Browsing articles in "Interview Transcripts"
Apr 14, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Gold Coast, Queensland – Saturday, 14 April 2018

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP
GOLD COAST
SATURDAY, 14 APRIL, 2018

Subjects: Infrastructure investment, Syria.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The upcoming Budget is a big challenge for the Turnbull Government and the challenge is to actually reverse the cuts in infrastructure that have been put in place. What we have seen is that infrastructure investment will decline from what was anticipated to be in their own Budget in 2016-17, some $9.2 billion, down to $4.2 billion in 2020-21. What we are seeing is a cut in infrastructure as a proportion of the national economy in half from 0.4 per cent to 0.2 percent over the next decade according to the Parliamentary Budget Office. And this is at a time where there are heaps of projects that are ready to go that the Federal Government has refused to fund, projects that were cut when it came to office like the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane, the Melbourne Metro project, but other projects as well like AdeLINK in South Australia, where South Australia is due to get just 2 per cent of the national infrastructure budget in 2020-21. This Government has to invest in infrastructure. Malcolm Turnbull has spent a lot of time taking selfies on trains and trams. It is about time he funded them.

REPORTER: The Government says that this year’s Budget will include unprecedented spending on infrastructure. Do you believe that is possible?

ALBANESE: Well we will actually look at the detail. What they have done in the past is not even invested the money that they themselves have said they would – some $5 billion of underspends in their first four years, which means an effective cut in infrastructure investment. Last year alone $9.2 billion was in the Budget, announced in 2016, but they only spent $7.5 billion, so a $1.7 billion cut in effective infrastructure investment.  And a Government that has failed to invest in projects like Cross River Rail in Brisbane. The big challenge for the Government is to actually match its rhetoric with real investment, real dollars that make a real difference on urban congestion.

REPORTER: The Government also says that the focus of its spending this time round is on easing congestion and (inaudible).

ALBANESE: This would be welcomed if they stopped cutting investment and actually invest. Labor has a record when we were in office of investing more in public transport than all previous governments combined in the previous 107 years. So our investment was real. We didn’t just talk about it. We did it. This Government hasn’t invested and the challenge for it is: Is there real money on the Budget for the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane, for the Melbourne Metro, projects which are underway right now, or projects that need to be fully funded like the complete north-south corridor for Western Sydney Rail, including to the Macarthur region? That’s what people want to see from this Budget because we need to deal with urban congestion and it has been getting worse under this Government because it has failed to invest in public transport and in roads it has only invested in toll roads. It hasn’t invested in the sort of work that needs to be done and when you look at projects like the Black Spots Program, in every state and territory they have spent less than they said they would on those programs in spite of the fact that the Black Spots Program is so important for dealing with high-accident areas.

REPORTER: Labor has made quite a few announcements in the last week regarding roads and rail. Do you see this as a key battleground going into next year’s election?

ALBANESE: Labor will always invest in nation building infrastructure. We will continue to do so and we will point to our record last time we were in office. If we are returned to the Treasury benches, you will see more investment from Labor. Labor will always do more on nation building that this Government. This Government has cut public transport investment in projects like the Cross River Rail, in projects like the Melbourne Metro. They have wrecked the NBN model with their hybrid model that changes from day to day, that was the responsibility directly of Malcolm Turnbull as Communications Minister and they have only invested in roads in our cities that are toll roads. They have actually cut funding to projects when they came to office like the M80 in Melbourne. This is a Government that hasn’t invested in infrastructure. They’ve got all the rhetoric. They’ve got these big figures, but they are out into the never-never, the investment. Even their statement this week when it came to the airport line in Melbourne is funding is funding that is scheduled to commence, perhaps, sometime next decade. Well, there is a project that is under way now, Cross River Rail in Brisbane, as well as Melbourne Metro, which they could have invested in today but they have chosen not to.

REPORTER: Just with what is going on in Syria, what is Labor’s reaction to the news that the US, the UK and France have started air strikes?

ALBANESE: Well Labor has requested a briefing from the Prime Minister’s office. It is important that these national security issues not be the subject of partisan political debate.  We have requested a briefing and that will be happening in coming hours and then Labor will make a comprehensive statement. We quite clearly, along with anyone who cares about human rights, abhor the use of chemical weapons. It has no place whatsoever.

[ENDS]

SATURDAY, 14 APRIL, 2018

Apr 13, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Channel Nine, The Today Show – Friday, 13 April 2018

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
THE TODAY SHOW – NINE NETWORK 
FRIDAY, 13 APRIL, 2018 

Subjects: Syria, China, immigration, Christopher Pyne.  

BEN FORDHAM: There is no escaping the tension this morning between the US and Russia with fears we could be on the brink of full-scale military action. Joining us is Anthony Albanese from the Labor Party, Josh Frydenberg from the Liberal Party. Good morning to you both.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

JOSH FRYDENBERG: Good to be with you boys.

FORDHAM: Where is Christopher, Josh?

ALBANESE: He is on holidays with Karl.

FRYDENBERG: Obviously, yes.

FORDHAM: That will start a rumour.

FRYDENBERG: Pina coladas in hand I am sure.

FORDHAM: I can picture the two of them now. Josh let me start off. Donald Trump has threatened all-out war. He is talking about sending missiles Syria’s way, also directing some of his language to Russia. He’s softened his language a little bit overnight. Where are we headed here?

FRYDENBERG: Well obviously the chemical attack in Syria was unacceptable. We have seen a huge humanitarian disaster in that country. The US’s presence in the Middle East is absolutely critical and we just hope that peace can be restored, calm can be restored but obviously with as little loss of life as possible.

FORDHAM: Albo, your boss Bill Shorten once upon a time said that Donald Trump’s views are barking mad. But if America gets into action we go side-by-side, don’t we?

ALBANESE: Well, what we need here is cool heads and we need an appropriate response to the chemical weapons attack in a sober way.

FORDHAM: Do you think Donald Trump has shown a cool head?

ALBANESE: Well, I notice that he has changed overnight apparently, the rhetoric. I think it would be a good idea if foreign policy wasn’t announced on Twitter. It would be a good idea if it was done in a way that was calculated, in a way that understood what the end game was rather than just the rhetoric.

FORDHAM: Just briefly, do you agree with that Josh, that it would be better if foreign policy announcements were not made via social media?

FRYDENBERG: Well I don’t think they are. I think what Donald Trump is doing is taking the advice of his senior military people, talking to other world leaders and working out a considered response because, as Albo said, it was a completely unacceptable attack. There needs to be a proportionate response and we need to ensure that this sort of attack doesn’t happen again.

FORDHAM: It did look like he fired off a tweet first though, didn’t he, the President?

FRYDENBERG: Well he is known to be quick on the tweet. That’s for sure.

FORDHAM: Now back home the Prime Minister has admitted that there is tension between Australia and China. Now this is a comment that he made yesterday during an interview with Neil Mitchell who joined us earlier and he basically said that this has been going on for some time now. We’ve now got ministers who are being frozen out of invitations to China. That has got to be a bit of a worry Josh, that no Australian ministers are receiving any invites to go to China anymore?

FRYDENBERG: Well the Prime Minister didn’t confirm that, but what he did say there was a bit of tension in the relationship. This is a critical bilateral partnership that we have with China. We have $175 billion worth of two-way trade strongly in Australia’s favour. But since we introduced that foreign influence law it has been reported negatively in the Chinese press. But we will always stand up for Australia’s rights and values and that is what we will continue to do.

FORDHAM: It’s a bit of a worry what is going in going on in the region Albo when you have a look at the influence of China in the region. We have had a look at what has happened in Vanuatu in the last week or so, China suggesting they might want to set up a base in Vanuatu. We need to keep an eye on this don’t we?

ALBANESE: Australia is a leader in this region. We often I don’t think comprehend how significant we are. For many of those Pacific nations their most-important partner isn’t China or the United States, it’s Australia. It’s important that in a bipartisan way we continue to have that presence in the Pacific.

FORDHAM: Sam Dastyari when he caused a lot of dramas to do with donations from Chinese business people – that reaction to all of that apparently didn’t go down well in China, when Australia was collectively was outraged about the fact that Sam Dastyari was having bills paid by Chinese businesspeople so the Shanghai Sam-Sam Dastyari controversy has caused a few problems there.

ALBANESE: WelI, think the term that you have just used isn’t appropriate Ben, and did cause some problems out there. Sam Dastyari’s behaviour was clearly inappropriate. It cost him dearly. But I think some of the rhetoric around the relationship with China was overblown. Guess what? They noticed.

FORDHAM: So Aussies calling Sam Dastyari Shanghai Sam has upset Chinese leaders?

ALBANESE: Well I would have thought a lot of the rhetoric at that time and since has caused some issues and it is important that, fine for people in the media, but I think people in political leadership positions need to give appropriate statements, whether it be about China or the US or any other nation we have an important relationship with.

FORDHAM: OK. When it comes to immigration numbers the big discussion point this week where a story appeared on the front page of The Australian newspaper that the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had gone to the Prime Minister and also the Treasurer saying let’s lower our annual migration intake. That was denied really strenuously by the Prime Minister, Josh Frydenberg. But Tony Abbott, the former Prime Minister came out and said I think … what are you laughing about?

FRYDENBERG: Well Tony Abbott, I mean, he is always going to try and cut across what the Prime Minister has been saying lately.

FORDHAM: Really?

FRYDENBERG: Yes, absolutely.

FORDHAM: I thought he was a member of the team.

ALBANESE: You haven’t been paying attention.

FRYDENBERG: He is a member of the Government.

FORDHAM: I thought they were on the same team. Isn’t the PM and Tony Abbott both on the same team? He’s laughing again.

FRYDENBERG: I think you are covering up the biggest secret in sport mate there.

ALBANESE: That’s like saying Ben that the mighty South Sydney were on the same team as the Roosters last night. It’s a similar relationship.

FORDHAM: All right. Let’s stick to the facts. Tony Abbott says that the Prime Minister was being tricky in that denial and he was also saying that he was denying something that was substantially true. So Albo, let me ask you, who do you believe? Do you believe Peter Dutton? Or do you believe Malcolm Turnbull?

ALBANESE: Well, they can’t both be right. That’s the point. Peter Dutton’s response was to say that something different from what Malcolm Turnbull said actually happened, but that Malcolm Turnbull was right. The contradiction was there in Peter Dutton’s own statement.

FORDHAM: Josh, I know they are both trying to say we are on the same page, but it is pretty clear here that something has gone on here and the PM is not too happy about it.

FRYDENBERG: No, the PM is absolutely right. There has not been a Cabinet submission on this issue. But what the Prime Minister said is that ministers discuss issues with the Prime Minister. Now when it comes to our migration intake, we had to clean up Labor’s mess because they lost control of our borders. We have a ceiling of 190,000 people a year. It is below that over the last 12 months. We will obviously consider to ensure that our immigration policy is in Australia’s national interest because immigration has been the backbone of our country. Albo and myself, you know we are two products of European families. We know how great Australia is and the fact more than half of Australian people have at least one parent or both parents born overseas I think says something about our willingness to be open to other countries.

FRYDENBERG: OK Albo, do you want to keep Josh or do you want to go back to Chris next week?

ALBANESE: He’s doing OK this bloke. I reckon this is a good rehearsal. If he agrees to turn up to the studio I reckon Pyne is gone.

FORDHAM: Everyone gets along with in Liberal Party as Josh has highlighted this morning by laughing at the former Prime Minister.

FRYDENBERG: Let me just say I think Christopher has just choked on his pina colada.

FORDHAM: Thank you both.

ALBANESE: They are a rabble without a cause.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 13 APRIL, 2018

Apr 11, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes segment – Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Subjects: Newspoll, Bill Shorten, Barnaby Joyce, Vanuatu.

HOST: Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us for Two Tribes. Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

HOST: We might flip things around today counter-intuitively and kick off with you Albo if we can. Now …

ALBANESE: Oh, that’s good. Start with the quality.

HOST: I hope you like the question. Now all of the discussion over the last couple of days has been about Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership and the 30th consecutive Newspoll. How do you think Bill Shorten’s going? When you look at his preferred prime minister rating it would suggest that a majority of Australians still aren’t in love with your boss.

ALBANESE: Well he leads a team that has been ahead now for 30 Newspolls and Bill as the Leader deserves credit for that. I have just spent a couple of days with Bill in Western Australia announcing our support and commitments for various infrastructure projects. We had a street walk at Joondalup at a shopping centre and Bill was very well received and the Labor message of fairness is being well received. People are having a look at the Government and they say they are a mess and someone needs to put them out of their misery.

HOST: Do you reckon he will lead uninterrupted up until election day?

ALBANESE: Look, we are focused on not our internals. We are focused on the needs of the Australian public and that is one of the reasons why we have been successful. I think the Government are being marked down. To be fair to Malcolm Turnbull, some of it is not his fault. You’ve got Tony Abbott who was a wrecker last time he was the Opposition Leader. He was actually a wrecker in Government. Unfortunately he forgot he was the Prime Minister and he wrecked his own Government and now he is trying to wreck Malcolm Turnbull’s Government. That makes it very hard.

HOST:  To flick it back around though Chris Pyne, you guys have obviously been the story this week. Can I politely suggest whatever the strategy was in getting ministers out to say that Newspoll number 30 doesn’t matter, the whole thing has looked a bit like an orgy of self-absorption where you have been committing the cardinal political crime of talking about yourselves.

PYNE: I am happy to answer that question but before I do I just point out that pointedly you asked Anthony Albanese twice to endorse Bill Shorten as the Leader at the next election and he failed to do so on two occasions on your show.

ALBANESE: Oh rubbish.

PYNE: He didn’t say that Bill Shorten would lead Labor to the next election.

ALBANESE: Of course I did.

PYNE: No you didn’t. Read the transcript later on and you will find that you didn’t endorse Bill Shorten on two opportunities.

ALBANESE: You will find I said that we are not interested internals. We will leave the internal fighting to your side.

PYNE: But that’s not endorsing Bill Shorten.

HOST: But Chris, you guys have been the story this week and I mean, where does Barnaby Joyce get off giving Malcolm Turnbull advice about what is going right and wrong with the Government at the moment?

PYNE: Well the 30 Newspoll mark was always going to be a bit messy. The truth is that a journalist from another organisation did a vox pop in Western Sydney this week. She spent an hour and a half in the mall. She couldn’t find one person who knew what the Newspoll was. So the truth is that this is a fixation of the Press Gallery and the media and the political class. It isn’t a fixation of the general Australian public.

HOST: The poll is not a fixation but the vibe that would radiate out to the Penrith Mall and West Lakes Mall and Colonnades, you name it, is that you guys haven’t got your eye on the ball because you are too busy squabbling about leadership questions.

PYNE: So David is that is true, why is the poll only 52-48 and why did it improve one point since the last one? Now, I think it is fair to say there has been a lot of distraction in the media in the last couple of weeks and yet the Government improved its standing. In the Fairfax poll on Saturday it was 50-50. There are other polls which show that Malcolm Turnbull is 20 points ahead of Bill Shorten. So the public are tuning out a lot of this commentary and are focusing on a strong economy, jobs, growth and the fact that Malcolm Turnbull is the kind of person they think should be Prime Minister. And then they look across the aisle and they see Bill Shorten, backed by the CFMEU, and they think he is not the kind of guy that should be Prime Minister of Australia. He has a high-taxing agenda. He wants to hit self-funded retirees. He has a self-described war on business. That means a war on jobs. The economy is stronger and getting stronger still and that will continue under the Liberal Party. It won’t continue under Labor.

HOST: Christopher Pyne, I want to change tack for just a moment and get your take …

ALBANESE: Can I help Christopher out for one bit, because he’s having a hard time here …

PYNE: Not really. I think you guys are on the back foot.

ALBANESE: But it is breathtaking this week that Barnaby Joyce, having said that the leadership of the National Party has nothing to do with the Liberal Party, his call for that is just a disgrace.

HOST: Albo, we spent all yesterday laughing at Barnaby Joyce about giving crisis-management advice. Christopher Pyne, I want to ask you about the prospect of China establishing a military base in the Pacific Islands, namely Vanuatu, as has been reported in the last 24 hours. Fairfax this morning are quoting the former chief of staff to Teresa May as saying it’s becoming better understood, belatedly, that Beijing’s global ambitions are not about economics and commerce, but of a geopolitical and security dimensions as well. We needed to be much harder-headed about how we deal with them. Does that include Australia?

PYNE: We fully understand that China wants to spread its influence around the world. It would be surprising if it didn’t. It’s the second largest economy in the world and one of the largest militaries in the world and 1.2 billion people. They are a very significant country in our world. Now we take the South Pacific very seriously. It’s our region of greatest influence. We are by far and away the largest donor and investor in the South Pacific. We have a significant presence there from a point of view of working with those countries on border protection. In my own portfolio we’re giving them 21 Pacific Patrol Boats across the South Pacific. I’m giving the first one to Papua New Guinea at the end of the year to help us to protect them from illegal fishers, environmental vandals and so forth. And we would take very seriously any attempt to establish a military base in Vanuatu. But I would point out that the Government of Vanuatu says they’ve had no such approach and therefore it’s rather a moot point. I’m going to Vanuatu at the end of the year as part of a mission there and of course I will be talking to them.

ALBANESE: They’ll be pleased.

(inaudible).

HOST: Just to get some clarity around that answer then Christopher Pyne, on the one hand you understand the Chinese ambition regarding global influence, but you say you would take any venture to put a military base on a Pacific Island seriously. Does that mean you’d have reservations about that? I’m just not sure precisely what you’re saying.

PYNE: Obviously Australia would have very firm views about any military base being established by any country in the South Pacific other than those of the nations that are present there already. I would hasten to add that the Government of Vanuatu has said they’ve had no such approach.

HOST: Good stuff guys. Albo and Christopher Pyne …

PYNE: You still haven’t endorsed Bill by the way. You could have said something about it.

HOST: One last chance to do it unequivocally if you want Albo.

ALBANESE: Unequivocally, absolutely, of course. Poor old Christopher …

PYNE: What of course? What? Say it. Say it. He won’t say it.

ALBANESE: He’s a bit distracted and now he’s going to scare the people of Vanuatu.

HOST: Christopher Pyne, Anthony Albanese, Two Tribes on a Wednesday morning.

Apr 10, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa, Leon Byner Program – Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Subjects: Black Spots Program, infrastructure.

LEON BYNER: One man who knows the ins and outs of this, and he is not a stranger to 5AA, is the Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister federally, Anthony Albanese.  Albo, thanks for coming on this morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Leon.

BYNER: Can you explain to us, how is it that we are getting money earmarked for spending but it is not spent?

ALBANESE: Well, it is a part unfortunately of the Federal Government’s pattern of behaviour across the country. There are underspends on the Black Spot program in every state and territory. That is, at Budget time they say there will be X amount of dollars spent on Black Spots and then it simply isn’t forwarded to the states and territories. And in South Australia that underspend is some $3 million. Now the average cost of fixing a Black Spot is $157,000. That means that the 16 projects could have been done with the funding if they had just done what was allocated in the Budget, let alone the fact that there’s clearly a need for additional investment and that is of real concern.

Across the country between 2014, the current Government’s first Budget, and 2017-18, there is an underspend of $100 million. Three hundred and five million dollars was allocated; only $205 million invested. Now that is simply incompetent. What happens of course; when there are underspends like that in budgets is Treasury and Finance scoop it up and it disappears, And it’s not as if there’s not demand there. We know there is and today’s reports about a failure to fix some of the Black Spots in South Australia and Adelaide in particular are just an example of that.

BYNER: Who is holding back? I mean is there a conscious effort by somebody in the system? I guess we have to either suggest it has either got to be the Minister’s office or the public sector. Where is the problem?

ALBANESE: Well it is unclear if it is a conscious decision to pretend that money is being spent. So, for example, in the last completed financial year, 2016-17, the infrastructure budget federally was $9.2 billion. The actual spend was $7.5 billion. There was an underspend of over $1.5 billion. Now that of course makes, in a short- term sense, makes the Budget look a bit better – there has been less spending. But of course it costs you more money to fix things later than it does to fix them sooner, when they are supposed to be done, let alone of course what we are talking about here is human cost; is accidents in which people get hurt;  in which there is a cost to the health budget; there is a cost to people’s lives. That is absolutely critical so I cannot understand for the life of me why this Black Spot underspend from the Federal Government has continued to happen.

And I will give the new South Australian minister the big tip, which is being all polite when you are being done over by the Federal Government won’t help. The fact is that South Australia is getting, the current financial year they are getting, $921 million from the infrastructure budget. It plummets by 90 per cent over the forward estimates to $95 million or 2 per cent, South Australia is due to get, of the national infrastructure budget. Now that is a disgrace and the South Australian Government, regardless of political parties, should be jumping up and down and demanding that South Australia get its fair share.

BYNER: What is the remedy to this?

ALBANESE: The remedy is, in part this is part of the remedy – shine a light on it. Say it’s not good enough, to make sure that the Government needs to be held to account. When funds are allocated get them spent, get these Black Spots fixed. Get also some of the major projects done. Now we know that the South Road Superway was finished. Torrens to Torrens is under way. The section in between there needs to be done and the Government needs to allocate funding for that project in the current Budget because you don’t have that pipeline of projects. It is actually cheaper of course to take workers and the capital that’s required – the machinery – from one section of the road to the next in a seamless way. That will reduce your overall cost.

At the moment the Commonwealth Government, it would appear, was prepared to starve out essentially the Weatherill Government; was determined to not put new projects on the pipeline in the coming two and three years. Well, they have got no excuse. They need to do it and they need to fix the Black Spots according to not just the Budget that is there, but I think they really need to look at an increase in the Budget because when you have a Black Spot that you know has to be fixed, why would you fix it in two or three years’ time if you can fix it today and therefore avoid the accidents, avoid the economic costs that are associated with that, reduce the cost of construction because construction costs go up, they don’t go down, and importantly reduce the human cost of these accidents?

BYNER: You will be pleased to know that we are seeking clarification from the Federal Minister. Thank you for you take on this Anthony Albanese.

TUESDAY, 10 APRIL, 2018

 

Apr 9, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 6PR Perth Live with Oliver Peterson – Monday, 9 April 2018

Subjects; WA Infrastructure funding; Fair Share for WA fund; WA tourism; new Perth-London direct flight; Newspoll; Malcolm Turnbull; Labor Party

OLIVER PETERSON: I’m pleased to say that joining me in the studio this afternoon is of course the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development as well as the Shadow Minister for Tourism and the Member for Grayndler. Hello Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day. Good to be back.

PETERSON: What would this be? Visit number four or five in 2018?

ALBANESE: This is number six in 2018.

PETERSON: Number six. So we can forget Western Sydney, you’re the Member for Western Australia.

ALBANESE: I think this is at least three times in the studio, but maybe four.

PETERSON: Maybe. I’m losing count.

ALBANESE: We’ve got a regular thing going here.

PETERSON: We do. You’re probably here more regularly than some senators of Western Australia.

ALBANESE: Well, it’s a great place and we’ve got a lot to say about WA. Today I was with Bill Shorten at Midland station and we announced an $83 million commitment to relocate the railway line closer to the hospital. Clearly it’s a bit run down, that station, and needs a bit of renovation and also we’d extend the line to Bellevue. That’s part of the METRONET plan of Mark McGowan and Rita Saffioti so we had the gang there today following up on the Ellenbrook announcement that we did a couple of months ago and the  Leach Highway and Welshpool announcement as well, the grade separation there that we did with Hannah Beazley and Lauren Palmer who was with us again today, our candidate for Hasluck. So we’ve got a lot to say and I’ll be here tomorrow somewhere else with Bill Shorten making another announcement tomorrow.

PETERSON: Alright, so Labor obviously wanting to come to Western Australia particularly at this moment Anthony Albanese, when a 30th Newspoll is going to be released you feel a little more confident as you’re on the hustings here in Perth or into the suburbs that there is a growing mood for change; that there is a lot of seats that are held here by the Liberal Party. Do you believe that Labor should feel buoyant about Western Australia?

ALBANESE: I’ve always felt comfortable in Western Australia and one of the things that I think we can have to say, one-on-one with people and in groups and through the media is about infrastructure. When I come to WA, I get off a plane and I go on Gateway WA, which was federally Labor funded, and then I go on the Great Eastern Highway and that was federally funded. Today I went and saw some of the work that’s taking place on the Swan Valley Bypass. They called it something else but it doesn’t make it a new project. Perth City Link, in terms of rail investment. So there’s lots that we’ve done here in WA and then there was a bit of a gap, I guess, of federal funding for a long period of time and clearly WA hasn’t got its fair share from the Commonwealth and that’s why we established the $1.6 billion Fair Share for WA fund and it’s been terrific going out and talking to people about it.

PETERSON: And do many people talk to you and stop you and say ‘hey Albo, when you’re here in Western Australia, what are you going to do to fix our share of the GST?’. And you’ve mentioned the Fair Share pot you’ve got there, but it still doesn’t always resonate with the listeners that are saying ‘look, yeah it might have gone from 33/34 cents to 45/47 cents, but we’re still well short of your home state in NSW’ which is getting, what, just under 80?

ALBANESE: It’s true and it’s an ongoing issue and it is unfair, and that’s why we made the announcement of the $1.6 billion, something that Colin Barnett, the outgoing Premier recognised as more than any other political party in Canberra had done. Today we were up at Joondalup, the shopping centre up there, myself and Bill with our candidate and state MPs up there, and we were talking to people in the shopping centre about issues including the additional money we’ll have for the hospital out of that fund. I think it’s $200 million dollars we have there. So I think people recognise that we’re trying to get on top of this issue. One thing is certain; you can’t get on top of it from the other side of the country and Bill Shorten’s here I think for four or five days. He arrived on Saturday and he will be here for a couple of days yet. I came over last night. I’m here again for a couple of days and enjoying the opportunity of talking to voters. By and large of course, we still only hold a handful of seats and we don’t want to [inaudible].

PETERSON: No, and I guess it’s a similar question I just asked Senator Linda Reynolds; in the end there’s 12 seats in the Lower House that form the Federal Parliament out of Western Australia. So when we look at NSW, or we look at Victoria, obviously you just do the simple maths. You need to win more seats there than in Western Australia. So when yourself or Bill Shorten or Malcolm Turnbull or Scott Morrison come to Perth and say ‘we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that’, it’s easy to say it and then retreat back to the eastern states because all of a sudden ‘oh, we probably don’t need to worry too much about what’s going on over there in Perth, in WA.’ How much importance do you put on WA as opposed to the other states and territories and wanting to actually help the rest of the country, say WA, say Perth, say the regions over here; that we want to make sure that you have a good standard of living and a good life?

ALBANESE: One of things about WA is that it’s a driver of the national economy.  It contributes more than its fair share to economic growth and that’s why the Commonwealth has to pay disproportionate attention to WA. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve certainly been to WA more than any other state this year except perhaps for Victoria.

PETERSON: Because you love it!

ALBANESE: I do love it. But it is a critical area and Perth’s a great city but it’s got growing pains. The studies of Infrastructure Australia show that without the sort of vision that Mark McGowan’s brought to Perth METRONET, the cost of urban congestion here in Perth will increase eightfold over the next couple of decades. More than half of the biggest traffic problems, the most congested intersections or roads are right here in Perth into the future. That’s why projects like the Leach Highway and Welshpool, that grade separation have been identified as the worst here in Perth. There’s a massive cost-benefit. Analysis shows the return is many times more, I think it was five or six to one at least, for that investment, so it’s worthwhile investment. And the other thing is that the big cities, Sydney and Melbourne on the east coast are under under real pressure. We need to make sure that here in WA you continue to be a growth state and there’s jobs for people here.

PETERSON: We need to be an alternate. Absolutely. We hear particularly from the eastern states that there is a immigration call, that we need to cull the number of people that are living in Sydney or Melbourne and house prices are out of control. Well, it’s the reverse here. We’ve seen a lot of people leave Western Australia, so there are opportunities for people to have jobs, to buy a house at relatively lower than the cost of a house compared to Sydney or Melbourne. So we need to have a plan that grows our state in population, and obviously in investment and jobs.

ALBANESE: That’s right. Take one area that I have responsibility for, tourism. Too often I think, the people who’ve run tourism bodies see tourism as being about the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney and the Rock and they forget about the West. Now, that was reversed this month with the direct flights to and from London.

PETERSON: Which you were on.

ALBANESE: I was on, and it will transform tourism in WA. It is so exciting coming back leaving London at one in the afternoon, you land in Perth about twelve. It then goes on of course to Melbourne. So you’d arrive there early evening, if you’re going across to Sydney or Brisbane, a little bit later but still at a reasonable time. What people will choose to do, of course is to to stay in Perth either on the way, or on the way back, or both. It will also open up tourism opportunities. There was a big event in London really promoting WA. You had Mark McGowan and Paul [Paplia] handing out quokkas in Trafalgar Square. It was a major media event in London and that European market of course is so important and that direct flight of course then opens up the Margaret River, Broome and the Kimberley, it opens up the Coral Coast; all of the fantastic things that WA has to offer.

PETERSON: It is certainly very exciting. I know Bill Shorten went to go have a quokka selfie. You didn’t decide to do something, you haven’t done something similar Albo?

ALBANESE: I haven’t had a quokka selfie, mate. I’ve been busy, I got in late last night and I’ve been doing infrastructure announcements today. I have as I think we mentioned it last time, I’ve spent a Christmas Day on Rottnest Island in 1983.

PETERSON: Well there you go. You’re an honorary West Australian.

ALBANESE: I’m very familiar with with Rottnest Island. I’ve been there a few times and it’s a fantastic place. I know from some of the tourism events that took place associated with the Qantas flight that there’s this big upgrade and a large amount of investment going to happen on Rottnest Island and that’s a fantastic thing.

PETERSON: What would your advice be to the Liberal Party at the moment? Do you think Malcolm Turnbull regrets making that statement in 2015 about the 30 Newspolls? Do they stick with him or should they roll him?

ALBANESE: There’s no doubt that he regrets it. That’s really a matter for them. The problem that they’ve got isn’t personnel. The problem they’ve got is policy. They don’t really have a reason for being. The disappointment that’s felt about Malcolm Turnbull; I don’t think people hate Malcolm Turnbull – they’re disappointed with him. They thought they were getting someone who believed in action on climate change, who believed in a whole range of things, in public transport. But what they see is a guy who had to compromise in order to get the top job. So it’s almost like the dog that caught the car. He caught the car of the Prime Ministership and he doesn’t know what to do with it.

PETERSON: Well, it’s interesting. You talk about personnel because Dave before the news said ‘I would like to vote for Labor if you are the Leader’. This here as well on the text messages this afternoon: ‘the Lord have mercy on us if Bill Shorten becomes the Prime Minister. I’d rather Peter Dutton.’ So there is a growing sense, a growing momentum. In the Newspoll it’s still indicated Malcolm Turnbull is more popular than Bill Shorten. So does Labor have a problem, Anthony Albanese, with the personnel or the person who leads the party at the moment?

ALBANESE: No. We’re just getting on with the business of policy announcements, getting out there. We’re concerned about issues; about what we do about the flatlining real wages; what we’d do about giving kids a proper education; how we deal with training in this country so that we don’t have to import labour through 457s but we actually skill up our workforce.

PETERSON: Well Peter Dutton today was talking to Neil Mitchell on 3AW about the fact that he is making no secret of it – he does harbour a desire one day to be the Prime Minister. Do you?

ALBANESE: I’m happy with the job that I’ve got and one of the things –

PETERSON: But could you be happier?

ALBANESE: I could be happier if Souths had beaten St George last Friday night.

PETERSON: Well they didn’t, so we can’t rewind that either.

ALBANESE: My view of life is that you do the job that you’ve got at the time to the best of your capacity and that’s what I’m focused on doing. Last time I was here I got together with Andrew Forrest and had a look at his foundation, which is opening up opportunities particularly for Indigenous people. There’s so much happening and it’s a great privilege to have the job that I’ve got; I get to come and chat to you!

PETERSON: There you go, you forget Western Sydney and you come to Western Australia, just cross out Sydney and write ‘Western Australia’. Anthony Albanese, thank you for dropping in.

ALBANESE: Great to be with you again.

PETERSON: There you go. There he is, Anthony Albanese.

[ENDS]

TUESDAY, 10 APRIL 2018

Apr 4, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes Segment

Subjects: Newspoll, energy policy.

HOST: It’s time for Two Tribes, Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us. Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Will and David and Anthony.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning. Good to be back.

HOST: Good to have you back Albo. Now we will kick off with you today if we can Chris.

PYNE: Sure.

HOST: Only five more sleeps until Newspoll number 30. What’s the vibe like in government ranks?

PYNE: The vibe is completely disinterested in the next Newspoll in the same way as we are every fortnight because what really matters is when people have to make a decision on election day and what the Liberal Party has been good at is winning the vote that counts, which is election day.

HOST: The Prime Minister didn’t get that memo once upon a time though did he, about 30 Newspolls ago?

PYNE: Well we have won I think almost all, bar one, of the last eight elections and one was tied so I have said we are an election-winning machine and that is because we focus on what counts, which is polling day, not Newspoll. Newspoll said we were going to lose the Bennelong by-election. It said the Tasmanian election was too close to call. Both of those were wrong. It said they couldn’t call the South Australian election and it was a clear win for the South Australian Liberal Party

HOST: We called it.

PYNE: In fact I called it and you called it. They said Xenophon was going to be the Premier of South Australia. He didn’t even win his own seat.

HOST: Could it have been wrong about Tony Abbott as well?

PYNE: I would rather focus on the poll that counts, not the Newspoll.

HOST: What about his pro-coal ginger group Christopher? Is that a new headache for the Prime Minster? Paul Kelly’s piece this morning is quite devastating, talking about it is almost the parties’ conservatives have become socialists, saying that they should use public money to build a $2.2 billion coal-fired power station. Do you support that idea?

PYNE: Well it is good to have backbenchers involved in policy development. I was a backbencher and I used to be very engaged in policy development. Wasn’t always welcome, must be said, but it was, it’s a good thing for people to be doing. The truth is the National Energy Guarantee allows anything that is economic, whether it is solar or wind or pumped hydro or coal to go ahead if it can produce dispatchable power at lower prices and reliable energy for consumers. That is the point of the National Energy Guarantee. If a coal-fired power station is economic, somebody will build it.

HOST: What about you Albo? What is going on in Labor Land at the moment? Have you guys sorted out your superannuation business for the self-funded retirees or are there more tweaks on the way there?

ALBANESE: Well, I had nodded off for a while there while Christopher was saying how well the Government was going. I think the fact is that the Government is in awful shape. If you had gone away for a few years and not read any papers and come back or looked online, and you’d come back to Australia and you’d said there is this ginger group of politicians who want to use taxpayers’ money to nationalise a coal-fired power station, you would have thought: My God, how did the Trots get elected to Parliament? I mean it is just bizarre how …

HOST: Can you explain one thing though Albo that I find bizarre? How is it that we are one of the world’s pre-eminent coal exporters, yet we have got to a point in this country where we don’t want to use it to create power for ourselves anymore? There seems to be a logical sort of problem there for me.

ALBANESE: Well, the fact is the market is determining where energy policy is going globally and globally it is going towards renewable energy. This isn’t just something that is happening in Australia. It is also happening in the developing world. I was in India at the end of last year, which has a national government with a policy of stopping coal imports by the end of this decade and a massive expansion of solar energy that makes what we‘ve done look very small and unambitious indeed.

PYNE: They also have a plan for a massive expansion of coal-fired power stations to fund 30 new cities, so let’s not pick and choose. The truth is the good thing about the National Energy Guarantee is it allows all of these forms of energy to be successful as long as they are economic in doing so and that is exactly what we want to see happen because consumers want to stop the arguments about ideology and they just want cheaper power and reliable power and that is what we are guaranteeing.

HOST: Chris Pyne, what are you hearing then about the outcome or the impact of the National Energy Guarantee when it comes to a marketplace that is seemingly increasingly hostile to coal? Will we get new coal plants as a result of your energy policy?

PYNE: Well, you might if they are economic. But let’s not forget that we still get at least 50 percent in fact more so, about 60 per cent plus, of our energy in Australia from coal-fired power stations. So I know that everybody in the bubble would like to live in this sort of Nirvana suggestion that coal is out. We are still getting more than half of our energy from coal and it is expected that we will still get more than half our energy from coal by 2050. So it’s lovely to live in an unreality, but of course we are in favour of wind and solar and pumped hydro and we are investing. The largest renewal energy project in Australia’s history is Snowy Hydro 2.0, which the Turnbull Government is doing because we support renewable energy. It doesn’t mean we can completely abandon coal.

ALBANESE: We certainly won’t be getting more than half of our energy from coal in 2050.

PYNE: That’s what the estimate is.

ALBANESE: The fact is that a whole range of our coal-fired power stations are beyond their life expectancy. That is the case with Liddell. That was the case with Hazelwood. You would think, listening to this debate and some of the backbenchers with an obsession like Craig Kelly or Tony Abbott, clearly trying to return to the leadership, that a Government decision was made to shut down Hazelwood. It didn’t. That was a private sector decision based upon the operation of the market that it was unviable, that it had reached the end of its life. Now …

PYNE: It was 50 years old.

ALBANESE: … the fact is that managing that transition is important. You do need some consistency in terms of policy. The problem for this Government is that we have had years of debate with different options including this one, the one before from the Chief Scientist, and the one before that, and they have jumped around. What the market really wants and the energy sector are saying is they want is certainty and that is why the Government needs some consistency.

PYNE: That is what the National Energy guarantee is all about …

ALBANESE: And that …

PYNE: …supported the ACTU and the Australian Conservation Foundation.

ALBANESE: … and that is why the undermining of the Government from within is so pathetic.

PYNE: But the alternative is your Leader, Bill Shorten, who favours the Adani coal mine when he is in North Queensland but is against the Adani coal mine when …

HOST: That’s enough. We are going to have to jump in. It’s getting a bit ratty there. Good to have you back Albo. We missed you last week. Mark Butler made the chilling suggestion that we had to get rid of Two Tribes – the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song – as our theme song. We got rid of Mark Butler.

ALBANESE: That is the end of him.

PYNE: We had to get rid of Mark Butler.

ALBANESE: He won’t be replacing me anymore.

HOST: No, he’s gone. He’s had his moment in the sun. We will do it all again next week after that 30th Newspoll that nobody cares about. Christopher Pyne, Anthony Albanese …

ALBANESE: I’ll bet Christopher might notice it.

PYNE: I’ve moved on.

HOST: All right, Good on you guys.

[ENDS]

WEDNESDAY, 4 APRIL, 2018

 

Apr 4, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 6PR Perth – Odd Couple Segment

Subjects: Energy policy, Newspoll, company tax, wages.

OLIVER PETERSON: It is time to bring in the Odd Couple – Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese. Christopher, good afternoon to you first.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Ollie, thank you very much for having us.

PETERSON: Now I think we have got Anthony Albanese back from his quick trip to London aboard the Dreamliner with Qantas. Albo are you back in Australia?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I am back indeed mate.

PETERSON: You are back. Anthony Albanese is back. Christopher Pyne we might ask you first this afternoon: the Monash Forum – is there a group of disgruntled backbenchers amongst yourselves in the Liberals and the Nationals wanting to tap the Prime Minister on the shoulder and ask him to sort out the energy crisis?

PYNE: Well no there isn’t. But there is a group of people who are interested in policy development around energy and that is a very good thing. These kinds of various groups or journals have been going forever. I started one called the Conservatives for an Australian Head of State during the republic debate because I wanted there to be a republic and there has been these kinds of different policy forums for ever in politics. I mean the Labor Party have got them. They are called the Left, the Right and the Centre Left and the Left Right Out. They’ve got their own various groups that discuss policy and we should as well. So I don’t see any harm in it at all. We have the National Energy Guarantee. What this group wants is for coal to be given as good a chance as any other form of energy to provide lower prices and reliable power and we agree with that. So the good thing about the National Energy Guarantee is it is quite agnostic about what type of energy supplies Australian households and businesses, whether it is hydro or water or solar or wind or coal or gas for that matter.

PETERSON: Anthony Albanese. Do you suggest that this particular group is only interested in sorting out Australia’s energy position?

ALBANESE: If only that were the case, Christopher thinks. The fact is that this is about undermining renewable energy, a growth that is a global phenomenon, not just something that is happening in Australia of course. But it is also about undermining Malcolm Turnbull as he heads towards 30 Newspoll defeats and it’s no accident the timing of this ginger group, the leaking of it through Peta Credlin, Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff. This is a case of killing two birds with one stone here. The fact is that the banks don’t want to lend money for new coal-fired power. The market is having its say on these issues and it’s remarkable that the Liberal Party that used to champion the free market has people on its Right wing who want to go to something that is more resembling of sort of state Socialism in imposing coal-fired power than it is any approach of the free market.

PETERSON: Christopher Pyne Anthony Albanese just mentioned there that the 30th Newspoll which we expect out next Monday will show another loss for the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.  Should he call on a spill?

PYNE: Ollie, nobody is talking about the Newspoll except people inside the beltway in Canberra in the Press Gallery. If you walk down the main street of my electorate, not one person stops me and says “Oh, I want to talk about the Newspoll’’. They will stop me and talk about energy prices and reliability and cost of living and the good work we are doing on jobs, creating 420,000 jobs, and defence industry and ship building and submarine building. They are talking about all things that people care about. Not one person ever says to me “I am completely focused on the next Newspoll’’ and nobody can seriously tell me that is the issue that people are concerned about in Australia today.

PETERSON: So if we want to stop those questions, though, and the annoying chatter from the Press Gallery and people like me Christopher Pyne, why doesn’t he just call a spill though? There probably won’t be a challenger and it’s all resolved and we move on and we talk about policy?

PYNE: Because we are talking about policy. We are talking about jobs. We are creating jobs. We are focused on the economy. We are focused on growth. In Western Australia I am focused on the Henderson precinct and trying to make sure we have a viable, growing, exciting ship building industry there and (inaudible) and maintenance and I am doing the same thing here at Osborne. We just announced the combat reconnaissance vehicles that are being built in Queensland at a cost of $15.7 billion – the largest army acquisition.

We are getting on with the business of government. I am not distracted by polls and I don’t think anybody is. And the Newspoll quite frankly, they said we were going to lose the Bennelong by-election. They were 50 per cent wrong. They said that Tasmania was going to go down to the wire. The Tasmanian Liberal Government won and won well. They said they couldn’t pick the South Australian election and the South Australian Liberal Party won and won well. They said Xenophon was a likelihood of being the Premier of South Australia. He didn’t even win his own seat. So let’s focus on what matters, which is real contests and real policy and we’ll let other people in the Press Gallery wonder worry about the Newspoll.

PETERSON: All right, there’s some buoyancy there Christopher Pyne. Is that what you are feeling as well Anthony Albanese? Is, all of a sudden, the Labor Party in the gun?

ALBANESE: Well of course Christopher Pyne said no-one is talking about polls and then went on to talk about a range of polls. The fact is the Government is completely distracted by the Newspoll number 30, which was the excuse that Malcolm Turnbull himself gave for knocking off Tony Abbott, an elected Prime Minister.

The fact is that Malcolm Turnbull leads a bad government with no direction, no narrative and no sense of purpose and I think that people can sense that out there, that it is too focused on itself and there’s a range of issues that Christopher raises, some of which I would frankly agree with, that the business of Government does have to go on. But the Government in so many areas is completely distracted by its internals and there’s no doubt that that is why this ginger group on energy policy has been formed. That is why you see the constant undermining of the Government by its former prime minister; now its former deputy prime minister – both sitting on the backbench. And in my area of infrastructure you just see a lack of cut-through and a lack of government presence there in WA. I, as you know, have now notched up five visits to WA this year.

PETERSON: You are always here.

ALBANESE: Christopher speaks about Henderson. He just doesn’t ever visit it.

PYNE: Rubbish. I have been there more often than you have. The only reason you are always in Western Australia because nobody wants to see you in Sydney. They are all sick if you, thoroughly sick. You are more welcome in Adelaide than you are in New South Wales.

ALBANESE: I am very popular in my seat Christopher.

PETERSON: Christopher Pyne, do you think that the Government will be able to get the numbers to be able to pass your company tax cuts?

PYNE: Well I certainly hope so because the company tax reform will help create jobs and higher wages and growth. And don’t take my word for it. That is what Bill Shorten used to say when he was in the Gillard-Rudd-Gillard Government, as did Paul Keating, as did Chris Bowen, the Shadow Treasurer. They have all been saying exactly the same things that we have been saying for many years and now for pure political expediency are trying to have a fight about it. See, Labor’s model is to fight about everything. They are not the least bit interested in policy. They know as well as I do that if we cut the company tax rate, there will be more jobs, there will be more investment in businesses in Western Australia and elsewhere, and if they were in government they would be planning to do something very similar.

PETERSON: The line in the sand has been drawn though Anthony Albanese – if Labor forms a government at the next election, company tax cuts would be off the agenda.

ALBANESE: Well absolutely because we just don’t see that as a priority. You have at the moment record profits taking place and that is simply not flowing through to an increase in wages and that is why people are under pressure in terms of their living standards. The fact is that this is a government that is relying upon the trickle-down effect, that somehow if you cut company taxes – and indeed many of the companies that have been quoted as supporting this don’t pay any actual company tax in reality – that somehow it will trickle down and workers will benefit. Well workers know better than that, they know that that is not the way that it works.

And at the same time the Government has refused to put forward a positive submission when it comes to the minimum wage. You have the retailers putting forward a submission calling for no increase at all in the minimum wage which means of course in effect a real wage cut and that really shows why it is beyond belief that somehow these people who think there should be no increase at all in wages would somehow just pass on a company tax cut through to their employees. It defies reality and it just shows that this is a government that is out of touch. Our priority isn’t cutting company taxes. It is investment in education, investment investment in health, investment in child care …

PYNE: You‘ve had a fair run.

ALBANESE: … investment in the future.

PETERSON: All right gentlemen, unfortunately we are out of time this afternoon. Appreciate your time this afternoon on the Odd Couple segment.

ALBANESE: Thanks for having us Ollie.

[ENDS]

TUESDAY, 3 APRIL, 2018

 

Apr 3, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Broadbeach, Gold Coast

Subjects: Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, infrastructure, Bruce Highway, M1, Light Rail, Budget.

KATE JONES, TOURISM INDUSTRY MINISTER: Look it’s great to be here at Broadbeach with Anthony Albanese. As you know, he was the Minister for Infrastructure in 2009 when we first bid for the Commonwealth Games. We knew from day one that we would have the support of our federal colleagues. Similarly, he was the Infrastructure Minister in 2011 when we actually secured the bid to host the Games here. So it is great to be here with Anthony Albanese who has been part of the story from day one with just 24 hours to go until the opening ceremony. We know that one of the great legacies of the Commonwealth Games here on the Gold Coast will be the infrastructure that will last long after the last athlete waves goodbye. This includes, and Anthony will talk about this, significant upgrades by the Federal Government in regards the Carrara Stadium and of course 18 venues that have either been built or upgraded for the Commonwealth Games.

This will provide a long-term legacy not only for the Gold Coast but across Queensland including the wonderful Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane. Today we are hosting a tourism industry lunch where the Premier will be speaking about the long-term benefits of the tourism industry for Queensland. Of course the tourism industry has grown by over $2 billion in our first term of government already. We know that this is an industry that will continue to grow and provide jobs for Queenslanders into the future. So that’s why we have launched our brand new tourism campaign – Queensland: Where Life is Beautiful and Perfect the Next – in time for the Games. We want to leverage as much exposure for Queensland from hosting the Commonwealth Games to grow the tourism industry and to grow tourism jobs. Anthony.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much Kate and it is indeed a great honour to be here with Kate Jones and Meaghan Scanlon on the Gold Coast just one day before tomorrow night’s fantastic opening ceremony in what I am sure will be an enormous success, not just for Queensland and the Gold Coast in particular, but for the entire nation. The fact is the eyes of the world will be on Australia and here on the Gold Coast in the coming fortnight and it is an opportunity to sell what Queensland and the Gold Coast and Australia have to offer as a tourism destination and that is just one of the reasons why we supported the games bid very strongly back in 2009 when we were in government.

When we were in government I am very proud that as the Infrastructure Minister we funded, through $365 million, the commencement of the Gold Coast Light Rail network. That was at the time the first-ever significant investment from the Commonwealth in any light rail project and it is an exciting partnership between the Commonwealth Government, the State Government and also the private sector. It was opposed at the time by the Coalition both at the state and national levels.

In addition to that we funded $37 million for the upgrade of the Carrara Stadium. Now that was the largest-ever grant through the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program. On top of that we upgraded the Pacific Motorway with over $100 million of funding. We upgraded the bike paths through a grant to Gold Coast City Council here. We were a Government that that was committed to infrastructure for the Gold Coast and unlike the predecessors and indeed since 2013 when I think the Gold Coast has been taken for granted.

Well this fortnight all the eyes of the Australia and indeed the Commonwealth and the world will be on the Gold Coast. It is a great opportunity to showcase what a fantastic destination it is. These Games will create many thousands of jobs in the short term over the next fortnight but also will create tens of thousands of jobs, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs, into the future by showcasing Australia as a tourism destination.

MEAGHAN SCANLON, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TOURISM DEVELOPMENT: It’s wonderful to be here today and I am extremely excited for the Commonwealth Games to be held here tomorrow. The opening ceremony will be held in my electorate in Carrara tomorrow and I know that people all throughout the Gold Coast are so excited and I want to thank Anthony Albanese and Federal Labor for their commitment towards the Gold Coast. It was of course Federal Labor, in conjunction with State Labor, that delivered Light Rail Stage I which is a fantastic piece of infrastructure here and we know all of the infrastructure delivered for the Commonwealth Games will leave a long-lasting legacy for the Gold Coast.

So today Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement in relation to the Bruce Highway highlights the ineffectiveness of the wall-to-wall Federal LNP MPs here on the Gold Coast. We still haven’t heard about whether they will fund the six-laning from Brisbane to the NSW border. We know that we need to fix the M1 and yet the LNP MPs here on the Gold Coast seem incapable of committing funding towards our city. So I want to thank the Federal Labor Government which has shown a tremendous commitment towards Gold Coast. The Palaszczuk Government has put $206 million on the table when it comes to the M1 upgrade because we know that we need to keep delivering for our city. And I am so excited for the Commonwealth Games and the potential that the Gold Coast has throughout this next fortnight.

REPORTER: Do you have a total what was spent?

ALBANESE: We put in over half a billion dollars as a Commonwealth Government to infrastructure on the Gold Coast during our time in office – large projects and small – partnering with the local council – the Gold Coast City Council – and also partnering of course with the Queensland State Government, the largest grant of which was $365 million for the Gold Coast Light Rail project. Now like other rail projects it has been an incredible success. Its patronage has far exceeded what the forecasts were and at the time the Federal Coalition members opposed this project. They said it would be disruptive, which of course with any infrastructure project you do get some disruption, but they were quite happy to be there at the ribbon-cutting and the opening, even those members who had opposed it at the time.

REPORTER: Half a billion dollars – are you sure we will get that money back in return?

ALBANESE: There’s no doubt that there will be much more than that over the medium and let alone the long term. This provides a real focus on the Gold Coast, the fact that you have a regional city hosting an international event, the Commonwealth Games, is a great tribute to this region. This region relies upon tourism for job creation. And that’s why there’s nothing better than having a significant international event. We’ll see the significant benefit for the economy over the next fortnight, but there’s been all the lead-up. There’s also been the fact that without the development of the Carrara Stadium you wouldn’t have had the creation of the Gold Coast Suns. The Gold Coast Suns of course attract people to the Gold Coast, particularly during the quieter times in terms of tourism development. So part of the business case I well recall being put in for Commonwealth funding for that project by the-then Bligh Labor Government is the fact that people come not just for a game, but they come and they stay for a few days or indeed for a week or two. So that is of enormous benefit long term here on the Gold Coast as well.

REPORTER: Just briefly you mentioned the light rail as a big funding investment. We’ve seen Stage 3 planned to Burleigh but people have been talking about to Coolangatta Airport. Is that likely if you were back in government?

ALBANESE: Well look, when Infrastructure Australia considered the light rail project it was to go from the airport right through to connect with heavy rail. It’s good that it now is connected with heavy rail. That’s from savings from projects that were funded by the former Federal Labor Government as well. There’s been no additional funding put in by the Commonwealth Government for that project so there’s an opportunity for the Commonwealth Government in its Budget in May to show that it actually genuinely supports the Gold Coast and infrastructure development by putting new additional money in. That’s the opportunity that they have between now and the next six weeks.

REPORTER: Would you fund it if you’re in government?

ALBANESE: We’ll make our announcements at the appropriate time but I think what you could look at from Federal Labor is that we’ve shown a commitment to the Gold Coast, be it large projects like light rail; the upgrades to the Pacific Motorway; the upgraded Carrara Stadium; the bike paths and infrastructure indeed even along the waterfront here. Some of this was funded by the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program. We’ve shown our commitment to the Gold Coast and that is in spite of the fact that there are no Federal Labor members here on the Gold Coast. We now have a senator in Senator Murray Watt who is doing more, frankly, to advocate for Gold Coast infrastructure than all of the lower house members combined.

REPORTER: What would you fund on the M1?

ALBANESE:  We’ll wait and see what the Commonwealth Government does in its Federal Budget in May. We’ll be making our announcements in the lead-up to the next federal election. But if you look at what the Commonwealth will do, at the moment the Commonwealth infrastructure budget is due to fall from the $9.2 billion it was estimated to be in the last financial year in 2016-17, out in terms of the forward estimates, it drops to $4.2 billion. So it falls off a cliff. What we need to do to ensure future employment creation is to make sure that infrastructure investment, which is the key to future economic growth, continues to keep pace with population growth. That means investing including in our regional centres such as here on the Gold Coast.

If you look at the past investment as well, Gold Coast residents have benefited from the upgrades on the other side of the border as well including the Sextons Hill upgrade. That was fully federally funded, because at the time the State Coalition Government as well as the Federal Coalition Government had ignored that for such a long period of time. That project was over $300 million dollars. So if you look at the upgrades that are there, we will continue to support Gold Coast infrastructure, as we will throughout regional Queensland. Brisbane will of course benefit as well from the Cross River Rail project which is a project that benefits not just people in Brisbane but people of the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast by increasing the capacity on the rail network. That was funding that was actually already in the Commonwealth Budget that was ripped out by Tony Abbott and kept out by Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull likes riding on trains and trams and taking selfies on them. What we want to see in this year’s Budget is some funding for rail and light rail.

REPORTER: You mentioned your new tourism campaign that you’ve launched. Can you repeat it for me?

JONES: What’s really exciting is that we know there’s six words that people associate with Queensland and that is in relation to our beautiful weather. The new twist on the campaign is we’re going to showcase what is great about Queensland’s lifestyle. So our new campaign where life is beautiful one day, perfect the next. And we’re really going into markets both domestically here across Australia with television commercials – one will air live just ahead of the Opening Ceremony tomorrow night – as well as targeting the New Zealand market. We’ll also be having an online media campaign globally as well. What this showcases is what we know is great about Queensland; what’s uniquely something you can only get in Queensland and our market research is showing that this will have cut-through and that people really do associate that life is beautiful and perfect the next as being something that is uniquely Queensland.

REPORTER: Perfect is an interesting – ‘perfect the next’ when we have a cyclone up north. Is this a little bit …

JONES: That’s why this campaign is very much focused on not just being about the weather which was the original version of the ad some decades ago. What we’ll be showcasing in the ad is actually the lifestyle, so laying back on the beach at Great Keppel Island, beautiful seafood as well as going out to the outback and the unique dinosaur experience in Queensland, which is the only state that can offer it. So we are very confident that our research shows that this is a campaign that will resonate with Australians, New Zealanders and globally. It also feeds in very much to what we’re seeing in all market research which is about nostalgia. Similarly, Tourism Australia has launched their new campaign profiling Crocodile Dundee, a new twist on that. We’re also seeing major corporations around the world really tapping into old themes and brands that people have known for a very long time, that are familiar. In an ever increasing busy world, we’re seeing nostalgia is cutting through so we’re very confident this campaign will deliver results.

REPORTER: Was it a last minute decision to take the emphasis on the weather out?

JONES: No, absolutely not. This is a campaign that has been in the works now for about 12 months. The filming has happened over the last couple of months and so certainly this has been based on the research that we’ve been doing both internationally and domestically about the reasons why people travel and what has really changed in recent years is that people are looking for unique experiences that they cannot get anywhere else. Deeper than just saying ‘we had the most beautiful beaches’ which of course we know we do. But actually about what you can do in a destination. So this follows on the campaign we’ve had in marketing in the last couple of years which highlights experiences in unique destinations.

[ENDS]

TUESDAY, 3 APRIL, 2018

 

Mar 24, 2018

Transcript of radio interview – 6PR, Perth Live with Oliver Peterson

Subjects; Perth-London Qantas Inaugural Flight, Dividend Imputation, Company Tax Cuts

OLIVER PETERSON: Joining me in the studio is senior Labor MP Anthony Albanese. Welcome back to Perth.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be here Ollie. This is my fourth visit this year.

PETERSON: I know.

ALBANESE: It’s only March.

PETERSON: You are almost becoming a West Australian.

ALBANESE: Well, I wouldn’t mind becoming a West Australian I’ve got to say. It’s a great city and a beautiful day here. It has been pretty miserable in Sydney the last few days. It was wet and cold and before that it was too hot, so it has been a great day here.

PETERSON: It is and you are on the inaugural flight tomorrow with Steve Ciobo – obviously your counterpart across the chamber. You are both heading to London on board the Dreamliner.

ALBANESE: We are and we will be there promoting Australia and promoting Western Australia in particular. This is an amazing thing. The Kangaroo Route began in 1947 and it took four days and it was called the Kangaroo Route in part, the Qantas logo of course, but it was called that because they literally had to hop all the way to London. This one is going to be non-stop – 17 hours – and it opens up the West by having that direct flight here to Perth non-stop and what certainly the Western Australian tourism sector want is for people to not just spend time here in Perth but there are deals going to then have people go to Broome, Ningaloo, Margaret River. There is so much that the West has to offer and it is an important market that will be opened up here for jobs and for the tourism sector.

PETERSON: Well we did have word on the street this week from Karen who indicated that the WA Premier, Mark McGowan, is going to be handing out posters for quokka selfies. Now that has become a revolution Albo. Have you been over to Rottnest and had a quokka selfie like Margot Robbie did this week and obviously Roger Federer earlier this year.

ALBANESE: Well, Margot Robbie and Roger Federer both have different aspects than I do, either attractiveness …

PETERSON: Or they are decent at tennis.

ALBANESE: … or talent. I play for Marrickville Lawn Tennis Club. That is the closest that I will get to being as great tennis player. But I did spend Christmas Day in 1983 on Rottnest Island.

PETERSON: Did you really?

ALBANESE: When it was a lot smaller place. I came over, drove over. I was a student at the time, myself and my then girlfriend, and we didn’t have any money for a holiday. Someone was from Perth, a friend was coming back over to spend time with their family, so I spent six weeks here including Christmas and for Rottnest Island Christmas time was fantastic.  I don’t know what it is like now. It is a lot busier obviously.

PETERSON: It’s still brilliant.

ALBANESE: The accommodation was pretty basic and you had to make sure the doors were shut because the quokkas would get in and it was an absolutely fantastic time and I think my love of Western Australia and the south west in particular started there, because we went down to Albany and we did Margaret River and the Big Trees and we did all of that. We went to places like Mandurah – it was a little sleepy place back in 1984 before it really boomed.

PETERSON: Well there you go. You’ve got the perfect mix there with tourism, transport, infrastructure etc. But let me ask you this afternoon, now the changes your party is proposing to dividend imputations, let’s start there. Could this be, on the sale of trying to get this across to the Australian people, could this be at the moment though, Bill Shorten’s John Hewson moment, trying to explain how a GST would be applied to a birthday cake?

ALBANESE: No I think the thing about the GST with the birthday cake was that it applied to everyone because everyone has a birthday. Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone. It applies just to those people currently, instead of being able to reduce their tax liabilities – how much money they owe the tax office for their investment – they are able to get a cash refund. Now that wasn’t anticipated to be the case. I think people know that there are fiscal issues with the Budget. We have put this forward. We have been upfront about it. People have got lots of time in terms of organising their financial affairs. People will know what the impact of it is. We’ve been out there explaining the case. The Government used to talk about reducing the deficit. We are actually coming up with measures from Opposition and it is a tough thing

PETERSON: Is it scary though, to target some self-funded retirees who are very influential? They will say I’ve worked my backside off to try and fund my golden years, and now you want to come and raid the money that I have and then they will probably tell their children and their grandchildren. Has it been thought through properly?

ALBANESE: Look it has been thought through. This is a system that when introduced by John Howard was anticipated to cost $500 million a year. We know it will cost up to $8 billion a year to the budget just in the next couple of years. Now, that is more money than the national government spends on public schools. So government is about making budget choices. When you say that to people I think they realise that this is a loophole, which is there, which I understand people have legitimately used. But what we’re saying in advance, well in advance, is that the budget simply can’t afford an $8 billion annual hit such as this.

The big difference is between when it was introduced by Paul Keating in 1987 and then John Howard made these changes. What’s happened since then is that superannuation has become income tax free, once you’re of a certain age. What that means is that the difference between people’s taxable income and their actual income can be quite substantial. So this by and large applies to self-managed super funds and the amount of money that will be impacted, where most of the revenue of this will come from, is from a very small number of people at the top end. Yes there is some broader impact and we’ve acknowledged that and we’re talking those issues through.

PETERSON: Ok. Will older Australians be better off under a Labor Government than a Coalition Government?

ALBANESE: They’ll always be better off under a Labor Government. We won’t do things like increase the working age to 70. We wouldn’t have done things like what happened in the Senate just this week, where you’ve had a removal of the bereavement allowance. A small amount of money for widows has been removed.

We, of course, look at the changes that were made to the pension assets test by the current Government, where 90,000 people lost their pensions. So there has been significant changes and when we were last in Government we, of course, gave the largest ever increase in pensions in Australia’s history.

PETERSON: Company tax cuts on the agenda. It looks as though the Government may have the numbers, or shortly will have the numbers to pass this through the Senate. It looks like a deal is being done with One Nation. Is Labor on the wrong side of company tax cuts?

ALBANESE: No I don’t think we are. I think people out there, for similar reasons about the state of the budget: can we afford a $65 billion company tax cut that relies upon essentially the trickle down theory? The theory is that if you give this tax cut to companies, somehow it will be passed on in the form of increased wages. Well, there are a couple of problems with that. One is that a whole lot of the companies that have been mentioned haven’t actually paid any company tax for some time…

PETERSON: Well let’s take FMG for example. They’ve said the five per cent cut to the $2 billion or so it pays in tax; $40 million Andrew Forrest would reinvest in the economy. Create jobs, higher wages: isn’t that a good thing?

ALBANESE: Sure. Look investment is always a good thing in the national economy. But the question is what happens to the overwhelming amount of the $65 billion and whether that’s directly invested. For example I’m the shadow infrastructure minister – I know what I could do with $65 billion of infrastructure investment in public transport around the country. For example, you could revolutionise public transport in this nation with that sort of figure.

PETERSON: You could build METRONET out to Ellenbrook.

ALBANESE: Well, we’re going to build the rail line out to Ellenbrook anyway. We’ve put that in there as part of our $1.6 billion that we’ve committed here in Western Australia. But it is a matter of choices and the problem is that people, when they have a look at what is actually happening, they can judge the theory. Because if the theory was right, then what would be happening right now would be that real wages would be increasing because company profits are up, because executives’ pay is up. The only thing that is down is workers’ wages, which isn’t even keeping up with inflation. So I think for people out there who are struggling to pay their mortgage, put food on the table for their families, pay their education fees for their kids, they’ll all be looking at this and going, well hang on, the boss doesn’t automatically just pass this on, otherwise that would have happened before now.

PETERSON: Anthony Albanese, we are out of time but go and enjoy your inaugural flight on the Qantas Dreamliner to London.

ALBANESE: I think it will be very interesting. It will be a very good thing for Western Australia because in a few years time there will be direct flights no doubt, as technology gets better, from Sydney and Melbourne, but what’s happening here is that Perth is getting the jump on the rest of Australia and that’s a great thing.

PETERSON: It certainly is, thanks for popping by.

ALBANESE: Cheers.

Mar 23, 2018

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects: Corporate tax, Victorian Labor Party

KARL STEFANOVIC: The Prime Minister has promised wages will rise if his Government’s company tax cuts pass through the Senate. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Good morning guys.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl. Good morning Anthony.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Greetings.

STEFANOVIC: OK Chris, are you over the line yet?

PYNE: What’s that Karl? You are both talking over each other and I don’t know what the question is.

STEFANOVIC: All right. Aren’t you grumpy today?

PYNE: No I’m not. I just can’t hear what the question is.

STEFANOVIC: Well it’s not hard. Are you over the line yet in the Senate?

PYNE: Oh, are we over the line yet? I’m sorry. Well we are getting there I think. Next week we are hopeful of passing the company tax cuts through the Senate, which would be great news for the economy, make us much more competitive internationally and ensure that wages go up. I mean one of the areas of the economy where the Government recognises we need to do better is in growing wages. We have done very well on jobs. We are doing very well on growth. We are really making big strides – 427,000 new jobs in the last 12 months, but we would like to see wages growing and one of the ways to do that of course is to let companies invest back in their own businesses and one of the ways they do that is investing in their workforce through higher wages.

STEFANOVIC: Derryn Hinch is your stumbling block. He says he will back it if you leave the banks out of the cuts. It’s ridiculous that premise, isn’t it?

PYNE: Well look, we need to negotiate with the cross bench, but it would be an unusual tax system that taxed certain businesses more than other businesses simply based on the fact that they might not be so popular with the public but I will leave those negotiations to the Treasurer and the Finance Minister.

STEFANOVIC: You must have a thought process on that though? It’s ridiculous.

PYNE: Well it would certainly be a bit unorthodox. But let’s wait and see how things turn out. I am sure we will get there. Whether we have to do that or not I doubt it but I am sure we will get there because it is really important for our country that we have these tax cuts for companies if we want to grow jobs and wages.

STEFANOVIC: OK. Albo, the banks exempt. What do you think about that?

ALBANESE: Well, being ridiculous doesn’t rule things out for this government and it is ridiculous to argue that $65 billion of tax cuts for the big end of town will result in these people having the trickle-down effect – they will say: “Oh,  well we’ve got all this additional money that we can hang on to. What we will do is we will give it away’’. It ignores the reality of the real world. What we know is that at a time of increased profits at the moment we haven’t seen real wages increasing. There is no reason to believe that voluntarily employers will just give this money over. It’s not the way the system works and people know that.

STEFANOVIC: Albo, when you come into power, you will roll back the company tax rate back to where it is now?

ALBANESE: What we will do is we will deal with our policies at the appropriate time in the lead-up to the election.

STEFANOVIC: Oh, come on Albo.

ALBANESE: Well, we’ve got more policy out there than any Opposition has in living memory.

STEFANOVIC: But if you don’t like the company tax cut then you will wind it back when you come into power. It’s very simple.

ALBANESE: We will announce our policies at the appropriate time, maybe even here on the Today Show.

PYNE: He’s a slippery customer.

STEFANOVIC: So you will wind it back or not? I don’t understand.

ALBANESE: We will announce our policies at the appropriate time and the Leader and the Shadow Treasurer will do that.

STEFANOVIC: OK. Albo, is Daniel Andrews finished in Victoria?

ALBANESE: Daniel Andrews is ahead in Victoria. He is ahead as preferred Premier. He leads the party that is ahead on both primary and two-party preferred basis. He is a great Premier. He is doing a fantastic job.

STEFANOVIC: Are you standing by ALP national secretary Noah Carroll, because Bill Shorten is? He was the architect of all this dodgy scheme.

ALBANESE: Let’s get some reality in here – ALP staffers work for the election of ALP members that they work for. It seems to me, from a distance, that this is an enormous beat-up. The fact is that political staff, whether they be ALP, Liberal, National, Green or Independent work toward …

STEFANOVIC: Albo, I don’t think it does you any favours saying it’s a beat up.

ALBANESE: Well that is a fact Karl. The fact is that people work towards the re-election of their particular political party that they work for and where issues have been found in terms of inappropriate use, the money has been paid back by the Labor Party.

STEFANOVIC: So this is common is it?

ALBANESE: Well, it certainly is common for staff of Liberal Party MPs to work for the re-election of the Liberal Party. Yes it is.

STEFANOVIC: OK, one final one from you Chris.

PYNE: Well unfortunately for Anthony what happened in Victoria is not just staffers of Labor MPs working for the re-election of the Andrews Government. It was actually people being paid full-time to work as campaign organisers in other elections across Victoria and it has been found to be worse than a rort. The person who did the inquiry said it is very, very serious. It is very serious and Daniel Andrews and his Government have a lot of questions to answer and this issue is not going away.

STEFANOVIC: OK. Anthony Albanese …

ALBANESE: Your bloke dines out with mobsters mate.

PYNE: Don’t try and deflect.

ALBANESE: Your bloke dines out with mobsters. Lobster with a mobster, that’s your bloke who you are trying to get elected in Victoria and that is why he is collapsing.

PYNE: I think you have want to be very, very careful. The man you are talking about has not ever been charged with any offence so I would be pretty careful about saying things like that.

ALBANESE: Nor has Daniel Andrews, my friend.

PYNE: He hasn’t been found to have been rorting like the Victorian ALP has been found to have been rorting.

ALBANESE: He hangs around with all the wrong types. All the wrong types.

STEFANOVIC: That just got very interesting right at the end of our cross. Thank you for that Anthony and your flight is ready to board.

PYNE: The sooner the better. He’s in all sorts of trouble.

ALBANESE: Perth I am on my way.

STEFANOVIC: We’ve got to go.

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