Browsing articles in "Interview Transcripts"
Jul 20, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Tom Connell, SKY News – Friday, 20 July 2018

Subjects: ACTU, ALP National Conference, asylum seekers, multiculturalism, AFL.

TOM CONNELL: Joining me for more on this is Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, here in the studio. Thanks for your time.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Morning Tom.

CONNELL: Interesting front page today on union – on this union push, what did you make of it?

ALBANESE: They’ve maintained the same position that they had at the last ACTU Congress and I expect the ALP Conference will maintain the same position that we had at the last ALP Conference so – much ado about nothing.

CONNELL: They’ve maintained their position but you haven’t?

ALBANESE: Yes we have. We’ve had our policy in place since 2015.

CONNELL: You had some quite strong comments to make recently though, about you know conceding that Coalition policies work. And obviously Labor’s had this policy for a while. I guess the next question is though …

ALBANESE: Well we set up, Tom, in 2013 Labor acknowledged that our policy had issues, wasn’t working. And we tried to, indeed before then – you might recall, with the legislation about Malaysia and the agreement that we’d signed there …

CONNELL: I do recall that, a very long debate in Parliament …

ALBANESE: That the Liberals and the Greens voted against. So the fact is, Labor did change our policy when we were in government, to try to stop the boats coming. The Liberals combined with the Greens to oppose that legislation. We then were able to change policy in 2013. We then, in 2015, had our National Conference.

CONNELL: And at National Conference you were opposed to the boat turnback policy. What are you going to do at the next National Conference, will you support the policy?

ALBANESE: I’ll support the policy that’s gone forward. The fact is you can be tough on people smugglers without being weak on humanity. And what people have seen is that on Manus and Nauru people have been there now for more than five years. That is far too long. These people need certainty. We’ve seen 12 people lose their life on Manus and Nauru. Now Australia has an obligation to these people, to have a duty of care if you like. The fact is, that five years is far too long the Government should have settled these people who’ve been found to be refugees in third countries and they’ve been far too slow at it.

CONNELL: Just on this though, the National Conference – you will no longer vote against the boat turnback party policy?

ALBANESE: There is no proposition at the moment before National Conference.

CONNELL: Well, It sounds like there will be with the unions …

ALBANESE: We’ll see what the unions actually do at National Conference. What happened last time …

CONNELL: You previously voted against the boat turnback policy …

ALBANESE: That’s true …

CONNELL: Will you do that this time?

ALBANESE: I did in 2015. I don’t expect that there’ll be a debate.

CONNELL: What if there is?

ALBANESE: I don’t expect that there will be …

CONNELL: Okay, but this is something that you voted against last time …

ALBANESE: I’m not dealing in hypotheticals. I support the existing policy as determined at the 2015 Conference. The fact is that the boat arrivals have stopped. The weakness in the Government’s position is that they haven’t provided permanent settlement in third countries, for those people who’ve been on Manus and Nauru for too long. So what the policy in 2015 was, to be very clear, was very different from the Government’s approach. It went to a doubling of the intake, it went to finding regional settlement so that people don’t have to get on boats. So that there is some hope of them being settled from the countries in which they have made their way to, without getting on boats. So we’ve provided for an increased funding of the UNHCR, regional processing, an increase in the intake in terms of asylum seekers, an end to temporary protection visas – there’s a whole framework adopted at the National Conference

CONNELL: I understand that obviously – the Government has since increased its own intake since the time of the Abbott Government. They’re working on a solution with the US. You say let’s go with New Zealand and I understand that …

ALBANESE: They are taking a long time.

CONNELL: Sure and that’s been a long held criticism and a lot of people would agree with you. But can I just clarify that position for you. Are you leaving open that you could vote against boat turn backs again at National Conference?

ALBANESE: No and there’s no proposition. There’s no proposition for that, and let me tell you Tom …

CONNELL: But there was last time and you voted against it.

ALBANESE: That’s right and that’s a fact. And I don’t expect that it will come up again. I think there is support for the policy. I think there is support for the existing platform. I support the existing platform. I can’t be more consistent than that, Tom.

CONNELL: But this is what happens, is that you have a big policy debate and this is the point of the National Conference everyone can really say what they want …

ALBANESE: And it gets resolved. I didn’t actually speak at the National Conference. Another thing that’s been written about – my speech at National Conference, I didn’t speak …

CONNELL: You stuck your hand up…

ALBANESE: … at all. Of course I did, I stuck my hand up with the Left as I have at every National Conference in which I have been a delegate. But one of the things that happened, Tom, is that some of those union delegates who voted one way at the ACTU Congress before the last National Conference, voted a different way – when they got to the ALP National Conference. So I don’t expect that – this is not a subject of major debate at the moment in the lead up to the ALP National Conference.

CONNELL: I did want to get on to the Australian values test that’s being spoken about today or was spoken about by Alan Tudge overnight. Is this a fair enough approach to continue our success story – that Malcolm Turnbull in particular likes to talk about?

ALBANESE: I find it pretty extraordinary that it would appear that Alan Tudge has gone overseas and talked Australia down, said that there are a whole range of problems with Australia. Normally what happens when Ministers and Shadow Ministers travel overseas, is that they talk Australia up. And one of the things we should talk about is the success of our multiculturalism, is the fact that we can be a bit of a microcosm for the world, when we see so much conflict, in the world. Here in Australia, we have people living side by side of different races, religions – different backgrounds and they’re living overwhelmingly in harmony.

CONNELL: Okay, so I understand your position on that and he should have talked Australia up. We’re nearly out of time, but just what about that Australian values test he’s talking about, does it have any merit?

ALBANESE: We have Australian values. We had a week ago …

CONNELL: Talking about a test for it.

ALBANESE: What’s the test?

CONNELL: I don’t know.

ALBANESE: I tell you what – well you’re asking me to comment on something that you don’t even know what the question is, with respect.

CONNELL: Well is there an idea that you could put in place – we’ve got the English language test – that there’s some sort of test where you ask people, I mean it might be, for example, the things that were mentioned – female genital mutilation, Sharia Law, women …

ALBANESE: We’re obviously against that, and we’re against …

CONNELL: But a test to just make sure people know what we stand for in Australia, as an example.

ALBANESE: We’ll wait and see what is proposed, but of course we support Australian values. Everyone supports Australian values. Every member of this parliament, no one would object to that.

But I’ll tell you what Australian values were on display a week ago: Aliir Aliir and Majak Daw marking each other in an Australian Rules contest. Two African recent – relatively recent arrivals, engaged in our unique Indigenous sport of Australian Rules Football. You know, the fact is that within a very short period of time people do settle. People do share those Australian values and we see it on display. Walk into any primary school in the country and what you’ll see is little kids of different background who don’t see colour, who don’t see religion, they just see other little kids.

CONNELL: You’re speaking to my heart now because it was a cracking game and unfortunately my mob are the Brisbane Lions, beat Hawthorn. But we’ll talk about that next time maybe, Anthony Albanese.

ALBANESE: Good on you.

Jul 20, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 20 July 2018

Subjects: Multiculturalism, asylum seekers, Emma Husar, Melbourne.

BEN FORDHAM: There’s a new push to have all migrants heading to Australia assessed for values and beliefs before they are granted permanent residency. The Government says there aren’t the same expectations on arrivals under the humanitarian scheme as under the migrant intake. For more we are joined by Christopher Pyne, from the Liberal Party, and Anthony Albanese, from the Labor Party. Good morning to you both.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Ben. Good morning Anthony.

FORDHAM: Christopher, do we need tougher measures?

PYNE: Well we need to make sure that the people coming to Australia are integrated well into our community. Obviously we have the most successful multi-cultural country in the world and that is a tremendous achievement of our nation, particularly since the Second World War. But we want people to understand that we support the rule of law, that we encourage equality between the sexes, we respect people’s choices, support democracy. They are the kinds of values that we want to make sure that all of our new migrants also adhere to and I think that’s fair enough.

FORDHAM: Albo, do you support this kind of thing or not?

ALBANESE: I think it is pretty odd that an Australian Government Minister goes to the UK and talks our country down. I have always talked our country up. That is what ministers and shadow minsters do and the fact is we have an incredibly successful multi-cultural nation as Christopher has said. You only have to look towards just a week ago there Majak Daw and Aliir Aliir marking each other for North Melbourne and the Swans respectively in an Australian Rules football game. First generation African migrants. And what we have in Australia, I think, is a bit of a microcosm for what the world should be – people from different religions, races and backgrounds living together in overwhelmingly in harmony.

FORDHAM: Hear, hear! Powerful union bosses have declared a list of demands for the Labor Party including an end to offshore detention and turning back the boats. Now Albo, you have recently had a change of heart on this issue.

ALBANESE: No, not at all. We actually had a national conference in 2015 that set our policy down. But I will tell you what, you can be strong on border security without giving up our national soul and the fact is there is concern out there in the community because people have been on Nauru and Manus for five years. That’s too long.

FORDHAM: Did I miss something Albo? Didn’t you toughen up your own personal position on the issue of turnbacks and also offshore detention?

ALBANESE: I said what I have said a number of times Ben, which is to acknowledge that what we did in government didn’t work, that there were issues, which was why we changed our policy towards the end of our period in government. And I have said on a number of occasions we need to be tough on people smugglers without being weak on humanity and the fact is the Government needs to find settlement and certainty for those people who have been in Manus and Nauru for too long.

PYNE: As usual Ben, the union movement have let people know that Labor will be soft on border protection if they get elected. They will turn back the policy that has stopped the people smugglers. We have always known that with Labor. That’s what happened last time they were in office. The Howard Government stopped the boats. The Rudd Government restarted them. The Abbott Government stopped the boats again. And if Labor is re-elected again the unions have made it very clear they will demand that the people smugglers are put back in business.

FORDHAM: I know he is saying he hasn’t changed his position, Christopher. Is that true? Has Albo not changed his position, or has he toughed up his personal position recently?

PYNE: Well Labor would have us believe, including Anthony, that they have the same policy as the Government on border protection. They don’t. They have people in their ranks like Ged Kearney and others who want to start the people smuggling contests again by weakening our border protection and the unions have just confirmed that and unfortunately Bill Shorten is a cat’s paw of the union movement.

ALBANESE: Christopher, you know full well that Labor changed our policy in 2013.

PYNE: But nobody believes you.

ALBANESE: We re-introduced offshore detention but what we think is, and you know in your heart Christopher, that five years is too long. We determined that policy at our national conference in 2015.

PYNE: And you spoke against it. Remember? You spoke against it.

ALBANESE: I didn’t speak at all in the debate. I did not speak in that debate at the national conference in 2015.

PYNE: You said that you wouldn’t be able to turn back the boats.

ALBANESE: We determined our policy then. You can be strong on border protection without giving up our national soul.

FORDHAM: Let me jump in, the Labor Party has launched an investigation into rising star Emma Husar over allegations about her staff. Her staff have accused her Albo of bullying, intimidation and verbal abuse. Is Emma a bully Albo?

ALBANESE: What I know about Emma Husar is that she is a single mum, works incredibly heard, represents her electorate very strongly. I find her a terrific person to deal with. I hadn’t met her frankly before she ran for Lindsay, but I find her a very good member of Parliament.

FORDHAM: Have you come across Emma Christopher? Do you share Albo’s assessment on Emma?

PYNE: Well I don’t really know Emma Husar. She is a new member. But if there is an investigation that the Labor Party is conducting into her workplace practices, the investigation should be allowed to see its course and then I assume that they will make an assessment. I am not obviously privy to what these complaints are and I think you’d be unwise to comment on them unless you have all the facts.

FORDHAM: What a pleasure to see both of you this morning, Hopefully next time you can be face to face.

ALBANESE: Maybe we can have dinner in Melbourne.

PYNE: That would be great, especially if Ben is paying.

FORDHAM: Thank you Christopher Pyne and thank you Albo – a bit of a nod to another discussion point this week where the Prime Minister suggested that maybe not everyone feels safe going out in Melbourne because of African gangs. Anyway we will leave that for another day.

Jul 19, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – Two Tribes, FIVEaa Adelaide – Thursday, 19 July 2018

Subjects: Trump-Putin summit, MH17, Craig Kelly, Newspoll.

HOST: It’s a very special Two Tribes – Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese joining us. Good morning to you.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

HOST: Good to have you back guys. We missed you both over the last couple of weeks. Now we are going to kick off with a question for both of you. Can we get your thoughts on the Trump-Putin Summit and also the comments made by the Liberal MP Craig Kelly that Australia should somehow forget about or move on from the MH17 atrocity in which 38 of our people were killed? Chris Pyne first.

PYNE: Well thank you. Well the Australian Government has a very clear view about the shooting down of the MH17. The evidence is overwhelming that it was shot down by a Russian missile fired by a Russian battery that had been given to Russian separatists in The Ukraine by the Russian Government and those responsible for the heinous action, that criminal act, need to be brought to trial and the Australian Government and the Netherlands Government for that matter, who led the investigation, are quite prepared to open negotiations with Russians about bringing those people to trial. There’s no doubt about that. President Putin has never repudiated the actions of those people and dissociated himself from them. Instead he has tried to blame the Ukrainian Government, which is bizarre, and the Australian Government has a very clear view about that and we aren’t changing our view.

In terms of President Trump and President Putin’s summit in Helsinki, the American Government has to make its own decisions about how it handles Russia and I am not going to criticise the Americans for the choices that they make. But there is no doubt that Russia meddled in the United States elections – whether they had an influence over them is another thing altogether – and seek to meddle in other elections around the world, most recently in France, and are responsible for the agent that that hurt the Skripals in London. So as governments go, the Russian Government is not exactly a supporter of the international rules-based order, nor is it a perfect global citizen, unlike countries like Australia and other countries that we associate with and we intend to continue to make those remarks to the Russians at every opportunity as we do though our Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister.

HOST: What did you make of it all Albo?

ALBANESE: Well I think that there is no doubt that President Putin is an authoritarian who has no respect for the norms of international order and I agree totally with what Christopher said about the tragedy of the MH17 in which 38 Australians lost their lives as part of that devastating act done without doubt with a Russian missile fired, as Christopher said, from a Russian launcher that was given to Russian separatists. So there is no doubt that Russia is complicit in this incident and the fact that that has been ignored. When Donald Trump looks back and when historians look back at the Helsinki Summit, I don’t think it will be a high point in foreign relations for the United States.

The United States historically since the Second World War has played a critical role in international relations. They are our most important ally but it is important to remember our alliance is with them and not with Donald Trump. It’s a nation-to-nation relationship that is stronger than the relationships between any individuals and that will endure. Mr Trump should have raised this issue with Mr Putin.

When it comes to Craig Kelly, I mean I just think this bloke is a bonehead. He is a bonehead who has caused enormous damage. The fact is that he was responding to a message from Anthony Maslin who is a father from Western Australia whose three children were killed as well as his partner on the MH17 and it is frankly beyond belief that in response to that he basically says: Oh well, it won’t make any difference if we condemn the MH17, we’ve got to overlook it. Well, for goodness sake. His apology today was pathetic. He is being challenged within the Liberal Party and I wish the people in the Liberal Party who are challenging his pre-selection well, because it would be a good thing for the Parliament if he was removed.

HOST: Chris Pyne, did you think that Craig Kelly’s apology was good enough his morning?

PYNE: Well he has apologised and he was right to do so. His views expressed on Sky Television yesterday are not the views of the Australian Government. I don’t know why he said the things that he said on Sky TV and I am glad that he has apologised. It was exactly what he should have done. Obviously, all of us, especially those of us who have children of our own, are completely shattered by what happened to the Maslin family. It is something that they will never get over and the Australian Government’s view is very clear about this. We have got to hold the people to account who were responsible for supplying the missiles and battery and then removing it from The Ukraine to try and cover their crime and the Putin Administration bears responsibility for bringing those people to trial or not as the case may be and so far they have shown no intention of doing so.

HOST: Albo, Let’s talk Newspoll for a moment. Can you win the election with a leader who is 19 points less popular than the Prime Minister?

ALBANESE: Well Newspoll shows that we would win the election if it had of been held last weekend as we would have on any of the previous I think it is up to 37 Newspolls in a row. What happens is that governments are formed on the basis of votes for the party and the fact is that we were ahead yet again in this Newspoll.

HOST: So you have no concerns about this being the widest gap for two years?

ALBANESE: Well what is important is the two-party-preferred vote and not other issues that come up that Newspoll has a look at.

HOST: It’s part of the Newspoll that you never bother looking at? You’re not interested in it?

ALBANESE: Of course people look at Newspoll. Any politician who says that they don’t isn’t telling the truth. But the fact is that it shows that we would have won the election if it was held last weekend, as we would have on any of the previous 37 fortnights.

HOST: That‘s even despite having the lead in your saddlebags that is Bill Shorten as Leader?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that from time to time opposition leaders have to be out there raising issues against the Government and putting the case rather strongly. And of course Bill Shorten has also had a whole section of the media being critical of him. But the fact is that he leads a team that is ahead in Newspoll yet again.

PYNE: Well Bill Shorten is about as popular as Voldemort at the Hogwarts Christmas Party and the reason is of course is that nobody trusts him and nobody can afford him and whether Bill Shorten is the leader or not, people still can’t afford Labor. They want to go to the next election with $270 billion worth of new taxes. The Australian public aren’t stupid. They are looking around, they work out that those taxes have got to come from somewhere. They are going to come from them. They are going to come from the Australian people and Australian businesses and retirees. Bill Shorten and his Labor team are hitting everyone and Anthony is part of that team.

HOST: The interpretation of Newspoll that so excites you though Christopher – if you reverse it, it says that everyone likes Malcolm Turnbull, they just don’t like the rest of you.

PYNE: Well 51-49 in the Newspoll is neither here nor there quite frankly. I have been to elections when John Howard was Prime Minister – who everyone now lauds as one of our greater prime ministers – when he was behind in the Newspoll when the elections were called. I remember when Mark Latham was the Leader of the Labor Party we were 58-42 behind in the Newspoll – 58-42 six months out from the election and went on to win it handsomely. The polls aren’t that important in terms of what happens before the election, but the thing about the leadership poll is that Bill is really hideously far behind Malcolm Turnbull whereas for the party polling it’s basically 50-50.

ALBANESE: I will tell you what he is ahead of – and that is not giving $17 billion to the big banks. That is something that the Government stubbornly continues to pursue, these tax cuts for the big corporations that we simply can’t afford if we are going to deliver on education and health and infrastructure.

HOST: All right guys, we are going to have to cut you off there. Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese – always a good, rollicking stink. Thanks for joining us and we will do it all again next week.

Jul 18, 2018

Speech to the Inland Rail Conference – Getting Inland Rail Right – Parkes – Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Let me start by congratulating the Australasian Railway Association and the Australian Logistics Council for staging this important conference.

With day-to-day politics dominating the media, it’s always a good idea to take time out for serious consideration of policy issues that bear upon the national interest.

When we are talking about construction of a 1700km freight rail line servicing some of our nation’s most-important agricultural precincts, the national interest looms large.

Inland Rail will become one of the nation’s most important pieces of infrastructure.

It will still be in use a century from now.

That means we need to get it right.

That’s why as the Federal Minister I commissioned the comprehensive study into the project. The Labor Government subsequently invested $600 million in upgrading the existing tracks that will form part of the route and allocated a further $300 million in the 2013 Budget to progress the project.

Today I reconfirm Labor’s support for this classic nation building project.

It’s the sort of infrastructure that will drive development by improving access to reliable freight transport, particularly for primary producers.

Quicker passage of goods to port reduces costs, which will make our producers more competitive and give them greater resources to invest in increased production.

The productivity gains will fuel job creation and economic growth in communities that are crying out for economic stimulus.

Nowhere is this more the case than right here in Parkes, which is set to become Australia’s most important inland logistics hub, given that it is where the East-West route will meet Inland Rail.

However, as is the case with all major infrastructure projects, it’s important to get the details right.

Governments like to make big announcements.

But what is more important is ensuring the projects that they announce are viable, properly financed and subject to achievable deadlines.

That’s where Labor has some issues with Inland Rail.

For a start, the project is behind schedule.

According to a Coalition media statement from 28 August, 2013, construction of Inland Rail was meant to commence within three years: by the middle of 2016.

Two years on from the expiry of that deadline, the final route alignment has still not been finalised and environmental approvals have not been sought, let alone given.

We also have no details of the public-private partnership that will deliver the most challenging part of the project – the section through the Great Dividing Range in South East Queensland.

There is also the fact that the project does not go to the Port of Brisbane.

It stops 38km away, at Acacia Ridge.

It was only in this year’s Budget that the Commonwealth turned its attention to this problem by jointly funding a $1.5 million study with the Queensland Government.

That was a good decision, if somewhat late in the process.

Of course, it also doesn’t go to the Port of Melbourne.

Just because it’s called Inland Rail, that shouldn’t be taken so literally that it doesn’t go to a port.

Other issues about the route, including the section between Narromine and Narrabri, must also be resolved to ensure it maximises the benefit of the project, while minimising any negative impact on the communities which will be affected.

FINANCING

Most worryingly, doubt remains about the Government’s plan to finance Inland Rail via an $8.4 billion off-budget equity investment into the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

The problem here is that for a project to be financed off-budget, it must be able to make a return to the Budget.

That is, a commercial rate of return on capital investment as well as on operating and maintenance expenses.

But, as was clear from the 2015 implementation study into the project, conducted by former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, Inland Rail’s revenues will not cover its capital cost over 50 years of operation.

It is clear from Senate Estimates that the Government is considering ARTC’s overall revenue, including the profitable Hunter Valley Coal Network, rather than this project itself, to avoid any investment contributing to the Budget bottom line.

Of course, it is also the case that the long-term lease arrangements between the ARTC and both the Victorian and NSW Governments have not been finalised, which is essential for Inland Rail to have the certainty the project needs.

I’m not the only one to have made these observations about uncertainty over financing.

Yet the Government has been reluctant to even discuss the issue.

That uncertainty must be resolved.

We need greater transparency over planning and an honest conversation about the project and how much grant funding the Government expects will be required to make it a reality.

We all know that Inland Rail isn’t going to build itself.

It’s important that all of us – elected representatives, industry and, most importantly, the community – are fully informed upfront about the real financing profile.

RAIL RENAISSANCE

Of course there is nothing new about rail being seen as a driver of economic development.

This has been a critical element in industrialisation and modern history.

From bridging the Australian continent, opening up the American West and, more recently, driving economic development of our Asian neighbours, rail has been history’s greatest facilitator of progress.

In the 21st century, even though it has more competitors in the transport sphere, rail keeps rolling on.

Indeed, it is having something of a renaissance.

Across the globe, urban rail and high speed rail are being rolled out as nations and cities modernise their transport systems to bring them up to task for the 21st century.

Here in Australia, states are investing in projects like the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail and Perth’s METRONET and planning is under way for Western Sydney Rail and the Melbourne Airport Rail Project.

When you add Inland Rail and High Speed Rail to the equation, it is clear that this nation is going to invest many billions of dollars on rail in coming decades.

To serve the national interest, we must maximise the involvement of Australian industry in these projects.

In coming years we will lay thousands of kilometres of track and will require vast amounts of rolling stock.

That’s a huge challenge.

But if we are smart, we will turn the challenge into an opportunity by planning now to give Australian companies a piece of the action.

We should be using Australian standard steel.

And rather than buying the new rolling stock offshore, we should build it here.

If we approach this challenge properly, we can use the coming revolution in rail to re-energise Australian manufacturing.

We can train thousands of young Australians so they have skills fit for the 21st century, not just in rail, but across a range of advanced manufacturing applications.

That’s why a Labor Government will implement a National Rail Plan.

Our plan includes establishment of an Office of National Rail Industry Co-ordination to undertake a national audit of the adequacy, capacity and condition of passenger trains nationally.

The Office will work with states to develop train priority plans, including a proposed delivery schedule for the next 10 years to iron out peaks and troughs in procurement.

Labor will also reinstate the Rail Supplier Advocate, abolished in 2013, to help small and medium-sized businesses get their foot in the door for government contracts.

LABOR’S RECORD

Labor’s National Rail Plan builds our long-standing support for rail and its place in driving productivity and economic growth.

The former Labor Government rebuilt 4000km of the interstate freight rail network.

We began the process of separating freight and passenger lines in Sydney and Adelaide and put in place the arrangements for development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal.

On public transport, we invested more in urban rail than all other Commonwealth governments combined since Federation.

The biggest public transport investment from any Federal Government was our contribution to Victoria’s Regional Rail Link which untangled suburban and regional passenger rail lines in Melbourne, to the benefit of Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong.

CONCLUSION

Once again, thanks for inviting me to this conference. I have come to Parkes today to recommit Labor’s support for Inland Rail. I do so with because I believe in its potential to serve the public interest for decades to come. I hope that future generations will look back at decision makers of our time and thank us for our vision.

However, for their sake, it’s this simple: We must get this project right.

 

Jul 18, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Mango Hill, Queensland – Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Subjects: Mango Hill park and ride, PFAS

CORINNE MULHOLLAND: Welcome here to the Mango Hill train station. We’re standing in one of the fastest growing communities in Australia. We know that the Australian Bureau of Statistics told us that North Lakes and Mango Hill are growing communities full of local families, commuters who want to get around, get to work or simply get their kids to school. I’ve been working really closely with our fantastic state members, Steven Miles and Chris Whiting. I’ve been working really closely with them to see this project come to fruition and I’m so glad to welcome Anthony Albanese here today to make a really special announcement.

I’ve been out over the weekend and the last couple of weeks talking to people who live here in Mango Hill and North Lakes and they’ve told me that they would love to utilise this train station, even more than they do, but they simply can’t find a park. And I don’t know about your experience today, but I certainly had a bit of car park rage trying to find a car park, so this will certainly be put to great use and I’m so glad to be part of a Federal Labor team who’s delivering for the people here in North Lakes and Mango Hill.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well thanks very much Corinne, and it is fantastic to be here at Mango Hill Station, a station that is of course a part of the new Redcliffe Rail Line. I came here as an Infrastructure Minister in government, partnering with the then Bligh Labor Government and Moreton Bay Regional Council to support the Redcliffe Rail Line – First promised in 1895, but delivered by the cooperation between Federal and State Labor Governments and the local Council. It was a part of our commitment to public transport, a commitment that saw us when we were last in office invest more in public transport projects than all previous governments combined since Federation. And of course here the Redcliffe Rail Line, further south, the other side of Brisbane, of course the Gold Coast Light Rail and here we want to partner with the Queensland Labor Government on the Cross River Rail project. That will of course increase the capacity of the rail network throughout South East Queensland. But of course we also have to consider the infrastructure around rail stations and Corinne and the State Members Chris and Stephen have campaigned very strongly to make sure that there is an increase in the commuter car parking here at Mango Hill Station.

We can see this morning that the car park here is already well over 100 per cent capacity and that’s why Federal Labor will contribute $4 million for the car park here at Mango Hill. We want to partner with state and local governments around the country to increase the number of Park and Ride facilities. We know that this has been identified by people in outer suburbs as being a real impediment to catching public transport and here this station is already over capacity. That’s why the $4 million commitment from Federal Labor will enable an increase in car parking here at the rail station to be brought forward in partnership with the Queensland Government.

It’s an important commitment. It’s a part of our $300 million national Park and Ride facility that was announced by Bill Shorten, the Labor leader, at the NSW ALP conference just a few weeks ago. We’ve identified, as we’ve gone around the country, this as one of the issues that people raise with Labor members and Labor candidates about what they want the Federal Government to be engaged with. It’s only Federal Labor that actually invests in public transport facilities.

Malcolm Turnbull quite likes taking selfies on trains and trams, he just won’t fund them. And he won’t fund the Cross River Rail project. He was happy to come to the Redcliffe rail station opening when it occurred, but he wasn’t happy to put in a single dollar to either that project or to the Cross River Rail project. That’s why it’s only Federal Labor that will deliver on public transport. We want people like Corinne to be elected, to be part of the Labor team, so we can continue to build on the legacy Labor has when it comes to public transport.

STEPHEN MILES: Well this is great news for Mango Hill locals. My family and I live not far from here and this is our train station. Fortunately we don’t need to drive; we can just walk down but as you can see many people do drive to here. Not just from throughout Mango Hill but also neighbouring North Lakes. The car park here is well over capacity and this investment if Labor is elected will allow us to increase the car parking here at Mango Hill.

It’s an excellent example of why our region needs a Labor Government, needs Corinne Mulholland to be our new representative. She will deliver for Mango Hill and for the electorate of Petrie where her opponent, Luke Howarth, has delivered nothing even though he is a member of the Government.

WHITING: Well we have a great lifestyle here in North Lakes and Mango Hill and with this $4 million investment in the car park, and Cross River Rail, this is going to be an even better place to live and once again, it’s only Labor that people can rely on here to deliver the infrastructure we need.

ALBANESE: Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: What are you actually going to do to improve the carpark? Increase the numbers, or simply seal it (inaudible)?

ALBANESE: We’ll work with the Queensland Government on the details of the proposal. Quite clearly there’s an unsealed area just to the right of us here today that could be used, but there’s a range of land around this station. It has been identified, when we’ve had discussions with Mark Bailey, the Minister in the Queensland Government, it’s been identified as the number one priority because it can be brought forward with this investment. So we’ll be working on that between now and the Federal Election. Corinne has campaigned very strongly for this and this is a great day for the people of Mango Hill and the people of North Lakes. It builds on our commitment.

JOURNALIST: I do have a question for the Health Minister which is separate to this, if you are happy to take questions. It’s just in relation to a PFAS story; what’s your reaction to the news that contamination could be more widespread than first originally reported?

MILES: Understandably there is a very high level of community concern about these pollutants. Queensland remains the only state that has banned their use. We have called upon the Commonwealth to ban their use federally. They continue to use them at sites that they regulate and that’s unfortunate. I’ve seen the reports today, I’ll seek advice from the Chief Health Officer to determine whether any further steps are needed from Queensland Health’s perspective.

JOURNALIST: Do you think there needs to be a national investigation given the potential risks?

MILES: Well I’ve said consistently, both during my time as Environment Minister and now as Health Minister that the Federal Government needs to do more to address these community concerns. They’ve failed frankly in managing the sites that they’re responsible for, defence sites and aviation sites primarily. They should do more, they should support Queensland’s ban, they should be more proactive in advising (inaudible).

 

Jul 17, 2018

Speech to the M1 Forum – Confronting the Challenge of Growth in South East Queensland – Loganholme – Tuesday, 17 July 2018

I’d like to acknowledge Labor’s terrific candidate for Forde, Des Hardman, for organising today’s forum and for his tireless advocacy for action on infrastructure for this region.

Good government is about planning and building for the future.

Indeed, central to keeping South East Queensland moving must be a commitment to delivering modern, well planned infrastructure.

In that respect there is no more important piece of road infrastructure than the
Pacific Motorway.

The Pacific Motorway – the M1 – connects Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, to the State’s second-biggest and one of its fastest-growing cities, the Gold Coast, and onward to northern NSW.

Each day 155,000 vehicles use the M1.

That makes it the busiest road in Queensland and one of the busiest in the country.

The M1 is also a vital section of Australia’s east coast freight and logistics network.

It is used by heavy vehicles needing to access the Acacia Ridge Intermodal, Port of Brisbane, Brisbane’s CBD and Brisbane Airport.

The road is set to become an even more important freight route, with heavy vehicle traffic expected to increase annually by between 3 and 4 per cent, compared to growth of between 1 and 2 per cent in overall traffic volumes.

And it is a key gateway to the Gold Coast for international and domestic tourists.

FEDERAL LABOR’S RECORD

Because of all of these reasons, the former Federal Labor Government had a clear vision: an M1 which supported, rather than hindered, Queensland’s economic development.

We backed that vision with real money for real projects that have made a real difference.

All up, we invested $455 million on the road, matched dollar-for-dollar by the then Bligh Labor Government.

As part of this unprecedented capital works program, we:

  • Widened from four to six lanes the section between Worongary and Mudgeeraba, as well as the section between Nerang South and Worongary;
  • Rebuilt the Coomera, Nerang South, Mudgeeraba, Robina and Varsity Lake interchanges; and
  • Upgraded the Springwood South to Daisy Hill section.

Collectively, these upgrades to the M1 eliminated choke-points, eased congestion, improved safety, and ultimately, helped to keep people and freight moving.

This investment was part of the $6.3 billion the former Federal Labor Government committed to major infrastructure projects across the South East corner.

That was more than what the Howard Government spent across the entire state of Queensland over a similar period of time.

Labor’s other transformative projects included:

  • A $2.5 billion investment in the Ipswich Motorway between Dinmore and Darra, an upgrade that remains South East Queensland’s largest-ever Federally-funded road project;
  • A $195 million investment in the Bruce Highway between Caboolture and Caloundra;
  • Construction of the Redcliffe Peninsula Link, a rail line first mooted more than a century ago in 1895;
  • Gold Coast Rapid Transit: A 13km light rail network connecting Griffith University to Broadbeach. Delivery of the $365 million investment was the most significant Commonwealth investment ever in light rail;
  • Construction of a new interchange at the intersection between Mains and Kessels Roads in Macgregor; and
  • The $1.5 billion Legacy Way: A 4.6 km tunnel connecting the Western Freeway at Toowong with the Inner City Bypass at Kelvin Grove.

All up, we more than doubled annual Federal investment from $143 to $314 per Queenslander.

COALITION RECORD

Despite all their talk, it took the Liberals in Canberra more than an entire
term in government to commit anything meaningful to the M1.

We’ve had five wasted years, during which the pressure on this vital section of the National Land Transport Network has being growing and congestion has been worsening.

Despite all the hype that surrounded this year’s Federal Budget, the Budget Papers’ fine print revealed that only 10 per cent of the funding allocated to new Queensland projects will be available before 2022-23.

Simply put, Queenslanders hoping for the extra rail and road funding promised in the days leading up to the 2018 Budget will have to re-elect the Coalition not once, but twice more before the bulk of the money flows.

This is simply absurd. It’s investment on the Never-Never.

The situation with respect to the proposed M1 upgrades is not very positive either.

Of the $1 billion committed to widening the Motorway between Varsity Lakes and Tugun and between Eight Miles Plains and Daisy Hills, just 1 per cent will be available in the current financial year to advance those projects.

Eighty-five percent of the funding won’t be available until after the four-year Forward Estimates.

Again, if you are a motorist or a truck driver, you will have to wait for years before the Turnbull Government delivers the faster, safer, less frustrating driving conditions you require and deserve now.

A LABOR GOVERNMENT

Over the next few decades the population of South East Queensland is projected to increase by 2.2 million people.

Indeed, by the early 2030s, 5.5 million people – or almost one in six Australians – will be calling this part of our country home.

Managing that growth will not be easy.

But the business-as-usual approach of the Government is not an option.

Infrastructure Australia is forecasting that without action now, the cost of this traffic congestion within the region will increase  to $9.2 billion a year by 2031.

A significant proportion of that blowout will be the result of the increasing capacity constraints along key sections of the M1.

While it is of course the responsibility of the State Government to take the lead when it comes to identifying Queensland’s long-term infrastructure needs, it’s also the case that modernising the State’s infrastructure – including the M1 – is ultimately a task too big for it alone to achieve.

It will require a partnership between the State and the private sector.

And it will require a national government that’s prepared to play its part in the national interest.

That’s precisely what Federal Labor is offering.

We will work with the Queensland Government to fast track, as much as possible, the proposed M1 upgrades – Varsity Lakes to Tugun; Eight Miles Plains to Daisy Hills – and begin the necessary planning work on future upgrades.

As well as helping to tackle congestion, there is also an important safety dimension to these upgrades.

Each year there are 12,000 road accidents reported on the Motorway.

But as well as upgrading the M1, Federal Labor also understands that if we are to build productive, sustainable and liveable cities where communities can grow and prosper, governments need to invest in both their road and rail infrastructure.

That’s why the next Federal Labor Government will back Cross River Rail.

We will invest $2.24 billion of Federal funding to deliver the project in partnership with the Queensland Government.

This transformative project will unlock South East Queensland’s urban rail network and deliver more trains, more often for commuters, including to and from the Gold Coast.

This in turn will take pressure of the region’s major arterial roads, including the M1.

CONCLUSION

Let me finish by paying tribute to the Deputy Premier.

In her first Budget as Treasurer Jackie proved once again that when it comes to infrastructure, you can always rely on Labor to deliver.

We are the party of nation building. The others talk, we build.

Only Labor – both Federal and State – has a plan to keep South East Queensland moving.

It’s a plan that recognises that the difficult task of renewing and expanding this region’s transport infrastructure requires a genuine partnership between governments.

The long-term national interest demands nothing less.

 

 

Jul 13, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 13 July 2018

Subjects: Asylum seekers; energy policy.

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, has this morning announced that immigration numbers are the lowest they have been since 2008. There has been a drop, in fact, of 20,000 in the past 12 months.

Joining me now we have Christopher Pyne from Adelaide and Anthony Albanese is right here. Good morning to you both.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

JEFFREYS: Anthony, I’ll start with you. You toughened your own stance on borders this week. What motivated that?

ALBANESE: Nothing at all, it’s the ALP policy. That’s been our policy since our National Conference in 2015. It’s as simple as that.

JEFFREYS: Well, you went ahead and said that Labor got it wrong in the past, Malcolm Turnbull has got it right?

ALBANESE: No, I didn’t say that. I said that in terms of the boat arrivals that occurred under us in government, we made mistakes. I’ve said that many times. So has Bill Shorten, so has Labor – acknowledged that.

JEFFREYS: You also went on to say that Malcolm Turnbull has stopped the boats and that there is truth in that, and that’s a good thing.

ALBANESE: The fact is, that we are not having boat arrivals coming to Australia now. That’s a simple statement of fact. What people want from their politicians is less partisanship, what they want is to acknowledge facts. I also was very critical though, of the ongoing detention of people on Manus and Nauru who aren’t being given any hope. We have seen suicides, we’ve seen a range of mental health conditions being identified and the Government has got that element of the policy wrong. And they need to find permanent settlement in third countries for those people.

JEFFREYS: So these figures out this morning, a drop of 20,000 in the past 12 months, is that a good result?

ALBANESE: Of course it’s a good result, if there is more integrity in the system. This is, bear in mind, a drop of 20,000 on the Government’s own figures last year. They have been in government for five years. If they have toughened up the system which they themselves were in charge of, to ensure more integrity in the system, then of course that’s a good thing.

JEFFREYS: The numbers peaked under Labor with 190,000. Going forward, and if Labor wins Government at the next election, are you personally in favour of boat turn backs?

ALBANESE: The fact is that’s a policy that’s been put in place. That’s a policy that’s in the Labor platform. I support the Labor platform. What we have on our side of politics is a process leading up to National Conference, where we determine our policies and then we go forward.

JEFFREYS: Okay, let’s move on to energy, that’s been the other big story around this week. The ACCC of course released a scathing review of our national energy market, along with a suite of recommendations to bring down prices for customers.

Christopher, will the Government subsidise the construction of new coal-fired power plants?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: The ACCC didn’t suggest the subsidy of a coal-fired power station.

What it said was that the National Energy Guarantee, which is the Government’s policy, is the best chance we have to have affordable energy, reliable energy and fulfil our responsibilities under the Paris Agreement to reduce our carbon emissions.

The ACCC basically endorsed exactly what the Government is trying to do – not being ideological, being technologically agnostic, supporting all forms of energy production that produces despatchable power at lower prices. Not being ideological about picking one over the other. That’s what the ACCC has recommended and that’s exactly what the Government is doing. And can I say on the borders, the truth is that you can trust the Coalition on border protection and on immigration. What was proven in the past is you can’t trust Labor on borders and you still won’t be able to in the future.

JEFFREYS: Back to power, Malcolm Turnbull has left the door open to subsidies for new coal fired power plants. I think people want to know what the plan is, Christopher. How are you going to reduce their power bills?

PYNE: We have a plan and that’s going to the COAG meeting very soon, the Council of Australian Governments. It’s called the National Energy Guarantee. It’s already reducing prices, bringing more gas into the market, which we did last year, is reducing prices right across the eastern states, prices are starting to come down. We have actually turned the corner. What the ACCC said was that – with more support for the energy guarantee prices could come down by 24 to 25 per cent over the next few years. Now that is an amazing outcome. That can only happen with the Government’s policy of not picking winners, but supporting all technological outcomes that put more power into the system, more despatchable power. That will make it cheaper.

JEFFREYS: What about the tactics of the energy providers, the dodgy tactics, they were laid bare in this ACCC Report as well, is it time for a Royal Commission?

PYNE: Look, people reach for the Royal Commission far too easily in Australia. Royal Commissions have their place, but governments have got their policies. We have the right policy. We just need to see it being supported. Obviously the energy companies, if they have been behaving badly, that’s why we have the ACCC. It’s why you have ASIC. It’s why you have all these institutions that regulate them. A Royal Commission sounds great, but it actually slows down the process. Maybe there might be such a thing down the track, but we are focussing on the National Energy Guarantee. That will reduce prices and bring more reliability to the system.

ALBANESE: The ACCC report identified – there were 56 recommendations. What it identified was a concentration of market power. And it spoke about various measures you could do, to allow new entrants into the system. Interestingly, in spite of some of the public debate, what Rod Sims has said, is that no one mentioned to him new coal fired power plants. No one in the business community is interested. This is a fantasy of Tony Abbott and the far right of the Liberal Party. And it’s holding Malcolm Turnbull back from a sensible policy debate.

JEFFREYS: Okay, we have got to go. I want to know in one word, Anthony, yes or no, have you read the report, the ACCC report?

ALBANESE: I’ve read the recommendations of the Report.

JEFFREYS: Have you read the report?

ALBANESE: I’ve read the recommendations of the Report.

PYNE: His boss hasn’t.

JEFFREYS: Bill Shorten did admit to not reading that yesterday.

ALBANESE: I’ve read the recommendations of the report.

JEFFREYS: Well, you’ve got 400 pages to get through over the weekend, so a little bit of light reading for you. Anthony and Christopher thank you very much for joining us this morning.

[ENDS]

 

Jul 12, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – The Chris Smith Show, 2GB – Thursday, 12 July 2018

Subjects; Labor’s City Partnerships policy

DEBORAH KNIGHT: Anthony Albanese, Shadow Cities Minister, joins us on the line. Albo, hello to you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Deb.

KNIGHT: A big issue you’ve got here, trying to fix our cities.

ALBANESE: Look it’s an enormous issue and it’s one that impacts on every one of your listeners if they live in a city like Sydney. Right now they know that our roads are overcrowded, they know that there’s issues with community infrastructure, a failure to have enough schools, somewhere for the kids to play sport and that’s really a product of bad planning.

So what we’re proposing with City Partnerships is essentially that the three levels of government would work together to ensure that we not only avoid the mistakes of the past, but we get quality buildings. We get quality planning. We make sure that we don’t either do what has happened for a long time, which is outer suburban growth without proper community infrastructure, without thinking about where the jobs are going to come from, or infill (inaudible). That’s happening in places like Wolli Creek, which is very close to me you have considerable population growth but not a single new school, no increased health facilities at the local hospital, no additional parks for the kids to play. My boy played soccer for a number of years. Last year there were three or four shifts every night for training because there simply isn’t enough open space.

KNIGHT: Well it’s a huge issue and I think the encroaching cities are playing havoc with your phone in fact. So wriggle around a little bit because we’ve got a bit of a dodgy phone line with you. But we know that City Deals and urban planning is something that the Prime Minister has looked closely at and he introduced his City Deals program himself. Why is he failing? What’s so wrong with that plan?

ALBANESE: Look we think it’s a good thing that you have a Prime Minister that is interested in urban policy. But the problem is that the City Deals so far have essentially been in marginal electorates with commitments that have been about electoral politics. There’s no framework, there’s no guidelines for them, there’s no involvement from the bottom up of the communities that are represented. So, for example the Western Sydney City Deal, each of the Mayors was asked to sign the deal without knowing what was in it for the region and without the centrepiece of it, which is of course the Western Sydney Rail Line and there’s no funding from either level of government for actual construction for that rail line in either of the budgets that were introduced earlier this year.

KNIGHT: Albo, we’ve got a question from one of our listeners. Chris in Lilyfield what’s your question to Anthony Albanese?

CALLER: Mr Albanese I appreciate the way you think and it’s great and I like the way you discuss problems with everybody and that’s wonderful, but I think if you go to the root cause of why we’re having all of this incredible – I’m afraid 75 now, so I’ve seen a few years – It seems that most of the problems we are now faced with are due to too many people trying to do too much and the government requiring too much money to try to catch up with the amount of population we’ve got. How do we control it?

KNIGHT: What do you think about that Albo? Population growth…

ALBANESE: Well certainly population growth is placing pressure, particularly we can’t continue to have circumstances whereby you have all of the population growth concentrated in just a couple of cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne. There’s no doubt that that is creating pressure and part of that is making sure that the planning happens in terms of where jobs are being created, so we grow our regional cities as well.

KNIGHT: Yep.

ALBANESE: One of the things that I mentioned last night was the Hunter Valley Councils who’ve all come together. They have a common first priority project which is the completion of the Glendale Interchange. Now what that’s about is essentially a piece of infrastructure that will transform that area around the old Cardiff industrial area.

KNIGHT: Well infrastructure is so key to it all and that’s what we need to see. But look it’s good that you’re tackling this issue. It’s sort of thing you’d assume with this policy, Albo, that an aspiring PM would be doing, so you know you’re obviously keeping Bill Shorten on his game.

ALBANESE: Well I’m doing my job as the Cities Shadow Minister and I’ll continue to do that job and work hard on policy. One of the things that the Opposition has done, under Bill Shorten, is we’ve put out more policy than any Opposition in living memory.

KNIGHT: All right.

ALBANESE: That’s a good thing. It means we’ll be prepared if we’re successful in forming a government.

KNIGHT: All right well we’ll see how you go in the Super Saturday by-elections coming up as well. Anthony Albanese thanks for your time.

ALBANESE: Thanks for having me on Deb.

KNIGHT: Anthony Albanese there.

 

Jul 10, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Wagga Wagga – Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Subjects: General aviation, Michael McCormack, Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub, Mark Latham.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s been a pleasure to be here in Wagga Wagga today talking about the importance of general aviation.

The entire industry is of course committed to safety but what they also want to make sure is that we have a sector that’s growing, that’s able to train pilots and other people in the aviation sector because of the importance of general aviation to Australia as an island continent. But also the potential that’s there for growth, even as an export industry.

It is indeed a tragedy that we have not enough pilots in Australia today at a time when we should not only be able to service our domestic needs, we should actually be an export country when it comes to training pilots in order to secure greater national income for the national economy.

What we’re seeing is this enormous growth in aviation in the Asian region and Australia has enormous potential to benefit from that in terms of jobs and economic activity here.

Today’s forum is a part of a constructive dialogue and I’m committed to working closely with the Minister, Michael McCormack, to ensure that the recommendations that come out of this conference for any changes that are required are dealt with in a bipartisan way, because aviation safety shouldn’t be a partisan political issue and I know that is a view shared by Minister McCormack.

JOURNALIST: It has been something that they’ve been campaigning on for about 30 years they say. Do you think Minister McCormack is doing enough? He’s only new to the role, but would you say that he is on it?

ALBANESE: Well he’s new to the role, but he has attended this conference. He has constructively sat down with me. I sat down with his predecessor earlier on, Barnaby Joyce. And I think Michael McCormack is committed to the same things that I am and that the people who are attending this conference are, which is aviation safety being critical, but also a growing general aviation sector.

JOURNALIST: What should he be doing? What conversations were had?

ALBANESE: What Michael McCormack should be doing is working with the Opposition in a constructive way to make any changes that are required to make sure that there’s not over-regulation; that regulation satisfies safety as a priority, but that also allows the industry to grow and to expand and to provide training opportunities.

General aviation is very important in this country. Quite clearly there are a number of other issues that have been raised with me today that I look forward to having discussions with the Minister about – issues such as the charging of airports on the activities of general aviation, making sure that we protect airports from non-aeronautical development so that aviation remains the focus of the airports, particularly secondary airports and regional airports around Australia. This is of vital importance and it’s one which I’m sure the Minister will work constructively with myself on.

I’m very positive about the discussions that we’ve had. We’re both committed to making sure that this not be a partisan political issue and today’s conference, getting the input from the sector is now something that they will submit to us jointly in coming weeks and we’ll sit down and work out how these issues can be addressed.

JOURNALIST: What do you think is the future of regional airlines?

ALBANESE: Well regional airlines are so important. That’s why we’ve ensured for example regional access to Sydney Airport. There was a proposal last week from TTF that would completely deregulate the activity at Sydney Airport, which would mean that regions such as Wagga Wagga were not able to have that access during peak periods into and out of Sydney. Now that’s critical for regional cities, such as Wagga Wagga. I flew here this morning from Sydney Airport. There are flights back this afternoon during that peak period, and it’s absolutely vital that we protect those regional slots at Sydney Airport for regional airlines.

JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, as Shadow Infrastructure Minister, do you think there’s a role for the Federal Government in getting the Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub off the drawing board and into reality?

ALBANESE: Well certainly when we were in Government, this was an issue that was raised and Simon Crean as the Regional Development Minister was very supportive of the intermodal. This has been around for a considerable period of time and it should be progressed. It’s something that the Federal Government should look at – the business case for any proposal, because intermodal hubs can be really important in ensuring that there’s employment growth in regional centres. There of course is a major intermodal which will be at Parkes, where I will be next week in fact. But here in Wagga Wagga is a logical location given its proximity to the Hume Highway, given where Wagga Wagga’s located between Australia’s two largest cities.

JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, do you think with all the issues in general aviation and aviation more broadly that the sector would benefit from a Minister for Aviation (inaudible) … alone?

ALBANESE: Well there is a Minister for Aviation and it’s Michael McCormack. The issue of having a Minister for Aviation who doesn’t have other responsibilities is that will be a junior Minister. Michael McCormack is the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. He is able to sit in the Cabinet. He is someone who is ranked number two in this nation and therefore I think that that gives him more influence than a junior Minister outside the Cabinet with the specific designation of aviation. So, whilst that might sound attractive what you’ve got to look at is influence and there’s no doubt that Michael McCormack, as someone who is the Leader of the National Party and the Deputy Prime Minister, has more influence that a junior Minister for Aviation would have.

It also is the case that aviation doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It exists in conjunction with other transport modes including road and rail. So when we look at the way that transport networks work, whether it be shipping, aviation, road or rail – they’re integrated in how they function and how we move people and how we move freight.

So, I think it does make sense to have a Transport Minister in a senior role in the Cabinet. But it’s also the case that perhaps, there is an argument to have a junior Minister assisting Minister McCormack, but I wouldn’t want to see aviation diluted in its importance from where it is now.

JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese you mentioned in your speech the Aviation White Paper a couple of times that was done in 2009. Is that paper going to form the basis of the ALP’s aviation policy going forward?

ALBANESE: Well it’s provided a basis of things that happened in Government. There were 34 recommendations, just about all of them were implemented in full, including the changes I spoke about – the increased depreciation, the prioritisation of aviation activity at secondary airports, a range of the other regulatory changes that were made including a restriction on the amount in which CASA fees could increase to CPI. There were a range of changes which came out of that Aviation White Paper to assist general aviation, they were all implemented.

But the truth is that that was in 2009, it’s now 2018 and things don’t stand still. So of course Labor will update our policies if we’re in a position to form Government. And today’s conference is a part of that, responding to the immediate needs of industry as indicated by them.

UNIDENTIFIED: Last questions.

JOURNALIST: Mark Latham potentially teaming up with One Nation, what’s your reaction to that?

ALBANESE: I make it a policy of not commenting on Mr Latham I think that his comments and his actions say more about him than any comment could add to and I think they speak for themselves and it’s up to him to justify his own actions and his statements. Suffice to say that Mark Latham moved on from the Labor Party a while ago. That’s a good thing.

[ENDS]

Jul 6, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Today Show – Friday, 6 July 2018

Subjects: Tax cuts; foreign aid; China.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the show. Well, the big sell is on after the Government yesterday unveiled its bold plan to redistribute the country’s GST takings. It says all states and territories will be better off under the plan but not everyone agrees. Anthony Albanese and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton join us now. Good morning guys.

PETER DUTTON: Good morning Karl.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

STEFANOVIC: How are you? Now Peter, you are absolutely, categorically, definitively – and any other L/Y words I can end with, certain, that no state will be worse off, right?

DUTTON: No state is worse off no doubt, Karl. Everyone gets a bit of extra cash and it’s a fair carve up of the GST. Don’t forget that WA went down to 29 cents in the dollar and you had – Northern Territory I think, over four dollars given back to them for every dollar they collected in GST. So this brings a floor and it makes it better for the eastern states as well.

STEFANOVIC: Could you kindly repeat after me. There will be no state worse off under a government I lead …

DUTTON: In our time.

STEFANOVIC: Can you repeat it for me?

DUTTON: Is that it?

STEFANOVIC: Because it’s always good come election time, those ones. Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, are a little bit shaky on this deal though, as you would know. And boy oh boy is it not a high cost to pay for keeping WA happy?

DUTTON: I liked the footage of Paul Keating last night. He said, you know, never stand between a bucket of money and a Premier on the march. It was true then, true now. But it’s the case, in my State of Queensland, we get half a billion dollars extra. Which means more money for health and for education, for roads …

At least Albo, I mean surely Albo – you would give us a tick of approval I mean a Shorten-Albanese Government would support it wouldn’t they?

STEFANOVIC: Peter, I don’t know if you’re new to this but I’m the one who is asking questions this morning.

DUTTON: Sorry Karl.

STEFANOVIC: That was a very good question though.

ALBANESE: He’s always trying to take over. He’s trying to take over from Malcolm TurnbullI, he’s trying to take over the show.

STEFANOVIC: I like the look of him, I like the question too. You’ll support this won’t you?

ALBANESE: What we’ll do is look at the full detail. But we do welcome the fact, that the Government has adopted Labor’s position, that we’d already announced and campaigned on, of a floor for WA of 70 cents in the dollar. We’d already done that with our Fair Share for WA. One of the things we are concerned about though, Karl, is that – where is the $7 billion extra coming from?

STEFANOVIC: Back to you Pete, where will it come from?

DUTTON: It comes from getting 700,000 people off welfare and into work. So instead of taxpayers paying for their dole payments and whatnot they’re now paying tax and contributing themselves, so we’re cutting back on waste. And at the same time, the economy is growing. So the economy is doing well and there’s more tax revenue coming in, so it helps us to pay off Albo’s debt as well mate …

ALBANESE: You can’t keep spending the same dollars. You can’t have income tax cuts, big business tax – including for the big banks, $17 billion, an additional $7 billion here.

Our concern is that what the government will do if they get back in. They will say whoops, we’ve got to do something about the debt.

STEFANOVIC: But you won’t wind this back?

ALBANESE: And have a massive cut like we did in 2014 to education and health.

STEFANOVIC: But you won’t wind it back if you come into power?

ALBANESE: We’re looking at the detail, Karl. What we’re saying is the Government needs to say where the $7 billion is coming from.

STEFANOVIC: Okay Pete, let’s move on quickly. Today a big deal is being done with the Pacific Island nations on security. Is it about security or wedging China or both, do you think?

DUTTON: Well, it’s a continuation of an existing agreement. And it’s important for us that the good relations continue with our near neighbours. We want to make sure that from a security perspective, economic perspective, aid and development perspective, we’ve got a continuing good relationship and that’s what it’s about.

STEFANOVIC: The problem is Pete, you know full and well that they are having their beaches paved in gold, some of these island nations. The aid money from China is huge. How do you combat that? It’s big influence.

DUTTON: Well obviously China is reaching out across the world, including into our region, and we have a very good relationship with China. They’re a good partner, economic partner with us. We have good relationships – in relation to my portfolio for example and we want all of that to continue. But in our neighbourhood we have a responsibility to work with our neighbours and we’re doing that and that will continue.

ALBANESE: The lesson here is that foreign aid does play a role in international relations and it’s why we shouldn’t be cutting back on our foreign aid. We should continue to play a leadership role in the Pacific. We don’t want to see a militarisation in the Pacific, a military presence from China or Russia. We want to be the leaders, as we have been for many decades.

STEFANOVIC: Albo you’ve had a very quiet week. I was worried…

ALBANESE: I don’t know about that. I’ve been in Mackay, I’ve been in Cairns.

STEFANOVIC: You weren’t going around counting numbers were you or anything?

ALBANESE: I’ve been out there campaigning for the Labor Party against Peter and his mob.

STEFANOVIC: Pete?

DUTTON: He’s been counting numbers mate. He’s been absent for five days, because to get to 12 it takes Albo, you know, a little longer than the average bear. So one thing I’d say is don’t trust Albo with the numbers. He’s just told you to cut (inaudible) savings and then he’s spent money on aid in the next answer. So Albo, you would be a true, traditional Labor leader. You’d spend and tax like crazy mate.

ALBANESE: You’re the bloke promising tax cuts for business, for individuals, for even the big banks and you’re going to spend it by giving more money to the states as well.

STEFANOVIC: Alright guys, have yourself a great weekend.

DUTTON: Thanks Carlos, see you Albo.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you. What’s he done to Christopher Pyne?

STEFANOVIC: Wouldn’t you like to know.

ALBANESE: He’s probably locked him up somewhere.

DUTTON: He’ll be back. Don’t go there, don’t go there Albo.

ALBANESE: That’s his speciality.

DUTTON: Don’t go there.

STEFANOVIC: I wouldn’t mind seeing where Christopher Pyne is, actually, might be interesting.

 

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