularly in Tasmania. We know that there’s a million Australians rely upon tourism for their jobs. And tonight I’ll be announcing our support for what the sector have put themselves forward, through the Australian Tourism Industry Council, of a Quality Tourism Framework. Basically small grants, but which can really help tourism operators to develop their IT systems, to develop their marketing, to develop their skills. So that small businesses can become bigger businesses employing more people.

WIRSU: We will be headed to a Federal Election in the near future, there’s every chance you will become the Minister for Tourism out of that Election. What’s your vision for tourism in Tasmania?

ALBANESE: For Tasmania tourism is obviously absolutely vital. You have such an extraordinary natural environment. You have such an attractive range of destinations, whether it’s here in the north, or in the centre around Cradle Mountain, or whether it be your cities of Launceston and Hobart with food and wine and all that you have to offer here. It is an exciting destination and I have been very engaged with the Tasmanian tourism sector. One of the other advantages that you have is that they tend to speak on most occasions with one voice and that’s a very good thing. That isn’t always the case around the country; that really helps. So for example when we were last in government, we funded everything from bike trails here in the north, down to the Three Capes Track down in the south, and we funded upgrades to the Cradle Mountain infrastructure. We really think that tourism has an opportunity to be even a greater provider of employment here in Tasmania.

WIRSU: If your government is elected come the Federal Election that will happen in the next little while, what funding commitments do you have? What ideas do you have in mind to harness that opportunity in Tasmania?

ALBANESE: Well recently we have committed $30 million for Cradle Mountain. We’ve committed $8.8 million towards completing the North West Coastal Pathway. We have more announcements – tonight’s announcement is another $6 million – it’s a national announcement, but that has been a big priority including here in Tasmania. We think that there is much more that can be done here. And one of the things I’ll be doing while I’m here is once again talking to the sector – not just tonight but tomorrow morning as well.

WIRSU: Anthony Albanese as I’m sure you know there’s a real tension in Tasmania at the moment between expanding tourism visitation and development and on the other side environmental protection. What is your priority when it comes to tourism in the state, development or environmental protection?

ALBANESE: Look I don’t think it is a matter of either-or. I think that good development for example, there was some opposition to the Three Capes Track investment, because it was providing budget accommodation as part of that walk. But it’s now world renowned. It’s been very positive, that investment and I don’t think anyone is saying that the environment has been damaged. We need to make sure that what’s special for Tasmania, its natural environment, is protected and that any tourism proposals are sustainable, but we also need at the same time to make sure that jobs and economic activity come to Tasmania.

WIRSU: It’s 5:17, you’re hearing from the Federal Shadow Minister for Tourism Anthony Albanese. Do you have any specific policy in mind to get people out of the major cities into regional areas in Tasmania?

ALBANESE: Absolutely. One of the things that the Quality Tourism Framework is about, really, is helping not the big players in Hobart and Launceston, it’s about helping your smaller operators. If you look at the walks that are here in Tasmania, if you look at the destinations like Pumphouse Point is a great example of restoration of an old facility, at Lake St Clair there, that is quite an extraordinary accommodation precinct, one that has a waiting list of months, not just weeks. And that’s an example of a small venture, but one that has been extremely successful in the regions and gets people out of the cities.

WIRSU: So what will you, if you’re elected to government, do to help generate projects like that?

ALBANESE: Well I think that’s what the Quality Tourism Framework is about. Helping up to thousands potentially. It could develop up to 10,000 high quality tourism experiences. That will be a very good thing.

WIRSU: Just finally before I let you go, there are also community concerns in Tasmania about the lack of infrastructure to handle the increasing numbers of tourists to the state. What’s your plan to make sure that infrastructure needs keep up with the demand from tourism?

ALBANESE: Well when we were last in government, of course, we doubled the roads budget. And we had significant investment here in the north and in the north-west and I think …

WIRSU: But looking into the future, what are your plans for the future?

ALBANESE: Well our plan is for further upgrades, we’ve committed to on the Bass Highway for example. And that is obviously the critical highway. We’ve put additional money on the table for the Midland Highway to connect the north and the south as well.

WIRSU: Anthony Albanese, thanks for your time this afternoon. And as we speak to you from the airport just a few minutes off the plane Anthony Albanese is the Federal Shadow Minister for Tourism, of course a Federal Election coming up every chance that Labor will become the government, hearing about what their priorities are for tourism in Tasmania should that be the case.

[ENDS]

Feb 22, 2019

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 22 February, 2019

Subjects: Julie Bishop, women in politics, Labor’s plan for compensation for banking victims, Helloworld scandal.

DEBORAH KNIGHT: Good morning to you both.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  Good morning.

KELLY O’DWYER, MINISTER FOR WOMEN: Good morning Deb.

KNIGHT: Now Kelly you were quite emotional yesterday when Julie Bishop made her announcement in Parliament. She really was a trailblazer.

O’DWYER: An incredible trail blazer, an amazing leader and an inspiration and role model to women not only here in Australia but right around the world. Julie Bishop can stand very proud on her record of achievement. She is someone that I think most Australians admire and respect. She has been someone who has taken us through very difficult times with MH17 and she has handled it always with extreme strength and poise. It was an emotional moment. She is a good friend of mine and she will be greatly missed.

KNIGHT: And Albo, Julie Bishop’s achievements were recognised of course by both sides of politics even though Julie herself didn’t stick around to hear them. Was she the best Liberal Leader that that Liberals never had?

ALBANESE: I think that is right Deb. I think it is unfortunate that they didn’t take the opportunity to elect Julie Bishop as Leader when she put herself forward. She is someone who has my respect. I regard her as a friend. I’ve always had a very good relationship with her. I think she was I think she was a very good Foreign Minister and represented Australia on the world stage and I wish her well in the next stage of her life.

KNIGHT: Now Kelly, Julie’s announcement of course came a day after you delivered your valedictory speech. Two senior women bowing out. The party, we know, has a problem attracting and keeping women and you both raise a lot of money for the party. You have cut through with voters. It’s going to hurt the party and the Government isn’t it? You need every vote you can get.

O’DWYER: Well obviously we are after every vote that we can get. But there are very personal reasons for my decision as many people know that relate to family. It has been almost ten years in the Parliament for me.

KNIGHT: But losing two women of your stature though is a blow.

O’DWYER: There are incredible people who will also take our place. No job is for ever. As Julie has said and as I have said, there are incredible women in the field running for both of our seats to get pre-selection and I suspect that one of those women in Curtin and in Higgins will be very successful and of course will make a wonderful contribution here in the Parliament.

KNIGHT: And Albo, you know the personal toll politics takes on relationships and families yourself. Is it harder do you think for women than men in politics?

ALBANESE: I think that politics is a hard life. We give up a lot to do what we do. Here we are in Canberra on a Friday morning having been here all week. I go from here to Brisbane. I’m in Melbourne on Sunday and Perth on Monday. The fact is that it does take a toll and particularly I think Kelly has been a really important role model. Women who have children in politics – it’s a particular challenge. Myself and Carmel raised our young son with both of us in political life.

O’DWYER: Very unusual.

ALBANESE: It’s difficult but the fact is that what we need is a Parliament that is representative of the community and that is why I am very proud that Labor will hit 50 per cent women’s representation after the next election and I do think it’s a problem for the Liberal Party that they are losing two very senior women in Kelly and Julie. I perfectly respect Kelly’s decision. People will make those decisions at particular times in their lives.

KNIGHT: Now Julie Bishop’s departing gift of course was stealing the headlines from what was a good week for Labor. But Albo, you are desperate to get the focus off border security and on to the banks and making the banks pay for ripping off customers. This compensation scheme you are unveiling today, how much is it going to cost?

ALBANESE: Well it depends how much the banks have ripped people off. That’s the question. But people need to be compensated. That’s why we are increasing it four times up to $2 million. It will of course be paid for by the banks paying. They need to be held to account for the fact that so many individuals and small businesses have been worse off. It’s had a material effect on their living standards of themselves and their families and that is why they deserve to be compensated.

KNIGHT: And Kelly will the Government match Labor’s compensation scheme? It’s much more generous than the one you have got in place.

O’DWYER: We actually established the Australian Financial Complaints Authority so Labor has actually come to this a bit late.  Of course we put on those big penalties to the banks and of course allowed small business to be able to access binding compensation. But of course Labor isn’t talking about the compensation that will be there for the retirees who are going to be hit to the tune of about $55 billion because of their retirees’ tax. They are not talking about compensation for all of those other Australians who will be directly affected by their more than $200 billion of new or increased taxes. So you know, it’s all very well to talk the talk, but you’ve actually got to walk the walk.

ALBANESE: Well the problem for the Government of course Deb is that when you raise issues of compensation and the banks they try to segue into something else, just as they did on the 26 occasions that they voted against the Royal Commission.

O’DWYER: It’s an uncomfortable truth.

ALBANESE: Twenty six times.

KNIGHT: Talk about uncomfortable. I’m loving the optics of seeing you two standing together and being very polite. This is kind of fun actually. We might try and replicate this again.

ALBANESE: We like each other. She’s nicer than Christopher.

O’DWYER: Well that’s not hard.

KNIGHT: The last time we saw Mathias Cormann and Joe Hockey get together they were sharing their love of cigars – that famous photo before the 2014 Budget ….

O’DWYER: We won’t be doing that.

KNIGHT: Well we will see about that, but at the moment their links to the travel company Hellowworld have them back in the spotlight. So Kelly, how do you think the average Australian who is struggling to pay the bills feels when they hear that Mathias Cormann didn’t realise his mate and the CEO Andrew Burnes had paid for these $3000 in flights because Gee, he didn’t notice his bank account was still flush with the cash?

O’DWYER: Well look clearly Australians are not impressed. Right? The point is there have been around this issue a lot of very big assertions made and there have been a lot of pretty vile smears. But of course the facts don’t match up with a lot of the allegations the Labor Party made in the House only this week. The truth is they are not prepared to repeat those allegations outside of the Parliament because they won’t stand up.

KNIGHT: How does it stand up though that Helloworld is given these lucrative government contracts when its CEO, Andrew Burnes is a Liberal Party Treasurer and your Washington ambassador, Joe Hockey, has a $1 million stake in the company? It’s on the nose. That’s all voters see isn’t it?

O’DWYER: I suppose there is a pretty fundamental point here and that is that the Ambassador and the Minister have no say in the procurement arrangements – no say at all. In fact these decisions are made by the department so it’s completely incorrect to actually link the two and that is what I think is pretty grubby actually about this exercise. I can understand people weren’t impressed by not paying for a flight. I can understand that. But to make these vile smears is actually not right and I think it is pretty much below the people in this place.

KNIGHT: Albo, will you remove him as Washington Ambassador if you win government?

ALBANESE: Helloworld, hello conflict of interest. Joe Hockey as the Ambassador was helping to organise – there’s a trail of emails here which indicate his direct involvement in organising meetings with a company Helloworld with Embassy officials when he had over $1 million of shares. They are shares that increased by the way in value at around 170 per cent once these Government contracts started flowing through. Mathias Cormann has questions to answer as well. This is all red hot. Helloworld have had these massive contracts from government.

O’DWYER: From Labor Governments, Labor Governments.

ALBANESE: They haven’t got a bit of it – they’ve got all of it, and the bloke who is running it is the Treasurer of the Liberal Party.

KNIGHT: Well, no doubt we will hear more on this topic and good on you for joining us in Canberra. Is there anyone else in the courtyard? Is it empty? Are there crickets?

ALBANESE: I just saw Bill in the corridor. Bill Shorten is out there working hard.

KNIGHT: All right, any opportunity Albo. Thanks for joining us.

O’DWYER: How shameless.

ALBANESE: Good on you.

ENDS

FRIDAY, 22 FEBRUARY, 2019

Feb 22, 2019

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Brisbane – Friday, 22 February, 2019

Subjects: Cross River Rail, Olympics bid.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s great to be back here in Queensland, in the great city of Brisbane, at this amazing project. When I was last here with Labor Leader Bill Shorten, we announced our commitment to $2.24 billion dollars of funding to deliver the Cross River Rail project in partnership with the Queensland State Government. This is a vital project. It was indeed identified by Infrastructure Australia back in 2012 as Australia’s number one infrastructure priority. That’s why we sat down and worked with – originally the Bligh Government – and then we worked with the Newman Government, as a Federal Government to get a commitment which we put into the 2013 Budget.

Of course we know what happened. Tony Abbott said that he would not fund any public transport projects that weren’t already underway. It was lucky that the Redcliffe project was under construction and couldn’t be stopped. But he withdrew funding from this project and then of course the Newman Government walked away as well.

Well this project is as vital today for jobs and dealing with urban congestion, dealing with improving productivity, sustainability and liveability here in Brisbane, as it was back in 2012. Indeed, it is more needed today because we’ve had lost years – because of the Coalition’s arrogance and their failure to support public transport.

We’re absolutely committed to this project. And I’d say to Scott Morrison and his Government that he has an opportunity over the coming weeks to ensure that this project receives Federal Government funding in the April 2 Budget. There’s no reason whatsoever why this project shouldn’t be bipartisan. But what we’ve seen from the Coalition Government in Canberra is that Malcolm Turnbull and his Queensland team were prepared to come and be at the opening of projects like the Gold Coast Light Rail, Redcliffe Rail, Gateway Motorway North and other projects, but they weren’t prepared to actually fund them. Well I say to them, this is a vital project, everyone knows it, it’s necessary to increase the capacity of the rail network here in Brisbane and they should put real money in the Budget in April.

JACKIE TRAD: Thanks, Albo. I want to start by thanking Anthony Albanese and the Shorten Labor Opposition for their steadfast commitment to the Cross River Rail project. Cross River Rail is critical to the South East Queensland area. It is critical to the Queensland economy and the national economy. There is nothing productive about having thousands of Queenslanders stuck on congested roads, or unable to get onto trains because they’re all full.

The Cross River Rail project will supercharge public transport in South East Queensland. It will double our rail capacity right across the South East Queensland region. That means more trains, more frequently, for Queenslanders to get into work and back home to their families in time. It means less cars on the road, less congestion on our roads. It is critical for South East Queensland but also for the state and national economy. We have had to make the decision to go it alone on this project, because we cannot wait.

Infrastructure Australia said when dealing with our business case that we had overestimated the patronage predictions on our public transport system – the patronage predictions that we’ve relied on to make the case for this project. They said here in South East Queensland we wouldn’t grow patronage on our public transport network by more than 6 per cent, per year. Well, this year, we are hitting a patronage growth figure of 6.5 per cent. There is no doubt that more people are turning to public transport because of congested roads.

Now we don’t want to wait until it becomes a crisis. We are just getting on and building this project in time for the growth that we’re seeing in our local community – in terms of population – but also in terms of public transport patronage. This is what good government is about – delivering infrastructure when it’s needed, not after it’s needed, after there is a crisis. This is what Cross River Rail is all about. And I’m so pleased to be standing here with Anthony Albanese. And the only way that Queensland will get its fair share, in terms of infrastructure spending in our state, is if Bill Shorten is elected with the Labor Party at this year’s Federal Election.

REPORTER: Albo, if you are elected would a Federal Shorten Government support whatever infrastructure is needed for the South East to host an Olympic Games?

ALBANESE: I’ve met with the South East Queensland Mayors just in the last fortnight. They were in Canberra. We’ll have a look at any bid and work cooperatively with Queensland. One of the differences, I think, between a Shorten Government and the Morrison Government is that we will work in the interests of Queenslanders, rather than in the interests of any parochial attitude. I mean, when I was last the Minister for Infrastructure, I worked cooperatively with the Queensland Government – both the Bligh Government, but I also enjoyed a constructive relationship with the Newman Government. When proposals were put forward we acted in a way that put the national interest first. And as Queensland is so important to our national economy as Australia’s most regional state as well, we worked cooperatively.

When we were last in Government we worked, for example, very closely with the Bligh Government on the infrastructure that was needed for the Commonwealth Games. And that Commonwealth Games was incredibly successful. That’s why we contributed $365 million to the Gold Coast Light Rail Project, a project that was opposed by Steven Ciobo, that was opposed by the Queensland LNP. We put $37 million into the stadium, which has had an ongoing benefit of course for the Gold Coast Suns and for sport and activity on the Gold Coast. We helped fund revitalisation along the beach front on the Gold Coast. We funded bike ways. We did our share. In spite of the fact, of course, that all of those seats were held by the LNP, that didn’t matter, we pitched in. What we have from the Morrison Government, frankly, is an attitude that says: ‘We’re going to keep Tony Abbott’s attitude of not funding public transport, we’re going to put all the money into Sydney toll roads’, money that should be going into the Cross River Rail project. That’s what happened when the Government changed in 2013. This project would have been well nearing completion now, frankly. (Inaudible)

REPORTER: (Inaudible)

ALBANESE: Well, we will have an upfront payment of $800 million as a cash injection. But we also recognise that this is an exciting project, and we’ve come up with financing of a long-term payment model that will be contributed over coming decades. Why do you do that? Because you recognise that the benefit of the project will be for decades to come. (Inaudible) That is absolutely necessary now for South East Queensland. But in many years and decades to come, people will still be reaping that benefit.

REPORTER: In terms of the Commonwealth contribution, how much would go towards the construction of Cross River Rail, how much towards operating costs?

ALBANESE: It’s not about operating costs. The Commonwealth doesn’t run trains and it doesn’t run roads. We have that delineation. What the Commonwealth can bring is, essentially, support for projects so that Queenslanders, who pay their taxes, work hard, get given something back in the form of infrastructure. And why should the Commonwealth do that? Because when you build something like Cross River Rail, you boost national productivity. The Commonwealth benefits from that through increased company taxes, through increased personal taxes, by improving the productivity and economic growth of the way that this vital part of Queensland . Because this doesn’t just benefit, this isn’t just about the local community – this is about the capacity of the entire network. This benefits the Sunshine Coast, it benefits the Gold Coast, it benefits Ipswich, it benefits the entire region.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 22 FEBRUARY, 2019

Feb 22, 2019

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 22 February, 2019

Subjects: Julie Bishop, women in politics, Labor’s plan for compensation for banking victims, Helloworld scandal.

DEBORAH KNIGHT: Good morning to you both.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  Good morning.

KELLY O’DWYER, MINISTER FOR WOMEN: Good morning Deb.

KNIGHT: Now Kelly you were quite emotional yesterday when Julie Bishop made her announcement in Parliament. She really was a trailblazer.

O’DWYER: An incredible trail blazer, an amazing leader and an inspiration and role model to women not only here in Australia but right around the world. Julie Bishop can stand very proud on her record of achievement. She is someone that I think most Australians admire and respect. She has been someone who has taken us through very difficult times with MH17 and she has handled it always with extreme strength and poise. It was an emotional moment. She is a good friend of mine and she will be greatly missed.

KNIGHT: And Albo, Julie Bishop’s achievements were recognised of course by both sides of politics even though Julie herself didn’t stick around to hear them. Was she the best Liberal Leader that that Liberals never had?

ALBANESE: I think that is right Deb. I think it is unfortunate that they didn’t take the opportunity to elect Julie Bishop as Leader when she put herself forward. She is someone who has my respect. I regard her as a friend. I’ve always had a very good relationship with her. I think she was I think she was a very good Foreign Minister and represented Australia on the world stage and I wish her well in the next stage of her life.

KNIGHT: Now Kelly, Julie’s announcement of course came a day after you delivered your valedictory speech. Two senior women bowing out. The party, we know, has a problem attracting and keeping women and you both raise a lot of money for the party. You have cut through with voters. It’s going to hurt the party and the Government isn’t it? You need every vote you can get.

O’DWYER: Well obviously we are after every vote that we can get. But there are very personal reasons for my decision as many people know that relate to family. It has been almost ten years in the Parliament for me.

KNIGHT: But losing two women of your stature though is a blow.

O’DWYER: There are incredible people who will also take our place. No job is for ever. As Julie has said and as I have said, there are incredible women in the field running for both of our seats to get pre-selection and I suspect that one of those women in Curtin and in Higgins will be very successful and of course will make a wonderful contribution here in the Parliament.

KNIGHT: And Albo, you know the personal toll politics takes on relationships and families yourself. Is it harder do you think for women than men in politics?

ALBANESE: I think that politics is a hard life. We give up a lot to do what we do. Here we are in Canberra on a Friday morning having been here all week. I go from here to Brisbane. I’m in Melbourne on Sunday and Perth on Monday. The fact is that it does take a toll and particularly I think Kelly has been a really important role model. Women who have children in politics – it’s a particular challenge. Myself and Carmel raised our young son with both of us in political life.

O’DWYER: Very unusual.

ALBANESE: It’s difficult but the fact is that what we need is a Parliament that is representative of the community and that is why I am very proud that Labor will hit 50 per cent women’s representation after the next election and I do think it’s a problem for the Liberal Party that they are losing two very senior women in Kelly and Julie. I perfectly respect Kelly’s decision. People will make those decisions at particular times in their lives.

KNIGHT: Now Julie Bishop’s departing gift of course was stealing the headlines from what was a good week for Labor. But Albo, you are desperate to get the focus off border security and on to the banks and making the banks pay for ripping off customers. This compensation scheme you are unveiling today, how much is it going to cost?

ALBANESE: Well it depends how much the banks have ripped people off. That’s the question. But people need to be compensated. That’s why we are increasing it four times up to $2 million. It will of course be paid for by the banks paying. They need to be held to account for the fact that so many individuals and small businesses have been worse off. It’s had a material effect on their living standards of themselves and their families and that is why they deserve to be compensated.

KNIGHT: And Kelly will the Government match Labor’s compensation scheme? It’s much more generous than the one you have got in place.

O’DWYER: We actually established the Australian Financial Complaints Authority so Labor has actually come to this a bit late.  Of course we put on those big penalties to the banks and of course allowed small business to be able to access binding compensation. But of course Labor isn’t talking about the compensation that will be there for the retirees who are going to be hit to the tune of about $55 billion because of their retirees’ tax. They are not talking about compensation for all of those other Australians who will be directly affected by their more than $200 billion of new or increased taxes. So you know, it’s all very well to talk the talk, but you’ve actually got to walk the walk.

ALBANESE: Well the problem for the Government of course Deb is that when you raise issues of compensation and the banks they try to segue into something else, just as they did on the 26 occasions that they voted against the Royal Commission.

O’DWYER: It’s an uncomfortable truth.

ALBANESE: Twenty six times.

KNIGHT: Talk about uncomfortable. I’m loving the optics of seeing you two standing together and being very polite. This is kind of fun actually. We might try and replicate this again.

ALBANESE: We like each other. She’s nicer than Christopher.

O’DWYER: Well that’s not hard.

KNIGHT: The last time we saw Mathias Cormann and Joe Hockey get together they were sharing their love of cigars – that famous photo before the 2014 Budget ….

O’DWYER: We won’t be doing that.

KNIGHT: Well we will see about that, but at the moment their links to the travel company Hellowworld have them back in the spotlight. So Kelly, how do you think the average Australian who is struggling to pay the bills feels when they hear that Mathias Cormann didn’t realise his mate and the CEO Andrew Burnes had paid for these $3000 in flights because Gee, he didn’t notice his bank account was still flush with the cash?

O’DWYER: Well look clearly Australians are not impressed. Right? The point is there have been around this issue a lot of very big assertions made and there have been a lot of pretty vile smears. But of course the facts don’t match up with a lot of the allegations the Labor Party made in the House only this week. The truth is they are not prepared to repeat those allegations outside of the Parliament because they won’t stand up.

KNIGHT: How does it stand up though that Helloworld is given these lucrative government contracts when its CEO, Andrew Burnes is a Liberal Party Treasurer and your Washington ambassador, Joe Hockey, has a $1 million stake in the company? It’s on the nose. That’s all voters see isn’t it?

O’DWYER: I suppose there is a pretty fundamental point here and that is that the Ambassador and the Minister have no say in the procurement arrangements – no say at all. In fact these decisions are made by the department so it’s completely incorrect to actually link the two and that is what I think is pretty grubby actually about this exercise. I can understand people weren’t impressed by not paying for a flight. I can understand that. But to make these vile smears is actually not right and I think it is pretty much below the people in this place.

KNIGHT: Albo, will you remove him as Washington Ambassador if you win government?

ALBANESE: Helloworld, hello conflict of interest. Joe Hockey as the Ambassador was helping to organise – there’s a trail of emails here which indicate his direct involvement in organising meetings with a company Helloworld with Embassy officials when he had over $1 million of shares. They are shares that increased by the way in value at around 170 per cent once these Government contracts started flowing through. Mathias Cormann has questions to answer as well. This is all red hot. Helloworld have had these massive contracts from government.

O’DWYER: From Labor Governments, Labor Governments.

ALBANESE: They haven’t got a bit of it – they’ve got all of it, and the bloke who is running it is the Treasurer of the Liberal Party.

KNIGHT: Well, no doubt we will hear more on this topic and good on you for joining us in Canberra. Is there anyone else in the courtyard? Is it empty? Are there crickets?

ALBANESE: I just saw Bill in the corridor. Bill Shorten is out there working hard.

KNIGHT: All right, any opportunity Albo. Thanks for joining us.

O’DWYER: How shameless.

ALBANESE: Good on you.

Feb 20, 2019

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes – Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Subjects: Sturt poll, Banking Royal Commission.

HOST: It’s a big good morning to Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentleman.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning everyone from sunny Canberra.

PYNE: I hope this won’t be like ‘Behind Closed Doors’ last week, which took us off.

HOST: Yes.

HOST: It sounded like an actual transcript I thought, Chris.

HOST: You’ve been immortalised.

PYNE: It was very, very funny, I must say.

ALBANESE: Well I’m offended.

HOST: Why were you offended, Albo?

ALBANESE: Just because I can be … (inaudible).

PYNE: You were being parodied, whereas I was being promoted.

ALBANESE: Well you start from a lower base.

PYNE: You’re a curmudgeon. You’re a curmudgeonly old Member, that’s your problem.

HOST: Albo, have you caught up with the latest poll figures for Sturt? Christopher on a pretty good wicket based on what the Advertiser released this week – 59-41. You must feeling quite comfortable, Christopher?

PYNE: Well Anthony’s been in Adelaide campaigning against me and whenever he comes my vote goes up.

ALBANESE: I’ve got to say, I have only ever been to Sturt to do good things for the people of Sturt as a Minister, because someone had to do it, someone had to look after them.

PYNE: The only person who helps me more in Sturt is Bill Shorten. I’d like to get him into my seat a few times before the election.

HOST: So you’re not bracing yourself for a Frank Pangallo pitch or anything, Chris?

PYNE: Well I think the most interesting part – well two interesting things about that poll was the complete disappearance of the Xenophon factor. They got 22 per cent at the election and in that poll, and of course, it’s only a poll and the only poll that really matters is election day, they were down to one and half per cent. But the other thing I thought was interesting was that Bill Shorten has such an enormous unfavourability. Fifty per cent of people had an unfavourable impression of Bill Shorten, which always puts a smile on Anthony’s face of course, because he was the people’s choice. He should have been the Leader of the Labor Party.

ALBANESE: Now you’re just being mischievous.

PYNE: Me? Stop it.

ALBANESE: Far be it for you to be mischievous.

PYNE: I’m blushing. I’m blushing on the phone.

HOST: Hey guys, at eight o’clock…

ALBANESE: I don’t think Sturt’s on our target list.

HOST: No, I think you’d let that one go through to the keeper.

ALBANESE: But we will be having a very, very close look at Boothby I think.

HOST: With the help of GetUp! by the sounds of things, not that they have anything to do with the Labor Party or the Greens.

ALBANESE: No, with the help of Nicolle Flint being one of the first signatories which knocked off Malcolm Turnbull.

HOST: Here we go. We want to talk about banks. We revealed in ‘Breaking at 8’ that the ANZ has only now just become the very first bank to get out there on the front foot and say that they are not just deeply apologetic for what was revealed in the Royal Commission, but that they are actually going to start putting in some real reforms to prevent a repeat of that. This is the big hope for you guys, isn’t it Chris, that between now and the election you actually get the banks doing a bit of self-flagellation and saying they are going to make changes.

PYNE: Well there’s two important things about that. One is that, yes the banks do need to take responsibility for their own actions, and what was revealed in the Royal Commission was startling and shocking and I’m glad the banks, at least some of the banks, are starting to understand that they have to put a bit of effort into changing their reputation. The second thing about the Royal Commission is that we responded, the Government has responded to all 76 of the recommendations, and we are still waiting for Labor’s response. It’s quite remarkable that they made so much of it and they failed to respond to it.

HOST: What do you think, Albo, can the banks be trusted to do this themselves?

ALBANESE: Well we know that they can’t be. That’s why we had a Royal Commission in spite of Christopher and his mates voting against it 26 times. That’s why we need structural reform. That’s why the Parliament should sit next week and the week after and for as long as need be to put through legislation that puts in place the structural changes that are required. We put forward five issues yesterday that should be dealt with through legislation and the Government should be having the Parliament sit. That’s what we are elected to do, to legislate, and we should do it.

HOST: We’re going to wrap it up there guys. You know why Chris? We’ve got to play Two Tribes again and we know that apart from Two Tribes…

PYNE: When we’re featured…

HOST: Sorry we’re going to play Blakey again. We know you are big fan, so we don’t want to cut Blakey short.

ALBANESE: Well that makes one of us.

HOST: Playing with fire, Albo.

HOST: Good on you guys. Albo, Chris Pyne, we’ll do it all again next week. Thanks for that.

PYNE: Look forward to it.

[ENDS]

Feb 19, 2019

Transcript of Television Interview – ABC 24, Afternoon Briefing with Patricia Karvelas – Tuesday, 20 February 2019

Subjects: Asylum seekers, Christmas Island, response to Banking Royal Commission.

PATRICIA KARVELAS: Hello Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Hello Patricia.

KARVELAS: Now the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, says he is fine with asylum seekers transferred from Nauru and Manus Island being treated on Christmas Island. Are you fine with it?

ALBANESE: It’s a matter of just making sure that we get appropriate care. Some people have been able to get care on Christmas Island. If they require though, care in other destinations it should be a matter of listening to the doctors. That’s the key principle here that Labor has adopted and we must remember the political nature of the decision to reopen Christmas Island. I mean, the legislative changes from last week do not make a single change to border security measures which are there. They don’t apply to anyone who comes to Australia by boat …

KARVELAS: Yes.

ALBANESE: … any time now or into the future. There is no dismantling of any of the systems the Government says will stop people coming. So this is quite absurd really by the Government.

KARVELAS: Sure, but yesterday your Immigration spokesman, Shayne Neumann, described reopening Christmas Island as unhinged. But Bill Shorten says it is fine for medical transfers to go there. How can you argue both lines?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that what Shayne Neumann is saying is that the Government doesn’t have a reason to justify re-opening Christmas Island …

KARVELAS: Then why do you think it’s OK for these people to go there?

ALBANESE: … and indeed in terms of Indonesia, the message from Indonesia is that the people smugglers paid no attention to the legislative changes last week, but they have paid attention to the Government signalling, through the re-opening of Christmas Island that somehow something has changed. This is a Government that is just playing politics with this. We will see what actually happens in practice. We know that more than 900 people, if you take into account those people directly needing medical assistance and their families, have been transferred to Australia by this Government and we know that 900 is more than the number of people who are on either Manus or Nauru. So this is a government really that is just all about politics. It is desperate. It is desperately looking for …

KARVELAS: Do you think it is unhinged to open Christmas Island?

ALBANESE: I think it is a very strange decision which the Government has not justified. It’s all about them trying to play politics and send signals and, you know, this is a government that is desperate. It’s very desperate.

KARVELAS: You say you don’t think it’s a good idea and yet Bill Shorten today, he is the Opposition Leader, he says he is fine with these people to be transferred there. So how can you argue both? That’s inconsistent.

ALBANESE: There is no inconsistency there. It’s not our decision to reopen Christmas Island.

KARVELAS: Wouldn’t you oppose the transfers as well then if you think it is a bad decision to reopen it?

ALBANESE: Well people will be transferred to places to get appropriate medical care.

KARVELAS: Christmas Island is where they are going.

ALBANESE: If you actually have look Patricia; forget about the headlines that the Government is looking for. Listen to what they said in Question Time today, which is that if people need medical assistance in other places then they will be sent there. This is a Government that is all about politics, all about signalling, not about substance. It has lost control of the Parliament. It is desperate to pretend that the legislation last week is something that it is not. In fact, what the legislation last week did was simply codify a practice that the Government itself says it has been doing by having 900 either people directly getting medical assistance or their families here in Australia.

KARVELAS: But the Department of Home Affairs recommended the reopening of Christmas Island.

ALBANESE: I mean well, you know, we’ll wait and see.

KARVELAS: No, but that was said in Senate Estimates. The head of the department, Pezzullo, has said that.

ALBANESE: I understand what bureaucrats say from time to time and I understand the consistency that’s there and I understand that they’re accountable to the ministers who appoint them, but the fact is…

KARVELAS: So you’re saying he was doing the Minister’s bidding?

ALBANESE: I’m not saying that at all. I’m simply pointing out a fact that in the Westminster system it’s ministers who are accountable for decisions that are made and they shouldn’t hide behind bureaucrats when they’re making such political decisions.

KARVELAS: Do you accept though that it was a recommendation of the Home Affairs Department?

ALBANESE: I don’t know whether that’s the case or not.

KARVELAS: But why would Pezzullo say it was if it wasn’t the case?

ALBANESE: Well this is a very political issue. I don’t know the circumstances. What I do know is that there hasn’t been a single change to our border security laws for any new arrivals. I do know that there is an enormous cost behind reopening Christmas Island and I know this – that the Government is quite prepared to spend taxpayers’ money in order to seek political advantage. And I do know this also, from Senate Estimates, that what we know is that in a range of areas of contracts, be it the whole Paladin issue, other issues with regard to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, this is a government that’s prepared to make decisions amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, and in some cases it has a billion dollar figure next to it, on the basis of very much decisions which aren’t transparent and which require further analysis and for us to find out exactly what the processes are for some of these decisions, including of course, the granting of a many hundreds of millions of dollars contract to a company that was registered in a beach shack on Kangaroo Island.

KARVELAS: Kerryn Phelps says it’s a subversion of democracy, as the intention of the Medevac legislation is to provide sick people in offshore detention treatment on the mainland. Is it a subversion of democracy to send people to Christmas Island?

ALBANESE: Well they should get the appropriate health care that they need and that should be the priority.

KARVELAS: Are you confident they can get that on Christmas Island?

ALBANESE: Patricia, I’m not a doctor. The whole point of this was that we should be listening to medical experts and I’m not the medical expert and that’s the whole point of the legislation. Let’s stop politicians making those decisions in isolation from proper medical advice…

KARVELAS: And should doctors be in charge …

ALBANESE: … whilst of course taking into account national security issues and the advice, which is there from the panel set up by Peter Dutton as the Minister.

KARVELAS: So should that panel be in charge of determining where they go, whether they should go to Christmas Island?

ALBANESE: I’m not about to second-guess medical advice here, Patricia. That’s not my not my job. I didn’t do medicine at Sydney Uni. I did economics. So I’ll stick to, when it comes to giving advice on those matters, what drove the Parliament last week to make a decision on – after getting proper and appropriate advice – was the need to respect the fact that we as Australians have a responsibility for people who are in our care, to listen to expert medical advice.

KARVELAS: Okay. Just on another issue of actually putting your economics degree hat on, Labor has released draft laws for five changes to the financial system in the wake of the Royal Commission. And they would see lots of changes. But Labor still hasn’t actually given a full response to the Royal Commission and whether you’re going to implement the recommendations in full. In fact, I spoke to the relevant Minister, Clare O’Neil, and she actually said she’d have a response within a week and it hasn’t been delivered.

ALBANESE: Patricia, this is Labor once again leading from Opposition. We’ve put forward five proposals. That’s five more than the Government that has thousands of public servants at its disposal to draft legislation and has access, not just to the bureaucracy, but of course to advice from tax experts as well. We have said we will adopt in-principle the recommendations of the Banking Royal Commission. We want the Parliament to sit, to deal with these issues. We finish in two days’ time and we’re not back here until April, where we will sit for three days. The Government is introducing literally …

KARVELAS: Okay. But how can Labor demand the Government legislate additional weeks of Parliament to allow more time when you haven’t released your full response?

ALBANESE: We’ve got five, Patricia. We’ve got five proposals.

KARVELAS: But your full response? She said it would be available in a week and I noticed Josh Frydenberg raised this.

ALBANESE: Five proposals. That’s five more than the Government have and we are leading from Opposition.

KARVELAS: So when will we get the full response?

ALBANESE: Well that’s the task of the respective Shadow Minister. We have put forward concrete proposals that will make a difference including when it comes to insurance, based upon the recommendations of the Royal Commission, in the context that right now there are people in Townsville and northern and north-west Queensland, who have been devastated by the events that have occurred there in those communities, that want to have the confidence in the insurance system, based upon the recommendations that the Royal Commission have made.

Now this is just a practical response. Parliament can meet next week. They can meet the week after. We can debate what changes should be made in both Chambers and I can’t understand – well I do understand why – because the Government is running away from parliamentary scrutiny. They’re sitting 10 days in eight months. That really isn’t good enough. And if they are that bad and that incapable of legislating, then they should just go to the Governor-General, call an election and then whoever wins the election will be in a position to move legislative responses to the Banking Royal Commission.

KARVELAS: Anthony Albanese, a pleasure to speak to you.

ALBANESE: Thank you. Congratulations on Bindy.

KARVELAS: Yes I do have a new puppy, thanks to you. And that was Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, who has been campaigning with – it’s a bipartisan campaign, Gemma, with Darren Chester who is a National, for me to buy a puppy, which I’ve done.

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