Subject: Record Store Day
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning and welcome to a great celebration that’s taking place in 180 record stores right around Australia – International Record Store Day.
We’re at The Record Store in Darlinghurst, on Crown Street in Sydney and I’m here with Stephan from this joint and with Dale from Elefant Traks which is based in Marrickville and produces records by local artists.
Today’s a celebration of the fact that fifteen years ago people thought that people would consume music just by sitting at home downloading tracks from their computer.
But that isn’t what’s happened. Records have thrived. Today there are special releases in the 30 countries which are participating in Record Store Day. Today bands are producing records once again on vinyl.
Today people are experiencing that in this fantastic store here behind us, the difference that it makes when you go into a record store and pick up an album, touch it, feel it, see the liner notes, see who wrote the songs, play the songs in order, have a chat with each other and other community members.
People like Stephan run these record stores out of love for music and they’re a great source of information. Of course, without record stores we wouldn’t get new music produced by local bands and local artists.
Our culture is really important to us in this country. That’s why Record Store Day is a fantastic day, a great celebration and I’m really proud to have been an ambassador for Record Store Day 2017.
STEPHAN GYROY, THE RECORD STORE: Record Store Day is fantastic. It’s a celebration of culture that surrounds vinyl. It’s not just a corporate marketing exercise, although there’s obviously elements of that sneaking into it.
But really, it’s the people who shop at our shop, it’s every age, it’s every demographic, both genders. It’s dads coming in with their daughters. I’ve got one customer who comes in with his 16-year-old daughter and she wants to go work at a record store and make techno in London.
As a 40-year-old guy who went to dance parties years ago, to see that generation transfer and to understand this music is great, to understand that there are sub-tribes of music that are just global, and that record stores are the touch points around the world for these cultures.
DALE HARRISON, ELEFANT TRAKS RECORD LABEL: Very much what Stephan said. For us as a label, Record Store Day is really important to not only directly connect with fans, and music buyers, but also directly connect with the stores themselves, because the reason we do the releases is for the stores. I mean, we also sell through our own store, but we have an exclusive today just for a select bunch of record stores so that’s really important to us.
REPORTER: Albo, what do you love about vinyl?
ALBANESE: You can touch it, you can feel it. There’s a different sound, I think, that comes out of vinyl compared with downloading music and that’s why vinyl’s making a comeback. New artists are producing new albums on vinyl, and as well we’re seeing re-releases on vinyl.
Today the International Record Store Day ambassador is Elton John. He’s re-releasing his live album from 1970 on vinyl and of course with new technology the quality of the sound is even better.
But there’s something about picking up a piece of vinyl, putting it on a turntable, putting the needle on and hearing that amazing sound that comes from vine.
It’s fantastic that it’s now getting a new audience, and the concept of playing two sides to an album is being taught to young music lovers everywhere. It’s a great thing.
Subject: Record Store Day
ANDREW O’KEEFE: By day he is Anthony Albanese, mild mannered politician, Federal Member for Grayndler, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Tourism; but by night he becomes a music industry super hero, DJ Albo.
MONIQUE WRIGHT: And today DJ Albo is doing his bit as an ambassador for Record Store Day which is independent music stores are critical to the music industry and to our communities.
O’KEEFE: Welcome Albo, great to have you here.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Great to be here. Happy Record Store Day!
WRIGHT: And this is your collection, Albo?
ALBANESE: Some of these records are mine there, some of my favs – [inaudible], The Boss, The Jam, Bowie, Billy Bragg.
O’KEEFE: I notice you’ve got the original Blues Brothers soundtrack here.
ALBANESE: The Blues Brothers are fantastic.
O’KEEFE: I love those.
ALBANESE: It’s a great album.
WRIGHT: You’ve said that us sort of maintaining record is important for community. Why do you feel so strongly about this?
ALBANESE: Well what was happening about 15 years ago people thought people would be sitting at home downloading music, not going into record stores. You go into a record store, you can pick up an album like this, you touch it, you can feel it, there’s art work, there’s the songs, there’s the lyrics on the inside.
WRIGHT: You get the story.
O’KEEFE: It’s a document for life.
ALBANESE: And it tells you about where you were at the time, who you were with, who your mates were, the first time you saw the band live.
O’KEEFE: Like, how many times have you opened an old record sleeve to find something in it from your life at that time, and it take you right back, hey?
ALBANESE: And one of the things that is happening live – Patti Smith did it last week in Sydney – is bands are coming and playing songs from track one right through an album, in the way that it’s supposed to fit together like the way a novel fits together, or the Sunrise show fits together from beginning to end. It has the peak and it goes down and up. You know, it has a rhythm to it.
O’KEEFE: Why don’t you play a track while we talk, Albo?
ALBANESE: We can do that. Why don’t I put on; everyone is got to like this song.
O’KEEFE: Yeah, terrific. So you were a big live music devourer as a youngster around the Inner West of Sydney, does it disturbed you the way we are losing – particularly in Sydney but around the country also – our live music venues to cranky neighbours?
ALBANESE: It is, and I think in some states they’ve introduced laws so that if you move in an area next to a pub that’s playing live music you should know there’s live music there. That’s part of it. So I think the live music scene when I was young was just fantastic, and you know you got to go to local venues around. They employ local people as well, and the great thing about record stores is now they’re coming back. So you’ve got record stores opening rather than closing.
WRIGHT: They have become super cool.
ALBANESE: And bands are producing albums again on vinyl, which is great. And today is just a celebration. There will be 180 stores around Australia; there will be DJs, there will be bands playing, and I’ll be at The Record Store in Darlinghurst, and the Posse are playing across the road.
O’KEEFE: Where do we find out who’s doing it in our local community?
ALBANESE: You can find out online, Record Store Day Australia. This is a global thing; 30 countries this is happening; there is new releases. Elton John is the international ambassador. He’s producing a new version of his – or I guess reprogram – 1970 live album. So new albums, new tracks, a chance to engage with your local community. And it’s a bit like, I reckon, people hanging around pubs or coffee shops, it’s a place to gather.
O’KEEFE: Totally. Albo you’ve got a craft beer named after you, you’re a DJ, you’re a hipster. You are a hipster!
WRIGHT: You’ve just got to put the leather jacket on and grow the beard.
ALBANESE: The beard is not going to happen. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere. My wife would never accept that.
WRIGHT: Do you dance while you DJ?
ALBANESE: I do sometimes.
O’KEEFE: Do you do a bit of Peter Garrett style?
ALBANESE: I’ve done gigs for charities. I’m doing a gig for an Indigenous charity in Melbourne next month. It’s a good bit of fun.
WRIGHT: I love it; Nick our audio guy has just like come up roadie style.
ALBANESE: I did a count of my albums over there because he was going through the ones I brought through, and I going to make sure I leave with the same number.
WRIGHT: He’s a great musician, our Nick.
O’KEEFE: Albo thanks so much for joining us this morning, and happy Record Store Day.
ALBANESE: It’s great to be here. Get to your record store!
Subjects; NRL, housing affordability, Record Store Day.
LUKE GRANT: Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development joins me on the line and as I say good afternoon to you Anthony of course, we do have South Sydney tonight minus Adam Reynolds. You’d be shattered wouldn’t you?
ALBANESE: I am absolutely. I think that Cody Walker has had a great couple of seasons but I’m not sure he played halfback before and in terms of at that level, and John Sutton’s playing five-eight. So he thought well, we’ll wait and see but we’ve got Damien Cook is a bit of an extra half the way that he plays as hooker so I think maybe you’ll see Farah and Cook on the field for longer than usual.
GRANT: Gee, you sound like you’re clutching at straws.
ALBANESE: Mate, I’m a Souths supporter.
GRANT: I know you are.
ALBANESE: I’ve been clutching at straws every year except for 2014 since 1971. I went out for the Doggies game last Friday and sat in the middle of The Kennel with some friends.
GRANT: What the hell did you do that to yourself for?
ALBANESE: I have some mates who are Doggies supporters. It was a pretty good game. Adam Reynolds, I assume that’s where he got hurt, when Josh Reynolds made that try-saving tackle. It was the difference in the game.
GRANT: It was indeed. Hey, let’s break down what the ALP’s doing about housing affordability. First off, can I put this to you? I saw Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access speaking about housing affordability at the Press Club a week back and he did make the point that governments really can’t do much. I’m sure you’d argue that that’s not the case. There’s no one thing you can do, is there, which is why you’ve gone with a multi-faceted approach, if you will?
ALBANESE: That’s exactly right. We’ve gone with seven proposals, each of which by themselves is not going to overnight change housing affordability, but together they will make a big difference.
One of the things is that we’re not making the changes retrospective, and we made that very clear with regard to the changes we’ve been advocating now for some time about capital gains tax and negative gearing for investment properties.
Similarly, for self-managed super funds rules for people who have made investments under the current rules. They wouldn’t be affected by any changes because we don’t support retrospectivity where people have made investments in good faith.
But there are some practical measures where the government can make a difference. I mean, for goodness sake, when you’ve got vacant properties sitting around this great city of ours, because investors basically can afford to buy a property and have it just sit there, then when we have housing affordability issues, and there’s an issue of supply, surely that’s not good enough.
With regard to foreign buyers facing placing pressure on supply, surely we can do something about that as well. The big thing that we have already announced of course is the issue of negative gearing.
I continue to hear from constituents and people who are competing investors and they simply can’t compete. Investors get a tax break that they can’t because they’re owner occupiers.
Other issues include support for social housing. It is very counterproductive, that fact that the Federal Government has cut back on its support for social housing and that of course limits supply as well. So there’s not a single solution but government can do better than just throw their hands in the air. Scott Morrison did say this would be the centre-piece of the Budget and they’re walking away from it.
GRANT: We’ll it appears like the Prime Minister has once again introduced him to a bus route and it looks like he is likely to throw him under which is unbelievable. I mean politics, just quickly, before I go back to the substance of the issue, they are hopeless; they are dead set hopeless at presenting a new idea presenting a policy, implementing something, selling something. I mean this is a golden time to be in Opposition because this mob they are hopeless aren’t they?
ALBANESE: I’ve never seen anything quite like it. They said there were excesses in the system.
GRANT: They did.
ALBANESE: They said something should happen about it and then they walked away from it. Then they raised an increase in the GST and then they walked away from it. Then they raised having state income taxes and then they walked away from it. All of these issues they keep raising it, they go out there, they raise some expectations and then they rule them out.
ALBANESE: And what we need in this country is a bit of positive policy. I got asked earlier today, someone said to me – a journalist said – well why is Labor doing this? Why aren’t you just sitting back and waiting for the Government to introduce it at the Budget. Well I think for goodness sake, someone’s got to lead and it is clear that the Government aren’t doing which is why I think we are getting some credit for it.
We are not pretending that we’ve got the magic solution that will change things overnight; we’re not suggesting that at all. But what we are suggesting is that Government has got to put their shoulder to the wheel, work with the community, work with what people are telling us. That’s what I think that Doug Cameron in particular our Shadow Housing Minister, has done – so much work on this package that we adopted as a shadow ministry a few weeks ago – and we are putting it out there.
GRANT: And the polls are giving you the typical response from many Australians. I want to get back to this crackdown on foreign investors. Now I read a piece from a year ago where one or two cities in China they realised that the price of housing was becoming an issue so what they said was if you are not a Chinese national you can buy an apartment but you can only buy it to live in it. You can’t buy it as an investment. And they even said to their own people, they made restrictions on I think you could have a house and an apartment.
So in our case, if you are not an Australian national you can just walk in here and turn up to an auction with a fistful of dollars and bid everyone into oblivion and end up with the place, and it can stay vacant as you mentioned earlier for some time.
Why the hell do we not say; listen, if you are an Australian, if you are a citizen, you can go ahead and buy. But if you are a foreigner, and you buy a place, you better be living in it. There’s an approach. What’s wrong with that?
ALBANESE: What we are saying today is that if you buy a place, if you are a foreign citizen or someone else for that matter, and you’ve got a vacant property then we will tax you for it. We will tax you for it and we will support that money being put back into social housing. We believe that that can make a substantial difference.
It’s a policy that isn’t plucked out of thin air; the Victorian Government are doing it and they have raised tens of millions of dollars already through such a measure and it is a practical measure, surely. We should make sure that we maximise the use of housing that is there.
I find it abhorrent that at a time when we have so many people looking for appropriate housing to live in, that you have, and many of these properties are vacant of course in newly developed areas, they are new developments in the inner rings of suburbs where people would love to be able to live there and at the moment that isn’t the case.
We’re not anti-foreign investment, full stop. I think that would be going too far. But a vacant property tax is being used in Victoria right now. It’s been used in Canada and it is something that is a bit of a common sense solution. We want to work with the states and territories in a co-operative way.
We recognise that states and territories are critical in terms of delivering social and community housing and we want to work together in the national interest. That is what we are doing today in putting up this constructive solution.
If the Government comes on board with some of these ideas then you beauty. And the idea that somehow because Labor puts up an idea it can’t be adopted by the Government, I actually think they would get credit if they said well that’s a good idea, we’re going to do it.
GRANT: Yep. I think you are right. Will this cost the Budget? I’m not trying to trick you but in terms of the impact on the Budget, already in a hell of a mess – much of it the current Government’s doing I might add. But in terms of the impact of the Budget, will this end up costing the Budget? Every time three has been a significant policy put forward by Mr Shorten or others there’s been a quick by the way this won’t cost anything because we’ve got a saving here, a saving there. What about this?
ALBANESE: Well some of the measures of course, in terms of Capital Gains Tax and negative gearing measures, they’ll produce more revenue to the Government. In terms of this vacant property tax we believe that will produce revenue in this term to the state governments that can then be used for public housing investment.
With regard to the foreign buyers that won’t cost revenue to the government. These measures are common sense measures. With regard to the self-managed super changes that are being made in the future, that certainly won’t hurt the Budget either. So in terms of the measures that we are putting forward, they are responsible measures. They are not retrospective and they hopefully will be the sort of ideas that should be taken up frankly by the Government when it has its Budget next month.
GRANT: Now let’s get down to the important issue which is world Record Store Day. I remember going to, I think the place was called Spinner Disc at Bondi Junction, and at the front they had all their 45s and they had a number in front of them as to where they were in the charts, and there was this little section for predicted hits, that were a bit cheaper. It used to be a great thing the record store but is it now a thing of the past, or are there still good stores out there?
ALBANESE: Well it’s coming back, and that’s what tomorrow is about really, a celebration. It is the 10th international Record Store Day, and I guess a bit more than 10 years ago people would have been sitting around and predicting the demise of record stores, thinking that people would get their music by downloading individual tracks off their computer and that would be it.
But people, we are social beings, people want to go into their local record store, they want to pick up the album, read the liner note, see who wrote the song, read the lyrics and engage as well, just like people engage at local coffee shops or the pub.
A local record store, I was just down at RPM Records in Marrickville, in my electorate. People were gathered there in anticipation of tomorrow. They were talking about what bands they’ve seen, the first time they heard a particular album or a particular song.
It stands for records, posters and memorabilia and they were talking about all of that and engaging in a way, because part of our memories as human beings is cultural activities; when we first heard a record, when we first read a book, when we first followed out footy team, it’s all about our sense of belonging and who we are, and that’s why tomorrow will be a really good day.
I will be at The Record Store in Darlinghurst, at 11 o’clock tomorrow, but right around the country in more than 180 indie record stores there will be bands playing, there will be DJs, there will be special releases.
Elton John has a special release, as have a number of other artists, and it is just a chance for us to celebrate that these institutions have indeed survived and that there are more opening now than there are closing, which is a very good thing.
GRANT: I’m hearing the country’s most popular Labor politician, I said that deliberately, turning into almost a modern day Molly Meldrum. This is inspiring.
ALBANESE: Well, it is a good bit of fun.
GRANT: It is. That’s what it is.
ALBANESE: When I was at school and first at uni, I used to go to a place called Phantom Records in Pitt St and bands like the Sunnyboys, and Flaming Hands, and The Cockroaches, who became a little band called The Wiggles.
GRANT: The Wiggles, that’s right.
ALBANESE: Later on. That was where they got their first break, and that’s where you heard them for the first time, and I think the Australian cultural experience, where people think about what it means to be an Aussie as well. I saw Midnight Oil play last Thursday at Selina’s at Coogee Bay.
GRANT: Oh fair dinkum.
ALBANESE: I didn’t feel old because everyone was my age and the bands of course were all older. It was a fantastic experience and they of course sang, including an instrumental, Wedding Cake Island, the little island off Coogee Beach, and they sang about what it was like to be an Australian, as did so many bands, so I think tomorrow is important and it is also a bit of fun.
But also these are small businesses. Your local record store isn’t run by people who make a lot of money. Chances are they are musos, or ex-musos who just really like the business. They do it out of the love for it. Walk in and engage with them and it’s a great thing right around the country. Billy Bragg is playing a gig at a record store in Melbourne, tomorrow there will be DJs and there is a band playing across the road from The Record Store, Posse, and it will be a good bit of fun.
GRANT: Good stuff, good stuff. And very quickly, did a former colleague on stage at the Midnight Oil gig say g’day?
ALBANESE: I texted him, Peter Garrett of course, on Friday, well I texted him very late Thursday night when it finished in the early hours of the morning and said it was a great gig, and he did text me back to say yeah, two and a half hours – what were we thinking?
ALBANESE: But we were all young again for a very short period of time.
GRANT: So true, thank you so much for your time. Great to talk to you again
ALBANESE: Good to talk to you, Luke.
Subjects; Record Store Day; Turnbull Government
SARAH HARRIS: You’re going by a different name this morning?
ALBANESE: I do moonlight occasionally for charity as DJ Albo. I play stuff that you’d expect a gentleman of my age to play, so it’s a lot of 70’s, 80’s, early 90’s stuff and it’s a good bit of fun.
I’ve raised money for Reclink which does a whole lot of really fantastic work for young people who are a bit marginalised and they engage with them through rock and roll and through sport.
A lot of footy players get engaged and try and bring people back into the mainstream, so I’ve done a couple of fundraisers for them.
JOE HILDEBRAND: Albo, shouldn’t you be wearing a baseball cap backwards or something?
ALBANESE: No, I’m far too old for that mate.
SUSIE ELELMAN: Well, DJ Albo, what have you got for us?
ALBANESE: What I’ve got is the first album I ever bought. Honky Chateau by Elton John.
PRESENTER: Before they invented colour photography.
ALBANESE: Before they did, exactly. Black and white, with the songs in the middle.
PRESENTER: The lyrics inside.
ALBANESE: It’s one of the reasons why Record Store Day that we’ve got on tomorrow is being celebrated at over 180 record stores around Australia. We’ll have DJs, Billy Bragg is playing in Melbourne.
There’s lots of activity because about ten years ago when this started people thought, oh, everyone will just get their music downloading, sitting at home on a computer.
Now people are finding they actually want to go to their local record store, have a chat about music. It’s a meeting place again, and so this is a bit of a celebration that is worldwide and Elton John is the international ambassador. I’m the Aussie ambassador.
PRESENTER: Spin that record, DJ.
ALBANESE: Well, the first one is Rocket Man.
PRESENTER: What is your take on this, Anthony Albanese?
ALBANESE: It’s there for all to see. Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull are locked in a ruck and maul down the hill. They’re in a downward spiral and they’re taking the government with them. I saw it as a member of the former Labor Government. I’ve seen this movie before. I know how it ends. It ends really, really badly. The real problem is for the country is that you can’t govern if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder and I think that’s the problem for Malcolm Turnbull at the moment.
HILDEBRAND: It’s hard not to feel sorry for Malcolm Turnbull because he is caught in that wedge, he has to stop himself from being rolled as leader, he has to appeal to the hard right of his party, the rump of the Liberal base, but to win an election and to make himself popular to the mainstream of Australia, he’s got to get that centrist block in the middle.
JO CASAMENTO::Australians are so sick to death of watching this play out. They just want it to get back to policy.
ELELMAN: Malcolm Turnbull’s not living true to himself either because he’s so far to the left in all of that, but he can’t even do all of the things that he wants to do in those areas.
HILDEBRAND: That’s right, and then the public say, well you’re insincere because you’re not who – it’s a cluster.
ALBANESE: People are looking for some authenticity in politics and they look at Malcolm Turnbull, who cared about climate change, and supported marriage equality, and supported public transport, and all these things. He’s not doing it.
I reckon he’d be better off – far be it from me to give him advice – but he’d be better off just being himself, you know? People disagreed with a lot of what John Howard did but they respected him because he actually stood up for his values.
HILDEBRAND: Speaking of authenticity Albo, when are you going to run for Prime Minister?
ALBANESE: I’m very happy being a Shadow Minister at the moment. I’d rather get rid of the ‘Shadow’ bit though.
HILDEBRAND: DJ Shadow Minister.
PRESENTER: Well, it might happen if these two keep going.
HARRIS: It’s a strange thing, you know the saying; if they’ll do it with you they’ll do it to you. Right? So if you’re going to wrong someone, you’ve got to look over your shoulder.
HILDEBRAND: Knocking off a first term Prime Minister. It’s not rocket science.
Subject: Housing affordability, citizenship changes, Record Store Day
FRAN KELLY: Music lovers are in for a treat tomorrow with the 10th International Record Store Day. It’s the annual celebration of local record shops. Here in Australia, more than 180 independent stores will mark the occasion with a range of events, new releases, performances, all aimed at keeping alive the power and the passion of music. This year, the official ambassador for Record Store Day is none other than DJ Albo, aka Labor MP Anthony Albanese. He joins us in the breakfast studio. Anthony, happy Record Store Day!
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Fran. Looking forward to tomorrow.
KELLY: Before we get to the tale of Record Store Day, can I talk to you about some Labor policies that Labor’s unveiled? Some might have heard Chris Bowen earlier on AM. New measures designed to improve housing affordability, it’s a bit of a holy grail in capital cities in Sydney and Melbourne at the moment. Now, Labor’s plans seem to be mostly about imposing new taxes on foreign investors, on owners who leave their properties vacant. They’re two of the key changes that Labor’s spruiking. New taxes are dangerous ground for an opposition, aren’t they?
ALBANESE: These are sensible measures, put together with the changes we announced more than a year ago on capital gains tax and negative gearing for investors for new properties. The fact is that we put forward those policies and it was a risky thing to do. It was a brave thing to do, but it was the right thing to do. The government itself said there were excesses in negative gearing and in the market before they ruled it out, which was as soon as we announced our policy. What we have today is measures that have been recommended by the government’s own review in terms of the super changes for self-managed super funds using investment into property and they’re sensible changes, it’s indeed the only one of the recommendations that the government hasn’t implemented from that review.
KELLY: Given your experience last time with negative gearing and capital gains tax, Labor put out your policy and then the government backed away from it because they didn’t want to endorse Labor policy. If you really want to get these changes up, shouldn’t you have waited to see what the government’s putting up in the May Budget? We know it’s going to have a housing affordability policy as the centrepiece of the Budget, rather than put all these measures out in the knowledge that it will force the Government to back away from them?
ALBANESE: Someone’s got to lead in this country.
KELLY: It’s only a couple of weeks to the Budget.
ALBANESE: We’re leading from Opposition. They’re a government that acts like an opposition and that’s why we’ve put forward these practical suggestions. We’re concerned about policy. Meanwhile, we’re watching once again Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull in a downward spiral bringing the government with them, distracted by their internals. We’re putting out good policy, we’re prepared to argue the case for it. It’s well before the next election and we’re only six months since the last election, a bit more than that, but we’re putting out serious policy and that’s a good thing. That’s what oppositions should be. That’s what oppositions should do.
KELLY: Another policy question on the notion of citizenship. We’ve been speaking with Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, she led the review into citizenship laws 18 months ago, got feedback which the government has put out, and we now know some of the elements the government is going to change in the test. You work in an electorate that has a high migrant population, it’s really been brought up on migration, and people taking citizenship vows. From your experience and those you speak to, do you believe the citizenship laws need to be changed? Are there gaps?
ALBANESE: If there are sensible suggestions – obviously new citizens would benefit from better English, in terms of being able to participate in society – that’s something that we can look at. At the same time we need to value our multiculturalism as an asset for Australia. There’s no better time to be a Federal MP than on Australia Day, being there at the citizenship ceremonies which take place. People who’ve come for economic reasons or in some cases, because they didn’t have a choice to leave their homeland, making Australia their home. It’s what’s built this country and I think that anything that strengthens that is a good thing. These debates shouldn’t be partisan. We’ll have a look at any practical suggestions which are made but we do need a balance, and I know Concetta Fierravanti-Wells is a supporter of multiculturalism, and that’s an important thing.
KELLY: Let’s go to Record Store Day. Ten years ago they started promoting the of cultural and economic importance of these indie record shops. In the era or file-swapping and mass music downloads, why is the local record store needed and why is it so special to you?
ALBANESE: I think when International Record Store Day was founded people had this idea that maybe people would just get music sitting at home, downloading an individual track and that would be the experience of people’s engagement with music.
KELLY: It is the experience for many.
ALBANESE: It is, but it doesn’t replace going into a record store, whether it’s a CD or an album, getting a hold of it, listening to the tracks from go-to-woah, beginning to end. There is a revival of albums being played – Patti Smith last week playing the whole Horses album on this tour. Spiderbait playing Ivy and the Big Apples from go-to-woah at the Enmore Theatre and around Australia. People understand that albums fit together as a whole and that they also get to read the liner notes, they get to see who wrote and produced the albums.
KELLY: Sure, but who’s doing that now? It’s one thing for your generation, my generation to remember the hours spent loitering in the record shop, checking out new releases, checking out the cover artwork, all of that. Doesn’t mean young music lovers who aren’t getting their music that way aren’t loving the music any less or missing out, does it?
ALBANESE: They are doing it now. Young people are rediscovering record stores.
KELLY: Are they? Is that who’s hanging out in the record stores that I’m in?
ALBANESE: They’re doing probably similar things to what you and I did in places. They might be different record stores.
KELLY: Sitting in the booths, remember?
ALBANESE: I was hanging out at Phantom Records in Pitt Street in Sydney. Red Eye, it’s been going for a very long time here in Sydney and right around Australia, not just in the capital cities but in the regional towns as well. It’s a meeting place, similar to the revival or the resurgence of coffee shops. People want that social interaction. When you go into a record store, you talk to the man or woman behind the desk, they’ll tell you about the latest sounds. You have, of course, a revival of vinyl, something I didn’t see coming.
KELLY: They reckon they’re going to sell 40 million units this year of vinyl.
ALBANESE: It’s phenomenal. New bands – Polish Club, an inner west band sent me a copy of their new vinyl album this week. It’s terrific.
KELLY: So you’re a bit of a hunter and collector of vinyl?
ALBANESE: I am indeed and thank goodness I kept all my old vinyl. I’ll be at The Record Store in Darlinghurst tomorrow. One of the things that they do is repair old record players and provide new needles and fix it all up, so people are taking their old turntables in but people are also purchasing turntables. It’s a big growth industry and the thing about a local record store, something you don’t get online is that you get info about local bands’ new music. They’re small businesses, they employ locals. Most people who run these indie record stores of course, don’t make a fortune, they just love music. That’s why they do it.
KELLY: You moonlight as a DJ at fundraisers – some for your colleagues, some for charity. You obviously love music, especially Australian music, I understand from the 80’s and the 90’s. You’ve chosen a track for us today that you think sums up the spirit of Record Store Day. What is it?
ALBANESE: It’s Spiderbait, Buy Me a Pony which is from the album that they’ve been out there playing. This is a band that comes from Finley in regional New South Wales and their gig at the Enmore Theatre is probably the biggest concert I’ve been to with Spiderbait. 20 years ago they were playing The Annandale and little pubs. Now they’re in bigger venues and they’re back and it’s a good thing.
KELLY: Alright, let’s hear Spiderbait. Anthony Albanese, thank you very much for joining us and congratulations on being the official ambassador for Record Store Day tomorrow.
ALBANESE: It’s a good bit of fun. Get out there and get to your local record store tomorrow.
KELLY: Okay, let’s check out Buy Me a Pony.
Subjects: Tony Abbott vs. Malcolm Turnbull, Labor’s housing affordability policy
KARL STEFANOVIC: Yeah, it is all that big build up. It’s been another big week in Australian politics. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join me now. Good morning guys.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you
PYNE: Good morning Anthony
STEFANOVIC: Christopher, your party seems to have a big problem. Malcolm and Tony, toxic with a capital T.
PYNE: Ha Karl, nice try but no we don’t. Malcolm Turnbull is doing a sterling job as the leader.
PYNE: We’ve had a terrific week on the front foot on things like the abolition of the 457 visa, the changes to the citizenship test, this weekend we have the visit from Vice-President Pence from the United States and Malcolm has been on the world stage and he does a great job when he does that. So Malcolm has had a terrific week and so has the Government.
STEFANOVIC: How’s he getting on with Tony Abbott?
PYNE: Well, people’s personal relationships are not really
PYNE: critical to the Government.
STEFANOVIC: Haha, so not well?
PYNE: What’s important is that we are getting on with the job and we are getting on with the job. We are making a difference, things like the reform of childcare in Australia to make it more accessible and affordable, company tax cuts that we passed through the senate, the ABCC, the Register Organisations Commission. We’re just doing the job the people expect.
ALBANESE: Karl, what is actually going on here is Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull are stuck in this rolling maul and they are bring the Government down with them. Everything the Government tries to do, Tony Abbott intervenes and that is a huge distraction.
STEFANOVIC: Ok on that, who leaked the internal Liberal Party polling on Tony? It had to be senior.
PYNE: Karl, how would I know? I don’t get distracted with these things.
STEFANOVIC: Did you ask any questions about it?
PYNE: Not at all, I couldn’t care less quite frankly. I’m getting on with the business of being Minister for Defence Industry and that’s going terrifically well.
STEFANOVIC: How many people would have known about that poll information?
PYNE: I don’t know, I didn’t ask, I don’t care.
STEFANOVIC: Did Malcolm leak it?
PYNE: Haha, stop it Karl, no I don’t know.
ALBANESE: Well Tony Abbott says there were only three.
STEFANOVIC: So, you don’t know whether the Prime Minister leaked it or not?
PYNE: I don’t know anything about it Karl. I have no interest in it. I am much more focused on creating jobs and investment in the defence industry, which is showing up on the national accounts as actually working, opening new businesses, opening new offices, promoting jobs in the defence industry here in Australia. That’s what I’m doing and so is the Government focused on that.
STEFANOVIC: Internal Liberal polling is leaked to the public and you don’t care about that?
PYNE: No, I couldn’t care less, old news.
STEFANOVIC: You don’t care about leaks at all?
PYNE: Nine months, it was nine months ago Karl, I couldn’t care less.
STEFANOVIC: Why don’t you just put Tony Abbott in the Cabinet? That will solve all the problems.
PYNE: You’re very punchy today Karl. Haha, and that’s fine but I really just don’t care about all these internal things that you’re talking about. What I care about is the defence industry.
STEFANOVIC: Why don’t you just put Tony Abbott in the Cabinet?
PYNE: I have just returned from Washington and Ottawa, where I have been promoting Australian exports
PYNE: the joint strike fighter program
PYNE: $18b program
STEFANOVIC: Christopher, that is very important stuff, I am not diminishing it, but why not put Tony Abbott in the Cabinet?
PYNE: This is insider gossip and it is not interesting to people.
STEFANOVIC: Well it is fascinating to me and I am going to keep pursuing it.
Is it true that John Howard has been called in to try and resolve the issues between Malcolm and Tony?
PYNE: I don’t know and I don’t care.
ALBANESE: He says he doesn’t care but the Government has stopped governing. They are just completely dominated by this cage fight between Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.
PYNE: How could that be when we have had a week of major announcements?
ALBANESE: They are in this downward spiral and what we are talking about today is the downward spiral of this government, and the conflict between Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, which doesn’t end. I’ve seen this movie, I do know who it ends, it doesn’t end well.
STEFANOVIC: Just on that, the Labor party does fortunately have a clean skin so far as loyalty with leaders is concerned.
ALBANESE: Haha, we had a very bad record and it distracted the Government, that’s the truth of the matter, and the truth of the matter right now is that it is distracting this Government.
PYNE: But it’s not
ALBANESE: Everything they do is about politics and about trying to get away from this fight between Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. They are not actually governing for the nation.
STEFANOVIC: Ok, let’s move on. The Labor party is announcing today a crackdown on foreign buyers, vacancy properties and self-managed super funds to get ahead of the Budget. Are you predicting that is going to happen in the budget? Is that why you are getting ahead of it?
ALBANESE: No, we have a plan for housing affordability. We raised at the beginning of last year our plan on negative gearing and capital gains tax changes to try to even out the market, so that the couple going along to the auction aren’t having to compete unfairly with the taxpayer backed investor. Today’s announcement is building on that, a seven point plan for housing affordability. See, we are putting forward positive policies, we hope the Government adopts some of them, whether they do or not is a matter for them.
STEFANOVIC: Will it make housing cheaper?
ALBANESE: Well, the fact is.
STEFANOVIC: You don’t know?
ALBANESE: Our overall policy will certainly make housing more affordable. A range of measures, there is not a single solution, you have to deal with supply, you also have to deal with what is happening in the market and we are dealing with it.
STEFANOVIC: Are you going to announce that in the Budget? Or a counter to that today at all Christopher? Or are you going to wait for the Budget?
PYNE: Well Karl, Labor was in power for six years not that long ago. Housing affordability isn’t exactly a new issue and they did absolutely nothing about it whatsoever in the six years they were in Government. Absolutely nothing.
ALBANESE: Come to Sydney Christopher, and let me tell you it has got worse and worse on your watch. You said there were excesses
PYNE: If Labor actually wanted to do something about housing affordability
ALBANESE: you said there were excesses in negative gearing and then we came out with a policy and you abandoned it
PYNE: I was asked the question, not you
ALBANESE: I think you’ve had a fair crack today Christopher.
PYNE: Karl asked me the question and now you’re interrupting me
STEFANOVIC: Christopher, you are very punchy today, very punchy.
PYNE: No, you’re punchy…
ALBANESE: He’s had a bad week, again.
PYNE: but the point is that if Labor realty wanted to do something about housing affordability they would encourage Labor Governments and state Governments to open up more properties for new houses,
ALBANESE: We are showing leadership from opposition
PYNE: that will bring down the price of houses for new home buyers.
ALBANESE: They are showing opposition from Government
STEFANOVIC: You guys keep arguing, go on, thank you lads, have a great weekend, nice to see you.
PYNE: Good to be with you
ALBANESE: Good on you
Subject: Record Store Day
KARL STEFANOVIC: Last year LP vinyl sales reached an all-time high proving everything old is new again.
SYLVIA JEFFREYS: Indeed it is and, in celebration of that Karl, record stores across the country are tuning up for the 10th annual Record Store Day, happening this weekend. Nick Kennedy from Red Eye Records in Sydney, and get this, the 2017 Record Store Day Ambassador DJ rocker himself, DJ Albo – Anthony Albanese – back in the house. Good morning to you blokes.
STEFANOVIC: Right on, Albo.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: How you going. Nick is a big improvement on Pynie.
JEFFREYS: He’s always listening, you know.
STEFANOVIC: He is.
JEFFREYS: Hey Albo, you are the 2017 Record Store Day Ambassador as I said. What exactly does that mean and what have you got to do?
ALBANESE: Well what it’s about is promoting Record Store Day and we are here at Red Eye Records in York St in Sydney. Twenty years ago people were saying people would be sitting at home and downloading records, downloading songs off their computer, and that would replace going into a record store, picking up a record, touching it, feeling it, listening to it and chatting to the guys or women behind the counter about what the latest sounds were. And of course it hasn’t. Records are on the way back, either CDs, people are buying CDs, people are buying vinyl records and there is something special about a record, the way it hangs together, in tracks, in the order in which the song writer wanted them to be in. This Saturday is a big celebration of that. There will be DJs, there will be bands playing, there will be special releases in independent record stores right around Australia and indeed right around the world in 30 countries.
STEFANOVIC: Well, no stranger are you to the ways and the movements of the famous DJs. You’re performing at Glastonbury this year, as well as just coming back from Coachella. But I am going to go to Nick, you are also a professional drummer. How have independent record stores, like your own, been able to survive all this?
NICK KENNEDY: Well, if it wasn’t for bricks and mortar stores stocking records, and specifically records by bands that I’m in and local musicians are in, we’d have a lot of boxes under the bed. So we are very lucky that everyone survived and is now thriving. It’s great news.
JEFFREYS: Well just quietly, I think Tom and Pete Stefanovic may single-handedly be keeping your store afloat, Red Eye Records in Sydney.
KENNEDY: I was going to mention Tom, regular guy.
JEFFREYS: Pete’s record player I think is his most prized possession, ahead of his wife.
JEFFREYS: Vinyl records…
STEFANOVIC: A possession?
ALBANESE: I’m sure that’s not true.
JEFFREYS: You know what I mean.
STEFANOVIC: A possession?
KENNEDY: I feel partly responsible for that.
STEFANOVIC: Let’s stay on topic. Records have seen a huge resurgence over the past few years, there’s no doubt about it. What is behind that do you think Nick?
KENNEDY: There are several factors. There’s the sound, which is unparalleled. People argue about that, but I’d say it’s true. There’s the artwork which you can’t really translate digitally, I mean there is nothing like holding a record. It’s cross-generational as well, kids are really into it, older customers are getting back into it. I don’t think it’s a fad, I think it’s something that we’ve always stocked, but will continue to. I think people will always use convenient music media, but they will also have the love of having the physical product and listening to it at home.
STEFANOVIC: Albo, just over your left shoulder, we are almost out of time, we have a shot of your eye after Splendour in the Grass last year.
JEFFREYS: Splendour in the Grass.
STEFANOVIC: So Albo, just give us a little bit of a demonstration, if you don’t mind, of your prowess as a DJ.
ALBANESE: Well, we’ve got here Split Enz. One of the great things about albums and records is that you can have a sense of where you were when you bought the record, the first time you listened to it, that you cannot get from holding up an iPhone, let’s face it.
STEFANOVIC: Yeah, go on.
ALBANESE: We’re going to put on I’ve Got You, a great track by the Enz.
STEFANOVIC: A good song too.
ALBANESE: Who became Crowded House.
STEFANOVIC: You’ve got to move along to it Albo.
JEFFREYS: You’re the DJ Albo.
ALBANESE: Well, I’m not paid to dance at this time of the morning.
STEFANOVIC: You’re the DJ.
ALBANESE: That’s later on, at night.
KENNEDY: Yeah, come on.
ALBANESE: As you know, Karl, when we’re together.
JEFFREYS: We’ve seen you work the decks in Newtown.
ALBANESE: Well if Sylvia and Pete had have had me at the wedding.
JEFFREYS: You were asking too much money Albo. We’ve had that conversation.
ALBANESE: Just saying. I was promised.
STEFANOVIC: Build the shapes Albo, come on.
JEFFREYS: Worst DJ ever, gees I’m glad we didn’t hire you for the wedding.
Thank you gentlemen much very. We wish everyone a happy Record Day on Saturday 22nd of April.
STEFANOVIC: Beautiful stuff, thank you.
Subject: 457 visas.
HOST: Anthony Albanese joins us now. Anthony, good morning to you. Your reaction to this announcement this morning?
ALBANESE: Good morning. We have been saying for some time that there have been abuses of the 457 visa system but whether the Government’s rhetoric matches its substance, which is what’s required, depends on two things. The first is, is there proper labour market testing involved? And that is unclear from the announcement yesterday, with the lack of detail. What we need to do is to test whether there are Australians available for any job before foreign workers are eligible to be employed in that position. The second is we need to reverse the cuts to education and training. We have lost hundreds of thousands of apprentices over the life of the current Government and we need to train Australians for skilled jobs – make sure that they can fill those positions.
HOST: That appears to be the point of the program, as per Peter Dutton’s statement on the program earlier saying that money will go in to training. So you must welcome the Government’s plan then?
ALBANESE: We want to see the dollars because what Australians know is that TAFE has been gutted by this Government and by Coalition state governments. We need to train people for those skilled jobs. They are high-value jobs and we want Australians filling those jobs.
HOST: You do have another segment coming up shortly so we don’t have a lot of time. Just quickly, can you give me some examples of the detail you have seen so far that you are opposed to?
ALBANESE: Well, we haven’t seen the detail, that’s the problem here. There weren’t even any fact sheets distributed. This was an announcement on Facebook. But we have been calling for labour market testing to be beefed up. The Coalition under Tony Abbott opposed labour market testing when the former Labor Government introduced it a few years ago. So we want to see a tightening of that and we want to see that money in the Budget for apprentices and for training.
HOST: All right, so as it stands the Opposition can’t name any detail that they disagree with or oppose to in the details released yesterday.
ALBANESE: Well we haven’t seen any detail. That’s the problem.
HOST: There was a fair amount of detail released yesterday. More to come with the Budget in May though.
ALBANESE: No, there is nothing there about labour market testing and how it will work and who will do the testing.
HOST: We will find out more I believe in the May Budget when that comes down in the coming weeks. Anthony, we are catching up with you on a very different note shortly, so see you in a moment. Thank you, speak to you in a sec.
ALBANESE: No worries.
Subject: 457 visas.
HOST: Obviously over the last 24 hours the big story federally was the announcement by Malcolm Turnbull that the 457 visa system as we know it is dead in the water. Is Malcolm Turnbull, to you first Chris Pyne, is he trying to sort of tap into his inner Donald Trump with this announcement?
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: No, not at all. We’ve been thinking about the need to reform 457 visa system for some time. We got John Azarius to do a review for us and he made significant recommendations which we have adopted. Basically under Labor the 457 visas got quite out of hand and ironically under Bill Shorten he issued more 457 visas than anybody else in the history of the country and we’ve decided that we need to tighten that up, tighten it up significantly so that the temporary visas for skills shortages are just that; they are not cheap or foreign labour being brought in to replace Australians. They will be visas for temporary skill shortages as they were originally intended.
HOST: Has Labor had a chance to go through the detail of this yet Albo, and are you confident that specifically in the areas of construction and also manufacturing that it’s going to satisfy some of the concerns that Labor raised, particularly in the context of things like the China Free Trade Agreement?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well we have been raising concerns including at the time of the China Free Trade Agreement that it would mean a free-for-all and the replacement of Australian workers with foreign workers. We have said there are two key tests here. One is the element of labour market testing that was opposed of course when we introduced it when we were in government by the then Abbott-led Coalition. That is critical, to get out there and have independent testing of whether Australians are available for particular jobs before foreign workers are allowed to take up those positions. That’s the first thing. The second thing is they have got to get fair dinkum in the Budget about education and training. We have lost so many apprentices since the change of government and there is a need to make sure that we provide young Australians and Australians being reskilled with the skills that they need so that they can fill these jobs.
HOST: Chris Pyne, KPMG has been critical of the move. They say that the number of 457 visas has been declining naturally and there is no evidence the current system wasn’t working properly. Do you accept that criticism?
PYNE: Well different people will have different opinions. The truth is that we asked John Azarius to do a report. He doesn’t work for KPMG and that report indicated that we could improve the system. We believe that 457 visas have been over-used and there weren’t enough controls around them in the previous government and we believe the temporary skill shortage visa will be fit for purpose and I think the public will support that. Obviously we think that businesses should be able to bring workers into Australia and South Australia as needed when they can’t find those workers here in Australia. But under the 457 visas Bill Shorten was issuing visas for people who were flipping burgers in Sydney. Now I am sure we can find Australians to do those jobs. I’m sure we can find Australians to do many of the highly skilled jobs that need to be filled as well and as part of our defence industry plan that is one of the reason we advanced the Naval Ship Building college here in Adelaide to ensure we have the 5000 workers needed at Osborne when we get the ship building under way, which we are doing right now.
HOST: Was a motivating factor this denying the de-facto migration whereby the 457 was too open-ended? Was this as much about putting a limit by way of the two and four-year limit as it was about sort of refining those entry level opportunities for people?
PYNE: Well the 457 visas were not supposed to be a pathway to permanent migration and because they were four years they became a pathway to permanent migration. So we are having a four-year and a two-year visa. The two-year visa will be open to more skills and skills shortages and the four-year visa will be for less in terms of the categories of different skills that will be able to be brought into the country and we think that is appropriate. And say for example the highly skilled health workers, which we do need, they’ll probably be applying under the four-year medium-term visa, rather than the two-year visa. So this is an important change. I think it will be welcomed by the public and it shows that the Government is just getting on with the job of governing which is what the people want us to do.
HOST: Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne, the real ones that is, we thank you both for joining us this morning for Two Tribes.
Subjects: Infrastructure investment; Budget; housing, Tony Abbott.
ALBANESE: Thanks for joining me on this Easter weekend and I begin with a reminder for people to drive safely as they are driving home this Easter weekend. We have seen far too many fatalities on our roads and indeed the road toll has increased for each year over the last two years after many decades of decline.
And one of the things that road safety is about is infrastructure and the Australian Institute of Company Directors recently did a survey about what the big priorities were for the nation that company directors saw. And it wasn’t education. It wasn’t taxation issues. It wasn’t the ageing of the population. It was a lack of investment in infrastructure and that is why the Government must seize the opportunity in the upcoming Budget to invest in infrastructure. When we were in government we took Australia from 20th in the OECD to first. We invested in 7500km of new roads and 4500km of new rail lines. And yet infrastructure investment has stalled under this Government. Under this Government we saw 20 percent decline in infrastructure investment in two years and we have seen infrastructure investment less in every single quarter that this government has been in office, (inaudible) compared with every single quarter when Labor was in government from June of 2008 right through to the end of 2013.
So there is an urgent need to invest in infrastructure. Not just company directors, but the Reserve Bank is warning of the need to invest in infrastructure time after time. The business community is saying that we need to invest in infrastructure – upgrading our roads, upgrading our rail freight lines, such as completing the duplication of the rail freight line to Port Botany, such as progress on Inland Rail, but most importantly progress on public transport to deal with the issue of urban congestion. Issues like the Cross River Rail in Brisbane, the Melbourne Metro, Perth METRONET, Adelaide’s light rail project and Western Sydney Rail in the north-south corridor to connect through Badgerys Creek Airport. All of these projects are worthy of funding in the upcoming Budget and this is a big test for Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison of whether they can actually get their act together and do the nation building infrastructure investment that Australia needs. We already know there has been a complete failure on the National Broadband Network where Malcom Turnbull, who was of course the Communications Minister, presided over a debacle when it comes to the NBN rollout. He said that all Australians would have access to high speed broadband by 2016 and of course we haven’t seen that eventuate.
They could also invest in High Speed Rail. If they invested in High Speed Rail, establishing an authority to preserve the corridor and to call for expressions of interest, that would be the sort of nation building project that Australians want to see from this Budget. I notice today Tony Abbott out there commenting as if he has had nothing to do with the debacle that is the Abbott and Turnbull governments. Well, Tony Abbott, for him to criticise the Opposition is quite extraordinary. This Government has failed because they didn’t do the hard yards on policy. Tony Abbott came to office with a plan to get rid of Labor but no plan to actually govern the country and Malcolm Turnbull came to office with a plan to get rid of Tony Abbott but also not a plan to govern the country. This is a dysfunctional Government and it is being played out on the front pages of every newspaper at every time that Tony Abbott and the ministers in the Turnbull Government play out these conflicts that are there in the lead-up to the Budget in May. Happy to take questions.
REPORTER: How much money would it take (inaudible)?
ALBANESE: Well it’s a matter of investing. In some cases it is the case that the private sector are just waiting for good projects to invest in. In other cases, the Australian Rail Track Corporation – a government entity – just wants the funds injected so they can complete the Port Botany rail freight line. In other projects there are opportunities there to build on future productivity and therefore produce a return. Good investment in infrastructure projects produces a return to government that boosts the economy in the long run and improves the fiscal position of government in the long run. The Reserve Bank have indicated that at this time when you have record low interest rates, now is the time when investment in infrastructure should be taking place, investment in the rail, road, ports and national broadband that Australia needs for the 21st century.
What we have seen from this Government though, is failed plans. It was Tony Abbott who established the Northern Australian Infrastructure Fund way back in 2015 in the Budget. Two years on the only expenditure has been on directors’ fees because the truth is that for projects from the private sector, investing in private infrastructure, there is enough capital available for good projects. But it seems that they are committing the same mistake. The Government is saying that the centrepiece of its infrastructure budget will be establishing an infrastructure financing unit in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. This will sideline completely Infrastructure Australia and indeed sideline the Government’s own department and to create a vehicle which isn’t necessary, a vehicle that isn’t addressing the problem that has been identified by the business community – the pipeline of projects that is required and the commitment from the Government to actually work with state governments, work with the private sector to fund projects that are available right now.
REPORTER: Is the Government wrong to focus on housing in this Budget?
ALBANESE: Well this Government has talked about housing and that would be a good idea. The problem is they rule out everything that they propose. In the lead-up to last year’s Budget of course what Scott Morrison was saying was that there were excesses in negative gearing. And Labor proposed a constructive solution on negative gearing and Capital Gains Tax that was then ruled out by the Government. The Government knows there are excesses there. The Government knows this is one measure that would go some of the way to addressing these issues and yet it has failed to do so. This is a Government that hasn’t invested in social housing, that indeed has cut some of the programs that Labor put in place to support social housing and therefore to increase supply and take pressure off the private rental market and yet this Government has failed there as well.
This is a Government that is in search of a narrative, that is in search of sense of purpose. One of the things that it should do at this Budget though is concentrate on investing in infrastructure, including of course in social housing would be welcomed, but also investing in people through education, where the Gonski reforms remain unfunded through in future years, investing in TAFE, investing in universities. Investing in people and investing in infrastructure should be the centrepiece of the Budget because that is the key to economic growth and jobs in the future.
REPORTER: Setting aside private sector contributions to infrastructure funding, how much public money needs to be spent over what period to meet the nation’s (inaudible)?
ALBANESE: Well what you don’t do is set a funding figure. What you do is look at the projects that are worthwhile. The projects that are worthwhile and worthy of public funding are those such as the Cross River Rail and Melbourne Metro that were identified by Infrastructure Australia way back in 2012 as being worthy of funding, They are projects like METRONET in Perth that is required. They are projects like Adelink in Adelaide. They are projects like Western Sydney Rail including through Badgerys Creek Airport that all of the experts know is required. They are projects like High Speed Rail where we know the investment of every dollar would produce $2.15 of return between Sydney and Melbourne. So we know that that is worthwhile as well.
REPORTER: Sorry Mr Albanese, can I just grab you again of your thoughts of Mr Abbott this morning on radio and saying that this Government should stay with Mr Turnbull as Prime Minister. What do you make of that?
ALBANESE: Mr Abbott speak with forked tongue. Mr Abbott is out there undermining the Turnbull Government each and every day and attacking personally the Prime Minister of the moment, Malcolm Turnbull, while saying at the same time that he is worthy of support. Tony Abbott can’t have it both ways. It’s very clear that Tony Abbott is undermining Malcolm Turnbull. It’s clear that the entire Cabinet is undermining Scott Morrison. It’s clear that the Treasurer and the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister have dysfunctional relations in the lead-up to Budget 2017. And it’s quite clear that this Government doesn’t seem to have a sense of purpose or a reason for existence beyond keeping Malcom Turnbull in the Lodge for its own sake.
It’s very clear that Tony Abbott failed because he didn’t have a plan once he got into Government and it’s very clear that Malcolm Turnbull had a plan to get rid of Tony Abbott and no plan to govern afterwards. And it’s is not surprising that Tony Abbott has called out Malcolm Turnbull for his lack of conviction today yet again when he said that people want politicians who stand up for what they believe in. Well Malcolm Turnbull – who knows what he believes in these days because for decades he believed in real action on climate change, he believed in marriage equality, he believed in support for public transport. And as Prime Minister he walks around saying there are these problems, gee I wish I was in a position to do something about them. He has abdicated his responsibility for leadership of the nation. Tony Abbott has called that out but at the same time pretending somehow that he is not about undermining Malcolm Turnbull. Every Australian can see what is going on here – dysfunction, chaos and the problem isn’t the impact on the Coalition, which is simply self-indulgent; the problem is the impact on the nation because we have a Government that is simply incapable of governing and clearly is incapable of putting together a Budget in the way that governments do.