Browsing articles in "Interview Transcripts"
Aug 20, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 6PR, Oliver Peterson program – Monday, 20 August 2018

Subjects: Malcolm Turnbull, NEG, Tony Abbott

OLIVER PETERSON: What a time indeed for the Monday Agenda to have the Odd Couple with us. I speak of senior Government Minister Christopher Pyne. Good afternoon.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good afternoon Ollie.

PETERSON: And senior Opposition member Anthony Albanese. Hello to you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Ollie.

PETERSON: Well I think first of all Christopher Pyne we might start with you because it has been a very busy day, or busy couple of days, on your side of the fence. Is the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, a dead man walking?

PYNE: No, quite the opposite. Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership is absolutely secure.

PETERSON: He’s got the full support of Cabinet?

PYNE: One hundred percent support of the Cabinet.

PETERSON: Including Peter Dutton?

PYNE: The so-called putative challenger Peter Dutton has made it clear to Malcolm Turnbull, to me, to the media, that he supports the Prime Minister. What we are seeing here is an enormous beat-up because unfortunately there are some sections of the bubble, or inside the beltway here in Canberra, that would much rather focus on a story that isn’t happening rather than the things that people care about like energy prices, jobs, the economy, growth, tax cuts.

PETERSON: Then if energy policy is so important, why has the Prime Minister had to do an about-face and back down on his National Energy Guarantee? Why has, all of a sudden, he has had to remove these emissions targets Christopher Pyne if he doesn’t have the support of his own party?

PYNE: Well because out of 100 people in the party room, four said they wouldn’t support it, which means we haven’t got the numbers in the House of Representatives and politics is the ruthless application of arithmetic and if you haven’t got the numbers, you can’t get something passed, so the Prime Minister very sensibly, with the support of the Cabinet, has done everything other than what is required to be done by legislation, like take the big stick to electricity companies, introduce the default pricing for consumers, which will help 1.2 million Australians get lower prices, introduced divestment powers that will allow us to take the electricity companies apart if they are not doing the right thing down the track, which I am sure they will do if that power exists. The NEG, the National Energy Guarantee, is in place. The only thing that is not going to be done is the legislation for a 26 per cent Renewable Energy Target, because we don’t have the numbers and we can’t trust the Labor Party because Bill Shorten just wants to play politics with everything. He has had months and months and months to say whether he supported  the Government’s National Energy Guarantee but he …

PETERSON: Well let’s ask Anthony Albanese. Have you seen the National Energy Guarantee? Has it been leaked to you?

ALBANESE: No-one has seen it. It changes hourly and today in Parliament we had the preposterous circumstances whereby the Prime Minister said he couldn’t guarantee getting it through the Parliament because he wanted Labor to give a guarantee we would support it, but he wouldn’t show us the legislation beforehand. So he wanted a commitment that we would vote for something we haven’t seen and nor has anyone else. We asked in Parliament did it exist and he said yes and then just tied himself in knots. This is …

PYNE: Labor is just playing politics Ollie. This is pathetic. And Anthony Albanese is better than that. Anthony Albanese is better than that.

ALBANESE: We are sitting back watching.

PYNE: Bill Shorten pretends to be this character who is interested in bipartisanship. He has refused to support the NEG for months. Now, today, the Government has admitted that we don’t have the numbers to get it through the House of Representatives so we will do everything other than what is required by legislation and Bill Shorten is trying to pretend: “Oh I am shocked. Why didn’t you come and talk to me. I’d love to talk about how to do it in a bipartisan way’’.

ALBANESE: You won’t even sit down and discuss …

PYNE: Bill Shorten is a political fraud and everyone can see through him.

PETERSON: Julie Bishop, the Foreign Minister, has earlier today said she has seen a move like this before and I suppose it is in relation to the leadership rumblings of the Government. Anthony Albanese, you lived through all of this with Kevin Rudd, with Julia Gillard, with Kevin Rudd again. Do you think Malcolm Turnbull’s days are numbered as the Prime Minister?

ALBANESE: Well he certainly looked that way today and I think that’s unfortunate if that happens, in terms of if we basically remove four elected prime ministers in four terms, I think that would be in indictment of our political system. But it’s very clear that the dogs are barking on the Coalition side. The circumstances whereby the Prime Minster has had to withdraw his own legislation, well not even introduce it, is just a humiliation for Malcolm Turnbull. He used to believe in action on climate change and now he is saying: “Oh well don’t worry about that, don’t worry about emissions targets, don’t worry about everything that I have said’’. And bear this in mind – this isn’t the first lot. This is the third iteration. We had the Chief Scientist come out with a policy. Then we had a Clean Energy Target. We have had various iterations of this policy. Last Tuesday he declared victory. On Friday he changed the policy. Today he has changed the policy again and we are being asked: Do you support it? Well we don’t know what it is we are being asked to support.

PETERSON: Ultimately Christopher Pyne, all Australians obviously want to pay cheaper prices for their electricity. How do you go and sell that message now to the Australian public when it appears as though there is disunity within your ranks?

PYNE: Well, because we have a much tougher policy now than we had even a week ago. We are introducing new powers to give the Government the capacity to break up energy companies that do the wrong thing by consumers, assuming that those powers are necessary. We’ve introduced new powers to the ACCC to monitor the pricing of electricity companies and to enforce a default price which will help 1.2 million consumers have a lower price. We are supporting recommendations from the ACCC that allow us to underwrite support for new infrastructure in energy production, whether it is coal, gas, hydro or other forms of power. So in fact prices are already coming down. Prices will continue to come down because of the Government’s policies.

ALBANESE: They are coming down because of the Renewable Energy Target Christopher.

PYNE: No they are not. They are coming down because of the …

ALBANESE: Four hundred dollars of the $550 is because of the Renewable Energy Target.

PYNE: Absolute rubbish. You always interrupt me.

ALBANESE: You’ve had an incredibly long run Christopher.

PYNE: Excuse me. The reason why the energy prices are coming down is because the Prime Minister said to the gas companies last year if you don’t allow more gas into the market and if you don’t stop exporting the gas we will stop you from doing so by taking away your permits and that has been one of the main reasons why prices are coming down. If Labor was in power and we increased the Renewable Energy Target to 45 per cent, prices would go through the roof. We have seen that film before. It is called the South Australian energy market.

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that the Government’s own Energy Security Board, chaired by Kerry Schott, says that the NEG will make a difference of $550. Four hundred dollars of that is what is already in the system through the Renewable Energy Target, will reach 24 per cent in just two years’ time, by 2020. So what the Government is saying, this is the thing that Abbott and these Neanderthals are revolting over, is the difference between 24 to 26 – two per cent increase over an entire decade and what Kerry Schott’s committee says is that that is responsible for $400 of the decrease and $550 is the total. The other $150 is just due to the reduction in the risk premium by there being some certainty. Now in order to have certainty, by definition you need both sides of Parliament to be on that table. But …

PYNE: You didn’t give us that support.

ALBANESE: We haven’t been given any opportunity.

PETERSON: And if you are given that opportunity, would you consider supporting it Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: Of course we’d consider supporting it. We have said that consistently. We haven’t got the legislation. What we have said is we want to support renewables. Yes, we want to be able to adjust it because we do have a higher target because the evidence is that more renewables will lead to cheaper prices.

PYNE: The evidence is not in South Australia …

ALBANESE: That’s what the Energy Security Board say. That’s what all the providers say. All of them say that that is the case.

PYNE: You have been saying for months that 26 per cent was low and you wouldn’t support it.

ALBANESE: It is too low.

PYNE: And then you colluded with the Victorian Government to make sure that they slowed down the process and you have done everything you can frustrate ….

ALBANESE: You cannot possibly blame us …

PYNE: And now you are trying to pretend …

ALBANESE: … that you have Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly and all these crazy people in you party room who want to have a Government funded and subsidised new coal-fired power station.

PETERSON: Talking of Tony Abbott there Christopher Pyne, over the weekend and being reported in the Sydney Morning Herald today is that he spoke to the Young Liberals in Tasmania saying that he looks forward to serving under a Dutton Government. Can you still work with Tony Abbott?

PYNE: Well Tony Abbott’s got a lot to say. He has been saying a lot for several years and it doesn’t surprise me. Whatever he says he has a different view about the direction of the Government. I think the public have well and truly factored the Tony Abbott matter into their support or non-support for the Turnbull Government and I don’t think that he has an impact when he says things like that, if he said it, because I think the public have well and truly worked out that Tony Abbott is not a big fan of the current Prime Minister.

PETERSON: Well we put out a poll this afternoon on our website and Tony Abbott was the winner of our poll on who should lead the Liberal Party. In second place Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and third place Peter Dutton. So 6PR listeners are certainly ….

ALBANESE: Where was Christopher?

PETERSON: Well Christopher unfortunately wasn’t on our list. But we can add you to our mix. Christopher, would you like to challenge?

PYNE: Well that’s the only poll of that nature Ollie in the country.

PETERSON: That’s it?

PYNE: No other poll in indicates that the public want Tony Abbott to be the Prime Minister of Australia again or the Leader of the Liberal Party. In fact the poll that was published by IPSOS today showed that 66 per cent of Coalition voters support the National Energy Guarantee.

PETERSON: Would you rather that Tony Abbott just went quietly off into the distance and stopped entering the public national debate right now?

PYNE: Look we are a democracy. If Tony Abbott thinks that he is helping the Government by his interventions, well that’s a judgement call that he has made.

PETERSON: Anthony Albanese, you’d be probably be happy that the spotlight is not on you this  afternoon. All of a sudden you are probably measuring up your desk as the Infrastructure Minister in a Shorten Government.

ALBANESE: Well we take nothing for granted but the fact is that Tony Abbott is trying to blow up the entire show, campaigning against a target that he set as Prime Minister. He was the one who signed up to Paris. He was the one who said 26 per cent to 28 as his target and he walks around like he had nothing to do with it. I mean, I think his behaviour is morally repugnant. I don’t know how he can have frankly any integrity at all and Peter Dutton is just Tony Abbott’s glove puppet. He is just there being used, waiting for this to drop into his lap and I do feel some sympathy for what Christopher  is going through because the hypocrisy of the Abbott forces here is quite breathtaking and every time they come up with a new position, the Abbott forces just move the barrier, they move the line. So it’s impossible for us as the Labor Party. We want to be responsible, we want to be co-operative, we understand that the greater amount of unity in the national interest is required here. But it’s impossible because we can’t even get a discussion about what the position we are being asked to agree with is.

PETERSON: All right gentlemen, we are almost out of time. Final words for you both. Christopher Pyne, do you believe there will be a challenge within your ranks in the coming weeks or months?

PYNE: No I don’t. I have been around a quarter of a century. I have seen as many leadership ballots as Anthony Albanese. He might have the wood on me on that one because he has been in the Labor Party because of the Gillard/Rudd period. But I do not think there will be any change in leadership. I think the party is extremely united behind Malcolm Turnbull and he will lead us to the next election

PETERSON: Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: I think it’s a mess and I think it’s likely that there will be at least one challenge.

PETERSON: At least one challenge. Gentlemen, really appreciate your time. We’ll let you go back into the bear pit of Federal Parliament. Thank you.

 

Aug 17, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Today Show – Friday, 17 August 2018

Subjects: Peter Dutton, NEG, Aretha Franklin.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is reportedly considering resigning from Cabinet over the NEG, sparking wider leadership speculation this morning. Either way it is a big problem for the Government. We are joined now by Labor’s Anthony Albanese and in Adelaide, Christopher Pyne. Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher to you first of all, is Peter Dutton going to have a crack or not?

PYNE: Absolutely not and Peter Dutton hasn’t said that he is going to resign over the NEG. He has outlined what ministers have to do if they don’t support a Government policy. At the same time he said that he does support the Government’s policy and I can tell you that the Cabinet is 100 per cent united behind Malcolm Turnbull and in the party room on Tuesday only four people said that they reserve their right not to vote for the NEG. Only four others had criticisms of the NEG and about 26 supported it. So there is a lot of hyper-ventilating going on, but we are listening to the party room and that is why the Prime Minister and the Cabinet will propose a big-stick approach to electricity prices next week, because we want to bring prices down too. That’s what we did with the gas companies and that is what we will do with the electricity companies.

STEFANOVIC: Have you laid your eyes on the NEG legislation yet?

PYNE: No. I haven’t seen the legislation. I am not the Minister for the Environment. That is Josh Frydenberg.

STEFANOVIC: Hang on, you haven’t seen the legislation, but Labor has seen the legislation?

PYNE: Well the legislation was shared with the states and territories on Tuesday night I believe.

STEFANOVIC: Hang on a second. Hang on a second. You haven’t seen the NEG legislation, but Labor has?

PYNE: Well, I could ask Josh Frydenberg for the legislation if I wanted to and he would give it to me.

STEFANOVIC: How can you vote for something you haven’t seen?

PYNE: Because it has been through the Cabinet. It has been through the ERC. I have read the submissions that have come …

STEFANOVIC: That’s a startling admission.

PYNE: Don’t be ridiculous Karl. I don’t read every piece of legislation. Nobody does. That is absurd. That is why we have Cabinet ministers.

STEFANOVIC: Have you seen the legislation?

ALBANESE: Well I haven’t seen it but certainly Labor has  and the fact is…

STEFANOVIC: Before Christopher? That is absurd.

ALBANESE: This is a Government in absolute chaos.

PYNE: Karl, that is complete nonsense. You read the submissions …

STEFANOVIC: You haven’t read the legislation, but Labor has. That is extraordinary.

PYNE: No, its not. You read the submissions in the Cabinet and you respond to those submissions. As everybody knows, the idea that I read every piece of legislation you know is complete nonsense and I don’t know why you are taking the interview in this direction.

STEFANOVIC: It has been pretty topical, the NEG, this week. I would have thought you would at least throw your eyes over it.

ALBANESE: He’s the Leader of the House.

PYNE: I know what the legislation does. I know what the NEG is. I support it 100 per cent. We are toughening it up with a big-stick approach to electricity companies and I certainly didn’t read every piece of legislation that went through the Parliament this week. Six pieces of legislation went through the Parliament this week.

STEFANOVIC: If you are not annoyed there are members of your own party who certainly are. Inside Parliament they are furious that they haven’t seen the legislation but Labor has.

PYNE: Well I am sure if they ask Josh Frydenberg for it he will share it with them.

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that Christopher has just come on national TV and said it’s all OK because only four people are going to definitely cross the floor and only four others might cross the floor. They don’t know what they are doing. Peter Dutton went on radio yesterday and outlined the path that he is considering – resigning from Cabinet to go to the backbench to challenge Malcolm Turnbull. That now has been laid bare for all to see. This is a Government in absolute chaos and of course we know the Peter Dutton is just a glove puppet for Tony Abbott, who is back there, back there on the backbench causing all of this chaos.

STEFANOVIC: You haven’t seen the policy or this legislation either yet, but is Labor going to back it?

ALBANESE: Well we haven’t had consideration of it yet. We don’t know how it will end up. It hasn’t been properly approved by the Coalition. The states were asked to sign up to something before they knew what it was. This is chaos. We are waiting for these guys to get a semblance of their act together before we finalise our position.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, this is the thing – you could very well lose five seats in Queensland alone at the next election You are on the ropes right now.

PYNE: No we are not. We are not on the ropes Karl. The polls are about 50-50 and there’s a lot of hyper-ventilating going on and there’s a few people I think who are trying to put the band back together from the late 2000 and noughties.

STEFANOVIC: Who’s that? Who’s trying to put the band …

ALBANESE: They are in your party room, mate.

PYNE: I think we know who they are but the reality is the Government is getting on with the job of putting the energy policy together. We have to work with the states, the territories, our party room. We are listening to our party room and we will ensure that electricity prices keep coming down. And if we need to use a big stick to do so, we will introduce the penalties, just like we did the gas companies when we said we would have export controls on gas and gas prices came down. We aren’t afraid to take firm action.

ALBANESE: The problem with the big stick is that the Coalition Party room have got it and they are belting themselves in the head. This is self-flagellation from the party room.

STEFANOVIC: I think you have gone into a territory that we can’t go into on breakfast TV and as much as I love you …

ALBANESE: You can show it after nine maybe.

STEFANOVIC: We can show it after nine for sure. Thank you gentlemen and just before we go Aretha Franklin passing – it is very sad news, but also we are celebrating her life. It’s a shame people in the Senate didn’t have a little more R-E-S-P-E-C-T this week, but what’s your favourite song Chris?

PYNE: Well definitely R-E-S-P-E-C-T is my favourite Aretha Franklin song.

STEFANOVIC: Sing it.

PYNE: No I’m not singing it.

STEFANOVIC: You know you want to.

ALBANESE: You do.

PYNE: Well I like singing. I can sing. I can sing.

ALBANESE: Lighten up Christopher. This is your chance. Start a new career.

PYNE: You are the cool DJ.

ALBANESE: You might need one soon mate. I am trying to help you out.

PYNE: Well, you can get me a job as a DJ.

STEFANOVIC: And how the wheel turns. It’s DJ Albo. What’s your favourite?

ALBANESE: This is great, but Sisters are Doing it for Themselves is pretty cool too.

STEFANOVIC: Beautiful stuff. I think that might have been the Pointer Sisters.

ALBANESE: Was it? No it wasn’t. They did it in the movie.

STEFANOVIC: Yes. Beverley Hills Cop.

ALBANESE: Yes. Or one of them.

PYNE: Brush your hair Karl.

STEFANOVIC: You are so knowledgeable for a DJ. Thanks Albo. Thanks Christopher. See you soon.

[ENDS]

 

Aug 10, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 10 August 2018

Subjects: Energy policy; Great Barrier Reef; Malcolm Turnbull, National Integrity Commission; Emma Husar.

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: Well, the fate of the Turnbull Government’s National Energy Guarantee will be discussed today at a crucial meeting of State and Federal governments and this morning there are warnings of more blackouts and higher prices if Labor premiers block the power plan. I’m joined now by Labor’s Anthony Albanese and, in Adelaide, Christopher Pyne. Good morning to you both.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Sylvia.

JEFFREYS: Christopher, let’s be up front about it. It is not likely that you will reach an agreement on this today with the state leaders. So what’s next?

PYNE: Well, I think we will win an in-principle agreement from the state premiers at COAG about the NEG because ….

JEFFREYS: That’s being optimistic, isn’t it?

PYNE: No, I think that is what a lot of people are saying. Victoria is really the only hold out state and I think we can work and negotiate with them. I think we will get in-principle agreement because everyone wants affordable, reliable and responsible electricity in Australia. We want to meet our international commitments. We want lower prices, which we can achieve, and we want it to be reliable in terms of baseload power. And then I think we will get the support next week of the Parliament, of the party room and then a final tick-off from the premiers and I think we will achieve a great outcome.

JEFFREYS: So what you’re saying is there is room for compromise in order to get Daniel Andrews across the line?

PYNE: Well, negotiation is about negotiating outcomes, ensuring you don’t give away the core things that you want, but making sure that you get an outcome. So, of course, we are always happy to talk. But there are some baselines. We want affordable power. We want reliable power. We want it to be responsible and we are not going to just hand the policy over to the Greens, which is what the Daniel Andrews Government seems to want to do. But I think we will get there and that’s what voters want. They want, actually, governments to work together to achieve outcomes.

JEFFREYS: Voters want a plan, they want it in place, and they want it urgently. Anthony, I’m sure you agree with that. So why is Labor getting in the way? Why are Labor premiers blocking this plan?

ALBANESE: They are not, of course. What they are trying to do is negotiate in good faith. As late as yesterday afternoon, Annastacia Palaszczuk still hadn’t got the documentation that she had requested and the Government goes to a COAG meeting today saying: “Well, we can’t actually agree to anything finally because we go to our party room next Tuesday”. So this isn’t leadership. And the problem that the Government has is that Tony Abbott and the forces around him don’t want a solution, they want an argument.

JEFFREYS: OK. So Annastacia Palaszczuk doesn’t have the documents on the day of the meeting. Daniel Andrews is digging his heels in. Is Malcolm Turnbull a bad negotiator Christopher Pyne?

PYNE: Well, Anthony says that but you wouldn’t want to believe everything Anthony says. The truth is the Queensland Government has been working closely with the Federal Government for 12 months, not just today. They are not just getting the documents yesterday. They have been working for 12 months with the Energy Board and the various organisations that we have established. Every state and territory has, including Queensland. That’s why they know exactly what the National Energy Guarantee will do. And if you speak to anybody across industry, they will all say that they want the certainty of the National Energy Guarantee. It’s time to stop arguing and give the consumers of Australia and the businesses of Australia affordable, reliable and responsible power and that’s what we’re trying to do. Labor wants to have a fight.

ALBANESE: You’ve given them five years of uncertainty Christopher. That is the problem.

PYNE: Labor wants to keep having a fight. The public don’t want it. The public want us to get on and reduce their power prices and that’s what we’re doing.

ALBANESE: The Government was elected and said we will get rid of the carbon price and it will all be okay. What we saw was that …

PYNE: Well, prices dropped 14 per cent.

ALBANESE: Wholesale prices doubled. We’ve had five years of uncertainty.

PYNE: Carbon tax! After we abolished the carbon tax, prices dropped immediately.

ALBANESE: Keep your arguments for the party room Christopher, because the big argument has been within the Liberal Party and because of that, the whole of the country has been held back.

PYNE: Rubbish.

JEFFREYS: I want to talk about Malcolm Turnbull and his negotiation skills and I want to talk specifically about the grant, the half a billion dollar grant, that was given to the Barrier Reef Foundation. Christopher, was that a captain’s call for Malcolm Turnbull? Was that his decision?

PYNE: No. It went through the normal processes of the Expenditure Review Committee.

JEFFREYS: There was no tender.

PYNE: It went through the normal processes of the Expenditure Review Committee. What we wanted to do was get $440 million to support the Great Barrier Reef to help repair it after the damage done to it by Labor. It went on to the endangered watch list of the UNESCO under Labor…

ALBANESE: There isn’t even one. There isn’t a watch list. There isn’t a watch list. There isn’t one. It is just a lie.

PYNE: We wanted to get that money out there doing its work. And that is what Malcolm Turnbull has done. It certainly wasn’t his call. It was the call of the Government through the Expenditure Review Committee. And it’s amazing to me that Labor is criticising trying to fix the Great Barrier Reef.

ALBANESE: This is red hot Christopher. You can just keep talking to hide from the fact.

PYNE: Sylvia asked me a question.

ALBANESE: This is an argument for a National Integrity Commission. This is one of the reasons why we need one because I’m concerned about the fish on the Great Barrier Reef, but I’m also concerned about the fishy smell that’s coming from this stinking agreement whereby the Prime Minister and Josh Frydenberg sit down with someone and they give them a grant. They didn’t ask for it. There was no tender process. They had six people employed at the time. And they got $444 million of taxpayers’ money – has been paid upfront, upfront, not as it’s required. This stinks.

PYNE: What stinks…

ALBANESE: And there needs to be a proper examination of this …

PYNE: At least you cared about Emma Husar’s staff and Emma Husar’s story …

ALBANESE: A rotting fish stinks from the head and this stinks from Malcolm Turnbull’s head. It stinks.

PYNE: Your Leader of the Opposition claims that he knew nothing about what was going on in Emma Husar’s office. At least you said you knew about it.

ALBANESE: It stinks.

JEFFREYS: We are speaking in different tangents here on different subjects, so let’s move in the same direction here. I think we know that fund, that grant, is going to dominate Question Time when Parliament resumes. So we will watch that space. But I want to talk about the findings of the internal investigation into the accusations around Emma Husar, Labor MP Emma Husar. They are handed down today. Anthony, will they be made public?

ALBANESE: Well, I’m not sure of all of the circumstances around the basis, for example, of how the staff members made submissions.

JEFFREYS: But yes or no? Will the report be made public?

ALBANESE: That’s not a decision for me Sylvia.

JEFFREYS: Well should it be made public?

ALBANESE: I don’t know what the circumstances are in which people have come forward. Sometimes when you have inquiries, people come forward on the basis of confidentiality. I’m not sure of all of those circumstances and frankly neither are you or Christopher. What we know is that Emma Husar has said that she won’t contest the next election and what we know is that the Government has tried to make this the big issue rather than the $444 million grant.

PYNE: Please!

ALBANESE: And they say they know nothing about Barnaby Joyce. I mean for goodness sake!

JEFFREYS: Christopher, should the report be made public?

PYNE: Well look, what I find remarkable about this Sylvia is that Anthony Albanese was at least honest enough to say that he knew about this weeks and weeks ago and his leader, Bill Shorten, was pretending that he had only heard about it when it was published in the newspaper.

JEFFREYS: The question was should the report be made public?

PYNE: Well I don’t know what the …

ALBANESE: And Barnaby Joyce’s report about the woman who alleged that she had been assaulted by Barnaby Joyce? Well, should that be made public?

PYNE: You’ve had a go. You’ve had a go. The question of whether the report should be made public, I don’t understand the internal Labor Party processes and, quite frankly, I don’t want to. Certainly the story around Emma Husar has been dominating the media. And what’s amazing is that Bill Shorten should want to clear the air with this. He should want to release the report, clear the air, get on with it. It’s amazing to me that he pretends, or is saying, that he’s never heard of any of these stories until they appeared in the newspaper. Anthony Albanese said he’s known about it for months. Tony Burke says he has known about for months. Why isn’t anybody telling Bill Shorten?

ALBANESE: As everyone in the building knew about Barnaby Joyce.

JEFFREYS: We are out of time Christopher and Anthony.

PYNE: What a pity!

JEFFREYS: Plenty up for discussion next week, clearly. Thank you so much for coming in this morning.

ALBANESE: We could come back after half past seven.

PYNE: We could. Let’s do it again.

JEFFREYS: I’m sure you will, it just won’t be here on the Today Show. Have a great weekend – time is of the essence, plenty up for discussion.

ALBANESE: Come on.

JEFFREYS: Thank you very much to both of you for joining us.

[ENDS]

 

Aug 9, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 3AW, Neil Mitchell Program – Thursday, 9 August 2018

Subjects: Emma Husar, Sky News, Latham, NEG. 

NEIL MITCHELL: Anthony Albanese, good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you. I’ve got a face here.

MITCHELL: She said the faceless men got her.

ALBANESE: Well I certainly didn’t have any role in that as far as I know. I take it that …

MITCHELL: As far as you know?

ALBANESE: No. It’s a rather strange accusation for you to begin with Neil.

MITCHELL: I am just repeating what she said.

ALBANESE: I am not faceless. I am here. You can see me. There is even a camera in the studio.

MITCHELL: You are not of her faction. Did you help get rid of her?

ALBANESE: No.

MITCHELL: Did she have to go?

ALBANESE: It’s a decision which she has made.

MITCHELL: Has she really? Everybody is suggesting she was told to go or else.

ALBANESE: Well, no point pontificating about it. All I know is what she has said, that it is her decision.

MITCHELL: But she has also said it ends now. But it doesn’t, does it? There are still questions about travel entitlements.

ALBANESE: Well, that will be dealt with by the appropriate authorities if need be. There is the New South Wales investigation that is under way.

MITCHELL: That is a Labor investigation.

ALBANESE: Yes, that’s right.

MITCHELL: You’d need an independent one now, surely?

ALBANESE: Well, that’s not a matter for me. The New South Wales report will come down probably in the next 24 hours or so and then it will be dealt with. She’s made a decision …

MITCHELL: Is she a loss?

ALBANESE: … to not re-contest.  Well she has made that decision.

MITCHELL: But is she a loss to the Parliament?

ALBANESE: Well she is someone who was in in her first term and we won’t know what contribution she could have made. Lindsay is a marginal seat.

MITCHELL: You are damning with faint praise here. Do you want to keep her or not?

ALBANESE: Well she has made a decision to go, so it is not a matter of what my thoughts are.

MITCHELL: Well, was she a good member?

ALBANESE: The contact I had with her, she was good. She had me out to her electorate. We met with Penrith City Council with her. Badgerys Creek Airport of course is not in her seat, but it certainly impacts on it, so the related infrastructure issues I was engaged with her on and she was a strong representative. That was the contact I had with her. I had never met her before she got elected.

MITCHELL: How long had you known about the allegations?

ALBANESE: Oh, for a while. There were various rumours around the building.

MITCHELL: I see. But only rumours? You didn’t know anything about it?

ALBANESE: Well, I have never met any of her staff, so I don’t know them.

MITCHELL: People are finding it really hard to believe that Bill Shorten, who was close, closer than you were to her, didn’t know anything about it. Do you believe that?

ALBANESE: Well, what I think has been said there is a matter of when he was formally notified. I don’t know and I can’t speak for what someone else knew and when. All I can do is say what I knew, which is that there were various rumours around about issues with staff that I had heard around the building. Parliament House is a bit like that.

MITCHELL: Did you do anything about it or just say that is a rumour?

ALBANESE: No. Well if you did something about it you wouldn’t do your job; if every time you heard about something that might have happened in the building. That’s not my job.

MITCHELL: Yes, but you make all these grand statements about protecting people in the workplace and decency toward staff, decency toward women. Here we have a Labor Member of Parliament. The rumours are she is doing bad things with her staff. Oh well, we’ll ignore that.

ALBANESE: Well I didn’t know that. What I knew was that there was a high staff turnover.

MITCHELL: Oh, I see.

ALBANESE: And then I knew that there was this investigation by John Whelan. I have been upfront about that. I talked with people – raised it with me at the ALP State Conference in June. You have a two-day, two-night gathering, people talk about what is going on. It wasn’t at the centre of discussion but on the fringes it was discussed. I have said honestly, yes I knew that investigation was taking place.

MITCHELL: OK, let’s move on. Jacinta Allan, who I know that you have seen today, has banned Sky News from train station platforms here in Melbourne after that interview with Blair Cottrell. She said that was the final straw. I asked her what else was the problem.

(TAPED INTERVIEW FROM EARLIER) 

JACINTA ALLAN: Well I think there’s been a number of interviews that have started to go down a slippery slope.

MITCHELL: Well, which ones?

ALLAN: Well, there’s been some of the conversations that Mark Latham has engaged in through that channel.

MITCHELL: He is one of yours, or he was.

ALLAN: He was but he’s not anymore.

MITCHELL: Ok, so you don’t approve of Mark Latham or Blair Cottrell. What else have they done?

ALLAN: Well there was also the promotion of the dreadful things that Senator David Lyonhjelm said about Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

(TAPE ENDS) 

MITCHELL: That’s Jacinta Allan earlier. Mark Latham will love that publicity won’t he?

ALBANESE: Well Mark Latham does like publicity and the problem if you are addicted to getting publicity is that your statements become more and more extreme because the next statement has to be more out there than the one before and I think Mark Latham’s trajectory, now, whereby I notice he has been defending having Blair Cottrell have a national platform on Sky, just shows how sad it is, I think. He is …

MITCHELL: He’s not a mate anymore?

ALBANESE: I was never a Mark Latham supporter Neil. I think you know that. I think my judgement was right in warning people prior to his elevation as leader. I mean we already knew a whole range of things about Mark Latham and people made the decision to make him Leader. I think that was an error. But the Australian public got it right in …

MITCHELL: By keeping you out of government?

ALBANESE: By not making him Prime Minister.

MITCHELL: Well what about this Jacinta Allan issue? Is it appropriate that a Government bans media for saying things it doesn’t like?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s not a matter of banning it. There are other things they could have. They could have 3AW being broadcast.

MITCHELL: We are not popular with the Government either.

ALBANESE: They could have 3AW broadcast out. See, this as an opportunity Neil.

MITCHELL: I have tried that. I have tried that.

ALBANESE: You should of.

MITCHELL: I did.

ALBANESE: You could have a range of things out there. There’s no reason why …

MITCHELL: So it is appropriate?

ALBANESE: Well, why wouldn’t they have ABC 24 running through?

MITCHELL: Oh yeah, let’s have the Left instead of the Right. They could be just as bad the other way.

ALBANESE: Why can’t they have the public broadcaster through the public transport network? That’s decision they have made. Look, I think that Sky News people that I have spoken to are horrified. Some of them have made public statements about having this fellow who advocates having a photo of Adolf Hilter in every class room.

MITCHELL: He’s anti-semitic. Let’s not defend him.

ALBANESE: Well why have him on there?

MITCHELL: What about David Lyonhjelm? He’s got thrown into this. Well, I’ve had him on here too, but I have argued with him. I have debated with him. It seemed it was a mistake. They have admitted it. They have apologised and to ban any form of media because you don’t like what they are doing is Nazi-like.

ALBANESE: I think the problem with Sky is that they have some fantastic interviewers. They have David Speers and Kieran Gilbert, Laura Jayes – have good journalists during the day, and it hits a certain hour of the day and it becomes …

MITCHELL: Yes but let’s ban Bolt now. People don’t like Bolt. How about we ban Bolt too?

ALBANESE: I go on Andrew Bolt’s program as you know Neil. I talk to a range of people. I am here talking to you. Not everyone talks to you Neil. But I do.

MITCHELL: Well that reminds me, how is Bill?

ALBANESE: I am always happy to talk on whatever medium. But you do have to draw a line between someone like Blair Cottrell, who I just wouldn’t give a platform to.

MITCHELL: Fair enough. But the point is banning media is a bad look. I mean David Lyonhjelm for heaven s sake?

ALBANESE: Well, are they banning media or choosing to put something else there? Why is it? Why is it up here in the beginning?

MITCHELL: They don’t like what I do a lot of the time and neither does your Leader, so he doesn’t turn up. What’s the next step? You win Government and he says we’ll ban 3AW?

ALBANESE: I think you are drawing a very long bow there.

MITCHELL: Can you get him in the studio for me?

ALBANESE: Well, I am not in charge of Bill’s media appointments, but I am happy to pass on a message for you.

MITCHELL: Thank you. Can you explain the National Energy Guarantee to me?

ALBANESE: Oh, the National Energy Guarantee. What is part of the problem Neil, is that we don’t actually know the detail of what’s in it. What we know is that they say there will be a $550 saving if it passes through. But we know of that, $400 of it is locked in by the Renewable Energy Target that is already there. So that is a given. And $150 of it, according to their own modelling, is for policy certainty, like any certainty.

MITCHELL: I don’t think most people understand it and they tend to glaze over when it comes up. But we’ve got a national regulator saying if this doesn’t go through tomorrow, we are in strife, power prices are going up. And yet it is being blocked.

ALBANESE: Well what we have had Neil since 2013, remember Tony Abbott got elected and said we will get rid of the price on carbon and it will all be fixed?  And it wasn’t fixed.

MITCHELL: But can you bring prices down?

ALBANESE: Of course we can. You bring prices down by increasing supply. That’s the fundamental basis of economics.

MITCHELL: What, with renewables?

ALBANESE: Absolutely, renewables.

MITCHELL: But the wind is not blowing. The sun is not shining.

ALBANESE: With renewables, with batteries, with storage.

MITCHELL: And that is going to be cheaper?

ALBANESE: Absolutely, as one of a suite of measures, it of course will. What we know is that renewables are far cheaper to put into the system than a new coal-fired power plant.

MITCHELL: Thank you for coming in. Is caucus getting a bit willing? You’ve got a black eye and broken rib. What happened?

ALBANESE: It’s a very boring story, walking the dog on Marrickville Golf Course.

MITCHELL: Mugged?

ALBANESE: Not even that interesting.

MITCHELL: You fell over?

ALBANESE: A little bit of metal up on the retainer wall sticking out of the ground tripped me and unfortunately, if you hit concrete, it hurts. So I am suffering a little bit from a broken rib at the moment.

MITCHELL: How’s the dog?

ALBANESE: Oh, the dog was fine. You can’t hurt the dog.

MITCHELL: Well, it is your only friend isn’t it? Wasn’t it Peter Costello: if you want a friend in politics, buy a dog.

ALBANESE: I’ve got other friends Neil. I thought you were my friend.

MITCHELL: Get Bill in the studio and we will see. Thank you for your time.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

Aug 9, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – ABC, 7.30 Program – Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Subjects: Emma Husar; population; opinion polls; Labor leadership; infrastructure.

LEIGH SALES: Anthony Albanese, thanks very much for coming in.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Leigh.

SALES: What is your reaction to the news that Emma Husar won’t be contesting the next election?

ALBANESE: Well she has come to this decision herself. Obviously she believes that that is the best thing to do for herself and for the party. It is now time I think for the endless media speculation to be put to bed and for people to move on from this issue. Obviously the party is going through its investigation process. It will be concluded in the following 48 hours. It will bring down any recommendations so it should be allowed to now go through its course.

SALES: Emma Husar says the allegations against her are vicious and baseless even though she won’t contest the election. Is it possible she is the victim of a smear campaign for some reason?

ALBANESE: What is absolutely certain is it is not in Emma’s interests, nor in the interests of those people who have made complaints and forwarded those complaints in good faith to Mr Whelan’s investigation, to have people who aren’t aware of the facts, such as myself or yourself for that matter, making further commentary on this matter.

SALES: Let’s turn to hitting a population of 25 million this week. Are you in favour of a big Australia?

ALBANESE: Well, what I am in favour of is a productive, a sustainable and a liveable Australia for all of our citizens. The fact is that it is the quality of life that is important, rather than any particular figure I think.

SALES: A substantial proportion of Australians don’t like immigration. How much is opposition to it tied to racism?

ALBANESE: I think that by and large Australia is a tolerant country. We are a very successful multicultural nation. With the exception of the First Australians we are all either migrants or sons or daughters or more distant relatives of people who have migrated to Australia as a land of opportunity. We continue to be so and I’m very optimistic about our future. One of the things that does happen though, is that politicians, if you have issues of urban congestion not being dealt with, if you have a diminution of people’s quality of life, then some politicians will point towards some other group that’s not them to provide some blame. That is not productive. That is not the Australia that I want to see advance in this century.

SALES: Let me ask you about a few other things. When Labor last won majority federal government its primary vote was 43 per cent. Today it is 36 percent. What primary vote will Labor need to win the next election?

ALBANESE: Well of course what we have seen Leigh is an increase in non-major party votes. I think that is an issue for both …

SALES: So does that mean you have to look down the barrel of minority government again?

ALBANESE: No it doesn’t mean that at all. What it means is that we need to work very hard to increase that primary vote, to restore faith. Both of the major parties I believe are suffering from a view that they are not able to stand for all of the issues and secure the support of the sort of figures we used to see – 40 per cent and above for both of the major parties and neither party is doing that at the moment.

SALES: Bill Shorten does not have a good personal approval rating. How much of a drag is that on the party’s primary vote?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that we are a team and Bill Shorten leads that team.

SALES: But Bill Shorten is not well liked by a majority of people in the electorate.

ALBANESE: Well Bill Shorten leads that team and when I go to places with Bill and see him engaging with people, people like him. People like our policies and the important thing is the way that our entire team is regarded and whether people are prepared to elect us into government. We have won 37 Newspolls in a row. That is quite remarkable. And in terms of the by-election, Malcolm Turnbull, for reasons beyond my comprehension, talked up the prospect of the Government winning a seat off the Opposition for a first time in a hundred years. What that showed yet again was the lack of judgement from Malcolm Turnbull when it came to basic political strategy.

SALES: There’s always a lot of speculation about whether you are still interested in the Labor leadership. So let me just ask you straight. At some point in the future, you know, who knows when, Bill Shorten will cease to be the Labor Leader. Are you interested in being next in the seat?

ALBANESE: Well ask me when that happens in 2035 Leigh.

SALES: I just want to know if you’ve still got the baton in the back pack.

ALBANESE: What I have said consistently is that I am interested in Labor being in Government and I want to be part of that team.

SALES: The way I phrased that question I am not trying to, you know, suggest there is any imminent challenge or anything. I am just asking, you know, generally, in five years, 20 years, whatever, have you still got an interest in being the leader?

ALBANESE: Well, we will wait and see if I am here in 20 years as a Member of Parliament. It’s possible that I will be going for Philip Ruddock’s record, but I doubt whether that is the case. My ambition is to be a minister in a Shorten Labor Government, to be able to advance the sort of policies that I want to see in terms of infrastructure; building public transport around the nation; re-establishing the Major Cities Unit; developing the sort of policies that we have put out there; making sure that High Speed Rail is advanced; preserving the corridor; setting up the authority; going to the market to see if it can be tested about High Speed Rail down the east coast of Australia; making sure that we have the Cross River Rail project; building Western Sydney Rail. That is my ambition and I think that if we are able to do that, no one will be more happy than me. We are a Labor team. We are very united. That is one of the reasons I think why we have been successful.

SALES: Anthony Albanese, thanks for joining us.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

ENDS

Aug 8, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa Adelaide, Two Tribes Segment – Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Subjects: 5AA Underpants Drive, Barnaby Joyce, Emma Husar.

HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, good morning to you.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from Melbourne.

HOST: Now Chris we’ve got to say we are glad to have you back. Things got pretty loose last week. Albo accused your stand-in Alan Tudge of being drunk.

ALBANESE: That was the best thing you could put on it. At least that would be an excuse for his ridiculous statements.

PYNE: I’m more worried about the fact that Anthony thinks that the Undies Drive is for second-hand undies, not new ones.

ALBANESE: I’m deeply disturbed about the whole thing.

HOST: We can’t stress enough, we only want brand new underpants guys.

PYNE: Anthony is going to come up to Canberra with a handful of used undies to take to Adelaide next week.

ALBANESE: Christopher’s already made more jokes in the last 30 seconds that Alan Tudge has made in his life.

PYNE: Don’t be unkind. Don’t be unkind.

HOST: Now Chris, you will be thrilled to hear that we have got one of your colleagues – Barnaby Joyce – coming on our show at 7.05am tomorrow morning to talk about his new book. Do you have any questions in mind that we could ask the former Deputy Prime Minister?

PYNE: Look, I wish Barnaby well. I have seen excerpts of his book and it is confronting and obviously he has a story to tell and I’m glad that he has found a voice to tell it through his book and I wish him very much the best with the rest of his political career and in his non-political life. I hope that things turn out well for him.

HOST: Can I ask a serious question, and I will ask it to you first Albo, but I’d like to get Chris’s thoughts on this as well. Over the last fortnight we’ve seen a string of leaks going to the conduct of Emma Husar and I’m not trying to provide her with any alibis, save for the fact to note how intense the focus has been on her. In his own book too, Barnaby Joyce talks about how things got so bad for him that he felt like he basically didn’t want to be alive anymore. Do you think that public life comes with too high a cost at times?

ALBANESE: I think to be honest, yes. I feel for what Emma Husar is going through at the moment – the intense scrutiny; the people being asked to comment, and indeed commenting, who don’t know any of the facts. I certainly don’t. And yet when you get asked to comment on the specifics of events of which you have no information it is almost like journos think you are obfuscating if you say, for example: I haven’t met any of Emma Husar’s staff, for example so I don’t know. There an investigation. Let it take its course. But the intense media focus I think has changed in recent times. It used to be that people filed at 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock for the next day’s papers. Now people file for the next hour so there is intense pressure on people in the media to, you know, get the next issue relating to a particular frenzy that is on and I think that can have quite a devastating consequence for the people who are the focus of that intensity.

HOST: What do you think Chris?

PYNE: Well I do think if you look back through history there is always moments of great intensity surrounding issues that engulf Members of Parliament and ministers, cabinet ministers, even prime ministers, and there is a great deal of scrutiny on politicians. How everybody deals with that, each individual is different and I’ve been in Parliament 25 years, Anthony about 20 years. We’ve both been through difficult times over that period because that is just the normal course of life. But the way to deal with that of course I think is to shut down the shop, focus on what matters and remember that we are doing a job and the job doesn’t define us, we define ourselves.

HOST: Yes. Good stuff. We are going to leave it there today guys. We are freezing our butts off here and we need to get back to the more important business of …

ALBANESE: Have you got undies on the outside?

HOST: We’ve got undies everywhere. You would not believe it.

ALBANESE: Is this the whole Superman thing? Maybe you’ve got them on your head.

HOST: It is a very Adelaide thing Albo. It’s actually a noble charity-oriented gesture but it also doubles as a cheap vehicle for a bit of casual cross dressing as well. So we are having a lot of fun.

ALBANESE: See, on the east coast they have drives for clothes in general, not just undies.

HOST: Yes. That’s too easy. That’s just obvious. Good on you guys.

Aug 8, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Geelong, VIC – Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Subject: City Partnerships policy

LIBBY COKER: I’d like to welcome everyone here today and I’m Libby Coker. I’m the Labor candidate for Corangamite and with me I have Richard Marles, my friend and colleague and the Member for Corio. I have Bruce Harwood, who is the Mayor of the City of Greater Geelong. And of course we have Anthony Albanese, who is Labor’s Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. Now we are here today because we want to send message of commitment to this region, to the people of Geelong and to the people of Corangamite.

We know that this region is growing rapidly and we also know that it has great potential. We’ve got the Surf Coast and Bellarine. We have the hinterland areas of Golden Plains and Colac, Otway and of course we have the thriving city of Geelong and these places are full of potential. We are so close to Melbourne as well. It’s an absolute recipe for a great region that can deliver for people and that’s what we’re here today to talk about. We want to actually unlock this potential, but to do so we need to invest in infrastructure. So it’s very exciting to have Anthony Albanese with us because he is going to make an announcement about our commitment to the region and I’d like to introduce him now to talk to you about our City Partnership for this region. Thank you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well thanks very much Libby and it’s great to be back here in Geelong with yourself, with Richard and with Bruce as the Mayor. We’ve just had a very constructive discussion yet again with the council but also with the G21 representatives and the Committee for Geelong. This is very much a region that I am familiar with and one of the things I put in place when we were last in government was a strong, close relationship between local government and the national government. For the first time we established the Australian Council of Local Government and invited all mayors to meet with the entire Cabinet in Canberra over a two-day period and we developed a funding relationship that saw major infrastructure here such as the Princes Highway, the Geelong Ring Road and other community-based infrastructure here – support for the stadium. But we also saw a relationship with local government in partnership.
There’s been some discussion about a City Deal for Geelong. But now, more than seven months after the memorandum of understanding was signed, we still don’t have any actual dollars on the table from the Federal Government. What we want to see with our City Partnerships policy is a genuine bottom-up approach, one whereby decisions aren’t made in Canberra and then relayed later on to cities such as Geelong; a relationship whereby the city of Geelong and the community here develop what their priorities are, how it fits in with a strategic approach to making this area more productive, more sustainable and more liveable and how we grow our regional cities like Geelong, which plays an important role as the day after we just ticked over to 25 million people, we need to grow Geelong in part due to its status as a great city in its own right, but also wanting to grow the second cities in order to take pressure off the capital cities, particularly those along the east coast. One way we do that is by having a vibrant centre of the city that will service the entire region; that will service Colac, the Surf Coast and other parts of this region to the west of Melbourne. So we think this is critical and we will work in partnership.

Today we discussed the projects that have been the centre of City Deal – discussions such as the convention centre, the revitalisation of the city here, but also what else could be done; the idea of the arts centre servicing the northern region here in Geelong, what other major infrastructure projects are required and a process. We announced our City Partnerships policy just last month and what we announced was that we’d re-establish the Major Cities Unit. It would oversee the implementation of City Partnerships on an ongoing basis.

When we were last in government, we delivered community infrastructure funding through the local council based upon local priorities and we want to work with the community and through the council, through Bruce, but also through the local representatives – Richard of course on an ongoing basis, but we hope that Libby will join us in Canberra after the next election. This is a vital region. It could be so much better if the three levels of government work together in order to see the priorities of this region realised.

BRUCE HARWOOD: Thank you. First we welcome Anthony Albanese down in Geelong. It’s been an important discussion we’ve had and as I’ve said to the Shadow Minister, it gives Geelong an assurance that Geelong will be receiving much needed and important funding into the future through a potential new program of our City Partnership policy and, as has been explained to us, a slightly different process to what we’re going through at the moment. But as I said, the key is that Geelong is being the focus for important Federal Government funding in combination with the State Government and Council contribution as well.

The particular projects we’re talking about are well documented in relation to the conference convention centre, our revitalisation program, our safe harbour and also our connection to the Shipwreck Coast masterplan which is very important. But we’re also talking about rail and road infrastructure and also the Northern ARC project out in our northern suburbs. So it’s good to hear that this commitment is going to be realised in some way shape or form. So from Geelong’s perspective it’s great news and we look forward to the future with great optimism and again we thank you gentlemen for coming down and making this announcement and your consideration of Geelong and the importance you place on our region is much appreciated.

RICHARD MARLES: Firstly welcome Libby, thank you Bruce for hosting us and thank you Anthony for coming down to Geelong today to talk about our policy in relation to City Partnerships. In the first century of our Federation we’ve seen some amazing capital cities be evolved and created in Australia. But going forward in terms of our country’s future, our nation’s story has to be more than simply capitals. It has to be about regional Australia and I know that Anthony is very committed to seeing regional Australia at the centre of the Australian story going into this century.

It is absolutely imperative if we want to meet the destiny that we have for our country that places like Geelong, like Wollongong, like Newcastle are a centrepiece of what Australia is about and it is as central a part of our national story as Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. That’s only going to happen if we place councils and local organisations at the centre of that decision-making; if they are empowered in the way in which that growth occurs and that’s what the City Partnership policy is all about. You know the City Deal, that’s all fair enough, but we actually don’t know what’s going on in terms of the Federal Government’s policy there. It’s very much a top-down approach. What we’re talking about is building upon that and doing that in a way where local councils, where organisations like the Committee for Geelong and G21 are central to the thinking …(inaudible). Unless we do that we’re not going to see places like Geelong and regional Australia more generally develop in the way that we would want it to and that is so absolutely essential to our national story going forward.

Anthony has been a champion of this throughout his political career. He mentioned that when he was the Minister – I think officially Minister for Local Government at the time – we had really sort of the blossoming of that relationship between the Federal Government and the local tier of government, which was the underdone relationship in the Australian Federation, such that we saw a gathering of mayors back in 2008, which I think Bruce as the Mayor at that time participated in in Canberra, which really changed the relationship between the Federal Government and local governments around Australia. Anthony brings that spirit to the task going forward and it’s absolutely what we need to see – Geelong go forward and regional Australia go forward. So it’s just fantastic Anthony to have you down in Geelong today.

JOURNALIST: Shadow Minister, if I can ask what is the difference between a City Deal and a City Partnership?

ALBANESE: A City Partnership will be bottom-up, will be one which genuinely partners with local government and with state government and with the community to meet their needs as they see it. The City Deal approach is that councils have been asked to sign up often to commitments that they don’t know what is in the deal until it’s announced by the Federal Government without consultation with them about their priorities. So we think that there is a much better way of doing this and that is the way that we intend to work. We intend to have guidelines for the City Partnerships encompassing the priorities of productivity, sustainability and liveability – that framework. There will be an oversight by the independent Major Cities Unit that we will establish as part of Infrastructure Australia to work with local government. At the moment the Government’s City Deals have no guidelines, have no time frame, have no funding pool and have, in Geelong’s case, some seven months after an MOU is signed, we have no detail and that’s not a way to build that genuine partnership and collaboration that’s required.

JOURNALIST: How important is it to take the politics out of this?

ALBANESE: Well one of the things that having the Major Cities Unit will do is to ensure that you have the politics taken out of the process. One of the things we wanted to make sure as well, that people know as well, is that we’ll build on any arrangements that are signed up to in terms of a City Deal announcement, either here in or in other parts of Australia where there are discussions taking place, because we don’t want local government to be in a position of having uncertainty in the lead-up to an election over whether what has been agreed will proceed. We want an enhanced relationship with cities and the City Partnership policy will do just that.

JOURNALIST: How much money would a Federal Labor Government commit to Geelong’s City Partnership?

ALBANESE: The whole idea of this is that you would have a process whereby a City Partnership built on any City Deal which is arranged. It goes through the Major Cities Unit, which would give recommendations to the Government for funding and that would be a process that we’d go through in government. There would be guidelines to it. But one of the things about the City Deal concept as taken from the United Kingdom is essentially the idea that if a particular project is going to cost $10 million but will produce additional economic activity that will produce a return in terms of revenue to the Federal Government of $15 million, or a positive return, then the Government is therefore incentivised to make that contribution earlier rather than waiting for delay. So it’s a matter of getting ahead, particularly in those projects that produce an economic return, and to be able to have an objective process through the Major Cities Unit as part of Infrastructure Australia to determine that.
So that is the idea behind City Deals originally. The way that this Government has implemented City Deals is very different from that. They’ve tended to be essentially election commitments that were made prior to the last election with a City Deal title put on top. That’s not a way of having genuine collaboration that’s required and so we are saying we want to work on all of the objectives and how it fits together particularly. This is a form of economic policy. This is about creating jobs as well and building in work such as the GROW concept that’s been founded here in Geelong of making sure that people from disadvantaged backgrounds are benefiting as well from that infrastructure support and investment here in the region.

JOURNALIST: So how would you stop a government from keeping their powder dry and rolling out announcements just in the lead-up to an election? Because it’s obviously a tempting thing for government to do.

ALBANESE: By having a proper process and by having a process which has guidelines, that is a rolling process as a part, an inherent part, of government, rather than just election commitments which tend to be stand-alone in terms of funding for a community centre or for a particular road. The idea of City Partnerships is how does that all fit together; how does transport infrastructure fit together with tourism infrastructure; fit in with job creation; fit in the economic specialisation of a region. And here in this region I in the past have sat down and had roundtables with industry, with Deakin University, with the G21 group, with the Committee for Geelong. There is a great deal that this region has to offer. It has – in spite of some setbacks over the last decade, the fact is that it remains a centre for manufacturing. It has the potential to be even greater in terms of advanced manufacturing. We want to be a nation that continues to build things and a region such as Geelong can use the advantages that it has to ensure that that’s the case.

JOURNALIST: Shadow Minister, one of the criticisms you had of the City Deal policy when you launched it last month was that they were only being rolled out in marginal seats. Corangamite is a marginal seat. Is that the only reason Geelong got a City Deal?

ALBANESE: We’re here for the Geelong region and Geelong is getting a City Deal from the current Government. Well, there’s an MOU, there’s no details, there’s no funding there. What we want to do is to work with the regions and you’ll note that yesterday I had an opinion piece published speaking about the context of Australia hitting 25 million people. One of the things that we can do to take that pressure that’s there in terms of urban congestion in our capital cities is to make sure that our second cities grow. This isn’t a new idea for me, we very consciously set up last time round the Major Cities Unit. It wasn’t the capital cities unit, it was the Major Cities Unit that dealt with Geelong, Townsville, Wollongong, Newcastle. These are important areas that need to grow.

It’s one of the reasons why we supported the National Broadband Network being so important in terms of the original fibre to the premise idea was overcoming the tyranny of distance. If you can be located in Geelong and have the same access to markets both national and international as one located in Collins Street, Melbourne, then you have other advantages, because your cost overheads are lower in this area than in Collins Street, Melbourne, so you immediately have a positive advantage for business. We want to look at that concept of regional economic development which is very much a part of our City Partnerships policy and we will be developing that policy as well. Unlike what the current Government has done with its City Deals, which is selecting from Canberra as well, we’re setting up a framework whereby any capital city, regional city or area like Western Sydney can come together and can put forward a proposal for a City Partnership.

Last week I was in Frankston and had a roundtable with the Greater Frankston Committee there about what opportunities are there in south-east Melbourne. So wherever, the will is there. And the great thing about Geelong and one of the reasons I was very keen to come and see Bruce and the local representatives today, and I think Richard has always been keen to have me down in this region, is that it does have a structure whereby you have – I know there is a bit of debate about perhaps having one single body – but the truth is you have a range of people who come representing not a sectional interest. They represent a regional interest and they advocate very strongly and that’s a real advantage that this region has. Even today when we were talking about the benefit of Geelong as a city, and in particular the inner city of Geelong, the benefit that that has as an asset, not just for Geelong, but for Colac and for the Surf Coast and for the region as a whole.

JOURNALIST: So would you scrap the existing deals that have already been struck with Western Sydney, Launceston and Geelong or will you honour those commitments?

ALBANESE: No what we’ve said is that we will keep those commitments, but we’ll enhance them. The Western Sydney City Deal for example, the centrepiece of it is a rail line through Badgerys Creek on the north-south corridor that’s been identified. There isn’t a dollar of funding for construction been allocated by either Federal or State government. It’s the centrepiece. So we need to do much better than that and I think that we can do better and we can do better not by sitting in Canberra and determining how we do better; we can do better by going here, Launceston, Western Sydney and hearing from them what their priorities are and how we can do better.

JOURNALIST: For a City Partnership would you commit to a time frame for things to be rolled out? You mentioned that an MOU here was signed seven months ago and there’s not a lot of detail. What sort of time frame would a Federal Labor…

ALBANESE: Well we’ll establish the Major Cities Unit very quickly and we know the framework because we’ve done it before. But this will be enhanced. We’ve identified where the funding will come from. It comes from the abolition of the Infrastructure Financing Unit which is the job that Infrastructure Australia under its legislation should be doing at arm’s length of government. We’ve identified that. Last time round when we were in government I was appointed Infrastructure Minister in December, we had legislation to create Infrastructure Australia in February and it was up and running fully in June of 2008 and produced reports and policies that year, including an Infrastructure Priority List. So we can do this very quickly. There’s a framework. That’s one of the reasons why we’re not saying we’ll scrap work that’s been done. We’ll enhance it. We’ll build on it. We don’t want people to go back to the drawing board we though acknowledge that we can do much better. That is the response that we’ve had from local government in particular who welcomed our call in City Partnerships because that’s the feedback that we’ve been getting from local government around the country – that they want to be genuine partners with the other levels of government rather than just be there waiting to hear announcements from the national government. Thanks very much.

Aug 6, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 2CC Canberra Live with Richard Perno – Monday, 6 August, 2018

Subjects: Drought, by-elections, Emma Husar, plastic bags, AFL, Parliamentary recess.

RICHARD PERNO: Anthony Albanese, afternoon. Welcome to Canberra Live.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day. Good to be with you.

PERNO: One hundred and ninety million dollars. What do you think?

ALBANESE: I think that is a good short-term measure. Obviously, what we are seeing here is a very severe drought that is having an enormous impact. So it is not just a matter of money. We need to make sure that appropriate facilities are in place to help those who might be going through a whole lot of anguish as a result of their experience. We know that in extreme circumstances far too many people on the land have taken their own life. We need to make sure there is a comprehensive suite of support for the farmers who have been impacted by this.

But we also need to, I think, make sure that we look at the longer-term issues. When Labor was in office we had a five-year plan was adopted by the ministerial council looking at adaptation – how we deal with the potential impacts of climate change; looking at land management issues; those longer term improvements. Now that’s essentially run out this year in 2018 and the ministerial council I think needs to be re-established to make sure that it looks at those long-term issues as well.

PERNO: Anthony Albanese, shouldn’t we have something in place all the time, no matter what shade of government is in? There should be some kind of criteria – checks and balances book, like a pilot gets into a plane, goes through the whole procedure – all the time.

ALBANESE: Well that is precisely what was put in place when Joel Fitzgibbon was the Minister some time ago – a five-year strategy is really important. We need to have that longer-term land management issue so that there’s a constant re-evaluation of practices and preparedness. Now, there are many farmers are certainly doing that. I know many years ago now, more than a decade ago, I was the Shadow Minister for Water and I went and had a look in areas like the Riverina and in western New South Wales and western Queensland at practices to make sure that water was conserved and that we maximised its use. Now a lot of the measures for the National Water Initiative were about that as well – improving irrigation practices. So it needs to be a constant issue, you are right. But when you have something acute like you have at the moment I think that the support that has been offered will be welcomed.

PERNO: But Anthony I have also had emails as you can understand at 2CC on Canberra Live, from farmers and primary producers. They know how to handle this stuff. They are not sissies. They know how to get through this sort of thing. The cash is pretty good. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through. They are worried about the farms that will get so much money, but if you are a single and with no kids you probably don’t get anything. They’d like things like fees and charges, rates and taxes to come down during this. The states have come to the party, giving subsidies for freight, but they would like some kind of real relief in regard to fees and charges and taxes. Now that could be done, couldn’t it?

ALBANESE: Look, I think that all reasonable measures should be looked at which take pressure off people. So short-term assistance, yes, but also long-term good practice put in place including a recognition – if the scientists tell us; the CSIRO tells us, that we are likely to have more extreme and prolonged droughts in the future.

PERNO: All right. Ironically Anthony, we had some rain across NSW and especially in Canberra, in the nation’s capital, and it’s still a bit drizzly too. On another issue, you are not the Leader of the Labor Party after the by-elections. What happened?

ALBANESE: That was never going to happen. What happened was what has happened for 100 years – traditionally …

PERNO: Come on Anthony, I’m tired of this: “Oh, we can’t change history’’. Make history!

ALBANESE: Well the fact is I am pleased that we didn’t make history. I am pleased that the Labor Party won all these by-elections. We had good candidates. We had good policies and the Government I think showed once again its lack of political acumen at the top when Malcolm Turnbull went around and portrayed himself as someone who was going to break history by being a Government Leader who won a by-election and quite clearly that wasn’t the case.

PERNO: No.

ALBANESE: They didn’t even stand in Perth or Fremantle of course.

PERNO: Sure.

ALBANESE: In Mayo in South Australia that was a diabolical result for the Coalition.

PERNO: It was too. To be fair I think the media if you like, well I suppose gave Bill Shorten a little bit of a hurry-up in regard to their – we sort of wiped Bill Shorten out: ‘Oh he’s going to lose, he’s going to lose the Opposition leadership and Anthony Albanese will take his place’. That didn’t happen. Hey, why don’t you go for another by-election?

ALBANESE: I’m not quite sure what you mean there.

PERNO: Maybe Emma Husar.

ALBANESE: No, Emma Husar has been elected and she continues to serve as the Member for Lindsay. There is of course an investigation underway about aspects of her office, but I don’t believe that it’s appropriate, given the investigation is taking place, to have a running commentary on it.

PERNO: No, no.

ALBANESE: It’s not in the interests of Emma or in the interests of the people who have made complaints.

PERNO: Are you standing by her?

ALBANESE: Well the investigation is taking place …

PERNO: Are you standing by her?

ALBANESE: Well I’m not quite sure what that means. People are entitled to proper processes and they’re entitled to assumptions that they haven’t done anything wrong until it’s been proven that they have done something wrong.

PERNO: All right. I think the report gets handed down on Friday and so it will depend on that. If it goes, I suppose we’re surmising here aren’t we, Anthony Albanese, if it goes against her, you’ll have to have a by-election won’t you? You’d boot her out?

ALBANESE: Well that’s nonsense. People can’t boot someone out. Emma Husar has been elected by the people of Lindsay. I do think the somewhat absurd argument that people can be drummed out of Parliament just shows yet again the media getting ahead of themselves.

PERNO: Oh dear.

ALBANESE: I refer to our previous discussion.

PERNO: Okay Anthony, well done.

ALBANESE: I know people need a headline in the media but they should actually think about things in a measured way.

PERNO: Look certainly, certainly. So you on Canberra Live on 2CC is headline enough, Anthony. We don’t need to seek a headline. We have you Anthony Albanese. Hey, what do you think about the plastic bag ban?

ALBANESE: I think it’s a good thing. It’s certainly operated, I think, in Canberra for a while and you learn to deal with it. You make sure that you have the reusable bags in your car to do shopping.

PERNO: Have you got your plastic bags in your car?

ALBANESE: I haven’t got plastic bags. I’ve got little canvas bags.

PERNO: Canvas bags?

ALBANESE: Canvas bags in the car.

PERNO: Okay.

ALBANESE: And I have been using them for well before the ban came in, because I find them convenient and I think it’s doing the right thing. I have – where I live is on the Cooks River that isn’t quite, you know, it’s not quite the greatest river in Australia. But we’ve been trying to make it better. And out there on the weekend there’s a local community group called The Mudcrabs.

PERNO: Yes.

ALBANESE: And they’re volunteers. They collected five huge, big bags full of plastic bags from the river. You know, it all ends up in waste. We know what that does to our oceans and it’s a good thing.

PERNO: Okay so I think you’re a, you know, a bit of a greenie somewhere in there. Do you drive a hybrid car?

ALBANESE: No, I don’t.

PERNO: So what do you drive? A big dirty great V8 Dodge, do you, that guzzles petrol?

ALBANESE: No I don’t, I don’t. In Canberra I have a Ford.

PERNO: Yes.

ALBANESE: And in Sydney, I have a Toyota.

PERNO: Okay, all right, so they’re not hybrids at all, not hybrids. Okay, the other thing I want to ask you, on a serious side, did you see that punch that downed that 18-year-old AFL player, what did you think?

ALBANESE: I thought it was a shocker. It did remind me, I was actually at the game – it was at ANZ Stadium when Barry Hall knocked out I think Brent Staker was his name, for the Eagles a number of years ago. I remember just watching it and being quite shocked. And this was shocking. I think there certainly is a case for the AFL if someone does an action like that, to just get rid of them, send them off. And make the team be a player short for the rest of the game. This was very early in the game and I think that sort of behaviour, if it was done not on a football field, would bring some pretty serious repercussions for the person perpetrating it.

PERNO: All right, you’re coming back to Parliament. What did you do during your break? Did you go overseas, did you, you know, take a junket anywhere or what?

ALBANESE: I worked mate, I worked.

PERNO: Did you?

ALBANESE: I went to Perth, Fremantle, Braddon and Longman a couple of times each. But I also went to Wagga Wagga and spoke at an aviation conference. I went to Parkes and spoke at the Inland Rail Conference. This week I’m down in Melbourne and Geelong. Last week I was in Frankston, the other side of Victoria. I’ve been to Mackay and Townsville. So you get around. It’s not the case that when Parliament isn’t sitting you don’t have work to do. Often what happens is that your diary ends up being even more full. But you do get a chance to do some more things in the electorate. I was speaking to year six of Dulwich Hill Primary School, on Friday and I was looking forward to that. The kids always ask the real questions.

PERNO: And did you have a chance to have some shipwrecked beer? Did you have a chance of that?

ALBANESE: I did. There’s this – Malt Shovel would be familiar to some of your listeners I’m sure. James Squire beer is located in Pyrmont Bridge Road, Camperdown, which is the same street I grew up in. Chuck Hahn started what was really the first craft brewery that sort of grew in Australia. There were a couple in individual pubs down at the Rocks and various places. But he started a business to compete. They’ve discovered this beer called The Wreck which is from yeast from the wreckage of the Sydney Cove, that was wrecked off Launceston in 1797 and the yeast is still alive. So somehow, they managed to create a beer out of this. It will be a pretty limited edition and we had a little bit of a launch function in my electorate last week. That was that was not an onerous task, I must say.

PERNO: No, that was a more gentle part of it all. Well, I don’t know whether we’ll get a headline out of any of that stuff we talked about, but it was still nice. Anthony Albanese – Member for Grayndler, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities, Regional Development and Shadow Minister for Tourism. Appreciate your time this afternoon let’s catch up again very soon. Enjoy Parliament won’t you?

ALBANESE: Great to talk with you.
[ENDS]

MONDAY, 6 AUGUST, 2018

Aug 3, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Today Show – Friday, 3 August 2018

Subjects: By-elections, Emma Husar, banks, drought.

GEORGIE GARDNER: Treasurer Scott Morrison has taken aim at Bill Shorten for not taking control of the drama that is gripping the Labor Party as explosive allegations continue to haunt Labor MP Emma Husar, who has denied claims she exposed herself to a staff member. We are joined now by Labor’s Anthony Albanese in the studio and, in Adelaide, Christopher Pyne. Good morning to you both.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning, Georgie.

GARDNER: Anthony Albanese, good to see you. Where have you been? You have been lying low since those by-elections?

ALBANESE: Not at all.

GARNDER: Where are those leadership ambitions?

ALBANESE: Well they are your leadership ambitions. I said last week that there wasn’t an issue here; that I thought we would always win the by-elections. The media, I think, have been a little caught out. And why Malcolm Turnbull talked up the chances of getting a one-in-100-year result says everything about him.

GARDNER: All right – by-elections over. Let’s talk about your current crisis – allegations of misusing entitlements and staff, workplace bullying, intimidation, verbal abuse, sexual harassment. Emma Husar is a huge liability to Labor, isn’t she? Isn’t she?

ALBANESE: What we have here is a process in place and the idea that you should have a running commentary while there is an independent investigation taking place is not fair, either to Emma Husar or to the people who have made complaints about her.

GARDNER: But these complaints are coming from within Labor ranks. They are not coming from the Government.

ALBANESE: Well, what is extraordinary, I find this week, is the amount of coverage that rumours and unfounded allegations at this point are getting at the same time as what we actually know has happened, as fact, this week, is that almost half a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money was given to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, an organisation that had six employees at the time; an organisation that had a minuscule budget; and all of a sudden, without a tender process, without anything at all, there’s almost half a billion dollars in a meeting between Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg and the foundation. That, we know is fact, and it has had very little coverage. It should be receiving more because that is the story of this week.

GARDNER: Christopher I will give you a right of reply to that.

PYNE: Well Georgie, I’m not responsible for that particular part of the Government’s policy. It is a good attempt on Anthony Albanese’s part to try and flick the switch to another subject. Obviously all those things will come out if there are any issues around them. But nobody other than the Labor Party is suggesting that there are. I do think the situation with Emma Husar, originally of course we were saying from the Government that it needed to go through the proper investigative process and Jack Whelan is doing that on behalf of the Labor Party. But the stories keep coming internally from within Labor and unfortunately for Bill Shorten, he is the Leader of the Labor Party and I do think that he needs to take personal responsibility for solving what has become a rolling crisis.

GARDNER: And should Emma Husar contest the next election?

PYNE: That will be a matter for the outcome of this investigation and the Labor Party’s pre-selection processes. But if this was a Liberal MP, the media and the Labor Party would be demanding that Malcolm Turnbull take personal responsibility for solving it and I think we are at that point now where Bill Shorten needs to step up as the Labor Leader and deal with what is obviously a very serious series of issues, ensuring that Emma Husar gets the rights that all Australians should have to protect her own reputation. But I don’t think he can allow this to drag on as long as it has so far.

GARDNER: Time will tell and Lindsay obviously a crucial seat. Let’s move on. The Productivity Commission’s final report into our banks will be released today revealing again how loyal customers are exploited. Christopher can you guarantee we are going to see change here? I mean, banks have had it good for so long, haven’t they?

PYNE: The Government has been good to the banks – both Labor and Liberal – over a long time because they have been the foundation in many respects of the stability of our economy. Don’t forget during the Global Financial Crisis we gave guarantees to the banks to ensure they were protected and to stabilise our economy. So they have a responsibility to give back to Australia and to our economy. The Royal Commission will make a series of recommendations I am sure. The Government will consider those and I would be very surprised if we didn’t implement whatever Kenneth Hayne thought was going to be better for Australian consumers. Banks have got to remember Georgie that the consumer should be their only interest –  not profit, not themselves, but it should be only the consumer and the consumer’s best interests.

GARDNER: Anthony, some of the banking customers have been farmers. There is an opportunity for the banks to help out farmers isn’t there?

ALBANESE: Well there is an opportunity to help out farmers and other customers. The Government resisted this Royal Commission on around about 20 occasions. The fact is that this Royal Commission has been vindicated by the extraordinary revelations that have come out about banks essentially misusing their power. And one of the ways it has been misused is against people on the land who have had interventions against them in ways that are quite outrageous, I think. And at a time when our farmers are suffering, they need every support.

GARDNER: They do indeed. We are taking the show out to the bush on Monday. We are highly excited about it and looking forward to it.  Good to see you both. Thank you so much. Have a great weekend. See you next week.

ALBANESE: Good to be here. Go the Rabbitohs tonight!

KARL STEFANOVIC: There he is.There he is.

ALBANESE: You can watch it on Nine. That’s how to get yourself in the grab.

GARDNER: Calling the shots, Anthony Albanese.

STEFANOVIC: And it is good to see him back.

Jul 31, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Langwarrin, VIC – Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Subjects: Infrastructure, Frankston-Baxter Rail Upgrade, TAFE, by-elections, Emma Husar, negative campaigning.

PETA MURPHY: I’m the Labor candidate for Dunkley and it is my absolute pleasure to welcome Anthony Albanese here today. We are here to do a roundtable with the Committee for Greater Frankston and talk about the infrastructure and the other needs of Dunkley and our region. We are here at the beautiful McClelland Sculpture Gallery and Parklands, which those of us who are locals are really incredibly proud of. It’s a terrific location and it is part of one of the best places in the world to live, so I am very pleased that we can have you here to show off our amazing location and talk about Labor’s plans for the future.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks Peta and thanks for welcoming us back to Frankston yet again. This is a great region. It’s a growing region. It’s one that needs to get the infrastructure before you get further growth in this region. And that is what Labor’s City Partnerships are all about. Our City Partnerships Plan that we announced earlier this month is about getting bottom-up support for planning to make sure that we meet the transport infrastructure, the health and education infrastructure and social infrastructure, that communities, particularly in our growing outer suburbs of our cities and in our regional cities need.

One example of that of course is the extension of the rail line from Frankston to Baxter. That is something where the Government belatedly caught up with Labor’s commitment that we made prior to the last Federal election in the most recent Budget. They allocated some $225 million. The problem with that is, like a lot of their commitments, it is off into the Never-Never. Only $60 million of that money is available prior to 2023. So what we want to do is, once the business case is completed, and that will be completed next year, is make sure that that project is done sooner, rather than later, that it gets the planning right and that will be a catalyst for other activity.

Today we are also meeting with the committee about what the priorities are for future jobs growth in this region. One of the things that Labor has been concerned about is that the jobs growth in our capital cities has largely been around CBDs. What that means is that people have to commute to and from work, many people spending more time in their cars or on public transport each day than they do at home with their kids. We want jobs to be created in local communities and that will be a focus of today’s discussion.

But importantly, this is consistent with an approach that we are having right around the country. Just last week I had a roundtable in Canning, south of Perth – a similar growing region to the Frankston region here – with local employers, local councils and local community-based organisations about the growth here. We will be continuing in the lead-up to the Federal election and beyond to consult with local communities about what their needs are and where better than this magnificent art gallery here today to have a venue. We are just about a kilometre away from Langwarrin down the road, which is a potential site which the business case will examine for a new station as part of the rail extension.

So I look forward to today’s discussion. I look forward to continuing to work with our fantastic candidates – Peta here; I have just come from a discussion with apprentices up at Chisholm TAFE at Berwick with Simon Curtis, our candidate for La Trobe. Labor is working very hard in our outer suburbs to make sure that we are in a position to hit the ground running after the next Federal election, to turn around the neglect that these communities have suffered from as a result of a Government led by Malcolm Turnbull that very much is just focused on the inner area of Sydney.

And in conclusion also can I say that it is outrageous that the last financial year Victoria received under 9 percent of the national infrastructure budget. It has improved somewhat in this current financial year, but it is still up to only 14 per cent. We are standing today in Australia’s fastest-growing city of Melbourne. The growth is particularly in both the western and the south-eastern suburbs here of Melbourne. It represents more than 25 percent of Australia’s population. The projections are that Melbourne will be Australia’s largest city and Victoria is of course Australia’s fastest- growing state. But it hasn’t received the infrastructure funding that it deserves because we have a Federal Government that has been prepared to play politics and to only fund projects and indeed states where they have Coalition governments. That’s not what we did when we were last in government and our approach would be to make sure that we represent all of Australia, particularly our growing outer suburbs. Happy to take questions.

REPORTER: Just on the topic of by-elections, do you think they were about the leaders or the local candidates?

ALBANESE: Well by-elections are about a whole range of issues. One of the things that this by-election was about, according to Malcolm Turnbull, was about leaders and I am sure that Malcolm Turnbull regrets the statements that he made. We had a very good result in returning what are fantastic local members to the national Parliament and I look forward in two weeks’ time from today – just a bit before today, less than two weeks now – we’ll welcome back those three sitting Labor members as well as having Patrick Gorman join the Labor team as the Member for Perth. All of those people are outstanding local candidates. The whole Labor team put in an enormous effort – Bill Shorten as the Leader, our entire Shadow Ministry team, the Labor campaign organisation and importantly Labor branch members, the rank and file of the party, worked so hard and they got an outstanding result on Saturday.

REPORTER: There were still a lot of votes though for independent candidates. People are getting away from the big parties. How do you get them in in these local elections?

ALBANESE: Well what we need to do is to address the issues that are of concern to them and we need to make sure that as politicians we are doing what Peta and I will be doing today – sitting down, listening to their concerns. All politics is local as they say and today we will be talking about transport issues, we’ll be talking about health issues, education, the infrastructure needs here. But we will also be talking about how a City Partnerships approach to that brings it all together so that you have a holistic approach to how a community will grow, how we improve the productivity of that community, but also the sustainability and liveability of that community.

This is a fantastic place to live and this art gallery, where we are today, is a great example of how important cultural institutions are to the quality of life of local communities. I know that the Greater Frankston Committee wanted to meet here today to show off with pride what this fantastic sculpture gallery outside is – an enormous amount of work – and here at this gallery inside as well. All of that is important economic infrastructure but also social and cultural infrastructure as well.

REPORTER: Do you think Trevor Ruthenberg’s medal scandal swing the Longman by-election or had any impact?

ALBANESE: Look I think people will go over and look at a whole range of issues. There’s no doubt that that wasn’t helpful. But there’s no doubt also that the decision of the LNP to run a candidate who had been rejected by the electorate before, who was a part of Campbell Newman’s Government, that had an attitude towards health and education of just cutting investment – they cut, a massive number of public servants lost their jobs – and Big Trev as they called him was associated with those big cuts. There is also no doubt as well that the association with Campbell Newman’s Government just reminded people as well, reinforced the fact that the Turnbull and Abbott governments have also been bad particularly for the outer suburbs like electorates like Longman.

The cuts to education and health have had an impact on those communities and, what’s more, the fact that the Government has not kept its word. This is a Government prior to 2013 said there would be no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no cuts to the ABC or SBS, and we’ve seen cuts all the way through that have had an impact and certainly there’s a whole range of issues that came home there.

Certainly also I think, Susan Lamb is a very good friend of mine, she has been a great local member. I visited Longman both before the last election where Susan was elected, but since as well. Susan was in touch with her local employers, she was in touch with the local workforce and the local community, just as Peta here in Frankston is in touch. And that’s what you want – candidates who are out here and committed to their local communities, who are a part of those local communities.

REPORTER: On the Emma Husar report, do you think that should be released publicly and don’t people have a right to know what it says?

ALBANESE: That’s a matter for others. I am not aware of the details of the timing etc of that report. It’s a report that has been commissioned by the New South Wales branch and I think it is appropriate, given that there is this report by Mr Whelan under way, that it be allowed to take its course and that people don’t have a running commentary on the way through about the details.

REPORTER: So once it’s finished …?

ALBANESE: It’s a matter of not having a running commentary about that report and I don’t intend in any way to make comments on a process that is under way.  It should be allowed to take its course.

REPORTER: Have you now put away any ambition to become Federal Labor Leader?

ALBANESE: I don’t know if you were paying attention last week or not or any time since 2013 when I have been asked this question. I have been consistent about it. I am happy to be a part of the Labor team. My ambition is for Labor to be in government and to be the Infrastructure Minister in a government led by Bill Shorten after the next election.

REPORTER: Just on negative election campaigning, it got very personal. We have had the African gang issue here in Melbourne. Can we look forward to that in a Federal election spread over the whole nation?

ALBANESE: What Labor has done is put forward positive ideas. There has been no Opposition in living memory that has put forward such comprehensive plans for the nation; that has put forward, I think, bold plans on issues like housing affordability, making the changes that we have advocated for negative gearing and Capital Gains Tax; on the changes that we have made to the imputation of dividends; on the changes that we have made in terms of policies. I have just visited a TAFE where we have a plan to help rebuild TAFE in terms of funding, where we also have a plan in terms of 100,000 fee-free places. Right across the board – on infrastructure, here in this area we have committed to the extension of the rail line to Baxter. But we have also committed to infrastructure support right across the nation. We have put forward positive plans. Today we are having a meeting with the community, with local government, with business to get further input as to what our plans will be. There is nothing negative about that. It is positive and Labor will continue to put forward a positive agenda in the lead-up to the election, Thank you very much.

[ENDS]

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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