Browsing articles in "Interview Transcripts"
May 23, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa Adelaide, Two Tribes segment – Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Subjects: Canberra, foreign interference, Royal wedding, republic.

HOST: It is Two Tribes time on a Wednesday morning – Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese, good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from a very miserable Canberra out here today.

PYNE: I like it actually.

HOST: It’s bracing isn’t it?

ALBANESE: It’s got that sort of wet, cold, fog.

PYNE: That wet air feel. But I like it. It is nice to have a change. Imagine if we lived in North Queensland and we would be always warm.

HOST: I could think of worse case scenarios to living in North Queensland. Is Canberra a good place for the capital? I mean, we are probably not going to be able to move it now, we are sort of stuck with it.

PYNE: It’s too late now.

HOST: But what do you think, because it was put there to defuse the Sydney-Melbourne rivalry?

PYNE: The capital should have been put in Adelaide.

HOST: I agree

ALBANESE: I think Canberra is a great place for the capital. It’s Australia’s largest inland city. I think it has got, in the time I have been coming here, it has really become much more a real city.  It’s got quite a vibrant life around. I think it’s a good lifestyle for families to live.

PYNE: It’s very different in the last 25 years. There’s no doubt about that.

ALBANESE: It has really done. That’s what an ACT Labor Government does for you, you see. They improve liveability.

HOST: Calling it a Government Albo? It’s like city council on steroids.

ALBANESE: It is but they do a very good job. Andrew Barr is a very good Chief Minister.

PYNE: Oh stop it with your politics.

HOST: On a serious issue, is there an issue in Canberra at the moment with infiltration of the Australian Government and political parties by operatives close to the Chinese Communist Party? There is a front page story in The Australian today regarding comments made by Andrew Hastie in Parliament yesterday where he reveals and names someone identified as a co-conspirator by the FBI in the bribery of a UN official – someone who has close links to the Communist Party of China and also is a political donor in this country. We’ve had the Sam Dastyari affair fairly recently too. Do we have a problem Christopher Pyne?

PYNE: I don’t think we have a problem, but I think we need to be aware of all those kinds of issues around foreign interference and that is why the Government and quite frankly the Opposition are sitting down working together on foreign interference laws. George Brandis as the Attorney General just before he retired from politics revealed the Government’s plan around foreign interference laws, basically following on from a lot of the stories out of the United States that deal with their election. And our Attorney General now, Christian Porter, is sitting down with the Labor Party and the Parliament to work out what we can do in a bipartisan way to make sure that what is pretty low-level in terms of the stories that keep appearing every now and then doesn’t become a significant challenge for democratic government down the track.

HOST: What is your reading of this Albo? There’s a lot people – your old sparring partners from Labor’s New South Wales Right faction – people like the former premier, served for a decade, Bob Carr as Premier of NSW, does a lot of lobbying work now with Chinese business interests. There is a closeness there isn’t there?

ALBANESE: Well China is our most important trading partner.

HOST: I get that.

ALBANESE: The idea that someone who is involved in business in China has connections with the Chinese Communist Party is like saying they have connections with the Chinese State. The Chinese Government is the Communist Party. It is no more extraordinary than someone in Australia having contact with myself and Christopher Pyne as part of the Australian Government apparatus.

HOST: The Andrew Hastie comments though, are a bit more extraordinary are they not Albo, because he is talking about Chau Chak Wing being linked to the bribery of a UN official?

ALBANESE: Well the gentleman is an Australian citizen. That’s one point. Secondly, there’s no suggestion I don’t think from any of his comments there’s any inappropriate interference in any Australian political processes. I was with Christopher Pyne at the opening of the Chau Chak Wing Building in Sydney at UTS where he donated a substantial amount of money to build the new facility, which is quite an extraordinary design known as the Paper Bag Building here as part of UTS as a contribution.

Look, I think that we do need to be, as Christopher said, vigilant about any outside interference that does occur. We need to work through that in a bipartisan way and we do that. Julie Bishop I think might even be in China at the moment. But she is engaging with the Chinese Government. Steve Ciobo was up there last week. That’s a good thing that we have contact and that we build a positive relationship whilst maintaining of course a strong relationship with our major ally in the United States.

But I think the concern here is the suggestion as I read it from Mr Hastie’s comments is that information that he got as Chair of the National Security Committee he has released in the Parliament under parliamentary privilege. I find that quite extraordinary. I’m sure that they were probably rogue actions. I don’t suggest that it was authorised by Malcolm Turnbull, but there really needs to be an explanation about whether this is abuse of his position in that, according to his own statement, he has used information given to him in a briefing by another government’s agency to give a speech under parliamentary privilege about allegations from a different government, whilst being chair of the National Security Committee.

HOST: Just quickly before we let you go guys, you are both republicans. We saw an outpouring of warmth and interest here in Australia towards the wedding of Harry and Meghan last Saturday night. Chris, do you think that Australia will ever become a republic?

PYNE: Yes I do. I think we will become a republic, most likely when the Queen is no longer on the throne. I don’t think there is a lot of point in trying to become a republic while the Queen reigns, but I think when that generational change occurs, it is very worthwhile trying to achieve an Australian head of state. It’s the only office …

HOST: That could be within three or four years.

PYNE: Well, it’s the only office not available to an Australian and it is our Head of State. Now I find that remarkable. I loved the wedding by the way. I watched it with my family. I was quite surprised. I had no intention of watching it but I became quite absorbed. It was quite a spectacle. It reminded me that there is a lot of show business associated with this particular institution and it was great fun and I think from that point of view it was terrific. But that doesn’t change my mind about being a republican by the way.

HOST: Do you agree with that Albo?

ALBANESE: I agree with all of it, including maintaining my commitment to an Australian head of state and the republic. But the wedding was a hoot. It was an absolute hoot.

PYNE: Don’t get Will started. He didn’t watch it. He tried and he changed channels.

ALBANESE: Thank goodness the Souths-Cowboys game ended at about quarter past seven. So then the TV got switched over. I watched it. I didn’t have a choice, but I am glad I did. Weddings are joyous occasions and isn’t it a good thing that two people who clearly love each other – you could just see it, it’s real – and what a wonderful event. And why shouldn’t people get some enjoyment out of it?

HOST: That’s why people listen to Two Tribes too. The same sort of reasons. Feel the love.

ALBANESE: Because we all love each other.

HOST: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese , Two Tribes on a  Wednesday morning here on 5AA.

May 21, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – SKY News, David Speers PM Agenda – Monday, 21 May, 2018

Subjects: Senate Estimates Commitee hearing on faster rail.

DAVID SPEERS: .. A million dollar grant to a business to do a business case on a, not a High Speed Rail, Link but a fast rail link between Melbourne and Shepparton. With me now to talk more about this is the Shadow Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese. Thanks for joining us.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  Thanks David.

SPEERS: This is a  $5 million – well, to be clear it is $20 million that went to three different companies. So one of the companies we are talking about here, that you are concerned about, has received presumably somewhere in between $5 million and $20 million?

ALBANESE: Around and about. They didn’t seem to be able to provide the precise details.

SPEERS: You are a big fan of High Speed Rail. But what is wrong with this?

ALBANESE: I’m a huge fan of High Speed Rail and we had a proper study – $20 million into High Speed Rail down the east coast from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra. It identified a route. It identified regional economic growth as one of the great benefits of High Speed Rail. What we have here is quite extraordinary though. Here we have $20 million set aside in last year’s Budget, in 2017, for studies into faster rail and this proposal; it’s not just that it has a hole in it, it’s that it is one big hole – an idea of having faster rail from Melbourne to Shepparton but the company that is involved here – the company of Nicholas Cleary, a former senior New South Wales National Party person – CLARA – doesn’t have, it would appear, the money to back up the joint funding that is required. It only has $422,000 in capital in its accounts.

SPEERS: To do the …

ALBANESE: To do the study. The idea was matching funding. That doesn’t appear to have been there. They don’t have all of the land options in place for the corridor that is being picked to Shepparton and indeed there’s a lot of speculation around Shepparton that some of this corridor is on a flood plan and it relies …

SPEERS: That could be problematic.

ALBANESE: Could be a problematic.

SPEERS: Let me just break this down, this guy Nick Cleary, his company is Consolidated Land and Rail Australia. – CLARA. So he has been given several million dollars from the Government. He is obviously very keen on making a buck out of High Speed Rail. He has been buying up a lot of farmland.

ALBANESE: Well he has been buying options.

SPEERS: Options. Right.

ALBANESE: But it is very unclear as to whether all of the options are there. The department couldn’t really say that. The department couldn’t really say what the financial state of the company was. The department couldn’t really say what was happening with regard to the route of this and it relies upon this idea  – the whole CLARA proposal is much bigger.

SPEERS: It is. I was having a quick look at this.  He has plan for eight inland cities.

ALBANESE: Eight. That’s right.

SPEERS: Inland cities?

ALBANESE: We are in Australia’s major inland city right now. It is Canberra.

SPEERS: Yes.

ALBANESE: And there are others as well of course – Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga. Shepparton is one.

SPEERS: The guy is dreaming big though. He’s thinking big. He is thinking we can build these cities and a rail link and we’ll …

ALBANESE: Well this is Utopia after a very long night. The idea of eight cities in inland Australia where there are currently none? What people who have looked at this proposal in local government have come back with almost universally is saying: “Hang on a tick here, why don’t you do something about building up Albury-Wodonga or Canberra for that matter or Goulburn?”

SPEERS: And have the train go through?

ALBANESE: And have the train go through or on the border of. This is an idea …

SPEERS: I mean, you have been Minister. You’ve obviously had people come to you with ideas, you know: Oh we’ll build these inland cities, we’ll …

ALBANESE: I have had all sorts of …

SPEERS: Being a fan of High Speed Rail, I am sure plenty have come to you …

ALBANESE: I have seen some very ambitious plans.

SPEERS: So what’s going on here do you think?

ALBANESE: That’s what the Department has to answer, of how it is. What they did – there was a competitive bidding process. The bids included pretty sensible propositions for the Sydney-to-Canberra route, for example, that didn’t rely upon whole new cities being built. This relies upon that. It relies upon the options being there, it relies upon whole new planning mechanisms – by and large, in Australia, given how long we have seen European settlement, there is a reason why cities that have thrived and have grown are located where they are.

SPEERS: You obviously don’t think he should have been given several million dollars?

ALBANESE: No, I certainly don’t.

SPEERS: Why do you think it has happened? Are you alleging some political payoff here?

ALBANESE: I want answers to it. It is unusual that Mr Cleary is a former National Party official. Certainly there were a range of people from across the spectrum that were …

SPEERS: He’s got a few working with him, Steve Bracks I think …

ALBANESE: Resigned. Resigned from the Board. Barry O’Farrell resigned from the Board. There have been a  range of people have resigned, well before this grant was given.

SPEERS: So you think tax payers should be steering clear of this bloke?

ALBANESE: I think that if someone tells you something that you, in your guts know is too good to be true, it usually is. The fact that this project relies upon two new cities, that it goes as well – if you’re thinking about High Speed Rail and where the big population bases are, your starting point is not Shepparton, as the first High Speed route in Australia …

SPEERS: It’s a great place.

ALBANESE: It is a fantastic place, I love Shepparton. I like lots of smaller places around. The first High Speed Rail should also not be to Orange, which is also a great city in New South Wales …

SPEERS: A lovely place.

ALBANESE: … or Dalby in Queensland. It needs to be based upon populations. That is why Sydney-to-Canberra makes sense, that’s why Sydney-to-Melbourne makes sense, Sydney-to-Newcastle. Even Melbourne-to-Geelong where there is proposals, makes a lot of sense, and it would have saved Bronnie from getting her helicopter.

SPEERS: Anthony Albanese, thank you.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

 

 

May 20, 2018

Transcript of television interview – Insiders Program, ABC – Sunday, 20th May 2018

Subjects; UN resolution on Palestine, Budget, by-elections

BARRIE CASSIDY: Anthony Albanese, welcome. Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you, Barrie.

CASSIDY: We will come back to the Budget. I want to start with the vote in the UN with only Australia and the United States opposing the inquiry into the killings. How do you feel about that?

ALBANESE:  Well, the Government needs to explain why it was isolated as one of only two nations to vote against an independent inquiry. I would have thought, given the circumstances whereby, we’ve had at least 58 Palestinians killed, over 100 Palestinians killed since March 30th, that an independent investigation, is in the interests of all and no doubt, as with everything in the Middle East, it would find, if it were an appropriate investigation, that all the fault wasn’t on one side.

No doubt there has been provocation in Gaza, but international law requires a proportionate response and those people who have guns on one side and on the other side has rocks, the people with guns have a responsibility to act in a way that is proportionate and people have seen this acted out on their television screens in the past week and certainly I think that the Government needs to explain why it has opposed this independent investigation.

CASSIDY: So you are prepared to say the response wasn’t proportionate in this case?

ALBANESE:  Well, I’m prepared to say what anyone who looks at this objectively would say, which is that when you have all of the fatalities on one side of a dispute then there needs to be an explanation as to how those circumstances have been done. Now, there is no doubt that the primary concern, of course, is always to any fatalities in conflict and those who are injured and their families, but also, this is doing damage to Israel’s reputation. I’m a strong supporter of Israel’s right to exist within secure borders, but I recognise also the need for a two state solution and that requires a Palestinian state.

CASSIDY: But the NSW ALP have a motion, a successful motion at their last conference, to unilaterally recognise the state of Palestine. Will that motion go to the national conference and if it does, will you support it?

ALBANESE:  That motion will go to the national conference I would expect, but we have a NSW state conference at the end of June and I should imagine that resolution will be updated. I’ll wait and see what the debate is at the national conference and determine my position based upon my long-standing view that you need a two state solution in the Middle East with a state of Palestine, with a state of Israel, both of them having secure borders and making sure that that is in the interests of Palestinians and Israelis. For people who travel to that part of the world, when you recognise that Jerusalem and Bethlehem is like saying you can have security in my suburb of Marrickville from where I’m sitting here in Ultimo, they’re right next to each other. We can’t continue to have an ongoing, up to seven decades of conflict, there is a need for a resolution and quite clearly the international community must play a role in that.

CASSIDY: Do you though, support unilaterally the recognition of Palestine?

ALBANESE:  Well, I support recognising a Palestinian state, but with Israel continuing to have a right to exist within secure borders. And my concern is that the possibilities of a two state solution are being undermined by the ongoing expansion of settlements on the West Bank and in Gaza and there is a need for the international community to recognise that this circumstance, whereby people in Gaza now, we have three generation of refugees living there in circumstances without any economic capacity to have a decent standard of living, is causing enormous frustration and there is a need also to recognise, that it is understandable that Israel feels under siege given where it is in the world and given some of the Islamic fundamentalism that exists in many of the nations on its borders. But fundamentalism of any sort, be it Judaism, Islam or Christianity is bad. What we need is a solution there because it is providing fuel for instability across the entire region.

CASSIDY: Alright, we’ll go to the Budget now and infrastructure in your portfolio area to begin with. The Government has a good story to tell, hasn’t it, $75 billion over ten years, $25 billion of that new projects?

ALBANESE:   Well, this is, of course, all spin and no substance. The fact is if you look at this year’s Budget, compared with last year, there is a $2 billion cut across the forward estimates. Infrastructure investment is due to be $8 billion in the current financial year. That drops to $4.5 billion across the forward estimates, across four years. And we have seen as well the Government not even deliver what it said it would each year; some $4.7 billion of under spends in their first budget. Infrastructure investment, according to the Parliamentary Budget Office is in fact due to half over the next decade from 0.4 to 0.2 of GDP and now we have in this Budget, an increased propensity to have off-budget allocations. In this case, now for public transport projects like the Melbourne Airport rail link that simply means that it is a fantasy. They’re suggesting you can have public transport projects for free, which means that it won’t happen.

CASSIDY: But what they are doing is finding new ways to finance infrastructure projects?

ALBANESE:  No, all of the experts in the sector regard this as simply a con. Now, you can’t have off-budget financing for a project unless it is going to do two things. Firstly, it has to have revenue that is greater than the ongoing maintenance and costs of running a public transport project. Now, that doesn’t happen anywhere in Australia for any of the public transport projects and secondly, you have to produce a return on the investment, on the capital costs otherwise it has to be funded with at least some level of grant funding. And that’s why this is an announcement, a big announcement of $5 billion, but it’s not real and we’ve seen that with so many of the Government’s announcements. The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, a big announcement three years ago of $5 billion, and very little has happened. A couple of small projects, basically most of the expenditure seems to be having board meetings of the NAIF board members in the southern capitals. The NAIF has become the ‘No Actual Infrastructure Fund.’

CASSIDY: Can I ask you more broadly about an issue that Phil Coorey raised in the Financial Review? That a Labor Government would be no better placed than the Tony Abbott Government and the Malcolm Turnbull Government in terms of raising the revenue that you wanted to raise. You’ve committed spending, but there is no guarantee that you will be able to raise the revenue that you pinpointed because of the Senate?

ALBANESE:  Well, we’re very confident we will be able to. Of course, there have been changes to the way that the Senate is elected. Malcolm Turnbull blew that last time around with his Double-D election, he ensured an expansion of the cross benches.  It will be more difficult at the next election in a half Senate election for minor parties to come through. We’re very confident, we’ve been out there, Barrie, on issues such as our housing affordability strategies, of changes to negative gearing and the treatment of capital gains. Now, not just for this election coming up, but the last election as well. So we think there is a very clear mandate for that. We think our other changes are sensible. We’ve announced them well in advance and we’re confident that we would get them through the Senate and through the House of Representatives if we are fortunate to form Government after the next election.

CASSIDY: Adam Bandt said this morning the Greens wouldn’t support your tax cuts.

ALBANESE:  Well, Adam Bandt, of course, wouldn’t support, probably, tax cuts for anyone. That I think is the Greens position. But the fact is that we have a larger tax offset, that we will be arguing for, than the Government, more than $900 as opposed to a little bit over $500.
That’s our position and we’re confident that that would get through the Senate.

CASSIDY: Alright. A couple of, well, five by-elections, but two, which are very important to the Labor Party – Braddon and Longman. What would be a good result?

ALBANESE:  A good result is to win, Barrie. That’s a good result. Any time there is an election held, I’ll you’ll give you the big tip here, the big scoop on Insiders –  Labor frontbencher says he wants Labor to win!

CASSIDY: But if you fell in, if you just fell in in Longman for example, would that be good enough?

ALBANESE:  A win is a win, Barrie. We’re in it to win in all of the by-elections in which we’re running. We’re not terribly confident in Mayo of winning, but we’re having a crack there, unlike the Liberal Party which isn’t even giving it supporters someone to vote for in Perth and Fremantle.

CASSIDY:You are running as a stalking horse for Rebekha Sharkie aren’t you?

ALBANESE:  We’re running because it is the right thing to do for Labor to run candidates in these by-elections just as we ran a candidate in New England where there was no prospect of us winning that by-election, but we did the right thing because we want to take every opportunity to put our case before the Australian public. What’s extraordinary is you’ve got a Government that in Perth for example last time around, got 42% of the primary vote, which is running scared. That just says they’re not prepared to go out and back themselves. Labor is.

CASSIDY: And if you were to lose either Braddon or Longman, what kind of a shock would that be to the Labor Party?

ALBANESE:  Well, we are in it to win Barrie, and we are not into contemplating anything other than victory in those by-elections. We have got outstanding candidates in Susan Lamb and Justine Keay and they will be, they are already on the ground running. It is extraordinary Barrie that the by-elections haven’t been called and I saw Christopher Pyne coming out with some excuses. The truth is that when the Prime Minister at some stage in the next year goes to Government House and says let’s call the federal election, there’s 150 seats organised in the next 24 hours. I can’t understand why these by-elections haven’t been called.

CASSIDY: What’s your theory? Why do you think he is holding it up?

ALBANESE:  I think Malcolm Turnbull, just like he’s running away from the public in Perth and Fremantle, is delaying these by-elections for reasons that he needs to explain. The Speaker, of course has said that he’ll consult with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition about that timetable, but Christopher Pyne was suggesting some changes being made to candidates’ eligibility. I think the High Court has made their position very clear about candidates’ eligibility in the determinations that they’ve made.

CASSIDY:Thank you for your time this morning.

ALBANESE:  Good to be with you Barrie.

May 18, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 18 May 2018

Subjects: Live exports, Liberal Party pre-selection,

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: Thank you guys. Good morning again to you at home. The Agricultural Minister has announced tough new rules and penalties for live exporters, in response to distressing footage aired on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago. The crackdown though doesn’t go far enough for Liberal MP Sussan Ley. She’s broken ranks confirming she’ll put forward a Private Member’s Bill to phase out the sheep trade to Middle East.

Joining me now is Anthony Albanese and in Melbourne Christopher Pyne. Christopher, division in your ranks over this. Sussan Ley could derail the government’s plan.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Yesterday, Sylvia we announced a very tough crack down on the live sheep trade to make sure that the sheep are treated humanely. I think that was a very good decision by the Government. We take it incredibly seriously. We’re reducing the percentage of sheep that you can have per pen on those boats. We’re increasing the penalties – and the fines. Of course, we’re putting independent monitors on every single ship going to the Middle East which is a very good outcome. I think we’ll make a huge difference for the sheep and for the trade.

JEFFREYS: Thousands more sheep will die during the current summer months in the Middle East before that plan is implemented. Are you prioritising the exporters over the animals?

PYNE: Well, we have announced yesterday that the number of sheep you can have on the ships will be reduced by 28 per cent. We’ve also announced we’ll do further work on ventilation and on changing the ships to improve them – to get rid of old ships to have new ships with much better facilities for the sheep. It’s an important trade, but also has to be humanely treated. These sheep have to be humanly treated.

JEFFREYS: They won’t be over next few months and thousands more will die. Are you protecting exporters and profits over the animals?

PYNE: My understanding is that these regulations are being implemented as soon as possible. We’ll also introduce legislation to ensure this work can be done. We’ve responded as toughly as you can without banning the trade which will be going too far.

JEFFREYS: Are you disappointed that Sussan Ley has broken ranks on this – that she’s going against the party?

PYNE: Sussan Ley is a private member as we call them, a backbencher in the Government. She’s entitled to put a bill to the Parliament and have that debated at some stage. I welcome all backbenchers doing that. I think she is well within her rights. She has strong views about it. We’re not a Stalinist party. She certainly won’t be punished for having those views. She’s entitled to have those views.

JEFFREYS: Albo ending the trade permanently is going to wipe out jobs, it will destroy some farmers. What is Labor’s transition plan? How will you support farmers through that process?

ALBANESE: Transitioning to ending live exports will actually create jobs. It will create jobs in value adding here in Australia. We need to immediately end the export during the summer months. We know that it is…

JEFFREYS: Julia Gillard did that in 2011, it did not go well for her. The response from Indonesia was shocking. Has Bill Shorten not learnt from those mistakes?

ALBANESE: What we had in 2011 was very different. What we are saying here is that there’s a need to transition the industry away from live exports to ensure that jobs are not just protected but enhanced, but that during the summer months we know the consequences. The evidence is in and we need to respond to that. In the interests, not just of the animals themselves, but also in the long-term interests of the industry, they need that protection. They need to transition so that we see increased jobs created in places like Western Australia.

JEFFREYS: Whatever happens and however it happens farmers will need support. It is going to hit them quite badly. There is no doubt about that. I want to move on to Scott Morrison’s rather unusual press conference yesterday. He was publicly endorsing Ann Sudmalis, as she stares down a preselection battle in the seat of Gilmore in NSW. It follows the shock defeat of Jane Prentice in Queensland as well. Christopher, if Ann Sudmalis is a phenomenal member as the Treasurer says, why does she need his public endorsement like that? What is wrong with the pre-selection process in your party?

PYNE: There’s nothing wrong with the pre-selection process in the Liberal Party. It’s very democratic as it should be. Every member of the political party gets a vote in pre-selections in NSW and in South Australia. Every member of Parliament who wants to remain and candidates who want to stand are allowed to do so. The voters of the party will make a decision.

JEFFREYS: If it’s such a good system why are two very effective, very popular members of Parliament potentially losing their jobs? One has lost it and another one stands to lose it as well. How can that be based on merit?

PYNE: Well, it’s based on merit because nobody tells the preselectors how to vote. Jane Prentice is a great friend of mine and a good colleague. She lost her preselection, 260 votes to 105. Voters of Ryan decided that the preselectors of the party wanted a new member in Julian Simmonds. That’s democracy. I defeated a sitting member in a preselection 26 years ago. I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it – Ian Wilson my predecessor. That’s internal party democracy. That’s the way it works. The alternative is the smoke-filled room of the Labor Party, where they dole out seats to the factions.

ALBANESE: Clearly, the Liberal Party has a problem with women’s representation. The fact is they’ve been going backwards in the last few terms, at a time when Labor’s representation of women has surged to 48 per cent, after the next election we will hit the 50 per cent figure. The fact is Jane Prentice is a very effective local member. She’s one of the few people on the other side who understand cities and urban policy and public transport. I think she’s a great loss to the Parliament.

JEFFREYS: Very quickly speaking of elections, Albo, will you be leading Labor to the next election given this week’s polls.

ALBANESE: I’ll be doing the job that I’ve been given. I’ll be doing it to the best of my capacity as I do each and every day as part of the Labor team.

JEFFREYS: Alright. I’m afraid we’ve run out of time. There’s a little wedding happening in London over the weekend.

ALBANESE: We’ve noticed.

JEFFREYS: We must go back there as matter of urgency. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese thank you for your time.

May 16, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes – Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Subjects: Bill Shorten, citizenship, by-elections, Chris Bowen.

HOST: Good morning to you.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

HOST: Now we are going to start with you today if we can Albo.

ALBANESE: Yes. Alphabetical order. It’s because I am more important?

PYNE: He’s your favourite, that is the truth.

HOST: I don’t think you are going to mind Chris. It is never good news when we start with someone.

PYNE: Good point.

ALBANESE: Hang on, I will just get ready.

HOST: OK. Brace yourself. Now Albo, I wanted to start by paying you a compliment and I pay that same one to Chris too, which is that one of the things we love about having you on the show is that you bring a refreshing level of honesty to the discussion of politics. So with that in mind, can I ask you this question: Bill Shorten – he is having a total shocker at the moment isn’t he?

ALBANESE: No, he’s not. He’s ahead on the polls this week in both News …

HOST: This week.

ALBANESE: No, no, for the last 32, actually, Newspolls we have been ahead. We have been ahead substantially. If the election had of been held on Saturday, he would be the Prime Minister and I would be a Minister in the Government.

HOST: There’s been an enormous surge though to Malcolm Turnbull as preferred PM. Correspondingly, there has been a significant drop in Bill Shorten’s standing and he has misled the Australian people over the citizenship fiasco, hasn’t he?

ALBANESE: Well, it is true that Malcolm Turnbull got a bounce in the poll, but that didn’t translate through to votes. And it’s not a popularity contest. It’s about votes and the fact is that people are choosing to say that if an election was held, they would vote Labor. We obviously regret the fact that these by-elections have to occur. We’ve said that. It’s now impacted people across the political spectrum – National, Liberal, Green, the party formerly known as Nick Xenophon, I am not sure what they are called these days, and Labor.

HOST: Is his leadership riding on the result of those by-elections?

ALBANESE: No. We intend to win the by-elections.

HOST: But what if you don’t?

ALBANESE: We intend to win. The fact is that governments have found it difficult to win seats from the Opposition in the form of by-elections and the fact that the Liberal Party is not even bothering to run in Perth and Fremantle says something about them. They are not even confident that they are prepared to put themselves forward in a seat like Perth, where last time round they got 42 per cent of the primary vote.

HOST: Chris Pyne, is it a concern that despite promising billions of dollars’ worth of corporate and personal income tax cuts, the polls didn’t shift on Monday?

PYNE: I think it’s very interesting about the polls. I mean, if you listen to the commentators of the far left and the far right you would assume that the Government had been written off a long time ago. But in the real contests – the New England by-election, the Bennelong by-election, the South Australian election, Tasmanian election, the Liberal Party is winning when it actually counts and that is because Bill has got a twin ‘T’ problem – a trust and tax problem. People don’t trust Bill Shorten and he has a $220 billion tax hit on average Australians to pay for his spending spree. So he’s got significant problems.

The Government is actually travelling pretty well. We are getting on with the job. The economy is growing well. We have created 420,000 new jobs in the last 12 months. The Budget has been well received. Of course Labor should win all of these by-elections. The last time a Government took a by-election off the Opposition was in 1920 when Billy Hughes was the Prime Minister of Australia. So of course Bill Shorten should win these by-elections and he should win them well. If he doesn’t, yes his leadership will be in dire straits and our friend on the other end of the phone will be licking his chops.

HOST: Is that true Albo? Are you licking your chops?

ALBANESE: I’m not quite sure what that term means.

PYNE: A wolf-like description.

ALBANESE: Christopher, now you are getting very graphic.

PYNE: … children’s stories.

ALBANESE: It’s nine in the morning, my friend.

PYNE: It’s like the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood. He’s licking his chops.

ALBANESE: I have a view that I have been given a job and I do it to the best of my capacity. I have always been loyal to the Labor Party and to the Labor Party team. I’m doing that now. I am playing a role. I think that in terms of the infrastructure agenda I have been pointing out – I had a very good op-ed in the Adelaide Advertiser last week …

PYNE: Alongside mine.

ALBANESE:  … last Friday. But mine was much better.

PYNE: I wouldn’t say that this was a huge endorsement of Bill Shorten, fellows. This is sounding like an endorsement of Anthony Albanese.

ALBANESE: I am doing my job, and Bill is doing his job, and he is doing it very well.

PYNE: But not for long by the sound of it.

HOST:  Well, one thing you have mentioned a lot in the past though Albo is how people are sick of sort of pro-forma, cookie-cutter politicians and the glib sound bites and the zingers. Is that lack of perceived realness his problem?

ALBANESE: No. I think people have got to be who they are. I think Christopher and I, for better or worse, I think we now have a running two-person show. We have spread across the country to Perth!

HOST: Oh no, you’ll be playing at the Bridgeway Hotel soon.

PYNE: We should be syndicated.

ALBANESE: I think people do want politicians who will say it like it is and one of the things about Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen today at the National Press Club is that we will be upfront about where the dollars are coming from, about where the dollars are going to, and about our priorities. No Opposition for a very long time has been prepared to take the brave stances that we have been prepared to take and…

PYNE: Well I heard that …

ALBANESE: … it’s to Bill Shorten’s credit.

PYNE: I heard Chris Bowen on another radio station this morning saying that he wouldn’t be telling us what his surplus might be until the next election – not for 12 months.

ALBANESE: I only listen to 5AA.

HOST: Yes, I was going to say that Chris. You don’t need to listen to other radio stations. Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese, always a rollicking chat. Good on you both. We will do it again next week.

May 15, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Sydney – Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Subjects: Budget, polls, Bill Shorten. 

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This is a Budget that was a failure when it comes to actual infrastructure investment. It is due to decline from $8 billion in the current financial year to just $4.5 billion across the Forward Estimates – over four years – so a cut almost in half. This is a Government that talked up infrastructure investment before the Budget, but didn’t actually put the dollars in the Budget to create the projects that are needed. And on projects like Melbourne Airport Link, they pretend that it can be done for free. It can’t. It needs real investment, just like we need real investments in Western Sydney Rail and in Cross River Rail in Brisbane and other important projects.

REPORTER: I don’t know if you have had a chance to look at party stalwart Graham Richardson’s column in The Australian today where, I quote, where he says he uncomfortable about the number of people who approach him in the street and say that they don’t trust Bill Shorten. Does Bill have a trust problem?

ALBANESE: Well Graham Richardson of course is a commentator these days rather than an ALP activist and I believe very strongly that we are in a position to win the next election and if you look at the polls, the fact is that under Bill Shorten, Labor is ahead in both of the polls that were published this week, one of which showed an increase from 52 per cent two-party-preferred to 54.

REPORTER: They are specific stats about the party which is valid that you have pointed those out, but what about Bill Shorten and the issue of trust? Do you think that there is an issue from the voter in regards to trust when it comes to the Opposition Leader?

ALBANESE: Well Bill Shorten has been advancing policies that are receiving the support of the Australian people. Our support for education and health and infrastructure investment, our strong opposition to giving a tax break just for the big end of town, for big banks and big multi-nationals. Bill Shorten has been leading the party on that case and that has been well received, which is why we have been ahead in the polls now for 32 Newspolls.

REPORTER: If the party does drop a seat in the by-elections that are coming up, how much pressure does this put on Bill Shorten?

ALBANESE: Well we intend to win these by-elections. We think we have got a good story to tell, we’ve got good local candidates. We have big issues of education, health, infrastructure, child care. Our priorities are different from the current Government’s and we will will be advocating that case in all seats right across the country in these five by-elections. I think it says a lot about the Government itself that they are not even bothering to field a candidate in Perth where last time they got 42 per cent of the primary vote, or Fremantle. I think that is showing contempt for the Australian voters.

REPORTER: Will there be any soul-searching if you do lose seats?

ALBANESE: Well we intend to win these by-elections and we intend to win the next election.

REPORTER: Many Liberal MPs think that you have what it takes to beat Malcolm Turnbull. Does that give you confidence?

ALBANESE: Well I am out there arguing my case as I have just done on infrastructure, on transport, on regional development, on cities, on tourism, and taking it up to the Government.  That is what I do. I do it in a consistent way. I do it not just in my electorate but right across the country and that is my focus – being part of the Labor team. I think we have a very strong team across the board and person-for-person I think I would much rather be a part of Labor than the Coalition, which is a very weak team which is divided at the top, that has sniping from the back bench from the former prime minister and the former deputy prime minister. We have a very positive agenda and it is not surprising that that is being reflected out there in the community.

REPORTER: Do you think Bill Shorten is an enigma?

ALBANESE: I think Bill Shorten is a strong person who has a record going back many, many years standing up for working people first as a trade union leader and then as a Parliamentarian. Thank you.

May 14, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – Perth Live with Oliver Peterson, 6PR – Monday, 14 May 2018

Subjects: Budget; citizenship; Fremantle and Perth; polls; date of by-elections; Jane Prentice; party democracy; shipbuilding.

OLIVER PETERSON: Christopher Pyne, good afternoon.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Ollie, good to be with you again.

PETERSON: And Anthony Albanese, good to be talking with you again as well.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s good to be here, particularly after my Rabbitohs beat your Dragons yesterday.

PETERSON: I didn’t think we were going to discuss the rugby league today Albo.

ALBANESE: I just had to work it in early.

PETERSON: Well you certainly put this on the back foot so I will go to Christopher Pyne first and give him a free kick if you like here because the lines in the sand really have been drawn here after last year’s Budget and Budget Reply speech. Christopher Pyne, doesn’t your Government’s plan really encourage Australians to want to work harder, particularly earning between $50,000 and $200,000 per year. Is Labor’s plan lacking in that real opportunity for Australians, as I say, to work harder?

PYNE: Well the good thing about our plans is that we are basically abolishing bracket creep so the more you earn, you won’t suddenly move into a different tax bracket and still be paying the same or even more tax because we are reducing the number of thresholds from four to three and we are proving that we are the party for aspirational Australians. Now Bill had the same policy in 2005. He said we should have three tax rates and now he says that that is not progressive enough because you see the problem with Bill is ‘Unbelieveabill’. He can never be trusted and that is the problem with his response to the Budget last week, nobody believes it, whereas ours was sensible and measured, it grows the economy and reduces tax.

PETERSON: All right is Anthony Albanese, as Christopher Pyne says there, is your leader ‘Unbelieveabill’?

ALBANESE: Our leader has a plan that is realistic, that is fully costed, that will deliver not just tax cuts for those who most need it in the form of double what the Government is offering; what we will also do is invest in education and health and infrastructure and be able to pay down debt sooner because we are not having the big giveaway to big business and the big banks.

PYNE: This is where it becomes unbelievable you see. So they are going to have apparently less tax, more spending and pay back debt.

ALBANESE: Well, we are not giving away $80 billion.

PYNE: Anybody who is managing their own budget knows that you can’t actually spend more, take less revenue in and also reduce your credit card at the same time. This is Labornomics, you see. This is what happened under Rudd and Gillard and we are all going to go through the same experience if Bill wins next year.

PETERSON: It has been a tough week Anthony Albanese for the Labor Party with the dual citizenship crisis obviously reaching a new height last week – four MPs embroiled in this. Now, didn’t your Party in particular say that you were better, your processes were better, there would be no problems? Why didn’t your MPS like John Alexander or like Barnaby Joyce from the other side of politics, declare the fact that they had citizenship issues last year and head to a by-election back in 2017? Why is it dragging into 2018?

ALBANESE: Well, hang on a tick. Barnaby Joyce sat in the Parliament and in the Cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister after he conceded that he was a citizen of New Zealand – quite extraordinary. These people have all renounced their citizenship. They went through a process which was in accordance with the previous High Court rulings and there was a change there and therefore they have been impacted. Then they have done the right thing – resigned. Those by-elections need to be held and I note that the Liberal Party isn’t even entering the field in Perth and Fremantle. They are not even giving their rusted on voters the opportunity to vote for the Liberal Party in those by-elections. I find that quite extraordinary.

PETERSON: Yes, let’s come to that in a moment, but on to the point Anthony Albanese. Last year, particularly Bill Shorten said that your processes were ridgy-didge effectively, paraphrasing for a moment here, that everything was OK.

PYNE: Rolled gold.

PETERSON: Ok rolled gold, there you go. So what was wrong with Labor’s processes and now does Bill Shorten have a leg to stand on when it comes to the dual citizenship saga?

ALBANESE: Labor’s processes relied upon the previous High Court rulings. What occurred, say for example Josh Wilson there in Fremantle – he was preselected on a particular day. On that very day, he applied, filled out the forms to renounce his citizenship. He sent it off with the payment that was withdrawn from the bank the very next day. Now it wasn’t finalised, the processing of that, until after the nominations had closed – after he had nominated for the seat because he was a last-minute candidate due to the withdrawal of the person who previously had been preselected. So the reason why the courts have in the past have said that that’s OK is obviously that it relies upon another country – the High Commission of the UK in this case – to process the application, which is not within the power of the person applying for the renunciation of their citizenship. Now Josh did everything that he could …

PYNE: This is a very long answer.

ALBANESE: … clearly that wasn’t enough.

PETERSON: Christopher Pyne?

PYNE: He’s just trying to talk out the interview. We all know that Bill’s credibility is shredded. Anthony knows it. Everybody knows it. He took a very arrogant line last year when Malcolm Turnbull held out the hand of bipartisanship and said let’s refer a number of MPs who have got a cloud over their head. Bill wrote a very rude letter back on August 17 saying that he had absolutely no reason to co-operate with the Government and he has been found heavily wanting. And that is because Bill lives day to day. At least Anthony Albanese believes in things, whereas Bill thinks if I get through the next 24-hour news cycle, I’m in front. And that is why the people don’t trust him.

PETERSON: Well he is in front at the moment on the two-party preferred poll. But Anthony Albanese, perfect opportunity to ask, on the preferred PM question it is 46 to 32 per cent when it comes to Malcolm Turnbull verses Bill Shorten. Is there another alternative in the Labor Party, Anthony Albanese, who might be able to close that gap?

ALBANESE: I tell you what. In Perth and Fremantle I will make this prediction – Labor will do better than the Libs, because we are actually running. Because we are actually running.

PETERSON: Well there is no candidate there Christopher Pyne …

ALBANESE: We are actually putting forward our case. We are actually running in Mayo too even though it is highly unlikely that we will win because we think that is the right thing to do. And what matters of course on polling day is who wins Government and according to both the polls that are out today, if the election was held on Saturday, the week after the Government brought down its Budget with all the hoopla that goes with that – all the advantages that it has – they would still lose and Labor would win the election.

PETERSON: Christopher Pyne, are you disappointed that the WA Liberal Party has decided not to field candidates in the Fremantle and Perth by-elections? Let’s be honest, Fremantle you’d have next to no chance, but Perth on a margin of only around 3 per cent. Are you surprised that your colleagues over here didn’t preselect somebody?

PYNE: Ollie, the by-election is decided on the boundaries from the last election. So it’s about a 6.5% Labor seat. The new boundaries don’t kick in until the 2019 election. A government hasn’t won a seat off the opposition in a by-elections since 1920 and even when Labor was at its lowest ebb in Western Australia, when we got 57 percent of the two-party-preferred vote and Labor got 43, they still won Perth and Fremantle. When we won 12 out of 15 seats they still won Perth and Fremantle so they are as Labor seats as you’re ever gonna get. So we’ll focus on Longman and Braddon and Mayo, all of which we have a better chance in and we’ll let the Greens take on Labor in those two Perth seats. Of course, you can vote Green and you won’t change the Government and you won’t hurt the Opposition, but you can protest against the $220 billion of new taxes that Bill Shorten wants to levy on Australian companies and individuals.

PETERSON: Preselection issues…

ALBANESE: I never thought I would hear Christopher Pyne tell people to vote for the Greens.

PYNE: Well, I’m just saying they could vote for the Greens and it wouldn’t change the Government.

ALBANESE: That is historic. Next thing you know he’ll be saying…

PYNE: I wouldn’t say it your seat, Albo. I wouldn’t say it in Grayndler. I’d never say it in Grayndler. I was wearing a Save Albo t-shirt at the last election.

ALBANESE: One of the points that’s got to be made too is; let’s call these by-elections. I read today that these by-elections might be put off ’til July. Now, the only reason why that would happen would be if Malcolm Turnbull didn’t want the scrutiny that will come if by-elections are held on 16th June, which is when they should held.

PYNE: Rubbish.

PETERSON: Do you have a date for the by-elections, Christopher Pyne?

ALBANESE: Why aren’t they called?

PYNE: Well, the Speaker decides the date of the by-elections and of course because of the citizenship debacle that Bill Shorten has visited upon the Australian people yet again, we need to make sure that all the processes are in place; that this doesn’t happen a third time. So the Government with the AEC will go through its proper processes. They’ll give advice to the Speaker. The Speaker will make a decision and of course we’ll be running in the by-elections. We’ve already announced candidates, just as we would whenever it’s called and the date is immaterial. It’s the outcome that matters, and these elections give people an opportunity to protest against the $220 billion of new taxes that Bill Shorten wants to levy on people.

ALBANESE: Protest against an opposition. That’s a new pitch in a by-election.

PYNE: If I was in one of those seats I’d be voting Liberal.

PETERSON: Talking of by-elections, talking of preselections Christopher Pyne, I need to ask you about the Assistant Minister for Disability Services, Jane Prentice. She is out after eight years of service. She’s being replaced by Julian Simmonds. Is there a gender issue in the Liberal Party, Christopher Pyne?

PYNE: No, there isn’t. I mean one of the good things about the Liberal Party is that we are an internal democracy. We don’t have the candidates being chosen in smoke-filled back rooms at the Labor Party conference, like the Labor Party does, particularly in Western Australia where you’ve had a history of that. We actually give our members a genuine vote. I know Anthony Albanese is in favour of the members having a genuine vote in the Labor Party and I defeated a sitting member in a preselection. That’s internal democracy. Jane is a good friend of mine. I’m disappointed to see her defeated but that’s the choice that the preselectors of Ryan have made and everyone will just have to get on with it.

PETERSON: Anthony Albanese, would you like the members to have a vote as well?

ALBANESE: I always am a supporter of direct democracy. In the Labor Party we have direct votes in New South Wales. We have 100 percent rank and file preselection. That’s how I got into Parliament. In terms of the candidates, obviously there were truncated processes because of the by-elections being called. But both the candidates in Perth and of course in Freo have very strong grassroots support in the Party. The tragedy here is the lack of representation from women on the frontbench and now on the backbench of the Liberal Party and the National Party. We saw on one day last year the extraordinary circumstance whereby there were no women sitting on the Liberal Party frontbench because Julie Bishop was away and Kelly O’Dwyer was on maternity leave. It’s quite outrageous that someone like Jane Prentice who actually has a great deal of capacity particularly in the area of cities and urban policy; who was making a contribution, has just been rubbed out by someone who was her former staffer, who told her clearly that she was going to be okay and at the last minute has sprung this coup on her with an impact on the Liberal Party meaning that Malcolm Turnbull should intervene and say: ‘That’s not good enough. Just steady on there, young fella – this woman’s has got something to contribute’. She’s a frontbencher in the Government and the Government hardly have any women on their frontbench.

PETERSON: Christopher Pyne, can we just move to a meeting you had last week with the State Government’s Paul Papalia. You had a meeting of course around a particular area. I know that you like to tell me you’re very popular in Henderson around shipbuilding and the like, but we did see reports out of The Australian late last week that Austal may no longer have some of the work on the offshore patrol vessels. Are you able to confirm that Austal and Lürssen will not be working together on the offshore patrol vessels or are you hoping to have a solution here?

PYNE: No, Austal and Lürssen have failed to come to a commercial negotiation which is disappointing for Austral, but it’s still good news for the people in Henderson because the 10 offshore patrol vessels we built there, by Lürssen in conjunction with Civmec trading as Forgacs which is building a brand spanking new shipyard at Henderson costing a million dollars, so there’ll be 400 to 600 direct jobs and about another 400 to 600 indirect jobs at Henderson in shipbuilding. It confirms Henderson as the other hub of shipbuilding in Australia alongside Osborne and Paul Papalia and I had a great meeting last Monday in Canberra to talk about investment in infrastructure and planning for the Henderson precinct to take full advantage of the Government’s $200 billion build up of our military capability, the largest in our peacetime history. So there’ll be other work for Austal. They said in their statement that they had plenty of work in building ferries and taking advantage of other Government Defence contracts like the future frigates. They’re bidding into the United States for more combat vessels, so that they’re a healthy company. Unfortunately they and Lürssen and weren’t able to come to commercial terms and that’s life in commerce, I’m afraid. The jobs will still happen whether they’re wearing Austal shirts or Lürssen shirts, the jobs will still occur in Henderson.

PETERSON: Alright Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese. We are out of time for the Odd Couple segment, but we’ll do it all again soon. Thank you very much gentlemen.

PYNE: Great to talk to you.

ALBANESE: Thanks for having us.

May 14, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 3AW with Niel Mitchell – Monday, 14 May 2018

Subjects: By-elections, infrastructure, Melbourne Airport rail line, immigration, tax, Pauline Hanson, polls. 

NEIL MITCHELL: It’s not like the Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to resort to such rhetoric but on the Today program the other day on Channel 9 he said that Bill Shorten was like a wounded gazelle and Anthony Albanese was the lion hiding in the long grass. Anthony Albanese, the lion, good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day. I’m hardly hiding. Here I am!

MITCHELL: But you’re hiding from Bill. You’re going to jump on him and eat him, is that right?

ALBANESE: Not at all. I’d be there with you in the studio if it wasn’t for that fog that you just reported on.

MITCHELL: That got you stranded in Sydney, did it?

ALBANESE: It did for a long time. Yes, they put us on the plane and then made us sit there for a long time, but these things happen.

MITCHELL: Tell me, these by-elections coming up, Super Saturday. What would be a good result for you?

ALBANESE: A good result would be for us to win.

MITCHELL: What would be a bad result?

ALBANESE: Well, to not win, funnily enough.

MITCHELL: Not win how many? I mean, if you drop one, is that bad?

ALBANESE: Well, to win all of them. The truth is that as we know, an opposition has not lost a seat to a Government since 1911 so by-elections have traditionally favored the opposition. We have in these seats outstanding candidates. I think it says something about the Coalition that they are not running in Perth or Fremantle. I find that quite extraordinary that they are not prepared to defend their own record in Government in a state in which they historically as well as in recent times have been very strong. So we go into these by-elections with candidates who were new when they were elected in 2016, with the exception of our candidate in Perth. They’re people who have already, I think, developed outstanding records in standing up for their respective electorates. They’ll be campaigning very strongly and I look forward to campaigning alongside them and alongside Bill Shorten and the rest of the Labor team.

MITCHELL: So what’s the message if you lose one? How bad is it?

ALBANESE: We don’t intend to lose one. We intend to campaign…

MITCHELL: Of course not, but you know the speculation. This is the test, I think Bill Shorten himself said, it was a test for leadership or a test of the teams. Everybody says it’s a test for Malcolm Turnbull if this goes wrong and it’s a test for Bill Shorten if it goes wrong. You agree with that?

ALBANESE: I’m absolutely determined that we win these seats.

MITCHELL: Yeah, but is it a test of the leadership?

ALBANESE: It’s a test for the entire team – for all of us who are part of the Labor team, and a test for the Coalition team, indeed just after they’ve handed down their Budget. I think it is an opportunity for Australians to talk about what their priorities are. The good thing about this is that it’s a bit of a trial run for a full election because it’s across four states. It is quite remarkable to have by-elections all at once, on one day, and it’s a chance for us to talk about our priorities of lifting living standards, of improving education, health and infrastructure.

MITCHELL: So if it goes bad are you ready to pounce?

ALBANESE: I’m just doing the job that I’ve been given and I intend to be, as part of the team, as I always am, out there campaigning.

MITCHELL: Julia Gillard once said to me when she was Deputy PM, she said ‘I’m more likely to play full forward for Footscray than I am to challenge Kevin Rudd.’ We know what happened. Have you got a similar analogy?

ALBANESE: I have been, I think on my record, someone who’s been loyal to the cause of Labor my whole political life, not just in the 22 years since I’ve been in Parliament. I regard speculation about leadership as being unproductive. I’ve never engaged in it. What I do is do the job that I’ve been given and do it to the best of my capacity as the Member for Grayndler in what’s a tough seat to hold onto, but also with the vast responsibilities that I’ve been given.

MITCHELL: I asked Scott Morrison, there is something of a disagreement so it’s only fair I ask you. It would seem that both the Government’s outlook and your outlook as presented in the Budget Reply speech is predicated on continuing immigration at about the same level as it is now. Is that true?

ALBANESE: Well in terms of the Budget figures, we of course work out our Budget Reply based upon the figures that the Government has presented and they indicate there’s been a slight reduction in the level of immigration but going forward. I sat in the Budget lock up with the rest of the economic team and helped to, I guess, foreshadow where we go over the next couple of days before Bill’s reply on Thursday night. We take the figures as they’re there.

MITCHELL: So does that mean you are locked in to the similar immigration rate that we now have?

ALBANESE: Well, of course no one’s locked in forever and what we’re…

MITCHELL: Should it be reviewed? I mean, that’s the point.

ALBANESE: It’s looked at all the time. That’s the truth, and the Government does that all the time as well. We should always, I think, be prepared to examine what the right policies are. One of the things that I’m concerned about is urban congestion. I don’t think the Government has done enough and so if you have an increase in population you really need to be investing real dollars in infrastructure to make a difference, particularly when it comes to public transport projects. I also think that you need to do much more in terms of decentralisation. There is enormous pressure on Melbourne and Sydney. That’s one of the reasons why I support a High Speed Rail line between Melbourne and Sydney as the first stage.

MITCHELL: And this is one of the reasons people are talking about a reassessment of immigration, because of the infrastructure not catching up with it.

ALBANESE: That’s exactly right.

MITCHELL: So do we get a reassessment or not?

ALBANESE: The idea that this is just about immigration is not right, in my view, because migration does bring up positives in terms of economic development, but also the negatives – if infrastructure doesn’t keep up in terms of urban congestion – need to be dealt with. They can’t just be wished away. And that’s why I was here on Friday in Melbourne speaking at the Australian Smart Communities Conference talking about the importance of the National Broadband Network, talking about the importance of High Speed Rail for the decentralisation agenda, to take pressure off those cities particularly Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.

MITCHELL: We need to take a break. I will come back and have a chat to you on the other side of the break. We will only keep you a few minutes. Anthony Albanese, the Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Cities. Former Deputy Prime Minister of course, under Kevin Rudd.

[AD BREAK]

MITCHELL: Mr. Albanese, is $95,000 a year rich?

ALBANESE: No, it’s not. $95,000 a year, depending upon your circumstances – how many kids you’ve got, whether you’ve got one or two people working, you can be under real pressure.

MITCHELL: But this is Chris Bowen’s plan, over $95,450 you’re worse off after 2022.

ALBANESE: No. Certainly, what the Government has…

MITCHELL: Isn’t that right?

ALBANESE: No.

MITCHELL: No?

ALBANESE: Well, that’s a simplification of it. The fact is that the Government…

MITCHELL: You’re better off?

ALBANESE: The Government has a plan…

MITCHELL: What about your plan?

ALBANESE: If you vote for Malcolm Turnbull this time, and a time again, and a time again, you might get some relief. The idea of saying that in 2024 you’re going to make these changes is a triumph of hope over experience.

MITCHELL: It is better than your plan for the $95,000 income.

ALBANESE: What Labor has put forward is a realistic plan right now which prioritises people on low and middle incomes and of course those changes also flow through to those people who are earning $95,000 dollars. They will be better off than they are at the moment. So we’ve prioritised a real plan. We’ve also prioritised investing in education and health and infrastructure, and we’ve prioritised not giving the big tax cuts to big companies.

MITCHELL: Do you think there’s a problem with Bill Shorten’s credibility, through? People seem not to believe him.

ALBANESE: I don’t think that’s right.

MITCHELL: Really?

ALBANESE: We are going to be advocating our plan in the lead up to both these by-elections, and the general election. I do think that people are cynical in general about what will happen for any government or opposition, for that matter, making promises about what will happen in 2024.

MITCHELL: Yeah, but what about the rolled gold guarantee that all you Members of Parliament are legitimate? That looks good now, doesn’t it?

ALBANESE: What about the guarantee that the Coalition made that they would have a budget surplus…

MITCHELL: Well, a pox on both your houses.

ALBANESE: …in their first year and every year after?

MITCHELL: All right, so they haven’t got much credibility either. But where’s yours? Where’s Bill Shorten’s?

ALBANESE: When it comes to the issue of people having to resign, Labor got that wrong. That’s the truth.

MITCHELL: Bill got it wrong.

ALBANESE: The High Court made a determination which meant that we have to have these by-elections, just as Malcolm Turnbull got it wrong when he said ‘the High Court shall hold’ as the Deputy Prime Minister continued to sit in the Parliament – as the Deputy Prime Minister – without being referred to the Court. He didn’t step aside from his ministerial position and continued to make decisions in the Cabinet. I think that’s far more serious than a backbencher waiting for the decision of a court.

MITCHELL: Will One Nation stay at the bottom of your list of preferences?

ALBANESE: Yes, they will.

MITCHELL: Why?

ALBANESE: Because we think that they are a party that seeks to divide the country. We believe that Pauline Hanson’s political career has been characterised by seeking to cause division in the community. What we need from political leaders and real leadership is statements that unite the country. Now, Pauline is someone who I have a pretty reasonable relationship with on a personal level but I think that her views led to both John Howard and Labor putting her last the last time she was in office. That is one of the factors that led to her exclusion from the Parliament for a very long time and that was a principled position which John Howard took. We’ve maintained our principles. It’s a pity that Malcolm Turnbull hasn’t.

MITCHELL: The airport rail link for Melbourne. Will it happen?

ALBANESE: It won’t happen under this mob. The fact is that there’s not a dollar for construction in the Budget. What they’ve said is that it will be an equity injection and what that means is that it’s off-Budget. It doesn’t have an impact on the Budget bottom line and the only way that you can have an equity investment rather than a grant, which actually impacts the bottom line, is if a project produces more revenue, more income than outgoings, for maintenance and operations – which no public transport projects in Australia currently does. You’ll also have to have a return on upfront capital investment, which is at least $10 billion. So this is nonsense. This was a pretense of an announcement.

MITCHELL: So what’s your plan?

ALBANESE: We will make real investments into it. We will sit down with Victoria. We support the project. Victoria is working through the options at the moment for where it goes through, and we think that it looks as though, Sunshine seems to me to be the best option but let’s wait and see what the full costings and plans are in the business case. But we will commit real dollars to projects because that’s the only way they get built.

MITCHELL: Do you think Malcolm, look at the Newspoll, Malcolm Turnbull is on the up? He’s come back.

ALBANESE: Well, you look at two polls today and they seemed to tell different stories. In one, Labor is ahead 54-46 and in the other Labor is ahead as well, 51-49.

MITCHELL: Bill Shorten is certainly behind as better PM, isn’t he?

ALBANESE: We don’t have a presidential race. What we have is a race between the political parties in the Westminster system, seat by seat. And what both polls show today is that if the election was held on Saturday, Labor would be in Government and you’d be talking to me without that very niggly little word, ‘Shadow’ in front of my title.

MITCHELL: Thanks very much for your time.

ALBANESE: Great to be with you.

May 11, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 11 May 2018

Subjects: Budget Reply; tax cuts; TAFE places; Newstart; citizenship. 

KARL STEFANOVIC: Joining me now is Anthony Albanese in Canberra and Josh Frydenberg in Melbourne. Lads, good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

JOSH FRYDENBERG: Good morning to you, Karlos. Good morning to you, Albo.

STEFANOVIC: Albo, to you first of all. A lot of promises last night. You’ve got more dough than Bakers Delight, it seems.

ALBANESE: Well, we’re not giving away $80 billion in tax cuts to big companies and big banks. That will enable us to give bigger and fairer tax cuts to 10 million working Australians. It will allow us to have no fees for 100,000 TAFE students in areas of skills shortage. We shouldn’t be needing to import carpenters and bricklayers into this country. We should be training Australians here to do those jobs. We’ll have real investment in infrastructure and we’ll reduce waiting times in hospitals by having increased funding for health care.

STEFANOVIC: Josh, I hate to point it out but their tax cuts are bigger than yours.

FRYDENBERG: Well their tax hit on retirees and businesses and your property amount to some $200 billion. Nobody’s savings are safe with Bill Shorten. There was no mention in the Budget Reply last night about returning to surplus. There was no mention of national security and we know that he will continue to hit your hip pocket. So I think Bill Shorten has given you another rolled gold guarantee last night that your taxes will rise under Labor.

STEFANOVIC: Albo, how are you going to fund that cash splash on schools and hospitals? It’s billions of dollars.

ALBANESE: Well, we’re not giving away $80 billion in these company tax cuts. That’s how we’re going to fund it and we’ve made quite difficult decisions, like on negative gearing for future purchases – none of it is retrospective – but that was a tough decision that we took to the last election, that the Government actually knows is good policy that helps the bottom line and enables us to have the space to give bigger tax cuts to those people who really need it, who are struggling.

STEFANOVIC: You know who is struggling? These poor kids on Newstart. You couldn’t find any more money in all those giveaways for the kids on Newstart?

ALBANESE: We made substantial announcements last night and one of the things about our real investment in infrastructure is that it will assist people to get into real jobs. That’s why we’re abolishing the fees for 100,000 TAFE students.

STEFANOVIC: So that’s a no to an increase in Newstart?

ALBANESE: You can’t do everything. What you have to do is outline your priorities. Our priority is getting Australians into jobs; is investing in education and health care; and taking pressure off living costs to those 10 million Australians.

FRYDENBERG: Karl, can I just say that while Labor talks about getting people into jobs it’s the Coalition and the Turnbull Government that has delivered that. We’ve created more than 1000 jobs a day. Nearly a million people are into work and that’s why the Budget is coming back into balance a year earlier, because more people are in jobs.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, four Labor MPs – let’s move on – were forced out of Parliament this week because of citizenship issues. That’s despite dozens of denials by Bill Shorten and other Labor MPs that there were no dual citizens in their ranks. Here is Anthony, this is actually you on our very own show.

[Clips play]

STEFANOVIC: Albo, Albo, Albo.

ALBANESE: Well it’s regrettable that it’s happening. The High Court have made their decision. We’ve accepted the umpire’s judgment and we’re getting on with the business now of making sure that those MPs are returned, to continue to make a contribution for their electorate and make a contribution here in Canberra.

STEFANOVIC: So right now, categorically – categorically, Albo – is everyone in your Party safe?

ALBANESE: Yes.

STEFANOVIC: Are you sure you want to go with that?

ALBANESE: Look…

STEFANOVIC: What about Anne? Is Anne Aly okay?

ALBANESE: Yes. All you can do is make judgments based upon the advice which you have, which is all of these people complied certainly with the previous High Court determination which was essentially that if you’d made your best efforts – I mean, in Josh Wilson’s case of course, this is a guy who was preselected at the last minute because he was a replacement candidate  – he filled in the form on the day; paid his money on the day after; the money was taken out of his bank account and he was entitled to think – I’m of the view – that given previous High Court determinations that he would be okay.

FRYDENBERG: Karl, can I just say. Can I just say, Karl…

ALBANESE: Josh, you’ve got ten seconds.

FRYDENBERG: The big story here is that Bill Shorten is like a wounded gazelle and Albo is like the lion there waiting in the long grass.

STEFANOVIC: That’s true.

FRYDENBERG: And the question is he ready to pounce?

STEFANOVIC: Like a tiger!

FRYDENBERG: Is he ready to pounce?

STEFANOVIC: Like a tiger!

ALBANESE: Good try, Josh.

FRYDENBERG: Rule it out, Albo. Rule it out!

ALBANESE: Good try, mate.

STEFANOVIC: Thanks Josh, thanks Albo.

May 10, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – SKY News with Samantha Maiden – Thursday, 10 May 2018

Subjects; By-elections; Mayo preselection; citizenship; single parent families; boat turnbacks; ALP National Conference. 

SAMANTHA MAIDEN: Well, if you’ve had time for a little breather there to recover from that fabulous cooking segment with Barnaby Joyce, joining me now live in the studio is Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’m glad I missed it.

MAIDEN: I won’t ask you about cooking, but there is an egg on the front page of The Daily Telegraph all over Bill Shorten’s face. It’s a bit rough although I think the Tele has done some terrible things to you over the years. They put you in a Nazi outfit once.

ALBANESE: They have. They do that.

MAIDEN: But it is a bit embarrassing for the Labor Party, isn’t it?

ALBANESE: It obviously isn’t a good thing, but what’s important now is that we have an opportunity to put out our case, not just in one seat in a single by-election, but in the by-elections that will take place across four states. It’s a chance to really put up our argument about our priorities of education and health and childcare and infrastructure funding versus their priorities of giving a further leg up to the big end of town.

MAIDEN: So how do you think the Labor Party could have handled this a little differently? Do you think with the benefit of hindsight that you should have just done a mass referral or that they should have gone in with one lot, with Katy Gallagher or they should have resigned a little earlier?

ALBANESE: I don’t think the mob out there give two hoots about that. It’s a bit like having a debate after a footy game in which I always think that Souths haven’t had a fair rub of the green and whether, you know, someone dropped the ball at the right time or forward passes. That doesn’t matter. What matters is the outcome that the High Court has determined means these by-elections are on. This is about that, and our focus should be on the future and on our plans for Australia. This gives us an opportunity to really campaign on Labor’s vision for Australia in the lead up to, as a bit of a dry run if you like, to the general election, whenever that may be, whether it’s later this year or early next year.

MAIDEN: So a Super Saturday of by-elections and then Tim Hammond’s seat of Perth is included in that as well and that’s, you know, pretty safe Labor. So do you think on balance you’re likely to hold all of those seats?

ALBANESE: Labor’s been ahead of course in the national polls for some time, the famous ’30 Newspoll’ comment that Malcolm Turnbull wishes he’d never made; it’s now up to 31 or 32 that we’ve been ahead. These are all held seats. Traditionally, by-elections tend to favor oppositions and we’ve got good candidates. These people have all been good representatives. In Perth I’m sure we’ll have a very good candidate there when that’s determined. We endorsed at the ALP National Executive last Saturday the other three. They are good hard working representatives in their seats. They’re all having an impact both in their local communities but here in Canberra and they’re all worthy of support and I’m sure that they will get that support. We’ll certainly be doing what we can as a movement to mobilise support for them on the ground.

MAIDEN: So five out of five are a perfect score?

ALBANESE: We’ll be out there. Mayo of course is not one of our held seats. We’ll wait and see what happens there. Of course you’ve had the collapse of the Nick Xenophon team. So that dynamic…

MAIDEN: Will Labor not run in Mayo then?

ALBANESE: I don’t know, is the truth.

MAIDEN: What do you think about Georgina Downer, the Downer dynasty rising again?

ALBANESE: We’ll wait and see. Rebekha Sharkie of course is a former Liberal. She worked for Jamie Briggs. I think Jamie would acknowledge he probably wasn’t the best candidate…

MAIDEN: He was alright for a while.

ALBANESE: He had a few issues, Jamie.

MAIDEN: Only toward the end.

ALBANESE: I got on okay with Jamie but he did have a few issues.

MAIDEN: It was a bit of a wild ride, but Georgina Downer, she’s the daughter of a politician, who’s the son of a politician…

ALBANESE: Who’s the son of a politician. You forgot one generation there.

MAIDEN: But there’s actually been a show on the ABC, the Downer dynasty.

ALBANESE: I missed that. That would have been as fascinating as Barnaby Joyce’s cooking tips.

MAIDEN: No, it was good. You didn’t watch all of it. It was very good. He sounds like he’s a good cook.

ALBANESE: I didn’t even know it existed.

MAIDEN: So, I mean do you think that that looks a little ‘silver spoon in your mouth’ or is that okay?

ALBANESE: I’m not going to have a go at anyone because of their family. Georgina’s entitled to run. She hasn’t been preselected yet of course. I thought she was living in Victoria. She ran in a preselection there.

MAIDEN: I spoke to her last night. She was in Timor-Leste. But she grew up in Mayo.

ALBANESE: Sure. She obviously has a connection with South Australia and with Mayo.

MAIDEN: Now in relation to your own family and the citizenship stuff. This issue came up with you because of your family history and this is one of the things, I mean your family history is not sad; your family history is kind of beautiful and lovely, but this whole issue dragging up everyone’s past and Susan Lamb, it’s an issue. You’ve talked about the fact that your mum was a single mum, she brought you up herself. You didn’t really know for a long time exactly who your dad was and then you did this research and it was Carlos and you found him and…

ALBANESE: Carlo.

MAIDEN: Carlo, sorry.

ALBANESE: Italian, not Spanish.

MAIDEN: So it was Carlo and then you went found him. But you argue that you would not be eligible for dual citizenship because he didn’t appear on your birth certificate. If Carlo was on your birth certificate would you have a problem?

ALBANESE: Well then it’s a matter of – you’re running through hypotheticals. The fact is that I’m lucky that I did the book with Karen Middleton – available in all good bookstores. Karen put out in great detail, in 320 pages I think, my family history. My birth certificate of course has a dash next to ‘father’.

MAIDEN: Does that turn out to be a lucky dash in this context?

ALBANESE: I wouldn’t say that someone who grew up in a single parent family is lucky. No.

MAIDEN: Depends on the family though, doesn’t it?

ALBANESE: Families are diverse and one of the things about that…

MAIDEN: Are you suggesting single families are not, I mean I know…

ALBANESE: Not at all. You do it tough. That’s the truth. And I did it tough growing up in a family with a single mum who was an invalid pensioner. That’s the truth. I lived by myself at a very young age.

MAIDEN: The question is just if his name was on the birth certificate…

ALBANESE: If there was a legal status to my father’s relationship with me, then yes, that would have been an issue I would have had to have dealt with.

MAIDEN: Okay. Now, in relation to this tax stuff, you’re going to have your Budget Reply speech. How’s that going? Is there a bit of argy-bargy behind the scenes or do…

ALBANESE: No. We’re preparing the Leader of the Opposition’s Budget Reply tonight. I think it will be a real contrast. It will be a Labor speech, as all of Bill Shorten’s Budget Replies have been. With an emphasis on fairness; with an emphasis on building a strong economy; but with a sense of purpose; an acknowledgment that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. On infrastructure, for example, this Budget has across the forwards $2 billion less in it than last year’s Budget. This is a Budget whereby infrastructure investment falls from $8 billion in 2017-18 down to $4.5 billion.

MAIDEN: They always do that with infrastructure spending. It drives me crazy and you guys did it as well. You mix all the money up and you say it’s new and it’s not.

ALBANESE: We actually built some things. What they’ve done – the greatest mirage is the grand announcement about an airport rail link to Melbourne with $5 billion dollars available, but it’s an equity investment that doesn’t work for public transport because it doesn’t produce a return.

MAIDEN: At least they’re getting a train in Melbourne. I’m happy about that.

ALBANESE: They’re not getting a train. They’re not getting anything. There’s no money. Not a dollar for grant funding. Just like in Western Sydney, they had another front page about the rail line through Badgerys Creek. You know how much money there is for construction? Zero. Not one dollar.

MAIDEN: You’ll no doubt have this debate about infrastructure and taxes while at the ALP National Conference. Also though a debate over asylum seekers which will take place in the context potentially of the, you know, the lead up of these by-elections. Now, you now saying that…

ALBANESE: No, it will be after.

MAIDEN: Well but it will be the debate in the lead up, if you know what I mean. Like the debate as we go into it, happening in tandem. You now say that you support boat turnbacks after all of that hullabaloo.

ALBANESE: I support the Platform of the Labor Party. See, what we do in the Labor Party is –  live on Sky News – we have a debate that goes for days.

MAIDEN: I know, but do you support boat turnbacks? Yes or no?

ALBANESE: I support the Labor Party Platform. That’s what we do, Sam.

MAIDEN: But you had a huge blue about this. Are you prepared to have that blue again?

ALBANESE: Did I speak at the conference on this issue? It’s an interesting definition of a ‘big blue’, Sam.

MAIDEN: Well, behind the scenes you did. I mean, there was a big debate in Shadow Cabinet and all factions had come in to protect Bill Shorten.

ALBANESE: You weren’t there.

MAIDEN: I was there.

ALBANESE: You were there on the floor of the conference and what happens in the Labor Party is we have debates. That’s a good thing. You know what happens when you get lots of ideas and people discussing them and working them through? You get a better outcome.

MAIDEN: So you’re going to try and open up the boat turnback thing but …

ALBANESE: What I do is the chapter that I’m in charge of. It’s a fantastic chapter, Sam.

MAIDEN: Look forward to that, but the…

ALBANESE: I’ve helped to write that chapter. Well that’s my job. Not other people’s jobs. That’s Shayne Neumann’s job.

MAIDEN: But do you support 90 day processing offshore as well as onshore?

ALBANESE: Sam, when I was a minister in the government, we supported offshore processing. We’ve made clear what our policy is. Our policy is in the Platform for all to read and I support the Platform of the Labor Party, and guess what? At this conference, the outcomes that come across the whole range of policies, that will be the Platform of the Labor Party. That determines the principles and then, of course, it’s up to the caucus…

MAIDEN: Okay, but can you process people within 90 days offshore.?

ALBANESE: That’s a matter for Shayne Neumann and the respective spokespeople. What I’m concerned about in terms of the platform at National Conference, and the part that I’m developing, is my chapter. That’s all about nation building. That’ll keep me pretty busy. You should come along to the conference, Sam. It’s terrific.

MAIDEN: Are you kidding? I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

ALBANESE: It’s terrific and it’s shown live, unlike the Liberal Party that don’t have real policy debates and real conferences, because they just get their instructions from the big end of town and they just go, ‘yep, we’ll do that’. And the Greens, well who’d know Sam? Who’d know? They might be holding a conference as we speak, because they don’t tell anyone, they don’t invite the media. They have leadership ballots where we find out about 10 months afterwards that they’ve happened.

MAIDEN: All right, well good luck with that. Thank you for your time today and we’ll talk to you soon.

ALBANESE: See you in Adelaide at conference.
 
MAIDEN: I can’t wait.

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