Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Feb 21, 2018

Transcript of radio interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes segment

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

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

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from Melbourne.

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

ALBANESE: In the studio.

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

HOST: Hey look, speaking of South Australia …

ALBANESE: I love South Australia.

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

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

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

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

HOST: What’s your read of it Albo?

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: Good sledge.

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

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

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

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

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

PYNE: I thought it was Anthony’s turn.

HOST: He had a big turn on Monday.

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

HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese …

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

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

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

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

Feb 20, 2018

Transcript of doorstop – Northcote, Victoria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: Well why 2030? Why not tomorrow?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REPORTER: What do you think of the actual plan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 20, 2018

Transcript of radio interview – Drive with Rafael Epstein, ABC Melbourne

Subjects: Tony Abbott, infrastructure, Batman by-election, Greens Political Party, Adani, coal, asylum seekers, Barnaby Joyce, Nick Xenophon.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Anthony Albanese joins me in the studio. He is the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development. Good afternoon.

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

EPSTEIN: Can we start with someone you now well – Tony Abbott? He’s making a speech in Sydney tonight so we will start national then go local. He wants to halve Australia’s immigration. So people know, it is roughly 190,000. Last year it was 183,000. He wants to halve that. This is what Tony Abbott said on Sydney radio.

TONY ABBOTT: Every five years we are adding via immigration alone a city the size of Adelaide to our population. Now this is a very, very high rate of immigration and it is absolutely unprecedented.

EPSTEIN: Is it a good idea Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: Well, Tony Abbott has seen weakness in Malcolm Turnbull in failing to deal with Barnaby Joyce and the fiasco of having a Deputy Prime Minister who can’t deputise for the Prime Minister which is, the hint is there in the title, and he has just decided to ramp up again the destabilisation campaign. Let’s be clear. The migration levels that Tony Abbott just said were unprecedented are ones that were set by him. He was the Prime Minister who increased migration.

EPSTEIN: Inconsistencies aside, actually there’s already a text: “I as a Left-leaning Batman voter I would love to see migration reduced back to 70,000 per annum to reduce environmental pressure, urban sprawl.’’ It is a popular idea in some sections.

ALBANESE: Sure, and what Tony Abbott said, went on to say, with breathtaking hypocrisy it must be said, is to speak about urban congestion and those issues which is no doubt a big issue here in Melbourne as it is in the other major capitals around Australia and he actually had the hide to talk about public transport. This is the bloke who cut the funding for the Melbourne Metro, cut the funding from every public transport project that wasn’t under construction anywhere in Australia. And then wrote of course in his book Battlelines, said that, to quote him, or almost quote him, I won’t say it is word for word but pretty close: In the car a man is king. There is no need for anything bigger than a motor car to get people around.

EPSTEIN: Just before I get on to Batman, the Australian Conservatives are actually going to run a candidate in the seat of Batman, Kevin Bailey, who declined our invitation to be with us today. But halving the immigration intake is Australian Conservatives’ policy, now led by Cory Bernardi. Are you surprised about that? Or would you expect that from Tony Abbott?

ALBANESE: I expect ongoing destabilisation from Tony Abbott and if he can get a headline, no matter how inconsistent it is with the views that he has put in the past, then he will be out there doing it.

EPSTEIN: Who do you think is going to win Batman?

ALBANESE: Well I certainly hope that Ged Kearney wins. It is a seat that Labor has held. I think that she has a great contribution to make to the Labor caucus.

EPSTEIN: She would have to reverse the trend wouldn’t she? Labor’s vote has dropped, dropped, dropped.

ALBANESE: It has. Look, it’s a tough battle. There’s no doubt about that and the trend has been toward the Greens Political Party over election after election. We are seeing an electorate a bit like mine in Sydney that is changing. It is gentrifying and newer residents are coming in. It’s a matter, though of, I guess, getting the message out there which is the message I use in Grayndler and I was doing today with Ged when we were talking with people in Northcote, that Ged Kearney will actually be a voice in hopefully the party of government that we seek to form after the next election – a Labor Government.

All the Greens Party can do is to wait for a decision to be made and then protest or endorse it. But they are not actually decision makers. Ged Kearney will be a major contributor if we can get her in the Caucus.

EPSTEIN: A couple of the issues that I think have Bill Shorten at least metaphorically straddling a barbed wire fence – he is in marginal Queensland at the moment, the Opposition Leader. He is under pressure from the environmentalists within Labor to block the Adani mine. He is under pressure from the CFMEU to not block the mine. Is Labor going to be formally go: You know what, no? Or is the position going to be, as the union wants it to be, it’s just another mine?

ALBANESE: Well of course the project has been through its environmental approvals both federal and state. And Labor has been consistent about saying there are problems with this project and the problems are that it can’t get financing. The economics of it simply don’t stack up.

EPSTEIN: But that’s nothing to do with potential Federal Government policy. So if you were in power, because there has clearly been a discussion in Shadow Cabinet to do something more to block the mine. Is Labor going to do anything else to block the mine?

ALBANESE: The environmental approvals were done by the Coalition Government. They’ve been through the EPBC Act not once, but twice actually because they started again based upon what the impact would be on the Great Barrier Reef. And again it got approval and of course those decisions have been challenged in the courts and the courts haven’t blocked that project.

EPSTEIN: But that’s commentary. That is not a policy position.

ALBANESE: Well the policy position is we support the environmental laws which are there being undertaken with rigour. Where the Commonwealth could play a role is in should there be any public subsidy for this project to make it viable and indeed …

EPSTEIN: Labor has already said you won’t publicly subsidise it. That’s pretty clear.

ALBANESE: But that’s the key point.

EPSTEIN: Can I put to you what the CFMEU’s Tony Maher said: If you block Adani, what do you do with the next coal mine and the next one and the one after that? So is there going to be any extra legislative step from Labor if you were to win the election to block the Adani project?

ALBANESE: Well I think what Tony is pointing towards is that when you have a policy framework it is never a great policy framework to just look at projects in isolation. That is why we wanted a price on carbon. We would have one if the Greens had voted for it.

EPSTEIN: Do we need more coal mines? Do we need to develop the Galilee Basin?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that, as Mark Butler outlined last night, there is no market for it. There’s no market for thermal coal. What we are seeing globally is a shift to renewables. What we are seeing in India is a government that says that they will rule out importing coal in the next few years. That’s the policy of the Government.

EPSTEIN: Can I get a statement from you though?  Do you think we need more, do we need to new coal mines in this country or not?

ALBANESE: Well in terms of thermal coal, I mean that is not a matter for me. That is a matter for the market. What it’s a role for Government to do is to set a framework for that market and that framework should give support to the future and the future is renewables. The future is not …

EPSTEIN: So no, you don’t want more coal mines?

ALBANESE: I don’t want to see new coal-fired power stations in this country because it doesn’t work.

EPSTEIN: Not stations. Mines. Do you want coal mines?

ALBANESE: There’s not a market for it. Well, the fact is that that is not up to government to determine on a case-by-case basis. What it’s up to government to do is to set the policy framework through the environmental legislation that we have. That is how you get good outcomes. That is how you get investor certainty. That is how you benefit both the economy and the environment – getting the right settings in place so that we drive that change to a clean energy future.

EPSTEIN: Anthony Albanese is Shadow Infrastructure Minister. I will get to your texts as well. I will read this one actually: “I am a latte-swilling inner-city living recycling leftie and even I think the current level of immigration isn’t sustainable. I also think Tony Abbott is a boorish fool. We should be able to have a mature debate about immigration and sustainability.” That’s from Brian in South Melbourne. We are going to hear another view on the migration debate. I think Anthony Albanese has said all he wants to say about immigration. Can I ask you about asylum seekers though?

ALBANESE: Sure.

EPSTEIN:  There was a tweet that came out from the Clifton Hill Labor branch. You might have seen this. Bill Shorten promises Nauru and Manus Island detention centres will be closed under a Labor Government. Is that going to happen?

ALBANESE: Well in terms of our policy on asylum seekers, we have a policy of having regional processing. What we want is for people to not get on boats and if people aren’t getting on boats then you don’t need offshore processing. If you have a regional system by giving support to the UNHCR, then you can have people processed in Jakarta, in Malaysia, in Africa, in Pakistan, in Iraq, in places where they are seeking to come.

EPSTEIN: Forgive me. That’s policy explanation, that’s not an answer to the question.

ALBANESE: Well life isn’t always simple with glib answers. What we need to do is to set up a framework so that Australia fulfils our international obligations so that we stop people smugglers. I am all in favour of that and I don’t want to see anything …

EPSTEIN: Bill Shorten appears to have pretty clearly told people in the Clifton Hill Labor branch that Manus and Nauru would close.

ALBANESE: Well, I don’t know. I wasn’t at the Clifton Hill Labor Party branch meeting it must be said.

EPSTEIN: But is that Labor Party policy? If you shut down whatever government facilities are being funded by the Australian Government in Nauru and Manus, you can only do that if those people come to Australia. Are those people going to come to Australia?

ALBANESE: No those people are going to be settled in third countries. That is Labor’s clear position and that is why we have supported for example people being settled in New Zealand and accordance with what Prime Minister Ardern has offered, as former Nationals Prime Minister John Key offered as well. This Government has absolved itself of its responsibility. They are in their fifth year in office.

EPSTEIN: But if Bill Shorten’s promising to shut Nauru and Manus …

ALBANESE: Well you haven’t quoted Bill Shorten, you have quoted someone at Clifton Hill ALP branch.

EPSTEIN: Well I am just trying to work out what Labor’s policy would be in government.

ALBANESE: Well our platform is there for all to see. See, unlike the Greens, we determine our policy – the last one here in Melbourne – live on national TV. It goes for about three days and there we thrashed out our policy including on asylum seekers and that was a comprehensive plan of engagement with the UN, of regional settlement, of not supporting people smugglers but also treating people humanely and with some respect.

EPSTEIN: Marks’s got a question. You will need to put your headphones on. Mark, go for it. What is your query?

CALLER: I would just like to ask the Leader of the Opposition, sorry the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

EPSTEIN: He’s not the deputy either.

ALBANESE: I’m not either. I am a humble frontbencher.

CALLER: Well that’s OK. I would like to ask the humble frontbencher a pretty straight forward question. If they were elected will they close, will they block the Adani coal mine?

ALBANESE: Well the Adani coal mine has been approved. It has been approved under state and federal approvals. The question is what can Labor do? What Labor can do is what we were asked to do frankly, which is that the environmental movement that I met with over a long period of time said you have got to make sure that there is no subsidy of the rail line or other infrastructure for what is a private project.

If that doesn’t occur, and the company has said it themselves, the project will fall over and be unable to get finance. Well Labor has made sure, not just federally but in Queensland as well, that it won’t give any subsidy and guess what? The project doesn’t have finance to proceed.

EPSTEIN: Mark, is that an answer to your query?

CALLER: Looks like it going to (inaudible).

ALBANESE: Well at the moment it just doesn’t have finance. So without finance they can’t proceed with the project. Finance, they have tried to get it in Australia. They have tried to get it in China. They have tried to get it everywhere and it just hasn’t stacked up, the economics of it.

EPSTEIN: Twenty past five, I want to play you something Anthony Albanese. I know you still DJ for charity. Nick Xenophon is now in the state arena in South Australia. Have you seen his advert?

ALBANESE: Unfortunately I have.

EPSTEIN: I just want to play it. This is Nick Xenophon shopping for voters in South Australia.

ALBANESE: Thank goodness this is radio and not TV because once seen, it can’t be unseen.

Plays part of the Xenophon election advertisement.

EPSTEIN: It kind of goes downhill from there. Would you play that at a charity DJ set?

ALBANESE: I have too much respect for whoever is at a charity event.

EPSTEIN: Oh come on, you would do it to raise money for charity though, wouldn’t you?

ALBANESE: They would pay more money for you not to play it. That is what I would do and therefore the charity would benefit substantially.

EPSTEIN: Quickly if you can make a non-partisan observation, I know that is hard.

ALBANESE: That is a big call Raf. But I will try.

EPSTEIN: Is Barnaby Joyce going to remain as Nationals Leader?

ALBANESE: No.

EPSTEIN: How long do you think it might take?

ALBANESE: The longer it takes the more difficult it will be for his own party. I think he is being pretty selfish frankly. He is on leave. He should just leave. There is no way that his position is tenable. Malcolm Turnbull knows that he should go, his own side, the majority of them, know that he should go. The only person …

EPSTEIN: He’s got majority support. That was one thing he has said, that he’s got majority party room support.

ALBANESE: I don’t think he does and I think he will find that out. I think they have tried to give him the space to get out with a bit of dignity and I hope for his own sake frankly that that happen, he steps aside and gets his own house in order.

EPSTEIN: Thanks for coming in.

ALBANESE: Thanks Raf.

 

Feb 19, 2018

Transcript from radio interview – FIVEaa Breakfast

Subjects: Corflutes; Greens Political Party, Batman by-election, Adani, jobs, infrastructure, Barnaby Joyce, ministerial code, George Christensen, Labor leadership, Christopher Pyne.

HOST: As one of those things that drives people completely berserk at election time, (phone in) if you would like to call in any corflute-related atrocities. I’m sure our next guest has never been guilty of that kind of misdemeanour. Anthony Albanese, good morning to you and welcome to 5AA Breakfast.

ALBANESE: Guilty as charged.

HOST: Oh yeah? Serial offender?

ALBANESE: It’s a free-for-all in my electorate. There’s no waiting for the writs. If you stand still long enough you might get a corflute put on your back. It’s good for mobility in the electorate.

HOST: It is hand-to-hand combat in your seat isn’t it, because it’s sort of the people’s republic.

ALBANESE: You used to live there for a while.

HOST:  You were my local member for a while.

ALBANESE: You have never been better represented David.

HOST: I don’t know about that. I preferred you to John Murphy when I moved to Drummoyne. This is interesting though; the rise of the Greens as an inner city force and we are going to see this in Victoria with the Batman by-election. Do you fight them or you accommodate them?

ALBANESE: I think you have to argue the case against them and for electing politicians who can actually be around a Cabinet table making decisions rather than waiting for them to be made and then protesting.

HOST: But what about the culture of the ALP? I reckon the Adani thing at the moment, where you guys have decided that you are going to oppose it; that to me looks like Labor turning its back on the old, blue-collar blokes digging holes – you know, the party of the AWU, the CFMEU. You look like you have thrown in your lot with the latte set with that decision I think.

ALBANESE: Well, that’s not the decision that we have made. We have certainly been very questioning about the project, about its financial viability, whether it will go ahead. We’ve been quite rightly questioning about the impact on water and some of the environmental consequences of the project.

But Labor has to stand up for Labor values and one of the things about Labor values is about jobs and making sure the economy can function. I was at Jay Weatherill’s launch yesterday. The centrepiece of his pitch for voters here in South Australia is all about jobs. And that’s a Labor agenda. You need that strong economy so that you can you can fund schools and hospitals and do the social justice things that you want to do.

HOST: I was thinking about your role in the context of Jay Weatherill’s announcement yesterday. Obviously you are the shadow spokesman, so it is not directly your remit at the moment, but as the Opposition spokesperson for infrastructure, the State Government commits $2 billion to building something in South Australia, that;affects our GST receipts, does it not?

ALBANESE: It does but depending upon what is happening in every other state in terms of the formula. So, one would expect that other states would be spending money on infrastructure as well. The problem here in South Australia is that the Commonwealth funding falls off a cliff. It falls to $95 million in the out years – in 2020 – and that represents 2 per cent of the national infrastructure budget in that year. So it’s real problem.

The Commonwealth hasn’t stepped up beyond the projects that were already committed to funding like Torrens to Torrens on South Road and other projects. They haven’t stepped up with funding for the expansion of Light Rail here in Adelaide, the new sections of the South Road that are required in between that Torrens to Torrens section and up to the Superway and the Commonwealth really needs to lift its game. That’s one of the questions that we asked of Barnaby Joyce last week in the Parliament when we were questioning his portfolio.

HOST: Just with Barnaby Joyce, Albo, obviously it has been a shambles for the Government and today’s Newspoll shows them unsurprisingly taking a hit. But look, setting aside the politics of it all and the manner in which the PM has handled it and this weird Mexican standoff that we have got now, what was it actually like physically in the chamber last week where you are sitting like 10 feet away from this bloke and seeing those photos where he was as red as a beetroot and, you know, perspiration on his brow? Politics really is a bloodsport from at times isn’t it?

ALBANESE: Well it is a brutal business and Barnaby was going through an incredibly hard time last week and has for some period. He of course has got to take responsibility for what are his own decisions and his decisions have had an impact on others as well, including his family. But last week was pretty tough. We asked questions about the portfolio and …

HOST: But that seemed to be designed to make him crack. Like, the tactic seemed to be and Phil Coorey when he was on this show last week and said days like that you just reflect on politics as a filthy business at times. It looked like you guys wanted Barnaby to just lose the plot at the dispatch box and just collapse.

ALBANESE: No, that wasn’t the objective. The reason why we were asking questions about his portfolio was that quite clearly, as exhibited by his answers, he doesn’t know anything about it.

HOST: He’s had a bit of other stuff on the go I guess.

ALBANESE: No matter what question we ask he just goes back to Inland Rail. Even when we asked questions about Tasmanian infrastructure he went back to Inland Rail. When we asked about Northern Australia and the fact that the Northern Australia Roads program hasn’t been spent, he spoke about the Nullarbor Plain.

HOST: He had shocker. Can I ask you and I know that you guys keep saying that this is a distraction from the main game or a side issue, but as a matter of principle, why don’t Labor just say yea or nay on the sex ban? It makes sense having a ban on ministers doing the business with their staff, doesn’t it?

ALBANESE: What makes sense is that no employer should sleep with their employees. That is what makes sense.

HOST: But that is what Malcolm Turnbull is proposing.

ALBANESE: That’s across the board. I think the point that we have made is that that is a distraction from the fundamental issue here –  Barnaby Joyce’s abuse of taxpayer funds over a whole range of issues, over the staffing issues, over the fact he is living rent-free at the same time as he is telling people the solution to housing affordability is to move to Armidale. Yes well …

HOST: It worked for him.

ALBANESE: It’s good if it’s free. The conflicts of interest that are there with Mr Maguire who owns the property that he is living in getting the benefit of government functions being held at establishments that he owns; the fact that Barnaby Joyce clearly just hasn’t been on top of his old portfolio of Agriculture and Water. And here in South Australia this isn’t an academic thing. Here in South Australia his mismanagement has meant that as an end state of the Murray-Darling Basin it has suffered because of what has gone on with the rip-offs that have occurred in New South Wales and Queensland in the Upper Basin and that has caused consequences for South Australians and the access to water to the point whereby the Government tried to change the rules to rip South Australia off.

HOST: Speaking of Nationals behaving badly, what did you make of George Christensen’s Facebook Post over the weekend that showed him brandishing a gun and the text that he originally had written underneath it: “You’ve got to ask yourselves, do I feel lucky Greenie punks”?

ALBANESE: I had met Jo Cox, the British MP who was murdered in Britain. People making jokes about guns and politics isn’t funny, I don’t think. Last week 17 students and teachers died in the United States and we have all got a responsibility. I am sure the George Christensen would say that, you know, it was only meant as a joke; it wasn’t meant as a serious threat. But people who saw that might be, you know, not as together as George is, which isn’t a huge bar.

HOST: Sarah Hanson Young posted some interesting hate mail that she received in light of what he said – a bloke saying he was going to shoot her, just sent her a message on Twitter saying I am coming after you. So you create that environment and that is the kind of behaviour you expect.

ALBANESE: You can imagine them sitting around going, you know: what is a distraction from all the Barnaby stuff? George, you know, thinking I’ve got an idea. It could have been worse, he could have done a nudie run down Mackay or something.

HOST: Hey Albo, before I let you go we love having you and Christopher Pyne on every Wednesday for Two Tribes. It’s always a rollicking segment. Can I just ask you, you clearly ran in the past for the Labor leadership. To use a line from Paul Keating, do you still have the leadership baton in your knapsack?

ALBANESE: I am quite happy with the job that I have got.

HOST: For now, or …?

ALBANESE: No, I am happy with the job I have got. And what I think in politics you’ve got to do, and this is what Barnaby has got to deal with things as they are, you’ve got to do the job that you have at any time to the best of your capacity. And I love this job. Last night here in Adelaide the Queen’s Baton Relay, that’s an important tourism event, the Commonwealth Games. I was here with the Lord Mayor and the Governor at that event. The infrastructure I love doing too and working with South Australians I have met and I had a chat again yesterday with Stephen Mullighan. He’s doing a great job here as Infrastructure Minister. And getting to see the product, like the North South Road upgrades. I look forward to coming back here and looking at the Light Rail upgrades.

HOST: It’s good having you here in Adelaide and we will chat to you again on Wednesday with your partner in hilarity, Christopher Pyne.

ALBANESE: It won’t be as good when Christopher is here as well.

HOST: He’s probably going to text us saying when he is going to get a seven- minutes free run without Albo interrupting?

ALBANESE: He interrupts all the time.

HOST: I think you both do a bit of that.

ALBANESE:  Although I think last week he was quite happy for me to talk and take up much of the time. He didn’t have much to say.

HOST: I don’t think he loved coming on to stick up for Barnaby. Anthony Albanese, great to have you here in Adelaide mate. Thanks for coming in.

ALBANESE: Great to be with you.

 

Feb 16, 2018

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subject: Barnaby Joyce

KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the show. What a week in politics. Barnaby Joyce surviving, but just. A new man about to take temporary charge of the country and this extraordinary announcement from a clearly rattled PM about his ministers having sexual relations with their staff. Take a look.

MALCOLM TURNBULL [CLIP] : Barnaby made a shocking error of judgment in having an affair with a young woman working in his office. In doing so, he has set off a world of woe for those women and appalled all of us.

STEFANOVIC: Wow. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Morning, gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher to you, first of all. What took the PM so long?

PYNE: I don’t think that’s fair. The Prime Minister made a very, very clear statement yesterday of leadership where he indicated to the women of Australia in particular, and the women who work for us in Parliament – because sadly still the majority of people in Parliament are still blokes – that we respect them, that they should be treated with respect in the workplace and that people who are their bosses effectively in the Cabinet etcetera should not have sexual relations with them in the office.

STEFANOVIC: The Prime Minister knew about this affair last year. He knew about it before the by-election and he chose to turn a blind eye. Why was he moralising yesterday and not then?

PYNE: Look, Karl, I wouldn’t categorise it that way.

STEFANOVIC: How would you categorise it? He knew about it last year and said nothing. He turned a blind eye. What happened yesterday?

PYNE: No, I don’t think that’s true. I think the truth is that nobody wants to interfere in the private relationships of anyone.

STEFANOVIC: He did yesterday. What’s the difference?

PYNE: Yesterday he made it very, very clear that he is not going to tolerate people having sex within the office.

STEFANOVIC: He knew about it last year. There’s no difference. You either believed it last year or you moved forward and you said no. But he knew about it last year did nothing about it. And yesterday he got on his pulpit and moralised.

PYNE: So you think he did the wrong thing yesterday, do you Karl?

STEFANOVIC: It’s not up to me to judge what the Prime Minister does. But you have to be consistent. And if he believed that was wrong, he should have said something last year.

PYNE: Well I think he’s done the right thing yesterday. I think he’s shown the leadership that is required of the Prime Minister. It’s one of the reasons we respect Malcolm Turnbull. What Barnaby Joyce…

STEFANOVIC: It was a PR stunt yesterday.

PYNE: No, it wasn’t, and what Barnaby Joyce has been doing in his private life nobody wants to pry into, but sadly…

STEFANOVIC: But he just did. The Prime Minister just did that yesterday and judged.

PYNE: No, but – what happened this last week is that the private became the public. And of course that has not been good for the Government, good for the Joyce family, good for Barnaby or good for his new partner and the Prime Minister made that very clear. The Ministerial Code of Conduct will be changed and I assume Bill Shorten will apply the same rules to the frontbench of the Labor Party.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, will you apply the same rules, Anthony?

ALBANESE: The Ministerial Code of Conduct is now in shreds. The fact is that it’s been ignored by Barnaby Joyce. The fact is that taxpayers funds have been misused. The fact is that Parliament has been misled. I’ve been the Deputy Prime Minister. The first job that you have to do is to deputise for the Prime Minister when the Prime Minister is away. Barnaby Joyce can’t do that job. Next week Barnaby Joyce goes on leave. He should just leave.

STEFANOVIC: This time last week you thought this was all going to blow over, Chris under the cover of privacy. You got that wrong. How will this on a practical sense be enforced? How would it prosecuted in the corridors of power?

PYNE: Well I’m not the policemen of the Ministerial Code of Conduct, Karl. I think what the Prime Minister has indicated for Ministers in the future is a modern workplace requirement which is that sex in the workplace is not good practice, will be have to be spelled out in the Code and I think that’s very sad.

STEFANOVIC: Isn’t that already spelled out?

ALBANESE: Common sense tells you that employers should not sleep with their employees. That’s common sense. What we’ve got here is a huge distraction.

STEFANOVIC: So why does he need to do that? Why does he need to do it then? Why does he need to alter it? He doesn’t trust Ministers.

PYNE: Well clearly, it did need to be spelt out in the Code which is of course incredibly disappointing.

STEFANOVIC: But you knew it.

PYNE: It is very disappointing for all of us that this has had to be spelled out in the Code but obviously, in the last week it’s become more and apparent that what was common sense has been breached. In the modern workplace, sex within the workplace is verboten. Sadly, that has to be spelled out.

ALBANESE: The Code has been breached, and the Prime Minister yesterday gave an extraordinarily strong statement against his own Deputy and he put his hand up and said ‘I’m the Prime Minister. I think the Deputy Prime Minister is hopeless. He should reconsider his position. He’s breached the Standards, but I can’t do anything about it’. This is a weak Prime Minister who is not in charge of his own show, let alone the country.
 
STEFANOVIC: So you don’t support a sex ban in Parliament?

ALBANESE: No employer, whether in Parliament or anywhere else, Channel Nine, anywhere else, should be sleeping with their employees. Common sense tells you that.

STEFANOVIC: So no change to the laws as far as you’re concerned?

ALBANESE: These aren’t changes to laws. These are changes to Ministerial Standards.

STEFANOVIC: So you’re saying no change needed?

ALBANESE: I’ve got no problem with any any change here. But the issue is that this is a distraction. The Ministerial Code has been breached by the Deputy Prime Minister. Everyone knows it, and the Prime Minister has been unable to act against him and remove him from his position because what we see is that the National Party are incapable of exercising any authority over themselves and the Prime Minister is incapable of acting here.

STEFANOVIC: It was odd behavior from the Prime Minister Yesterday, given that he knew about the affair last year, given what he knew about it before the by-election. How can you even justify that?

PYNE: Karl, It’s completely the opposite and I’m quite surprised that you would have taken the tact that you have. What Malcolm did yesterday was show real Prime Ministerial leadership and that’s what most of the media have taken.

STEFANOVIC: Why didn’t he do it last year? He knew about it last year. Why wouldn’t you do it last year?

PYNE: It was a private matter last year, Karl, but it has spilled out into the public, humiliating Natalie Joyce and their daughters; humiliating Barnaby and Ms Campion; we are in a completely different situation this week than we were three or four months ago and everyone can see that. What Malcolm has done yesterday is show the leadership that you would expect of someone of Malcolm Turnbull’s calibre.

STEFANOVIC: Late.

PYNE: And I assume Bill Shorten will apply the same rules to his own frontbench.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, tough to put that all on you, but we appreciate you showing up as always.

PYNE: It’s always a pleasure.

ALBANESE: I thought he might take leave.

STEFANOVIC: That’s a cheap shot.

ALBANESE: That would have been very sensible.

PYNE: Another cheap shot. I’m so used to them these days.

STEFANOVIC: But thank you guys, have a good weekend.

Feb 14, 2018

Transcript of television interview – Two Tribes segment, FIVEaa Adelaide

Subjects: Barnaby Joyce; Adelaide hosting 2020 State of Origin game.

PRESENTER: It’s time for Two Tribes on a Wednesday morning. Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne joining us, as always. Good morning to you, gentlemen.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning, Will.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from Canberra.

PRESENTER: We’ll start with you if we can, Chris. Now Chris, I’ve known you for getting close to 30 years now. You’ve always been a proud member of the Liberal Party. I’ve going to ask you, how do you feel about your Government and indeed our nation being represented next week by Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce?

PYNE: Well David, the Government has got off to a good start for the year. There’s no doubt about that and the pressure is on Bill Shorten, and should stay on Bill Shorten in terms of the policies that he’s trying to impose on Australians, the higher taxes, increasing the cost of living [inaudible]. They’re the issues that people really care about.

ALBANESE: He’s got the talking points.

PRESENTER: But they haven’t been the issues at all for the last week, have they?

PYNE: I was getting to my answer. Anthony’s too excited to be able to sit quietly for even a moment and allow me to speak. So obviously, the issues surrounding Barnaby Joyce are quite serious and need to be taken seriously. The decision about whether Barnaby Joyce leads the National Party is one for the National Party. It’s not one for the Liberal Party. Your listeners probably know that we are in coalition. It’s a very longstanding coalition – 80 years of coalition between non-Labor parties and the National Party. But at the end of the day, there are 60 Liberals in the House Representative and 16 Nationals, 25 Liberals in the Senate and five Nationals.

PRESENTER: The masterclass on how Parliament works is great, but do you like the fact that he’s going to be leading the Government next week, or not?

PYNE: I would have thought your listeners would be into it.

ALBANESE: Run through the seats in alphabetical order.

PRESENTER: Question to you in a different way, Chris. Is it a moot point as to whether he will be Acting Prime Minister next week, because it probably won’t get to that?

PYNE: Look, as I said we have these two days today and tomorrow of the House sitting. The National Party appear to be – there’s a lot of speculation about what the National Party is or isn’t doing. At the end of the day it’s a matter for the National Party. Barnaby Joyce’s clear intention is to continue do the job that he’s doing as the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and the Deputy Prime Minister. The Liberal Party supports him in the roles that he that he holds. The impact on his family life of these revelations and the relationship which is now public knowledge is obviously extremely traumatic for everybody involved and I don’t want to add to the trauma for anyone who’s close to it, nor do I want to be a commentator on my colleagues relationships so, on a professional basis he is the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure. He’s continuing to do that job. He’s Deputy Prime Minister. He does that job and matters for the leadership of the National Party sit in the National Party very squarely. I doubt very much that they would be interested in Liberal Party interference or views about their leadership.

PRESENTER: Can I ask you, Albo; you’re a married bloke with a child. Chris, you’re obviously married, you’ve got kids as well. I’m married to a politician, we’ve got kids together. Now, Barnaby said this week this is one of those trials that all politicians will face. Sam Dastyari, to use his words, described Federal Parliament as a ‘root fest’ the other night. What planet are these guys on? Are you worried about the collective sort of, defamation that this is doing, this perception that Federal Parliament is sort of like the last days of Rome? Because it is not my experience of the overwhelming majority of the people I know, be they Labor, Liberal, Green or independent.

ALBANESE: It’s simply not the case. People in this building work very hard, they work long hours and they concentrate on that across the political spectrum. I don’t want to comment on Barnaby Joyce his personal situation, but what is being exposed here is the fact that we have a minority government in this country. We have a Prime Minister, Christopher’s Leader of the Government in the House of Representatives, and they’re impotent when it comes to being able to act against a circumstance where they know that Barnaby Joyce should go, where every one of your listeners knows that he’ll probably be gone in the next 24 hours. But they’re saying ‘oh well, it’s got nothing to do with us’. Staff allocations, what happens in the National Party, ‘nothing to do with us’. But for all of their nonsense during the period of the Gillard Government about minority government, they are a minority government and they’re putting their hand up and saying that. We have an Infrastructure Minister who, when I asked about the fact that South Australia’s share of infrastructure and transport investment falls to 2 per cent in the year 2021 from the federal government – 2 per cent – under $100 million is all that South Australia will get, Barnaby Joyce didn’t have a clue. He’s not on top of his portfolio. He wasn’t on top of the agriculture portfolio. He clearly isn’t up to the high office that he currently holds.

PRESENTER: Can I just revisit something you said earlier there, Albo, suggesting that the Liberal Party were able to act on its partner in the Coalition, would remove Barnaby Joyce because that’s what should be done. Is it standard fare in the Labor Party then, that if you’re guilty of the indiscretions that Barnaby Joyce has been guilty of, you’re gone? Is that just a fact now?

ALBANESE: It’s nothing to do with his personal relations. There are a whole range of issues with regard to the ministerial guidelines that are very clear that they have been breached. That’s the question here. Very clear breaches of ministerial guidelines. When people breach them, then they can’t stay as Ministers regardless of who it is. I don’t make any judgments about Barnaby’s personal life. That’s a matter for him and the individuals involved. But it’s very clear here that there have been breaches. And the Prime Minister, when asked about those issues in Parliament, has said simply even though he ultimately is responsible, has said all those issues are matters that are determined by the National Party.

PRESENTER: Guys before we let you go, this might just be one for you Albo, unless you Chris have a hitherto unknown passion for rugby league but, our breaking story this morning that NRL game two of State of Origin 2020 will be held at the home of international sport, the Adelaide Oval. You getting over for that?

ALBANESE: Mate, that will be a fantastic event and congrats to South Australia and the South Australian Government for securing it. Put out your Adelaide Rams shirts!

PRESENTER: That was an idea whose time had come. There’s still several people who meet in a phone booth to talk about the Rams.

ALBANESE: The largest ever rugby league crowd at a game was at the MCG for a State of Origin. It’s a great spectacle, it’s a great event of athletes and I’m sure that people will enjoy it. It’ll be a great success. Good for tourism in South Australia.

PRESENTER: Good on you Albo, good on you too Chris, unless you wanted us to ask any more Barnaby Joyce questions?

PYNE: I’m still here.

ALBANESE: Tell us how Parliament works! Tell us some more. We need some more detail.

PYNE: In 1901, we came together and formed the Parliament. There were 75 members, I think…

PRESENTER: Thank you, Christopher Pyne. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese joining us there.

[ENDS]

Feb 14, 2018

Transcript of radio interview – Richo, SKY News

Subjects: Barnaby Joyce; Inland Rail; South Australian infrastructure; Victorian infrastructure; Australia Day; Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: In our Canberra studio awaiting me now is Anthony Albanese. G’day mate, how are you?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’m very well thanks Graham. Good to be with you.

RICHARDSON: Good. Now I was listening to Question Time today because I don’t have a life. But you don’t have one either, you were in Question Time. That’s even worse.

ALBANESE: I don’t have a choice though, Graham.

RICHARDSON: No, that’s right mate, you have to be there. I don’t, but I still watch it. Isn’t that ridiculous? But I must say I am not uplifted by it, but I watched it and I note that Barnaby got up and had a few very spirited efforts today to show everybody he was unaffected. He accused you, I think, of getting three things wrong in a press release. You didn’t know where his railway went and you got a couple of other things wrong. What’s your answer to those things?

ALBANESE: Well of course Barnaby Joyce was wrong, as he has been wrong all week, and as he is consistently wrong when it comes to infrastructure. The only project he seems to know anything about at all is Inland Rail. We asked about Tasmanian infrastructure the day before yesterday and he responded by saying ‘oh, but they are going to get the Inland Rail’. He forgot about that little thing called Bass Strait in between the north island and the south island of this great continent. But he then today, when talking about the Inland Rail, forgot a number of things.

One, he forgot that it was in the Budget in 2013, the $300 million of new money going forward and I indeed sought to table the report of the Government’s own Inland Rail Taskforce. They appointed John Anderson to do work on the project who pointed out of course, pointed to the Budget papers from 2013, the fact that the funds were there, on top of the $600 million we put into fixing up the existing route.

Not all of the Inland Rail is new. Some of it is taking the existing route and essentially filling in the gaps that are there, so that you have a continuous route. The problem is that not only does the Inland Rail not go to the Bass Strait; it doesn’t go near water anywhere. It doesn’t go to either Melbourne Port or Brisbane Port. It stops at Acacia Ridge, some 38 kilometres short of the Port. Now why would they do that? They’d do that because they wanted to change what the cost-benefit looked like. They wanted to change how much the project cost in order to make it look more viable because they have put it all off-Budget. It’s there as an equity injection, which means that it’s supposed to produce a return to government, a profit to government, rather than it affecting the Budget bottom line.

But the problem is the 38km in between Acacia Ridge and the Port are the most expensive part of the project, not surprisingly, and what we are going to have if you could believe the announcement of what their model is, is double-decker trains going to Acacia Ridge and then all of the freight being put on trucks going through the most densely populated area of Brisbane. I quoted again, in giving my personal explanation to Parliament, the CEO of Brisbane Port. I think he knows what is happening with this project. It’s a pity that Barnaby Joyce doesn’t.

RICHARDSON: Yes, I figured, knowing you as long as I have, that you wouldn’t get that much wrong. It’s not like you. You always study it and make sure that you are getting it right. But of course I note they are all claiming he is a wonderful, wonderful Minister for all of this infrastructure. I think today he mentioned the highways too, didn’t he? He’s always on about the work they have done on the highways, for roads. Have we really done well on the roads, or is there more to be done?

ALBANESE: No. The problem for Barnaby is that he’s really not on top of his brief at all. We asked questions about the fact that South Australia in the year 2020 – so at the end of the forward estimates, when you have Budget papers, you have this year and then you have three years going forward – South Australia for example, the funding just goes off the end of the cliff. They get $95 million total in transport infrastructure investment in a few years’ time. That’s 2 per cent of the national budget.

What they haven’t done is to invest in either roads or railway lines going forward. You need that pipeline of projects so that as one project finishes, another steps up. What is happening now is that the projects that were underway when we lost office in 2013, projects like the Redcliffe Rail Link – it’s open. A whole lot of the projects on the Pacific Highway and Bruce Highway – they are open. Gateway WA is open. And they haven’t filled the gap. There’s not that pipeline so that the Parliamentary Budget Office, which is an independent organisation as you know, it’s set up to make reports objectively, says that infrastructure investment will fall by half over the next decade from 0.4 per cent of gross domestic product – the national economy – to 0.2 per cent. Now, if you are going to be serious about creating jobs and growing the economy, you can do two things; you can invest in infrastructure; or you can invest in people through education and training and skills. This Government isn’t doing either and they now have an Infrastructure Minister who used a term to describe the Cross River Rail Project, which will benefit Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, beginning with ‘bull’. I wouldn’t use the full term on family TV on Sky News here. But that is the contempt that he has for the 80 per cent of Australians who live in our cities.

We also raised the Northern Australian Roads program. Now, they allocated last year $100 million to that program for expenditure. They spent $12 million. So $88 million unspent, and it’s not like there’s not a need. When we asked about that, Barnaby Joyce spoke about the Nullarbor Plain. Now, I don’t know if you have a map handy, but the Nullarbor Plain isn’t quite in the Top End. It just shows Barnaby really isn’t on top of the detail. He’s capable of giving a rant in the Parliament, but he’s not on top of his brief, and he’s showing no sign of getting on top of his brief.

You have proposals around that will threaten the very existence of regional airports. Some of the proposals that are there for security upgrades, I can’t see how they could possibly be afforded. There was a proposal around, still kicking around, not ruled out, to remove the firefighting services from some of the airports around Australia, like Rockhampton, Ballina and others with between 330,000 and 500,000 passengers per year. In a report to the Government he has failed to rule that out. He’s really just not on top of his brief, and he of course wasn’t on top of his brief in agriculture previously.

We’ve got all sorts of problems with the Murray-Darling Plan. We saw just crude pork barrelling with moving APVMA up to his electorate, which meant that people didn’t move from Canberra, which is also a regional city here of course. And it meant that they are now employing people, apparently, from overseas on special visas because they couldn’t get the staff and expertise to move up there.

RICHARDSON: It’s very easy to make those decisions about decentralisation and move departments. It’s very hard to get people who have invested in a home and whose kids are at a school locally, and just say to them, ‘you’re going to move to Tamworth from Canberra tomorrow afternoon’. People just don’t want to do that.

ALBANESE: Particularly when it’s so crude. I mean, that was just crude.

RICHARDSON: Rude, crude and unrefined. Can I just refer you to a couple of other issues? Two of them in particular. First off, Australia Day. Obviously the Greens and others are pushing for a change in the date. Where do you stand on that?

ALBANESE: Australia Day commemorates the arrival of Europeans way back in 1788. It’s a part of our history. Our history, of course, didn’t begin then. It began at least 60,000 years before then. The Australia Day commemorations that I attend, now in the Inner West Council – previously there were a few of them – one of the most uplifting things that happens on that day, is that people do recognise the fact that we’re all privileged to live in this great continent with the oldest continuous civilisation on the planet.

So I think we need to respect the First Australians, we need to acknowledge the history also, not only did it not begin in 1788, it didn’t end there either and those of us who have come since, who are descendants of migrants – whether on the First Fleet or the most recent arrivals, we also celebrate what is modern Australia. It’s also a day when we reflect on where we’re headed. So I’ve raised an idea. I don’t say it’s the idea, I just say it’s an idea, to instead of change the date – it concerns me that would be quite divisive – to enhance the date, by having the referendum on recognising the First Australians in our Constitution but also to consider having, on the same day, a referendum going forward to recognise that we need an Australian head of state.

It seems to me that way you would also maximise the potential for success. I mean, who would go along on Australia Day and say ‘no, we don’t want an Australian as our head of state’? Australia Day is also a day on which without exception – any Australia Day event I’ve been to, in the more than 20 years now I’ve been a parliamentarian – respect is given to the First Australians. But it’s unfinished business; the fact that there is not proper recognition in our Constitution; that there is not also a voice to the Parliament whereby there is proper consultation with the First Australians about the things that impact on them.

RICHARDSON: That was the next question because, obviously Bill Shorten announced this week that Labor wanted to have a body to advise the Parliament, and I note Malcolm Turnbull quite strenuously and vigorously put that down today.

What’s your view on that? It just seems to me that it would be difficult to see how it would work. If it’s merely an advisory body, and you have a whole lot of people voting for it, you get a big turnout in Aboriginal Australia and then you have it, how does it function, what does it do? It seems to me that, aren’t you inviting real trouble if they recommend something and then you knock it back? It would seem to me that’s the start of an argument.

ALBANESE: The first thing to recognise is what it is. It’s a voice. What it’s not, is another chamber of Parliament. It’s not that. It would have no power to legislate. In my portfolio of Infrastructure and Transport and all the different forums that I had, I established Infrastructure Australia which was experts to advise the Government on projects which would impact the nation building that’s required.

I established an Urban Policy Forum to advise on cities made up of groups like the Property Council; the Australian architects; various Lord Mayors around our cities; the Planning Institute of Australia. To suggest that there is something radical about the First Australians saying ‘well, when the Parliament is considering legislation that will impact on us, we should at least have an opportunity to say what our view is’ – not to determine anything, not to have a vote in the House of Representatives or the Senate, but to determine so that we can put forward a voice. Literally a voice, not a determination, a voice to the Parliament. It seems to me that is a pretty reasonable proposition and there is a need to have a national conversation about that, quite clearly. This came out of extensive consultation right across the nation leading up to the Uluru Statement from the Heart. But I think the First Australians, frankly, are pretty generous to those who have come since.

I noticed that in my local council of the Inner West, the Greens put up a motion about not participating on Australia Day, not having future citizenship ceremonies. They were quite happy to sit there on Australia Day just a few weeks ago, and not say anything at all, let alone say anything to the Indigenous people who participated and really highlighted the citizenship ceremony. What a great thing that we had, these young Indigenous dancers performing, someone telling us about the digeridoo, the way that it worked. Talking about culture with people who were our newest arrivals and who that day, were pledging their allegiance to this great country.

It seems to me, the generosity of the First Australians should be met by the generosity of us, those who have come since; by saying ‘yes, we will give you a voice’. I won’t be a determining voice, because we have a democratic country, where we value one person, one vote. But we will listen to you. Just like across government there is a whole range of forums, committees, structures that give advice from people who are impacted by decisions, to government.

RICHARDSON: We have to leave it, I’m getting calls, I could listen to you all night. But the difficulty with it is all of those other bodies aren’t going to have an election, with thousands upon thousands of people voting. It gives it a different flavour to you appointing an infrastructure body. So I think it’s going to go up for debate. I think Noel Pearson, it’s something he has been pushing really hard and he seems to get a lot of the things he pushes.  I think he is one of the better Australians. But this won’t be easy.

ALBANESE: Of course it won’t be easy, which is why it requires a discussion. But Noel Pearson has also put up a constructive idea, speaking about the 25th and the 26th of January. It just seems to me that what we need – there are too many people in politics today who are looking for an argument. What I want to look for is a solution.

RICHARDSON: I watched Question Time, Anthony. I think everyone is looking for an argument. I really do have to go. Thanks so much for your time, we’ll talk to you again soon.

ALBANESE: Thanks Graham. Happy Valentine’s Day!

RICHARDSON: I never expected to get that from you, and by the way, no; there is no relationship between Anthony and I, I can promise you. It’s the only thing I have never been accused of.

 

Feb 13, 2018

Transcript of television interview – AM Agenda, SKY News

Subjects; 10 Year Anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations; Barnaby Joyce 

KIERAN GILBERT: Joining me live now in the studio is Anthony Albanese, a senior Labor frontbencher. You’ve just left the breakfast marking 10 years since the Apology to the Stolen Generations. I guess a very emotional morning there in the Great Hall of Parliament House.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Certainly has been this morning, getting an opportunity to speak firsthand to some of the Stolen Generations about how they were feeling about that momentous day in our nation. It was one where we really lifted up, I think. It was seen by some that it would somehow be divisive and would change the nation. Well, it changed the nation for the better. It was an incredible moment, certainly the most significant moment since I’ve been in Parliament over the last two decades. This morning we’re not just commemorating it, but also reminding ourselves of what we have a responsibility as parliamentarians to do, which is to listen to the First Australians, to continue to take action. It’s a shocking figure indeed that today there are some 17,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living out of home, away from home. The figure 10 years ago was about half that. So, clearly we need to address that and we need to recommit ourselves.

GILBERT: Why is the symbolism important, though? Because when we talk about Closing the Gap, you know these are practical things that need to be done in school attendance, in literacy, and numeracy. But why is the symbolism important?

ALBANESE: Because it was an important step of acknowledgement. Acknowledgement of our greatest national failure – our failure to bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with us on our national journey. The fact that we didn’t even recognise them as citizens until 1967, the fact that children were taken away from their parents in our lifetime. This isn’t ancient history. As Paul Keating said in his powerful Redfern speech, ‘We have to ask ourselves what would we do if what was done to us? If we were taken away from our parents, if our children were taken away? As parents, as sons and daughters, we have to think about that and commit ourselves to the responsibility we have’. We have a great privilege in this country to live amongst the oldest continuous civilisation on the planet. We need to respect that. We’re all enriched by it. We need to give back.

GILBERT: Okay, now from one of the great moments in the Parliament to a very ugly and difficult moment right now, particularly for the Deputy Prime Minister. Do you believe he is still a suitable person to be holding that position?

ALBANESE: That’s certainly a judgement that he’s going to have to make, and his Party are going to have to make. Yesterday in the Parliament I asked questions about my concerns, which are the failure of the Government on infrastructure. He’s got a big job of being responsible for nation building. Investment in infrastructure is critical to future jobs and to future growth. What we saw from someone who’s in charge of infrastructure when asked, for example, a question about the failure of the Government to initiate a single new major infrastructure project in Tasmania since 2013, he responded by talking about the Inland Rail. Well, I’ve got news for the Infrastructure Minister. Inland Rail doesn’t cross the Bass Strait. It doesn’t impact on Tasmania.

GILBERT: Do you believe then, given you’ve made this case before, that his flaws as a Minister and now the claims around staffing arrangements and so on, is he fit to be Deputy PM – and Acting Prime Minister next week?

ALBANESE: I certainly want to focus on his policy failings. I think he was a failure as Agriculture Minister; if you look at what’s happening in the Murray-Darling Basin; if you look back at his lack of judgement over attending an event, accepting a cheque from Gina Rinehart and saying that he would work out what to spend it on, on his farm just showed an incredible lack of judgement; and quite frankly he clearly is nowhere near on top of his brief.

GILBERT: But Labor is continuing to target him, Mark Dreyfus asking various questions in relation to staffing. Is it right for the Opposition to be doing that or should you be focusing just simply on portfolio matters?

ALBANESE: What is relevant is the use of taxpayers funds, and that is why we have been been very cautious to stick to that rather than make judgements about people’s relationships. Frankly, that’s a matter for the individuals concerned and those impacted by it. I don’t want to see Australian politics go down the road whereby we’re sitting in judgement of others’ personal behaviour, because I think that’s a dangerous thing to do.

GILBERT: Well it is, because to be frank and to report this morning I’ve had already senior government people sending me messages in relation to questions about Labor people about similar liaisons and staffing arrangements. Obviously I wouldn’t mention names, but this risks erupting as a whole thing.

ALBANESE: The problem here with all of these issues, and one of the reasons why you wouldn’t want to go down that road is because people don’t know what the facts of personal relationships are. I don’t know what the circumstances of Barnaby and his wife’s relationship has been, and frankly that’s a matter for them. What I do know is that family breakups are very difficult, not just for the people involved, the husband and wife but for Barnaby’s four daughters. Discussion of that detail and pretending that you know the facts simply aren’t, in my view, the role of people in the public sphere. But what is relevant is some of the matters that are public issues. The use of taxpayers funds and whether all of that was done above board.

GILBERT: Can you be sure your colleagues won’t get caught up in similar sorts of things?

ALBANESE: I don’t want to go down the road of mixing up the private and the public. We have stuck, and should at all times, stick to the public issues. The public issues here are the issue of transparency, the use of public funds, but they are also his capacity to do the job. The debacle over the moving of the public agency to Armidale was farcical; the Murray Darling Basin plan; the fact that he keeps talking about only one infrastructure project which is Inland Rail, and it doesn’t go to the Port of Brisbane or the Port of Melbourne. The fact that South Australia will receive 2 per cent of the federal infrastructure budget in four years’ time, something he seems oblivious about. The fact that Victorians represent one in four of our national population and our fastest growing state, but are receiving under 10 per cent of the national infrastructure budget. He’s failed as a Minister, both in agriculture and in infrastructure and I don’t think he’s up to the job.

GILBERT: Mr Albanese, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

Feb 9, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show

Subjects: Barnaby Joyce, Labor Party.

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

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

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

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

STEFANOVIC: You didn’t hear anything about it?

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

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

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

STEFANOVIC: Were you surprised?

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

STEFANOVIC: It is true.

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

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

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

STEFANOVIC: Sure, but the timing raises eyebrows.

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

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

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

STEFANOVIC: Okay, what do you think Anthony?

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

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

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

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

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

STEFANOVIC: You’re a public figure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: Certainly not, Karl.

STEFANOVIC: Will you lead the Party?

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

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

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

STEFANOVIC: But they’re not under Bill Shorten.

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

STEFANOVIC: You’re not after the top job?

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

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

ALBANESE: Good to be here.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2018

Feb 7, 2018

Transcript of radio Interview – Two Tribes segment

Subjects; Polls; company tax; Barnaby Joyce 

PRESENTER: It’s time for Two Tribes on this Wednesday morning. Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese, good morning to you.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from sunny Canberra.

PRESENTER: Welcome back to the nation’s capital for another year. We’re going to kick off with you today if we can, Albo. Now, what does it say about Bill Shorten’s standing with the Australian people that both you and your colleague Tanya Plibersek are in front of him as preferred Labor leader?

ALBANESE: What this week’s poll said was that if an election was held this Saturday, Bill Shorten would be the Labor Prime Minister and I’d be a minister in his government. That was the key takeout of the 26th consecutive occasion in which the Labor Party was ahead of the Coalition and we remember that Malcolm Turnbull himself said 30 polls behind is the reason why he knocked off Tony Abbott, the elected Prime Minister.

PRESENTER: You’re right, the party vote is important and very interesting and I’m going to ask Chris a question about that shortly. But you can’t just dismiss out of hand or ignore that finding about your or your leader, can you?

ALBANESE: People are focused on the respective teams of Labor versus the Coalition and we have a very strong team. That’s a good thing.

PRESENTER: Stronger than the leader, perhaps, Anthony?

ALBANESE: No, he’s the leader of that team. He’s the captain of the team. Tanya Plibersek’s vice-captain. I’m the half back, or the midfielder in AFL terms.

PRESENTER: But Bill Shorten is…

ALBANESE: Sneaking up in the forward line occasionally to kick a goal against the Tories.

PRESENTER: But maybe you’re kicking a few too many.

ALBANESE: No one’s ever kicking a few too many goals for Labor again the Tories. That’s the important thing. It’s not surprising. I’ve got a pretty good portfolio given I’ve got infrastructure and this government isn’t building any. South Australia’s share drops to under $100 million dollars in the federal infrastructure budget in three years’ time.

PRESENTER: But if 8 out of 10 Australians don’t rate Bill Shorten, will Labor continue with him as leader or should it think about getting rid of him as leader?

ALBANESE: We’re ahead in the polls and the only thing we’re thinking about is not focusing on ourselves, focusing on what Australians want us to focus on, which is  living standards. We’ve raised just in the last week the new policy on private health insurance. The Productivity Commission review, the two year cap of 2 percent are just the latest installment in us providing leadership from Opposition, as opposed to the Government, that acts like an Opposition-in-exile.

PRESENTER: I think instead of a football analogy you need a cricket one, because it was like bowling to Geoffrey Boycott there. Tucked in behind the pads, Albo.

PYNE: I’ve got a cricket one. Remember Ron Brearley, who of course while he was the captain of the English cricket team, certainly wasn’t the best player.

ALBANESE: Mike Brearley.

PYNE: Mike Brearley was the captain of the English cricket team.

ALBANESE: Ron Brierley was a businessman.

PYNE: He was, a good businessman.

ALBANESE: You’re always on the top end of town folk, Christopher.

PYNE: You’ve had a lovely run. Now it’s my turn.

ALBANESE: Away you go.

PYNE: Everyone knew Mike Breally wasn’t the best English cricketer. He was the captain because he was trying to hold the fort. The reality is that Bill Shorten is exactly the same. He’s not the best player in the Labor Party and he’s not going to be there for the long term. And the problem with Anthony’s thesis about winning an election this Saturday, is there isn’t an election this Saturday. There’s not election ’til mid-2019.

PRESENTER: Chris, what does it say though about your Government that you’re trailing a party led by a bloke who is the third most popular leader?

PYNE: Well, John Howard was behind most of the polls throughout the eleven and a half years that we were in government in the Howard era and he won in 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004. You only have to win – and Malcolm Turnbull is vastly more popular than Bill Shorten. Vastly more popular. In fact, extending his lead as preferred Prime Minister. Now if Anthony’s right, and Bill Shorten is doing all these marvellous things and everyone thinks he’s so tremendous, it seems surprising that that Malcolm Turnbull is extending his lead over Bill Shorten. Anthony’s being very generous today. We know that Anthony is up and about. He’s sneaking into the forward line much more often than I think the captain wants him to be doing, and he’s had a great start to the year. He’s everyman, everywhere. He’s everywhere man. It used to be Eddie McGuire, now it’s Anthony Albanese.

PRESENTER: You’re sounding like his hype guy.

PYNE: And good luck to him. As one Labor MP said yesterday, the thing about Anthony, is you get Anthony.

PRESENTER: It’s true.

PYNE: Nobody knows what Bill Shorten stands for. He’s changed sides so often, he’s had so many positions, so many inconsistent positions. Two years ago he was the champion of company tax cuts. Now he says it’s the worst thing you could possibly do.

PRESENTER: We want to shift to the policy question around the taxation.

PRESENTER: Yeah, let’s talk about that for a moment. Perhaps we’ll give Anthony Albanese first opportunity to respond given that your Government Christopher, wants to cut the corporate tax rate from 30 percent to 25 percent. The Senate at this point in time saying only for businesses with a yearly turnover up to $50 million. What’s the problem with the proposal, Anthony Albanese, aimed at increasing our competitiveness globally?

ALBANESE: Government’s about priorities, and what this government is relying upon with its $65 billion tax cut for the top end of town is the trickle down effect. It says that it’ll benefit us, except for of course those companies that actually will have that increase in profits taken overseas. Except for, of course all those companies who will keep more for themselves; except for those companies who won’t do anything to employ any extra Australians. We have a circumstance at the moment whereby wage growth is 2 percent. Company profit is 20 percent and yet what we’re seeing is more and more pressure on working Australians to make ends meet. This government has its priorities all wrong.

PRESENTER: Yeah, that’s a critique that sounds good except for the small business owners listening.

ALBANESE: Small business owners – the genuine small business owners, the overwhelming majority of businesses out there – have a turnover of under $5 million, not billions of dollars. They’re not based overseas. The fact is this government just wants to help the top end of town and we think that is the wrong priority. It will also place pressure on the Budget in terms of the need to, over time, return to surplus.

PYNE: Can I just say the first thing is that small business is not the top end of town. It’s sad that Anthony Albanese thinks it is the top end of town. It speaks a lot for the Labor Party’s values. Now listen to this ‘cutting the company tax rate leads to more jobs and higher wages’. Who do you think said that? Bill Shorten said that in August 2011. ‘Cutting the company tax rate leads to more jobs and higher wages. That was Bill Shorten’s view when he was in government. Now he has completely an inconsistent view. One of the good things about Anthony Albanese is he never changes his position. He’s always been a leftie.

PRESENTER: Okay, but setting aside politics for a moment Christopher and focusing on the policy here, the quandary for your government and perhaps it would have been for Bill Shorten championing that policy previously, but the question is; how do you resolve the equation about how big profits need to be before it translates into wage growth?

PYNE: On Q&A on Monday night, Chris Richardson, again not me, Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access Economics said the company tax rate cut was worth $20 billion to the economy and two-thirds would flow through to higher wages. Now, Labor keeps saying they want higher wages, and they’re voting against the very measures that would increase wages. Because they actually don’t really want higher wages. They weren’t unhappy people because they think unhappy people will vote against the government. What the Coalition is trying to do is actually be economically responsible.

PRESENTER: If the correlation were so strong though, every profit reporting period of the year, where we’re hearing about major companies in Australia recording record profits, we’d be seeing some sort of equivalent jump in wages, would we not?

PYNE: There hasn’t been a 20 percent jump in profits for years and years. Labor is reaching back to the mining boom for that. But every country, I mean Britain is reducing their company tax rate to 15 percent. The US has just reduced theirs. We have the second highest company tax rate across all the developed nations in the world. Now, these countries are reducing their company tax rates because they know it flows through to more jobs and higher wages. The Coalition has in its DNA lower taxes, whether it’s income taxes, whether it’s the GST, whether it’s company taxes. Let’s not forget Jay Weatherill wanted to increase the GST by 50 percent a couple of years ago. He was arguing the GST should be 15 percent.

ALBANESE: Hang on, your government started that debate.

PYNE: Labor’s always trying to increase taxes. Bill’s got a $165 billion worth of new taxes. Six different taxes across the economy, and he thinks that’s going to grow wages and create jobs? More taxes means less jobs and lower wages.

ALBANESE: You’re increasing taxes right now with legislation that’s in the Senate which would increase tax by $300.

PYNE: And what’s that to pay for, Anthony?

ALBANESE: The NDIS. The increase in the Medicare levy. That’s an increase.

PYNE: You don’t usually use the talking points.

ALBANESE: That is an increase in tax.

PYNE: So you think that the $300 increase in the Medicare levy is unjustified, do you? When it was your policy in government?

ALBANESE: What I’m saying is that your stuff about lower taxes isn’t actually what you’re doing.

PRESENTER: It’s a debate that’s ongoing in Canberra. We might move onto the next subject.

PRESENTER: Yeah, we’re just going to wrap things up. I quickly wanted to…

PYNE: I want to keep talking about it.

PRESENTER: Sorry.

ALBANESE: We were just getting going!

PRESENTER: I know.

PYNE: Who are you two? What are you, trying to take over this show?

PRESENTER: This program only goes for a finite amount of time. Before we let you go, I just wanted to get quick thoughts from both of you about the fact that the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s personal life has burst into public view in quite spectacular fashion on the front page of The Daily Telegraph in Sydney today. How do you think he will be dealing with all of these revelations and the fact that as he canvassed himself during the same sex marriage debate he’s clearly going through a few personal issues at home at the moment.

ALBANESE: Can I say as his Shadow Minister that this is a personal matter in which, in my view, there is no public interest in public discussion of it. People cannot possibly know what people’s personal circumstances are. Certainly I, and I would hope no one on my side of politics, is going to participate in a public debate. I have lots of debates I want to have with the Deputy Prime Minister about the failure of the Government on infrastructure. I want to talk about policy differences, not people’s personal lives.

PRESENTER: To you, Chris?

PYNE: I think one of the great things about Australia is that we haven’t gone down this tabloid journalism, Fleet Street approach of the London and the UK press. I think it’s a good testament to our democracy. I think it’s a great pity that this has happened to Barnaby Joyce and his family and it must be very traumatising for everyone, made much worse by being publicised on the front page of the newspapers. I agree with Anthony that we should argue a lot about good policy for Australia. MPs private lives, business people’s private lives, journalists private lives should be off the record.

PRESENTER: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, a terrific Two Tribes as always. Thank you, we’ll do it again next week.

ALBANESE: Maybe next week we can keep going into Leon Byner’s show.

PRESENTER: He’s actually in the studio.

PRESENTER: He’s just walked into the studio, I don’t think he’d be very impressed.

ALBANESE: He’d be happy with that.

PRESENTER: Do you want to keep talking about Bill Shorten, Albo?

PYNE: I just want to get back to company tax cuts.

LEON BYNER: Can I ask you one thing?

ALBANESE: Leon! See, it’s a success!

PRESENTER: Are you happy that you’re in the top three people that is very liked by supporters of your side, who think that certain individuals ought to be leader? You’d be a little pumped by that, wouldn’t you?

PYNE: Anthony loves it. He’s out there all the time.

ALBANESE: Any popularity that I have is solely because of my 5AA interviews…

PRESENTER: …yeah, well said…

ALBANESE: …with Two Tribes and with the great Leon Byner.

PRESENTER: Hey guys, stick around, Rowey and Bicks are coming in, in a minute, for a couple of questions for you as well [laughs]

PRESENTER: We’re going to leave Two Tribes there for this morning.

 

 

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