Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Dec 12, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 5AA Two Tribes – Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Subjects: Christmas; defence; ALP National Conference; Leadership spill; Russell Crowe.
HOST: I think they promised Christmas carols, or carolling at least, last week. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese, good morning to you.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen and happy Christmas to your listeners.

HOST: That’s very kind of you, Chris. Happy Christmas to you as well. G’day Albo, how’re you going there mate?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning, I’m going very well. It’s the slow end of the year. I’ll be in Adelaide Friday, until next Tuesday.

PYNE: You sound like a three-toed sloth. Why are you speaking so slowly?

HOST: You’ve got to be careful coming to Adelaide at the moment, Albo. You guys were going to put the Space Centre in Canberra weren’t you?

PYNE: They were, that was their announcement. That was Kim Carr’s announcement. It was going to Canberra.

HOST: We’re space mad this morning – Kim Il-Carr.

PYNE: Kim Il-Carr.

ALBANESE: Space mad.

HOST: Have you got space fever, Chris?

PYNE: I’m very excited, there’s another hive in South Australia, the Australian Space Agency coming to Lot 14. We worked closely with Steven Marshall, of course, and the Federal Government to achieve that. Comes on top of a Centre for Defence Industry Capability based in Adelaide. Again, something that I delivered as the Minister for Defence Industry. Tomorrow we’ve got big announcements about the ships and the submarines, two of the biggest projects in Australia’s history. The offshore patrol vessel started its construction in Adelaide more than a month ago. First Pacific patrol boat delivered to Papua New Guinea and the two joint strike fighters landed on Monday, so I’m having a great week.

HOST: Christmas has come early.

PYNE: Christmas has come early. It’s going to keep coming if you re-elect the Liberal Party.

ALBANESE: Well, he’s certainly had jam for breakfast.

PYNE: What did you have? Did you have Valium? He’s just looking forward to the ALP National Conference on the weekend.

ALBANESE: It’s breakfast radio, so I’ll leave it there.

HOST: So Albo, are you coming over for what? This is the ALP Conference. My mail is apparently business observers are falling over themselves to see you guys in action.

ALBANESE: They are, actually.

HOST: Strange way to spend your money.

ALBANESE: It’s pretty full. People want to chat to us. Why wouldn’t you when there’s a rabble on the other side?

HOST: Are you going to be on your best behaviour?

ALBANESE: Well it makes a change to the interruption. I mean, yesterday we had news that Craig Kelly was actually going to join the National Party in order to avoid having to face a Liberal if he lost pre-selection and that’s why Scott Morrison intervened. I mean this is just bizarre stuff.

HOST: On a serious note though, for you guys, partly because they’re so open in their structure, Labor Party national conferences, and I would have gone to about five I reckon, they can become a bit unruly. There’s often an opportunity for the Leader to be embarrassed by members of the party not singing from the same song sheet. Is there a chance that might happen, particularly on the question of border protection? Are you lock-step with Bill Shorten on that issue?

ALBANESE: Look, the party, in three days, 400 delegates, will always be a little bit untidy. That’s the truth. That’s the benefit though of being transparent about the fact that we’re a party of ideas. People who’ve been elected are accountable to the people who voted for them. We now have direct elections so people will have run on a platform from their particular electorate that they’d raise an issue in a certain way, and they’re entitled to do so. But what will come out of the process is a platform that unites the Labor Party, that everyone then can get behind and – that’s not the policy, of course, but that’s the basis of the values that we take forward and the Parliamentary Party makes up the specific policies that we take to the election. And of course we already have more policies out there than any Opposition in living memory ever has.

HOST: Being our final Two Tribes for 2018, it’s time to get a little bit wistful. Christopher Pyne, what were your highs and lows of the year?

PYNE: One of the highs of the year was Steven Marshall getting elected in South Australia in March. That was definitely a high. Getting the biggest ship building and submarine building projects underway in Australia’s history has been a high, it’s going very well. And if the worst happens and Labor wins, it’s going to be hard for them to undo it, given that they did nothing in six years. I am very pleased to have locked that in. And the lows, well, I never see any lows. I only see happy sides.

HOST: That is a cop out.

PYNE: Silver linings to every cloud.

HOST: Would you like us to nominate a couple for you?

ALBANESE: The Government falling apart?

PYNE: I’m a glass half-full man. One of the lows, of course, was Labor ending the year dismantling the offshore processing. Which is going to let the people smugglers back in again.

HOST: What about that little period where the Prime Minister vanished again?

PYNE: When was that? when did that happen? I can’t remember that. I block out anything unhappy. I’ve got my happy face on like the mother in Strictly Ballroom.

HOST: What about you, Albo? Your low would probably be the excellent result Bill Shorten got in that by-election earlier in the year, wouldn’t it?

ALBANESE: Not at all, I always support the Labor team. I think it is the case, though, that one of my highs is having the benefit of listening to Christopher’s extraordinary optimism, as all around him goes to absolute rubbish.

PYNE: Absolute nonsense. We’ve got you right where we want you.

ALBANESE: It’s quite extraordinary, how you get on 55 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote.

PYNE: You’re not on the ropes, you’re on the canvas.

HOST: It’s only a flesh wound, Albo.

PYNE: They’re going to have to help you up at some point, I think.

HOST: It’s like a rumble in the jungle, a parallel universe. The Scott Morrison rope-a-dope. He’s just going to lunge any minute now.

PYNE: You’ll be surprised.

ALBANESE: It’s going so well.

PYNE: I wouldn’t get overconfident, Anthony. You’ve lost from here before, I’ve seen it.

ALBANESE: It’s gone so well.

HOST: Hey guys we’ll wrap it up. But can we just say, this is our last segment for the year, so to you, Chris, and to you, Albo. It’s not always the easiest segment to manage but we really do appreciate the candour that you bring in your discussion of national affairs, and the good humour. It’s a lot of fun catching up with you every week. You’re two of the genuine heavy hitters of politics and you know it’s great having you on. Our listeners appreciate it and we appreciate it too. So have a great Christmas.

ALBANESE: You know what I think a high was? When, after one of our segments, Russell Crowe Tweeted out: “That’s what politics should be, people having disagreements but being respectful’’.

HOST: That was pretty cool.

ALBANESE: A whole lot of retweets and coverage, and I think that’s what Christopher and I try to bring.



Dec 12, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 5AA Adelaide with Leon Byner – Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Subjects: The Overland Great Southern Rail.

LEON BYNER: Anthony Albanese, good morning.


BYNER: Anthony, interesting we had a conversation recently and you said: “Leon, the Vics aren’t going to save the Overland. They’re not going to do that. Why would they do anything for South Australia?’’

ALBANESE: Well, what we have here is a humiliation for Steve Marshall. It’s quite extraordinary that Daniel Andrews’ Government effectively are subsidising the South Australian Government as well as their own. And I just thought at that stage the Victorian Government hadn’t made the decision. They obviously have been put in a position whereby, because of South Australia’s intransigence on this issue, the route would have fallen over had someone not picked up South Australia’s share of the tab. And they’ve done it. And good on Daniel Andrews for doing it. And every South Australian should be happy about this today because it’s really important for those regional economies.

BYNER: Well, it’s interesting that the Victorian Government are expanding their regional rail network. We seem to be going in the other direction where we’re selling off rail stock. There’s a line for example to the Barossa, but we’re not interested in doing anything to try and make that work. There’s a point here that I should raise. A couple of people have had a go saying: “Oh Leon, what are you talking about, the train wasn’t viable so why should we put in money?’’ I thought: Hang on a minute. Okay, I’ll accept that if that’s the game. Then I found out that we are spending, in South Australia, $300 million a year on buses and rail, right. But the subsidy for that is most of that $300 million. So if it’s about viability and you’re using that argument, what do we do about the transport services here that lose a heap more than the Overland does?

ALBANESE: Look, public transport, by-and-large nationally, no matter what state you look at, or what city, or what region; contributes around about between 20-25 per cent of the cost of operation and maintenance is made through the fare box. Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s bad economics because the benefit isn’t direct. The benefit is to those jobs that are created. The benefit of people being able to get to work, get to recreational activities, get from A to B.

That’s why governments operate public transport networks. And it’s just absurd. It’s a bit like arguing that roads run at a loss in South Australia because of the maintenance costs that council, the State Government and on the major roads, the Federal Government contribute. I mean it’s an absurd argument. And the fact is that railways are absolutely critical. And the 21st Century is the century of rail. It’s back, whether it’s High Speed Rail, regional rail, suburban rail networks, light rail. We know that is how you can move people around for their everyday lives and that’s how the economy runs.

BYNER: All right, so just from your perspective, why is it good for South Australia that another government has picked up the $300,000 or so, to make sure the train keeps going? What’s the benefit?

ALBANESE: Because places like Murray Bridge and other places along the route will get jobs created. Because people who live in those regional towns will be able to travel to Adelaide or to Melbourne, to see family, to do work or to engage in recreational activities. As the Tourism Shadow Minister, this route provides an absolutely vital connection and it’s particularly important in terms of regional development. The fact is, that many people rely upon this route. It also works to connect people up from Victoria who want to travel on the Ghan or on the Indian Pacific and that adds up. So that has indirect benefits along the route there as well. This is absolutely vital, this service. And good on Victoria for kicking the can for South Australia. But I do find it is astonishing that the South Australian Government for the sake of $300,000 is put in this position as if they can’t afford it. It is a matter of priorities. And I think it’s quite sad the way that Liberal governments seem to have in common not being prepared to fund rail projects in our cities and in our regions.

BYNER: Anthony, thanks for coming on this morning.



Dec 7, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 5AA Adelaide with Leon Byner – Friday, 7 December, 2018

Subjects: The Overland Great Southern Rail.

LEON BYNER: Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese – Anthony, Merry Christmas and thanks for coming on today. Can you shed any light on this?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Merry Christmas to you, Leon. Unfortunately I don’t think that information is correct. What the Victorian Government are saying to me is that they are doing more than their bit, which is a fair statement. They have a million-dollar-a-year subsidy. They have had that for some time. They’re saying that unless South Australia will continue with that subsidy – they’re not asking for anything new here. So that’s $330,000 a year the South Australian Government puts in. It gets more than that back if you take into account the fact that it’s taking cars off the road – off local roads that require maintenance and upkeep. If you think about the jobs that are created because of the stops at Murray Bridge, at Bordertown, Horsham and all along the route in both South Australia and Victoria. And it is quite an extraordinary decision. About 30,000 people take this journey every year. Why the South Australian Government have had such a hostile response from the Liberal Government, reminds me of Tony Abbott’s hostility to trains that he had when he was elected to government.

BYNER: Well, again I can tell you that the public sentiment, Anthony, in Adelaide – judging by the very big response we’ve had – is that we need to keep the Overland.

ALBANESE: It’s beneficial for the economy, it’s important for tourism, it’s important for those regional communities. It’s a no-brainer. I just can’t understand why the State Liberal Government is so hostile to it. Particularly if you look at the sort of people who take the journey as well, which is another factor, plenty of them are older – from South Australia, from Victoria. People who for various reasons want to take the train rather than drive. Many of them aren’t people who live close to the airport. They take it from one of the regional destinations or to one of the regional destinations along that route. Once train services cease to operate, this is the experience everywhere, if you look at (inaudible) once they stop it’s very hard to get them back. And they’re due to stop at the end of this year 31 December , when it is scheduled to make its last journey. And that of course is right in the middle of the holiday season.

BYNER: I noticed yesterday there was a flurry of enthusiasm from a number of very dedicated rail groups saying that this is imminent and it will happen. But you’re saying at this point not so?

ALBANESE: You need dollars for this to operate. The Marshall Government have withdrawn their funding, or are saying they will. They made that decision very recently on 28 November, so just last week. And what the Victorian Government are saying to me is that they can’t do it on their own. It’s very much proportionate – they’re doing the heavy lifting at the moment. Of course the Commonwealth stopped its subsidy in 2016 under the Coalition Government. If you have circumstances whereby it is only Labor Governments that will fund these rail lines and when there is a change of government, then you have a withdrawal. Then what you will have is a decimation of our rail system particularly in regional communities.

BYNER: Anthony, thank you for joining us. You may want to stay on the line. Just quickly let’s talk to Steve. Steve, what’s your latest on this?

CALLER: Well, the information that I’ve gathered from transport related – transport people both in SA and especially in Victoria, is that is exactly what’s going to happen. The Great Southern Rail are promoting a new rail experience from Brisbane through to Adelaide via Melbourne. It will take about three nights their campaign says. It takes coach transfers to go and visit the Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road and all that sort of stuff along the way. That can’t happen if the Overland is not there, and the people that I have been liaising with on social media from Victoria, are very confident. And these people have been pressed quite a lot by a lot of other people, including myself, as: ‘Is your information correct?’ And they are most adamant that it is, that there will be an announcement shortly. But whether it maintains the name The Overland remains to be seen. But a service will more than likely continue by the sounds of it. And there seems to be a feeling that there’ll be an announcement probably today or over the weekend, maybe Monday, along those lines. And it will come under the ownership of the Victorian Government i.e. B Line.

BYNER: Okay. So you’re pretty sure of this. Let’s talk to Shadow Treasurer Steve Mulligan. Steve, can you add anything to this?

STEPHEN MULLIGAN: Well it’s absolutely imperative that Stephan Knoll does his job as the Transport Minister and maintains these regional rail services. This is not the commuter service. This is an important tourism service. It delivers a huge economic benefit to South Australia. There are tourists who travel over from Melbourne to Adelaide, either a holiday in Adelaide or even to catch it again up to Darwin. So it’s an important tourism link and of course it provides all those other services that both Shadow Minister Albanese and your caller Steven have spoken about, providing benefits to towns along the route. I think there are eight or nine stops along the road in regional South Australia and Victoria. It is a mere pittance. We are talking, the Government subsidy of between $330,000 and $350,000 a year, which is one senior public servant executive salary. In fact it’s less than that Leon. It’s the decision that needs to be made and if Mr Albanese is correct, for the sake of a few hundred thousand dollars, in a $1.5 billion transport budget in South Australia, we lose this service. And Victoria doesn’t bump up their money because they’re getting sick and tired of doing the heavy lifting while South Australia is not putting any money in. Then this is going to be a disaster for our tourism industry, for rail service and those communities that rely on this service along the route.

BYNER: Steve Mulligan stay on the line. So, Steve Lucas, are you sure this is not connected at all to the Indian Pacific? I just want to clarify something here, that this is definitely a Melbourne-Adelaide service.

CALLER: Completely a Melbourne-Adelaide service because of B Line. I don’t know whether you’re aware, B Line line run an extensive country rail network, both with their rail and also coach services under the B Line banner. And we’ve even got B Line coaches that come to Adelaide. And in conjunction with their new – I think it’s called the Southern Experience or something, they’re going to call it – is they will utilise their B Line coaches to transfer people down to the Twelve Apostles and various other places around for that experience. Like Mr Mulligan has just said, the Overland is part of the rail experience, just like the Ghan, just like the Indian Pacific and numerous other rail journeys around Australia, most of them on the eastern seaboard. And the Overland, whether it remains under the name Overland, I’m fairly confident a service will still remain because the people that I’ve been speaking to on social media are being pressed: ‘Are you sure it is?’ And yes they are most sure. So they haven’t backed away from it and a couple of their sources are a bit like mine. We’ve got people in certain areas, in the area of business and around the place. And from a Victorian level say, and they’re [inaudible] and that new service that they’ve been starting to promote, that’s from Brisbane, Melbourne to Adelaide – can’t happen unless you actually have the passenger rail link from Melbourne to Adelaide.

BYNER: Alright. Well, Steve it’s interesting because yesterday we had Alex who rang in and said virtually the same thing, it was one group, we’re getting this all over the place. Now Anthony Albanese – election next May. What is the Federal Government, if it’s Labor, what’s their attitude going to be on trains?

ALBANESE: Well, we fund rail. That’s why we did the [inaudible]. That’s why we have for the last two elections, campaigned with Steve Mulligan to actually deliver on expanding light rail there in Adelaide. The fact is, with respect to Steve, talking to people on social media, I’ve just spoken directly to the Victorian Government. And the idea …

BYNER: Yeah.

ALBANESE: Just think about this, the idea that Victorian taxpayers should fund things in another state, I reckon would be a triumph of hope over experience. The South Australian Government unfortunately have to come to the party or else I can’t see the circumstances whereby Victoria will say yes: ‘We all operate this system and provide all of the subsidy for another state’. I just can’t see the circumstances in which that happens. And that’s why the South Australian Liberal Government there really have a responsibility. Steve Mulligan said this is not a huge amount of money in terms of the state transport Budget. And the Marshall Government should walk back from what was, a real error of judgement.

BYNER: Anthony Albanese, thank you.



Dec 5, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – ABC Riverina – Wednesday, 5 December, 2018

Subject: High Speed Rail.

HOST: We’ve been seeing in the news an announcement from the State Government saying that they can’t afford to wait for the Federal Government to fast track the much discussed High Speed Rail project. Four routes were proposed and announced by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, including one to Canberra via Goulburn. But that is about as close as it got to our region. Meanwhile the Federal Government’s proposed routes from Sydney to Melbourne do include stops in Wagga Wagga and Albury-Wodonga. So are the two governments getting in the way of each other? And what about this new feasibility study from the State Government? Anthony Albanese is the Shadow Transport Minister and I spoke to him earlier.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well we’ve actually had the study and the New South Wales Government worked with that study into High Speed Rail when we were in government. It was a two-part study. It was at a cost of $20 million. It identified Wagga Wagga as one of the stations for High Speed Rail on the route between Sydney and Melbourne and one of things that it found was that it would really stimulate economic activity where there were stops in Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga – they would be the two stops from Canberra through to Melbourne and then there would be another one in Victoria at Shepparton. Wagga Wagga was identified as an appropriate stop. It is the capital if you like of the Riverina there and the study was done. The route has been identified. What we need to do is to get on with advancing the project.

HOST: So on that route does that mean that the fast rail would go from Sydney to Canberra and then around to Wagga? There wouldn’t be any skipping of Canberra?

ALBANESE: That’s right, yes. It would be Sydney, Southern Highlands, potentially a stop in south-west Sydney, but then Southern Highlands, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga, Shepparton, Melbourne.  And one of the things that it found was that that would produce a benefit of almost $2.50 for every dollar of investment. One of the things that lifted up the economic benefit case was the economic development of regions, particularly Wagga Wagga and other places along the route, also the route between Sydney and Brisbane. We had a vote yesterday in the Parliament which was supported by 73 members and opposed by 72 Coalition members. So it went through, but it didn’t have support of enough, an absolute majority of Members of Parliament, because some people are away. So it didn’t get to 76. But that indicated that there was the support thanks to support of independents including Cathy McGowan, who seconded my motion in the House of Representatives, for this project to proceed.

When we had the study I set up a High Speed Rail Advisory Group to make recommendations on how to advance the implementation and that included Tim Fischer, of course the former member for Farrer, who is very familiar with the Riverina region and he, along with Jennifer Westacott from the Business Council and other experts, all recommended that what you need is an authority to firstly preserve the corridor – so purchase of any properties that are needed along the route, to then go to market and call for expressions of interest for construction of the project because there are many international consortia who have been involved successful in building and operating High Speed Rail projects in every continent on the planet except for Australia and it is time that we got it done.

HOST: So what would the potential difference be between a new feasibility study from the State Government and the studies that have already been done?

ALBANESE: Well I don’t think anything will come out of this State announcement except for a press release. I mean, they have appointed some individual to look at it. We had Aecom do the oversight of the study. It involved an 18-month process. It was comprehensive. It even had the design of stations included in it. So this is a bit of a thought bubble for different parts of New South Wales, excluding the Riverina interestingly. But one of the things that the study showed is that you need to have High Speed Rail on the route where the population is and there is no doubt that Sydney to Melbourne is the biggest of those and not just in terms of those two capital cities that will grow to eight million people each over coming decades, but the major regional centres that areas along the route that would grow including of course the national capital here in Canberra.

HOST: How does a potential set of routes that we saw put forward by the State Government yesterday affect the Federal Government plan?

ALBANESE: I don’t think it will have any impact on anybody frankly. The State Government were clearly just looking for an announcement. There are improvements that could be made to existing rail routes such as down to the Illawarra that have been identified by the Government’s own departments. There are improvements that could be made on the western route. But the idea that this will amount to anything I think is very optimistic indeed. The routes that have been identified – the major routes between Sydney to Melbourne and Sydney to Brisbane, clearly if you look at High Speed Rail around the world that’s the sort of distance that really makes it economically viable, that 800km to 900km, because that is what is competitive in terms of time and in terms of experience.

People would much rather spend under three hours on a train doing work, not with the lost time of hanging around waiting for the plane to board and then boarding and sitting on the plane and waiting for bags – all of that means that effectively it would be more efficient to catch the train rather than air travel and that is the thing that drives High Speed Rail and that is why we looked at the international examples right around the world for the most effective way in which to proceed.

South America, North America, Africa, Asia and Europe are all building increased numbers of High Speed Rail routes. Australians are great travellers of course and Australians who travel from London to Paris by train or Rome to Milan or, in our region, Tokyo to Osaka or Beijing to Shanghai, all come back saying: “Why aren’t we doing it here in Australia?’’ And that is why I sought bipartisanship. That is why I appointed Tim Fischer, a former member of the National Party, to make these recommendations. He is a genuine enthusiast for rail, but he is also a practical bloke as well. And that is why I appointed Jennifer Westacott to make sure that there was a signal out there that the business community was serious about the improvements to our national economy that could come with High Speed Rail.

HOST: So you don’t think any action from the State Government at this stage could affect the way ultimately that High Speed Rail is built? For example, their route suggested that it could only go to Canberra via Goulburn. Couldn’t the Federal Government just say: “We will deal with the further bit that goes to Melbourne?’’

ALBANESE: Well there’s no money behind the State Government announcement. There is no money. There is no plan.  There is no timetable. What they should do is go back, just have a look at the work that has been done. There is a great deal of cynicism about new studies because it has been studied over and over and over again and what we need is actually some practical steps to drive this plan. And the State Government, what they should be doing is lobbying the Federal Government to say let’s get on with how we preserve the corridor and let’s provide some funding from the different levels of government to do that step because unless we do – Infrastructure Australia produced a report just last year to the Federal Government that said the cost increase of not preserving the corridor now but delaying for ten years down the track or some period down the track and then deciding to get on with High Speed Rail would be $22 billion of additional costs.  So it’s time that we dealt with this in a bipartisan way. You can’t build High Speed Rail in one term of government. It will take many terms and no doubt changes of government which occur of course from time to time and that is why it needs that bipartisanship and that is what my High Speed Rail Authority is aimed at doing upon the recommendation of Tim Fischer and Jennifer Westacott and the Australasian Railway Association and local government. You need a mechanism to drive this project.

HOST: That’s Anthony Albanese there, who is the Shadow Minister for Transport speaking to me earlier.



Dec 5, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 5AA Two Tribes – Wednesday, 5 December, 2018

Subjects: Liberal leadership; climate change; encryption.

HOST: I remember the good old days when Two Tribes were just that little bit more tribal. We could toss out leaders easily. Now it’s all so, need consensus, it’s all too difficult. You guys have sanitised this whole thing. Good morning to you Albo and Christopher Pyne.



HOST: So Chris walk us through the logic behind the meeting on Monday night. Obviously you guys are trying to draw a line under the leadership merry go round.

PYNE: Well I think that’s what the Australian public want us to do. And Labor did it a few years ago by introducing rules that made it very hard to remove the leader in a Parliament. And we adopted ourselves on Monday night a rule that would require effectively a two-thirds majority of the party room to change the rules that the Prime Minister once elected can serve an entire term without facing a challenge.

So I think that gives a lot more certainty to the public that they could vote for Scott Morrison and when he’s elected Prime Minister he would remain in that role for at least the term that he’d been elected to. And I think that’s what the Australian people are crying out for. We’ve changed the Prime Minister every Parliament for the last four Parliaments. I’ve been in nine Parliaments, that’s almost half of them and Labor and Liberal have both done it. It’s time to put an end to it.

HOST: What’s your assessment of it from the Opposition benches Albo? You were actually sort of part of the new rules on the Labor side when you were the members’ choice as Leader. But the caucus vote held sway and Bill Shorten got the job. What do you think of what the Libs have done?

ALBANESE: Well I seconded the proposition to change our rules in the Caucus to provide some certainty and to ensure that there was more stability and that was what it was aimed at. That is what it has achieved. The problem for the Government, is that they have their fourth choice as leader as the current Prime Minister. I mean a majority actually supported Malcolm Turnbull. Peter Dutton was the second choice. Julie Bishop was the third choice and Scott Morrison was the fourth option. And the problem that they have made is that …

PYNE: That’s made up quite frankly.

ALBANESE: Well it’s not. Julie Bishop ran and people like you engaged in a WhatsApp exercise of putting moderate voters who supported Julie Bishop on to Scott Morrison so she would be eliminated and Morrison would be elected. So, we have a disaster in the Coalition. The problem they’ve got is that whoever leads them, they’re voting for a rabble of a team who we’ve seen this week — former Prime Minister Turnbull out there saying what a majority think which is that they should be taking action on climate change. They should be supporting their policy of a National Energy Guarantee …

PYNE: We are.

ALBANESE: And they’re just a joke at the moment, frankly.

HOST: Let’s give Minister Pyne a chance to respond to that.

PYNE: Well we are taking action on climate change because it’s absolutely vital that we do so. And that’s why we’ll reach the Kyoto targets, the Paris targets by 2020-21. By 2030 the extra target, the 26 per cent cut in our emissions. We are doing the right thing. We have reduced our emissions per head by 50 per cent since we began the measures that the Government has instituted to reduce our carbon. It is the right thing to do.

Labor would have us believe there’d been nothing happening at all on climate change in 10 years. It’s completely false. It’s just one of the myths that Labor puts around. It’s not true. And I and most of my colleagues are very actively engaged in supporting policy that will reduce electricity prices like the Big Stick Legislation that we’ll be introducing today, that will allow us to make energy companies divest assets if they don’t do the right thing. They’ve had a great run, the energy companies, for a long time. The consumer has been a loser from that. We are taking the action to allow us to divest the assets and Labor should support it. If they did it, we could do it. We could pass it this week. But Labor is not supporting it. And that is why it’s not passing this week. If Labor changes their mind,  the energy prices could be coming down even further than they already have.

HOST: Minister Pyne, the Labor Party has moved on encryption law and it looks like an agreement’s been struck there. Can you explain to our listeners what the laws regarding encrypted communications will mean you can do in the future that you can’t do now?

PYNE: Well, it means that the Government legal agencies will have the power to obtain warrants issued by either the Attorney General or by myself, depending on the agencies involved, to effectively intercept encrypted messages that they have not been able to do before because of the technologies that are used to protect those messages. And that means that we will be able to catch would-be terrorists, paedophile rings that use WhatsApp or Telegram or other encrypted messages to communicate with each other, organised criminals. So the technology has changed but the laws allowing our legal agencies to pursue them have not changed and we’re updating them. And I’m glad Labor’s supporting that finally.

HOST: What was your issue with them Albo? And why have you swung around to back the Government?

ALBANESE: Well, the issue was protections. Under the law as it was drafted there weren’t enough protections in there. You could have had mine or your messages  — information intercepted by any of, for example any of the ICAC-type agencies that are there around the state, and you wouldn’t even know about it. So what has happened as a result of some mature negotiations by the Attorney General and the Shadow Attorney General to get an outcome, is an oversight by a Judge, a former Judge and a technological expert, a step in-between so that it’s not just a free-for-all. What we want to do is to target, of course, terrorists or people who would do us harm or are engaged in the sort of activity that Christopher spoke about, paedophiles, et cetera, whilst at the same time not destroying the freedom of people to engage in everyday activities. So we wanted to ensure that there were protections built in. Labor’s now satisfied that has occurred. So we’ll be supporting the legislation as amended.

HOST: Good stuff. Rare outbreak of consensus in what’s been a fairly divided couple of weeks in Canberra.

ALBANESE: The divisions are all on their side. We’re just watching with popcorn. We got the popcorn out.

PYNE: [Inaudible].

HOST: It is Christmas time.

PYNE: Christmas cheer Anthony.

ALBANESE: Maybe we could sing next week for being the…

HOST: Last one for the year. Maybe you can play your favourite carols and you can do a rendition.

ALBANESE: That would be terrific. We’ll go and practice after Question Time.

HOST: Do a duet.

PYNE: We’ll practice in the courtyard, they’ll by trying to shut us down.

ALBANESE: And the clicks you’ll hear all over Adelaide will be radios being turned off.

HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, Two Tribes. The last one coming up next Wednesday.

HOST: That’s right.

HOST: The carol edition. Yes the Two Tribes edition you didn’t know you had to have.

HOST: They can’t do Baby it’s Cold Outside though, because that’s been banned and more importantly, it would just be weird.



Dec 4, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – High Speed Rail – Canberra – Tuesday, 4 December, 2018


Subject: High Speed Rail.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I am very pleased to be joined here by the Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan, and just a little while ago we moved in the House of Representatives a suspension of standing orders that would ensure that the High Speed Rail Authority Bill was voted on and carried by the Parliament today.

This is a Bill whose time has well and truly come. We know that today the Premier of New South Wales is in the newspaper speaking about having some feasibility studies and looking at where routes might be for High Speed RaiI. I say to the Premier of New South Wales she doesn’t have to do that. There has been an extensive study done by the former Labor Government. It was done in two stages. It involved state governments. It involved local government. It involved international expertise and it was widely recognised as being comprehensive. It went down in detail to the actual design of rail stations and what it found was that not only is High Speed Rail viable and an economic benefit to the nation for the routes between Sydney and Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane, but that it would super charge regional economic growth, which is why I am so pleased that Cathy McGowan has been such a passionate supporter of this project.

Now this project shouldn’t be partisan. That is why I asked Cathy to second today’s motion in the Parliament, to indicate the breadth of support which is there. And of course in the High Speed Rail Authority that we planned to set up, I intended to ask the High Speed Rail Advisory Group that recommended the structure to participate. That included Tim Fischer, the former Deputy Prime Minister and a real rail advocate and enthusiast. It included Jennifer Westacott from the Business Council of Australia, showing how important the economic case was for this project. It included the head of the Australasian Railway Association, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, representing employees, local government.

It is one thing to talk about the need for High Speed Rail. The other thing though that is critical is actually putting in place the planning, preserving the corridor, getting that done. That is the first step. The real tragedy is that if we don’t do that the cost will be many tens of billions of dollars – not according to myself or Cathy – according to Infrastructure Australia in a report to the Government of just last year.

So we have an opportunity today to get something done. To show the Parliament at its best, doing what the Australian people want us to do – not squabble and fight, but recognise what is in the national interest and move forward in a comprehensive and, indeed, a cohesive way as a Parliament. This is a project that won’t be solved in just one term of Parliament. That’s why I have always looked for bipartisan support and I thank Cathy for seconding the motion and we’ll be pursuing it. The vote will be after Question Time and it’s an opportunity still for the Government to get on board, maybe take attention away from fighting each other for just a minute, vote for this and get something done for the nation.

MCGOWAN: Thank you. So my call to the Government – if not now, when? And to the people of regional Australia, if this Government doesn’t do it, then who is going to have the vision for the regions? When I got elected, I’m always saying I’m putting my electorate first. And we desperately need better infrastructure. And I’m really pleased we’ve been able to do some work on our current train line and get some of the mud holes fixed up.

But what we actually need is a long-term plan and we need to get the authority organised between Melbourne, Albury-Wodonga, Wagga Wagga and Sydney and further north. And I cannot see the argument of why you wouldn’t do it because it’s exactly as Anthony Albanese says: If you don’t do it now, when are you going to do it? And it just becomes so expensive.

So I’m a really pragmatic Member of Parliament and I’m really pleased to be working with Anthony Albanese on this and I really put a call out to the Government to come and join us on this nation-building activity. And the first thing we need to do is get the corridor organised and agreed to. We’ve done all the work, we’ve got all the expertise in and now we just want some bipartisan work to say, yes we’ll put the authority in place and we’ll do the work in a non-political way, which is I think what the people of Australia want and certainly what the people in my electorate want.

ALBANESE: Thanks Cathy, happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Cathy, you know the rail line down Albury-Wodonga, that’s just been a debacle it seems, hasn’t it? Is that because it’s owned by three different bodies or how many are responsible for all that?

MCGOWAN: Public transport is an issue in Victoria, but no more so than in my electorate of Indi where we have got a railway line that has had so many problems. It’s owned by the Australian Rail Track Corporation, it’s operated by V-Line and also NSW Railway and I’ve been really successful in my time here of getting $235 million to get the mud holes fixed up. But we’re nowhere near solving the problem of public transport.

So it’s one of the reasons why I’m such a great fan of doing the long-term planning and getting the corridor organised because, assuming that I can continue to do my work and get our train line fixed up, that will only take us back – and my community tell me – to the Ned Kelly days and now we’ve got to move into the 21st century and have something that actually is going to connect us up to the cities.

So there’s no planning for regional transport and I have to say even in Victoria with the last election with the Labor Party how seriously they’ve let down the regions. They’re doing work around Melbourne and out to the airport, but if you put the marginal seats or the very safe National Party or Liberal seats, we’re just completely off the agenda. So that’s why coming to Canberra and to work on a national approach to this is so important for me. But surely we’ve got really big problems in the regions with our current transport and my community keeps saying: ‘Well fix up the slow rail before you do the fast rail’. And I’m saying there’s no reason why we can’t do both – fixing up the slow rail and doing the planning for the fast rail in the future.

ALBANESE: It’s absurd that here we are in Canberra where it takes longer to go from Canberra to Sydney by rail than it did many, many decades ago. It’s quite appalling that that’s the case. But the difference is with High Speed Rail if you put Canberra under an hour from Sydney, Newcastle under an hour from Sydney, Albury-Wodonga under an hour from Melbourne, you change the economics of those regional cities.

We talk about urban congestion and pressure that’s on. We have to get serious about decentralisation. Decentralisation doesn’t mean moving 10 public servants to Armidale. That does nothing. What does drive that economic change and decentralisation is turning what is a tyranny of distance into a comparative advantage and that’s what regional High Speed Rail would do and that’s why this is such a visionary project.

And I must say over the years – Paul Fletcher: “We have seen a number of proposals in recent years for High Speed Rail and the benefits are easy to visualise’’. Michael McCormack, the current Transport Minister: “High Speed Rail could open new opportunities for regional Australia’’. Angus Taylor: “Now more than ever we need to talk about the future of the Hume Corridor and High Speed Rail’’. John Alexander: “Well connected cities and regions mean the opportunities can be distributed across a wider population. High Speed Rail can bring distanced communities within close proximity of each other’.

What I say to those Members is that words are good, but sitting on the right side of the Parliament in the division would be even better and there is an opportunity this afternoon to advance this project. Gladys Berejiklian, the Premier of New South Wales, has made an announcement with no route, with no funding, with no planning. That’s not good enough. The planning has been done. The route has been identified. Let’s get on with preserving the corridor and advancing this project.

JOURNALIST: Is it a bit like the Snowy Hydro Scheme – long-term thinking, but now with short-term governments they don’t think?

ALBANESE: Well there is no doubt that one of the issues that we have to deal with infrastructure in general is breaking the nexus between the short-term political cycle and the long-term infrastructure investment cycle. That is why we created Infrastructure Australia – to get that long-term vision and there is no doubt that a project like this will occur over many terms of government and that is why we are seeking cross-parliamentary support for this.

Members say they support it. Let’s get on now, today, with seeing this as a project which is advanced, not what has happened up to this point. I have had to introduce this Bill five times to the Parliament. We provided funding to the authority in the 2013 Budget. It was abolished by Tony Abbott’s Government. Today we can reverse that and get on with the business of High Speed Rail. Thanks very much.

McGOWAN: Thanks very much.



Dec 4, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – ABC Canberra with Anna Vidot – Tuesday, 4 December, 2018

Subject: High Speed Rail.

ANNA VIDOT: The New South Wales Government says a fast rail network around the state will help transform New South Wales. You looked at this in a much broader perspective in 2011. What’s changed?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We had a serious look at it, not just a media release. We invested $20 million in the study that looked at international experience, that looked at the route of a High Speed Rail network between Brisbane, through to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra.

ANNA VIDOT: Surely it would have started with a media release though. Isn’t that what the NSW Government is intending to do?

ALBANESE: Well, they haven’t put any money in.

VIDOT: As yet.

ALBANESE: They’ve got one person in charge who’s an expert. If they looked at the study that had been done, what you need essentially is population and it looked at the economics of High Speed Rail and whether it would work or not – the feasibility of it. With the greatest of respect some of the routes that have been identified, certainly to the west of the state – it certainly would not stack up in terms of the economics of High Speed Rail. Canberra to Sydney does stack up, as it does right through to Melbourne as part of the route. It found that the cost would have to be pretty similar to air travel. It found that for distances essentially of just under 1000 kilometres High Speed Rail was ideal. But one of the things that lifted up the benefit, as opposed to the cost, of the project was the benefit for regional economies along the route. In particular the Southern Highlands, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga and Shepparton, in between Sydney and Melbourne.

VIDOT: So do you think that perhaps the NSW Government could benefit from looking at your past research, or have things changed too much?

ALBANESE: No. The research stacks up. It was looked at again by Infrastructure Australia last year. They found the cost of a failure to preserve the corridor, the entire corridor from Brisbane to Melbourne, could be $22 billion additional cost, unless that was done. I have a High Speed Rail Authority Bill. What I did was, after the study, I had an advisory group that included Tim Fischer, the former leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister and a great rail enthusiast. I had Jennifer Westacott, the head of the Business Council of Australia, just to make the point that this was a hard-headed economic analysis. We had the head of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, Bob Nanva, the head of the Australasian Railway Association, a representative of local government. And it looked at how this project could be progressed, and what it suggested was that you needed an authority because it crosses jurisdictions both local government – of course many jurisdictions, but particularly the four states and the territory down the east coast. And it needed that to get the planning right and to get on with the preservation of the corridor, as the first step and then what you would do is to go out to market. There’s lots of international experience. The effectiveness and efficiency of High Speed Rail is increasing, at the same time as the costs are coming down. And it’s being rolled out in every continent – inhabited continent – on the planet, except for Australia.

VIDOT: Mr Albanese, when I spoke to Andrew Constance the NSW Transport Minister earlier, he was discussing how initially the idea will be to have faster rail. So improvements and upgrades to the current tracks as they stand. Is that something that we need to start seeing some work on sooner rather than later? You keep talking about a High Speed Rail, but is that something that’s very, very far off into the future?

ALBANESE: Well, that would be welcome. And there are a number of things that could be done to improve the network. In particular if he is talking about down to the South Coast and the Illawarra, the building of Maldon to Dombarton, taking those freight trains away from that track and doing some work just south of the National Park, would make an enormous difference, and that study is being done by the transport department. There are things that we could do. There is work that has been identified between Sydney to Canberra, that would improve the route. But if we’re serious about making rail competitive with air travel and really making a difference, then what we need to look at is to be ambitious. The rest of the world is doing it, there’s no reason why we can’t do it from Sydney to Canberra, for example, would mean that this great national capital would be under an hour from the CBD of Sydney. Now what that does is change the economics of businesses being located here, from one of disadvantage to one of all of a sudden having an advantage, because of the lower establishment and operating costs of businesses here compared with in Sydney. But it also would mean for the people of Canberra, much more attractive, or the people from Sydney for that matter, they could travel up very quickly to events that are in either city. Be it something at the National Museum, or the National Gallery, or the Sydney Opera House. It would change the way that the two cities relate to each other.

VIDOT: My guest here on ABC Radio Canberra Drive is Anthony Albanese, the Federal Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. We’re taking a look at the fast rail network, something that the NSW Government has announced it will look at come the next election or post the next election. A couple of text messages here, Mr Albanese, Ron from Bungendore says: ‘My parents used to talk about the highway to the coast being upgraded to two lanes both ways from Canberra to Batemans Bay. They finally admitted that it would not happen in their lifetime and it has not,’ Ron says: ‘This fast rail will not happen in my lifetime and I hope to be around for the next 40 years.’ I think there’s a lot of sentiment like that. I know that it was talked about when I was in high school, this particular issue.

ALBANESE: I understand why that cynicism is there, and that’s one of the reasons why, when I was the Minister I appointed a committee – that wasn’t a committee for Labor, or a committee for the Coalition – it attempted to get the head of the business community for Australia, in Jennifer Westacott, a former leader of the National Party in Tim Fischer. There were no former Labor MPs on the committee that I established. I wanted to try and create momentum for beyond one term, or beyond any particular party being in office because this is a project that won’t be done in one or two terms. And that’s why today, to bring on the legislation that I have before the Parliament about establishing the authority, now I’ve moved and there’ll be a vote in the Parliament very soon to try and bring on a vote on that deal. And it was seconded by Cathy McGowan the Independent Member for Indi because I’ve tried to reach out. Many people across the Parliament, if you took a conscience vote, if you like, particularly for members on the east coast: ‘Do you support High Speed Rail?’ it would be overwhelmingly carried. And we need to take that sentiment and turn that sentiment and aspiration into a reality, and that takes a structure and that structure is having an authority that will drive this project.

VIDOT: Both the New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and the Transport Minister, Andrew Constance, say this is not an election stunt, that they’re looking ahead to the future and it’s a matter that’s important to people living in the regions as you just said. You’ve spent a lot of time travelling. Is that what you’re hearing from people?

ALBANESE: Oh absolutely. It would make an enormous difference to the regions. Both the route in inland NSW, between Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, but also up to Newcastle, which would also be under an hour from Sydney. But towns like Taree and Port Macquarie, Lismore and the Gold Coast would be transformed by such a project. One of the things that we’re talking about, those of us who live in the capital cities, is urban congestion. And we need to do something about decentralisation. Decentralisation won’t be driven by moving 15 people from a government department from Sydney to Armidale. How it will be driven is by making the economics of private sector investment and economic activity better in the regions than it is in those capital cities. I think that is the way that you really promote that change and people in the regions get it. My in-laws will be travelling up to Port Macquarie from Sydney at Christmas time, and it’s a dreadful drive, that’s the truth , as much as the highway has been improved, when all the cars are there wanting to head up the coast at the same time. If you could jump on a train and be there in half the time that it takes you to drive, that would be of enormous benefit.

VIDOT: I don’t think anyone disagrees with you on that one. Anthony Albanese. Would you be, is this something that’s going to be back on the agenda if Labor wins government in 2019, dare I say it, after May.

ALBANESE: It certainly will be on the agenda. And the bells that you may be able to hear ringing in the background, are for the Division to get the vote on the High Speed Rail Authority.

VIDOT: Then I will let you go.



Dec 3, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Nine Network Today Show – Friday, 30 November, 2018

Subjects: Liberal chaos, Parliamentary sitting calendar, female representation, International Reggae Day.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome to the show. It’s good to have your company. The Liberal Party has plunged deeper into chaos this week following the resignation of MP Julia Banks, sending the Morrison Government further into a minority and bracing for more defections. For more I’m joined by Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne from Adelaide. Morning guys, how are you?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning. It’s nice to be with you.


STEFANOVIC: Christopher do you ever feel like you’re pushing (bleep) up a hill?

PYNE: Look politics is an exciting business Karl and I’ve been doing it for a quarter of a century, as has Anthony, and I’ve been in politics when we’ve been in much worse positions than this. In 2001 we were 58-42 in the polls and we were written off and eight months later we won the election and let’s not forget next year in April we’re going to release a surplus Budget – the first surplus Budget since the Howard-Costello era.

STEFANOVIC: It doesn’t really matter, it’s all white noise. They’re not going to vote for you.

PYNE: Look I don’t agree with that at all. I mean we’ve got six months to go before the election. Anybody who decides the election is over – I know Labor has – Labor is absolutely overconfident. But let’s not forget John Hewson was going to be the Prime Minister of Australia, Karl. The media and the political commentariat had completely written the Keating Government off and they won in March 1993. So it’s a lot to go between now and the next election.

STEFANOVIC: Well him not knowing the price of bread with the GST probably had something to do it – or a cake or whatever it was. Listen just in terms of what you’re  promising ahead of this election you’re also talking, I think in the Adelaide Advertiser today, about possible tax cuts. Is that what you’re going to do? And what bracket will they be? And when will they come into play?

PYNE: Well we would welcome a contest with Labor over tax because Labor has a $200 billion wrecking ball of taxes they want to put through the economy – really hurting older people, pensioners and retirees, renters, homeowners, people who want to invest in the property market. They’re going to reduce house prices and of course tax us more. So we’ll welcome a contest with Labor on tax.

STEFANOVIC: No but when are you going to introduce your tax cuts for the working class?

PYNE: Well we did that in this year’s Budget. We’ve done it in previous Budgets. We’re always open to more tax reform because we believe in giving people back their own money whereas Labor regards it as the Government’s money.

STEFANOVIC: Albo, your response?

ALBANESE: Well the Government’s getting increasingly hysterical as they get more and more desperate. What we saw this week was they lost the Member for Wentworth as a Government Member on Monday. They lost the Member for Chisholm as a Government Member on Tuesday. They’re going to lose the Member for Hughes – Craig Kelly’s going to go to the Crossbenches as well. This is a Government that has decided it is so bad they’re not going to allow Parliament to sit next year and it will sit – from next Thursday Parliament will sit for a grand total of 10 days in eight months.

PYNE: That’s a lie actually. That’s a complete lie.

ALBANESE: It’s absolutely true.

PYNE: The schedule between now and June next year –

ALBANESE: And he knows it. And he interrupts –

PYNE: We have nine sitting weeks, actually 10 sitting weeks because of next week as well. So that’s an absolute bald faced lie.

ALBANESE: You know Christopher’s in trouble when he interrupts. He got the first three questions and he interrupts when he’s desperate.

PYNE: Don’t tell lies.

STEFANOVIC: So if it’s not 10, it’s 15 or 16? That’s still not a lot.

PYNE: It’s 10 sitting weeks between now and June next year.

ALBANESE: The election will be in May.


ALBANESE: The election’s in May –

PYNE: You want us to cancel the election?

ALBANESE: It will be called in April.

PYNE: Do you want us to the cancel the election?

ALBANESE: No you’ll be cancelling Parliament.

PYNE: Is that what you want to do? I don’t think so.

ALBANESE: The more he yells, the more he’s in trouble.


PYNE: You’re not telling the truth Anthony. As much as I love you, you’re not telling the truth.

STEFANOVIC: Bit of love in the morning. Albo, for you, your party looks like it’s going to win this next election but there are still serious issues with Bill Shorten. He hasn’t got a pulse in terms of ratings?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is we’re ahead and today we’re putting –

STEFANOVIC: How does he not measure up against Scott Morrison?

ALBANESE: Well what we’re doing is putting out policies each and every day. And today we have a contemporary music policy. It’ll make a huge difference – making a real difference to people who want to go to musical or sporting events, stopping the bots getting onto sites and taking up to 30 per cent of tickets, putting a limit on new ticket sales or resales of 110 per cent of a sale price. They’re the sort of policies that will make a real difference. We are a Government in waiting, preparing for government. They’re acting like an Opposition in exile sitting on the Government benches.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, one thing that came up this week again, reared its head again is: ‘I am woman hear me roar, in numbers too little to ignore’. When are you going to have equal representation in Parliament?

PYNE: Well we’re preselecting a lot more women across Australia. We have women leading –

STEFANOVIC: When will you have equal representation?

PYNE: Well Karl, can I actually answer the question or are you just going to interrupt?

STEFANOVIC: Well if you answer it and don’t waffle on.

PYNE: Well I’m not waffling on actually, I’m answering your question. We have women leading the Senate ticket in Western Australia, in South Australia, in New South Wales. We preselected a new woman for the Senate ticket in Queensland, two in Tasmania on the Senate ticket, two women in the Northern Territory seats – both of them are winnable. We’re preselecting women all across Australia in winnable seats. We ironically preselected a woman in Chisholm to replace Julia Banks. So we are setting about, on merit, choosing women for the next election and women’s representation will spike after the election when those women get elected in the Senate and across the country.

STEFANOVIC: Why don’t you just save us all a lot of heartache and let Julie Bishop run the show?

PYNE: Well we have a Leader, Karl –

ALBANESE: Because she might be successful. She’s popular.

PYNE: It’s Scott Morrison and we’re not changing the Leader again.

STEFANOVIC: Are you sure?

PYNE: I am.

ALBANESE: One of things we woke up to this week, isn’t that they’re worried about Parliament sitting because of what we do, they’re worried about  Parliament sitting because their party room at the same time.

PYNE: Labor’s very cocky.

ALBANESE: Every time the party room meets it’s chaos and dysfunction.

PYNE: Labor already has the election in their grasp apparently.

STEFANOVIC: On a much lighter note Christopher, I promised to ask this in light of the fact that it’s I think, International Reggae Day today. What is your favourite reggae song? I mean you don’t come across as a Rasta to me, but what is your favourite reggae song, Christopher Pyne?

PYNE: Well I like all kinds of music actually, Karl, and I do like reggae. I like Buffalo Soldier and I like I Shot the Sheriff.

STEFANOVIC: But did you shoot the Deputy?


PYNE: Boom boom.

ALBANESE: They did. They did in fact. That’s why Julie Bishop’s on the back bench.

PYNE: Boom boom Karl. Boom tish.

STEFANOVIC: Just loosen the shoulders up a little bit. Thank you guys. Have a great weekend.

PYNE: Thank you.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.



Nov 28, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 5AA Two Tribes – Wednesday, 28 November, 2018

Subjects: Sydney weather; minority Government; Parliamentary Sitting Calendar 2019.

HOST: Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us. Hopefully, Albo, your electorate hasn’t entirely washed away this morning. Good morning to you both.


ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good Morning. I actually have to get to Sydney to give the eulogy at a funeral of the late Ann Symonds. And it does not look good at this stage and I may well be driving.

HOST: Yeah. And drive carefully on your way up there, Albo. We’ll kick off with you, Chris. Yesterday not really a great day for the Government was it?

PYNE: Well and if you think that continuing to be a minority is a bad day for the Government, well, we’ve been a minority since Malcolm Turnbull left as Prime Minister.

HOST: Yeah, but, sort of a bit more of a minority now though.

PYNE: Look, we need two votes from the crossbench to pass anything in the House of Representatives and yesterday we won every vote. Anthony and I have been through this before, in the 43rd Parliament Labor lost 76 votes in those three years. I’m sure that we will probably lose votes. The point is, will the Government continue? Yes, through to the next election at least and hopefully beyond because we’re delivering on the fundamentals for Australia. A strong economy, growing number of jobs, low interest rates, low inflation, almost full employment. And I think that we will get the support from the people to continue to do that rather than the big-taxing agenda of Bill Shorten, who wants to change everything.

HOST: How do you focus on that economic narrative? Because you have got, on the economic fundamentals, you’ve got a story there to work with, you’ve got a good story to tell. The problem is every time Scott Morrison stands up it’s like there’s an explosion going off in the background.

PYNE: Well look that’s right. Yesterday we announced that next year’s Budget will be in surplus. Which is a great achievement, it’s ahead of schedule. The last time Labor delivered a surplus was 1989. But we will deliver a surplus next year reminiscent of the Howard Government, unlike the Rudd-Gillard period. This morning in The Advertiser there’s another great story about how the Hunter Class Frigates are adding billions of dollars to the South Australian economy and thousands of jobs. So we’re getting on with it, I’m getting on with it in defence. That’s good for our state and good for the country. The actual business of government is going very well. The problem is the politics that gets in the way and that’s why we need to be focused on the public, focused on the people – what they want – as opposed to this inside the bubble obsession that we have here in Canberra sometimes.

HOST: Yeah. Anthony Albanese the numbers for the Government are more precarious on the floor of the Parliament, but are you going to allow them to get through to the election date that was set yesterday, or broadly pointed to yesterday? Or is your plan on your side of politics now, to try and wreck the joint, effectively?

ALBANESE: They’re doing a great job of wrecking the joint themselves, at the moment. For Christopher to say, that essentially it’s all going well, defies belief. The fact is that this is a Government that isn’t in control. And yesterday when Christopher tabled the sitting pattern for the Parliament next year, which we’ll see when Parliament gets up next week, on December 6, for the next eight months right through to August there will be ten sitting days of the National Parliament and only seven sitting days of the Senate. That’s it, over the next eight months. Having once abolished, of course, or got rid of a week’s sitting because it was all too hard because the banking Royal Commission was going to be carried they then, of course, when they had the coup against Malcolm Turnbull, shut-down the Parliament in the middle of the day.

HOST: Are you going to attempt to bring on an early election, or are you going to see it out until May?

ALBANESE: Well we’ll wait and see what happens on the floor of the Parliament. What’s clear is that the Government themselves are saying they’re incapable of governing. They don’t have an agenda. And if they had any self-respect they would put themselves and importantly the Australian people out of their misery and call an election.

PYNE: Well apart from the fact that Anthony’s math is all wrong as usual, the truth is the Budget has been brought forward a month to April 2nd. It’s usually in May. But obviously the election will probably be in May. So therefore the Budget has been brought forward a month, a surplus Budget, showing that we’re getting on with the job. And that means the extra couple of weeks we would normally have, we’re not going to have because of the Budget being brought forward a month …

ALBANESE: Christopher has had a good go …

PYNE: This is one of those classic cases. I’m happy for you to have a go, I thought it was my turn. I’d hate to talk over you, goodness gracious.

ALBANESE: Well, when you stop. The fact is that – I’ve done the sitting timetable on six occasions and what you do is you look for when Australia Day is, and Parliament comes back the week after Australia Day. That’s the normal process. The Parliament also sits in March. There is either five or six sitting weeks in the schedule prior to April, and there is no reason why you can’t have five or six sitting weeks prior to the April Budget. The only reason why there is not, is because they are running from democracy.

HOST: And the Budget has been brought forward.

PYNE: And the Budget has been brought forward a month. So it’s actually a completely different sitting schedule. There are 17 sitting weeks next year, which is the average, is the norm and everyone knows that – 17 sitting weeks next year.

ALBANESE: There’s ten days until August.

PYNE: Your maths is completely wrong.

HOST: Thank you, guys.




Nov 27, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – Triple M – Australia By Night with Stephen Cenatiempo – Tuesday, 27 November, 2018


Subjects: Social media; bipartisanship.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: I picked up an article in The Australian today and I read it and I thought: ‘Yep this is what I’ve been saying for years’. And it was written by a bloke that – look I’ve had some knock-down, drag-out battles with him on-air during my career and we probably don’t agree on anything ideologically, but I think he’s 100 per cent right on this. He’s the Opposition Infrastructure Spokesperson, Anthony Albanese. Albo, good to speak to you mate.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you. I’m glad there’s something you agree with me on.
CENATIEMPO: Well you and I have we’ve had some pretty robust discussions on-air. But you always speak common sense and that’s the one thing I’ve admired about you and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with this opinion piece in The Australian today, about the echo chamber that social media has become.
ALBANESE: Well that’s right and I guess in part me talking to you now is a part of what I’m saying through this article – that you have to talk to a broad audience. You need to talk to people who just don’t agree with you. You need to be prepared to engage in the debate and if you’re confident about your views, you shouldn’t fear that. But one of the things social media does, is that people follow people that they agree with. And that therefore reinforces their opinions, and this can be either on the Left or the Right, and that creates a polarisation of views that I don’t think is particularly healthy.

It also creates a tendency away from understanding that compromise is important in politics, as in life. And a lack of respect sometimes for people of different views and – even the fact that the article was published today in The Australian and I tweeted it out, I put it on my social media and people responded, some people responded to that by saying: ‘How dare you write an opinion piece in The Australian, it’s an echo chamber itself’. Which, I guess, just reinforces what the article was saying.
CENATIEMPO: Albo, you’ve been around a long time and I was just looking at your – eight elections now you’ve held the seat of Grayndler – it makes me feel old to think that I ran at the same election you were elected in all those years ago. But there seems to have been this view, I mean, and you’ve been around long enough to remember politics before social media. Are politicians responding to this echo chamber too much these days?
ALBANESE: I think they can and if you look at – even the comments of Julia Banks today with her resignation from the Liberal Party – I think that there is a danger that politicians will respond to people, essentially, who have similar views to them and that will be reinforced and that they won’t engage because they will continue to have a view that everyone thinks in a particular way. This was a part of my piece today, arose from the John Button Lecture that I gave in Melbourne during the election campaign just a couple of weeks ago. And one of the points that I made in that, was to say that the phrase: ‘Everyone thinks that … ‘, is more and more common now than when I was elected 20 years ago. People will say to me verbally, but particularly on social media: ‘Well, everyone thinks …’, in a particular way, whether it be about migration or about transport issues or about the environment. And the truth is that there are very few issues where everyone has one opinion. I mean, I wish everybody was a South Sydney supporter, but the fact is they’re not. And you need to be prepared to respect that. Engage in dialogue. There’s too much shouting I think at the moment and people wanting answers that are just essentially in – Twitter now is 280 characters – but you can’t for example have a sophisticated policy on climate change in 280 characters.
CENATIEMPO: Well that’s an interesting point. But I guess the extension of this is, how do we reach across the aisle these days? You know, I mean I remember the days in Parliament where you’d go and have a beer with your opposite number on the other side after you’d had a debate in Parliament. That seems to be disappearing a bit, too. And it’s permeating the entire population now. How do we close the gap?
ALBANESE: Well, I think we’ve got to talk about it. And that’s what my opinion piece today is about. But we’ve also got a responsibility to just act. I try to engage in different forums. I talk to people like Andrew Bolt and others. I was the only minister who went on Andrew Bolt’s program during the period of the Labor Government, when he was on commercial TV. And I felt that was talking to his audience. Now I might not agree with Andrew Bolt on a whole range of issues, but I found the interviews respectful and that was a good thing. I think the opinion pages of The Australian actually reflect a very broad range of opinion, and that’s a good thing. And the idea that people say – obviously it’s a newspaper with a conservative bent – but it’s not exclusively so, particularly not when it comes to opinion. And the idea that we should shy away from engagement in that because I’m a progressive member of the Labor Party is in my view very counterproductive.

One of the things that I do is appear on a few programs with Christopher Pyne, including the Today Show, every Friday morning. Now, some people say to me: ‘How can you appear with Christopher Pyne?” Well I think it’s a good thing. We try to not yell at each other. We try to, it’s early breakfast TV, we try not to be too partisan in our comments where that’s possible, while sticking up, obviously, for our own side of politics. Christopher I think gets the same feedback. People say: ‘Why are you talking with someone from the other side of politics and it seems like you like each other. How can that be?’ To people for whom that might be their only political thing they listen to or watch in an entire week, who enjoy the fact that we’re respectful of each other and that we do like each other, we get on. That’s a good thing.
CENATIEMPO: Albo, in almost a decade a decade of broadcasting whenever I’ve picked up the phone to you, you’ve always picked up, you’ve always been available, you know, unless you had something else on, of course. But what I find is more and more politicians are reluctant to come on a program like this. I mean we’re broadcasting to 35 radio stations across regional Australia. Talking to real people tonight. Are politicians afraid of that feedback these days? Why is it that less and less of your colleagues will, I guess, come on a program like this these days and answer questions?
ALBANESE: Well I think that for many of them it is more comfortable to go on programs where they know they’ll get agreements, where they’re more comfortable. And I’m someone who goes on a whole range of radio programs, you know, across the ABC, SBS, but also commercial radio. I think it’s an opportunity to put my point of view about issues and I’ve never been frightened of saying what my views are. And one of the things that I say in the article today is, if you have faith in your ideals and policies there’s nothing to fear from debating them, particularly with those who disagree. And when you think about it, if you’re trying to win majority support for your political positions then talking to people and convincing them of your position is one way in which you can do that. The truth is that I hope that we’re always open to discussion and to changing my mind. I’ve certainly changed my view about issues over the years and I would hope that that’s the case based upon when facts change, you have to change your view of the world. And in part one of the ways that we do that is by conversing with people and I enjoy conversations that I have with people, whether it’s in the supermarket or whether it’s on radio. And radio is a particularly effective form, I think, in which to have mature conversations as long as people are respectful, then I’m prepared to talk to them.
CENATIEMPO: Well said. It’s a very old-school outlook, Albo. But I think a lot of people could learn from it. Always good to speak to you.
ALBANESE: Thanks very much for having me on the program.




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