Browsing articles in "Interview Transcripts"
Mar 2, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show

Subjects: Parliament, Michaelia Cash, Jacinda Ardern, bullying.

BEN FORDHAM: What a week in Parliament – MPs in open warfare, accusations of affairs in ministerial offices, rumours, innuendo, mud-slinging and then this – the bizarre moment that security staff wheeled out a white board in the hallways of Parliament House to shield the embattled minister Michaelia Cash from the cameras. She is behind that white board there somewhere making her way – there she is – into Senate estimates. There is much to go through about this so let’s come to Albo and Christopher to get their take on the week. We better get that white board out of the way so we can see what’s going on here. Thank you very much. Welcome, thank you very much for joining us. Albo, good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

FORDHAM: Christopher, good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Ben. Good morning Anthony

FORDHAM: You are not hiding behind a white board this morning Christopher?

PYNE: No, I’m right here in full view just for you.

FORDHAM: Was Michaelia hiding or was that security being overzealous?

PYNE: I don’t know whose idea that was for the white board. We had the white board once before in federal politics. People should put white boards away and go is through the normal processes. There nothing to see here, nothing to see here. Just keep moving.

FORDHAM: Let’s get serious. Albo, what’s going on? We have got so many issues in this country and families actually dealing with real dramas in their daily lives and have a look at the crap that’s going on in Canberra.

ALBANESE: Well that’s the technical term I think you’ve used there Ben. It is certainly the case that we need to do much, much better. Australians want parliamentarians to be concerned about their kids’ education, whether they can get health care if they get sick, whether their employment is secure, whether their wages are increasing. They are the issues we should be discussing in the Parliament.

FORDHAM: We know that. But that’s not the reality. This hasn’t just been going on this for this week or the last fortnight. This has been going on for months and months and months. Christopher, what can we do? Because it is no good sitting here saying “We should do better”. This is embarrassing what’s going on.

PYNE: Anthony and I are old school Ben actually. I think that families, staff, private lives are off limits. I think this whole imbroglio over the last month or so has been not a happy time for the country quite frankly. We need to get faith restored in politics. Yesterday we announced the largest investment in renewable energy in the southern hemisphere – the Snowy Hydro 2.0 – $6 billion, taking over the NSW and Victorian interests in the Snowy Hydro Scheme so we can get on with that job. The job of Government continues. Today the Prime Minister Zealand is seeing Jessica Ardern from New Zealand …

FORDHAM: Jessica?

ALBANESE: Jacinda.

PYNE: I’m sorry, Jacinda Ardern. Jacinda Ardern from New Zealand. These are the issues that people care about. As Anthony said, wages, inflation, interest rates, tax cuts.

FORDHAM: This is the same New Zealand Prime Minister who our Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said she wouldn’t be interested in meeting if she got into office. But anyway, let me leave that for one moment.

PYNE: There you go again, elevating the trivial over the important.

FORDHAM: I’ll tell you why. I will tell you why. You sit here talking about real policy but the problem is this is all drowned out by your people and your people who make a mockery of all this stuff. If it’s not Michaelia Cash naming and shaming or threatening to do so Labor staffers for having sex with the boss, it’s your bloke, Kim Carr yesterday, the Labor Senator who is looking at James Patterson, the Liberal Senator and suggesting he is part of the Hitler youth. Have a look at what happened yesterday.

KIM CARR: Those in the Hitler youth would understand that only too well.

JAMES PATTERSON: That is seriously, seriously offensive.

FORDHAM: If you want Michaelia Cash to apologise, Kim Carr needs to apologise.

ALBANESE: Kim Carr did. Kim Carr did. He went straight back into the Senate and apologised yesterday, as he should have. Michaelia Cash should have just simply apologised. She withdrew. She should have apologised and then move on. The problem here is that these issues go for far too long. They are a huge distraction and quite frankly it’s not good enough. The people of Australia do deserve better than what they are getting.

FORDHAM:  Christopher, how juvenile when you’ve got Michaelia Cash saying “I  unreservedly withdraw” but she can’t say the word sorry. I mean come on.

PYNE: This issue is over Karl. She withdrew it. We have all moved on. We’ve got better things to do with our lives than keep on talking about this kind of rubbish.

FORDHAM: I’m not Karl and the Prime Minister of New Zealand not Jessica. But anyway, fair dinkum.

PYNE: It’s because it’s Anthony’s birthday. I’m too excited.

FORDHAM:  Let me raise this point. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wrote to we school principals this week saying we need to stop bullying. Can you see how hypocritical that is Albo when we have a look at that kind of mud-slinging on both sides of politics, the name-calling, the nastiness, the bullying? How hypocritical to lecture principals about stopping bullying when that’s what we see in Canberra.

ALBANESE: Sure, I can understand why you say that. But at the same time I support what Malcolm Turnbull did at this week. All of us who have kids are at school, I’m not sure that yours are quite there yet, know that this is a huge issue. It requires bipartisan support. I note this week, amongst all the noise, one of the fine moments this week was Malcolm Turnbull talking about that very issue and Bill Shorten providing support straight away on the floor of the Parliament. One of the things that happens unfortunately with the media is there is a whole lot of really good things happen that no-one sees. Yesterday there was an agreement to set up a bipartisan committee on constitutional recognition for the First Australians. Let’s hope we can get some progress there.

FORDHAM: I think it’s relevant to blame the media a lot of time for these things, but you can’t this week. You’ve got politicians …

ALBANESE: Absolutely.

FORDHAM: … who have sabotaged those conversations.

ALBANESE: And I don’t what think either of us have defended what happened this week.

FORDHAM: Actually, you’ve both been very well behaved this week now that I think about it.

ALBANESE: We are always well-behaved mate.

PYNE:  We are always well behaved. We are always well behaved.

FORDHAM: Listen, the lovely the Georgie Gardner has got a gift for it the birthday boy. While she brings it in Christopher Pyne is going to lead us off on happy birthday. (sings Happy Birthday).

GEORGIE GARDNER: You’ll see it from says People’s Choice. That has come from Christopher.

PYNE: That was my idea.

FORDHAM: Have a good Friday Christopher and happy birthday Albo.

Feb 28, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes Segment

Subjects: Adani coal mine, corporate tax cuts, Murray Darling Basin, the Nationals.

HOST: Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us. Good morning to you gentlemen.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Greetings.

HOST: We start with you Albo following revelations on the ABC’s 7.30 program about what appears to be a contradiction in Bill Shorten’s position on the Adani coal mine. According to Geoff Cousins from the Australian Conservation Foundation, he was told by Bill Shorten that the licence for the mine would be revoked should Labor form Government, yet at the same time you’ve got Bill Shorten fronting workers from the CFMEU saying your jobs are safe with me. So which is it?

ALBANESE:  Well Bill Shorten has been out there consulting very widely. Last week he had three town hall meetings in Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton. He has spoken to industry. He has spoken to conservationists, as you would expect him to do. And what we have said consistently is that if the economics or the environmental issues don’t stack up, then this mine won’t go ahead. And what we are seeing on the ground is the fact that again Adani has missed a deadline. They keep putting deadlines on themselves and saying ‘we will begin construction on this date’ and they never meet them and they don’t meet them because they can’t get any financing of this project.

HOST: Is this a case of, in combination with your position on the corporate tax cuts federally as well, of potentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater trying to secure Batman, the inner Melbourne seat, from the Greens, and that the party is lurching to the Left?

ALBANESE: No it’s not. It’s a matter of the fact that this mine has not got financing.  It hasn’t got any money for it to proceed and indeed environmentalists said to me that without public subsidy, ie without the taxpayer coming in building all the construction for the private company, then this project wouldn’t be viable. Now both Labor and indeed, I note, the Government, have now ruled out public subsidy in terms of the proposed infrastructure project, the rail line, from the mine to the port – that it won’t support such a subsidy. And what we are seeing around the world is that the thermal coal market is in decline as the world moves towards clean energy and what that is resulting in is the economics of opening up a new basin in the Galilee with the Adani mine becoming more and more obvious that it’s not viable, which is why they can’t get financing here in Australia from any banks, they can’t get financing in the North American markets, they can’t get financing from China, which was proposed earlier on.

HOST: On the question of corporate tax cuts though, and we will bring you in here Chris, Labor with this rallying cry of Bill Shorten at caucus yesterday seems to be trying to paint Malcolm Turnbull as having come back from Washington giddy with sort of neo-con delight at having met Donald Trump and having converted to trick-down economics. How hard is it going to be for the Government to win over blue-collar voters on the merits of a corporate tax cut in the face of a populist campaign against it by the ALP?

PYNE: Well David, I don’t think it will be hard at all because the reality is that the more tax cuts are delivered for companies, the higher the wages for workers. And, similarly, the more income tax that the cuts deliver, which has been the hallmark of Liberal Governments in the past, the more take home pay that people have in their pockets. The public know that in Liberal Governments we manage the economy better than Labor. We manage the Budget better than Labor and if we think that company tax cuts will have the impact of increasing wages, well the evidence for that is not just us saying it; that’s what Labor used to say, that’s what Bill Shorten used to say.

HOST: I couldn’t agree with you more in principle about the idea of giving companies tax cuts, provided the money is going to trickle down. But is it a harder argument to make? Is it harder to make that case at a time when we’ve got such low wages growth in Australia and there’s a lot of people working now who have been zeroed out for the past three, even five years, for pay rises?

PYNE: No I don’t think so. Because what Labor is doing, and what Bill Shorten as you’ve quite rightly pointed out, is speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and Anthony very carefully stepped around all that in previous answers. But the public are hearing from Labor that they are going to increase taxes by $164 billion, they’re going to soften our border protection policies and they want to empower the unions. Now that’s what the Left agenda is and they have the numbers at the National Conference.

The reality is that Labor is going very sharply to the Left to try and win the Batman by-election and the great middle class of Australia and the vast majority of our population, they recognise that to be able to have tax cuts for either companies or individuals, you have to have a growing economy and a balanced Budget, and that’s where the Liberals usually end up and Labor, on the other hand, think that if you increase taxes by $164 billion somehow this will be good for the economy.

The public know in their instincts, that that is not correct. But what we saw with the Adani mine is Bill Shorten of course telling Geoff Cousins one thing, and saying to the public another and this is a real pattern with Bill Shorten. There is a great mural in Batman at the moment for the by-election, with the two faces of Bill Shorten, one with his hard hat on saying one thing to the miners in Central Queensland and one with his soft greenie hat in the other direction when he says what he thinks the greenies want to hear and you have to be consistent in politics.

PRESENTER: Are there any circumstances Albo where Labor would support a company tax cut?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that it is a matter of priorities. And our priority is investing in education, investing in health, investing in infrastructure and what we’re talking about here is more than $60 billion of cuts, on the basis of – trust us it will all trickle down. The fact is we have some record profits out there, including from the banking sector, that not only is not passing down any of those profits to their workers, they’re also laying of thousands of staff at the same time. Now workers can see that, they’re not silly, and Australians know that bosses don’t just, in major corporations,  say ‘Oh well we’re doing OK, here’s some more money’. That’s not the way that the world works unfortunately.

PRESENTER: The banks might argue though, that they are one of the few groups in Australia that’s actually not just taxed once, they’re taxed repeatedly. They pay payroll tax, they pay company tax, now they have paid a brand new Federal Bank Tax as well. They’ve got taxes coming out of their nostrils.

ALBANESE: This Government of course brought in that new tax, we supported it. They’re very convenient when targeting particular industries, at the same time as they are arguing for a major tax break of course. And at the same time of course there is a tax increase in terms of personal income tax that they are arguing for as well.

PYNE: You don’t think we should fund the NDIS Anthony? Because that’s a $300 increase in the Medicare Levy, which you supported, to fund the NDIS …

ALBANESE: There are a range …

PYNE: You’re now pretending that is an income tax increase are you?

ALBANESE: You and I both know that taxes in Australia aren’t hypothecated.

PYNE: We think it’s important to fund the NDIS. You don’t apparently.

ALBANESE: We created the NDIS.

PYNE: But you didn’t fund it my friend.

ALBANESE: We created it, it’s a Labor creation!

PRESENTER: We’re going to wrap up …

(Inaudible)

ALBANESE: Like Medicare!

PRESENTER: I need a buzzer!

PYNE: We’re funding it.

PRESENTER: Hey guys, Christopher just finally and this one’s just for you, Chris. The Nats are meeting today to thrash out the ministerial positions that they are going to be carving up. Wearing your South Australian hat now, are you concerned that Michael McCormack, who seems to have some quite unnerving views about the joys of irrigation; for those of us who have the pleasure of living down the bottom end of the Murray, are you concerned about his views about irrigation? And are you concerned too, that we are going to see a continuation of this system where the Agriculture portfolio is split, and these pro-irrigation Nats end up retaining control of the water portfolio?

PYNE: Well that’s not how it’s characterised. I mean we’ve got the balance right. We’ve got a Liberal in Anne Ruston, who is South Australian, as the Minister for Water, and we have Michael McCormack, David Littleproud at the moment, is the Minister for Agriculture. He’s a National. That works very well. In fact most recently it was David Littleproud standing up for the Murray Darling Basin Plan and it was Labor voting the Murray Darling Basin Plan down in order to support votes in the seat of Batman. So selling out South Australians to win votes in Batman.

ALBANESE: We were supporting South Australians, give us a break! We were standing up for the Murray! We were standing up!

PYNE: Really? How many of the gigalitres in the Northern Basin were flowing into South Australia?

ALBANESE: We were standing up for the Murray …

PYNE: Less than three, less than three …

ALBANESE: You have allowed – on your watch there has been massive water theft …

PYNE: Rubbish.

ALBANESE: … in Northern NSW and Queensland.

PYNE: We stood up for the Murray Darling Basin Plan!

PRESENTER: Come on guys. The debate about water will continue beyond this particular day on Two Tribes. Unfortunately though we are out of time. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese, thank you both. We will be revisiting that issue, because it will continue to be one here in South Australia, beyond certainly even the South Australian State Election.

Feb 26, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Sky News with David Speers

Subjects: Michael McCormack, infrastructure investment, Inland Rail, Barnaby Joyce.

DAVID SPEERS: Returning to – here in Parliament House – Michael McCormack sworn in as the new Nationals Leader, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure today. He took his place there in Question Time this afternoon. Across the chamber in the Shadow portfolio, as always – Anthony Albanese. Thank you for joining me this afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be here David.

SPEERS: I say as always, because this is now the fourth Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the third in three months, is that right?

ALBANESE: It’s a revolving door David. If only they committed to spend more money in infrastructure and do things every time there was a new Minister we would be doing okay.

SPEERS: What are the three things he should do from your perspective as the Minister?

ALBANESE: Well there are a number of things he should do. The first he has to do is just to stop this ridiculous figure that they use that just isn’t true, in terms of spending. Spending is falling off a cliff over the forward estimates. Last year in 2016-17 they budgeted to spend $9.2 billion. They only spent $7.5 billion, that is one of the things that has been happening …

SPEERS: They’ll allocate the money …

ALBANESE: They’ll allocate money and then they don’t spend it. Over the first four budgets, $4.8 billion has been effectively cut from what they said themselves in their own budgets, to what the actual outcome is.

SPEERS: Does that return to consolidated revenue, or is that then spent elsewhere?

ALBANESE: The truth is it disappears. Finance and Treasury get hold of it and it’s gone. It’s for across the board. It’s for major road and rail programs, but it is also the Black Spots Program, it’s funding for local government, it’s the Beef Roads Program. Across the board we’ve seen these under-spends that effectively means there are cuts. That comes down to competence and being on top of the portfolio.

SPEERS: Well just on that, I mean he has only been in there five minutes, only sworn in today. You did kind of give him a break today I noted. Is that a fair assessment? Labor laid off the new Minister today?

ALBANESE: Well I think on day one it would be unreasonable to expect him to be on top of the portfolio. Of course we asked questions during the last sitting week about Barnaby Joyce, about Tasmanian infrastructure, for example, where I was today, making announcements about new funding for the Bass Highway. What Barnaby Joyce answered, when we asked about the fall off in Tasmanian infrastructure investment from the Federal Government, and the fact that there isn’t a single new major infrastructure project underway in Tasmania that wasn’t initiated prior to 2013, not one – there have been cuts – and Barnaby Joyce answered about the Inland Rail. Now there is something called the Bass Strait, David, in between …

SPEERS: It doesn’t quite stretch that far …

ALBANESE: It doesn’t even get to Melbourne Port so …

SPEERS: Maybe that’s a project for a future government, getting right across the Bass Strait. Speaking of Barnaby Joyce, and I take your points on the portfolio, we’ll see what Michael McCormack does on those issues. But Barnaby Joyce, we learnt this afternoon, Malcolm Turnbull did launch, or did ask his department secretary Martin Parkinson, to look into Barnaby Joyce. But that was called or went in on Friday when he resigned. Is that appropriate or do you think Parkinson should still be looking into various matters?

ALBANESE: Well the question that Malcolm Turnbull didn’t answer today in Parliament was why he waited nine days from the time in which issues of whether the Ministerial Code of Conduct had been complied with, until he asked Martin Parkinson to investigate. Now that happens to coincide with issues that were raised about the Inland Rail Project. What we know about Inland Rail is that it doesn’t go to the Port of Brisbane or to the Port of Melbourne. We know that it is off Budget. One of the big challenges for Michael McCormack is that last Friday the head of the Australian Rail Track Corporation confirmed yet again that this is a project that won’t produce a commercial return to Budget – a return on investment.

SPEERS: Are you saying it shouldn’t go ahead?

ALBANESE: No, what I am saying is you shouldn’t bodgy up the figures and at the moment it is off-budget, that is, it is not affected the Budget bottom line. It’s an equity injection, so an investment, rather than a grant and that makes a big difference in terms of Budget because if the Government changes that decision then all of a sudden $8 billion goes on to the Budget deficit. Now the fact that it isn’t going to produce a commercial rate of return, the head of the Australian Rail Track Corporation has confirmed that. I think there will be questions certainly raised in Senate Estimates this week about how it is that Finance have possibly approved it being considered as an off-budget measure that will produce a return and therefore doesn’t hit the Government bottom line. It is a very important issue because we are talking about a potential hit to the bottom line of $8 billion.

SPEERS: I sense that you are very keen to focus on the portfolio matters and fair enough, rightly so. Do I detect that you are not so keen to keep pursuing Barnaby Joyce yourself Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: I think the policy issues are ones that I concentrated on a couple of weeks ago in terms of raising those issues because they do go down to Barnaby Joyce’s management or mismanagement of the portfolio. That’s the mess …

SPEERS: But in terms of matters around his relationship, when they became partners, jobs for Vikki Campion?

ALBANESE: I have never been interested in the private matters. The issues that the Prime Minister has said will continue to be investigated and are legitimate public concerns is the issue of taxpayer funds and whether there has been any abuse of them. The fact that today we found out that Vikki Campion didn’t have an email address while working for Damian Drum.

SPEERS: What does that tell you?

ALBANESE: Well, it tells you that a staff member who can’t be contacted by email needs an explanation of how that occurred.

SPEERS: Do you think that was a dodgy position?

ALBANESE: That is up for others to assess based upon the facts and I think that there is a legitimate concern certainly there about taxpayers funds and whether they were used appropriately. And whether the ministerial standards were complied with isn’t something that is an academic exercise. That is something that is important because it goes to the heart of the functioning of Malcolm Turnbull’s Government and whether he presides over a government takes those standards seriously.

SPEERS: All right Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, thank you.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.


Feb 23, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 6PR – Perth Live with Oliver Peterson

Subjects: Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals, company tax, Labor road funding announcement; tourism awards; Christopher Pyne, Perth visits.

OLIVER PETERSEN: Anthony Albanese, it is great to have you back in the studio on Perth Live. Good afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s good to be back in Perth. It’s a beautiful day here.

PETERSON: It certainly is a beautiful day here. I imagine as you were doing your Today Show commitments this morning on Channel Nine from Sydney, and the flight across to Perth, by the time you landed the Deputy Prime Minister had resigned.

ALBANESE: Well yes. The elephant has left the room literally, so I think Australians will breathe a sigh of relief that they don’t have to talk about it too much anymore.

PETERSON: Well it has dominated. What is it, 15 days in a row I think in the Daily Telegraph it has been the front page story?

ALBANESE: Well it has been a shocker and everyone knew that Barnaby Joyce had to go. I actually felt sorry for Christopher Pyne this morning on the Today Show. Karl Stefanovic asked him about half a dozen times to express confidence in Barnaby Joyce and of course he couldn’t. Everyone knew that there were just so many issues where there were breaches of ministerial standards and he was relying upon trying to argue there was some technical way in which he hadn’t breached the standards. Australians know when something is up. What was he thinking when he accepted basically a house for free off a significant businessman in Armidale? I mean, for goodness sake, just after had said people should move to Armidale as a solution to the housing affordability issue.

PETERSON: And the personal issues to one side about them moving somebody over, whether or not Vikki Campion was his partner at the time, from office to office to office; now it may not be a breach of ministerial standards or guidelines, but that is probably where a lot of the focus turned its attention to in the last ten days at least.

ALBANESE: Well that’s right and the fact is if you are junior position like the Whip for the National Party, Damian Drum, he is simply not entitled to have someone with the title Senior Adviser. That’s a title that goes to staff of senior ministers – of Cabinet ministers – and so I think people were well aware of that and that is why there continued to be this pursuit of the issue. I think that Barnaby Joyce’s relationships are matter directly for the people involved, but here there was an issue of public expenditure and accountability.

PETERSON: Does it worry you a little bit Anthony Albanese; you have been in Parliament for a long time now; you have seen what has played out with Barnaby Joyce over the last two weeks, where our role as the media is playing here? Are you worried, stepping out of the politics for a moment and Barnaby Joyce being on the other side of the political divide, did the media go too far with its investigations into Barnaby Joyce? Is everything up for grabs now in your personal life for example, or of your colleagues’ in Parliament?

ALBANESE: Well look I hope that we don’t go down the US or the UK road because what we see with some of the tabloids in the United Kingdom in particular is no one talks about education or health or housing or transport or other issues.

PETERSON: Well admittedly the last two weeks we haven’t talked about anything else have we?

ALBANESE: That is right and Australia is better than that. I think in general we have an attitude that people’s private life is their private life. Certainly we never raised, as the Labor Party, we never raised Barnaby Joyce’s situation and personal circumstances and relationships. It was pretty common knowledge frankly in Parliament House but we never went there because it wasn’t appropriate.

PETERSON: Is this the end of the Government? Can the Nationals and the Liberal Party still work together?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s going to be difficult. They have got to work through of course who the Deputy Prime Minister is.

PETERSON: Who do you think it will be? Who is going to be the next Leader of the Nationals.

ALBANESE: Who would know?

PETERSON: Maybe they could get the Akubra and put everyone’s name in a hat.

ALBANESE: That’s the point here. There is a range of them putting themselves forward. The fact that there is no obvious candidate suggests there is a lack of talent there, either a lack of talent or lack of experience. Some of the newer people we have seen rise to the Cabinet – David Littleproud has risen to the Cabinet.  A media release has just come out a little while ago saying that the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, who I shadow, is John McVeigh. I have never met the bloke. I have never, ever met him.

PETERSON: OK. So bring it on in Infrastructure and Transport.

ALBANESE: And when he was first appointed I thought he was a senator. I had no idea where he was from and he is in the Cabinet and now he is acting not just in his own portfolio, and I am not sure what his portfolio is, but he is now acting in Infrastructure and Transport so I am shadowing him, which will be a difficult task because to shadow someone you’ve of course got to be behind them and looking at what they are doing. If you can’t recognise them it is going to be a pretty difficult task I reckon.

PETERSON: Does this gift the Labor Party, does this gift the Opposition, does this give you an advantage now, heading into the rest of 2018?

ALBANESE: I think the thing that really gives us an advantage is the lack of narrative, the lack of sense of purpose for the Government. The view out there that Malcolm Turnbull is occupying the Lodge, but really they are acting like an opposition in exile and part of what I would say is that if they want to behave like an opposition in exile, why don’t we just make them the Opposition?

PETERSON: Does this feel similar to you watching the Government this time around to when you were the Government a few years ago and the revolving door between your mate Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, and it looked like the wheels were off from the Labor Government at that stage?

ALBANESE: There is no doubt that we were responsible for some of our own problems. I think that the Australian public, people listening to this program this afternoon, want a government that is concerned about them. About whether their kids are getting a good education, about whether they have got access to health care, about whether the Government is responding to future challenges like getting fast broadband, about fixing transport and infrastructure issues, about dealing with climate change and the environment. They don’t want a government that is focused on themselves.

PETERSON: Yeah we want to be talking about the issues on the national agenda not a political personal life. Company taxes are something that obviously the Government has been trying to push now for a couple of weeks. That conversation is not really getting anywhere at this stage, most of our listeners – you’re right Anthony Albanese to ask this afternoon, I wouldn’t mind a pay rise, I wouldn’t mind being able to put a better meal on the table tomorrow night.

ALBANESE: Absolutely, and at the end of the day Australians are pretty simple I reckon. We all want more for our kids than we had ourselves, a better quality of life, and we want to be able to see that our living standards are able to be lifted and what we’ve seen with real wages in decline for the first time in generations really, is a lot of pressure being put on families out there.

PETERSON: Indeed. Now you came to Perth today for a number of reasons not just to talk, obviously, about the national political agenda, but you’re here to spread the magic dust should the Labor Government win the next election. There is a little bit of money on offer for a major road project.

ALBANESE: That’s right, the project has been identified as Perth’s most heavily congested road, it is the Leach Highway and Welshpool Road and today I was there with Rita Saffioti, the State Minister and Hannah Beazley, our candidate for Swan, and Lauren Palmer, our candidate for Hasluck. We announced that we would put in our share of the $93 million that it will cost to fix that road. It has a benefit-cost ratio; the business case is all done – more than seven dollars benefit for every dollar that is invested. So even today when we did the media conference a little while ago, you could just see the traffic banking up and of course in the morning and afternoon peaks, it’s an acute issue. We’ve got a solution to fix it.

PETERSON: Very good, and you’re here for the Tourism Awards this evening, they should be fantastic.

ALBANESE: They will be great and I look forward to seeing the new stadium, I haven’t been there before.

PETERSON: You’re going to love it.

ALBANESE: It will be a great thing. The Qantas Australian Tourism awards are held every year and they have paid tribute, WA usually does pretty well I have got to say, in them.

It’s a great night, it’s a celebration of the importance of tourism to our future growth. There’s about 1 million Australians earn their living directly and indirectly due to tourism and of course the prospects for the west, I’ll be back over here next month for the first direct flight from Perth to London and that’s incredibly exciting and that will change the whole dynamic.

Not just opening up for overseas tourists, but I think it will be very attractive for people from the east coast. To come to Perth, do some business or have a look around, not just here but up or down the coast, or go have a look at Kalgoorlie, go across to Rottnest, to then travel onto London directly and not have to go through customs in Singapore or Dubai or Abu Dhabi or some other stop. I think it’s a great thing that Qantas are doing and it’s particularly good for Perth.

PETERSON: Indeed, and also your sparring partner, because we’ll be talking to yourself and Christopher Pine shortly, he still hasn’t been here despite saying that when he comes to Perth everybody will put him on their shoulders when he goes to Henderson.

ALBANESE: See he lives in Adelaide, and he never looks, he looks up north and he never looks to the left, he just can’t cross that Nullarbor and you know he has got defence as well, he has got his own RAAF Plane. He could hop on, come over here. I’m a regular visitor and I think one of the things that is really important is that you can’t just drop in for an hour or two hours every year. You’ve got to come here regularly, develop relationships find out the way that the city ticks.

It’s a good thing. I just had lunch at a little café. You’re talking to people about what’s going on, what they think is happening in the economy here and I always enjoy my trips to Perth, it’s always pretty good weather too.

PRESENTER: It certainly is, we’re happy to host you Anthony Albanese. Good to see you again and we’ll catch up shortly.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY, 2018

Feb 23, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Perth, WA

Subjects; Leach Highway and Welshpool Road upgrade; WA infrastructure funding; Barnaby Joyce

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s fantastic to be here back in Perth once again for my third visit in the last couple of months. I’ve been visiting Perth because we are absolutely committed to delivering improvements in WA infrastructure.

Today I’m joined by Hannah Beazley, our candidate for Swan and Lauren Palmer, our candidate for Hasluck and of course Rita Saffioti, the State Infrastructure Minister.

What we are committing to today is to fund half of this upgrade of the Leach Highway with Welshpool Road. This is the most congested spot of any road in Western Australia. It has a BCR (benefit-cost ratio) of above $7 for every dollar that is invested in it, and it will make a huge difference.

We’re right next to the Gateway WA project, the largest ever federally funded road project in Western Australia. It was completed in a partnership funded primarily by the former Federal Labor Government.

This is good for jobs; it’s good for reducing travel times; it’s good for the sustainability of this growing city. Today Infrastructure Australia have produced a report speaking about the problem of urban congestion and the need to deal with the productivity, sustainability and livability of our major capital cities.

It’s only Labor that has a plan to deal with that urban congestion and this follows on from the $700 million dollar commitment we made to the Ellenbrook rail line. The fact is that Labor’s committed to improving both rail and road here in Perth and indeed throughout Western Australia. This is a part of our $1.6 billion infrastructure package for WA ,because WA is missing out and is being short-changed at the moment by the GST.

So this is a great announcement. It’s fantastic that we are partnering with the WA Government. They’re committed to projects like METRONET, but also committed to upgrading the roads here in Perth and Federal Labor wants to partner with the WA State Government to improve the livability, sustainability, and productivity of this great city.

RITA SAFFIOTI, WA TRANSPORT MINISTER: Thanks very much. It’s great to have Anthony Albanese back in Perth. He’s in Perth quite often and what he’s always looking at is ways to improve the infrastructure through Perth and WA. This is another new commitment from Federal Labor and as you can see, this is a heavily congested intersection and has a very strong BCR of over seven so we welcome the additional infrastructure commitment from Federal Labor; and also, moreover, the fact that Federal Labor does come to WA.

Anthony Albanese, as the Federal Shadow Minister for Infrastructure knows WA, and what we’ve seen so far is a significant commitment to METRONET in particular the Ellenbrook rail line; and of course we’re working with Federal Labor to see what other commitments we can have as part of this lead up to the next election. So we welcome the commitment. Again, we appreciate the fact that Federal Labor is keen to work with us to deliver new infrastructure, to reduce congestion and create jobs in WA.

REPORTER: Will this project go to Infrastructure WA?

SAFFIOTI: This project has already had a strong BCR as I’ve outlined, of over seven so regarding the timing, yes; it just depends on the timing of when Infrastructure WA is set up but I just want to outline this a little bit in particular in relation to main roads and PTA over here. Because we have an established processes and for example PTA in all of its Metronet projects works through a business case process with Infrastructure Australia.

Every project with over $100 million has a detailed business case. Every project under $100 million is still submitted to Infrastructure Australia, for example currently, and there is also a project plan that’s also submitted. So we already had that process underway. Infrastructure WA of course will help supplement that, but because my agencies have been working with Infrastructure Australia in particular over the past year, there is an established process and that’s what’s been occurring.

ALBANESE: No questions about my Minister?

REPORTER: Just on this project, this money is to come out of a Better Deal for WA Fund. Wouldn’t it just be better for WA in the longer term to reform the GST?

ALBANESE: The fact is that we’re doing what Colin Barnett has called the most significant federal response by any political party to the fact that Western Australia is being shortchanged on the GST. We’re actually doing something by committing $1.6 billion and that’s over and on top of the other infrastructure commitments that we would make to WA.

So we are dealing with the circumstance from Opposition – where of course you can’t make changes – but what we’re doing is making sure that West Australians know, just as we did when were last in Government, with Gateway WA, with the Perth CityLink project, with the Great Eastern Highway, with the Swan Valley Bypass, with the Esperance Port Access Road, with the Bunbury upgrades, with the Great Northern Highway, what we are doing is investing here in WA.

Now, what’s occurring is that a whole lot of projects that were funded by us, that were in our Budget either in 2013 or earlier – the North West Coastal Highway – these projects are either completed, like Gateway WA, or they’re underway. This Government isn’t creating that pipeline of projects. Now, this project could commence, my understanding is, in 2019. We want to commit very early. We have that commitment there so that the WA State Government knows that that is the case.

Now, if ever the Coalition get their eye back on the ball on infrastructure and actually engage in infrastructure policy, hopefully we’ll get some commitments out of the Coalition Government as well. But at the moment we simply haven’t got that. They’ve lost another Infrastructure Minister today. It’s symptomatic of a Government that’s lost its way.

I’d say to Prime Minister Turnbull, who gets to allocate portfolios; please appoint someone who actually knows where Western Australia is; who actually knows where capital cities are; who knows that we need to deal with urban congestion as a priority when it comes to dealing with infrastructure in accordance with the report that is out today from Infrastructure Australia.

REPORTER: [inaudible]

ALBANESE: That work will now be done, but there has obviously been a business case developed for this project; that all depends of course on our money flowing. When the election date is, we don’t know.

We’ll work those issues through, but we’re committing very much for that money to be available immediately upon the next federal election – if we’re successful in that election campaign. One of the ways that we can be successful is by having Hannah and Lauren elected in Swan and Hasluck.

There are a range of seats here in Western Australia and West Australians know that they’ve been neglected by the current Government in spite of the fact that they have senior members in the Cabinet.

It’s about time that the Federal Government woke up to the fact that Western Australia deserves a fair go and that’s what we’re doing today, just as we are with the Ellenbrook rail line; just as we will other commitments that we’ll be making over the course of the coming year.

REPORTER: You alluded to the fact that Barnaby Joyce has resigned as leader of the Nations, do you think that’s going to restore stability to the Government?

ALBANESE: This is a government that has lost its sense of purpose. The problem is that this is a Government that is concerned about itself, not concerned about the people of Australia.

Not concerned about whether kids are getting the right education; whether our universities and TAFE colleges are properly funded; whether the healthcare care system is functioning effectively; whether proper infrastructure is being delivered in our cities and in our regions.

This is a Government that has lost its way on a range of policy areas. They simply have been in drift. We still don’t have a national energy policy under this Government. There has been a sense of drift for years now. We don’t really have an infrastructure policy or plan being rolled out to deal with the challenge of urban congestion.

They don’t have a policy on climate change. They don’t have a policy to deal with our ageing population.

They don’t have a policy to deal with the fact that real wages aren’t keeping up with inflation and people’s living standards are going down.

They don’t have a policy on housing affordability. They said they look at issues like capital gains tax and negative gearing. Then when we came out with the policy they’ve gone into retreat mode. This is a Government that is acting like an opposition in exile and it is in Australia’s interests for it to be an opposition, in fact, as soon as possible.

That’s why the easiest thing for Malcolm Turnbull to do would be to call an election sooner rather than later and put what is a floundering Government out of its misery.

REPORTER: Do you think Mr Joyce should have gone further and stepped down from his seat?

ALBANESE: That’s a matter for him. He has been elected as the Member for New England. But clearly, it was appropriate that he stepped down as Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister. Everyone knew that was the case.

Malcolm Turnbull showed what a weak leader he is by giving a press conference indicating very clearly that he’d lost faith in Barnaby Joyce, but failing to call for him to step aside.

We’ve seen issues in the past, where there’s been conflict, where the National Party has been prepared to stand up to the Liberal Party. Of course most notably, Earle Page essentially pulled the rug out from under Robert Menzies the first time that Robert Menzies was the Prime Minister of Australia.

We saw Black Jack McEwen in the 60s veto, effectively, Billy McMahon becoming Prime Minister which is why then-Senator John Gorton got sworn in as Liberal Leader and as Prime Minister; and we saw Barnaby Joyce himself not be shy about taking out Malcolm Turnbull during his first disastrous term as Liberal Leader.

This goes back to Turnbull and the fact that he’s not able to control his own Party. He’s not able to govern with policies that he himself supports; whether it be on marriage equality, when he had to go through the $120 million public survey when he could have just looked at Newspoll to get the outcome that everyone knew would arise from that; whether it be the republic; whether it be support for public transport, Malcolm Turnbull isn’t able to actually govern and provide that leadership.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2018

Feb 21, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes segment

Subjects: Nick Xenophon advertisement, Tony Abbott, immigration, Barnaby Joyce.

HOST: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese for Two Tribes. Good morning to you.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from Melbourne.

HOST: Good to have you back Albo. We missed you on Monday Chris. He snuck into town under the radar and did a solo performance here on the show.

ALBANESE: In the studio.

PYNE: There were some shocking Instagram photographs of him looking like he would rather be anywhere else but South Australia.

HOST: Hey look, speaking of South Australia …

ALBANESE: I love South Australia.

HOST We have made national headlines for a fairly questionable reason. The Nick Xenophon ad, you will have both seen it by now. The same question to both of you – work of genius or worst political ad of all time?

PYNE: Well I actually think it is quite serious because Nick Xenophon is claiming to be able to form a government in South Australia or at least have the balance of power and what this ad shows is that the Xenophon team has no policies, no solutions for any of the State’s quite serious problems and he thinks that slapstick and stunts will get him across the line. And if that happens and South Australians are fooled by this joker then it will be very, very bad for our state. So while we are laughing about how bad the ad is, there is actually a serious side to it, which is he doesn’t have any policies and if we want government that is actually going to be able to make decisions and change our state, you actually have to vote for a major party.

HOST: Let’s take all that as read. What does this say then about the performance of the major parties in this state if what you said is 100 per cent accurate that this vacuous, lacking substance and policy entity is going to shake things up as dramatically as we all expect?

PYNE: Well I actually have great faith in South Australian voters and I don’t believe that they will vote overwhelmingly for Nick Xenophon or his team on March the 17th. I think by the election it will be very obvious to people that he doesn’t have any policies, doesn’t have any solutions, that slapstick and stunts don’t count and I don’t think the Xenophon Team will do that well on election day to be frank.

HOST: What’s your read of it Albo?

ALBANESE: Unaccustomed as I am to agreeing with Christopher about anything, I think on this he is pretty right. You know it is one thing to have a bit of fun. The problem here is this is during a state election campaign where potentially Nick Xenophon is presenting himself as a serious alternative to the major parties. I think it is the case that Steven Marshall and the Coalition haven’t been able to present themselves as an alternative so Nick Xenophon’s stepping into that vacuum that has been created in opposition to Jay Weatherill’s Government. But one of the things that people think about isn’t just Nick, it’s the other candidates as well. They need to be clear about who they are voting for and minor parties keep changing in the Senate and in South Australia’s Parliament itself some of Nick Xenophon’s team haven’t stayed there for long after they have been elected.

HOST: Are you getting sucked in? I mean uncharacteristically agreeing with each other? Isn’t that exactly the sort of agreement between the major parties that Nick Xenophon is talking about?

ALBANESE: Well, his objective is to get us talking about him and to that extent I think he probably thinks it’s successful. The issue here is though that running a state is a serious business and delivering on jobs and particularly state governments deliver services – education and health. Who is Nick Xenophon’s Team?  I don’t mind Nick personally. I get on OK with him, but wouldn’t have a clue who his team were and I suspect he doesn’t know some of them very well either.

PYNE: He’s just lost his most recent senator Tim Storer who has now gone to become and Independent who was a member of the Nick Xenophon Team. This is the pattern. You can’t rely on the Xenophon Team to hold together and that is no way to run a state with the highest unemployment in the country, the worst economic performance, a state that needs jobs, that needs a vision and a future. And what we are getting from Nick Xenophon is slapstick comedy and I don’t think the public will vote for it in the end.

HOST: Chris we saw, changing tack now, the former Prime Minister, your former leader and boss Tony Abbott out and about in the past 24 hours. He gave that speech at the Sydney Institute talking about the so-called talking class verses the working class. He has called for the halving of the immigration rate. He looks like he is positioning himself for the leadership again doesn’t he?

PYNE:  No I don’t think so. I think Jimmy Barnes is the working class man. I’m not sure that Tony Abbott can wear that mantle.

ALBANESE: Good sledge.

PYNE: The truth is his views on immigration are not new. He has had that view since he was no longer the Prime Minister and that wasn’t a policy that he implemented when he was the Prime Minister, I might add. I am very pro-immigration. I’m pro higher population. Coming from a state like South Australia, we need more people. We need more people helping to drive our economy. For every new migrant that comes to our state they have an uplift factor of four jobs. For every job for themselves they create four more because they start businesses, they raise their children here and we are not going to go back to some dismal, dark place where we are anti-immigration, anti-migration. We need more people in South Australia and we have got less 18 to 21 year olds in our state today than we did in the early 1980s.

HOST: Just finally too Chris, and I will get your thoughts on the Barnaby Joyce situation as well to wrap things up Albo, but the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is obviously leaving the country, going over to Washington when Parliament resumes on Monday. Is it the belief of the Liberal Party and indeed the hope of the Liberal Party that Barnaby Joyce is still there as leader of the Nats?

PYNE: Is that a question to me or to Anthony?

HOST: That’s to you Chris. Do you want Barnaby Joyce?

ALBANESE: You are the Liberal representative Chris. The hint was there in the question. I am not getting a turn today.

PYNE: I thought it was Anthony’s turn.

HOST: He had a big turn on Monday.

PYNE: He does. He always gets a big fair slice of the cake. Well obviously the leadership of the National Party is a matter for the National Party. It’s not a matter for me or the Liberal Party. How they manage their affairs is a matter for them. We are in Coalition with them. We need their 16 seats to form Government. We have 60 and the reality is Barnaby Joyce is the Leader of the National Party and they will make their own decisions about that in the future, not me.

HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese …

ALBANESE: Hang on, give me a crack at the end.

HOST: Go on, one little statement to wrap it up Albo.

ALBANESE: He’s on leave. He should just leave. Get out of here.

HOST: Good on you Albo and Chris Pyne. We’ve got to let you guys get out of here too. Thanks for that.

Feb 21, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – Radio National Drive

Subjects: Adani coal mine, Batman by-election, Peter Dutton.

PATRICIA KARVELAS: Welcome.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Patricia.

KARVELAS: Now Bill Shorten has said repeatedly that Labor will support the Adani mine if it stacks up. What does that mean? Paint us a picture of the scenario in which the ALP backs the mine.

ALBANESE: Well Patricia, you are asking the wrong question because the Adani Mine has been approved by the EPBC approvals. Not once, but twice. It was approved firstly and then they made a decision that what they would need to do is to re-examine it in light of the potential impacts on the Great Barrier Reef and again it was approved. It has received its state approvals – both of those rounds of approvals by the way under Coalition governments, not Labor governments.

What we have said though, and what indeed the conservation movement said to me repeatedly, was this project doesn’t stack up unless it gets some public subsidy through the rail line. Now we ensured that that would not occur and indeed the Queensland Labor Government has also said that they won’t support that subsidy and hence we have a project that doesn’t have any finance, doesn’t have finance here in Australia, unable to raise funds in the US, unable to raise funds in China. And therefore it is hard to see this project going ahead because of the economics of the project.

KARVELAS: OK. So if they sort out the economics, you talked about all the approval processes …

ALBANESE: Well, economics is the way that the private sector operates and is run. They are either profitable or they are not.

KARVELAS: So the question still stands. If the project becomes economically viable, then Labor would have to support it under your rationale.

ALBANESE: But that is absurd that you are asking. That is the wrong question.

KARVELAS: No, it’s my question. I ask the questions here. It’s not the wrong question.

ALBANESE: Yes and it is wrong because it has already been approved. The question that you might ask is would Labor go through a process of rewriting the Environmental Protection, Bio-diversity and Conversation Act? Will we rewrite the way that environmental legislation is conducted in this country? And certainly there has been no suggestion from Labor that that is something that we should do.

KARVELAS: So you don’t think that you should rewrite the environmental processes?

ALBANESE: What we think is good policy happens when you establish good, proper settings, be it in terms of energy – the Renewable Energy Target, putting in place a policy framework which then drives a change across the economy. What you don’t do is single out particular projects and then retrospectively change existing laws which would have ramifications across the board.
We haven’t said at any stage that we would do that. What we have said very clearly is because of what is happening in the global thermal coal market, which includes, by the way, India saying that they will not import coal after the next few years, is that there is not a market for this.

KARVELAS: So you are saying that project is dead, so it doesn’t matter what your position is. Is that what you are telling me?

ALBANESE: No. It’s not up to me to say that. I am saying that very clearly the economics of the project haven’t stacked up, otherwise the financing would have occurred, otherwise any one of the many deadlines which have been established by the company where they have said we will start certain operations by particular dates, would have been met. The fact is they haven’t been met. The financing isn’t in place for the project.

KARVELAS: Shadow Resources Minister Jason Clare, in response, has said that that Labor is not in the business ripping up contracts. Do you agree with that?

ALBANESE: Oh absolutely. The Federal Labor Party is in the business of making sure that you have proper policy settings in place and that you can have a proper economic policy operating as well. I do find it somewhat extraordinary that the Greens Political Party, who voted against having a price in carbon in 2009, which would of course have had an impact, had the CPRS been in place on projects like this one because of the fugitive emissions that come from the mining sector, that they are belatedly, after the approvals have occurred, have been running a campaign a long way after the approvals had occurred both federal and state.

KARVELAS: The national convenor of the Labor Environment Action Network, Felicity Wade, says that it is time for Labor to make its position on Adani clear. Have you made it unclear?

ALBANESE: Well, what we have said very clearly is that Labor will put in place mechanisms to drive energy policy, to drive climate change policy, to move to a clean energy economy and we will do that …

KARVELAS: But on Adani, I have put a very specific question to you.

ALBANESE: No, you have put a position based upon what should have been put five years ago when it was being put before the EPBC Act on any of the occasions …

KARVELAS: So you are saying it is just too late, the horse has bolted on Adani?

ALBANESE: No we are not saying that. We are saying that the economics of the project mean that it is not proceeding because they haven’t been able to get the financing of the project. And indeed, indeed the conservation movement – what you can’t have is people come through your door and say if you stop this project getting public subsidy effectively for the rail line then the project won’t occur. That was the demand certainly in meetings that I had with the environmental al movement. Labor made our position very clear on that and that is appropriate because it is appropriate that the private sector operate the private economy but the public sector – the Government –  determines whether there will be any government subsidy for particular projects and that the Government put in place economy-wide policies and programs to drive the change that we want to see in the economy.

KARVELAS: CFMEU national president Tony Maher says that if you oppose Adani and win Batman you will end up losing seats in central Queensland. Is he right?

ALBANESE: This isn’t about the politics of the project. This is about getting the policy mechanisms right. What you can’t do is look at any one electorate and say this is why we are going to determine national policy on something like mining or energy or climate change action. What you have to do is to get the policy mechanisms right and that is what we have done. We have because of Labor’s 20 per cent by 2020 renewable energy target. In spite of the efforts of the Government it will be met and when we determined that policy, I was the Environment Shadow Minister, the existing target was 2. So it was a tenfold increase that we committed to.

KARVELAS: OK Let’s just talk about Batman. You have been campaigning with Ged Kearney. You have built expectations that Labor is likely to win that seat. You have been campaigning there now. What do you think after being on the ground? Will Labor win that seat?

ALBANESE: Well, I have had a very positive reaction with Ged Kearney. She’s a great candidate. She is someone who has been a nurse for 20 years. She understands the services sector, She understands people and she understands that electorate and certainly the reaction has been very positive. Ged is someone who has stood up for working people her whole life, as a nurse, but then as a Nurses’ Unions official.

KARVELAS: So she will win that seat?

ALBANESE: Well I certainly hope that she will.

KARVELAS: I know you hope that she will. I am asking whether she will, your assessment.

ALBANESE: Well you can never judge things until the ballot papers are in the box. But what we can say is that historically it has been a Labor seat. We’ve got a fantastic candidate who understands the electorate, who I think is a very good fit for the electorate.  Last night at her campaign office opening there were hundreds of people. They couldn’t fit into the campaign office. Her volunteers are very committed, not just inside the Labor Party. The great thing about a candidate like Ged Kearney is that she is bringing in community activists – people from the environmental movement, the union movement the feminist movement – who understand that she will be a voice in a Labor Government, not someone sitting back waiting until decisions are made and then trying to work out whether they will have a protest about it or not.

KARVELAS: The Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has spoken today at the Press Club. He wants school children of all cultural backgrounds to recite a US-style pledge of allegiance to uphold laws and people’s rights. Do you support the idea?

ALBANESE: It looks like Peter Dutton really wanted to have something to say at the Press Club after Tony Abbott pre-empted it last night.

KARVELAS: But do you support the idea?

ALBANESE: Well already in New South Wales schools, Peter Dutton mightn’t be aware of this, people sing both verses by the way or the first two verses of the Australian national anthem, they do that and they do that regularly,

KARVELAS: Yes but do you support a pledge?

ALBANESE: Well what pledge? Again this is a thought bubble from a minister who has had the former Prime Minister essentially try to bomb his portfolio in a speech to the Sydney Institute last night that he put in the newspapers yesterday morning.

KARVELAS: Do you think the national anthem is enough?

ALBANESE: Well I would wait and see what any proposal is. But I don’t think – you’ve got to identify what the problem is before you look for the solution. Is there a problem …

KARVELAS: Yes well he is saying civics educations should be stronger. Australian identity should be built. This is the framework.

ALBANESE: Australian identity is very important and Australian identity, from my experience as someone who has a son who is about to finish school this year and who has gone through the public school system the whole way, has had good civics education, has had the national anthem at every assembly, at every event. There is acknowledgement of country. There is here is a good position in my view in New South Wales in place. As to what the national situation is, I am not an expert in what happens in Victorian schools or Queensland schools for that matter, but I should imagine that similar things are in place in schools right around the nation.

KARVELAS: Anthony Albanese, I will let you go. But in Victoria we are definitely singing the national anthem at the school, or at least in my kids’ school.

ALBANESE: And it is a fantastic thing that it happens.

[ENDS]

WEDNESDAY, 21 FEBRUARY, 2018

Feb 20, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Northcote, Victoria

Subjects: Batman by-election; Victorian infrastructure funding; public transport; Mark Butler comments about coal; renewable energy;  emissions trading scheme; Barnaby Joyce; Malcolm Turnbull, Greens Political Party. 

GED KEARNEY: Good morning everyone. I’m Ged Kearney, the candidate for the Batman by-election that’s coming up on March 17. And I am really honored to have with me today a man who needs no introduction whatsoever, Anthony Albanese. We’ve had a lovely walk up and down High Street, Northcote, this morning. We’ve stopped in at shops. We’ve had some great chats to locals and it’s always a great pleasure to be here particularly on a day like today, which is a gorgeous sunny morning. With no further ado, I’m going to hand over to Albo who is here to make some very important announcements about infrastructure funding for this area and more broadly across the nation.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much, Ged. It is great to be here in Northcote supporting the campaign of my friend, Ged Kearney. I want Ged Kearney in a Labor Government because Ged Kearney is someone who has spent a lifetime standing up for working people; standing up for the community first as a nurse, and then as a representative of nurses making sure that they get a better deal in their workplaces. Rising from a rank-and-file nurse through to the presidency of the ACTU. Ged Kearney is effective. She gets things done and she is progressive. I want that progressive voice in the Caucus, having the arguments, putting forward the ideas, getting things done in government.

That’s a choice that people here in Batman have; an effective representative who can have a real say and deliver real change for the people of Batman; or someone who can wait until decisions are made and then decide whether they’re going to protest against them or not. One of the areas where change occurs is in the area of transport and infrastructure. We invested more in public transport from 2007 through to 2013 than all previous governments combined in the previous 107 years, or since.

It’s a great example that when you change the government, you do indeed change the country. We understand that the key to tackling urban congestion is investment in public transport. That’s why we delivered, here in this great state of Victoria, the largest single investment in a public transport project in our history, the Regional Rail Link project. We allocated $3.225 billion. That’s why we allocated $3 billion to the Melbourne Metro project, which was scrapped by the Abbott Government when they came to office; that funding, or lack of funding, confirmed by Malcolm Turnbull when he took over the Prime Ministership.

Malcolm Turnbull likes coming to Melbourne and taking selfies on trams. We want a government that funds trams; that funds trains; that fund buses, and doesn’t just take selfies on them. That’s how you make a real difference. Funding for Victorian infrastructure as a proportion of the national Budget has fallen from $201 dollars for every Victorian under Labor, to $46 per Victorian over the life of this Government. That’s simply not good enough. Victoria represents one in every four Australians. Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing city. And yet what we have is Victoria receiving under 10 per cent of the national infrastructure budget.

Malcolm Turnbull was asked about that yesterday and he said it was all okay; Victorians were getting their share. The fact is that they’re not. We want to work with the Andrews Labor Government to make a difference here in Melbourne, and particularly here in Batman and we’ll be making further announcements during the campaign about the support for transport infrastructure that we would deliver here in Victoria. But you can’t deliver it sitting in the back corner. You can only deliver it if you’re a part of a government. Ged Kearney will be an effective member of the next Labor Government when Bill Shorten is elected Prime Minister at the next election. That’s why I think it’s so important, this by-election. Batman has a great opportunity to send such an effective local member to Canberra to represent their interests, to be that progressive voice for the people of Batman.

REPORTER: Mark Butler yesterday said that Labor would continue to support existing coal mines. How does that sort of announcement go down in an electorate like this?

ALBANESE: The fact is that we are going to continue to need, as Mark Butler said in his speech, coking coal for example. That’s how steel is made. That’s how we continue to see very much a future for it. In Mark Butler’s speech. He outlined I think very eloquently what is happening with the thermal coal market globally; how it is in decline; how we are in a position of having a transition to a clean energy future. But what you can’t do is just do that overnight. One of the things that Ged’s campaigning on is real change and real change means analysing things as they are and working out how to get them to where you want to be. We want a renewables future.

When Labor was elected to office there were a few thousand solar panels on roofs – not too many. When we left there were well over a million. We made a substantial difference. When I was the Climate Change and Environment spokesperson, the Renewable Energy Target in Australia was 2 per cent. I made the commitment as the Shadow Minister, with Kim Beazley, the-then Leader, of 20 per cent by 2020. When we did that we were told it was going to ruin the economy; that it couldn’t be done. Guess what? We got it done. And Labor in office ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

We tried to introduce an Emissions Trading Scheme. The Greens Political Party voted against it twice. If they had of just stood up, five of those Senators, and walked across and voted for a price on carbon, it would be in place today. It would be in place today and that would have an enormous impact in driving that change through the economy. As it is, in terms of energy policy, the current Government can’t seem to settle on a policy. They have asked the Chief Scientist for a document and then they ruled out that policy. They haven’t been able to put in that certainty that investors require, to drive that change through the economy.

But I am very proud of Labor’s record on climate change, on the environment. It is Labor that has made a difference, a real difference, and one of the ways that we did it is by changing the nature of the Renewable Energy Target to that 20 per cent by 2020 as part of our raft of comprehensive policies right across the board. Not slogans – policies. Policies like investing in public transport, which reduces the emissions that motor vehicles make; policies such as cleaning up the way that transport operates in terms of motor vehicle standards, heavy vehicle standards; policies like the Renewable Energy Target.

REPORTER: But they got rid of Labor in Northcote because that change to renewable energy wasn’t happening fast enough. You are up against the Greens who have a Renewable Energy Target of 100 per cent by 2030.

ALBANESE: Well why 2030? Why not tomorrow?

REPORTER: But you guys aren’t chasing that target yourselves.

ALBANESE: Why not tomorrow? What you have to do is have change that sends a signal to the market that’s ambitions and achievable. That is what Labor has. That is what Labor has. What the Greens have is slogans and no idea of now to get there. I feel sorry for Adam Bandt. I mean, it must be lonely sitting in the corner of the Parliament there next to Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie and the Nick Xenophon Team. It would be good if he had someone to talk to. But that won’t make a difference.

What makes a difference is government and government making decisions. Ged Kearney will be in a position as a progressive voice to fight for the strongest possible initiatives and she has a record of doing that, being prepared to stand up and fight for her beliefs and values. She’s done it every day of her working life. And we have an opportunity to have Ged as part of the Labor team, as part of the next Labor Government.

REPORTER: So the Australian Conservatives have announced they’re running a candidate in Batman. Is this a threat to Labor?

ALBANESE: There’s always going to be some minor party candidates in the election. But the truth is, there’s only one political party that can form government, that’s running a candidate in this election – and that’s the Australian Labor Party with Ged Kearney. We’re focused on our agenda; our agenda preparing for government. It’s very clear that what we’re seeing right now is a Government that’s melting down before our eyes. I mean today, we have Mathias Cormann doing a photo opportunity as the Acting Prime Minister. I’ve been the Deputy Prime Minister of this country. It’s a great honour. The one job – and the hint is ‘Deputy’ – the first task of the Deputy Prime Minister is to deputise when the Prime Minister is not available. The Prime Minister is away; the Deputy Prime Minister can’t do his job and hence has gone on leave. He should just leave. And Mathias Cormann is the personification of not just the fact that Barnaby Joyce can’t do his job; he’s the personification of the weakness of the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who wants Barnaby Joyce to go but doesn’t have the capacity or the intestinal fortitude to make sure that that happens.

REPORTER: But considering the Liberals aren’t running a candidate, do you think that they’ll get some supporters, the Conservatives?

ALBANESE: There’s no doubt that in a by-election, votes will spray around and minor party candidates will get votes. But the decision that people are going to have to make on March 17 is – on top of whether they have a Guinness or a Kilkenny later in the day – the decision they’ve got to make is; do they want a representative who can be a part of the next Labor Government? This is a seat that is, was always going to be very unlikely to be won by the Liberals. It’s a tough campaign. The Liberals in not running have shown their hand, I guess. They’ve given up on being a government at the moment, so I guess it’s consistent with that.

People have a decision to make in this tough campaign of whether Ged Kearney gets to sit as a member of the Labor Government when it’s formed –  I sincerely hope – after the next election. Because we want to have the best team possible in government, and there is no doubt that Ged Kearney would be a huge asset for this local community; in being able to stand up; in being able to take all that experience; in knowing how to actually get change done. It doesn’t just happen, and it doesn’t happen by putting a poster on a wall. It happens by being able to argue your case. By being committed; by being genuine.

Ged Kearney represents all of that. She has enormous support, can I say, not just inside the Labor Party, more broadly. Progressives support Ged Kearney. Not just here in Batman and Melbourne; she’s a serious national figure who has stood up for working people; stood up for the interests of the environment; stood up for the interests of women; stood up for the interests of those people who need assistance. Campaigns like domestic violence leave that has now been adopted as Labor policy – ten days is our policy that we would introduce. Ged Kearney has led the campaign on that,. She has made a difference from outside the Parliament; she’d make an enormous difference inside.

REPORTER: Yesterday Brendan O’Connor flagged that Labor could dump an original plan to legislate an increase to the minimum wage in favour of sort of changing the objective of the Fair Work Commision? What do you think about that? Isn’t that turning its back on workers and the lowest paid?

ALBANESE: It’s a very big call for you to suggest that in your loaded question. Brendan O’Connor has stood up for working people; will continue to stand up for working people, as will the Labor Party. The Labor Party makes no secret …

REPORTER: What do you think of the actual plan?

ALBANESE: …and makes no secret – well, you verballed Brendan O’Connor. That’s not what he said. We’re developing our policies and they will all be out there for everyone to see in detail. The fact is that Labor has identified and has campaigned on the issue that working people’s wages have not kept up with inflation and have certainly not caught up with the big end of town. The fact is that Labor has been brave in going out there, in opposing, saying ‘we can’t afford at the moment the company tax cuts. That is not our priority, helping out the big end of town’.

We stood up on issues like the tax cut, effectively, when the Government removed the levy on those earning above $180,000 a year because of course that was there to deal with the deficit. Since then, the deficit has increased. The debt has doubled under this Government. We have stood up for working people. And we would continue to do so and with Ged Kearney there we’d have someone of principle; of great experience in doing so.

REPORTER: How will you go about ensuring that minimum wages keep pace with cost of living?

ALBANESE: One of the things that we’ll do, for a start, is not resort to the sort of attacks that have been constant from this Government on the rights of working people through the trade union movement. We will release our full industrial relations policy well before the election campaign, but it will be consistent with Labor values. We’re out there consulting. At this stage in the cycle, we’re halfway through this term. We have comprehensive policies out there; on the environment; on infrastructure; on taxation; on housing affordability; on things like domestic violence leave. We have more policy released than any Opposition in history since Federation at this stage in the cycle.

So we’ll continue to work in the lead up to our ALP National Conference. Here’s a tip for you; it’ll be in Adelaide in July. One of the differences between Labor and the Greens Political Party is transparency. Our National Conference will have 400 people in a hall, broadcast live in all its glory; with disagreements, with votes on the floor of the Conference. It goes for days. Up there for all to see, the development of the Platform that we will take to the next election.

That contrasts with the Greens Political Party who had a leadership challenge and vote and no one bothered to find out until almost a year after it had taken place. They don’t allow the media into their state conferences or national conferences. They have a candidate here in Batman who has been challenged over issues; we don’t know what. We don’t know what they are within the Greens Political Party. And she is unable to say what that was about, what the outcome was. There’s no transparency in the Greens Political Party.

It’s about time that they were held to account. If the Labor Party said we’re holding a secret national conference that goes for days and we’ll tell you what happens after the event with a media release, the media would quite rightly be outraged. The Labor Party is the only political party that engages with the people who are members of the Party in an open, transparent way like that.

The Liberal Party just essentially have fundraisers. They don’t worry about pretending that they’re interested in policy. They get their policy written somewhere else. The top end of town write their policies. We develop ours; we do it openly and transparently. It’s about time that the Greens Political Party, including the candidate here in Batman were a bit more open about what is going on with the disputes within that Party here in Batman. Thanks very much.

Feb 9, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show

Subjects: Barnaby Joyce, Labor Party.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Plenty to talk about this morning. There’s another twist this morning in the Barnaby Joyce saga. It’s claimed the Deputy Prime Minister’s girlfriend was moved into a high-paying government job shortly after their affair started. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join me now. Good morning guys.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

STEFANOVIC: To you first of all, Christopher. Did Resource Minister Matt Canavan create a high salary job for Barnaby Joyce’s girlfriend?

PYNE: Well Karl, I highly doubt it. I don’t know about the staffing arrangements in other Cabinet ministers’ offices.

STEFANOVIC: You didn’t hear anything about it?

PYNE: No, I didn’t hear anything about it.

STEFANOVIC: Did you read it in the paper this morning?

PYNE: I read it in The Daily Telegraph this morning.

STEFANOVIC: Were you surprised?

PYNE: Well, I don’t know if it’s true or not.

STEFANOVIC: It is true.

PYNE: I don’t know if it’s true or not. I haven’t had time to ask.

STEFANOVIC: His office has confirmed to our Canberra reporter that the job was created, that she did get a job inside his office.

PYNE: Or maybe she was both perfectly qualified and meritorious for the job. And maybe that’s the job that Matt Canavan wanted in his office in that time.

STEFANOVIC: Sure, but the timing raises eyebrows.

PYNE: Karl, I’m not the spokesman for the staffing arrangements of Cabinet ministers and really that’s a matter that Matt Canavan should answer, not me. It’s not my call.

STEFANOVIC: At some point it’s going to reflect badly on the Coalition, don’t you think?

PYNE: Well Karl, I really don’t want to go down the track where I become the spokesman for the private lives of my Cabinet colleagues. I think that’s a bit unfair on me. I’m not in the gun on this story and I think it’s highly unlikely anything untoward occurred. I’m sure it was all entirely appropriate. But again that’s a matter that Matt Canavan needs to respond to, not me.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, what do you think Anthony?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s a matter for the Government. These are circumstances that I’m not aware of. I’ve barely met Matt Canavan, let alone his staff, so I’m not aware of all the details.

STEFANOVIC: This does exert enormous pressure on Barnaby Joyce now. He was already under pressure, but if this is true, and it looks like it is, that’s what the word from his office is, then he has huge amounts of pressure brought to bear on him now.

ALBANESE: There’s no doubt that he’s under enormous pressure. I intend to place him under enormous pressure not over his personal life, but over performance as Infrastructure Minister and the Government’s disastrous record in this portfolio.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. Sharri Markson in the Tele today says the male-dominated culture that prefers to protect those in power by shielding them with a shroud of secrecy must come to an end in Parliament. Do you agree with that?

ALBANESE: The issue here is whether the personal becomes out there for all to see.

STEFANOVIC: You’re a public figure.

ALBANESE: The problem with this is Karl, who knows what the details are of people’s relationships. I’m certainly not aware of Barnaby Joyce’s family circumstances.

STEFANOVIC: Were you aware of it at all in the last couple of months? Everyone in Canberra was talking about it, apparantley.

ALBANESE: There were rumours around, but there’s lots of rumours also that aren’t true. This one is true. If everything that you heard as a rumour you took as gospel and was printed, there’d be a great deal of damage done.

STEFANOVIC: Okay Christopher, what do you think about Sharri and what she said, ‘the male dominated culture that prefers to protect those in power by shielding them with a shroud of secrecy must come to an end’. What do you think about that?

PYNE: I don’t think that government should be legislating for the private lives of consenting adults. I think that’s the beginning of the process. Secondly, I think in Australia we’ve been fortunately clear of this kind of Fleet Street journalism that dominates the UK, sometimes Washington. In Australia we tend to get judged on our policy prescriptions, the policies we take to elections, how we perform competently or not as Ministers, or Shadow Ministers or Members of Parliament. That has always been our model. I don’t think that model should change, but when there has been of course, a crossing over as there is in this situation with the Deputy PM, that has become a story and people will judge it on its merits.

STEFANOVIC: With respect, it is a bigger story if she has been given a job inside of someone else’s portfolio, inside someone else’s office and had to be moved outside of his office. That’s a significant story.

PYNE: Well Karl, as I said before, I am happy to be on the show but I can’t speak for what Matt Canavan has done.

STEFANOVIC: I know you’re going to be able to talk about this. In The Australian today yours truly, The Today Show’s own Anthony Albanese, is circling Bill Shorten with intent. If Bill gets hit by a bus, and no one wants to see that – do they Anthony?

ALBANESE: Certainly not, Karl.

STEFANOVIC: Will you lead the Party?

ALBANESE: Bill Shorten is leading the Labor Party and he’s leading it from a position of success. This week’s Newspoll had Labor ahead once again 52 to 48. The only job I’m interested in is being a Minister in the next Shorten Labor Government.

STEFANOVIC: Surely at some point, given his personal poll ratings you have to man up and have a crack, don’t you.?

ALBANESE: The fact is that the ratings that matter are whether Labor is going to win an election. We’re a team.

STEFANOVIC: But they’re not under Bill Shorten.

ALBANESE: They are, in fact. And they’ve won the last 26 Newspolls in a row. The only issue with regard to leadership in this country is whether Malcolm Turnbull resigns if he fails the test that he set. That he said of losing 30 Newspolls in a row.

STEFANOVIC: You’re not after the top job?

ALBANESE: Your job? No, I’m happy to be on here once a week, mate.

STEFANOVIC: That’s nice. Thank you guys, have a great weekend.

ALBANESE: Good to be here.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2018

Jan 8, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – RN Breakfast with Hamish Macdonald

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

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Hamish.

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: That’s not right.

MACDONALD:  2012, was there not a spike?

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

MACDONALD:  What happened in 2012 then?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: Absolutely.

MACDONALD:  Who? Who was lying?

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: No, Susan Lamb did what was required…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: I’m not Susan Lamb.

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

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

MACDONALD:  You’re mounting the defence for her.

ALBANESE: I am indeed.

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

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

MACDONALD:  All reasonable steps…

ALBANESE: Her British citizenship.

MACDONALD:  All reasonable steps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MACDONALD:  Does it sound stable to you?

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

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

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

[ENDS]

MONDAY, 8 JANUARY 2018

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