Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Nov 8, 2017

Transcript of media conference – Ballarat, Victoria

Subjects; Rail; Rural and regional infrastructure, Public transport; Cities

CATHERINE KING: Welcome, it’s lovely to have everybody out here, and it’s particularly terrific to have my friend and colleague Anthony Albanese here at Ballarat Railway Station; he’s been on the train with us meeting with the Committee for Ballarat to talk about a couple of things.

First, Labor’s important investments that we made when we were last here in Government, in regional rail, in Hallett’s Way, in Anthony’s Cutting, really vital infrastructure here for our community. And also to meet with the Committee for Ballarat about their campaign for a 59 minute service and the next improvements that are needed along this railway.

We’re trying to get that on the agenda. So I want to welcome Anthony here today, thank you very much, this is I think probably about his fifth or sixth visit to Ballarat in the not too distant past. It’s been terrific having you here and I might hand over to Anthony to say a few words.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much Catherine, it’s great to be back here in Ballarat again, a great regional city in Victoria. Earlier today I had the opportunity to have a look at Hallett’s Way, the work underway, funded by the former Federal Labor Government in our 2013 Budget.

Just as we funded the upgrades to the Western Highway, just as we funded Anthony’s Cutting, just as we funded the largest ever investment from the Commonwealth in a public transport project since Federation – was of course the Regional Rail Link. A project that has made a big difference to Ballarat, to Bendigo and to Geelong, and today we had the opportunity in travelling from Bacchus Marsh here to Ballarat, to be briefed by the Committee for Ballarat – I met with them in Canberra just about a month ago, at that meeting I committed to come and see for myself, and have a discussion with the Committee here in Ballarat, about their vision. Their vison for a 59 minute journey from Ballarat through to Melbourne. But also the changes that are required both in the short, medium and long term.

We know that the State Government has campaigned strongly and is putting some 550 million dollars as part of their regional rail revival plan, and I have had discussions with Jacinta Allan, the Minister, about the importance of rail and she is committed to it as is the Andrews State Labor Government, as is the Federal Labor Opposition.

We regard rail as being absolutely critical in the 21st century. And that’s why, when we were in government, we didn’t just talk the talk, we invested real dollars. Indeed more funding for public transport when we were in government, during that 6 years, than all previous governments combined before or since. So six years beats the rest of the 111 years.

We know that Malcolm Turnbull of course likes taking selfies on trains, he just doesn’t like funding them.

So one of the first acts of the Abbott and Turnbull Government was to rip $3 billion away from the metro project in Melbourne. One of the concerns that we have is that infrastructure spending for Victoria from the Commonwealth consists of about 8.2 per cent of the federal infrastructure budget.

Now we know that one in four Australians live right here in Victoria. So Victoria is being short-changed. When we left office the figure was in the 2013-14 Budget, that figure was some 26 per cent and it has dropped off a cliff, and that is continuing to occur over the forward estimates in the budget this year. We see Victoria’s infrastructure spending in decline, each and every year up to 2020-21.

That’s not good enough and I will continue to have discussions with Daniel Andrews, with Tim Pallas the Treasurer, with Jacinta Allan, with Luke Donnellan and other Victorian Ministers about Victoria getting its fair share.

Because it is just not reasonable, and I say this as a proud Sydneysider, it’s not reasonable that NSW is getting 48 per cent of this year’s infrastructure budget from the Commonwealth, and Victoria is getting 8 per cent of the Commonwealth budget when it comes to infrastructure. I’m happy to take some questions.

JOURNALIST: Anthony, the Melton Electrification Project has been listed as a priority by Infrastructure Victoria and Infrastructure Australia. Given that neither the State nor the Federal Government has made any movement on actually forwarding that project, do you think that it would be something that a Federal Labor Government would consider?

ALBANESE: We will consider all of the proposals, and we’ll also consider the advice of Infrastructure Australia in particular. But it’s not true to say that there is no progress.

These projects are all connected. The Regional Rail Link was an important precondition, the separation that occurred of the lines in the inner part of Melbourne, has been critical in terms of allowing the capacity to increase on these lines. And we know that from Ballarat to Melbourne there used to be one train in the morning; I’m advised that there are five that are pretty full now during peak hours. So Victoria is of course, as prioritised, are the $550 million that they received as a part of the privatisation of the port.

And they’ve prioritised that money – that is the largest allocation from the Regional Rail Revival Project so Victoria is certainly continuing to prioritise these projects. They can’t be done overnight and one of the things that the Committee for Ballarat have done, is really step out a program of what they would like to see happen between now and 2030.

I commend the Committee and it’s organisations that make it up, for coming up with constructive proposals that take into account the fact that you can’t change everything overnight, these things do take time. But quite clearly I want to work constructively with, obviously, Catherine as the Local Member, with the Committee for Ballarat, with the State Government, with local businesses, about how these objectives can be achieved over time.

JOURNALIST: Trains are obviously a state issue, what can the Government actually do specifically to make the train trips shorter from Ballarat to Melbourne?

ALBANESE: The Federal Government of course can play a role in providing funding, and the truth is that apart from the asset recycling that was got out of the Federal Government with a crow bar, you know after years of delay. The truth is that the Commonwealth Government withdrew all funding for public transport projects.

They cut funding for the M80 as well, and they haven’t prioritised infrastructure spending, particularly here in Victoria. There’s been, that noise that you hear in the background, there has been a vacuum cleaner sucking dollars out of Victoria into New South Wales, into their friends, where they have a Coalition Government. Now that is not good enough.

When I was the Minister I worked with governments, including the State Coalition Government, and delivered regardless of what the political colour of state governments was, because national governments have a national responsibility.

Victoria is growing faster than other states, Melbourne is growing faster than other capital cities, and one of the ways that you deal with that pressure is to make sure that regional centres like Ballarat, like Bendigo, like Geelong, can grow as well, and that’s why you had that investment in the transport network whether it be rail or road here in Ballarat.

JOURNALIST: So what will you specifically do if your government gets into power next election?

ALBANESE: Well what we will do is …

JOURNALIST: For the Ballarat line?

ALBANESE: We will be making our announcements. One of the things that today was about, was sitting down with the Committee, traveling on the line myself, engaging in that constructive dialogue about what the vision is. I spoke to Jacinta Allan the State Minister this week. I’ll sit down with her before the end of the year, constructively as I always have.

It’s fantastic that you’ve got a champion of Regional Victoria as the State Minister Jacinta Allan is that. She has been a champion for this line; she has prioritised this section in terms of the Regional Rail Revival money that will be going into the line here, $550 million. We committed $3.225 billion to the Regional Rail Link Project, the largest ever contribution, by a long way, of any project that the Commonwealth has funded since Federation. So I stand on that record as the Infrastructure Minister in a Labor Government. Bill Shorten is a great supporter of infrastructure and has been very supportive of projects that we have committed to, and we will be developing our specific policies. At this stage in the timetable we’re developing policies that we will take to the next election, so that we can work with state governments to deliver these improvements.

JOURNALIST: Anthony, one of Committee for Ballarat’s major priorities is the full duplication of the Ballarat Line within the next couple of decades. Given the constraints, the capacity constraints that we are facing at the moment, do you think that is a reasonable target?

ALBANESER: The good thing that they’ve done is, they’re not saying that it can be done tomorrow, they are saying that’s their target for 2030. And I tell you what, if you don’t have vision of where you want to go, you will never get there and having a practical realistic time frame of stepping out the improvements is what their vision is.

We had a discussion today as well, about the airport rail line and access and where that should go through in terms of the route. That’s obviously the subject of studies as well. So it is, I think, a good thing that you have an organisation of substance and standing, like the Committee for Ballarat, that invites people to come here and have a look, and as well goes to Canberra to make sure that it lobbies.

Other regional cities could certainly benefit from having an organisation such as the Committee for Ballarat. I stand here not just as the Shadow Infrastructure Minister but also the Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Cities. Why have we put those two things together? Because one of the things we have to do in this country, is take pressure off particularly the big east coast capitals of Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, and we can do that by growing regional centres like Ballarat.

JOURNALIST: Just back to that regional air link, one of the major priorities that’s been looked at the moment, is a train from Melbourne to the Tullamarine Airport; do you think that is a service that should be connected with a regional service?

ALBANESE: One of the proposals perhaps there, is to connect up around the Sunshine area, so that you can then have that access. That’s obviously something that should be looked at.

One of the things that is important is that the people who are the engineers and the experts are able to do that, free of political interference, but one of the considerations for that rail line has to be how people from the regions get access to Tullamarine. Tullamarine Airport is obviously very important.

I’m also a big supporter of the airport of Geelong growing as one of the ways in which Geelong can boost its economy, and so those two things how they work together, I think are very important. Thank you, thanks very much.

Nov 8, 2017

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

Subjects; Victorian infrastructure; Ballarat visit; Regional Rail Link; High Speed Rail; Melbourne Metro; citizenship. 

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Anthony Albanese is the Shadow Minister for Transport. He has been in Ballarat speaking to people there about train infrastructure, his favourite subject. How much would it cost for a 59 minute train to Ballarat?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It is possible because it’s been done. It was done some years ago. Some of the preconditions for it are there. The Regional Rail Link was the big game-changer. That was $3 billion of Commonwealth money, for Geelong and Bendigo as well as Ballarat. The second bit is going on at the moment, some $550 million.

EPSTEIN: That’s state government money.

ALBANESE: That’s state government through the feds as part of the asset recycling, the privatisation of the port. So that money is available now. The biggest portion of which went to the Ballarat line. What you need to do the full duplication is a fair bit more and certainly one of the good things about the Committee for Ballarat – I jumped on the train with Catherine King and the Committee from Bacchus Marsh, had a look at Hallett’s Way which was funded when we were in office, the road project, and then jumped on the train and we had a chat on the way up to Ballarat. The good thing about the Committee is that they’re not saying that they need to do this tomorrow. This is a plan for 2030 so it can –

EPSTEIN: 2030?

ALBANESE: 2030. So it can be done in stages. Certainly the metros are key in terms of –

EPSTEIN: Can I ask you a question? Last time I checked it was 2017. Is there any point you going to Ballarat to talk to them about something that they want to do in 2030?

ALBANESE: No, they want it completed. Before then, you can, but it requires scheduling. It wouldn’t be a regular thing. With new timetabling it would be difficult, but it’s possible. What they’re arguing is that you can have basically one service, perhaps in the morning and in the afternoon that are the direct, that is, it would have to not stop at other stations on the way through. So straight from Ballarat right into Southern Cross.

EPSTEIN: Can I ask you this question though, you are the Shadow Minister, so it just means you don’t get to make decisions right now.

ALBANESE: That’s true.

EPSTEIN: They’re spending, as you say, half a billion dollars at the moment. No one I know from Infrastructure Australia or from the Victorian Labor Government thinks 59 minutes is possible. Just talking about 59 minutes in Ballarat, that is promising something you can not deliver.

ALBANESE: No, that’s not right, Raf. What I did today was listen to the Committee for Ballarat and one of the things that you do in Opposition is get out there, meet with the community, develop policies. Everything that we do and commit to – and there were no commitments given today – it was about sitting down with people where they live listening to their concerns and that’s why they’re being very realistic about it. They’re not thumping the table saying we must do this tomorrow.

They are saying, though, that the range of improvements including the ones that are being rolled out at the moment, if you like, they can be seen as stage two. But we also talked about, for example the route of the airport rail line and what can happen there with regard to access for Ballarat. And we talked about other projects and concerns that they have. Ballarat’s a great city but it could be even bigger and if we’re going to take pressure off Melbourne, then Ballarat and Bendigo and Geelong all have to grow.

EPSTEIN: Anthony Albanese is with me, the Shadow Transport Minister, yes there’s a text here from Kelly in Ballarat: ‘We decentralised ourselves to Ballarat about ten years ago. The train was 59 minutes then. Now it’s 90 minutes on average due to all the new stops’. Yes, that’s right, Melbourne is growing. That’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to get that Ballarat train time down, because the west is filling in. ‘Raf, I live at Bacchus Marsh and use that line. Fifty-nine minutes! Rubbish. 2030, oh dear.’ That’s from John in Bacchus Marsh. Albo, let me ask you this question; I look at the Infrastructure Australia website. All I could find there was 65 minutes, not 59 minutes but maybe I’m –

ALBANESE: I reckon the people of Ballarat would cop 65.

EPSTEIN: When would you need to spend the money? I’m all up for politicians –

ALBANESE: Well, it’s being done now. It’s being done now in terms of the $550 million. What you need –

EPSTEIN: But they’re still not going to – that’s not going to make a massive difference to time –

ALBANESE: No, that’s right. But some of timing is also about the timetable and scheduling. One of the things about the Metro project is that it – and we’ve been saying this for a long time – we had $3 billion of money in the budget – is that unless you fix that, you won’t fix the extension of the rail line, you won’t be able to do the airport link.

EPSTEIN: I want to know when you’d need to make it – when would you need to make a decision to spend more money? Because to drastically reduce the time you need to spend a lot more money.

ALBANESE: When the current project finishes, so in two years time, which happens to fit in with election timetables, then what you do is continue to just roll that out.

EPSTEIN: So you’d have to make a promise then before the next federal election?

ALBANESE: In 2019. Yes, and we’re sitting down. I had a very constructive discussion as well today on the phone with Jacinta Allan. We’ll be sitting down –

EPSTEIN: By the way, the Victorian Transport Minister, Labor Government, when she was asked today at a press conference could you get it down to 59 minutes, she chose not to answer that question.

ALBANESE: Well, because it is a big challenge.

EPSTEIN: Because it costs a ton of money.

ALBANESE: It costs a ton of money and it’s a big challenge but I’ll tell you what, she’s a Minister in a Government that is actually funding public transport, and the Federal Government, when we were in office we did it, $3 billion for Regional Rail Link, we had $3 billion for the Melbourne Metro, the largest ever amount in reality and as a commitment for any public transport projects in Australia’s history.

EPSTEIN: Ian’s called in, what do you want to say Ian?

IAN: [inaudible] for a politician in office just to continue to argue is pathetic. That trip from Ballarat to Geelong on a similar line –

EPSTEIN: No, it’s Melbourne.

IAN: Well, from Ballarat to Melbourne would be 30 minutes outside. We need to have Australian services like they have in China or Japan and have had for 20 or 30 years. Here we are running around talking about 59 or 60 minutes to get Ballarat to Melbourne. It’s aiming low and it’s a pathetic argument.

ALBANESE: That’s absolutely true. It’s also true that there are a few more people in Beijing and Shanghai than there are in either Melbourne or Ballarat. That’s what makes it possible in terms of the economics of it. In China, it’s simply the population. It’s as simple as that.

Similarly, in terms of Tokyo, it has the highest population of any city in the world and that is what drove the Shinkansen in Japan. I’m a big supporter of High Speed Rail from Melbourne to Sydney. That should certainly happen and that’s something that we tried to progress when we were in government.

EPSTEIN: Fact is though, if you want to turn Ballarat, Shepparton and other places into real hubs for Melbourne, it’s going to require far more money than we have spent so far, so orders of magnitude more. The sort of money that we don’t really have foreseeable in the Budget.

ALBANESE: Well, you can argue that’s the case but they found money for New South Wales in the federal budget. The current federal infrastructure budget has 8.2 per cent going to Victoria –

EPSTEIN: [inaudible] in response to a substantial –

ALBANESE: Well, I live in Sydney. I live in Sydney. Forty-eight per cent –

EPSTEIN: [inaudible] yeah –

ALBANESE: Forty-eight per cent of the federal infrastructure budget this year in 2016-17, is going to New South Wales. Victoria is being short changed, and with regard to Shepparton, Shepparton’s on the route we’ve identified for High Speed Rail. Shepparton would be, like the caller said, it would be 30 minutes from Melbourne. That would transform – it is the big game changer, High Speed Rail.

EPSTEIN: I just don’t want it to sound like an episode of Utopia, but Phoebe’s in Werribee. Phoebe, go for it.

PHOEBE: Oh hi Raf, look, every now and then I use public transport and it might say on the timetable you leave there, Wyndham line, sorry, you leave at 8.30, you leave Southern Cross let’s say, 9.00, but you get to Southern Cross and you have to wait and wait and wait. Twenty minutes later, they say sorry, there was something in the [inaudible]. Why don’t you fix the existing problem? Forget about the [inaudible], we don’t know what happens there, why we have so much problem right now. I cannot go to city by any train, neither [inaudible] nor Wyndham and make it on time.

EPSTEIN: I get it Phoebe, there is  – I don’t want to spruik the State Government, they’re spending money, they announced a fair bit of money in the middle of the year. Anthony Albanese, I’m going to get some news headlines. Let me ask you, the federal –

ALBANESE:  Can I say this about Wyndham Vale, it’s a new station along with Tarneit. A new station that people said wouldn’t happen. And the new station is there.

EPSTEIN: Are we going to have more by-elections before we get to the next federal election? Because of citizenship?

ALBANESE: Well, we’ll wait and see. I think that anyone who predicts it is braver than me but what we should do is sort this out and we should sort it out sooner rather than later. I have no idea why the Prime Minister wants to delay this and have special sittings in December. We should be producing the documents. People know what’s got to be produced.

EPSTEIN: Are you confident about all the Labor people?

ALBANESE: I am confident.

EPSTEIN: There’s two there, Justine Keay and Susan Lamb I think are –

ALBANESE: I am confident that Labor has our processes in place.

EPSTEIN: One hundred per cent there won’t be a Labor induced by-election?

ALBANESE: I’m confident that we have our mechanisms in place. I’m not a lawyer and never really wanted to be a lawyer either. I’m a politician. We’ll leave legal matters at the end of the day, they’re a matter for the law and consideration by courts, rather than politicians but what we should do is produce the evidence, have the transparency that’s there and deal with it sooner rather than later because people are sick of this.

EPSTEIN: Do you think when someone casts their vote at the next federal election, given what we’d normally talk about, which is things like same-sex marriage, indigenous issues, company tax, Medicare, Centrelink, do you think trains and federal money for trains figure in people’s decisions?

ALBANESE: I hope so. I think the big challenge –

EPSTEIN: I’m not asking you what you hope. Do you think people factor – is it a big vote changer?

ALBANESE: I think they do. The big challenge is to look beyond just the three year cycle. That’s the challenge of infrastructure and infrastructure ministers won’t win arguments around the Cabinet table unless the public looks beyond the horizon. I mean, one of the weaknesses in arguing for infrastructure is the minister who gets to announce the project and organise the funding very rarely gets to open it. I got to travel on the Regional Rail Link while I watched the National Party that opposed the project open it. I slipped that in there.

EPSTEIN: That’s okay, we’ll have a word to Darren Chester one day about all that. Thank you very much for coming in.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you, mate.

Nov 8, 2017

Transcript of television interview – PM Agenda, SKY News

Subjects; Citizenship; Manus Island

DAVID SPEERS: Labor’s Anthony Albanese joining me this afternoon. Thank you for joining us from Melbourne after, I understand that you’ve been in Ballarat, today.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I have, David, good to be with you.

SPEERS: Let me get your thoughts on – good to see you there – the argument now between Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull over exactly how this citizenship mess should be resolved. Tell me why Labor believes there needs to be a deadline of December 1, midday, December 1. For everyone that produced their documents.

ALBANESE: David, It’s not a matter of what Labor wants; it’s what the Australian public want. They want an end to this, they want an end to this sideshow. We have now, it’s November 8 I think today, and we have therefore three weeks for people to get their documentation in order.

Parliament will sit in that last week of November, it’s appropriate to then have, once the Parliament resolves, on a process of disclosure, why would you wait weeks for that to occur? It will overshadow, for goodness sake, it is in the Government’s interest as well to get this out of the way. Because this will overshadow all other issues.

It draws into question the legitimacy of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and I think that the Australian people want certainty. Providing that information by December 1, means that you could then have any subsequent action that Parliament might see fit to view, that is required, are done in the following sitting week. Apart from anything else, there is a cost factor.

Why would you bring Parliament back in late December? When it is sitting in the first week of December?

SPEERS: So, in that second sitting week in the first week of December, any problems would be referred to the High Court? Do you accept that it’s unlikely that the High Court would necessarily be able to deal with them in December? Would some possibly be dragging into the New Year anyway?

ALBANESE: I don’t think that the High Court is going to sit on Christmas Day, David. But obviously the earlier that any issues are received by it the earlier they will be resolved.

The Australian public are sick of this. The Australian public want government to get on with the business of governing, and I can’t see for the life of me why Malcolm Turnbull wants this to drag on and on and on. What we’re talking about here in terms of disclosure, is people producing their birth certificates and information that they have, the documentation. And surely if Members haven’t got that now, then they have been living under a rock because this has been an issue now for months.

Surely members have this information.

SPEERS: Look, you’re right; this has been on the radar since August. We’ve known the high court ruling, and a very strict ruling just some weeks ago, so yes.

ALBANESE: Some might argue that it’s been there since 1901.

SPEERS: Indeed. But there are going to be some complex cases and I’m thinking of the likes of Josh Frydenberg for example. Do they deserve the time to be able to get whatever they need to satisfy the Parliament?

ALBANESE: If there is a case, that there is for some reason an extra few weeks, then let that be put. But I haven’t heard that put. Josh Frydenberg has produced his evidence, I’ve seen it on Sky News, David. The copy of the documentation that suggests that, his mum I think it is, from memory, came here as a stateless person.

I think that information has been put out there and you know this whole exercise is …

SPEERS: So you don’t see any problem with Josh Frydenberg? Given his mum, as you say, arrived – there is a document that I have certainly seen and you have referred to there. It is stamped stateless, you don’t think there is a problem for Josh Frydenberg?

ALBANESE: I’m not a lawyer, I’m an economist. But the common sense test tells you, that someone who comes here with stateless on their Birth Certificate, to me very cleary, is stateless.

The idea that someone would be targeted, of that background, a refugee, escaping the Holocaust of the fascists in World War Two and the consequences that occurred there. I have every sympathy, let me say this, with Josh Frydenberg and his circumstances.

SPEERS: You’re right, I think many do, and it has come to this extreme situation. And John Alexander too, his dad I think arrived in Australia 110 years ago. But the issue is the High Court is taking a very strict interpretation of this.

You must renounce any entitlement to dual citizenship before, not only Election Day but nomination day, which was on June 9. Let me ask you about Labor’s Justine Keay, in that regard then. She received confirmation of renouncing British Citizenship on July 11 that’s after she nominated, that’s after the election date of last year.

ALBANESE: Let’s be clear, what the obligation is for Members to have made every effort. And there is no doubt that the people who’ve had a difficulty are people who haven’t made any effort prior to their election to Parliament. Justine Keay …

SPEERS: Yes that might have been the case, Anthony Albanese, on the (inaudible).

ALBANESE: There is nothing new in this David.

SPEERS: Well there is …

ALBANESE: There isn’t …

SPEERS: Because the High Court in their latest ruling, the unanimous ruling, says that Section 44 does not disqualify only those who have not made reasonable efforts to conform to requirements. So reasonable efforts may not be enough. If it’s a black letter interpretation, you’re in or you’re out.

ALBANESE: Justine Keay has legal advice that she satisfies the requirements, we have a rigorous process in place, Justine Keay’s information isn’t new, David, this is an attempt of the Government …

SPEERS: The High Court interpretation is new.

ALBANESE: Well, it’s not actually it wasn’t made today David, by the way.

SPEERS: Okay. October 27, when the High Court handed down its unanimous decision.

ALBANESE: We’re well into a by-election campaign, I’ll be up in New England next week. And so there is nothing new in this, Justine Keay has been very transparent, upfront, about her circumstances. I’m not a lawyer…

SPEERS: I appreciate that, but the High Court made it clear, only weeks ago, that its interpretation of this is now fairly strict, and that reasonable efforts to renounce may not have been enough.

ALBANESE: That’s your interpretation of the High Court decision, David. High Court Justice Speers. And with respect …

SPEERS: I’m just reading what the judges have said and one of them says in relation to Malcolm Roberts …

ALBANESE: With respect, you’re extrapolating – Malcolm Roberts, for goodness sake, Malcolm Roberts’ argument …

SPEERS: This is a High Court Judge. He says in relation to Senator Roberts, that he ceased to be a citizen on the registration of his declaration of renunciation.

ALBANESE: Malcolm Roberts went on Sky News, made a fool of himself – frankly Paul Murray said that there is nothing to see here, because he believed that he wasn’t a citizen of another country at the time of his election. He believed that to be the case. That was the Malcolm Roberts Defence.

SPEERS: What matters now, I’m not defending that, but what matters now is what the High Court found about him. The High Court found that he ceased to be a citizen …

ALBANESE: There is no parallel between Malcolm Roberts and Justine Keay. None.

SPEERS: Maybe not, but this is how the High Court interprets whether or not you’re a dual citizen. You cease to be a dual citizen on the registration of declaration of renunciation. So for Justine Keay …

ALBANESE: No, that was about the circumstances of Malcolm Roberts. I don’t believe there is a parallel. I’m not going to get into a quasi-judicial argument between two non-lawyers.

SPEERS: Fair enough. But there would be some doubt there …

ALBANESE: The fact is that Malcolm Roberts circumstances are very different from Justine Keay.

SPEERS: There is enough doubt there that you can’t sit here and say she is absolutely fine, based on what the High Court has now decided.

ALBANESE: The advice that Justine Keay has, is that there are no issues with regard to her citizenship and that she satisfied the requirements.

SPEERS: Let me move on, the Manus Island situation, Anthony Albanese. I’m keen for your thoughts on this. There are – some have apparently left today, more than 500 hundred men in what must be pretty appalling conditions now at that centre, where food, water, power has been shut off. They are being urged to move over to the new centre where food, water and power is available. What do you think needs to happen now for the sake of these men?

ALBANESE: Manus Island was supposed to be a processing centre not a centre of indefinite detention. The Government has failed on this.

When the Government looks at people on Manus Island they see a political opportunity, I see human beings who are deserving of respect and who have obligations from Australia to provide an appropriate level of protection.

Those people who have been found to be refugees can’t simply be left on Manus Island indefinitely. And that’s what we’re seeing here, and no wonder there is such frustration from these people on Manus. The Government has to provide a resolution and some certainty and security for these people.

It can’t just go on forever, with them being seen as essentially providing that political opportunity for the Government.

SPEERS: So should they, Anthony Albanese, be brought to Australia?

ALBANESE: The Government has a position, which is a shared by Labor; that we do not want to start the people smuggling business again. But what that doesn’t mean is that people should be kept in detention indefinitely.

What needs to happen, is that the work that has taken place for the US needs to be fast tracked. The other settlement countries. There are people who have been settled in Canada, New Zealand has an offer on the table. The Government has to come up with a plan that provides some sense of a future for these people on Manus.

Now the Government has a position of saying that these people won’t be settled in Australia, and that is because of the issue of providing, if you like, a signal that will start up the people smuggling trade.

SPEERS: And do you buy that? Do you think that would happen?

ALBANESE: There is no doubt that there are pull factors as well as push factors when it comes to the circumstances of Asylum Seekers, seeking to come to Australia.

There is no question that is the case, that Labor when we were in Government underestimated – and I certainly am one of the people who underestimated the extent of the pull factors that were present there.

But having said that, we’re dealing with the circumstances which are there now, and people have been in detention for four years in circumstances that have created a great deal of mental anguish for them, that are conditions that simply aren’t acceptable for Australia to be associated with.

SPEERS: So …

ALBANESE: That is why …

SPEERS: Is it possible to bring them, or some, to Australia without resuming the people smuggling trade?

ALBANESE: The Government circumstances are that they want, and Labor supports, settlement in third countries. That can be done.

The Government has done, it would appear, just sat back for now four years. I mean this is a Government that can’t continue to talk of the Labor Government.

So that Labor and the Coalition are as one with regard to people being brought to Australia, who have attempted to come to Australia by sea. But where the distinction is, is on the treatment of these people, is completely unacceptable, and the Government can’t leave them in this state of limbo, in circumstances whereby – they have known for example they announced very early on months ago that they were going to close, as a result of the court decision, they were going to close the detention centre. And it would appear that there has been very little effort done to organise for these people to have somewhere where they feel secure to go.

But more importantly, is that the longer term solutions, whether they be settled in the US or Canada or New Zealand or other options, the Government doesn’t seem to have put any effort into it.

They’ve been prepared to pay the enormous financial cost as well, that this exercise has cost over the last four years. But they continue to almost say, this has got nothing to do with us, and point towards circumstances that happened now half a decade ago.

It’s not good enough. The Government has a responsibility and they need to fulfil that responsibility including their international obligations.

SPEERS: Alright, Anthony Albanese, the Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure thank you for joining us this afternoon

ALBANESE: Good to be with you David.

Oct 27, 2017

Transcript of television interview – SKY News

Subjects; High Court Ruling; Barnaby Joyce; New England By-election
DAVID SPEERS: Anthony Albanese, are you with us now?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I am indeed, David.

SPEERS: You are? Terrific, I just wanted to get a bit of reaction from you to this High Court decision and what we’ve just heard from Barnaby Joyce as well.

ALBANESE: Well what we’ve seen is that the Government has lost its capacity to govern over recent months. Today they’ve also lost their majority on the floor of the House of Representatives. They’ve lost the Leader of the National Party; they’ve lost the Deputy Leader of the National Party.

Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce have both been humiliated, frankly, given that Malcolm Turnbull stood in the Parliament and tried to pre-empt the High Court decision by saying “nothing to see here, it’ll all be okay, they will find”. Well, the High Court has found that Barnaby Joyce was not eligible to be in the Parliament. And that’s why it’s been so unwise that he’s continued to sit as the Deputy Prime Minister.

SPEERS: Well what about that remark he made Anthony Albanese, Barnaby Joyce saying that in his gut, he felt this would be the outcome.

ALBANESE: Well breathtaking frankly, breathtaking. What he’s saying with that statement is that he sat illegitimately in the Parliament thinking to himself, I shouldn’t be here. That is an extraordinary proposition that he’s not only continued to sit in the Parliament, he’s continued to sit as a Minister, as the Deputy Prime Minister, and as, importantly, as acting Prime Minister of the nation. I mean today, we know now, he’s not even a Member of Parliament and he announced the by-election date. He’s learned nothing from this humiliation, we could have expected a bit of humility today.

SPEERS: Richo did he get that wrong, do you think, Barnaby Joyce, in indicating that he kind of thought that maybe and in fact he probably did think that this was going to happen?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Horribly wrong is the only answer to that. That was a huge mistake. I couldn’t believe the words when I heard it, and you were pretty sharp, David, you picked it straight away. There’s no doubt he has now condemned himself. He also showed, by the way, why he’s the best retail politician in the country. Being able to nominate every pathway, every footpath, road and bridge that is being pork barrelled in his electorate wasn’t a bad effort.

ALBANESE: Pity he hasn’t actually built them. Most of them were funded years ago, then sat there. Nothing’s happened to them.

RICHARDSON: Okay mate, all I’m saying, Anthony, is that he was able to nominate a list, and he did a pretty good job of it. But I think the fact that he stayed in Parliament with his own views on this is appalling.

And remember this too, everyone, about Malcolm Turnbull. If you thought it was bad enough there have been 30 Newspolls in a row that were lost, I think the words, “and they will so find” are now going to outrank that….

JAYES: And they will so hold…

RICHARDSON: As the worst and most stupid thing he said.

JAYES: Richo, sorry, Albo, if I could quickly butt in. It’s Laura Jayes here. Can you confirm that Labor won’t be granting Barnaby Joyce a pair? It’s been said to me that you can’t grant a pair to someone who shouldn’t be there in the first place. So is that where you thinking is at?

ALBANESE: How can you pair him? He wasn’t elected properly in 2016. How can you pair him? He should never have been there. He wasn’t properly elected and therefore it is impossible for him to be paired. It’s not like a decision’s got to be made – he’s not there. There is no Member for New England; that’s what the High Court have found.

JAYES: Anthony Albanese…

SPEERS: Will Labor run in New England?

ALBANESE: Sorry?

SPEERS: I was just asking, do you reckon Labor will run in New England or leave it to the field of independents?

ALBANESE: Labor will have a candidate in New England, my understanding is. We’ve waited appropriately for the High Court to make their decision. What was extraordinary about Barnaby Joyce’s media conference was him announcing the by-election date, like he was still a person of authority…

SPEERS: It is a matter for the Speaker, you are right.

ALBANESE: He’s learnt nothing from this humiliation. It’s not up to him to issue the writs.

SPEERS: What about Labor’s tactics when Parliament does come back and Barnaby Joyce isn’t there; will Labor seek a no confidence motion?

ALBANESE: Well Labor will do what we’ve been doing since 2013…

SPEERS: No but this is a specific question here Anthony Albanese. Will Labor test the confidence of the Government on the floor of parliament?

ALBANESE: Well what we won’t be doing is pre-empting the response through Sky News today, David. And you’d be somewhat surprised if I said at 10:15am on the first sitting day this is what we’re going to do.

SPEERS: I can only try. I can only try. Not ruling it out.

ALBANESE: We’ll be doing what we’ve always done, which is to hold the Government to account whilst also pursuing a Labor agenda from Opposition. I mean, someone has got to lead in this country and it is very clear that this Government is incapable of doing it.

SPEERS: Richo, Richo, what would you be doing?

RICHARDSON: I wouldn’t move a no confidence motion straight away. I’d give a few days today first, while I belt the hell out of them over this and over Michaelia Cash who still has massive questions to answer because I don’t cop a word of her explanation. I’d be belting them for a couple of days and then I would think about it. I certainly wouldn’t be doing it on the first day, no. Anthony (inaudible) knows more about it than I do.

ALBANESE: Watch this space.

SPEERS: I won’t put this to you Anthony Albanese, but Laura perhaps to you. By any measure this has got to be the worst week in the life of the Turnbull Government and that may be saying something. As Richo points out the troubles around Michaelia Cash have just been awful and now this. It’s embarrassing for Malcolm Turnbull. It’s potentially career-ending for Barnaby Joyce. We’ll see how that by-election goes and there’s now a real question mark about how they hold it together when parliament is back.

JAYES: Absolutely. And it was Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s birthday this week as well so add that into the mix, it’s probably the worst birthday week he’s ever had as well. Look, it’s a bad look. I don’t think the Michaelia Cash saga has finished either. I think it was a very bad day for her yesterday and she managed to get through it. Look, I’m not saying she’s on the verge of being sacked or anything like that but Labor are very good at pursuing people when they think there is a whiff of non-truth there and as Richo just said, he doesn’t believe a word that she says and there’s a lot in the Labor Party that don’t either.

SPEERS: I’ll let you go, Anthony Albanese.

ALBANESE: Laura, can I correct that. There’s not a lot. Every single member of the Labor Party thinks that this is just beyond belief and anyone, anyone who actually believes that after the accusation was made by myself at 9 o’clock on Wednesday, they went through the whole day without checking with the staff frankly, you know, I’ve got a Harbour Bridge I can sell you.

SPEERS: Let me ask you this though, in terms of the rest of the Parliament, given this High Court decision now on dual citizenship and where the line should fall, there are still questions around whether everyone, there are some who haven’t produced their papers for example to prove they’ve renounced citizenship before the nomination date. Should there be an audit, Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: We have an audit. It’s called the Labor Party preselection process. We make sure that everything is in order. And what’s interesting about today’s decision of course is that the two big parties, Labor and Liberal, had precisely zero people before the High Court. It was the National Party, The Greens, One Nation, and Nick Xenophon that had an issue today. I know the Labor Party’s processes are very rigorous. Best to check this out before people nominate rather than after the event.

JAYES: Albo, can I just pick you up on one more question, because I’m not saying that this is going to be pursued by the government but it has been suggested to me that one of the wargaming issues was perhaps to move the parliamentary calendar towards the end of the year so if there was a by-election on the second as Barnaby Joyce does suggest, the two sitting weeks would be after. Albo, can that be done? Would Labor agree to that?

ALBANESE: That would be red hot. It would be a signal that this government’s time has come. Any sort of manipulation like that – I’ll give them a bit of advice – just go straight to the GG and put an end to this farce.

SPEERS: Anthony Albanese, thank you very much for coming in this afternoon, I do appreciate it.

[ENDS]

Oct 27, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – 2GB Ben Fordham, Sydney Live

Subjects; Turnbull Minority Government, Barnaby Joyce, High Court Ruling, New England By-election

BEN FORDHAM: Okay, we’ll leave Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull there and go straight back to our 2GB studios where I’m joined by Labor’s Anthony Albanese who’s busy texting away on his phone but he’s going to have a talk to us right now. Albo, good afternoon, thanks for swinging into the studio.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’m just tweeting out that I’m talking to you!

FORDHAM: Is that right?

ALBANESE: If there are some people out there who aren’t listening to 2GB at this particular point in time, your ratings might be about to go up.

FORDHAM: Why have you got such a spring in your step this afternoon?

ALBANESE: Well, this is a debacle for the government. We know that the government has lost its capacity to actually govern for the nation. Today they’ve lost their majority. Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce have been humiliated, frankly. I mean, Malcolm Turnbull was full of chutzpah there, but this is a guy who stood up in the Parliament as the Prime Minister, attempted to pre-empt the High Court decision, say ‘nothing to see here’, that Barnaby Joyce could continue to serve not just as a minister but as the Deputy Prime Minister and as the Acting Prime Minister. Very unwise decision, as well as Minister Nash continuing to serve as well. Matt Canavan at least did the right thing and stepped down as a minister.

FORDHAM: Let me just play you what Barnaby Joyce said about an hour ago.

BARNABY JOYCE: You don’t try and second guess the High Court. They make their own deliberations and I respect their verdict. They’ve made their decision and we are so lucky to live in a nation that has the checks and balances that our nation has and now I’ll do something I’ll be preparing for. This morning I was going around Armidale, Uralla, Walcha, Bendimeer, basically saying g’day to people because, you know, in my gut I thought, this is the way it’s going to go.

FORDHAM: ‘In my gut I felt this is the way it was going to go’.

ALBANESE: Well, that is an astonishing statement from Barnaby Joyce. What he’s saying is that he’s been sitting in the Parliament, in the House of Representatives and more importantly, sitting around the Cabinet table thinking that in his gut he wasn’t eligible to sit there. What the High Court have determined here is that he wasn’t properly elected in 2016 and they’ve ruled that election invalid. And for him to say that in his gut he thought this was the way that it would go is quite frankly beyond belief.

FORDHAM: Have you got some sympathy for him?

ALBANESE: Look, I don’t mind Barnaby one-to-one.

FORDHAM: But I mean through this whole thing, and I said from the start that when these people started falling over and when it was revealed that it wasn’t just people who’d been citizens of another country but stuff involving their parents, people who’ve been citizens by default and everything else, I said straight away they need to have a fresh look at the Constitution, don’t they? I think Malcolm Turnbull’s just said something similar during that news conference.

ALBANESE: Malcolm Turnbull, I did notice say that. But I tell you what; it would be a very big call to think that the Australian people would vote for a constitutional change that would allow people to be citizens of another country apart from Australia and continue to serve in the national Parliament. The Australian people don’t change the Constitution very readily. There’s not a great deal of sympathy for politicians out there; you might have noticed from time to time on your program, Ben.

FORDHAM: When you’ve got so many people though who are citizens of Australia who’ve got parents born overseas, they themselves were born overseas, you know, you’ve got links to Europe yourself…

ALBANESE: And that is true, we’re a multicultural nation.

FORDHAM: I mean, we should do something about it shouldn’t we, about the Constitution? If we’re going to fix part of the Constitution up, this is the bit we fix up.

ALBANESE: If we were writing the Constitution today I would certainly suggest that would be an appropriate reform. Indeed, it’s in the Labor Party policies; it’s been there for a while to do something about that section, but it’s very hard to change the Constitution. And the thing that’s interesting, of all the people that were up today, there were no members of the Labor Party and no members of the Liberal Party. What that suggests is that the two major parties, the two big parties, do proper scrutiny beforehand.

FORDHAM: I’ll get to the Labor Party in just a moment, but I’ve got some breaking news for you. Tony Windsor will not run in the by-election, in New England, does that surprise you?

ALBANESE: That is big news. I haven’t spoken to Tony, obviously, since the announcement.

FORDHAM: This is just in now, the former independent member for New England, Tony Windsor, has shocked everyone in New England by saying he will in fact not run against Barnaby Joyce and anyone else who puts their hand up in that by-election coming up on December 2. He says he’s not going to put his wife through another election campaign. I did remark earlier that he did get towelled up by Barnaby just last year in the federal election. So maybe he’s thinking, well I’m not a chance of getting up?

ALBANESE: Well he pulled out of Parliament voluntarily, of course, in 2013.

FORDHAM: But he had another crack at the last federal election and he got smashed.

ALBANESE: That’s right, and that’s – well, that’s not quite accurate Ben.

FORDHAM: He was smashed.

ALBANESE: The truth is, Barnaby Joyce had a double-digit swing against him at the last election, that’s the truth of the matter.

FORDHAM: Barnaby romped it in, in New England. It was daylight second.

ALBANESE: He had a double digit swing against him. And we’ll wait and see how he goes on December 2.

FORDHAM: Let me go to the Labor Party, because there are five Labor MPs with questionable citizenship status including Brendan O’Connor, Justine Keay, Susan Lamb, Maria Vamvakinou and Tony Zappia. Labor’s refused to release any of their details, haven’t they?

ALBANESE: We have a rigorous process Ben, I’ll tell you the big idea, get it right before people nominate, not afterwards. That’s what we do.

FORDHAM: So they got it right.

ALBANESE: That’s what we do, absolutely.

FORDHAM: They got it right, their citizenship’s all good.

ALBANESE: Absolutely, the Labor Party gets it right.

FORDHAM: Why haven’t those five shown their documents?

ALBANESE: The Labor Party gets it right.

FORDHAM: Why haven’t those five shown their documents?

ALBANESE: Well people have been proven to be members of parliament, they’ve all been elected properly, the Labor Party has a rigorous process.

FORDHAM: We’re talking about the citizenship five!

ALBANESE: That’s not right. That’s not right.

FORDHAM: When they were elected everyone thought that they were elected properly and now we discover that they’re not. There are question marks over those Labor MPs.

ALBANESE: And they had a problem which is why they were referred, there are no question marks over Labor MPs. Labor has a rigorous process, it’s in place, it’s prior to nomination. I was talking to one guy recently who was complaining about the 60 pages of documentation that he had to submit in order to run for a seat where he struggled to get into double figures in a very safe conservative seat. That’s what we do.

FORDHAM: Nothing to see here on the Labor front, eh?

ALBANESE: We have our processes right, and the fact is that Labor and Liberal, the two big parties, didn’t have anyone before the High Court. It was the National Party, the Greens, One Nation and Nick Xenophon that were before the court today.

FORDHAM: Is Labor going to put a candidate in New England?

ALBANESE: Labor will have a candidate in New England.

FORDHAM: Do we know who that’s going to be?

ALBANESE: Well, no, it hasn’t been announced yet, and I’m not announcing it exclusively on your program Ben, but good try!

FORDHAM: Anthony Albanese, thank you so much for coming in.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you, Ben.

[ENDS]

Oct 27, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – ABC Melbourne Drive

Subjects: High Court decision; Michaelia Cash.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Anthony Albanese joins us at nine minutes past four – the ALP frontbencher, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Cities, Regional Development and Tourism. Good afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Gday Raf.

EPSTEIN: It’s not really going to change the Government’s fortunes is it? Barnaby Joyce will win and we’ll sort of all be back to normal next year.

ALBANESE: Well the Government has shown that it doesn’t have a capacity to govern over recent months even with 76 members of the House of Representatives. So it’s now 74 plus the Speaker, who makes determinations based upon precedent rather than based upon his personal view of any particular issue. The circumstances here though are how unwise it was for Malcolm Turnbull to leave Barnaby Joyce in particular, but also Senator Nash, as ministers during this period. And the fact that Barnaby Joyce said that in his guts he thought he would probably be knocked over is an extraordinary, an extraordinary concession.

EPSTEIN: Can I interrupt you Anthony Albanese? Why would that make difference? If they hadn’t been in Cabinet for what, two months, that wouldn’t make a difference to today would it? What would the difference be?

ALBANESE: Well the difference is any decision of which they have been a part is drawn into question when they knew that there was at least a cloud over them. They were before the High Court of Australia and Barnaby Joyce today is saying that in his guts he thought this was a likely outcome is – I just find it beyond belief that he’s so frank about that. He’s been sitting in the Parliament, sitting in the Cabinet room and of course has been not just a Member of Parliament who has been shown to have been improperly elected; he’s been a Cabinet Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and indeed Acting Prime Minister when he wasn’t even eligible to be a Member of Parliament.

EPSTEIN: Well look, I think he says that because he’s an inveterate pessimist and clearly the Solicitor General is an inveterate optimist. But can I ask you a specific question Anthony Albanese? You are part of the Shadow Cabinet. Will Labor challenge ministerial decisions in court?

ALBANESE: Well the thing here is Raf that any of your listeners are entitled to go to court to challenge decisions and that is why it is unwise to have …

EPSTEIN: That’s not an answer.

ALBANESE: Well I’m not – I myself, if you’re asking me. What we haven’t done is pre-empt the High Court decision. Unlike Malcolm Turnbull who said that, you know, it was all going to be fine, we have said that we’d respect the Court’s decision and we certainly did that. We haven’t pre-empted it, but now that this decision has been made I think the issue – Members of Parliament and members of the Labor Party aren’t directly affected by decisions, but a whole lot of other people are, much more so and we will wait and see what happens as a result of the High Court ruling.

EPSTEIN: Another specific question, will you try to get votes through in the Lower House? For example, a Royal Commission into the banks, will you try to get laws passed while there’s one less Government vote?

ALBANESE: Well we always try to get votes through, and indeed the Banking Royal Commission failed to get through the House of Representatives as a result of Barnaby Joyce’s vote. So his vote was very significant indeed.

EPSTEIN: So you will try the banking Royal Commission again before December 2?

ALBANESE: We’ll wait and see what happens. But what we will do is continue to hold the Government to account each and every day, and we will continue to pursue a Labor agenda from Opposition. I mean, we’ve put forward positive policies. We haven’t just provided a critique – making sure that the Government is held to account. We’ve been putting forward our own agenda. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll do that in whatever capacity we can, whether that’s on the floor of the Parliament, or on ABC Radio in Melbourne.

EPSTEIN: Why can’t you accept Minister Michaelia Cash’s assurance that she was never told anyone in her office leaked news about police raids to the media? She’s said it again and again and again, she was not told until the story broke in the media.Why don’t you accept that?

ALBANESE: It just doesn’t stack up. I had an interview with Christopher Pyne on Adelaide radio at 9am on the morning. What happened was that …

EPSTEIN: Wednesday morning?

ALBANESE: Wednesday morning. On five occasions, at least, Senator Cash said that there was nothing to see here, that her office didn’t know; she found out about the raids when she saw them on the TV. And what I said, very clearly, was that it was my understanding that Minister Cash’s staff had notified people in the press gallery, the media, and the fact is that TV cameras turned up before the police were even there.

EPSTEIN: She says she was not told until the story broke in the evening in the media. Why don’t you accept that?

ALBANESE: Because if that happens at 9 o’clock in a debate with Christopher Pyne with a transcript that is released, it is beyond belief that her staff don’t say: “well actually, what Anthony Albanese said on radio is true’’, while they watch her five times mislead Parliament and while they, the staff member concerned, sits in a meeting prior to Question Time with Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister Cash; sits there while they talk through Question Time tactics – one would assume was why the meeting was held – and he doesn’t say anything, and he waits until the dinner break and then he says something. And if you look at Malcolm Turnbull’s responses in Parliament were very careful. He said Minister Cash has assured me she did not alert the media. The allegation wasn’t about her, it was about…

EPSTEIN: You’re saying the Prime Minister; you’re accusing the Prime Minister and Employment Minister of lying.

ALBANESE: I’m accusing the Prime Minister of using his words very carefully and Minister Cash of misleading the Senate on five separate occasions.

EPSTEIN: Thanks for your time.

ALBANESE: Thank you.
[ENDS]

Oct 27, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Radio National Breakfast

Subjects: Michaelia Cash; High Court; Labor policies.

FRAN KELLY: Anthony Albanese is the shadow minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Tourism. Anthony Albanese, welcome to Breakfast.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Fran.

KELLY: You were asking pointed questions about who tipped off the media pretty much before anyone else was. Early on the morning after you said that the Minister’s office had been ringing the media to tip them off. Who tipped you off?

ALBANESE: Well I was aware that Minister Cash’s staff had been ringing around the media.

KELLY: How were you aware of that?

ALBANESE: That’s up to me to know. The fact is that I made that assertion not once, but twice in a debate that I have regularly with Christopher Pyne, on morning Adelaide radio. I did that at nine o’clock. It is beyond belief that Christopher Pyne, as Manager of Opposition Business wouldn’t have immediately alerted the Prime Minister’s office and Minister Cash’s office about that. He’s a professional. And the fact is that it’s unusual, for the first time ever, Christopher Pyne’s office didn’t circulate the transcript. I did of course. We know now that before lunch Senator Cash misled the Senate time and time again, and what’s interesting, are the words that Prime Minister Turnbull used in Question Time. He said that allegations had been made that Minister Cash had alerted the media. That was a straw person put up. That was never the suggestion. The suggestion was explicit and clear and it was the case that Minister Cash misled the Senate on five separate occasions. Her position is untenable. She had a meeting in the Prime Minister’s office with the Prime Minister, with the adviser who was thrown under the bus.

KELLY: Okay let me interrupt you there because she did have that meeting. She said the adviser was not asked questions or answered questions in that meeting and both Michaelia Cash, the Minister, and the Prime Minister have said repeatedly that they had no knowledge of these tip-offs. They didn’t know, they didn’t sanction the actions of this staffer. Why don’t you believe them?

ALBANESE: Because it just doesn’t stack up Fran.

KELLY: So you think they’re lying?

ALBANESE: Absolutely, it just doesn’t stack up that Minister Cash’s staffer sits there and watches her mislead the Senate on five separate occasions, that the allegation that’s been made very clearly by myself on Wednesday morning at 9am, that somehow she was not made aware of it, or misled about what that allegation is, even though Minister Cash says that she saw a transcript. Now, it was never distributed by Minister Pyne. It was distributed by my office and it is beyond belief that this guy sits in a meeting with the Prime Minister prior to Question Time, and Minister Cash, and doesn’t say, well by the way I should just let you know that our office did alert the media. And the reason why we knew something was up here was that the AWU offices were alerted about the raids, not by the police but by the TV cameras outside that arrived before the police.

KELLY: And that’s an issue, and we still need to find out who tipped off the Minister’s office. We know now the staffer said that he tipped off the media. Who tipped off the Minister’s office? Senator Nick Xenophon said on this program said that we need a Senate inquiry into that. The Minister herself has written to the Registered Organisations Commission suggesting it refers the matter to the AFP to investigate. Would you be satisfied with an AFP inquiry, do you want something more than that?

ALBANESE: Well there’s got be inquiries both of the Parliament, and also by the AFP. This undermined of course – forget about the legitimacy of the raids as requested by the Registered Organisations Commission – if you’re having a raid that’s about stopping, allegedly, the destruction of documents which was, allegedly imminent with this whole political exercise, when you had TV cameras alerting the union that this was about to occur then that undermines the whole supposed purpose of this exercise.

KELLY: Well it may have done away with the element of surprise as you say; it might not have been the smartest. Was it legal?

ALBANESE: Well this Government just seems as though they’ve stopped governing and they’re all about politics. They think that they’ll retain office through smart political manoeuvres. This is Malcolm Turnbull’s born-to-rule mentality that he has, writ large.

KELLY: Those lines are easy to say but is there anything that’s necessarily a political exercise about this organisation, this Registered Organisations Commission, which is set up to make sure there’s proper spending of union funds, and proper governance of union spending. Is there anything inherently political of that? A lot of people who pay their union dues might think that’s a good thing.

ALBANESE: Well of all the unions, of all the donations, of all the connections with the Labor Party, the one issue that they’re looking at, and having police raids with 25 AFP officers at a time when the AFP is giving evidence before the Senate that they’re unable to deal with having proper investigations into issues like the massive importation of cocaine, those resources being used, is quite extraordinary, Fran. And the fact is that the AWU providing support to Bill Shorten would not surprise anyone, The AWU have supported the Labor Party since a bunch of workers sat under a tree in Barcaldine in 1891.

KELLY: Sure, supporting a union leader to become a politician is not unusual, but its making sure that the money is signed off properly and the union’s money is spent well.

ALBANESE: We had a Royal Commission Fran, $80 million of taxpayer’s money was used, all sorts of documents, including from the AWU and a host of other unions were brought before that commission. We had Bill Shorten answer more than 900 questions before the commission. This is a government that has brought former Prime Ministers Rudd and Gillard before inquiries. This is a government that is abusing the use of state power to confront its political enemies because it’s incapable of engaging in proper public debate about the future of the country.

KELLY: You’re listening to RN Breakfast. Our guest is Labor front bencher Anthony Albanese. Anthony Albanese, we’ll know later today whether the Government loses its parliamentary majority when the High Court makes its decision on the Citizenship 7. You were leader of the government during the Gillard years in the hung parliament; you know how difficult that is. Is Labor going to make this difficult for the Coalition? Is it going to take every opportunity to expose the Government’s arithmetic vulnerability, or are you going allow proper policy debate as you just called for?.

ALBANESE: Well we’re engaging in that. The problem here is that this Government is incapable of showing leadership with 76 votes in the House of Representatives.

KELLY: You know what I’m asking, are you going to give them a hard time? Are you going to try and push Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership over a cliff, so to speak, to exploit this vulnerability?.

ALBANESE: We will continue to pursue our agenda in the Parliament as we were elected to do. That’s what we’ve been doing, both holding the Government to account, but also doing more than that Fran. Unlike what the Liberal Party did, they wasted their years in opposition, we’ve been developing alternative plans for government, we’ve been having major policy announcements across the whole range of areas, including in my areas of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Tourism. We’ll continue to do that and someone’s got to show some leadership Fran, the Government certainly isn’t.

KELLY: Labor’s not going to give a pair for Barnaby Joyce, why not?

ALBANESE: How can you pair someone who’s not elected Fran? What the court will rule this afternoon is whether last year, in 2016, Barnaby Joyce was eligible to be a candidate for the Parliament. You can’t pair something that is non-existent.

KELLY: And if the High Court rules that he is ineligible, does that mean the decisions that Barnaby Joyce, or Matt Canavan, if he’s to go, or Fiona Nash, if they’re to go, the legislative decisions they’ve been instrumental in since that time, are invalid?

ALBANESE: Well that will be a matter for the courts to determine but one of the things that we have said very clearly is that just as Senator Canavan stepped aside, Barnaby Joyce should have stepped aside, and we’ve had circumstances whereby, for example, the trigger, when it comes to domestic use of gas, has not been used because Barnaby Joyce, as the Minister – a decision like that would have been drawn into question. So because of that, we haven’t had the lower prices that would result from the trigger being used.

KELLY: Anthony Albanese, thank you very much for joining us on Breakfast.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you Fran.

Oct 27, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; Michaelia Cash; AWU; High Court ruling today; Barnaby Joyce; possible New England by-election

DEBORAH KNIGHT: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now, good morning to you fellas.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning, Deb.

KNIGHT: Christopher, Michaelia Cash has delivered this disastrous own goal for the government, so much for putting the spotlight on Bill Shorten this week.

PYNE: Well the truth is that Bill Shorten has a lot of questions to answer about the misuse of union members’ funds and producing the document that proves that he didn’t actually misuse those funds by making donations to his own campaign and to GetUp back in the early 2000s, so the reality is if he can produce the minutes that showed that he followed the processes of the union which is all he’s been asked to do, and if he won’t then the AWU should and the Registered Organisations Commission wouldn’t have had to organise the AFP raids on the AWU offices.

KNIGHT: Okay, but the buck is meant to stop with the minister when stuff ups happen. That’s how the system works. If a senior staffer for Michaelia Cash has resigned surely she has to go to.

PYNE: Well, Penny Wong should resign then too I guess because she had her chief of staff organising to try and get rid of the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia with the New Zealand Opposition, so what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

KNIGHT: But Michaelia Cash misled parliament, didn’t she?

PYNE: No she didn’t. She told the truth to the estimates. When she found out she’d been misled she immediately told estimates and owned up to it and apologised and that’s all you can do. She didn’t deliberately mislead the parliament and if it’s one rule for Michaelia Cash it’s got to be the same rule for everyone else. Bill Shorten bought Sam Dastyari back onto the frontbench after Sam Dastyari had his personal bills being paid by Chinese donors. I mean honestly.

ALBANESE: And he resigned. Not a great example. Not a great example to you, Christopher.

PYNE: Straight back, Anthony, onto the frontbench within a matter of months.

ALBANESE: He’s not on the frontbench.

PYNE: He is, on the frontbench in the Senate.

ALBANESE: He’s not.

KNIGHT: Well Albo, you guys must be high-fiving. You’ve dodged a huge bullet on this one.

ALBANESE: The truth is what happened on Wednesday morning in a debate with Christopher Pyne, in another forum that we do I said that Michaelia Cash…

PYNE: One of our many shows.

KNIGHT: You’re a dynamic duo, aren’t you?

ALBANESE: …Michaelia Cash’s staff had let the media know. And we know that the TV cameras were there before the police. It defies belief that that debate happened, which Christopher Pyne said at the time was untrue. Christopher knows a bit about politics, he would have told them straight away what had been alleged.

Michaelia Cash says she saw the transcript. She misled the Senate not once, not twice, but five times. She has to go. Her position is untenable. The ministerial code of conduct is not worth the paper it’s written on if Malcolm Turnbull keeps this minister there. He should just cash out. She should go.

KNIGHT: Bill Shorten is not off the hook over this one either. He has some serious questions to answer and the seed has been planted about questions being raised about the donations and the money granted when he was the head of the AWU.

ALBANESE: This is, of course, just farcical. The AWU have said they’ll provide whatever documents. They’ve provided it all already for the Royal Commission. We had $80 million of taxpayers’ funds spent on an inquiry which was aimed at getting Bill Shorten. This is a government which is prepared to misuse the power that governments have to have inquiries. We’ve had former Prime Ministers Rudd and Gillard, we’ve had Labor leader Bill Shorten, we’ve had all of these inquiries. We had an inquiry into institutional sexual abuse of children which had a great public good at its heart. This government is all about politics and trying to misuse power.

PYNE: Rubbish.

KNIGHT: It does scream of overreach here, Christopher. I mean, why was a raid necessary? Why couldn’t a request simply have been put in for the AWU to simply hand over the documents? They’ve done that in the past, why did we need a raid and this drama?

PYNE: Deb, that’s exactly what happened. The Registered Organisations Commission asked the AWU for the documents. They believed, they had a reasonable suspicion that the offices of the AWU might be going to destroy documents. They asked a magistrate for a warrant. They didn’t simply just raid the offices. The magistrate gave the warrant because they believed the suspicion was well founded. There are of course CFMEU officials before the court right now for the destruction of documents…

ALBANESE: A suspicion based on nothing.

PYNE: And as a consequence when the AWU did not provide the correct answers to the Registered Organisations Commission the AFP raided the offices.

ALBANESE: The questions weren’t asked. The TV cameras came before the police. The AWU found out there was about to be a raid because the media that were outside their offices told them.

KNIGHT: It is going to be a big day today as well for the citizenship seven, as they’re known, the High Court at 2.15pm will hand down their ruling on whether they can stay in parliament, Christopher what are you going to do if Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce is without a job?

PYNE: Well, we’ll have a by-election. That’s what we’ll do. So if the High Court finds against Barnaby Joyce today, there will be a by-election in New England and we will campaign to win it. We will ask the people of New England to re-elect Barnaby Joyce and I hope that’s what will happen.

KNIGHT: They will be welcoming another opportunity to elect their third Federal MP in such a short period of time, but Albo, what do you think? Will we see a mass sacking this afternoon?

ALBANESE: Well, we’ll wait and see. I don’t want to pre-empt the High Court’s decision but you know, the Constitution, the law is there for a reason. It’s no accident, I don’t think, that there are no Labor or Liberal MPs before the High Court this afternoon. They’re all from minor parties. We certainly in the Labor Party do our due diligence and I think that this is a government that doesn’t want to face a by-election.

If Barnaby Joyce is removed this afternoon, they lose their majority. They’ve already lost their capacity to govern. This will just formalise that.

KNIGHT: Alright, well we’ll wait and see, the decision coming down at 2.15pm. Nine News will be all across it as well. Fellas, thanks for joining us this morning.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

PYNE: Pleasure, Deb. Thank you.
 

Oct 26, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Mornings with Leon Compton, ABC Hobart

Subjects: Michaelia Cash; AWU; Tasmanian infrastructure.

LEON COMPTON: Anthony Albanese, is the Federal Government at the moment deliberately using the federal police to investigate you, its political rival?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, the tip-off to the media is the issue here. What occurred was that the AWU found out that the police were about to raid their offices not from the Australian Federal Police but from the people who were there from TV channels. We’ve had a raid that was broadcast live.

Now if you think about it, the so-called reason for this raid is over whether the minutes of a meeting of the AWU approved some donations more than a decade ago. Now, if you have the TV cameras there that say the AFP’s coming and we’re here to film them, that surely ruins the purpose of the raids.

COMPTON: OK, back to the issue. The Government created the Registered Organisations Commission. The Government referred the matter for investigation to them. This new body ordered that raid from the federal police. Is the government using the Registered Organisations Commission as a device for investigating its rival?

ALBANESE: Quite clearly the Registered Organisations Commission is being used for political purposes. We said it would be, which is why we opposed its creation and to use the power of the state, the power of government, against political rivals – what we’ve seen from this government is former Prime Ministers Rudd and Gillard, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called before inquiries which have been called for political purposes. We had $80 million spent on a trade union Royal Commission. That didn’t find anything against Bill Shorten so now we’ve got these raids of the AWU offices.

COMPTON: Do you believe that Michaelia Cash didn’t know that those raids were coming?

ALBANESE: Absolutely not. Very clearly, her staff were ringing around. What we’re being asked to believe here – I raised the issue. It was myself who raised it in an interview on Adelaide radio yesterday morning at nine o’clock with Christopher Pyne. Christopher Pyne denied that it had happened. Michaelia Cash denied it five times, attacked me, demanded that I apologise for the suggestion that this happened.

We know that there was a meeting yesterday between the Prime Minister, Michaelia Cash and the very adviser who has now resigned over these issues and we’re led to believe that this adviser sat there, said nothing when five times Michaelia Cash misled the Senate, when this ran as a media issue all day and that he knew but he didn’t say to his boss, to the actual Minister who was appearing before Senate estimates, oh, by the way, I did ring a few journos and give them a heads up that this raid was going to occur.

COMPTON: What’s important about that potentially is that he says it was the media that tipped him off in the first place. Do you believe that story? Could it be the federal police that tipped off the office?

ALBANESE: I’m not critical at all of the Australian Federal Police.

COMPTON: Why not? We otherwise have to believe that a journalist who had some sort of relationship with this minder’s office called him and then he proceeded to burn that journalist who was going to be ready and potentially have an exclusive by sending five other media there. I can tell you that you’d be hardly likely to do that.

ALBANESE: Yeah. It’s not real serious, is it?

COMPTON: You would be hardly likely to do that as a journalist if it meant that five other people would be covering the story that you might have had exclusively.

ALBANESE: Of course, and that’s why this is an absurd excuse that doesn’t stack up.

COMPTON: So why not ask questions as to whether the federal police in fact tipped her office off?

ALBANESE: Or whether the Registered Organisations Commission, which would have known about these raids, someone there tipped off the office? Bear in mind, these raids occurred because of a request by Michaelia Cash, because of a reference from her, and so this occurs as a result of an article appearing on the weekend about this AWU donation, and bear in mind how absurd the whole premise of this is. The idea that it should come as a shock to anyone that the AWU donated to Bill Shorten’s election campaign when he first ran for Parliament or that the AWU, which is there on the record – Bill Shorten was on the board of GetUp, they supported the creation of GetUp in order to secure the objectives of the union, as business organisations, as a range of organisations, do from time to time.

COMPTON: Anthony Albanese, that might seem obvious to you, but for members of the AWU who pay their hard-won dues into the union each and every fortnight with their pay, I mean it does raise questions about what the union thinks is appropriate to spend members’ money on.

ALBANESE: There wouldn’t be a member of the AWU, that has supported the Labor Party since people sat under a tree in Barcaldine in 1891, who would be surprised that the AWU supports the Labor Party.

COMPTON: Indeed, but there are questions around the nature of declaration, of making sure that when money is donated to political candidates it is done so with real transparency because, well we’ve seen issues with for example the HSU and Craig Thompson and his like that show what happens when unions have used money or have the ability to filter money through organisations without it being properly accounted for.

ALBANESE: Sure, but that has nothing to do with this issue. This issue is pretty clear that the AWU did donate money. The AWU have been very transparent. They have said they will make all the documents available. All they had to do was ask. And what’s more, most of these documents apparently were provided already to the Trade Union Royal Commission.

Unions, because of the law, are very transparent about what they publish. The AWU has a very proud history of engagement in the civic life of the country including their support for Labor governments and when the national secretary of the AWU was running for Parliament in 2007 I would have been surprised if there wasn’t some level of financial support for his election.

COMPTON: It’s not the reason we asked you on this morning. Anthony Albanese is our guest this morning, the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport in Australia. So to those issues, how much do you allege the Federal Government have short-changed Tasmania on infrastructure spending over the past three years?

ALBANESE: Well the first thing is that they haven’t promised much but they haven’t even delivered what they promised. There is not a single road or rail infrastructure project that is underway that wasn’t funded by the former Federal Labor Government, so what they have promised over the last three years from their first Budget in 2014 was $415 million. The actual Budget outcome is $323 million.

So a $92 million shortfall on investment and that includes a $67 million cut in that was promised for major roads, a $28 million cut in rail, a $3.5 million cut when it comes to the Black Spots program and that means less jobs in the short term, but it also means less safe roads, it means less productivity there in Tasmania and given that the government, that’s on top of the $100 million they cut from the Midland Highway funding from $500 million down to $400 million.

That doesn’t include the cuts that were there or the Rail Revitalisation Program that we were undertaking when we were in government.

COMPTON: How do you explain Anthony Albanese the non-delivery of this money?

ALBANESE: This is a part of a non-delivery right around the country of some $3.9 billion. This is a Government that is frankly just incompetent when it comes to delivering on its commitments. I note that when it comes to the road projects – the grade separation near the airport that was promised by both sides of politics in the lead up to the 2016 election, that just this week they’ve called for public consultation and comments. More than a year has passed and they still haven’t dug a hole. This is a Government that simply isn’t up to the task. They’re too busy worrying about what political manoeuvres they can do to try to destroy the Labor Party and that’s what we’ve seen playing out with the Michaelia Cash fiasco over the last 24 hours and seem to not have their eye on the ball of their day-to-day job.

COMPTON: Specifically, what are your priorities for Tasmanian infrastructure, if elected?

ALBANESE: Our priorities are rail freight, for one. We think that there are major improvements that can be made there. Secondly, in terms of the upgrades in terms of road projects. We’d also have a look at the projects that were mentioned by you in your introduction that have been given a lot of weight by Infrastructure Australia such as the STEM project, which has been put on Infrastructure Australia’s priority list. Tourism infrastructure …

COMPTON: Like what, for example?

ALBANESE: Like the upgrade at Cradle Mountain. The upgrade to the tourism infrastructure, to the visitor’s centre, that which was proposed by the Tasmanian tourism sector in the leadup to the last election. Since then I’ve been back in Tasmania and have sat down with them.

One of the good things that the Tasmanian tourism sector has done is to coordinate the promises that they’re looking for. One other thing of course, the Three Capes Track. Now we funded that when we were in government, the first sections, but at the moment, it’s a Three Capes Track that only goes to two capes. Surely we should build on the quite extraordinary success of that project and make sure that it’s able to be completed.

COMPTON: Anthony Albanese, appreciate you talking with us this morning.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

Oct 25, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Bolt Report, SKY News

Subjects: AFP raids; Michaelia Cash; Unions; big business.

ANDREW BOLT: Joining me is Labor’s Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Cities, Anthony Albanese. Anthony, thank you so much for your time.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Andrew.

BOLT: Is Brendan O’Connor correct; Malcolm Turnbull just called in the cops?

ALBANESE: No well what occurred here, Andrew, is that Malcolm Turnbull supported the creation of the Registered Organisations Commission. Indeed, that was one of the bills people watching this program might be surprised that we had an election over – a double dissolution.

Most people wouldn’t have heard of the organisation, but it was set up by Malcolm Turnbull’s Government after the Double Dissolution election, when it was carried through the Senate. They handpicked their appointments to the ROC and it called in the Australian Federal Police so it’s a Government creation that has called in the Federal Police for what were absolutely extraordinary raids.

And I think there’s a whole range of questions that have been raised here. One; why is it that the AWU found out that these raids were happening, not when the police contacted them, but when the television cameras turned up outside AWU offices and we know now…

BOLT: That’s indeed a very good question; I want to get back to that. I will pursue exactly that, but I just want to go back first to Brendan O’Connor because I asked you; was he wrong in saying that Turnbull himself rang the police and do you think he should now apologise for making the police seem corrupt, like just political pawns?

ALBANESE: Well Brendan O’Connor made a statement in the Parliament today of his support for the AFP. The AFP do the tasks that are given to them and I think Brendan O’Connor was talking metaphorically, as in the Government, rather than Malcolm Turnbull personally when he was talking about those issues…

BOLT: I think he was talking through his hat.

ALBANESE: But what’s very clear is that if you were the AFP I don’t think you would have said, what are we going to do today? Spontaneously you would have not said we’re going to use dozens of people to look through offices looking for the minutes of a meeting that occurred some ten years ago because of the extraordinary proposition that the Australian Workers Union supports the Australian Labor Party and that it provides funds from time to time for candidates.

And guess what? The National Secretary of the AWU, when he was running for Parliament, received some funding from the AWU that has supported the Labor Party since 1891, since they sat under a tree in Barcaldine.

So it’s quite bizarre that this is seen as an earth shattering issue and GetUp, which are funded also by the AWU, that wouldn’t come as a great surprise either, I wouldn’t have thought to anyone,  to you, or it certainly didn’t come as a great surprise to me. The Government seems intent on having these raids. It’s not the AFP’s fault, they do the jobs that they are given as is appropriate. But we have had, of course, the raids on Stephen Conroy and his staffs’ house and offices, including here in Parliament House over the National Broadband Network. There’s precedent for this…

BOLT: That’s over receiving leaks. That was the allegation he received leaks and it was unauthorised.

ALBANESE: And how did that go? At a great expense, at a time when the AFP are saying …

BOLT: He’ll be here later; I’ll ask him exactly that.

ALBANESE: They don’t have the resources to engage in a major cocaine bust that should have occurred. Before Senate Estimates they said they didn’t have the resources to track that down. This is just wrong priorities and it says everything about a Government that is very desperate and Malcolm Turnbull’s judgement – once again on display for all to see.

BOLT: All right, but you today claimed that Michaelia Cash’s staff were ringing around media organisations, you said, telling them these raids were going to occur. Now she denied that I think at least five times today in Senate Estimates, so it is essentially on oath. What proof do you have?

ALBANESE: Well journalists have told an online publisher tonight – that is recently, in the past hour – published reports of two journalists who have confirmed that that is how they knew about it. Journalists have told people that that is how they found out about it. I mean, the cameras didn’t happen to be walking past the AWU offices in Melbourne and Sydney yesterday. They were told. They were there before the police arrived. It was reported live on Sky News yesterday these occurrences.

If we are serious about dealing with wrongdoing – and as you know Andrew when unions have done the wrong thing, I have copped come criticism, it must be said from time to time, for speaking my mind and condemning it and I don’t shy away from that. That is an appropriate thing to do. But to have nationally televised raids for something that goes to an issue of a witch hunt against the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten? We had $80 million for the Royal Commission.

I mean, the precedent here, Andrew, is that we have had Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister, Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition – all dragged before inquiries. Where were the inquiries over Wheat for Weapons? Over the Iraq War? Over a whole range of things that occurred that we were unhappy with as the Labor Party when the Howard Government was in office for 12 long years. What we had a Royal Commission into was institutional sexual abuse of children and that has been something that has been cathartic for the country.

BOLT: Speaking of that, picking you up on this Anthony, you could be back in Government in a year’s time. Given what has happened, do you think that Labor might start giving the Liberals back some of their own and start calling Royal Commissions or inquiries into alleged abuses by the Liberals in office.

ALBANESE: Well I will tell you what, an inquiry into whether the Labor Party has connections with the trade union movement makes as much sense as an inquiry into whether the Liberal Party has connections with the top end of town; whether any donation to the Liberal Party or to the Menzies Foundation or to any of the think tanks – the Institute of Public Affairs – has been appropriately approved through boards of companies; raids on those companies to see whether the minutes are appropriate. I mean this is an abuse of the power of the State, of Government by the Liberal Party, and it says it all. To me from time to time I do wonder whether those opposite just think they have a right to be in Government and that we somehow should just disappear. Well they are I think envious of our history and they are afraid of our determination. We are not about to disappear and these sort of inquiries …

BOLT: Well, speaking of inquiries, you guys at the last election were making threats about Malcolm Turnbull’s role with the collapse of the HIH Insurance Company and all that. I wonder whether that will resurface. But going back to the issue, can you though guarantee …

ALBANESE: Well there are certainly outstanding questions there.

BOLT: Is that a threat?

ALBANESE: No. No, it’s just a fact that people would be aware – there’s a whole range of outstanding issues there. But my view, for what it’s worth, is that Government should not be used to settle scores. Government should be used for the national interest each and every day. This Government is not doing that and frankly it’s being distracted from its day job by this obsession with trying to undermine the Labor Party through – if we can just do some manoeuvre, or just do some trick. How about they do something about housing affordability? How about they do something about making sure the NBN actually functions properly, do their day job instead all of this manipulation.

BOLT: But can you guarantee though, going to this issue, can you guarantee that the AWU in fact does have proof, that Bill Shorten got the permission of his union executive, to not only give $100,000 to GetUp but $25,000 to his own campaign, in what was actually a very safe seat and didn’t need the money?

ALBANESE: As you know Andrew, I’m not an official of the AWU, never have been an official of any union. So I don’t know the precise details of what the circumstances are, but I can say this as a lay person like anyone watching this show and yourself; if you’re shocked by the fact that the AWU donated $25,000 to assist their National Secretary’s election to the national Parliament then I would be very surprised. To me that comes as no surprise at all.

BOLT: Ok, well Labor’s response to these repeated investigations into allegedly corrupt behaviour by unions would be easier, wouldn’t they, if Labor distanced itself from unions that did repeatedly break the law? Now two former Labor Prime Ministers, Bob Hawke, Kevin Rudd, have now said Labor should cut its ties to the CFMEU. Do you agree with them?

ALBANESE: No I don’t. I don’t support a blanket position against the CFMEU. Where the CFMEU has done the wrong thing and made statements that I believe are inappropriate, I’ve said so. I’ve said so on the record. I’ve said so on the front pages of national newspapers and …

BOLT: But this is a repeat offender in breaking the law. The other day they got attacked by a judge who said that they seemed to think that they could usurp Parliament and that they could set the law in this country. I don’t know why you guys keep taking their money.

ALBANESE: Well I certainly don’t support anyone thinking that they can usurp Parliament.  I’ll say this though about the CFMEU; construction sites, which I as the Infrastructure Minister of course have had a role in creating in Government, have occupational health and safety issues that do require the presence of trade unions. If that wasn’t the case then we would see the underpaying that we’ve seen, the exploitation of workers and most significantly, workers who didn’t get to go home to their families at the end of a day.

BOLT: That’s often said but let’s just point out that these guys get paid very, very well. They get paid extremely well; over the odds. But listen, before we go because I’m running out of money… not money; well money too.

ALBANESE: Well I think we have a problem in this country with wages being too low. That’s what the Reserve Bank Governor says, and that is what Scott Morrison has woken up to.

BOLT: (Inaudible) I’ve got it too, but just quickly because we have run out of time, but I want to ask you this; you’re Labor’s Shadow Minister for Cities as you point out. Last week Lucy Turnbull, Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, unveiled a plan to turn Sydney into three cities all connected and this is what she said:

It’s only taken us 230 years to catch up with a vision that our indigenous ancestors always had for this city.

Are you aware, Anthony, about any vision by Aborigines, 230 years ago, to split the city of Sydney into three zones connected by rail and road?

ALBANESE: Well I think it was a very different culture and a very different economy that the First Australians had, so I think that’s a rather unusual reference. I think the problem here with the Federal and State Coalition Government is that they talk the talk. They’re not doing things like making sure that there’s a North-South rail line through Badgerys Creek to open up those high-value jobs for people in St Marys and the Macarthur region. What we actually need is less discussion papers, more investment.

BOLT: Anthony Albanese thank you so much for your time.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

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