Browsing articles in "Interview Transcripts"
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.



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.



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: 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.


Apr 21, 2007

Transcript of media conference – Water, MDB, Lucas Heights

Transcript of media conference – Electorate Office, Marrickville Rd, Marrickville

Saturday, 21 April 2007


Subject: Water and climate change crisis in the Murray Darling Basin, Wellington Weir, lack of detail in Government water plan, filming of Liberal Party advertisement in the Murray Darling Basin, Prime Minister saying Lucas Heights nuclear reactor was Sydney’s third great icon.

ALBANESE: The Stern Report told us that the cost of climate change could be severe. It also told us that if we act early, the cost would be far less. What we have with the water crisis is a situation where the economic cost as well as the personal cost for our hardworking farmers could be devastating in the coming months.

All Australian’s will be impacted by the water crisis. The crisis in the Murray Darling Basin of course hasn’t occurred overnight, and it shouldn’t have taken an election year to get a response from the Howard Government.

What we have is the Howard Government, dominated as it is by climate sceptics, refusing to take action on climate change issues and on our water crisis.

We know that internationally the world is talking about the water crisis for Australia being one of the first impacts of climate change on a developed nation.

We also know that the causes of the current drought are very complex, and certainly no politician can be blamed for the current drought. But we do know that blame can be laid for the failure to act on climate change. And we know that senior economic advisers, in particular the Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, have expressed grave concerns about the failure of the Government to take economic advice on dealing with climate change and dealing with the water crisis.

REPORTER: So, what will a Labor Government do instead – to fix the problem?

ALBANESE: A Rudd Labor Government will fully implement the National Water Initiative. We think the issue of proper water trading and the other policies in the National Water Initiative need to be pursued. What a Labor Government will also do is take serious action on climate change. The Howard Government is incapable of addressing climate change because they don’t believe it exists. Well, we’re seeing the reality of climate change already hit Australia in a number of ways.

REPORTER: [ inaudible ] companies operating mines are worried they are going to be left out in the lurch? Will you guys consider giving them special exemptions?

ALBANESE: Certainly we need to look at the full impact of the water crisis on agricultural communities, the impact it will have on people living in regional towns and communities, the impact it will have on industries including mining. We need to make sure we respond to that in a way which is fair and equitable, and respond to that in a way which actually makes the adjustment that is necessary. At the moment you have the National Party undermining the Prime Minister’s statement of 25 January, the National water plan, you still haven’t had any purchase of any over-allocated water – which is recognised to be at the heart of this problem. What we have is just a political response from the Government.

REPORTER: ABC reported this morning about a Federal Government plan to put a weir on the Murray River down near the mouth to provide water to Adelaide, and also drain eight wetlands. [ inaudible ]

ALBANESE: There has been a South Australian Government plan in place for some time to put a weir near Wellington on the Murray, towards the mouth. What it will need is for all Governments to co-operate to make sure that Adelaide in particular and other regional towns do have access to water. That must be the first priority. Adelaide is a city that is particularly vulnerable because it is at the end of the Murray Darling system. So that needs to be a priority and there needs to be a plan – and I know the Rann Government has been working for a considerable period of time to make sure of Adelaide’s water security to get us through this crisis. But in the long run we need the full implementation of the National Water Initiative including the purchase of over-allocated water licences if we are going to be able to address these issues.

REPORTER: What is Labor’s reaction to the draining of eight more wetlands?

ALBANESE: The priority has to be securing town water supplies, so Labor would support that as the first priority. We also need to take full account of the long-term damage that may have on the environment, and you wonder how we could get to a situation where we have to take such extreme action because the Howard Government has been complacent over climate change and our water crisis over 11 long years.

REPORTER: [ inaudible ]

ALBANESE: It certainly is urgent, but the water crisis hasn’t developed overnight. This has been developing for a number of years. It was way back in 1994 at the COAG meeting that we had for the first time the initiation of a national water plan for the Murray Darling Basin. It took 10 long years for the National Water Initiative to emerge in 2004 and since then the Howard Government has been very slow in putting in place the support that is needed.

REPORTER: How bad is the situation now?

ALBANESE: The situation is in crisis. It’s in a crisis that has developed over a period of time, and what we need is a long-term plan on climate change because if you don’t have a plan to address climate change, you won’t be able to address the water crisis. And that plan needs to look beyond what happens next week and next month into years ahead, and only Labor has a plan to address climate change.

REPORTER: Is the Government’s $10 billion water plan enough then?

ALBANESE: The concern that we have with the Government’s plan is that more effort went into writing a political speech for the Prime Minister on 25 January than went into the details of the plan. Detailed funding arrangements, detailed timelines and the governance arrangement details remain outstanding. And it’s not just Labor saying that – it’s the Secretary of the Department of Treasury Ken Henry, it’s the National Farmers Federation, its NSW Irrigators and its farmers when they met with Malcolm Turnbull during his tour of Victoria in the last fortnight who are demanding to know the detail of this plan. The Prime Minister needs to come up with the full detail of the implementation of the national water plan, and we need all Governments to put politics aside and to work in the national interest to avert this national water crisis in the immediate term, but also deal to with climate change in the long-term.

REPORTER: Mr Albanese, are you aware of the Federal Government filming an advertisement to exploit the political seriousness of this situation?

ALBANESE: It’s extraordinary that there have been reports that the Liberal Party were out filming political ads in the Murray Darling Basin just prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement of this week.

This is a Government and this is a Prime Minister who is a clever politician who is prepared to manipulate situations including a national crisis to suit his own political ends. And given the complacency of the Howard Government over 11 long years, it is extraordinary that reports are there that they’ve been out filming political ads rather than dealing with the detail of the measures necessary to deal with this national water crisis.

REPORTER: What’s your evidence of the political nature of these advertisements?

ALBANESE: Well, these ads, as I understand it, were filmed by the Liberal’s Party’s advertising agency, commissioned by the Liberal Party and they were filming footage of the Murray Darling Basin. We have a Prime Minister who always acts politically first, always puts the Liberal Party short-term political interest before the long-term national interest. There is nowhere where that is more acute than his failure over 11 long year to deliver real policy on climate change and the national water crisis. For 11 years, the Howard Government has been dominated by climate sceptics, but that doesn’t stop this clever Prime Minister being prepared to take advantage of the water crisis and the results of climate change in order to seek political advantage.

I call upon the Prime Minister to prioritise the national water plan and prioritise making sure the country is properly prepared for the this national water crisis, rather than prioritising his electoral interests at the end of this year.

It shouldn’t have taken a federal election year for the Prime Minister to get action on the water crisis, and it shouldn’t be the case that the Prime Minister is out there seeking to gain political advantage out of this.

REPORTER: Are prayers good enough?

ALBANESE: Well, prayers are useful, but I think what Australians want is action from the Howard Government. And they expect that their political leaders will show leadership on the issues of climate change and the national water crisis. Leadership on climate change and the national water crisis has been sorely lacking for 11 long years and I think Australian’s will be pretty cynical about the Prime Minister, in an election year, seeking a political advantage from the water crisis.

REPORTER: How would the Prime Minister get a political advantage? What’s he doing?

ALBANESE: If the Prime Minister is out there and the Liberal Party is out there filming ads in the Murray Darling Basin just prior to making the announcements this week then that is consistent with a Prime Minister and a Liberal National Party Government that for 11 years has put its own short-term political interests before the national interest.

REPORTER: So you don’t know the content of the ads – it’s just supposition?

ALBANESE: We know this is a Prime Minister who’s got form. We know from reports that an advertising agency was commissioned to film in the Murray Darling Basin, and we know that immediately after that we had the Prime Minister making announcements this week. It is perhaps the latest example of a Prime Minister who is clever, who is tricky, and who will do anything to get elected, and seeks that short-term political advantage over the long-term national interest.

REPORTER: Aren’t political parties allowed to film advertisements

ALBANESE: Political parties are allowed to film advertisements, but this is a Government that for 11 years has had people in senior roles, including the Prime Minister, the Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and the Finance Minister Nick Minchin who are all on the record year after year as denying the link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Now, in an election year, they seek to gain political advantage rather than look after the national interest.

I mean, yesterday the Prime Minister said the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor was the third great icon of Sydney behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House – agreeing with Ziggy Switkowski. The Prime Minister is attempting to use nuclear issues to appear to do something about climate change. I think people in Sydney and in Australia might regard icons such as Bondi Beach and the Blue Mountains and the GPO and tens of other heritage buildings and other natural heritage sites well before they’d regard the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. It just shows how desperate this Prime Minister is. Desperate in an election year to seek short-term political advantage over the long-term national interest.


Apr 19, 2007

Murray-Darling crisis could devastate farmers: NFF

Murray-Darling crisis could devastate farmers: NFF

PM – Thursday 19 April, 2007 18:10:00

Reporter: Peta Donald

PETER CAVE: There was grim news today from the Federal Government for farmers in the Murray-Darling basin.

Unless there’s heavy rain in the next couple of months, there’ll be no water allocated from rivers for irrigation.

The National Farmers Federation warns it could be devastating for the 55,000 farmers in the basin, in particular in the horticultural sector, who rely on water to grow such things as grapes and stone fruits.

The Prime Minister suggests praying for rain.

But the Opposition argues he should have acted earlier to prepare for this water crisis.

From Canberra Peta Donald reports.

PETA DONALD: It was a sombre Prime Minister who announced the results of a report into just how bad the shortage of water is in the Murray-Darling basin.

JOHN HOWARD: I’m sorry to report that the report, which has been delivered to both State Premiers and to me, indicates an unprecedentedly dangerous situation.

PETA DONALD: Unless there’s heavy rain in the next six to eight weeks, water will only be made available for basic human consumption for farmers, and in the cities and towns. There’ll be no water allocated for the environment and no water for irrigation.

And that’s in the region that produces most of the country’s irrigated agriculture.

Mr Howard says even if there is rain, it won’t be possible to know if it’s been enough to allocate water to irrigators until late July or well into August.

JOHN HOWARD: We should all pray for rain, because the situation for the farmers of Australia in the irrigation area of this country, in the Murray-Darling basin, is critical. And we must all hope and pray there is rain.

But even if there is, it will be some time before we know the full extent of it, and whether or not it will enable some allocation to be made.

BEN FARGHER: I cannot underscore enough the potentially devastating impact that this announcement today and the prolonged drought will have on regional communities and the irrigation sector, the farm sector, in this country.

PETA DONALD: Ben Fargher is the Chief Executive of the National Farmers Federation. He says the situation is serious for the 55,000 farmers in the Murray-Darling basin – responsible for 40 per cent of Australia’s agricultural production. He’s particularly concerned for those who rely most on irrigation.

BEN FARGHER: But if you are a tree cropper, and you lose that tree, be it stone fruit, grapes, avocadoes, almonds, to name just a few, not an exhaustive list, it may well take you five, six, seven years to rebound. And there is so much infrastructure in regional communities that rely on those industries.

PETA DONALD: The Opposition argues the Federal Government could have done more earlier.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This water crisis has not occurred overnight. The water crisis has developed over a number of years, and it shouldn’t have taken an election year to get action from the Howard Government.

PETA DONALD: Labor’s water spokesman Anthony Albanese says the Government took 10 years to form the national water initiative, and more than half its two-billion dollar fund remains unspent.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s been clear for a long time that out water supplies have been over-allocated, and yet the Government is yet to purchase any of that over-allocated water, to put it back into the system.

It’s quite clear that the complacency of the Howard Government – dominated as it is by climate sceptics – has meant that the pressure has got to the point whereby we now face what is quite extreme action, due to the water supply shortages for our agricultural communities.

PETA DONALD: The Prime Minister – who now calls himself a climate change realist – is playing down the possible link between drought and global warming.

JOHN HOWARD: We’ve had very severe drought before, but we had smaller populations and we had lesser demand … look, I recognise the ongoing debate about the link between the two things. And I don’t really, I don’t vary from that, I don’t think this dramatically alters it.

I mean, we’re practical people, we Australians, and we’ve got to deal with the situation. And I would have thought what people ought to do is focus on what we can do to make sure that the available water does, is used efficiently.

PETER CAVE: Prime Minister John Howard.


Apr 19, 2007

Transcript – Murray Darling basin, need for water and climate change strategy

Transcript of media conference – Electorate Office, Marrickville Rd, Marrickville

Thursday, 19 April 2007


Subject: Murray Darling Basin, need for water and climate change strategy to address long-term water crisis

ALBANESE: Labor shares the concern of the Prime Minister over water supplies in the Murray Darling Basin, but we believe firmly that unless you have a plan to address climate change you won’t address the water crisis. Unless you have a plan to address water across the Murray-Darling Basin over the long-term, you won’t address the water crisis.

Labor supports action being taken to ensure the drinking water supplies for rural communities.

We are most concerned that many of the initiatives foreshadowed under the National Water Initiative have not been implemented, whether they be for rural communities or for urban communities.

This water crisis has not occurred overnight. The water crisis has developed over a number of years, and it shouldn’t have taken an election year to get action from the Howard Government over these issues.

REPORTER: What does the Prime Minister’s statement today that farmers and irrigators can’t take water out of the Murray mean for farmers?

ALBANESE: That will place a great deal of pressure on the farming communities. They have already suffered in recent years because of the drought. They have also suffered because of a lack of Government foresight. It’s way back in 1994 that COAG first addressed the Murray Darling issues, and began the process which took 10 long years to form the National Water Initiative. It’s been clear for a long time that our water supplies have been over-allocated, but the Government is yet to purchase any of that over-allocated water to put it back into the system.

It’s quite clear that the complacency of the Howard Government, dominated as it is by climate sceptics, has meant that the pressure has got to the point whereby we now face what is quite extreme action due to the water supply shortages for our agricultural communities.

REPORTER: Isn’t it better late than never though?

ALBANESE: It is certainly better to take action than to not take action at all. I think Australians expect their Government to take action not just in election years but over a considerable period of time.

I think most Australians would find it pretty extraordinary that the National Water Initiative, which began in 2004 and established programs such as the $2 billion Australian Water Fund – but more than half of that money remains in Government coffers. At a time of national water crisis, one could have expected early action because early action is cheaper, and early action means you don’t have to take drastic measures down the track.

What this highlights again today is the need for Australia to have a serious national plan on climate change if we are going to address the water crisis and if we are going to avoid, in the future, having to take drastic action such as we are seeing today.

REPORTER: Is it too little too late?

ALBANESE: Well, certainly there may be a need for further action. It certainly is of some concern that it has been left to the point where we’re having to have these extreme measures taken. But it’s quite clear that we do need to secure our water supplies for the citizens in our regional towns and communities as a first priority, and we certainly agree with the government on that. We are hopeful that there will be ongoing co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States, because this is a national water crisis that requires a national water solution.



Apr 4, 2007

Transcript of media conference – Treasury’s concerns over PM’s water plan

Transcript of media conference, Parliament House, Darwin, NT

Wednesday 4 April 2007


Subject: Treasury’s concerns over Prime Minister’s water plan

ALBANESE: It’s a pleasure to be here today with Damian Hale, Labor’s candidate for Solomon, who we are confident will join the Rudd Labor Government after the next election.

Today I am here to talk about the concerns that Treasury has expressed through the most senior economic adviser to the Howard administration.

The Secretary of Treasury, Dr Ken Henry, gave a speech recently in which he indicated his grave concern at the failure of the government to take into consideration proper economic costings, and to consult Treasury, over the $10 billion water plan.

If the government’s most senior economic advisor has concern over the Howard Government’s economic credentials on this plan, it is no wonder that Australians are concerned that the Howard Government is all about short term politics rather than long term policy development.

We can’t address the water crisis and climate change without addressing economic policies and the changes that are required.

The Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed Ken Henry’s concerns, saying that Treasury doesn’t know anything about water policy. We need to set in place economic mechanisms which encourage reform, such as water trading and emissions trading, if we are going to deliver solutions to climate change and have a solution to our water crisis.

The government’s arrogant dismissal of Dr Henry and Treasury’s concern about the lack of detail in their $10 billion plan shows that the Howard Government is arrogant, it’s out of touch and it’s out of ideas, and come the next election, it will be out of time.

REPORTER: Should voters be concerned that the Howard Government is not listening to its public servants?

ALBANESE: It’s a real concern that Dr Henry has outlined, not just on water and climate change, but also on John Howard’s nuclear fantasy, real concern across the board that the Howard Government isn’t listening when it comes to the advice that Treasury is giving.

Treasury is saying that we need to ensure that policies secure our economic prosperity beyond the mining boom. The fact that these criticisms have been dismissed out of hand by the Howard Government shows that not only is it not listening, but it is arrogant and it is out of touch.

REPORTER: Is the water policy simply a matter of too little, too late?

ALBANESE: What Dr Henry has outlined is the failure of this government, over a period of 10 years, to deal with the water crisis.

What’s clear is that more effort went into the crafting of a political speech by the Prime Minister on the 25th of January than went into gaining proper costings from Treasury and Finance, developing a timeline for that expenditure, and putting in place the economic structures that will drive the reform that is necessary to resolve our water crisis.


Mar 29, 2007

Transcript of doorstop: Govt running out of legislation & ideas, deforestation

Transcript of doorstop interview – Parliament House, Canberra


Subject: Government running out of legislation & ideas, deforestation policy

Thursday, 29 March 2007

ALBANESE: Today the Main Committee in the Parliament will not meet. It won’t meet because this is a Government that after 11 long years has run out of legislation. This is a Government that’s out of ideas, it’s out of legislation, it’s out of touch and it’s out of time.

Whilst the Government has no business to do, Labor’s been busy announcing policies – announcing policies to expand broadband, announcing policies to tackle climate change, announcing major parts of our education revolution.

What this shows is that the Parliament normally on a day like today, the last day of a session before Budget, will be sitting late. I’m sure you can all book your dinners tonight because I’m sure the Parliament will be getting up at 5 o’clock. Because once again this is a Government that simply is out of business it’s out of ideas and I think the Australian people know that it’s out of time.

REPORTER: It’s got an idea to stop logging.

ALBANESE: Well no, that proposal was discussed at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in November last year in Nairobi. This is a plan that actually has come from a number of nations. Planting trees in Indonesia is a good idea, but if we were part of Kyoto we could actually get economic credits to engage in that activity. And Australia would get increased economic incentives for tree planting in developing countries.

REPORTER: So a $200 million fund is an old idea?

ALBANESE: Well it s an idea that came up and has been discussed at the last two UN Framework Convention conferences. It was debated in Montreal 2005 and in Nairobi in 2006. We do have to address deforestation, but the idea that this is a new idea from the Australian Government is just not the case.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

ALBANESE: Well people who follow the international debate know that deforestation is an important issue that needs addressing and planting trees in Indonesia is a good idea.

REPORTER: It’s also monitoring the illegal logging of trees, it’s satellite technology it’s providing them with the support they need to monitor the stuff.

ALBANESE: Yes. And I haven’t seen the precise details of what the Australian Government has put out, but I have been a part of debates at international conferences about this very issue.

The tragedy is that you have an Australian Government that’s putting this out as if it is its own idea. Putting it out as if it substitutes for the failure to take action. And the fact Australia is isolated from the global community by being outside of the Kyoto Protocol, which means that the Australian economy can’t get those economic bonuses that would occur through the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

REPORTER: It might have been discussed but isn’t it good that you’ve got Australia taking the diplomatic initiative, that’s it’s trying to push this thing that it’s trying to get it up.

ALBANESE: Well, these initiatives have been taken. I’ve been at conferences, where these initiatives have been discussed by the global community. I suggest that you all log onto and what you will see there is the debates and the transcripts of debates that took place at those conferences.



Mar 25, 2007

Transcript of AM – Focus turns to upcoming federal election

Transcript of AM – Focus turns to upcoming federal election

Sunday, 25 March 2007, 08:25:00

Reporter: Chris Uhlmann

TONY EASTLEY: With New South Wales out of the way, all eyes now turn to the federal election, expected to be called late this year.

So, what does this result portend for the national poll? Labor campaigned hard against the Howard Government’s workplace relations laws and says this result is a slap in the face for the Prime Minister.

The Coalition’s key message out of New South Wales is that the Federal Government is now the only thing standing between voters and Labor domination.

Chief Political Correspondent Chris Uhlmann has been testing the federal reaction to the poll, with Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, and Labor Infrastructure and Water Spokesman, Labor’s Anthony Albanese.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Anthony Albanese – roads, rail, health, water. Is there any aspect of state governance that the Labor Party hasn’t failed at over the last 12 years?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, the voters sent a message which is they want better services, but they also sent a message which is that only Morris Iemma and Labor can deliver that and they rejected the, what is now, an extreme right-wing division of the Liberal Party in John Howard’s home base.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Don’t the people of New South Wales have a right to expect better government after 12 years of the Labor Party?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This is an extraordinary result where after 12 years, the Liberal Party, it would appear, have failed to win a single seat off the Labor Government.

CHRIS UHLMANN: How big a role do you believe that the campaign that the New South Wales Labor Party waged against the federal workplace laws played in this campaign?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: People out there know that the WorkChoices legislation has resulted in a change in the balance of power in the workplace, a change away from ordinary workers towards employers.

And they want that balance reset and WorkChoices was a major issue. Australian people don’t want extremist policies and what we have from the Howard Government is an extreme right-wing WorkChoices agenda.

They have an extreme right-wing parliamentary party in New South Wales and their organisational wing is pathetic, is perhaps the best thing that you can say about the Peter Debnam campaign.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But surely, the major lesson out of this federally is that you can’t win government unless you meet the minimum standard of running an opposition?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: That’s why Labor is not just holding the Government to account in Canberra, we’re putting forward our positive agenda, our positive agenda to restore fairness in the workplace, our positive agenda on broadband, our positive agenda to tackle climate change and the water crisis.

Labor federally is putting forward a positive agenda whilst holding the Government to account.

TONY EASTLEY: Labor’s Anthony Albanese.



Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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