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May 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MITCHELL: What would be a bad result?

ALBANESE: Well, to not win, funnily enough.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: That’s exactly right.

MITCHELL: So do we get a reassessment or not?

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

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

[AD BREAK]

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

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

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

ALBANESE: No. Certainly, what the Government has…

MITCHELL: Isn’t that right?

ALBANESE: No.

MITCHELL: No?

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

MITCHELL: You’re better off?

ALBANESE: The Government has a plan…

MITCHELL: What about your plan?

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: I don’t think that’s right.

MITCHELL: Really?

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

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

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

MITCHELL: Well, a pox on both your houses.

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

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

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

MITCHELL: Bill got it wrong.

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

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

ALBANESE: Yes, they will.

MITCHELL: Why?

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

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

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

MITCHELL: So what’s your plan?

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

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

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

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

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

MITCHELL: Thanks very much for your time.

ALBANESE: Great to be with you.

May 11, 2018

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

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

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Clips play]

STEFANOVIC: Albo, Albo, Albo.

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

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

ALBANESE: Yes.

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

ALBANESE: Look…

STEFANOVIC: What about Anne? Is Anne Aly okay?

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

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

ALBANESE: Josh, you’ve got ten seconds.

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

STEFANOVIC: That’s true.

FRYDENBERG: And the question is he ready to pounce?

STEFANOVIC: Like a tiger!

FRYDENBERG: Is he ready to pounce?

STEFANOVIC: Like a tiger!

ALBANESE: Good try, Josh.

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

ALBANESE: Good try, mate.

STEFANOVIC: Thanks Josh, thanks Albo.

May 10, 2018

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

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

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’m glad I missed it.

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

ALBANESE: They have. They do that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAIDEN: Will Labor not run in Mayo then?

ALBANESE: I don’t know, is the truth.

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

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

MAIDEN: He was alright for a while.

ALBANESE: He had a few issues, Jamie.

MAIDEN: Only toward the end.

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: I didn’t even know it existed.

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: Carlo.

MAIDEN: Carlo, sorry.

ALBANESE: Italian, not Spanish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: No, it will be after.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: You weren’t there.

MAIDEN: I was there.

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

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

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

MAIDEN: Look forward to that, but the…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 9, 2018

Transcript of radio interview – FIVEaa Adelaide, Two Tribes segment – Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Subjects:  Budget, infrastructure, tax cuts, South Road, election timing.

HOST: Special post-Budget edition of Two Tribes. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese, good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

HOST: Now, we’ve been doing this segment for long enough. l think that we can probably be all honest with one another now. I know you two typically are. No matter what we ask you post-Budget morning we are probably going to get a rendition of the talking points so what we figured, you’ve got 60 seconds each to get it out of your system and then we are going to get into the questions. Chris Pyne, you can go first.

PYNE: Well the Budget is delivering a stronger economy, essential services and we are living within our means. We are returning to taxpayers their own money in a transformative tax package that means that 94 per cent of Australians will pay 32.5 cents in the dollar tax or less and Labor is opposing that income tax cut. So we have delivered the essential services, more jobs and a stronger economy. We are living within our means. We are returning to surplus faster than was anticipated. So we have turned the corner and we are delivering tax cuts back to Australians which is their money and Labor is saying” “No, we want to keep it’’.

HOST: Nice and concise. All right Albo, your shot.

ALBANESE: This Budget is a hoax. It has tax cuts off in the never-never in Malcolm Turnbull’s fifth term or something. It has infrastructure investment that fails South Australia. Infrastructure investment in South Australia this year is $832 million, in 2017-18. It declines to $504 million, then $311 million, then $135 million, then $236 million. That represents three per cent of the national infrastructure Budget is going to South Australia in 2020-21. It’s a complete fail when it comes to supporting South Australia and I am amazed if this South Australian Marshall Government just rolls over and has its tummy tickled by this Government that is taking South Australia for granted.

HOST: To you Chris, on the question around the long-term nature of this tax reform and tax cut plan, is that the reason that the Government is going to try within the next few weeks to go into the Parliament and say: “here is the legislation” and is the thinking that you will not only stare down Labor into challenging them, to oppose tax cuts for so many Australians, but that you will also future proof the savings, meaning that they are law and that a future government of any hue would have to bring in new laws to abolish them?

PYNE: Well we will be introducing the Personal Income Tax Plan this morning into the House as is the normal course of events and Labor has already announced that they are going to vote against tax cuts.

ALBANESE: We have not. Don’t lie.

PYNE: They have. You’ve already announced …

ALBANESE: We have not. You are just lying.

PYNE: Well. I am not.

ALBANESE: You are just lying to the listeners.

PYNE: Chris Bowen has announced that you are going …

ALBANESE: He has not.

PYNE: Has already announced that you are voting against the income tax cuts.

ALBANESE: He hasn’t. You are lying.

PYNE: I heard it this morning. Fran Kelly said it this morning. Fran Kelly from the ABC said it this morning.

HOST: Guys settle, settle, settle.

ALBANESE: Fran Kelly is not Labor’s spokesperson.

HOST: I’ve never even heard of Fran Kelly. Let’s not worry about what was said. What is the case Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: You will find out on Thursday night. On Thursday night we will make, in Bill Shorten’s Budget Reply, we will outline our alternative plans. We will outline what we are doing. We said last night that we will vote for the tax cut that comes in on the 1st of July, 2018. We will vote for that first tranche. As for the rest, we are looking at the detail and we are asking for the detail of what the impact will be. We’ll be raising questions about a whole range of things in the Budget that don’t have the detail outlined beyond the Forward Estimates because what they are talking about here is something that is off in the never- never, of which they have provided no detail.

PYNE: Rubbish.

HOST: It’s not off in the never-never if you back it and it becomes law though Albo.

ALBANESE: It is off in the never-never. You know quite well David, your listeners will be sitting there today thinking this is a Government that can’t keep its commitments from week to week.

PYNE: We haven’t broken any promises from the 2016 election.

ALBANESE: You broke one last night – no cuts to the ABC. When you look at the detail for example …

PYNE: That’s two elections ago. We are talking about 2016.

HOST: It’s also a victimless crime.

ALBANESE: What about the South Road?

PYNE: We have not broken a promise since the 2016 election.

ALBANESE: What about South Road?

PYNE: We are building the north-south corridor.

ALBANESE: You’ve made big this announcement. When?

HOST: I’m going to ask the question to you in a different way Albo, OK. Setting aside the question of whether the Labor Party is going to block tax cuts, conversely, given that you are opposing some of the largese toward corporate Australia, given that you are cracking down on negative gearing and given that you are recouping some money from some of Australia’s self-funded retirees, could Labor actually offer bigger personal income tax cuts?

ALBANESE: Well you’ll have to wait and see David. I’m not announcing our response….

HOST: Come on, you’d be in the room chatting to the boys. You’d know what’s going on.

ALBANESE: I was in the room last night. I was in the room and I was in the room that began the discussions about our response on Thursday night. Bill Shorten will be giving it on Thursday night.

HOST: Surely Two Tribes is a more appropriate forum to announce it than some cockamamee speech in the chamber?

PYNE: Labor is promising $200 billion of new taxes.

ALBANESE: Who cares about the Parliament – what about Two Tribes?

HOST: Well let’s talk then about what was announced yesterday in the Budget, Chris Pyne. Was there any new money for South Road in the Budget announced yesterday?

PYNE: Yes of course.

ALBANESE: In the Forwards? When is it? When does it kick in?

HOST: Give him a chance Albo.

PYNE: Actually Anthony, you’ve behaved quite poorly this morning.

ALBANESE: You began by lying.

PYNE: You’re at it again. Because Labor is promising $200 billion of new taxes, so even if they promise some personal income tax cuts they are taking $200 billion from older people and all Australians in order to give it back to people.

ALBANESE: How much is the corporate tax cut over ten years?

HOST: Let’s talk about infrastructure in South Australia, Christopher Pyne. Was there anything announced, anything new, that wasn’t announced previously?

PYNE: In terms of South Australia, we have $1.8 billion of infrastructure promised in this Budget and we are building the continuation of the north-south corridor …

ALBANESE: But not in the Forwards.

PYNE: At the tune of about $400 million and Anthony knows it as well as anybody …

ALBANESE: It’s not there.

PYNE: … that the expenditure on infrastructure goes up and down depending on the readiness to start projects. But I can tell you on ship building and submarines, we’re spending $1.3 billion in infrastructure at Osborne and $800 million at the Edinburgh RAAF Base and at Woomera in the north of South Australia to do the Poseidon and the Growler, being housed there as well as the ground station for the satellite. So that’s over $2.1 billion in defence infrastructure alone …

ALBANESE: That wasn’t what you were asked. You were asked about the South Road.

PYNE: … which we delivered. Plus $1.8 billion for road and rail infrastructure ..

ALBANESE: In the never-never. You’ll be Prime Minister before you start on the South Road.

HOST: You might be too, Albo.

PYNE: Labor knows that they have to face the next election promising $200 billion of increases in taxes..

HOST: Speaking of the next election, this is a Budget for an election this year isn’t it?

PYNE: No. We’re not having an election until the first half of next year, when it is due.

HOST: Seriously?

PYNE: And any other speculation is quite frankly bizarre. Why would we have an early election? The election is not due until May/June 2019. And it will be in the first half of 2019.

HOST: And one other thing –  given that both Labor and the Coalition seem to have perfected the art of usurping the will of the people and knocking off leaders themselves, is a 10-year plan to reform the tax system a bit heroic given the instability we’ve seen in Canberra for the past decade?

PYNE: Well actually the Government is very stable. And we are looking for the long-term because that’s what Governments should do. We have immediate tax relief from this year, immediate tax relief, and then there’s a longer term plan over seven years to mean that 94 percent of Australian will pay 32.5 cents or less in the dollar. We have eliminated bracket creep. This is the most significant tax reform since the GST. It’s a very transformative Budget.

HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese; that was a wild old Two Tribes, as we expected. We appreciate it and good luck. Get through your talking points for the rest of the day.

May 9, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Parliament House, Canberra – Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Subjects: Budget, infrastructure, Melbourne Airport Rail, Western Sydney Rail.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Last night’s Budget, when it comes to infrastructure, is simply a hoax. There is no new funding for infrastructure in last night’s Budget and the Budget papers tell the story itself on page after page. New Tasmanian infrastructure investments –  zero, zero, zero, zero, zero. Infrastructure Investment Program – zero, zero, zero, zero. Victoria – zero, zero, zero, zero, zero.

This is a Budget that delivers zero when it comes to new infrastructure. And the Budget Papers show that on page after page of Budget Paper Number 2. What we have is a commitment that if you re-elect the Turnbull Government, and then re-elect them again and then re-elect them again, you might actually see some infrastructure delivery.

We knew that Malcolm Turnbull liked taking selfies on trains. We then found out that he quite liked to announce new trains. It’s about time he built some new trains because what we are seeing from this Government is just a mirage.

Take for example the grand announcement of $5 billion for the airport rail line in Melbourne. What we know from the Budget Papers is that that is not real. It says this – page 143, Budget Paper Number 2: “Up to $5 billion for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link with specific funding arrangements including an option for equity investment to be settled at a later date.

What a farce. Not real, no actual funding, just saying at some time in the future, at a time of the future, with funding for the future, something might happen but it will happen in the form of an equity investment. That is a funding model that simply doesn’t work for public transport. Public transport needs grant funding. You can only have equity funding, that is off-budget that costs nothing in terms of the Budget, if it produces greater revenue than the ongoing cost structure of running that infrastructure, which no public transport project in Australia currently does. And what’s more, it has to produce a difference of revenue over ongoing cost which is high enough to actually pay for the capital investment of building that infrastructure. This is a farce and the sector knows it.

We saw also a big page one splash about Western Sydney Rail through Badgerys Creek Airport. What we actually have in the Budget is $50 million for a study to do the business case and not a single dollar – not one – for actual construction of that rail line. This is a Government that is all about making grand statements but not about delivering new infrastructure.

Thanks.

May 7, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Townsville, Queensland – Monday, 7 May 2018

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP
TOWNSVILLE
MONDAY, 7 MAY, 2018

Subjects: Budget, infrastructure, tax cuts, Labour Day.

CATHY O’TOOLE, MEMBER FOR HERBERT: It’s great to have Anthony Albanese here with us today, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Tourism and Transport. Very clearly in Townsville we want to see a Budget that includes infrastructure. And that infrastructure for us is about long-term water security, hydro-electricity in the Burdekin Falls Dam and the expansion of the port – three critical infrastructure projects that Labor has committed to and we want to see that evident in the Budget that will be handed down tomorrow. But I will hand over to Anthony to fill you in in the broader infrastructure issues.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s great to be back in Townsville, the capital of the north. The fact is that tomorrow’s Budget is an opportunity for the Government to actually match its rhetoric with some real funding, When we were last in Government we did the Townsville Ring Road, we did the Douglas Arterial, we did the approaches north and south to Cairns. We invested in infrastructure. Indeed, we more than doubled the infrastructure budget here in North Queensland.

This Government has had a lot of rhetoric but they have been prepared to go along and open projects that were begun by the former Labor Government, such as the Ring Road. But they haven’t put the actual investment in and when it comes to issues like the Port Channel widening, this is a vital issue. This is about increasing our trade. This is about improving our national position in terms of maximising the benefit of that trade right here in Townsville. The fact is that this Government’s only significant investment is of course the money for the stadium that they got dragged kicking and screaming to after more than a year after Labor committed to that project. And then they called it a City Deal. Well, the fact is that an actual City Deal would have a comprehensive plan of funding.

Tomorrow night’s Budget will be an opportunity nationally as well for the Government to actually invest in infrastructure with real dollars for real projects in real time. What we have seen so far from the Government leaks is repetition of rhetoric rather than actual achievement – the sort of rhetoric that we saw two years ago with the creation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, the NAIF, which is really known now as the No Actual Infrastructure Fund.

Years later not a single project for Queensland has been funded out of that facility, a big fanfare, a big $5 billion figure, not meaning anything at all and we are seeing that replicated with projects and announcements like Melbourne Rail to the airport which they are saying would be an equity injection, rather than an actual grant.

We are seeing it in terms of Western Sydney Rail through to the new airport, where they say that they support that project, but the fact is that $50 million for a business case means in actual fact zero dollars for actual construction of that rail line that should be under way right now so that it can open prior to the airport. Right across the nation whether it be here in Townsville in Northern Australia, or in our capital cities or in our regions, this is a Government that has masked its cut to infrastructure with rhetoric.

Its infrastructure budget was due to be in 2020-21 just $4.2 billion and it was due to decline over the decade, according to the Parliamentary Budget Office, which is independent, to 0.2 per cent from 0.4 per cent as a percentage of our national GDP – to be cut in half. So they have a lot of catching up to do. We await tomorrow night’s Budget to see whether it delivers, not just here in Townsville but right around the nation.

REPORTER: Mr Albanese, the Government have just come out this morning and touted their infrastructure credentials, saying that it will be the focus of this Budget. Are you confident of that? They have announced a pretty big figure.

ALBANESE: Well they announce lots of figures that aren’t real. One of the things that they have done as a government is to, instead of talking about the four-year Budget forward estimates, they have talked about over ten years and they have also included funding for things like the NAIF – $5 billion. I leave it to people in North Queensland but right across northern Australia to judge what benefit has there been from that $5 billion announcement that isn’t in tomorrow night’s Budget, wasn’t in last year’s, but was in the year before. So we now have, more than two years since that announcement, not a single project for Queensland.

So big figures are fine, but if they don’t actually lead to construction and actual infrastructure, then they mean absolutely nothing and that shows the failure of this Government because that Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is flawed. It is for loans, not for grants. The truth is that if private sector projects are viable and will produce a return on investment, then they don’t need a loan from the Government. There is plenty of capital and loans available to the private sector for good infrastructure projects that produce a return right now. What government can do is to facilitate projects and to invest in projects that make a difference to the national economy.

One of those is of course the Townsville Port Channel widening. The others are the water projects and the energy projects that have been identified here in North Queensland that Labor has committed to. What we will be looking for tomorrow night is the difference between the actual investment that is occurring and the Government’s rhetoric and we will be looking very closely at that and whether there is actual benefit from the announcements that have been made.

And I refer you as well to the front page story about Western Sydney Rail through to the airport, a grand signing of a document between all the mayors in western Sydney and the Commonwealth and State governments. You couldn’t fit all the politicians in the screen and yet what we know now is that all there is $50 million for a business case. Well why wasn’t the business case done already? The business case largely has been identified through the studies that have been done into Badgerys Creek Airport. So the gap is there between the Government’s rhetoric and the reality.

What the Australian economy needs is actual road projects, actual rail projects that are ready to go. Here in Queensland of course the Cross River Rail Project is ready to go. Labor has committed or recommitted funding to that project. That was a project that was funded by the former Labor Government and Campbell Newman’s Government and had that funding withdrawn and as a result has been delayed for years. Now that is a project that is a pre-condition for the project where they have announced some funding for rail further north towards the Sunshine Coast. But if you don’t do Cross River Rail you can’t do the Sunshine Coast project because it is essential to build the capacity not just for Brisbane but for the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

REPORTER: Mr Albanese, the Government are arguing that the Port of Townsville is a state-owned asset, it generates profit and that instead of paying dividends to its shareholders – the Treasury, those profits should be redirected back into the Port expansion. What do you make of that?

ALBANESE: Well this is a Government that has a terrible record when it comes to ports. In tomorrow night’s Budget they will announce the final mile from Mascot through to Port Botany of the project that they cut when they came to office in 2013 and they will pretend it is a new project. What it is is a project that has been delayed for five years and has therefore seen increased costs to the taxpayer as a result of that cut. Of course we know in the Port of Darwin it has been flogged off, allowed for by the Coalition Federal Government, to overseas interests clearly against Australia’s national interests and here in Townsville they are not acknowledging the contribution that the port makes to the national economy. Now the Government, the Federal Government, gets a dividend from boosts in exports and boosts to the national economy. They should put some of that back through the channel widening. This is a project that is ready to proceed. It’s a project in which Labor has committed and the Government should commit funding to it tomorrow night.

REPORTER: Mr Albanese, the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, foreshadowed tax cuts in the Budget. Would there be any circumstances where Labor would oppose them?

ALBANESE: Well we will wait and see what is in tomorrow’s Budget. But what we know is that since 1980 if you actually look at taxes as a proportion of the GDP, the political party that is the high-tax party is the Liberal-National Party Coalition. They are the party that have presided over increases in taxes. Labor will examine any proposals that are there in the Budget tomorrow and make our announcements when we do a Budget reply on Thursday or at some stage before the election. But one thing is very clear – Labor has got more policy out at this stage of the electoral cycle than any Opposition in living memory. We have out there clearly outlined our policies on changes to the imputation, on changes to capital gains and negative gearing for investment properties, on changes to the amount of tax that can be written off for accountants’ fees. We have got that out there in a very transparent manner and we will be very transparent about all of our tax policies prior to the election.

I’m proud to have great honour of speaking at the May Day march here in Townsville. May Day is a day in which we recognise and celebrate the fact that all of the gains that have been made for working people have been made through the trade union movement and through collective action. Measures such as the shorter working week, penalty rates, leave for holidays, wage increases, occupational health and safety. All of those issues have been dealt with as a result of the actions that we celebrate today.

Today is also a reminder that the work is not done. We see attacks on penalty rates, we see real wages declining for the first time in decades. So today is a day to once again recommit to actually making sure the economy works for people, not the other way around. Economic growth is to benefit working Australians. We are not seeing that at the moment. What we are seeing is a Government that has produced ideological attacks on trade unions and on workers. They are seeking to undermine the superannuation industry, seeking to undermine penalty rates, to reduce working conditions of working Australians and today we are celebrating the gains of the past but also committing ourselves to have further gains into the future.

O’TOOLE: Once again here on Labour Day we can see a great crowd of people coming together. Here in Townsville we have the highest rate in the state of $53 million in unpaid or underpaid superannuation. For us that is over 22,500 residents, That is completely unacceptable. Labour Day is about celebrating the past and the achievements of the past, but it is also about how do we take up the fight for these battles – wage theft, privatisation, cuts to penalty rates, working conditions, simply unacceptable to the workers of Townsville, where we also see a high unemployment rate for young people and our general population.

The unions have worked incredibly hard to deliver us probably some of the best working conditions in the world and they are being eroded by this Turnbull Government and that must stop. The people in this community will not tolerate their wages and conditions being further reduced and cut. Also we will not tolerate cuts to jobs and cuts to services particularly when we look at the aged care industry and the national disgrace that that is at the moment. So there is a lot of work to be done and the people in this community stand proudly today on Labour Day to support our union movement and say thank you for the hard work that they have delivered since the 1850s.

[ENDS]

MONDAY, 7 MAY, 2018

May 7, 2018

Radio Transcript – 2CC Canberra, Richard Perno Program – Monday, 7 May 2018

Subjects: Vinyl records, Budget, infrastructure, bipartisanship, Sydney Airport, banks, Newstart, GST.

REPORTER: In Townsville Albo, afternoon Anthony.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Indeed and I just heard your statement about what was coming up on the show. I actually have the vinyl. It’s a purple cover, purple and silver, of the original Australian cast recording for Jesus Christ Superstar with Jon English and Trevor White. I’ve got it somewhere at home I am sure.

REPORTER: You haven’t turned it into a pot plant holder or anything have you?

ALBANESE: No, I kept all my vinyl thank goodness. I was faithful that it would come back and it certainly has.

REPORTER: All right. Budget tomorrow Anthony Albanese. I’ve just seen that the Coalition Government reckons they will return to a surplus a year ahead and we could even have in the bank $7 billion. Initial reaction Anthony?

ALBANESE: Well we will wait and see the reality. They have been good at predicting. These are the same people who, when Joe Hockey came to office, said they would have a surplus each and every year and what we have seen is that The debt has doubled. It’s now out to over half a trillion dollars. They used to talk about a debt and deficit disaster when it was over $200 billion. It’s now double that at over $500 billion and they don’t talk about it anymore. So we will wait and see how it actually matches up with reality.

REPORTER: Yes. Anthony. They keep saying there is quite a difference between your lot – the Labor side of politics – and the Coalition side of politics. They reckon they can deliver lower taxes and better, if you like, living style. They reckon you would take us for a ride and you always overspend.

ALBANESE: The problem with that is that the facts are very different. You know that the ten best years for lowest tax-to-GDP ratios since the 1980s have all been under Labor governments – all ten of them. So this is a government that has increased the tax-to-GDP ratio, that has increased the deficit, increased the debt and what they haven’t had, we had when we were in government of course, the fact is we had to deal with the Global Financial Crisis. They have had good international conditions, rising commodity prices. They haven’t had either what we had, which was floods in Queensland and bush fires which were devastating in Victoria, but also added to fiscal pressures. This Government have had a dream ride and they have blown it, which is why I think what we are seeing now is a bit of desperation.

REPORTER: Yes, but surely Anthony Albanese we should be able to somehow get some bipartisan agreement on policy. I mean, this is a country should one side of politics make the decision, now as you know they have locked in this 23.9 per cent attached to the GDP. You don’t think that should be. There must be some middle ground where something must be harmonious and a compromise made given the fact that we are one country, surely one side shouldn’t be announcing policy without going to the other side?

ALBANESE: Well that is higher of course than what we had during that period in which we were in office. Look, I certainly am someone who is prepared to engage in constructive dialogue with the Government. There are two pieces of legislation in my portfolio tomorrow, one in the area of shipping and one in the area of heavy vehicles, both of which I will be giving second reading speeches supporting that legislation. Some of the big issues on infrastructure – it has taken bi-partisanship to ensure that there is a second Sydney airport. l’d like to see a bit of bi-partisanship on High Speed Rail, on a range of those big, visionary programs. What we haven’t had from this Government is any attempt at bi-partisanship. They seem to be driven totally by politics.

REPORTER: Now you are talking about Badgerys Creek which has been kicked around and into the high grass for so many decades Anthony Albanese. Do you think that regional airports around Australia, in fact NSW, will suffer if we’ve got to fly from a regional airport in NSW and we’ve got to fly into Badgerys Creek and we are looking for a doctor’s appointment in Macquarie St, it’s going to take us two hours to get into town.

ALBANESE:  Well they will still be able to fly of course into Kingsford Smith.

REPORTER:  Will there be (inaudible) there?

ALBANESE: There should be regional slots guaranteed into Kingsford Smith. But also it’s a fact that many people in Western Sydney want to fly to regional areas and it’s also the case that with what should happen with the aerotropolis around Western Sydney – it can’t be just a runway and a terminal; it has to be a catalyst for investment, for high value jobs in Western Sydney and that means people wanting to fly and to go to the science park up at Luddenham, to go to work and meetings at the high-value manufacturing sector in aviation, in renewable energy, in logistics and freight sector. That’s what I want to see, is an airport that creates jobs for people in Western Sydney.

REPORTER: OK. They reckon the income tax cuts anticipated in the Budget, they are looking at the tax cuts. That’s what they propose. You don’t like that?

ALBANESE:  What we are concerned about is not tax cuts for working people …

REPORTER: But for the banks?

ALBANESE: Well what we are concerned about is the $65 billion of tax cuts for corporate Australia that there’s no evidence that there will be a flow-on in terms of increased wages.

REPORTER: Yes.

ALBANESE:  … or benefits to working people. That’s the concern.

REPORTER: In the grant of the working people Anthony, should we raise the Newstart allowance?

ALBANESE: I certainly think that Newstart Allowance is too low. That’s my view. I think that people would struggle to get on with that sort of income. It simply hasn’t kept up. The fact is that our first objective should be to get people who are on Newstart into jobs. But whilst they are on Newstart, we’ve got to make sure that they are able to live and live in a way that actually assists them to get into work, allows them to stay healthy and not be below the poverty line.

REPORTER: Of course the Coalition reckon Anthony that you cut the tax and we will spend more. Is that a logical circle?

ALBANESE: Well, how does that fit with the top-end-of-town business, which is their priority for big business tax? We certainly have always been of the view that if you put extra  dollars in the pockets and the wallets of low and middle-income earners, they will spend it. They will create more jobs. The problem for this Government is that under its watch real wages are actually declining.

REPORTER: Yes.

ALBANESE: And they are particularly declining for those at the lower end. And if they are unsure about the consequences of that, they could ask the people cleaning their offices in Parliament House, because they cut their wages as one of the first things that they did when they came to office.

REPORTER: Yes. I mean that old thing about could you live on $40 a day, that was proposed last week and then we found out I think the politician who said that has got a couple  of million dollars invested into investment properties. Is that on old test on what you could do Albo? Could you live off $40 a day?

ALBANESE: Well no I’d struggle. That’s the truth. I know what it is like. I grew up in a single-parent household. I know what it is like to struggle with every single cent and dollar. Now the fact is that politicians are well remunerated. We work hard, but we don’t have the same issues that people who wonder whether they will be able to buy, you know, a big box of Wheet-Bix or a little one because they can only afford the money that they have in their pocket and I think it is our responsibility as politicians to always try and step into others’ shoes who are less well off than us.

REPORTER: Yes, but you’ve got to be bipartisan to do that.  A couple of quickies before I let you go Anthony Albanese. Live exports: down and out, or up and running?

ALBANESE: Well when you look at Joel Fitzgibbon’s announcement I think it is the right approach.

REPORTER: You are agreeing with him?

ALBANESE: I am agreeing with Joel Fitzgibbon. I think that what we have seen is quite horrific and it’s unacceptable …

REPORTER: Yes.

ALBANESE: … on our watch to see that sort of mistreatment of animals.

REPORTER: So would you end it?

ALBANESE: Well you can’t just sort of end it full stop.

REPORTER: No.

ALBANESE: What Joel has called for is a phasing out for serious discussion with industry as well about how as well we can benefit in terms of additional jobs by value-adding.

REPORTER: GST. Where do you want it to go?

ALBANESE: Well that’s a matter really for the states of course. It’s the state-based tax and no changes can be made without agreement from the states. It’s significant I think that the Labor states as well as Labor opposition leaders in Coalition-held states and territories have agreed that there needs to be a change in the tampon tax so that people aren’t treated unfairly because they happen to be women.

REPORTER: All right. Tomorrow night as the Treasurer stands to his feet you will be sitting on the Opposition benches and I guess you will be yelling out “no’’, “woeful’’ and all that sort of thing?

ALBANESE: No. We’ve got to behave during the Budget speech.

REPORTER: Have you? What will you do when Bill stands to his feet on Thursday night?

ALBANESE: We’ve got to behave during both. I think the Treasurer and the Opposition Leader are entitled to be heard with some respect and I think that will happen. The Speaker, I am sure, will tomorrow lay down the law and that is a good thing.

REPORTER: Will Bill Shorten take the Opposition Labor Party, the Federal Labor Party to the next election Anthony?

ALBANESE: Yes he will and he’s campaigning extremely well. Labor is ahead in the polls and we have managed to I think set the agenda. I think if you look at our team across the board we are ready to form Government and across the board I think person-for-person I’d much rather be on our side and have confidence in the way that we’d manage the economy and the various policy challenges which we are facing than the other mob.

REPORTER :Anthony Albanese, member for Grayndler, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Cities, Transport and Regional Development. Shadow Minister for Tourism as well enjoying Townsville as we always will, I will let you get back to the business.

 

 

May 4, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Willie the Boatman, Sydney – Friday, 4 May 2018

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP
SYDNEY – WILLIE THE BOATMAN BREWERY
FRIDAY, 4 MAY, 2018

Subjects: National Rail Plan, craft beer.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This morning in Melbourne, Bill Shorten, the Labor Leader, announced our National Rail Plan. This is an important plan to keep jobs here in Australia. What we know is that right around the country we’ve had train sets purchased, for light rail here in Sydney, that don’t match up; for heavy rail here in Sydney where the trains are too long or too wide for the platform and the tunnels. We have had similar occurrences from trains that have been purchased for the rail sector in Queensland. We can do better than that and Labor’s plan for national rail is about keeping manufacturing here. The Government acknowledges that the defence industry is important for maintaining jobs and skills here and a manufacturing base. Rail is exactly the same and the fact that this policy is supported by industry, by unions, by the freight sector and logistics sector – it is something that should be in the Government’s Budget next week.

Something that is in the Government’s Budget next week that we know about is reform when it comes to craft beer and this has been a great victory by the team behind me here and craft breweries right around Australia. There are over 400 craft breweries around Australia. They are small businesses. They employ local people. They bring communities together. They are a focal point for their communities. The people who go into the craft brewing industry are small business owners. They are not people who make a hell of a lot of money. Sometimes they don’t make much at all. What they do though, is bring communities together, employ local people and boost local economies.

It’s not just direct either. Behind us we also have Dave from Dave’s Brewery Tours. You have to wait a few weeks to get on to one of the tours here in the Inner West of Sydney, but they are also expanding out to Newcastle and into other parts of New South Wales and Australia.

This has been a strong campaign. It’s a campaign in which we have had motions in Parliament, petitions collected by brewers right around Australia and it is just about a fair go.

When people understood that your local craft brewery wasn’t able to get the same treatment as big foreign owned brewers, they knew that wasn’t fair and the fact is that the equalisation, making sure that the same tax applies regardless of whether a keg is 50 litres or 30 litres or 40 litres, will mean that those quality products that craft breweries produce will be taxed at the same treatment.

In addition to that, increasing the rebate from $30,000 to $100,000 will make an enormous difference. It will mean that these employers put on more local people right around the country. One of the things about the craft brewing sector is that it isn’t just in areas like the Inner West of Sydney, although I happen to think this is the best place. It is right around the country, right around regional Australia. Every regional town just about now has a craft brewery. They are employing local people. They are bringing people to that local town. They are producing quite distinctive product. And so this is a great day for people power. It is a day on which I have already had a discussion with the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, and said that this is a good thing that will happen in next Tuesday’s Budget and I want to thank all those who campaigned.  We have had probably half a dozen of these press conferences hosted at the local brewers who are here and here we have Willie the Boatman, we’ve got Shark Island, we’ve got Batch, we’ve got Yullies, we’ve got Wayward, we’ve got the people from Sydney Beer Week, Young Henrys, Rocks Brewing, Bucket Boys. We’ve got a great collection here.

But wherever you go, whether it is in the suburbs or the regional towns of Australia, people will be having a quiet one tonight and having it at a cheaper rate once this change comes through. So congratulations to everyone. This is a great industry and this measure will ensure will ensure that it grows, employs more people and helps to build the community. I think a couple of the team wanted to have something today.

PAT McINERNEY, WILLIE THE BOATMAN BREWERY: Thanks Albo. This is a really good day for small business in Australia. The $70,000 that we get from our excise rebate will mean that my business partner and I will be able to invest more in equipment and hire a lot more people and all of our employees come from our local area. So this is a great day. This is something that Anthony has worked closely with us on and really championed it. So cheers to Albo.

DAN HAMPTON, YOUNG HENRYS: We are from young Henry’s. We’ve been around for about six years. We know the challenges and we have been watching people work really hard to have a voice and so I think more than anything this is a good step toward the craft beer scene in Australia having a voice. We hire over 80 people in the local community here and so being able to put back to those staff, being able to put back to the community – we do lots with arts and music – to do all these things is huge. It’s very good news to wake up to.

ALBANESE: I think this is one of the only times or perhaps the only time I am going to get to have a beer at a press conference. It is after 12.  Cheers!

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 4 MAY, 2018

 

Apr 27, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 6PR Perth – Live with Oliver Peterson – Friday, 27 April 2018

Subject: WA infrastructure. 

OLIVER PETERSON: We’re joined now by Labor’s Shadow Infrastructure Minister. Albo, good afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

PETERSON: Have you been trumped? Has the Labor Party been trumped by the Government’s cash splash here in the west?

ALBANESE: Not at all. The fact is that we have with our Fair Share for WA Fund committed $1.6 billion over two years. The Government has committed $3.2 billion over 10 years. They weren’t even saying what their timeline is, of when money will flow for these projects. So WA has been dudded by the Prime Minister again. They haven’t delivered on what they said they would do which is to fix up the shortfall that’s there to bring WA up to the equivalent of 70 cents. That’s what we’ve said we would do in our first Budget. What we have here is a whole range of projects which as you know, myself and in some cases Bill Shorten as the Leader have announced over the last year. Projects like Ellenbrook, Midland, the Byford Extension, the Mitchell Freeway Extension, Stephenson Avenue, have all been announced previously by Federal Labor, our commitment to those projects. And at five minutes to midnight, after five years of inaction, they’ve decided Western Australia counts. The Prime Minister dropped in for a day, for the first time in a very, very long time.

PETERSON: So, Anthony Albanese, does the Labor Party now need to play catch up? Will there be more infrastructure announcements here in WA?

ALBANESE: Well, there’s no catch up. We’re ahead and we’ll stay ahead. $1.6 billion over two years is the equivalent of $800 million additional on top of our normal infrastructure commitments to WA over each of two years. Now, if the Government was fair dinkum about $800 million a year then the figure would have been $8 billion today, not $3.2 billion. So what they’ve done is extend this policy out over a long period of time. What we know is that WA has a shortfall right now. It’s improved a little bit, by a few cents in the dollar, but it’s still way behind and it’s still not good enough. We think that 70 cents as a minimum is a reasonable starting point and that’s why we make these commitments. I’m very pleased that we’ve embarrassed the Government into matching the commitments that we’ve made.

PETERSON: It’s interesting indeed, I think the fight is certainly on here in WA, there’s a few sweeteners for voters here in Perth that we’re starting to obviously have our ears at the ready listening to what you’re promising, listening what the Government is promising. I wonder if it is going to shape or change people’s votes. Anthony Albanese, thanks for your time on Perth Live.

ALBANESE: Great to be with you.

 

 

Apr 27, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 27 April 2018

Subjects: NDIS, tax, negative gearing. 

KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the show. Plenty going on in politics this morning. Joining me now is Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne in Adelaide. Morning guys.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl, good morning Anthony.

STEFANOVIC: Let’s start with you, Christopher. Scott Morrison told Today yesterday that we can afford the NDIS now without a Medicare levy. This morning we learned the gap will be larger than $7 billion. Do you know how much that gap will be, Chris?

PYNE: Well the good news Karl, is that we are able to not have to raise the Medicare levy in order to pay for the NDIS because of our good economic management of the country and the Budget.

STEFANOVIC: But do you know how much the gap will be?

PYNE: Well, I think there’s speculation about the gap. The Treasurer has made it quite clear that there is no gap, that we actually have the revenue, that the revenues are growing. We’ve managed the economy well. We’ve managed the Budget well. So the good news is unlike Labor who want to increase or raise six new taxes, we have no plans for increasing taxes. In fact, quite the opposite. We’re trying to reduce the tax burden.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, I’ll get to that in a second but do you know why the costs are blowing out for the NDIS? I’ll tell you. More children than expected are entering the scheme. Fewer than expected are leaving it. The states have to come up with funding. They have to come to the party. Essentially there are no guarantees because you have such little control over costs.

PYNE: No, the truth is the NDIS is a very important reform to support people with disabilities and we are very confident that while of course it is only just beginning, and therefore there’s issues that always need to be worked out, we can fund it. Now, Labor didn’t fund it. We are funding it and we’re doing it without an increase in the Medicare levy which is good news.

STEFANOVIC: Anthony, you blocked the Medicare increase. Are you partly to blame here?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Christopher argued week after week, year after year, that it wasn’t funded and today with no difference, no policy change, it now is funded. The truth is we always funded the NDIS when we were in government. What show that is true, is the fact that now they say with no changes, it now is fully funded. They can’t have it both ways. This is a Government that is all over the shop.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, you can’t guarantee the costs aren’t going to blow out. That is the problem and therefore funding can’t be guaranteed.

PYNE: The point is under Labor they did not have the allocation of revenue that is necessary.

STEFANOVIC: But how can you guarantee the funding if you don’t know what the costs are going to be?

PYNE: We manage the Budget and we’ve worked out the cost and we’ve got the revenue. Labor didn’t have the revenue and didn’t know the cost and they were making speculative claims about how much money they had…

ALBANESE: Complete nonsense. Go back to what you were saying last week…

STEFANOVIC: So Christopher just back on your earlier point. You won’t be introducing any new taxes?

PYNE: Well, I don’t know what is absolutely in the Budget of course because we won’t be deciding that until closer to the date.

STEFANOVIC: Oh, come on. You won’t be introducing any new taxes, will you?

PYNE: Well we don’t speculate about the Budget, Karl. You know that so it’s a very, very unfair question.

STEFANOVIC: It’s a pretty easy question, are you going to be increasing…

PYNE: We don’t speculate about the Budget but I can tell you what, we don’t increase taxes. Labor does.

STEFANOVIC: Okay.

PYNE: Labor has six new taxes…

ALBANESE: Taxes have increased as a proportion of the economy under you.

STEFANOVIC: Alright, alright.

PYNE: We are always reducing income tax, reducing company tax. That’s in our DNA. Labor loves tax. We don’t.

STEFANOVIC: That’s ‘in your DNA’?. What about oil and gas giants? They’ll be forced to pay more tax, won’t they? You’re changing the uplift concessions which determines tax deductions, so they will be paying more. That’s an increase, isn’t it?

PYNE: That’s possibly a good idea, Karl, when you look at it…

STEFANOVIC: But it is an increase, isn’t it?

PYNE: When you look at Qatar, Karl..

STEFANOVIC: You said you don’t increase taxes. You’re doing it!

PYNE: Are you becoming a shock jock, Karl? What’s going on here?

STEFANOVIC: No, I’m becoming a truth jock.

PYNE: You’ve been having your vitamins this morning.

STEFANOVIC: I’m becoming a truth jock and that is the truth, isn’t it? Oil and gas companies will be paying more.

PYNE: We had a review of the PRRT because this country has not been achieving anything like the revenues from gas that a country like Qatar has been…

STEFANOVIC: So you are increasing taxes?

PYNE: …and that suggests to us…

ALBANESE: Of course they are.

PYNE: …that it needs to be reviewed, and it’s not a new company tax cut, not a new income tax, it’s actually making sure we get the most out of our gas reserves.

ALBANESE: Under this mob, taxes are up as a proportion of the economy. Taxes are up, the deficit is up, debt is up to half a trillion dollars under them.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, you’re not of the woods either at this morning. You guys love to make it hard for your own heartland. What about this; you’ve got dramas with almost two thirds of all investors who negatively gear on less income than $80,000 a year. That’s teachers amongst those, with the highest numbers who gear properties. That is your heartland, why do you want to slash it?

ALBANESE: Guess what, Karl? Not one of them will be impacted. There’s no retrospectivity in our proposals. Our proposals will continue to allow negative gearing but for new properties, so you actually get support for the construction sector and for those jobs.

STEFANOVIC: What about all those teachers who have them now?

ALBANESE: They’re not impacted. No one’s existing arrangements are impacted by any of our proposals.

PYNE: It’s only the new people with income under $80,000 dollars who get hurt under your policy.

ALBANESE: They don’t get hurt. What they’ll do is, if they want to negatively gear – you’ve had a good crack this morning, Christopher…

PYNE: Well, I’ve been fighting with Karl, actually.

ALBANESE: If they – well, just stick that. You haven’t gone well there, so don’t pick another fight.

PYNE: You answer the question.

ALBANESE: When it comes to negative gearing, the fact is that people will be able to invest in new construction. That makes sense, Karl. Why would you have existing investors competing with first home buyers for existing property?

STEFANOVIC: Alright, I’ll let you get out and sell that message because it seems a bit hard for me to understand, but I’m no expert.

PYNE: We’ve known all along this would happen.

ALBANESE: No impact on existing properties. Zero. Really easy.

STEFANOVIC: We’ve got to go. KFC is celebrating 50 years.

[ENDS]

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