Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Apr 20, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Nine Network – The Today Show – Friday 20 April 2018

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
TELEVISION INTERVIEW
THE TODAY SHOW – NINE NETWORK 
FRIDAY, 20 APRIL 2018 

Subjects; Banking Royal Commission; Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission; Record Store Day

GEORGIE GARDNER: Joining me now to discuss that and other issues is Christopher Pyne in Adelaide and Anthony Albanese who joins us from Sydney Airport this morning. Good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Georgie. Nice to be with you.

GARDNER: Lovely to have you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

GARDNER: Now Christopher, obviously deeply disturbing stories of banking misconduct and yet you didn’t think the Royal Commission was necessary. Why did the PM resist this Commission for so long?

PYNE: Well Georgie, we’re seeing a lot of evidence being presented in the Royal Commission which is very disturbing and that’s why the Government is taking action to strengthen ASIC’s powers even more than we already have. We’ve already given ASIC $100 million more money to pursue bad practices and we’re changing the laws to give them the power that they need to be able to pursue bad banking practices.

GARDNER: But why did it take so long, Christopher?

PYNE: Well, because we were acting without the Royal Commission anyway but the Royal Commission is providing more information to the government and the public. But we certainly weren’t waiting for the Royal Commission to take action in the banking sector. Banking is a big part of our economy. And so these stories are going to come out and that’s a good thing that they are. And that’s why the Government was acting well before the Royal Commission. Labor by contrast voted against taxation changes for foreign multinationals. We still got them through but Labor does a lot of arm waving and hand wringing and huffing and puffing but they didn’t actually do anything about it. We are.

GARDNER: But can you understand why this sort of leads people to think that a Liberal Government is in bed with big business? I mean it doesn’t help your case for getting corporate tax cuts through the Senate, does it?

PYNE: Well, I don’t think anybody thinks that the Liberals and the National Party support some of the practices that have been exposed in the Royal Commission. I mean, the good thing about Royal Commissions is they give people the opportunity to air some of these issues and for the Royal Commissioner to make recommendations. And we will follow that. We’ll wait for those recommendations before we act hastily. But as I reiterate, we have been taking the necessary action, taking tough action and we’ll continue to do so because we want to stand up for consumers and small businesses. We’re not interested in standing up for bad practices.

GARDNER: Anthony, it is such a protected industry. Are these penalties too little too late?

ALBANESE: They are, and this is a Government that ran a protection racket for the banks and finance sector. They voted against the Royal Commission on more than 20 occasions, even when members of their own backbench were crying out for this Royal Commission they were describing it as a stunt; as reckless; as something that wouldn’t achieve anything; as just populist nonsense, according to Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull and indeed Kelly O’Dwyer. What we see now is vindication of Labor’s strong stance. We took a Royal Commission to the last federal election. We’ve campaigned on it ever since. And what we’re seeing now is the evidence out there for all to see. Good policy comes from the evidence. We haven’t heard yet from many of the victims of these practices. But what we’ve heard is senior executives fessing up to what are extraordinary rip offs of ordinary Australians and their savings.

GARDNER: Yeah, and sadly I think there is plenty more to come. Absolutely appalling stories coming out. Let’s move on. All this week we have been covering the aged care crisis here on The Today Show. You’d both be well aware of the countless cases of abuse; of death; of neglect at nursing homes right around this country. It affects everyone and Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt unveiled of course on this show the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. Christopher, Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt told us there is no crisis. Do you agree?

PYNE: Well I saw your interview with Ken this week, Georgie and it was an excellent interview and Ken’s doing a fantastic job. I used to be the Minister for Ageing in the Howard Government. I can tell you it’s a very, very tough area of government policy. What we’re trying to do is bring together all the different agencies into one agency to cover both qualification for licenses and then the oversight of those licenses. The vast majority of nursing homes, aged care facilities – and my mother and mother-in-law are both in aged care facilities – are doing a great job and they’re fantastic. But there are occasions of bad practice and that’s unfortunately human nature and that’s why you have to find out as soon as you can about them, crack down, stay on top of them, investigate, turn up without notice and make sure that people are following the standards. If they’re not, you have to close them down and throw the book at them. And that’s what we’ve been doing, that’s what Ken Wyatt will continue to do. Can we stamp out every single instance of somebody being a bully in a nursing home and hurting people? We probably can’t, in the same way as we can’t stop every single bag snatch that happens in Martin Place or in a Parramatta supermarket but we can try and do our very best and that’s what these laws will do.

GARDNER: Alright, it is a disgraceful situation and Anthony these reforms of course are part of the solution. But what else needs to be done? What about enforcing patient-staff ratios for instance?

ALBANESE: That requires funds, Georgie, and what we’ve seen from this Government is cuts. They’re not prepared to pay nurses and aged care assistants the money that they need. They’re not prepared to enforce proper patient-staff ratios to ensure that patients can get the care that they need. Our older Australians have made this country they deserve dignity in their later years and they deserve better than they’re getting from this Government. There is a crisis in aged care and the Government needs to deal with it.

GARDNER: All right, well we’ll be watching you both very closely on that topic because as you are well aware, we have been absolutely inundated with people with horrific stories on that matter from right around the country. So interested to watch you on that. We are out of time sadly. Enjoy your weekend. And we will see you next week.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

PYNE: Look forward to it.

ALBANESE: Hey Georgie, it’s Record Store Day tomorrow so go into your local record store and participate. There’s a free ad for no one in particular.

GARDNER: All right. We love spinning records on this on this program. There’s no doubt about it so thank you for the heads up Anthony Albanese.

KARL STEFANOVIC: I wonder what Christopher will be buying.

PYNE: A bit of Dvořák.

STEFANOVIC: A broken record!

GARDNER: Nothing wrong with a bit of Dvořák on a Sunday afternoon.

PYNE: Nothing wrong with Dvořák, exactly.

STEFANOVIC: I prefer a bit of Jimmy Barnes myself, but anyway. It’s good to see you’re still in touch, Chris.

GARDNER: You can love classical music and be in touch!

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Bit of Rachmaninoff early in the morning, eh?

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 20 APRIL 2018

Apr 18, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa Adelaide, Two Tribes segment – Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Subjects; Cannabis; Richard Di Natale; Greens Political Party; SA redistribution; ALP National President

HOST: Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us each and every Wednesday morning for Two Tribes. Good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

HOST: We want to kick off today guys by talking about this policy idea floated by Richard Di Natale, the Leader of the Greens. We got a whole bunch of texts about it this morning from our listeners. This is the idea that cannabis should be fully decriminalised in the way it has been in several parts of the United States. Starting with you Chris, in your capacity as the Government spokesman, what do you make of that policy?

PYNE: Well I don’t support legalising cannabis. I think for medicinal purposes we have a regime which I’m glad to see that we put in place, which has been largely bipartisan, I think, to ensure that those people who need to use cannabis for a medicinal purpose have the capacity to do so, but that’s very much a different product. I see cannabis a gateway drug for young people into heavier drugs. I was responsible for drugs in the Howard era, illicits drug that is and we had a tough on drugs policy and it’s always [inaudible] giving up and saying it’s easier to legalise drugs than it is to try and stop people from getting into them, is not the way that we would want to go.

HOST: What about you, Albo? What are your thoughts on this, particularly you know, representing a seat as you do that’s an inner city seat with a fair bit of Green influence? Is it something that the Left faction is a little bit more open to maybe, in the ALP?

ALBANESE: I just think this is yet another ‘look at me’ moment from Richard Di Natale. The Greens are really struggling.  They had a shocking result in Tasmania and in the Batman by-election they went backwards. Richard Di Natale went to the National Press Club two weeks ago and this was his big plan for 2018, to make the Reserve Bank a lending bank, which was frankly a stupid idea. And the other idea of giving welfare to everyone through universal basic income whether you are Gina Rinehart or unemployed, you get the same amount of money. People were laughing at the bloke so now he’s come out with something else, which frankly is a matter for state jurisdictions.  South Australia in the past has looked at this. These are all state matters. This has nothing to do with the Commonwealth. Something that does have something to do with the Commonwealth is what Christopher said, medicinal use of cannabis for people who need it to treat a medical condition. That was bipartisan. It is just still being put in place, those mechanisms. And I would have thought that is the area in which the Commonwealth has responsibility, is acting responsibly, it is bipartisan. Let’s see how that goes rather than something that really is just about the fact that the Greens Party are really struggling, just as Nick Xenophon’s team, whatever they called these days, struggled in South Australia as well.

HOST: The party formerly known as Nick.

PYNE: It is now called something else. They’ve had four different names.

ALBANESE: What is it called?

PYNE: Alliance Central or something. It’s got different names. Before it was No Pokies.

ALBANESE: The ‘Look At Me’ Party. The problem with these minor parties is that they often come out with stuff; I mean it will be something else in a week. There’s no concerted campaign here. There’s no leader to it. It’s just a thought bubble, just like the thought bubble at the National Press Club a couple of weeks ago on a universal basic income, which would cost the Budget an absolute bomb and wouldn’t target welfare to where it’s actually needed. When you look at the detail of the Greens policy, you have big problems. They also have policies on ecstasy and on a whole range of harder drugs as well. Once people actually examine the policies, as they did in the Batman by-election, head to head, they don’t stack up.

HOST: Yeah, we’ll be getting him on at some point, giving him a chance to explain it.

HOST: Albo, you mentioned state matters and Chris Pyne to you, I just wonder how we make sure our state continues to matter given we have had one seat removed on account of the federal redistribution that we just had. One marginal seat as we head into a potential federal election season. How do we make sure South Australia doesn’t slide off the map?

PYNE: Well, we’ve had one seat removed out of 11 because we’ve had stagnant population growth and for the last 16 years we’ve had a State Labor Government that said that they were happy with low population growth and the result of that of course is a stagnant economy, young people leaving the state and you can’t lie with statistics. We’ve lost [inaudible], Western Australia has the same number of seats as South Australia, and you both had 13. Now we’re going to have 10 and Western Australia will have 16. So the numbers tell the story. You need a growing economy, a growing population. You need migration to the state bringing fresh ideas and fresh people to help grow our economy. You won’t lose an enormous amount of influence in South Australia because Tasmania has a lot less members than South Australia. The ACT don’t, but everybody in Australia and in Canberra recognises that every state, every person in our country is important and we get strong results, like the $90 billion submarine and shipbuilding part of the economy that I brought to the state as the Minister for Defence Industry. We’ve got significant investments in infrastructure here, like the North-South Corridor.

HOST: But will that stay, is that going to continue though Chris? Because thinking back to the Howard years, when Mr Howard was PM, Makin, Hindmarsh, Adelaide and Kingston were all very volatile marginal seats. Now, apart from arguably Boothby, there’s not a marginal seat left in South Australia. So if you’re trying to win government, you need to win it in Western Sydney, in Albo’s neck of the woods. You need to win it in regional Victoria; you need to win it in regional Queensland and suburban Brisbane. Where’s the political incentive? Because politics is all about winning the maximum number of seats. Why are you going to fund a South Road upgrade in a seat like Hindmarsh in three or six years’ time when we don’t have any marginal seats up for grabs?

PYNE: Because it’s the right thing to do, if that’s the policy that we settle on as being the right thing to do. I mean, policy is not just driven by population and by who lives where. It’s driven by what’s required for the country, that defence industry infrastructure, the economy, and we’ve got Simon Birmingham here as a Cabinet minister, myself, Anne Ruston as a minister in the Government. At times in South Australia’s history we’ve had one or two ministers, other times we’ve had four and now we have three. These things go up and down, they don’t determine whether a state is important or not.

HOST: Hey Albo, what should become of Mark Butler, the incumbent member for Port Adelaide?

ALBANESE: We had this debate, I remember, when we were talking about Sturt and whether it would disappear, but people don’t disappear.

PYNE: They had me buried, Albo, but don’t worry.

HOST: Didn’t Labor formally propose that Sturt get abolished?

ALBANESE: I was confident you’d still be there, like a cockroach after a nuclear war.

PYNE: That’s not very nice! Crawling out from under the rubble.

ALBANESE: I can assure you that Mark Butler will still be there in the next term.

HOST: Would he make a good National President of the Labor Party too, Albo?

ALBANESE: He will make a good National President, he is the current National President and he’s standing again…

HOST: Better than Wayne Swan?

PYNE: What about this rigging going on?

ALBANESE: …for election and he’s a very strong candidate. We’re not supposed to comment publicly more than that under the rules but…

HOST: Why’s that?

ALBANESE: Because that’s the rules…

PYNE: Marxist-Leninist state.

ALBANESE: …that you’re not supposed to engage in public debate. But I think…
 
HOST: You’re a ‘rules were made to be broken’ kind of a guy though, aren’t you Albo?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s very clear who I’m supporting in the ballot. I think that Wayne Swan is a good person as well. But Mark Butler’s the incumbent. I did launch his campaign in Sydney a couple of weeks ago.

HOST: It was a dead giveaway in terms of who you were backing.

ALBANESE: That was a bit of a giveaway.

HOST: That’s right, nothing gets past us. Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese, always great to catch up you. We’ll do it again next week. Thanks guys.

Apr 17, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – AM Agenda, SKY News – Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Subjects; Infrastructure funding; Cross River Rail; Western Sydney Airport; AdeLINK; National Energy Guarantee; Peta Credlin.

KIERAN GILBERT: With me now the Shadow Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Front page of The Daily Telegraph, I focused on it a bit earlier with Michael Sukkar and Scott Morrison as Santa. He says he’s not Santa, that Christmas isn’t coming in May. But on the serious side of this, you’d welcome their focus on infrastructure with the Melbourne rail link and second Sydney Airport and that sort of focus?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, there’s a bit of rhetoric and there have been a couple of announcements of what they’ll do next decade when they’re in Opposition.  There aren’t actually projects that are ready to go like Cross River Rail where yesterday myself and Bill Shorten announced $2.24 billion dollars for that project that will double the capacity of rail being able to cross the bridge. More than 500,000 private vehicle kilometres will be taken off the road per day as a result of that project.

GILBERT: What about [Western] Sydney Airport? The Sydney Airport process, that’s all happening isn’t it? Sods have been turned so it’s not all next decade.

ALBANESE: Well it is in terms of the the rail project, of when they’ve announced it will commence. We have been arguing for some time that you need rail to be ready on day one across the entire network. What they’ve announced is part of it and that’s good, that’s welcome, that’s a start, but it also needs to connect up to the Macarthur region so that people in Campbelltown and that region, which is a growth region, can get access to that those high value jobs. But they’re working off a very low base, because what we’ve seen is in the announcements that they’ve made, they’ve stopped talking about the forward estimates are now talking about ‘over 10 years’ and so figures that are actually cuts look as though there’s growth. Now, the Parliamentary Budget Office has shown that the infrastructure investment will fall from 0.4 percent of GDP to 0.2. It will halve over the next decade. The forward estimates from last year’s Budget showed in 2016-17 it was anticipated to spend $9.2 billion. Over the forwards that falls to $4.2 billion, by more than half.

GILBERT: Okay, but on some of these projects, your Cross River Rail you spoke of, the criticism from the Government is that this is not one of the top priorities for Queensland as articulated by Infrastructure Australia.

ALBANESE: It’s ready to go.

GILBERT: Aren’t there bigger priorities? That’s what the Government says, for Infrastructure Australia there are bigger priorities.

ALBANESE: In Melbourne and the Western Sydney rail line, for example, the planning of those projects hasn’t been concluded. In Melbourne there’s a range of options. We do need airport rail in Melbourne, but there are a range of options that haven’t been finalised yet. Cross River Rail has actually been finalised. It’s done. The Government has sidelined Infrastructure Australia, has starved it of resources. It isn’t listening to it at all.

GILBERT: So it’s irrelevant now?

ALBANESE: Well, unfortunately it has been made irrelevant to the Government’s decision making processes. Cross River Rail was the number one project by Infrastructure Australia way back in 2012. It was funded in 2013, ready to go, construction to start in 2013-14. It was shelved because of Tony Abbott’s cuts and because Campbell Newman walked away from the agreement that he had with us as a Federal Labor Government.

GILBERT: So it’s not just about marginal seats as the Government would argue?

ALBANESE: Cross River Rail impacts the entire Brisbane network. It impacts the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast by improving the capacity of the whole network. It’s a game changer. If you look at where we funded infrastructure when we were in office, when you get off the plane here go to the Majura Parkway, you see that work there. When you look at the Gold Coast Light Rail project on the Gold Coast, that was opposed by Steven Ciobo and the Coalition, state and federal. That was vital. It had more than a million trips during the fortnight of the Commonwealth Games. It was part of the great success story.

GILBERT: Well let’s just look at the country then, the big projects. You’re on the same page as the Government when it comes to the Melbourne rail link and the [Western] Sydney Airport infrastructure around that, although you’d like to see that expedited. The other big projects around the country. What’s your view? I mean, what else needs to be done beyond that Cross River Rail?

ALBANESE: We need AdeLINK in South Australia. We need to expand the light rail network there.

GILBERT: What about the Inland Rail?

ALBANESE: The Inland Rail, we started that project.

GILBERT: So you support that as well?

ALBANESE: We started that process. We think there’s problems with the financing of the project. It doesn’t actually go to the port and now you have a study being undertaken to get the freight from Acacia Ridge, where it stops, more than 30 kilometres from the port. Now, that’s the most expensive bit. That’s the most difficult bit of the project to do so we think there are flaws in the way that the Government is handling this issue, but we’re supportive of Inland Rail. We put some $900 million in, $600 million into fixing the existing track that will form part of it, and $300 million in the Budget for the acquisition and the preconstruction work for that project. But we also have been making major announcements in Western Australia including the Ellenbrook rail line, the extension of the rail line to Byford, the extension of the Mitchell Freeway into the northern suburbs. These are all important projects. The Midland project, which is about moving the station closer to the hospital and also expanding it to one further stop. So that expansion of METRONET in Perth is a great example of a state government that’s done the work, is doing the planning, and is receiving the support of Federal Labor. The Government should get on board.

GILBERT: I want to ask you about the National Energy Guarantee because this is another big story in the lead up to the Ministers’ meeting with the states on Friday and it looks like Mark Butler your colleague is opening the way here for Labor to back the National Energy Guarantee but to toughen your benchmarks, your reduction targets within that framework. But I think business would welcome that development if you could see fit to have some bipartisanship.

ALBANESE: What we’ve said all along is that what industry needs here is certainty. You need certainty to be able to invest. This government has had five years of flip flopping. They could have had an emissions trading scheme, one would have thought that they would have supported a market based mechanism, but they didn’t support that. They’re not only climate skeptics on their backbench, they’re market sceptics as well. They could have had the Chief Scientist’s recommendations for a clean energy target. That was their policy that they developed and then they rejected it after the Chief Scientist recommended it and now we have the NEG being put forward. Labor will closely examine what comes out of any of these processes with the states. We’ll continue to be constructive.

GILBERT: But one of the recommendations of the regulators, and a lot of what you’ve said is accurate in terms of the chopping and changing, and to be fair the Labor Party’s chopped and changed a bit as well in terms of Kevin Rudd’s approach to it but if you look at…

ALBANESE: Well, no. We…

GILBERT: You got forced into it…

ALBANESE: We pursued our processes. We tried to get it through the Senate.

GILBERT: And you gave up on it.

ALBANESE: No. We couldn’t get it through the Senate.

GILBERT: And then you gave up on it.

ALBANESE: No, we couldn’t get it through the Senate. We tried on multiple occasions…

GILBERT: Okay.

ALBANESE: … to get it through the Senate.

GILBERT: Just quickly in terms of the broader recommendations. One of the key ones is the need for political constancy beyond the cycle, isn’t it? I mean, that’s crucial.

ALBANESE: Absolutely.

GILBERT: So you can invest in assets beyond 20 years.

ALBANESE: What we need to do is to have mechanisms that allow the market to operate, and when the market operates, guess what? The future is renewables, because that’s what all of the markets are saying. That’s what the energy sector itself is saying. That’s what the economy needs. And it’s also what our environment needs.

GILBERT: Just quickly, it was on an interview with you and Ben Fordham on the Nine Network. Josh Frydenberg made a bit of a critique of Tony Abbott. Peta Credlin wasn’t very pleased with it, my Sky News colleague, and phoned him about it this morning. Mr Frydenberg says he stands by his words, he’d continue to call it as he sees it. This is just a bit of robust politics and it happens on all sides?

ALBANESE: Well, as Josh should, he has called Tony Abbott out for being a wrecker because that is the way that he is behaving. What’s extraordinary was Peta Credlin’s comments. I mean, this is a Sky News commentator seeking to dictate to Cabinet ministers what they say. I’m not surprised that Josh Frydenberg has rejected that. That’s the sort of approach that has led to Tony Abbott’s demise.

GILBERT: That interview is on Multiview in fact, still with Andrew Bolt if you like to catch it. Good interview, interesting one. Thank you, Anthony Albanese. Appreciate your time.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

Apr 16, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 4BC News Talk with Ben Davis – Monday, 16 April 2018

Subjects; M1, Cross River Rail. 

BEN DAVIS: If elected, it will be up to the Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese to deliver all this and I’m pleased to say he joins me on the line. Anthony Albanese, good afternoon. Welcome to God’s country.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for having us, Ben.

DAVIS: I know your stay is only brief, but can I ask you about the M1? You’re matching the Coalition’s billion dollars. Does that mean you’re going 50-50 with the Palaszczuk Government?

ALBANESE: We are. We put more than half a billion dollars into the M1 when we were last in office on top of the $355 million we put in for the Gold Coast Light Rail and $37 million for the Carrara Stadium which was the scene of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. So we have a record last time in Queensland. The Redcliffe Rail line…

DAVIS: Yep. Anthony though, just with the M1. Did the Palaszczuk Government know you’re going 50-50 with them? Because this has been the sticking point here. Do they know it’s 50-50?

ALBANESE: Yes, they do.

DAVIS: They told me last week they were adamant it should be 80-20.

ALBANESE: Well, the Government will put the money they’ve announced in the Budget in May. We are committed though not just to that but to also fund public transport. We in government –  the M1 upgrades that we put in place in government were on that basis, so we believe that infrastructure funding right across the country should essentially be on a 50-50 basis but…

DAVIS: Have you had that conversation with the State Government, though?

ALBANESE: I certainly have. I certainly have.

DAVIS: And they’re open to that?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s consistent with what – they would prefer more. Of course, state governments will always want more money but what we want is genuine partnerships between the Commonwealth and the State Government across the board. It’s not surprising that the State Government are upset with Malcolm Turnbull’s Government. I mean, New South Wales, where I’m from is getting 46 per cent of the national infrastructure budget this year. Last year they got 48 per cent of the infrastructure budget. Queensland isn’t getting its fair share. The Cross River Rail project was identified as the number one project in 2012.

DAVIS: And I will get to Cross River Rail in just a moment, I think that’s important. But just on the M1, it’s been a real big sticking point for three years and I had the Transport Minister here Mark Bailey on the program last week saying no, we’re standing our ground, it’s going to be 80-20. The Federal Government, regardless of who it is, I’m assuming, the Federal Government needs to pay 80 per cent of the way. This has been something that’s been going on for three years and we’ve seen nothing on the M1 but butting heads. You’re putting up exactly the same amount of money as the Coalition, fantastic. So that means that the Palaszczuk Government has to cough up 50-50?

ALBANESE: What we’re saying is, as well though, that there needs to be – that’s on the basis of the fact that the Commonwealth Government should invest not just in roads but also in public transport. We did that when we were last in Government with the Redcliffe Rail Link and Light Rail. We will do that when we are next in government with the Cross River Rail project. Malcolm Turnbull…

DAVIS: Anthony, sorry, that still doesn’t answer the question. Does the Palaszczuk Government agree to a 50-50 funding split for the M1?

ALBANESE: We’re not the Government, so they’re negotiating with the Government. What we’re saying is what we will put in the Budget…

DAVIS: Which is 50-50.

ALBANESE: We will honour what the Government puts in in the May Budget. They’ve announced a billion dollars for that project.

DAVIS: That’s the big sticking point, though. That’s why nothing’s been done yet, because they can’t sit down and figure out who’s going to split the bill.

ALBANESE: To be fair, that’s not why nothing has happened. Nothing has happened because the Commonwealth Government have massively reduced investment. This billion dollars…

DAVIS: But with all due respect there, you’re still putting up a billion as well, so I mean, the money is the same whether it’s from Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten.

ALBANESE: Yes, but it’s only been on the table for a couple of weeks. It hasn’t been on the table from them for three years. For three years they’ve put nothing into Cross River Rail. They’ve put nothing into the M1. They’ve put only the money that we had in the Budget in 2013 on projects like the Ipswich Motorway and a very small amount for the next section, that we intended to have spent. That section should have been done by now, moving onto the next section afterwards. They’ve put no additional money into the Gateway North project. This is a Government that hasn’t invested in infrastructure. They’re now making some announcements in terms of the billion dollars for the M1. We’ve welcomed that. We’d said that we will match that. But we’ve also said that they need to commit to the Cross River Rail. It’s important to remember that funding was in the Budget in 2013 and they cut it when they came to office under Tony Abbott in their disastrous 2014 Budget. The Cross River Rail should have been nearing completion by now. We had an agreement, indeed with Campbell Newman’s government, a signed agreement between us. We had the media release all done for the joint press conference at Kangaroo Point with Campbell Newman and Wayne Swan as the Treasurer.

DAVIS: Anthony, it should have happened. There’s so much infrastructure that should have happened not only in the south-east, in Queensland, in this country. There’s a lot of infrastructure that should have happened, Cross River Rail, and I do want to talk about that, just one final question on the M1. Have you spoken to the Palaszczuk Government about going 50-50? Is that a yes or no?

ALBANESE: We have said yes, we will put in that amount of money.

DAVIS: But have you told them?

ALBANESE: Yes, we have. But guess what? It’s been on TV and I’m on radio now.

DAVIS: Yes, but have they agreed to it?

ALBANESE: It’s not a matter of them agreeing. The Commonwealth decides where Commonwealth money goes. It’s up to them to make their own…

DAVIS: To make up the shortfall. Okay.

ALBANESE: It’s up to them to make their own announcements. They’re the ones who have to – state governments actually build the infrastructure and oversee the projects. The Commonwealth decides where Commonwealth investment goes and what the level is. And so I think that the fact is that we have been consistent about a partnership between the Commonwealth and the states across the board, across projects. We support 50-50 funding. We did that when we were in government and we did that as a part of more than doubling the Queensland infrastructure budget and doing vital projects like Redcliffe, like the Ipswich Motorway, like Legacy Way. We partnered with the Brisbane City Council here for that project. A vital project that’s been very successful, the upgrades to Gateway, both north and south, the M1 upgrades, the Gold Coast Light Rail, and Cross River Rail. We had the funding in the Budget in 2013. We’ve lost a few years, but it’s time to get on with it.

DAVIS: $2.2 billion today put on the table for the Cross River Rail. What’s it being spent on? What’s the breakdown?

ALBANESE: Well, $800 million of that will be a grant and then there will be an availability payment from both the Commonwealth and the State Government of $58 million over the first 30 years. What that means is it’s an acknowledgement that part of the problem of why you can’t get infrastructure built, because the cost is upfront but the benefit is over a long term. What that will enable you to do is to bring in a private partner in terms of financing, it could be superannuation funds or any form of private financing in order to get the costs repaid over the lifetime of the benefit of the project. So I think this is an innovative financing model, consistent it must be said with the arrangement that we came to in government with Campbell Newman’s government, after Anna Bligh’s government did all the work on the planning and preconstruction work for this project. So it really was ready to go and it’s been delayed of course by Tony Abbott withdrawing the funding and then Campbell Newman…

DAVIS: Infrastructure Australia though says that the business case doesn’t stack up though.

ALBANESE: That’s not right. Infrastructure Australia had it as their number one priority in 2012.

DAVIS: Now they’ve only got it as a number one initiative.

ALBANESE: Infrastructure Australia unfortunately has been sidelined by this Government. You’ve had a whole range of projects announced where they don’t even know where the projects are going. In Victoria and New South Wales, in recent times, I’ve got a project in my area of Sydney that’s a $17.6 billion road project where the tunnels have commenced but they’re not quite sure where the tunnels are going to come up let alone the dive sites, and a range of other things. Now, that appears on the Infrastructure Australia priority list as a priority where the business case certainly hasn’t been completed or the environmental approvals for the last stage of the project. So Infrastructure Australia unfortunately has been sidelined by the Government. We think this is a vital project that’s important to increase the capacity not just of the Brisbane rail network but of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast as well. It will take – here’s just one figure – 526,000km of private vehicle travel per day off the roads. So it will make an enourmous difference but essentially doubling the transport capacity across the river into the Brisbane CBD and that will allow for an ultimate capacity of 24 services per hour in each direction. It’s the sort of visionary project that we want to see happen. It’s great that Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Government with Jackie Trad, now the Treasurer, but she was the champion of it as Infrastructure Minister, is so supportive of the project and it’s off and running.

DAVIS: Off and running and with your help too if you get into the Lodge. Anthony, appreciate your time this afternoon. Anthony Albanese there, he’s the Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister.

 

 

Apr 14, 2018

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

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

Subjects: Infrastructure investment, Syria.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[ENDS]

SATURDAY, 14 APRIL, 2018

Apr 13, 2018

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

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

Subjects: Syria, China, immigration, Christopher Pyne.  

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

JOSH FRYDENBERG: Good to be with you boys.

FORDHAM: Where is Christopher, Josh?

ALBANESE: He is on holidays with Karl.

FRYDENBERG: Obviously, yes.

FORDHAM: That will start a rumour.

FRYDENBERG: Pina coladas in hand I am sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FORDHAM: Really?

FRYDENBERG: Yes, absolutely.

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

ALBANESE: You haven’t been paying attention.

FRYDENBERG: He is a member of the Government.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FORDHAM: Thank you both.

ALBANESE: They are a rabble without a cause.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 13 APRIL, 2018

Apr 11, 2018

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

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

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

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: Oh rubbish.

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

ALBANESE: Of course I did.

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

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

PYNE: But that’s not endorsing Bill Shorten.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: They’ll be pleased.

(inaudible).

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

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

HOST: Good stuff guys. Albo and Christopher Pyne …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apr 10, 2018

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

Subjects: Black Spots Program, infrastructure.

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Leon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

BYNER: What is the remedy to this?

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

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

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

TUESDAY, 10 APRIL, 2018

 

Apr 9, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: This is number six in 2018.

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

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

PETERSON: Maybe. I’m losing count.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PETERSON: Because you love it!

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

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

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

PETERSON: Which you were on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PETERSON: But could you be happier?

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: Great to be with you again.

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

[ENDS]

TUESDAY, 10 APRIL 2018

Apr 4, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes Segment

Subjects: Newspoll, energy policy.

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

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Will and David and Anthony.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning. Good to be back.

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

PYNE: Sure.

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

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

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

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

HOST: We called it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PYNE: That’s what the estimate is.

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

PYNE: It was 50 years old.

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

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

ALBANESE: And that …

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: That is the end of him.

PYNE: We had to get rid of Mark Butler.

ALBANESE: He won’t be replacing me anymore.

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

ALBANESE: I’ll bet Christopher might notice it.

PYNE: I’ve moved on.

HOST: All right, Good on you guys.

[ENDS]

WEDNESDAY, 4 APRIL, 2018

 

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