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

Transcript of Television Interview – SKY News – Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Subjects: Liberal Party chaos.

KIERAN GILBERT: Joining me now is senior Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese. Well, we have been here before haven’t we, in terms of a Prime Minister under threat sadly many times over the last ten years.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We have and it would be quite extraordinary if, for four terms in a row, an elected Prime Minister didn’t get to see out their term. But I think that is what we are facing here. No doubt the Liberal Party is in absolute crisis and it’s very deep because it is about different values and different world views. And people like Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly and others who have made this seat their own in the Sky studio, up here day after day, hour after hour, are trashing their own Government.

Tony Abbott’s behaviour is quite unbelievable. I mean this is the guy who signed up to Paris. This is the guy who as Prime Minister established a 26 to 28 per cent target and yet he has done everything to wreck that. When Malcolm Turnbull capitulated completely and showed himself to not have any convictions about anything anymore, except retaining power, they have then responded to that by pointing out his weakness.

GILBERT: From a Labor perspective you are obviously feeling very comfortable in the sense of the Labor Party trajectory to win the next election. Would it have been better to have some sort of bipartisanship, some sort of deal, some sort of framework for that most contested of spaces – energy – so you are not starting with a blank sheet of paper as of the next election?

ALBANESE: Well, we tried Kieran. The Government came up with an Emissions Intensity Scheme. We said we would give that constructive consideration. They then abandoned that. They asked the Chief Scientist to come up with a plan. He came up with the Clean Energy Target. We said we think we can work with that. They abandoned that. They then came up with the NEG – the National Energy Guarantee. We said we would be constructive about it as long as it didn’t constrain future governments to enhance the target, because we thought the target was very weak, given that we will reach 24 per cent by 2020 as a result of our policies, as a result of the Renewable Energy Target that was established under the Rudd Government. We thought you need to do better; as long as that could be adjusted, we said we’d be constructive.

And now we have a Prime Minister yesterday standing up in Parliament and saying that he wouldn’t introduce the legislation, not because he was worried Labor wouldn’t support it, but because he was worried that Labor would support it. That is the big thing that came through Question Time yesterday. I was Leader of the House of course during the Rudd and Gillard Governments and under the Gillard Government we started off every piece of legislation with 70 Government votes – 70 – and we had to get to 75 and we did it for every piece of legislation. We did it for the NDIS. We did if for all of the ground-breaking policies that we had in terms of education and health and infrastructure – all the big picture reforms that we put through in Government. We did, I think from memory, 595 to nil was the scoreboard at the end of that term – and yet this Government isn’t prepared to argue its case on something that is fundamental because one of the things …

GILBERT: But you touched on it before. It is riven by division right now this Government in terms of its view on those policies and those climate wars, they continue unabated. But the thing is, if there were to be a change of leadership – I remember when Tony Abbott became the (inaudible) the Labor Party was delighted with that change. But in the end he turned out to be a very potent opponent. Are you more cautious this time when it comes to Dutton if he were Prime Minister?

ALBANESE:  Well what’s important here Kieran is that the seeds of the destruction were sown by how Tony Abbot got there. So Tony Abbott – people say he was an effective Opposition Leader. He behaved as Opposition Leader like he did as Prime Minister, like he has as a backbencher. He’s sitting back there throwing rocks. He wasn’t capable of governing and that’s the problem. How you get there is important, because how you get there determines what the culture is and the culture of the Liberal Party at the moment and really since Tony Abbott’s rise in 2009 has been toxic. So Tony Abbott had a plan to get into government; he just didn’t have a plan to govern. And then Malcolm Turnbull had a plan to get rid of Tony Abbott, but he also didn’t have a plan to govern. And that’s the problem we’ve got here. Take energy policy. We have had now five years of drift, five years of uncertainty, five years of investors out there not being certain about what the policy framework is going forward and as a result we’ve seen higher energy prices than we would have if Labor’s policy had been continued or if they’d adopted any one of the myriad of policies that have essentially been about certainty.

GILBERT: Given how turbulent it is right now it’s hard to predict as you know these things – very hard to predict how they unfold. But is Labor ready for an election if it were to happen sooner rather than later, because that could be the outcome here?

ALBANESE: We’re always ready Kieran. One of the things I’d say about Labor is that we’ve used our time in opposition to actually prepare for government – to do the hard work on policies. We have in my area of infrastructure a comprehensive plan of how we’d deal with cities with recreating the Major Cities Unit, with the sort of programs that we would implement through a City Partnership Policy. We have a plan for regional economic development and driving decentralisation as well. We have a plan for tourism and we have engaged with the business community, with the sector.

One of the things on my much reported Whitlam speech that I was talking about is writ large by this week’s activity here in the House. What people want is a government that has a plan for the nation, not just a plan for its internals. They are sick to death of this and I think that if Malcolm Turnbull decides that the way for him to have a circuit breaker here is to is to get through this week and then visit the Governor General on the weekend or next week, then I think that would be a good thing for the nation because something has to change. This is chaos in this Parliament at the moment.

GILBERT: Mr Albanese as always, I appreciate your time. Thanks.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you Kieran.

Aug 21, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Canberra – Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Subjects; Coalition Government in chaos, NEG. 

JOURNALIST: What do you make of what is happening within the Government?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This is not a government. This is a rabble. And the problem is that that creates a problem for the nation. We’ve had now five years of energy uncertainty. We’ve had as a result of that, higher energy prices because this Government can’t get its act together. They’ve come up with a whole myriad of plans. They had the Emissions Intensity Scheme, then they had the Clean Energy Target, which the Chief Scientist recommended, then they’ve had various iterations of the national energy guarantee. And what we’ve had there is a government that is simply incapable of having its act together. They’re a government that’s at war with itself and they’re governing to survive to the end of the day, rather than governing in the national interest.

JOURNALIST: Has Labor deliberately stalled negotiations on the NEG to watch the Government implode?

ALBANESE: The Labor Party has been constructive. The Government stood up yesterday through Malcolm Turnbull, on the floor of the chamber of the House of Representatives, and conceded that he wasn’t worried that Labor might oppose it – he was worried that Labor might support it.

And he said, himself, he wouldn’t bring it forward unless he could guarantee that there was a majority of Government members, that is, every single one of them, would vote for the NEG. What that means is that there is a veto over the NEG from any single member. We know that Tony Abbott is completely out of control and isn’t concerned with anything except for vengeance.

JOURNALIST: Labor could end that uncertainty by coming forward and saying yes we will support the NEG?

ALBANESE: We haven’t seen the legislation and Malcolm Turnbull has made it clear that he’s not interested in Labor’s support. What he’s interested in is whether he has 76 votes on his side to support the NEG.

JOURNALIST: A little while ago it seemed the Labor Party was heading in this direction too. There was speculation that you would make a tilt at the leadership of the Labor Party. What’s it like to watch this happen?

ALBANESE: Well if you compare with the way that I conduct myself, and the way that we in the Labor Party conduct ourselves, we have always been interested, including at a time when various journalists were speculating, what we were concerned about is the national interest and getting out there and campaigning. And as I said we would, win those by-elections, as I made clear that that was my view that we would. I campaigned very strongly with the entire rest of the Labor team to ensure that we did.

JOURNALIST: Has Labor done any polling on whether Peter Dutton would be a popular leader?

ALBANESE: I’ve met Peter Dutton. I talk to people in the street.

JOURNALIST: What are they saying?

ALBANESE: I think that if you go out there and do a vox pop, I reckon if Peter Dutton stood we would be a real chance of winning seats that we’ve never dreamed of winning on the north shore of Sydney and in the suburbs of Melbourne. And, indeed, I think right around the country, Peter Dutton is a divisive character. And you’ve got to look at what happens in terms of how people rise. I think here we have a very small rump of people who are causing this chaos. We can name them: Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Craig Kelly. They’re there in the Sky News studio, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, causing chaos. A majority of the Coalition want to get on with the business of being in government. But a small group behaving badly are wrecking the Government, which is a problem for the Coalition, but it is a disaster for the nation.

[ENDS]

Aug 20, 2018

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

Subjects: Malcolm Turnbull, NEG, Tony Abbott

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

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good afternoon Ollie.

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Ollie.

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

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

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

PYNE: One hundred percent support of the Cabinet.

PETERSON: Including Peter Dutton?

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: We are sitting back watching.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PYNE: Absolute rubbish. You always interrupt me.

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

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

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

PYNE: You didn’t give us that support.

ALBANESE: We haven’t been given any opportunity.

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

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

PYNE: The evidence is not in South Australia …

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

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

ALBANESE: It is too low.

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

ALBANESE: You cannot possibly blame us …

PYNE: And now you are trying to pretend …

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: Where was Christopher?

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

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

PETERSON: That’s it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PETERSON: Anthony Albanese?

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

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

 

Aug 17, 2018

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

Subjects: Peter Dutton, NEG, Aretha Franklin.

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STEFANOVIC: That’s a startling admission.

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

STEFANOVIC: Have you seen the legislation?

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

STEFANOVIC: Before Christopher? That is absurd.

ALBANESE: This is a Government in absolute chaos.

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: He’s the Leader of the House.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: They are in your party room, mate.

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

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

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

ALBANESE: You can show it after nine maybe.

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

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

STEFANOVIC: Sing it.

PYNE: No I’m not singing it.

STEFANOVIC: You know you want to.

ALBANESE: You do.

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

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

PYNE: You are the cool DJ.

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

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

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

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

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

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

STEFANOVIC: Yes. Beverley Hills Cop.

ALBANESE: Yes. Or one of them.

PYNE: Brush your hair Karl.

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

[ENDS]

 

Aug 13, 2018

Airports Amendment Bill 2016 – Consideration in Detail – Monday, 13 August 2018

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:12): I ask leave to move amendments (1) and (2), as circulated in my name, together.

Leave granted.

Mr ALBANESE: I move amendments (1) and (2), as circulated in my name, together:

(1)   Schedule 1, item 19, page 6 (line 6), omit “$35 million”, substitute “$25 million”.

   [lower threshold amount]

(2)   Schedule 1, item 22, page 7 (lines 9 and 10), omit “then the Minister is taken, at the end of that period, to have approved that shorter period”, substitute “then, at the end of the period referred to in paragraph (b), the request is taken to have been refused”.

[refusal of shorter consultation periods]

I thank the minister for the constructive way in which we’ve engaged on this legislation to make sure that what is, I think, a good piece of legislation is made better by dialogue. These questions shouldn’t be partisan; they should be the subject of proper scrutiny—hence these amendments that I’m moving today, which the government will accept, I think will improve the bill before it goes to the Senate and should ensure that passage is expedited in the other place with the support of all of the adults in the room.

Amendment (1) changes the lower-threshold amount in schedule 1, substituting $25 million for $35 million. The rationale for this is quite clear: a major development plan must be completed in a number of circumstances, including when a monetary trigger is reached. The current monetary trigger of $20 million was determined in 2007. The bill originally proposed to increase this threshold by 75 per cent, to $35 million. In my view, that’s excessive and it’s also problematic. While the government has argued that this increase reflects changes to construction industry costs, and other economic conditions that have occurred, I believe that a 75 per cent increase doesn’t accurately reflect the changes in construction costs since 2007. According to the ABS construction CPI, costs have increased by 20 per cent. A number of major and sizeable airport construction projects would fall under a $35 million threshold, and such projects would be exempt from public consultations and other assessments. A $25 million monetary trigger is far more appropriate.

I will say to the minister that one of the first things I did upon coming to the high office that he now holds, of transport minister responsible for aviation, was go to an opening of a number of projects at Melbourne Airport. I asked what the process was for the MDP. What had occurred was they’d broken up what was a very large expansion into a series of smaller projects in order to not have an MDP. The truth is that we, as public office holders, have a responsibility to ensure that there’s public scrutiny available. That’s what the government’s acceptance of this amendment will do. I thank him for the spirit in which it’s put forward. It is to ensure that there’s no diminution of accountability as a result of the expansions, of which there are a number of very considerable expansions to aviation around this country.

What I see, and I know the minister sees when he sees those expansions, is jobs and economic activity. It’s a good thing, but it needs to have that scrutiny to make sure that whilst we maximise the economic benefit of aviation we also minimise the impact on the community, because from time to time infrastructure projects do have a negative impact on the community and that’s why it’s important that they be able to be consulted.

The second amendment is to change the issue of shorter consultation periods. It is:

Schedule 1, item 22, page 7 (lines 9 and 10), omit “then the Minister is taken, at the end of that period, to have approved that shorter period”, substitute “then, at the end of the period referred to in paragraph (b), the request is taken to have been refused”.

This is an important amendment. It’s about ensuring that the power of the minister is retained and that you don’t have, through a default circumstance, consultation periods being cut off, or approval being deemed to have occurred, without a conscious decision of the minister to examine the proposal that is before him or her, and to be able to therefore— (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr S Georganas ): The member’s time has expired. The member for Grayndler.

Mr ALBANESE: Due to a range of circumstances that can occur—the minister is very busy with a very large portfolio—it is important to have proper examination. I know that the minister will take his duties very seriously and examine each of these plans. With a range of plans, particularly for the secondary airports, I found they can have a real impact, because—whether it be the Parafields, the Jandakots or the Bankstowns—they tend to be located around a lot of residences. I certainly took my responsibility seriously and on a range of occasions basically sent it back effectively with a mark of ‘needs to do better before it’s approved’. And guess what? They did do better. That provides a confidence there for the public.

Currently the public consultation period associated with draft MDPs, as specified in subsection 92(2A) of the act, is 60 business days. The minister can approve a shorter period, not less than 15 days, if asked in writing by the airport operator to do so, and as long as they are satisfied that the proposed development is consistent with the airport master plan and does not raise any issues that have a significant impact on the local or regional community.

The bill seeks to insert new subsection 92(2BA), which would provide that if the airport makes a request for a shorter consultation period and the minister does not make a decision on the request within 15 business days then the minister is deemed to have approved that shorter period. Labor can’t support that amendment, and I’m pleased that the minister’s been very much open to having some dialogue about this. This is one of the pieces of legislation in this parliament which won’t change a vote either way. Most legislation is like that. We should be able to consult, have dialogue and come out with better outcomes in the national interest. In the words of the Bills Digest that was prepared by the Parliamentary Library:

This amendment seems to raise the possibility that the Minister could simply not decide on the request, and then be deemed to have approved the short period, even if the development is inconsistent with the airport master plan, or raises issues that have a significant impact on the local or regional community.

It should be within a minister’s capability to consider a request for reduced consultation within 15 days. In circumstances where this doesn’t occur, it’s appropriate for it to be deemed that the request is not approved, is refused. That achieves a better balance. The whole philosophy behind the aviation green paper and white paper process was to ensure that you had proper planning around airports. In some of the debate that’s taken place about flight paths, for example, with Western Sydney airport, I note that of course there aren’t flight paths yet, because they’re done every five years under an airport master plan. There is a constant review. There is a constant need now, and indeed a legislated requirement, to have community consultation and engagement. Interestingly, at the time that that was done, a lot of the airports weren’t exactly fans of this reform. They all acknowledge now that, as a result of this reform, their processes have been substantially improved and the relationships with the communities around their airport have been enhanced.

I commend the amendments to the House and I thank the government, and the minister, in particular, for their support.

Question agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Aug 10, 2018

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

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

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Sylvia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PYNE: Well, prices dropped 14 per cent.

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

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

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

PYNE: Rubbish.

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

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

JEFFREYS: There was no tender.

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

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

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

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

PYNE: Sylvia asked me a question.

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

PYNE: What stinks…

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: It stinks.

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

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

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

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

JEFFREYS: Well should it be made public?

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

PYNE: Please!

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

JEFFREYS: Christopher, should the report be made public?

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

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

PYNE: Well I don’t know what the …

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

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

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

JEFFREYS: We are out of time Christopher and Anthony.

PYNE: What a pity!

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

ALBANESE: We could come back after half past seven.

PYNE: We could. Let’s do it again.

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

ALBANESE: Come on.

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

[ENDS]

 

Aug 9, 2018

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

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

NEIL MITCHELL: Anthony Albanese, good morning.

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

MITCHELL: She said the faceless men got her.

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

MITCHELL: As far as you know?

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

MITCHELL: I am just repeating what she said.

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

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

ALBANESE: No.

MITCHELL: Did she have to go?

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

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

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

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

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

MITCHELL: That is a Labor investigation.

ALBANESE: Yes, that’s right.

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

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

MITCHELL: Is she a loss?

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

MITCHELL: But is she a loss to the Parliament?

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

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

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

MITCHELL: Well, was she a good member?

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

MITCHELL: How long had you known about the allegations?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MITCHELL: Oh, I see.

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

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

(TAPED INTERVIEW FROM EARLIER) 

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

MITCHELL: Well, which ones?

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

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

ALLAN: He was but he’s not anymore.

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

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

(TAPE ENDS) 

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

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

MITCHELL: He’s not a mate anymore?

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

MITCHELL: By keeping you out of government?

ALBANESE: By not making him Prime Minister.

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

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

MITCHELL: We are not popular with the Government either.

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

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

ALBANESE: You should of.

MITCHELL: I did.

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

MITCHELL: So it is appropriate?

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: Well why have him on there?

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

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

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

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

MITCHELL: Well that reminds me, how is Bill?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MITCHELL: But can you bring prices down?

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

MITCHELL: What, with renewables?

ALBANESE: Absolutely, renewables.

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

ALBANESE: With renewables, with batteries, with storage.

MITCHELL: And that is going to be cheaper?

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

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

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

MITCHELL: Mugged?

ALBANESE: Not even that interesting.

MITCHELL: You fell over?

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

MITCHELL: How’s the dog?

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

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

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

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

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

Aug 9, 2018

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

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

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Leigh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SALES: Anthony Albanese, thanks for joining us.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

ENDS

Aug 8, 2018

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

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

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

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from Melbourne.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOST: What do you think Chris?

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

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

ALBANESE: Have you got undies on the outside?

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 8, 2018

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

Subject: City Partnerships policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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