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Jan 8, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – RN Breakfast with Hamish Macdonald

Subjects; Road safety, citizenship, negative gearing, Donald Trump

HAMISH MACDONALD: Labor’s infrastructure spokesperson, Anthony Albanese, is calling for urgent action to address the problem. He is in the studio with me this morning. Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Hamish.

MACDONALD: And Happy New Year. Welcome back. First day back at work for you is it?

ALBANESE: No, I’ve been working the whole way through unfortunately but I go on leave in two days’ time.

MACDONALD:  Great. Well I hope you’re doing something nice. Let’s start with this very sad news about the death toll. You want the Transport Infrastructure Council to meet urgently on the issue of road safety. Why? Why is that step necessary to take?

ALBANESE: Because what we need is a national response. We’ve got a national road safety strategy. This is the decade of road safety from 2011-2020. Clearly we’re not going to meet the targets that have been set if the current trends continue. We had a declining road toll in this country from 1970 right through to the last few years. Suddenly we’ve seen that reverse. What we need is the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council, all the state and territory jurisdictions to get together to talk about best practice, to hear from the experts, the police, the motoring organisations such as the NRMA, the RACV, about what we can do as a community as well to reduce the toll in the coming year. We need to reverse the trend and get back on that downward (inaudible).

MACDONALD:  But there were times when you were the relevant Minister that the figures went up as well…

ALBANESE: That’s not right.

MACDONALD:  2012, was there not a spike?

ALBANESE: That’s not right. The fact is that the toll continued to go down all the way through.

MACDONALD:  What happened in 2012 then?

ALBANESE: The national toll went down in 2012. The fact is that this isn’t a political issue and that’s why we should have all the jurisdictions, Labor should be represented there…

MACDONALD:  Can I just clarify – you’re talking about the annual road toll, or the Christmas road toll?

ALBANESE: The annual road toll went down year on year, every year, from the 1970s, essentially, right through until recent times. The real concern is that the increase we’ve seen year on year, in some jurisdictions in particular; New South Wales has gone up in the last year. It’s a matter of all of us, as a community, deciding what we can do. One of the things…

MACDONALD:  I’m just wondering though, what convening this national council would do given that all the states and territories have policies in place, there’s lots of money committed to this. Why would that kind of meeting help and improve this situation?

ALBANESE: Well it would help in two ways. One is that the national government has responsibility for regulation, so use of new technology for example, mandating all of those issues, which is the responsibility of the national government. One of the things we need to address is national uniformity of rules. We need to move towards, in my view, national licenses. We’ve done that in the heavy vehicle area. We did that while I was the Minister. We need to do that across the board so we don’t have licence shopping. Also, in itself, the fact that the national leaders in transport are coming together to discuss this, will, in itself, send a message to the community that this is a priority because one of the things that we have to do is to change behaviour.

This isn’t the responsibility of just government, or any political party, or just law enforcement, it’s the responsibility of all of us and at the end of the day you can’t legislate for common sense. One of things we need to do, for example, is look at the way that the use of new devices, iPhones, etc., the impact that that’s having and get that message through, particularly to young people who are disproportionately appearing in the figures and there’s no doubt that use of new technology while driving is one of the factors.

MACDONALD:  The former director at Monash University’s Accident and Research Centre, Rod McClure, told us last week that he has concerns about the focus on individual actions in regard to road safety.

I just want you to listen to what he had to say:

MCCLURE: I do think the review needs to not look for the plug in and play quick fix solution, which tends to focus on individual behaviour and individual behaviour, as you know, in obesity and a whole lot of other areas, in health, is something that is very difficult to change in isolation from the context in which that behaviour exists.

So if it’s not about individual action, how do you resolve an issue like this?

ALBANESE: Well I think, in part, it is about individual action. That’s the truth. Someone behind the wheel of a car has to understand that that can be a wonderful thing getting you from A to B, but it can also be a danger to yourself, to other people in the vehicle and other people who are sharing the road. But one of the things that governments are responsible for, for example, is delivery of infrastructure. There’s no doubt that dual carriageway on major highways has made a major difference.

There’s the issue of heavy vehicles, which the Federal Government also has responsibility for. Parliament abolished, a couple of years ago, the Heavy Vehicle Remuneration Tribunal. One of the things that it was looking at was safe rates and the pressure that’s placed on heavy vehicles drivers. It would appear that since its abolition there’s been a real spike in accidents involving heavy vehicles, particularly in New South Wales. And it wasn’t replaced with anything. So what are we going to replace it with? Hopefully in a way that is by consensus, so that you don’t have regulation changing when the Government changes as well. That’s why I think a roundtable discussion, with people with the power to make decisions around that table, is a way forward.

MACDONALD:  You would have heard in the news this morning quite a bit about the previously undisclosed Treasury advice to the Government about negative gearing policies. Your Party has copped a fair bit of flak for its position on this matter. I suppose you’ll be crowing about what we’ve learned today but it doesn’t mean that we’re any closer to having any of those policy changes in place.

ALBANESE: Well no wonder the Government fought for two years to stop the ABC from having this advice because what it shows is that, from the Prime Minister through to the Treasurer, through to the assistant Treasurer and other senior Ministers, they’ve all been lying about what the advice was. This is advice from Treasury that says that it might have a minor impact on prices. But also, importantly, it indicates that there will be a change, if you like, so more owner-occupiers, less domestic investors, which is precisely what the policy was aimed at achieving.

MACDONALD:  So you would go as far as to say lying?

ALBANESE: Absolutely.

MACDONALD:  Who? Who was lying?

ALBANESE: The Prime Minister, the Treasurer, Peter Dutton, others who have gone out there and said very clearly that this was going to destroy the economy, destroy house prices. They know that that’s not the case and the sort of exaggeration that we’ve seen from them gives them no credit. The fact that they had this advice and hid it. Kelly O’Dwyer, I notice, the assistant Treasurer, who they sent out, they threw her under the bus. The Treasurer hasn’t been out there defending this and this morning she was doubling down and attempting to say that somehow this advice was not the full story but wouldn’t say whether there was any other Treasury advice that contradicted this.

MACDONALD:  How then do you explain the fact that there is such reluctance to deal with negative gearing as an issue?

ALBANESE: It’s a product unfortunately of the nature of politics at the moment, which is that if Labor came up with the policy, the Government’s immediate response was to say no. This is a Government that is acting like an Opposition in exile. They said no to everything, they were in that negative mindset while they were in Opposition. Part of their problem with the lack of narrative or sense of purpose from the Abbott and then the Turnbull Governments, is that they’re not able to move forward in a positive way and they reacted immediately to our policy announcement. They, themselves, were considering policy measures about negative gearing and about capital gains, the discount, when we came out with our policy. It was a brave policy to come out with from Opposition, but it’s the right policy. We never said it would fix everything in itself, and it’s a modest measure, but it’s one that should be implemented.

MACDONALD:  The dual citizenship question is back in the news again today, very early in the New Year. Some advice regarding Susan Lamb, one of Labor’s MPs, and her citizenship status. She’s a British citizen; she’s a joint British citizen, isn’t she?

ALBANESE: No, Susan Lamb did what was required…

MACDONALD:  Hold on, let’s just answer that question. Is she, or is she not a dual British citizen?

ALBANESE: I don’t know. Susan Lamb did what was necessary, which was…

MACDONALD:  Hold on, you must know. It’s all over the newspapers. You must have spoken to her. You must know what the advice is.

ALBANESE: Her advice is that she has done what is necessary, which is to take all reasonable steps. She applied for the renunciation and she got told she wasn’t a British citizen. That there wasn’t any evidence…

MACDONALD:  Her renunciation was rejected because there was not enough evidence provided.

ALBANESE: Because there was no evidence that she was a British citizen. That’s what happened.

MACDONALD:  Hold on. It was the absence of a marriage certificate of her parents, right, which she could have tried to obtain but didn’t.

ALBANESE: Well I’m not sure the circumstances of why that couldn’t be obtained.

MACDONALD:  It’s not what couldn’t be, it’s that it wasn’t. She didn’t apply for it in Queensland, where they were married.

ALBANESE: What she did was, she applied for a renunciation of what she thought might be her British citizenship and she was told that there was no evidence that she was a British citizen, by the British Government. That is, and she has legal advice…

MACDONALD:  She was told there wasn’t enough evidence for them to confirm her renunciation, that she hadn’t provided enough documentation. That’s what she was told.

ALBANESE: That’s not right and I’m sorry but a media report doesn’t confirm that that’s the case.

MACDONALD:  But she wrote to them, ticking a box, in 2016, this is the British Home Office, ticking a box saying I am a British citizen…

ALBANESE: And wanting to renunciate and she received advice back from the British Government that she couldn’t. That they couldn’t process her renunciation and her fee returned, because there was no evidence that she was a British citizen.

MACDONALD:  Sure. But the evidence that she was required to submit was a marriage certificate for her parents, which she hadn’t even applied to get from the state of Queensland.

ALBANESE: Well it’s not quite that simple and in terms of…

MACDONALD:  Well tell us what more there is to it then.

ALBANESE: I’m not Susan Lamb.

MACDONALD:  Come on, you’re here. You’re the man in the studio.

ALBANESE: Well I’m not Susan Lamb and I’m telling you that she has legal advice, very clear legal advice, that she has fulfilled the requirements, which are reasonable steps.

MACDONALD:  You’re mounting the defence for her.

ALBANESE: I am indeed.

MACDONALD:  What did she do to get the marriage certificate of her parents in Queensland?

ALBANESE: That’s not the test. The test is, has she taken reasonable steps to renunciate….

MACDONALD:  All reasonable steps…

ALBANESE: Her British citizenship.

MACDONALD:  All reasonable steps.

ALBANESE: Now you’re trying to, with due respect Justice Macdonald, what you’re trying to do now is to reinterpret the High Court’s rulings. The High Court have said that you have to take reasonable steps. Now someone, before they nominate, fills out a form, pays a fee and sends it off to the UK. That is reasonable steps. That’s the legal advice that Susan Lamb has.

MACDONALD:  Are we saying that there’s a difference between reasonable steps and all reasonable steps?

ALBANESE: I don’t know, that’s a matter for lawyers.

MACDONALD:  I can hear your phone is going; clearly you’re getting some messages.

ALBANESE: No. That’s Siri, trying to interpret our conversation.

MACDONALD:  I want to put to you some of the tweets from Donald Trump, one of the tweets from Donald Trump, the leader of the United States, our closest ally. He’s responded to this book that’s come out and he’s said, ‘actually throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being like, really smart. I went from very successful businessman, to top TV star, to President of the United States on my first try. I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius and a very stable genius at that.’ What do you think when you hear that from the leader of our closest ally?

ALBANESE: Well they’re interesting, his comments, and I would be more comfortable I think, as would many American citizens, if there were less tweets from the President and perhaps if they had less things in capital letters and with exclamation marks.

MACDONALD:  Does it sound stable to you?

ALBANESE: I think that we would all be better off, and the President would be better off, if he got some advice to maybe not communicate as much through tweets with grand statements. I think that the high office of President of the United States requires very much considered responses. He is elected, I have respect for the office of the President of the United States, they are friends of ours and they remain friends. I think that the debate that’s going on at the moment is most unfortunate.

MACDONALD:  We’ll have to leave it there. Anthony Albanese, thank you very much.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

[ENDS]

MONDAY, 8 JANUARY 2018

Jan 4, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Melbourne

Subjects; Victorian infrastructure, Barnaby Joyce, medicinal cannabis exports, Peter Dutton comments

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for joining me. Today I want to call upon the incoming Infrastructure Minister, Barnaby Joyce, to address the fact that Victoria is receiving just 9.7 per cent of the federal infrastructure budget, in spite of the fact that it’s Australia’s fastest growing state, comprising more than 25 percent of the population.

Since the change of Government, we’ve seen a massive decline in support for infrastructure projects here in Victoria. Indeed, a decline from $201 per Victorian from the Federal Government down to $92. And, indeed, they haven’t even delivered what they said they would do. In their first four Budgets, the Federal Government said it would invest $3.3 billion in Victorian infrastructure; that investment was only $2.3 billion.

What we have here is a Federal Government that is giving more than 45 percent of the national infrastructure budget to New South Wales and, of course, primarily to Sydney. That’s not fair and that’s not a Government that is representing the needs of all Australians.

The Andrews Government has had to go it alone on the Melbourne Metro project because the cuts that were made by Tony Abbott have been reinforced by Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull likes coming to Melbourne occasionally and likes travelling on trams and taking selfies on them.

It’s about time he funded public transport in this growing city of Melbourne and indeed throughout Victoria as the former Federal Labor Government did when we funded the Regional Rail Link project – the largest ever infrastructure investment by a Commonwealth Government in a public transport project in Australia’s history. Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] …Victorian and South Australian Governments as well?

ALBANESE: Look they have made their submissions. Melbourne Metro was approved by Infrastructure Australia years ago in 2012. What we have is a Government that came in in 2013 and cut $3 billion from the Melbourne Metro, cut $500 million from the M80 project, has refused to give the appropriate level of support either here in Victoria or in South Australia. This will see, in South Australia, the share of funding decline to just two percent in the year 2020-21. This isn’t just a smaller share of a growing pie; this is a smaller share of a smaller infrastructure budget.

Over the next decade, the Parliamentary Budget Office has found that infrastructure investment will decline from 0.4 percent of the economy, of GDP, to 0.2 percent; or half. This Government doesn’t have a plan for growth and for jobs and for infrastructure investment. It’s seeing it decline from the $9.2 billion infrastructure budget that it was supposed to spend in 2016-17. That falls off to $4.2 billion over the forward estimates by more than half.

The fact is that this is a Government that is particularly punishing Victorians and also South Australians, it must be said, into the future. But Victorians have been punished from day one because Victoria, particularly, suffered from the massive cuts that occurred in the 2014 Budget by Tony Abbott’s Government. The fact is that Malcolm Turnbull has different rhetoric on public transport and cities, but not different substance.

JOURNALIST: How big should the infrastructure budget be?

ALBANESE: Well what we need to do is invest in good infrastructure projects because over a period of time they pay back that investment to Government and to the national economy by growing the economy, by increasing revenue. So projects like the Melbourne Metro are absolutely vital projects for Melbourne, but also as a great global city, for the national economy as well. That’s why the Commonwealth Government needs to invest in Melbourne Metro, but needs to invest in other important projects here in Victoria as well.

JOURNALIST: How much more should the Federal Government in your opinion be giving the state of Victoria?

ALBANESE: Well what should be happening is that it should be giving round about the proportion to the population. You’d expect if you’ve got 25 percent of the population, you’d be receiving one in four of the Commonwealth infrastructure dollars.

Now, from time to time there will be variation in that because there will be particular projects that have an impact on the national economy, but you’d expect in particular that Victoria if anything would be getting potentially more than 25 per cent, because it is a growing state and Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing city.

So it’s certainly not getting its share. They could start by contributing those dollars that have been cut over the Government Budgets. They’re not even contributing the money that they themselves said they would.

See, if you look at the Budget figures in the first four Budgets of the Abbott and Turnbull Governments, it adds up to $3.3 billion for Victoria, but the actual investment is only $2.3 billion, or a $1 billion cut. That’s a cut to Black Spots. A cut to the Heavy Vehicle Safety Program. Cuts to major infrastructure funding here in Victoria and it’s simply not good enough.

Barnaby Joyce, as the incoming Minister, who’s the Deputy Prime Minister  is a guy of course who represents a New South Wales seat, goes for Queensland in State of Origin. He needs to actually visit Victoria and Melbourne and convince the Australian public that he will be an Infrastructure Minister for the whole country, not just for the National Party seats in New South Wales and Queensland. That means he needs to fund infrastructure here in Victoria.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

ALBANESE: We’ve been supportive of medicinal use of marijuana and cannabis products and it appears to me that Greg Hunt’s move is a sensible move forward. These issues are bipartisan across the Parliament. We know the medicinal use of cannabis can alleviate people’s health issues and therefore if Australia is in a position to provide support, it should do so.

JOURNALIST: What do you make of Peter Dutton’s comments that people are too scared to go out to restaurants in Melbourne?

ALBANESE: Well, I was in Melbourne last night. I didn’t notice any reluctance of people on the streets of Melbourne to go out and this morning I haven’t seen any reluctance when I’ve been travelling to and from meetings here in the CBD as well.

I think Peter Dutton has a serious office as the Minister for Home Affairs. He needs to treat that great honour with the dignity and with the respect and with the gravitas that it deserves. Playing to the crowd on Sydney radio about Melbourne doesn’t make much sense, doesn’t actually do anything to address the real issues of crime that need to be addressed.

But we also need to put these things in perspective. What we’ve seen on the latest figures is actually a drop for the first time in the 12 month figures of crime here in Victoria. We’ve also seen year on year, a continuous decline in youth crime here in Victoria and people like Peter Dutton need to stop playing politics with what are serious issues and require serious responses.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

ALBANESE: What matters here is the police’s view of these issues. There’s no doubt that a disproportionate number of African youth as a percentage of the population have been engaged in committing crime. That needs to be addressed.

The Commonwealth Government could make a contribution by actually not cutting the AFP funds as they have. The Commonwealth Government could make a contribution by not cutting new migrant services as they have, and support for people to get into employment, and by addressing those issues.

And the police should be given every support that they require and I know that the Andrews Government is employing 3000 additional police here in Victoria. It deserves better than having a Queensland Minister on Sydney radio talking about Melbourne from a distance just in order to score a political point.

I think Peter Dutton’s comments should be seen for what they are – all about politics, in conjunction with the Liberal Party here in Victoria which is obviously desperate for an issue against the Andrews Government that is governing effectively here in Victoria.

The Federal Government could do worse than look at the Andrews Government, that actually has an agenda to govern. It has an agenda for building infrastructure, for supporting schools, for supporting hospitals. For supporting major reform such as the reform that went through last year about domestic violence.

The Commonwealth Government doesn’t have an agenda. All they have is politics and that’s why the Turnbull Government is flailing around looking for an issue. Peter Dutton needs to be a part of solutions, not just yelling about issues from a far distance.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

ALBANESE: We have a robust, and positive, and constructive relationship with the United States. That is particularly Defence related and I’m confident in our Defence arrangements. These issues are bipartisan. They’re worked on in the national interest.

Labor will continue to be a part of a positive, constructive dialogue about our Defence capabilities and our Defence needs. Thank you.

[ENDS]

THURSDAY, 4 JANUARY 2018

Jan 4, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 2GB Chris Kenny

Subjects; Peter Dutton comments; road safety.

 
CHRIS KENNY: Anthony Albanese has had a bit of a spray at Peter Dutton for what he said on this program yesterday about African youth crime gangs in Melbourne. He joins me on the line now. Happy New Year to you Albo.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: And to you Chris, all the best.

KENNY: Yes, all the best to you too. I’d be interested to get your thoughts on all of this. Let’s start at the pointy end though and say, what do you think it is that Peter Dutton has said yesterday that was over the top?

ALBANESE: The idea that Melbourne is Mogadishu with better coffee is quite frankly over the top.

KENNY: I don’t think he called it Mogadishu.

ALBANESE: The idea that Victorians are not going out to restaurants, as the Shadow Tourism Minister, that’s a very damaging thing to say about Melbourne. I was in Melbourne last night and this morning and I got asked and I made the point that people were going about their business pretty freely and that the restaurants at a time like January are busy and it’s an important time for the tourism sector and for jobs. Peter Dutton, I think has just gone a bit over the top.

KENNY: I don’t think anyone would be suggesting that the CBD restaurants would be empty and that no one is going out at all in Melbourne, but isn’t it the case that in some of the affected areas…

ALBANESE: He did say that.

KENNY: He said Victorians are worried about going out to dinner, not going out to dinner because of that. Is that not the case in some of the affected suburbs that people are worried about going out and about because the gangs have been rampant?

ALBANESE: I think you need to identify problems as they are and as you know Chris, I’m not someone who shies away from straight talking about issues where there are problems. My concern is that Peter Dutton’s comments will be a distraction from actually what’s needed to deal with what is a very real issue. Crime is an issue. The fact is that people from different African communities are overrepresented when it comes to offences from young people. But at the same time, it needs to be acknowledged that overall crime rates have actually fallen in the last year in Melbourne for the first time in a long while. Youth crime rates have fallen year on year for a number of years now.

So we need to identify what the issues are and deal with them as they are. There’s a range of measures obviously required; law enforcement is one of them. But the sort of work that someone like Chris Riley has done with Youth Off the Streets in my community in the Inner West, in Western Sydney, in Logan, which has a high African youth population in the outskirts of Brisbane there and in Melbourne where Lindsay Fox has actually pitched in, as he tends to do, as a great Australian citizen, and has bought a truck for Chris Riley’s operation. Now they’re dealing directly, in particular, with the Sudanese community. I’ve seen the work first hand that Chris Riley has done engaging them, trying to assist them with getting into jobs and feeling a part of the community. We need to work with the leaders of those communities. They are very keen obviously.

KENNY: Yes, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel here, Anthony Albanese. As you say we’ve had youth gang problems in various parts of the country at various times and we know that you need to intervene to try to fix them. So you do concede though that there is an African young gang crime problem in Melbourne at the moment?

ALBANESE: Of course there’s an issue. There’s no question that there’s an issue.

KENNY: And does it frighten some people? Have you spoken to Victorians who are frightened about the public safety here?

ALBANESE: I have no doubt that there are real issues. I read the paper and there was a gentleman who was in a community in the western suburbs of Melbourne where there was a party that got out of control and people were engaged in anti-social behaviour and the police had to come in. Obviously they are circumstances that should not happen. They need to be dealt with.

But they need to be dealt with in a proper and frank way, in a way that isn’t seeking, in this quiet period of the political news cycle, try and run in what is a state election year in Victoria. It would appear that there’s a coordinated response from the Federal Coalition with the State Coalition. Ironically the State Liberal Leader doesn’t mind going out to dinner in Melbourne. Indeed, he’s been pinged for going out with one of the leaders of the Italian crime…

KENNY: That’s your gang, the Italian gang.

ALBANESE: He didn’t mind going out and having a lobster with a mobster down there. But he’s out there arguing the case here pretty stridently.

KENNY: There’s no doubt it’s a big political issue, but I mean that is obviously feeding off public concern as well. I wonder whether you’re concerned, Anthony Albanese, about the judiciary, about the message we’re getting from the courts, particularly in Victoria with this revelation today that a 17 year old youth who is facing allegations or charges that he kicked a police officer in the head. And this is a young man, a 17 year old who has already been on probation, who has already had a history of serious offences.

And the Police Minister in Victoria has criticised the fact that this 17 year old is out on bail even though facing a charge of kicking a police officer in the head. The Police Minister Lisa Neville calls this court decision, the Children’s Court decision as incomprehensible. I think most people in this country would agree with her.

ALBANESE: That’s right. I mean, our police put their bodies on the line and they do it for all of us, so that we can feel more comfortable and secure and any threat to a police officer, let alone actual physical violence should receive a strong response from the judicial system. There’s no question about that. I’m not talking specifically about the case because I don’t know all of the details. But as a general principle, we need to send a very clear message to the community that it’s hands off our police officers who do such a fantastic job.

I mean, the police in this area, there was a crime problem in Marrickville, something I am very conscious about. But when I was first elected at the end of the 1990s, what happened when the drug trade got shut down in Cabramatta, some of it moved here to Marrickville. We had to deal with syringes at the back of the office and a whole lot of issues that come with drug related crime, you know, break and enters increased, all of that.

The police did an amazing job of really connecting up with community leaders as well as connecting up with the various communities. You know, there were a few bad eggs but fundamentally most people I think in society are good people.

KENNY: We sometimes forget that, that most people are on the good side of any particular issue, any particular debate. I don’t want to hold you up too long, Anthony Albanese, but while I’ve got you on the line, given your background…

ALBANESE: We can chat for a long time. Most my colleagues are on leave across the Parliament, I think.

KENNY: Fair enough. We will expand upon your agenda for the nation. Look, I want to go back, you’ve had a longstanding expertise and experience in transport both as a minister and in opposition. We’ve been talking a lot about road safety over the past couple of days and one of the things we’ve been focusing on is the increased number of heavy vehicle crashes and speaking to truckies and people involved in the trucking industry about the hours that truck drivers have to spend behind the wheel in order to meet the demands of customers and employers and in order to make ends meet. They are legally able to as you would know, with fatigue management training, to drive for 14 hours a day, days on end. Now, this surely is not the best thing for safety on our roads. We have to find a way to limit the hours that truck drivers drive to something more sensible, such as eight hours a day.

ALBANESE: That’s exactly right, Chris. What we need is safe rates and this has been an issue which produced a bipartisan report called Burning the Midnight Oil a few years ago and that led to the support for the creation of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal which occurred when I was the Transport Minister. Now, it made a decision as a Tribunal that was a problem, I acknowledge that, in 2016, but the government responded by removing the whole thing and hasn’t put anything in its place.

I’m very sympathetic with truck drivers, a lot of whom of course are owner operators. They’re struggling. Their wives will often do the bookwork for them. If they get on okay they might have a couple of trucks and have someone working for them, but these are hard working Australians who are put under enormous pressure when told ‘here you go, this is basically a 10 hour trip common sense tells you with proper stops, but we’ll pay you for eight’ and that’s the sort of thing that goes on.

We need to have the full chain of responsibility to make sure that people can’t put undue pressure on truck drivers. There was a case recently out there very publicly about Tip-Top and the pressures that the drivers of the bread trucks who we rely upon to get bread in the morning were being put under. And I think you know, this really does need a response. It should be a bipartisan issue and it should be something that we as a community back in.

KENNY: It’s got to involve the trucking companies and the big customers as well as government.

ALBANESE: And by and large you, know the big companies, the Lindsay Foxes, the Tolls, they’re people who tend to do the right thing. But there are a lot of people out there who don’t do the right thing and that places pressure on the truck drivers, but of course that places an issue on all of us who are on the roads. All of us have had the experience of having a truck up the back of us a bit too close.

The pressure that they’re under means that in the last few years there of course has been an increase after decades of decline in the number of fatalities on our roads, but in the last few in particular, since the abolition the Tribunal we have seen a trend back towards more accidents involving heavy vehicles and that’s why I’ve said that Barnaby Joyce as the new Minister should convene a meeting of the Ministerial Council, the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council, all the State and Territory ministers who by and large control the road rules etc.

But we should also make sure that we involve the motoring organisations, police and law enforcement, and make sure that we can sit down and try and get to the nub of why it is after decades of decline it’s going in reverse direction.

KENNY: Absolutely.

ALBANESE: At this time of the year, for those people who have family, friends or members of their community who have suffered tragedy over the Christmas period, it’s a tragedy that will return to them every year.

KENNY: Exactly. It requires a renewed effort nationwide, there’s no doubt about that. Thanks so much for joining us Anthony.

ALBANESE: Good on you Chris, always good to talk to you.

[ENDS]

THURSDAY, 4 JANUARY 2018

Jan 3, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Adelaide

Subjects; South Australian infrastructure cuts, Barnaby Joyce, Tony Abbott, US Ambassador

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The incoming Infrastructure Minister Barnaby Joyce has a real challenge on his hands and he must deliver for South Australia.

At the moment, the way that the Budget is configured, in this year South Australia will receive $921 million dollars of federal infrastructure funding. In four years’ time at the end of the forward estimates in 2020-21, South Australia will receive just $95 million, or a cut of some 90 per cent compared with this year.

On top of that, in their first four Budgets, the Federal Government hasn’t spent the money that they themselves said they would spend. Some $400 million has been cut from the funds that the Federal Government said they would invest when they brought down their budgets on Budget nights. What that could have done is do the next extension of the North-South corridor in between the Torrens to Torrens section that’s under construction and the South Road Superway. We could also, of course, have support for AdeLINK, South Australia’s extension of the light rail network.

It’s very clear that Barnaby Joyce has a challenge as the Deputy Prime Minister and as Infrastructure Minister to deliver for South Australia and he needs to do that. And he needs to make it clear what the Federal Government’s priorities are before the South Australian state election is held in March.

JOURNALIST: Does at least some of the responsibility for this though lie with the South Australian Government being more proactive and working harder to get that Federal funding?

ALBANESE: No it’s absolute nonsense. The fact is that the South Australian Government has put forward the submissions for light rail, the Adelaide AdeLINK project. We committed to the project as the Labor Party prior to the Federal Election in 2016.

So this is a light rail extension into the suburbs of Adelaide that is ready to go. We also know in terms of the North South road corridor that the section between Torrens to Torrens, which is under construction now and the Superway is also ready to go and that it would save money by getting that project underway as soon as possible – a swift flow.

What we know for example with Torrens to Torrens is that it was fully funded by the former Federal Labor Government. The current Federal Government stopped that project for two years while they prevaricated and said that their first priority was Darlington, whereas it was Torrens to Torrens that was ready to go in construction.

So it’s very clear that what we have is a massive bias. We have something like 45 per cent of this year’s Federal infrastructure budget going to New South Wales. We have South Australia missing out on those funds and over the coming years up to 2020-21, the Federal Government currently has no money whatsoever for that section of the North South corridor even though they themselves have said that they’re committed to its full duplication. Malcolm Turnbull says he is committed to public transport funding but he won’t put a dollar into Adelaide’s light rail extension.

JOURNALIST: There’s been some suggestion from the State Opposition and Nick Xenophon that this state needs a state-based independent infrastructure body. Do you think something like that might help this kind of situation?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that this state has got its infrastructure priorities right. The extension of the North South corridor is South Australia’s most important road network.

We know what has to be done there; the full duplication of that corridor. When we were in Government we more than doubled infrastructure investment in South Australia. South Australia has been the best state when it comes to getting the planning right. Adelaide’s light rail extension; we know that that is a priority for Adelaide. We know that it took a former Federal Labor Government to turn the Noarlunga to Seaford rail extension into a reality, to fund the Northern Expressway, to fund the South Road Superway, to fund Torrens to Torrens. All of these projects.

But what we’ve seen from a Federal Coalition Government is a failure to actually invest. Over the coming decade, infrastructure investment as a proportion of the economy will fall from 0.4 percent to 0.2; or half. That’s what the Parliamentary Budget Office says. Now that will have a real impact on our national economy and on growth and on jobs. But what we have is a particular impact on South Australia due to this 90 per cent fall in funding when it comes to Federal infrastructure funds.

Barnaby Joyce, the new Minister, has to get on top of this issue and has to explain either why that’s legitimate or secondly fix it. And as Deputy Prime Minister you now have someone as Infrastructure Minister who has the capacity to make a difference. My concern is that Barnaby Joyce historically has said that any investment in our cities including Adelaide is a waste. And he has indeed ridiculed investment in public transport and in our cities in the past.

He needs to provide that assurance to the Australian public, 80 percent of whom live in our major cities, that indeed he as Infrastructure and Transport Minister will take this responsibility seriously.

JOURNALIST: Just on another topic we’re three days into the New Year and Tony Abbott’s already causing trouble for the Coalition. What do you make of that and what do you think is going to happen in 2018?

ALBANESE: Well the drama goes on in the Coalition. Tony Abbott’s out there on page one of his favourite newspaper today once again causing trouble for the Coalition. Causing trouble on the basis of something that, when he was in Government, and signed up to the Paris Accords as the Prime Minister of Australia that envisaged, of course, the issue in terms of international carbon credits being a part of the international regime. He wasn’t critical then. He is critical now. He is going out of his way to look for issues in which he can complain and contradict and campaign against Malcolm Turnbull in such a relentless fashion.

Yesterday it was, of course, on the issue of the Republic. Today it’s on the issue of climate change. Tomorrow it will be something else, I have no doubt. So a lot of politicians have had a bit of a break over Christmas. Tony Abbott has been relentlessly working day after day to undermine Turnbull and I expect that that will continue. Because Malcolm Turnbull’s Government doesn’t have an agenda. He came out and said that there should be some advance on the Republic and couldn’t hold that position for 24 hours before he backed off and said well maybe not this term, sometime in the future.

Well, Malcolm Turnbull is unlikely to be there sometime in the future so commitments into the never never from him, of all people, aren’t worth anything at all. What we’re seeing is that Tony Abbott is stepping into the vacuum that Malcolm Turnbull is creating because he doesn’t have an agenda for Government.

JOURNALIST: What’s Labor’s position on the idea raised by a Liberal MP that tourists should face more stringent checks before driving in Australia?

ALBANESE: Well what we’d need to do is properly examine any proposals. The concern there would be of course, that if Australia did that then you could expect it to be reciprocated. Australians when they travel to Europe or in the United States drive cars. That’s why we would need to be very cautious about measures such as that. But that’s why that could be one of the options for discussion at an emergency meeting of the Infrastructure and Transport Ministerial Council. I’ve called for that to happen when it comes to road safety. What we saw from the 1970s right through to the last few years is substantial falls in the number of fatalities on our roads. In the last three years we’ve seen that reverse.

Barnaby Joyce should convene a meeting of State and Territory Transport Ministers. He should invite the Opposition, certainly Labor would want to participate in a constructive way. All of these ideas shouldn’t be party political. What they should be is about how can we, as not just Government, but as a society involving the motoring organisations in the respective states, involving law enforcement and the police in respective states, get together to do all that we can as a community to reduce the road toll because the toll over the festive period was quite frankly horrific. For all of those people who suffered over that period, they all have family, they have friends and they are a part of communities. And those communities, and those family members will remember the Christmas period of 2017-18 with a great deal of trauma in future years as well.

JOURNALIST: Tim Fischer’s comments. Do you think that it’s dragged on too long to get a US Ambassador here in Australia?

ALBANESE: I think that’s really a matter for the US, but we of course would welcome the United States appointing an Ambassador here. We are friends of the United States and we would expect that the United States would regard the appointment of an Ambassador to Australia as being an important post. Certainly in the past it’s been filled by people with a great deal of dignity, who have worked very hard to build that relationship. So we would want to see that appointment made as soon as possible. But that of course is a matter for the Trump administration.

JOURNALIST: Do you think it’s a sign of further dysfunction in the Trump administration?

ALBANESE: It’s a matter for the U.S. administration. I caught up with our Ambassador to the United States in Washington Joe Hockey, over December. I had a chat with him. He certainly is in my view doing a good job as the Australian Ambassador. Representatives of nations who are friends have an important role to play in fostering that friendship and certainly notwithstanding the fact that the United States have not made that appointment, there are a number of U.S. representatives here, of course, in Australia who are working hard on fostering that relationship and I’m sure they’ll continue to do so.

JOURNALIST: Just finally on GST, the Government’s pushed back the date for the report on the inquiry. Do you think, or does the ALP think, that GST needs fundamental reform?

ALBANESE: Well I do think that South Australians are entitled to know what the Federal Coalition Government has in mind before the South Australian election in March. I’m somewhat cynical about the fact that you have state elections in South Australia and Tasmania in March and you have this GST review pushed out beyond that date. The Government really needs to explain prior to those March elections what it has in store for South Australians.

JOURNALIST: Just on that question of the 90 percent fall in infrastructure funding, would you expect the Coalition Government to sort of rejig the figures or look again if the Liberals win the state election here? I mean is the bias just against South Australia or is the bias against the Labor Government in South Australia.

ALBANESE: (Inaudible) What we want to see is those figures fixed immediately. What we’re seeing is a general drop off in infrastructure investment. What there is though on top of that is a particular bias against South Australia and against Victoria. Victoria is serving nine percent of the national funds. South Australia in 2020-21 is receiving two per cent of the national infrastructure budget. Quite clearly that’s not good enough.

And let me tell you if the Coalition does do something about that, then I think the chances of South Australians voting for them in March are diminished because it will be a sign that the Federal Coalition can’t do anything and isn’t concerned about the interests of South Australia. In general there is concern that this Government, and I say this as someone from Sydney, this Coalition Government is too Sydney focused, that they need to address the issues of the entire nation not just the east and state capitals and not just Sydney. Thank you.

[ENDS]

WEDNESDAY, 3 JANUARY 2018

Jan 3, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 1395 FiveAA

Subjects; South Australian infrastructure cuts; Barnaby Joyce

TONY PILKINGTON: Albo, good morning and a Happy New Year.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Tony. Good to be with you again.

PILKINGTON: Yeah, that story very quickly. That’s true? You didn’t meet your dad until you were what, 20s or 30s?

ALBANESE: No, it was much later than that indeed, in my 40s. I met him in 2009 and he passed away in 2014, but at least we got to meet up and that was a good thing.

PILKINGTON: Amazing story.

ALBANESE: If they want all the detail, Karen Middleton wrote about it in her book, a biography.

PILKINGTON: So you were raised by single mum in Sydney all of those years ago. That wouldn’t have been easy, but you knew your dad was alive or you didn’t know that he was living overseas, living in Italy?

ALBANESE: No, I was told that he died before I was born.

PILKINGTON: Really? I’d forgotten that.

ALBANESE: It was, I guess, very difficult for women to have children out of wedlock in the 1960s.

PILKINGTON: So Albo, how did you find out your dad was still alive? Did your mum tell you?

ALBANESE: She told me when I was a teenager, when she thought I was old enough to know the real story and then much later in life, she passed away in 2002. My son had been born in 2000 and I thought about trying to find him and I was successful.

PILKINGTON: It’s a great story, but we’ve got to get onto politics now. That story’s a bloody sight more interesting than politics. Okay. You wanted to talk about an initiative from Barnaby Joyce that will affect the economy of South Australia, what’s it all about?

ALBANESE: Well, that’s right. I’m visiting Adelaide today to talk about the savage cuts in the Budget for South Australian infrastructure when it comes to a federal contribution over the next four years. The Budget figures show that it will go from getting $921 million this current financial year, dropping off to $95 million dollars in 2020-21.

PILKINGTON: What’s the reasoning Barnaby Joyce is giving?

ALBANESE: It’s just a part of the cuts that are there in the Budget that are substantial. That would represent just 2 per cent of the federal infrastructure budget going to South Australia and that’s just not fair. As you would be aware, South Australia is home to more than 7 percent of Australians and that’s why it’s absolutely critical that Barnaby Joyce as the incoming minister say ‘this isn’t fair, I’m going to fix it, and I’m going to give South Australia its share’ and of course there are projects that are ready to go. The AdeLINK light rail project is important. The ongoing issue of the North-South corridor. What you could do is Torrens to Torrens that are well under under construction now of course. When that finishes, just choose a section in between there and the Superway.

PILKINGTON: Albo, are other states copping a cut too? It’s not just South Australia?

ALBANESE: They are. The Budget figures drop off to a total of $4.2 billion in 2021. Now, the expected expenditure last year was $9.2 billion. So that is a significant drop off, but it’s South Australia that’s really being hit. No state is being treated as badly as South Australia. I mean $97 million.

PILKINGTON: That’s a lot of money.

ALBANESE: It’s essentially small change when it comes to the federal infrastructure budget for a state or territory. And what that means is that there is a virtual withdrawal of the Commonwealth from any assistance for construction in South Australia and of course that means less jobs to be created and less economic activity. It comes on top of course of the message that we hear today of the Federal Treasurer putting off the review of GST payments that particularly might hurt South Australia until after the state election.

The Commonwealth Government really must come clean with the people of South Australia well prior to the state election so that they know exactly what the federal attitude is. Barnaby Joyce could actually, you know, turn this around. He’s the Deputy Prime Minister. He’s in a position of influence and he should use it.

PILKINGTON: Alright, Albo. He’ll be in town today.

[ENDS]

WEDNESDAY, 3 JANUARY 2018

Dec 29, 2017

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Queensland

Subjects; Cross River Rail, Barnaby Joyce, Coalition infrastructure underspend

ANTHONY ALBANESE: (Audio interrupted) Queenslanders voted at the end of last year and they voted overwhelmingly in South-East Queensland to re-elect the Palaszczuk Government where funding for the Cross River Rail project and whether it should proceed was a major election issue.

What we’ve seen is a decline in infrastructure investment here in Queensland and nationally from the Commonwealth Government. In the Mid-Year Economic Forecast there was a further cut of some $1 billion from the Government’s own projections, which they made just in May. So a cut from $8 billion to $7 billion. That brings the cuts over the Coalition’s first four budgets to some $4.8 billion less in actual investment from the investment that they themselves said when they released their budgets.

In Queensland, that figure is $1 billion less than what they themselves put in their budgets when they made their announcements and released papers on Budget night. What that means is a billion dollars that could have already been put into the Cross River Rail project, or a billion dollars to make improvements on the Bruce Highway.

Over the coming decade, the Parliamentary Budget Office, independent of politics, has said that the infrastructure share of the economy in terms of investment will decline by half from 0.4 to 0.2 per cent. What that means is less jobs and less economic growth. It also means bad outcomes for road safety because as the investment declines, roads aren’t able to be maintained and new, safer roads with dual carriageways aren’t able to be built.

So Barnaby Joyce must step up. He says he cares about Queensland; what he’s got to do is invest in Queensland and the test for him over coming months is to show that investment is there in the 2018 Budget. There’s another test for Barnaby Joyce as well, which is that over the last four years we’ve seen, after year after year of decline in the road toll, we’ve seen an increase. Barnaby Joyce should immediately convene the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council, sit down with his state and territory ministerial counterparts, the Labor Opposition federally would be more than happy to sit down and participate to work out why it is that after decades of decline we’re seeing more and more tragedies on our roads and that has been exacerbated by this Christmas/New Year period. Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Albo, we’ve seen the problems in regional Queensland with a lot of people not happy with their share of construction. I’m glad you mentioned the Bruce Highway. Do you think that regional Queensland has been forgotten about?

ALBANESE: What’s happening is that the Government has made commitments about spending at Budget time and then not invested. So regional Queensland needs that investment. When we were in office, we more than quadrupled the amount of investment into the Bruce Highway after years of neglect. Some $1.3 billion was invested under the Howard Government over twelve years. We put $6.7 billion in during our six years of office and you saw that improvement in areas like Cooroy to Curra, in areas like the Townsville southern and northern approaches, around the Mackay ring-road where we began the funding for that project, the southern approaches to Cairns. We saw those improvements in the Warrego Highway, but what we need to do is make sure that that investment steps up, which is why it is so outrageous that the Government has underspent on its own figures what itself said it would spend by some $1 billion in Queensland alone out of that $4.8 billion underspend over its first four budgets.

JOURNALIST: Regional Queenslanders listening to you right now, watching you, what’s your message, what’s your sales pitch to them on why $5.4 billion should be spent on the Cross River Rail project?

ALBANESE: The fact is that we need investment in South-East Queensland and in regional Queensland. We need to step up the investment on the Bruce Highway. We need to step up the investment on the Warrego, like we did when we were in office. Projects like the Townsville ring-road only occurred because of a Federal Labor Government being in place. And they are important projects. But so too is urban congestion important, to drive productivity.

The Cross River Rail project is vital because you need a second rail crossing here. It’s not just about Brisbane; it also is about the capacity of the network on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. It’s about productivity, it’s also about getting cars off our roads and getting people onto public transport, that increases road safety and reduces the health budget.

What we know is that public transport investment over a period of time pays for itself, because it produces a return to the economy through those productivity benefits. That benefits all Queenslanders. So I think what we need is a Government that is committed to both regional communities, but also to communities here in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

JOURNALIST: Albo, the average punter probably doesn’t doubt Labor’s commitment to infrastructure, but what about your general commitment to spending? You saw the deficit last time you guys were in power rise quite dramatically, how can we stop that?

ALBANESE: What we’ve seen under this Government is the deficit blow out massively. We’ve seen the debt increase by hundreds of billions of dollars under this Government. We’ve seen this Government lift the debt ceiling. The fact is that it is this Government that hasn’t been able to deal with a sensible economic outcome. We delivered the response to the Global Financial Crisis with lower deficits than what this Government has been able to deliver when we’ve had, essentially, global economic sunshine.

JOURNALIST: Can I ask your thoughts on ousted politicians being appointed to plum jobs as advisors? Pauline Hanson has appointed Malcolm Roberts and Steve Dickson, while there’s rumours Barnaby Joyce will have Fiona Nash as his Chief of Staff.

ALBANESE: Merit has to come into play when it comes to appointments to jobs as advisors. Malcolm Roberts was a dismal failure as a Senator, came up with all sorts of very strange ideas and theories around climate change and other issues. I think that Pauline Hanson would be well served by thinking very carefully about merit in appointments. Barnaby Joyce needs to do the same. He needs to be on top of his portfolio. He’s got major challenges.

We’ve got skills shortages in the aviation sector that have been identified in terms of pilots and engineers. We’ve got the issues of road safety. We’ve got ongoing challenges of dealing with urban congestion. We’ve got the issue of road safety, particularly in our regions. We’ve got issues of making sure that more freight gets off our roads and onto rail. There are major challenges with regard to the maritime sector in this country, making sure that the Australian flag continues to have a presence on the back of Australian ships with Australian seafarers on those ships. Barnaby Joyce needs to deal with all of that and at the same time he appears to be distracted by the internal machinations of his divided party.

JOURNALIST: Just overseas, are you concerned by reports that China is breaking sanctions (inaudible)?

ALBANESE: Look I’m not going to respond, frankly, to every one of President Trump’s tweets. I think it would be a really good idea if foreign policy was done on the basis of fact and on the basis of very careful consideration of comments and therefore, I think I’ll await to see what the facts are. Very clearly, there’s a bipartisan position with regard to North Korea and with the need for sanctions to be imposed on what is essentially a rogue and dangerous state.

JOURNALIST: Is it acceptable that Australian workers are forking out $83 a week, or three hours work, to fund Australia’s increasing welfare budget?

ALBANESE: When you look at the actual facts, the largest component in that is the age pension. Now I support the age pension being paid to people who’ve made a contribution to this nation for their entire working lives. And we need to be very careful, I think, that we give respect to our older Australians who’ve helped make this nation the greatest one on earth. Thank you.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 29 DECEMBER 2017

Dec 29, 2017

Transcript of Radio Interview – 2GB The Alan Jones Breakfast Show

Subjects; Road safety

ROSS GREENWOOD: The Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the former Deputy Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese has called for an inquiry. I said we don’t need an inquiry, what we need is ideas and try and get those ideas implemented as quickly as possible. I said we would give him a list of things and he is on the line right now. Many thanks for your time Anthony.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to talk to you Ross.

GREENWOOD: This is an important issue; there is no doubt. So we put it out there to people today and we’ve heard from district court judges, we’ve heard from road safety campaigners, we’ve heard from police officers, we’ve heard from the community and it seems as though broadly there’s a number of things that could be done to try and improve the roads and the rules, national.

Say for example, licensing to make certain people understand the way it goes. Tougher penalties for those people who perennially disobey the rules and understanding that there are no accidents, there are only crashes on the roads. Just tell me, why is it that we need more talk-fests, more conversation about this from a political angle, as distinct from the action to just simply change the laws and make certain that fewer people are killed on our roads?

ALBANESE: Well we are talking about the same thing here, Ross. Of course what you’ve said, your listeners have done and those experts, is precisely what I’m calling for. There are three things that can impact on the road toll. One, of course, is new technology and the big jump was when we introduced compulsory seatbelts. The second is rules and the third is driver behaviour.

We need to tap into the best minds to explain why it is that after decades of decline, every single year, from 1970 through to 2014-15, we had a decline in the number of fatalities on our roads and extensive declines when you look at it per capita. There’s obviously more people on the roads now than there were in 1970.

GREENWOOD: I’ve made the observation that it works out, and I’ve done the calculation today, every year we’re seeing around 400,000 new vehicles registered on our roads, which goes with our rise in population. For example over the past three years it’s around 1.2 million extra vehicles on our roads. So you could argue on a per capita basis we’re still doing incredibly well when it comes to fatalities. But, as you point out it’s rising and with the improvement in the vehicles, with the improvement hopefully in the road systems it should be doing better again.

ALBANESE: Absolutely and every year it was declining. Year after year, state by state, we saw significant improvements in actual numbers as well as per capita numbers.

GREENWOOD: OK, there’s a problem that we’ve actually identified today –state by state. Say for example a person loses their license in one state, should there not be a national register to make certain that person can never get a license in another state while they are disqualified from driving?

ALBANESE: Well I think there should be national licenses. We live in a mobile society now and the idea that people can shop around, this is something we dealt with when I was the Minister with heavy vehicles. It takes the states to move on this and that’s why what we need is an urgent special meeting of the Australian Transport Council, all of the transport ministers around the country convened by Barnaby Joyce to sit down and say look, we actually have a crisis here. We have too many families who will remember Christmas forever because of the tragedies that have happened on the roads in recent days and weeks.

GREENWOOD: OK, what about another one for example, another idea to throw out there. I mean some people say, what about the blood alcohol limit, that’s obviously a fundamental problem, why not simply make it zero drugs, zero blood alcohol limit for all drivers? Now I know that might be impractical if someone has taken some cough medicine or something else like that. One person is on a prescription medication for example. But you’ve had accidents even in recent times, terrible accidents, where it appears the person may have even been under the influence of prescribed medication. Now that clearly makes it difficult from an administrative point of view as well. But to take away even the suggestion, if a person goes to a pub, if a person is at a party, don’t have a drink. Because if you have a single drink, don’t get in your car. I mean that should almost be a pretty simple thing for people to work out.

ALBANESE: The difficulty there of course might be one of practical consequences if someone has been drinking, had a couple of beers the night before, if the next morning then they don’t have a zero reading as well. There might be some issues, which is why you need the experts and the experts who are responsible for this are in the state jurisdictions but the Commonwealth has a leadership role here.

There is a national decade for road safety, between 2011 and 2020. There were clear targets established for further reductions in the road toll over this decade and we are not going to meet those targets, which is why those responsible, the transport ministers, and certainly I would obviously be keen to participate as well. These issues shouldn’t be party political, or partisan, this is about saving lives on our roads and it should be the case that we can work across the jurisdictions and across politics to get good outcomes.

GREENWOOD: Can I just say, Anthony Albanese, great to have your time and company on the program. The Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, former Deputy Prime Minister. The one important thing Anthony said there is that saving lives is not party political, it is not partisan, it is simply the right thing for politicians to do for the community, state and federal and it needs to happen and happen pretty quickly as well. Anthony, we appreciate your time.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 29 DECEMBER 2017

Sep 11, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; marriage equality, postal vote survey, citizenship

LISA WILKINSON: Welcome back to the show. Well it is official the High Court has ruled that the same-sex marriage postal vote will go ahead. But will the Government citizenship crackdown make it through the Senate?

For more I’m joined now by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, and Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning to both of you.

PETER DUTTON: Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be here.

WILKINSON: It’s lovely to have you both here. Thank you for coming to Queensland just for us. Now, Peter; day one of the official campaign on same-sex marriage. It has already turned ugly with yes and no campaigners clashing outside a church in Brisbane. This is not the respectful debate that you were hoping for.

DUTTON: Of course it’s not, Lisa, and Albo and I would be on a unity ticket to say to both sides to the extremes; conduct yourself in a reasonable way, have a respectful discussion. People can have their points of view. They can argue for or against the change but do it respectfully and within the law. I think that’s what most Australians would want.

WILKINSON: Are you surprise by what happened last night Albo?

ALBANESE: Well unfortunately I’m not. That was one of the concerns that we had about a plebiscite or a postal vote is that there would be division in the community. But I’d say this; that it doesn’t advance the cause either for marriage equality or against marriage equality for people to behave disrespectfully. You can have different points of view without engaging in that sort of behaviour.

WILKINSON: Peter have you decided how you’re going to be voting?

DUTTON: Well Lisa I’ve said for a long time, for me personally, I don’t support a change so I will vote no. But I’ve advocated the postal plebiscite, or the plebiscite before that, because I wanted people to have their say and that was the election promise that we gave at the last election.

So if a majority of Australian support change, that is if they vote in favour of same-sex marriage, I’ve said that I will vote for it in the Parliament, so respect that democratic outcome.

WILKINSON: But is it really the majority of Australians? Because there’s so many variables on how this postal vote will go.

DUTTON: Lisa, I think we will end up with a very significant turn out. I think everybody now turns their mind to campaigning, on both sides, and I think you’ll see ads, you’ll see people advocating for and against. And I think that will motivate people because it’s a significant social change and people will want to have their say, so I think we will get a pretty good indication.

WILKINSON: So we’ll get the decision on November 15. What happens then?

DUTTON: Well after that if there’s a no vote then the Government has been very clear that there is no change for us. The Labor Party can speak for themselves as to what they would do but if there is a yes vote then there would be a bill before the Parliament and our presumption is that Bill would be voted on before Christmas, so the change would be made before Christmas, and that’s the timeline that’s involved.

WILKINSON: And how are the numbers running now? Yes or no?

DUTTON: Look my sense is that if there is a yes vote that there will be a significant number of Members who will support it in the Lower House and the Senate and that it will pass easily. And, as I say, if there’s a no vote then the Government has been very clear about not advancing it then.

ALBANESE: I think Australians will vote for marriage equality. I think a majority have made up their mind and I think it’s important that we get this done before Christmas. People will wake up the next morning and their relationships won’t have changed and people will wonder, really, what all the fuss was about. It will be fantastic for the tourism industry. It will be a huge economic boost for the country.

WILKINSON: Australia would certainly be a great place to get married for same-sex couples as well as the rest of everyone. Now moving on and the Government is seeking to tighten requirements for new citizens to include university standard English skills, an Australian values test and a four year wait for permanent residents to become citizens.

Peter, this is your initiative; you don’t think it’s too tough asking people to be university standard proficient in English?

DUTTON: Yes I do actually because that’s not what we’re doing, not what we’re proposing. So we’ve said that we want people to be able to integrate, to adopt Australian values, to integrate into Australian society, to abide by Australian laws. We want people to show, over a four year period, that if they’re of a working age, have a capacity to work, we want them to work, not on the dole. We want to know that their kids aren’t running around in gang violence, we want to know that they’re going to schools.

So look at all of those tests and what we’ve said is that we want a competent level of English. Because to function at school, at university, in the workplace, in modern Australia, people need a competent level of English language to function and that’s the level. Now 99% of people will have no problems at all, will go through, but there’s a 1% that we are concerned about either on national security grounds or on issues otherwise where we think, well these people aren’t deserving to become Australian citizens so that’s the motivation behind it.

WILKINSON: Albo, obviously Europe has lived with their porous border problem for decades now and it’s happening with the attacks we’re seeing. What do you think about this push?

ALBANESE: Well those things aren’t related at all. This is about people who are here, who have been granted permanent residency, who will stay here, whether they’re granted the right to be full citizens and participate in things like the marriage equality vote, participate in elections, participate fully as Australians.

There’s some irony, when it’s pretty clear that some of Peter’s colleagues have been able to become citizens of other countries pretty easily, that they are tightening this up in a way that is unAustralian. Currently we have a conversational level of English that is required; we do that now. To have this university level test, I mean some of his colleagues notwithstanding whether they’re citizens of one or two countries wouldn’t pass this test.

WILKINSON: All right, okay, we’re going to have to leave it there. Thanks so much for making your way to Queensland, we really appreciate it.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you and people thinking about travelling – Gold Coast is a great destination.

WILKINSON: Come to Queensland.

DUTTON: Absolutely.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER 2017

Apr 27, 2007

Albanese leads the push against uranium mining – The World Today

Albanese leads the push against uranium mining

The World Today

Friday, 27 April , 2007 12:14:00

Reporter: Peta Donald

Also available on The World Today website.

ELEANOR HALL: One of the few areas of open disagreement at the Labor Party’s National Conference is Kevin Rudd’s push to dump Labor’s policy restricting uranium mining.

It’s expected the leader will prevail in a vote over the weekend. But leading the push against Mr Rudd on the issue is front-bencher, Anthony Albanese.

Mr Albanese joins us now from the Labor party conference. He’s speaking to Peta Donald.

PETA DONALD: Anthony Albanese, first of all, you’ll be releasing a report into infrastructure planning this afternoon at the conference. You wanted national infrastructure plan. How do you plan to get superannuation funds to invest in infrastructure?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, what we know is that there is a natural synergy between superannuation funds, which are long-term, which look for secure investments and infrastructure. And those opportunities are there.

And the meetings we’ve had with the superannuation industry have told us they’re very keen to invest and to take advantage of opportunities that can be made. If we don’t do that, what we’ll see is superannuation funds being invested off sure.

PETA DONALD: Do you think that would be a secure way for people’s superannuation money to be invested, and that it would provide a good return to those funds?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Oh look, it certainly is secure, and it provides a return, not just to those individual members of superannuation funds, but of course a return to the nation. What we know is that we have a massive infrastructure deficit, according to the Business Council of Australia, some $90 billion.

PETA DONALD: So how much money do you think you could get into it through super funds?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, we’ll wait and see and work with them in government. We’ll create a body called Infrastructure Australia, which will harness the private sector, innovation and expertise, along with government.

It will conduct an infrastructure audit, a priority list for the nation. It will work with COAG and we’ll once again see the Commonwealth reengage in our urban infrastructure for our cities.

This is of something of absolute necessity if we are going to secure our long-term prosperity beyond the mining boom.

PETA DONALD: Okay. Well onto the uranium vote, which will be held over the weekend.

Do you now concede that your probably now going to lose that vote and the long running ban on new uranium mines that has been Labor’s policy for two decades will be lifted?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’ve been a delegate to national conferences, since 1986, and I take nothing for granted until delegates make up their minds.

PETA DONALD: But really, you still think that you could win this?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I hope that we have a constructive debate tomorrow and that people make up their minds on their merits. But what I know, is that while you can guarantee that uranium mining will lead to nuclear waste you can’t guarantee it will lead to nuclear weapons.

PETA DONALD: Don’t you accept the argument from the other side in that it’s illogical to have four mines but not five?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, that’s nonsense of course. In a range policies across the board, be that superannuation, social security, various health decisions. Across the board, governments make decision, based upon respecting previous decisions and that’s all that is.

It’s an economically responsible position, to balance the view, that we respect existing contracts, because of the sovereign risk issue, and also of legal issues, compensation issues, but we say that we don’t want to be any further involved in the nuclear fuel cycle, including opposing new uranium mines.

PETA DONALD: Now you’ve argued that the voters don’t want more uranium mining and that you’re not getting any sense from rank and file Labor party members that they want this policy changed and yet, it seems it will be changed over the weekend, that’s the expectation anyway.

So do you think that will go down badly with the electorate?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, I think what the electorate will see is that we’re a vibrant democratic party discussing these issues.

It’s clear that not a single state or territory branch has adopted a pro-uranium position. We know that the Labor party is very united in our opposition to further stages of the cycle, be it enrichment or nuclear reactors for Australia…

PETA DONALD: So do you then think you’ll be punished in the ballot box, if this policy is changed?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, I think that voters make up their own minds on these issues, but I don’t sense that there is a vote turning issue, that there are people out there in marginal seats who voted for John Howard, who will change their vote, if Labor changes our ‘no new mines’ policy.

PETA DONALD: Anthony Albanese thanks for joining us.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to talk to you, Peta.

ELEANOR HALL: And that was Anthony Albanese, the Federal Opposition Spokesman on Infrastructure speaking to us from the ALP’s national conference at Darling Harbour in Sydney.

 

 

Apr 22, 2007

Transcript of The Today Show with Laurie Oakes

Transcript of Interview with Laurie Oakes

The Sunday Show, Channel Nine, Sydney

22 April 2007

LAURIE OAKES AND ANTHONY ALBANESE

Laurie Oakes: I guess we could have an interesting discussion about parliamentary sledging but unfortunately we haven’t got time. Do you think you’re now get a pretty good run in News Limited papers following this interview now that Rupert Murdoch has endorsed your leader.

Anthony Albanese: Well I that that it is appropriate that Kevin Rudd is out there talking to business. One of the things that characterised the Hawke-Keating government was that Labor was able to work with business and unions and the community to drive economic reform and drive that productivity agenda. So Labor will continue, from the leader and shadow ministers such as myself, will continue to be out there talking to business.

Laurie Oakes: Now even though Rupert Murdoch has endorsed Kevin Rudd, you’re trying to roll him at the conference. Are you being disloyal to your leader?

Anthony Albanese: No I’m not at all. The Labor Party is a Democratic Party, we’re a vibrant party and we are very much alive and it is part of our tradition of 116 years that Labor Party members get a say, particularly at national conference which is binding on the party. And uranium is of course a very moderate export earner for Australia, less than 1% of our mineral exports but it is a big principle in the Labor Party and that’s why I have a firm view that whilst you can guarantee that uranium will lead to nuclear waste you can’t guarantee it won’t lead to nuclear weapons.

Laurie Oakes: But if you roll your leader at the conference five months out from an election don’t you damage Labor’s chances of winning?

Anthony Albanese: Not at all. I mean we’ve heard those arguments before.

Laurie Oakes: They can be right sometimes too.

Anthony Albanese: I heard those arguments before over electricity privatisation, for example, before the NSW ALP conference where Bob Carr and Michael Egan didn’t get their way at the conference. The logical end point of ‘let’s not have any debate in the party’ is that we may as well not have a conference and the leader just gets to decide all the policy. I think Kevin Rudd certainly respects the traditions and forums of the party and I don’t think it hurts Labor at all to show the Australian public that we’re prepared to have democratic debate over the future of the nation over a three day conference next weekend.

Laurie Oakes: Is it fair dinkum or is the fix already in, I mean, aren’t the numbers there to make sure Kevin Rudd wins?

Anthony Albanese: Well, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case and I’ll be seeking support for an amendment which says essentially, let’s not put the cart before the horse. Before Labor considers any new uranium mines, I think there should be two conditions met. One is that we need in place an effective nuclear non-proliferation regime. At the moment the NPT has essentially collapsed, you’ve got Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Prize winner and leader of the International Atomic Energy Agency warning that the threat of terrorism makes the concerns even more acute than they were perhaps 20 years ago. Iran is a reminder of the link between civilian nuclear reactor programs and nuclear weapons proliferation.

Laurie Oakes: But as I understand it, Mr Rudd’s motion to get rid of the ban on new uranium mines if Labor wins government will also include provisions for more safeguards?

Anthony Albanese: It will, as I understand it, include provisions for safeguards, but let’s get the safeguards there in place first. Let’s also get in place a regime which looks after the issue of nuclear waste. Just a couple of weeks ago even Arnold Schwarzenegger, the ‘Governator’, was warning that the nuclear reactors do create waste and it’s just another form of pollution and that it is not a solution to climate change. And the fact is we don’t have, anywhere in the world, a nuclear waste repository that’s functioning. Yukka Mountain was going to be the solution in the United States and 7 billion dollars of taxpayer’s funds later all they’ve got is an entrance road because they’ve found that geological changes that have occurred and a threat to the watertable below the mountain in Nevada means that environmentally it won’t proceed. So until such time as we do have a nuclear non-proliferation regime which is effective and a resolution to the issue of nuclear waste, I don’t believe that we should be expanding new uranium mines.

Laurie Oakes: I’ve seen a letter that Queensland Labor Premier Peter Beattie has written to the state secretary of the AMWU and in that letter Peter Beattie says – should the ALP conference resolution give discretion to individual state governments to determine whether mining should occur, then Queensland will maintain its current policy, in other words, no our uranium mining. So, is Peter Beattie going to back you against Kevin Rudd at the conference?

Anthony Albanese: No, what Peter Beattie is saying is that Queensland has its own policy of no uranium mines as does Western Australia and the Premier Alan Carpenter has made his position clear that as long as he is Premier there won’t be uranium mining in Western Australia.

Laurie Oakes: So those two premiers will look pretty stupid if they don’t back you at the national conference, won’t they?

Anthony Albanese: Well that’s up to them what position they take and they’ll be determining that. But what they’re saying is that for their states, uranium mining won’t proceed. So effectively what we are having is a debate at the conference about South Australian mines because of course if the Commonwealth was fair dinkum and there was this great demand for new uranium mines, they could override the Northern Territory government as they have on numerous other occasions.

Laurie Oakes: So it is just about South Australia. So that’s obviously why premier Mike Rann I think is likely to second Kevin Rudd’s motion at the conference, [or] certainly support him strongly. Do you think that Mr Rann is justified in doing that given the importance of the uranium industry to South Australia?

Anthony Albanese: Well he makes his own decisions but Premier Rann of course acknowledged the issue of nuclear waste when he was the first State Premier to pass special legislation banning the storage of nuclear waste in South Australia. So what I’m saying is, let’s have a commonsense approach to this. Let’s have a pragmatic approach. Labor is at our best when we put principle together with commonsense and pragmatism. If people say they want to expand uranium mining with these safeguards, let’s put the safeguards in place first, let’s see whether that’s achievable or not before we move to the next step of approving new mines in government.

Laurie Oakes: So you’ll go all-out to beat your leader despite the electoral consequences?

Anthony Albanese: I’ll go all out to put forward the position which I think has the overwhelming support of the Labor Party membership. There have been two branches in the whole nation, I think, that haven’t supported the existing policy.

In terms of electoral politics, I just think it is beyond belief to argue that there are people out there watching this in marginal seats today, who voted for John Howard at recent elections, who’ll say – I’ll change my vote to Labor if only they change their policy on no new uranium mines. I just think that’s an absurd proposition.

I think there is a great deal of opposition to the further involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle. Labor is united in our opposition to a domestic nuclear industry, and I think that the Prime Minister has indeed made a big mistake. I mean on Friday, he actually backed up Ziggy Switkowski’s statement that Lucas Heights, which is important as a medical research facility, there’s no contention there, but argued that it was one of the three iconic sites of Sydney along with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I mean, not Bondi Beach, not The Rocks, not the Blue Mountains. It just shows that the Prime Minister really has I think lost the plot with his nuclear fantasies that he is intent on pursuing.

Laurie Oakes: What about other issues, do you expect industrial relations to cause a blow up at the conference?

Anthony Albanese: Well I think the Labor Party is very united that we need a new balance in industrial relations. We need a balance that restores fairness. I see that down at Tristar in my electorate of Marrickville, where people have to clock on every morning, there’s no work for them to do, but they’re being strung along day after day for almost a year now.

Laurie Oakes: But answer my question, is there going to be a row over it at the conference?

Anthony Albanese: Well, we’ll wait and see what the discussion produces.

Laurie Oakes: Because it looks as though the row we’ve heard so far has been very subdued and now Doug Cameron has backed off. It is a dodgy row isn’t it, to make it look as though Labor has taken an independent stand against the unions?

Anthony Albanese: Look, there is absolute unity within the Labor movement that we need to restore a fair balance in industrial relations, and that’s not just within the Labor movement but out there in the community. In the recent state election in New South Wales, it was raised with me every single day.

Laurie Oakes: Now Greg Combet, the ACTU secretary says that Labor should get its whole industrial relations policy out at the conference. Is he entitled to demand that, given the trade union movement’s influence over the Labor Party?

Anthony Albanese: Well people are entitled to put forward their views, but what we know is that the Labor Party conference will set the platform. That’s essentially the principles, and the policy of the implementation is left to the Labor Party caucus. We’ve already seen a great deal of detail from Kevin Rudd in his speech to the National Press Club just this week.

Laurie Oakes: The RSL says that under Work Choices, some employees on AWAs are being forced to work on Anzac Day against their will. Now, has the Labor Party seen any evidence that this is so?

Anthony Albanese: Well I haven’t, but it’s certainly is the case that what WorkChoices does is take away the ability of individual employees to bargain fairly, and we see that in the workplace every day. What is occurring is, I think, that Australians know that the balance has shifted too far and what they want is a system that treats people fairly, that rewards the overwhelming majority of employers who are good employers, but also employees.

Laurie Oakes: You’re the Shadow Minister in charge of water – given the crisis on the Murray River now, will you urge the Victorian Government to sign up to John Howard’s 10 billion dollar plan for the Murray-Darling basin?

Anthony Albanese: Well we’re very supportive of the approach that says there should be a national government control over the Murray-Darling basin. It doesn’t make sense to have the number of jurisdictions that are there and we support the streamlining.

But the Victorian Government of course isn’t alone in calling for further detail of the Prime Minister’s plan. Indeed, the [federal] government’s senior economic adviser, Treasury Secretary Ken Henry, said exactly the same thing, as have the National Farmers’ Federation, as have irrigators, so I think what we’d call for is for the Federal Government to sit down with the Victorian Government to get that detail out.

I mean, it is quite extraordinary that you’ve had a 10 billion dollar plan announced after 11 years of inaction and complacency on climate change and the water crisis, and still you’ve got no funding detail, you’ve got no time lines and there’s questions to be asked about the governance arrangements.

So we would call upon both the Commonwealth and the state government of Victoria to come to terms with the disagreements that are there. We want to see a streamlining of procedures.

Laurie Oakes: Mr Albanese, we’re out of time. We thank you.

Anthony Albanese: Good to talk to you.

 

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(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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