Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Sep 1, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; Malcolm Turnbull’s travel claims; statues; Constitutional recognition of the First Australians 

KARL STEFANOVIC: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Good morning, guys.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, I’m starting with you. What was the PM doing claiming $500 a night for a hotel in South Australia he didn’t even pay for?

PYNE: Well, he was perfectly entitled to make the claim. The problem was that he wasn’t issued with an invoice. They’ve now asked for the invoice. He’ll pay the invoice quite correctly. It’s one of those administrative issues. It really is not a big story.

STEFANOVIC: Why do you claim for something that you haven’t been invoiced with?

PYNE: Well I doubt very much that the Prime Minister sitting down doing his travel allowance claims on a daily basis. That would be being done in his office. Obviously they’ve just gone through the normal processes and nobody pointed out that there was no invoice yet. As soon as it was pointed out to them they requested one. The invoice will be received, it will be paid. It’s no different to any other claim that MPs make for travel allowance.

STEFANOVIC: I’m not personally blaming the Prime Minister but this is the sort of thing that does rattle people’s nerves a little bit in the electorate.

PYNE: No, I think it’s a pretty minor issue. I don’t think anybody pays much attention to small administrative issues like that. There are bigger issues facing the country.

STEFANOVIC: Albo, you travel more than the Leyland Brothers. There anything you want to declare?

ALBANESE: No. Look, clearly here the Prime Minister or his office has made a mistake. They need to fix it up.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. You criticised Bill Shorten very publicly this week. Can I ask you this question this morning? When are you going to man up and take his job?

ALBANESE: I didn’t in fact criticise Bill Shorten. One of the things I said is that Bill Shorten is absolutely committed to reconciliation.

PYNE: He did attack him.

ALBANESE: Reconciliation requires the First Australians to work together who’ve come since and that’s the nature of reconciliation. One of the things that I think we should consider is more recognition of our Indigenous heritage.

Why aren’t there statues of Bennelong and other Aboriginal figures around Australia? That would be good for Aboriginal people in terms of their esteem and important recognition, but also it is important for people for who visit Australia who want to know more about our long history.

STEFANOVIC: Fair call. Would you add plaques?

PYNE: I agree with the last part of what Anthony said about statues of Aboriginal Australians like Pemulwuy but the truth is that Bill has an overactive political correctness gland and Anthony slam dunked him because Bill was trying to as usual appeal to the audience he was talking to. He wants his job; he should get on with it.

STEFANOVIC: Would you add plaques to the statues or keep them the way they are?

ALBANESE: I think there are far greater issues.

STEFANOVIC: Come on, you’re squibbing it.

ALBANESE: There are far greater issues facing First Australians in closing the gap on education, on health. They’re the issues that we need to concentrate on and we also need to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in our Constitution.

PYNE: Bill says new plaques. Anthony says no plaques.

STEFANOVIC: Who would you build statues for?

ALBANESE: Christopher has suggested Pemulwuy. There’s also Bennelong. There are a range of Aboriginal historical figures as well as current leaders. I think over a period of time they need that recognition.

STEFANOVIC: I think it’s a good idea.

ALBANESE: We need to understand that Australia’s history is the longest continuous civilisation on earth and be proud of it.

STEFANOVIC: See, there you go again, being a great opposition leader.

PYNE: He’s much better than Bill.

STEFANOVIC: He’s much better than Bill, isn’t he Chris? Do you agree?

PYNE: He’s much better than Bill. Bill wants plaques, new plaques. Anthony’s saying no new plaques. He’s done it again.

STEFANOVIC: Just do it! Just do it.

PYNE: He did it on Wednesday, now he’s doing it on Friday on The Today Show.

STEFANOVIC: Exactly, Christopher.

ALBANESE: I’m very happy with the job that I have. Very happy with the job that I’ve got.

STEFANOVIC: Come on, man up and take his job. Take his job. He’s doing no good in the ratings.

PYNE: Stop shadow boxing, Anthony. Stop shadow boxing.

ALBANESE: I’m very happy with the job that I’ve got.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, Christopher.

ALBANESE: I’m part of the team. See, Christopher doesn’t recognise the concept of teamwork.

PYNE: Rubbish. I’ve been in the team for 25 years.

ALBANESE: Abbott’s putting out Turnbull’s travel claims. Turnbull’s office is responding with Abbott’s travel claims.

STEFANOVIC: Now you’ve woken up. Christopher, just before we go. Your seat of Sturt could be under threat from a reallocation of seats in the lower house. Is this your last hurrah? Is this your swansong? Is the fat bloke singing?

PYNE: Karl, I’ve been through three redistributions that I can remember. There’s no more or greater reason or less reason why my seat would be abolished. Eventually there will be a twelve month process. I’ll be living in the seat somewhere in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide.

I’ll be standing for that seat. That’s where my party membership is. That’s where my electors are. I will definitely have a seat. The reality is what it will end up looking like is a matter for the electoral commission but there’s no reason to believe that I won’t be running for a seat in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide.

ALBANESE: Channel Nine have got Chris Uhlmann; they could have had Chris Pyne replacing Laurie.

STEFANOVIC: We’re very happy with Chris Uhlmann, thank you very much.

ALBANESE: It’s a very wise decision.

STEFANOVIC: And you should all be very afraid, you people in Canberra.

PYNE: I want to get paid as much as Chris Uhlmann’s gonna get paid.

STEFANOVIC: Come work in the private sector. It might be harder than what you’re doing.

PYNE: Oh, I don’t think so. I don’t get Iced Vovos every morning when I ask for them like you do, Karl.

STEFANOVIC: They’re not like they used to be, the Iced Vovos.

ALBANESE: You have to come into the studio mate; you should see it here today. Full on.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, there’s pies and everything.

ALBANESE: Breakfast, coffee, pies, everything.

PYNE: Banana lounges behind the scenes.

ALBANESE: It’s all good.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, that’s enough. Over to you Lisa.

Aug 30, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes segment

Subjects: North Korea, statues, reconciliation. 

HOST: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese for Two Tribes. Good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning team.

HOST: Now, unsurprisingly we are going to kick off by discussing North Korea – yesterday, another display of belligerence from Pyongyang. What do you think is the best way for the Western world to respond to this threat Chris Pyne?

PYNE: Well the best way is to ensure there’s no mistakes made and no shots fired in error that leads to a conflagration that takes the lives of tens of thousands if not more South Koreans particularly. The way to do that of course is to get China to tighten on the sanctions on North Korea. They have agreed to do that. The UN Security Council most recently imposed further sanctions – economic sanctions, travel and other sanctions, on North Korea. All the countries involved have agreed to that including China and China is implementing those. That’s a very important development because it indicates that China is beyond patience with the North Korean regime. Of course, North Korea needs to understand the resolve of the United States and her allies in ensuring that North Korea doesn’t take any steps to attack South Korea or any other country in the region and I think that’s pretty clear. So we are certainly doing everything we can to ensure that North Korea remains within its borders and that’s what we will continue to do.

HOST: What’s Labor’s position on this Albo? Are you guys lock step with the Government in terms of advocating that approach, where China muscles up and we maintain a sanctions approach to this at the moment?

ALBANESE: We are as one on this issue and, I think, as one with humanity. We need to make sure that any resolution of the issue is done peacefully. It clearly is, as crazy as we might think the North Korean regime is, a tit-for-tat with weapons would be a very bad outcome for the people particularly of the Korean Peninsula, but potentially of the entire region. So we support the Government in its very strong condemnation. That is appropriate. It is an escalation of the conflict to have the missile fly over Hokkaido in Japan.

HOST: Chris Pyne, Greg Sheridan has written in The Australian about Australia investigating a missile defence shield. Is that something that the Government needs to consider?

PYNE: Well the Government of course has some measures in place to protect Australia from missile attack. One of those of course is the replacement for our current missile defences around our deployed forces which is the surface-to-air missile defence system which I announced in June this year at a cost of $1.3 billion being implemented by Raytheon Australia. We of course would be very unlikely to be able to get a land-based defence missile shield similar to the United States shield in place any time soon. It will take years and cost upwards of over $10 billion to achieve. But there are other ways of course to protect our northern approaches through seaborne missile defence shields and we have of course very advanced air warfare destroyers built here in Adelaide. As you know, this Government is committed to the Future Frigates Program which is an anti-submarine warfare frigate, but also has capabilities beyond submarine warfare and we are looking closely, considering all the threats to Australia and how best to respond. But there’s not only one response, which is a land-based defensive missile shield similar to the Americans. There are other ways of protecting Australia from inter-continental ballistic missiles and of course we are always considering those.

HOST: Changing tack now, Ablo can I just get you clarify …

ALBANESE: That’s good. We are at risk of becoming one tribe rather than two tribes on these issues.

HOST: Don’t worry. We are going to lob a few hand grenades at you now. Hey Albo, what is Labor’s exact position on whether the inscriptions on these statues need to be changed to more accurately reflect our indigenous heritage and history, because yesterday it sounded a bit like Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek were backing away from the idea of making any changes to them despite Mr Shorten saying on Monday that they might need to be rewritten.

ALBANESE: Well my position on these issues is that there are far greater issues facing the first Australians than what’s on a statue. The fact is that that is a historical statue. It’s in Hyde Park, which I used to walk through on the way to school and from every day. This all came about really because of the debate about Australia Day and about the origins of European settlement and how it should be commemorated. I think personally that Australia Day is an important day which recognises the fact of European settlement that was an important part in our history. But also, at the commemorations I go to, also look backwards, not just forwards, and do acknowledge that with the European colonisation here in Australia the first Australians suffered greatly and that history is examined. I think that in terms of reconciliation, which is what we need, reconciliation between the original Australians who have such a rich history and those who have come since 1788, it can’t be achieved if it’s a conflict. It, by definition, has to be together. So I want to see less of a divisive debate and more a debate about how we go forward.

HOST: We had the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, on Leon’s show here on 5AA a couple of days ago Chris Pyne and he said that any suggestion that we should change these inscriptions was sort of tantamount to a Stalinist air-brushing of history. Do you think that that is an over-statement or do you think that that is the way that people would regard this sort of retrospective rewording of what it says on some of our monuments?

PYNE: Well Anthony at least has described his own position very clearly and perfectly sensibly. The problem with Bill Shorten’s position on the issue of changing monuments is that, as usual, he has an overactive political correctness gland and he wants to say to the crowd that he is talking to whatever they want to hear. So his initial statements about needing to  change the inscriptions on monuments was designed to impress the Green-leaning Left voters and then of course he realised that that wasn’t the view of most Australians, who recognise that there is much in our history about which we should be embarrassed and much in our history about which we should be proud. But that’s history. That’s the nature of the beast that it is not always perfect and trying to airbrush that or change it of course is quite impossible.

HOST: Is that a fair assessment, do you think, Albo? Did your boss change positions on this?

ALBANESE: Look I don’t follow every word, but what I do know is that Bill Shorten’s been very consistent about supporting reconciliation. He has taken on the portfolio of Indigenous Affairs himself and he is very passionate about the issues surrounding the first Australians and closing the gap practically moving forward.

HOST: Anthony Albanese, Christopher Pyne, thanks very much for joining us this morning.

PYNE: It was a pleasure thanks.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

 

Aug 25, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; Pauline Hanson, the burqa, welfare drug-testing 

LISA WILKINSON: A new poll reveals more than half of all Australians support Pauline Hanson’s call to ban the wearing of burqas in public. For more on this and a whole lot more joining me now is Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister, here in the studio, Anthony Albanese. Good morning to both of you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa.

WILKINSON: Christopher, I’m going to start with you. Now Pauline Hanson created headlines with her burqa stunt in Parliament. Does this poll suggest to you that she was right?

PYNE: No, she was wrong to do what she did. She was wrong to try and turn the Senate into a circus, but that’s a different issue really to the issues around banning the burqa. Now the concern that I have about the burqa is that it isolates women from society in general and I think that is a dangerous thing. It’s nothing to do with it being Muslim, or any other kind of religion for that matter and that’s why I think the debate needs to be parsed if you like, to be separated out.

Now Pauline Hanson and the One Nation crowd wanted to make it about Muslim women. I think it’s really more an issue about isolating any kind of woman from the rest of society and that’s why I guess the French Government they banned the burqa because they said it was a way of controlling women.

WILKINSON: Anthony, can you understand why people are uncomfortable when the burqa is worn in public?

ALBANESE: Of course I can understand it. I’m uncomfortable and I think people who aren’t from that culture are uncomfortable with it. That’s not surprising. There’s a big step though towards banning things. Banning things does not work. I think that’s why George Brandis made the comment that he did. There’s a whole range of behaviour from people of different cultures, different ethnicities, different religions that people mightn’t be comfortable with, but that doesn’t mean you go about banning it.

WILKINSON: All right, well let’s move on. Welfare recipients will be randomly tested for drugs from next year but the experts and the Government are divided on whether it could do more harm than good. Christopher, there are concerns that those who are most likely to fail these tests will turn to crime to feed their addiction. How is the Government going to monitor this?

PYNE: Well Lisa, there are a whole lot of steps before we get to the point of taking a person off welfare and the first step that this trial is designed to discover is if you are on ice or some other kind of addictive drug, we want to find out and then we want to get those people the help that they need. This is not about punishing people; this is about trying to get people off drugs and into work so they can become a full member of society again. Too many people have jumped to the conclusion at the end that this is a way of punishing people. It’s actually a way of trying to get help to people who can’t get work because they’re on drugs.

WILKINSON: Anthony, Labor wasn’t supporting this a couple of weeks ago. Is that still the case or are you just waiting for the results of these trials?

ALBANESE: All of the experts say that this punitive measure will not work. If they were serious about getting people off drugs, and everyone can agree that that’s a good thing, then what you’d be doing is putting money into rehabilitation, putting money into supporting people through that process of getting off drugs, not stigmatising particular communities including Canterbury-Bankstown, some of which I happen to represent in the national parliament. People are quite resentful with the singling out of particular communities to say that’s where the dole bludgers are, that’s where the drug addicts are. That’s what’s going on here.

PYNE: It’s a trial.

ALBANESE: Well, a trial happens to be – go have a trial in the eastern suburbs and see how you go in Woollahra or what have you. Just pick people up at random there. That of course won’t happen, because that’s Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate.

WILKINSON: But are there as many welfare recipients in those suburbs?

ALBANESE: No, but there’s certainly at least as many cocaine people, people who are taking various drugs in the eastern suburbs as there are in the electorate that I represent.

WILKINSON: I think you’re probably right.

ALBANESE: I am right.

WILKINSON: But are they using the public purse to feed their cocaine habit?

ALBANESE: The surveys show that that’s the case in terms of the analysis that has taken place.

WILKINSON: But are they using public funds, taxpayers’ money, to feed their cocaine habit?

ALBANESE: No, they’re not by and large because of the nature of the addictions that are in the eastern suburbs are different. But why are these communities being singled out?

PYNE: It’s a pilot program.

ALBANESE: All of the experts, not one expert has come out in support of the government’s position on this. We should be listening to the experts in the health area when it comes to policies to achieve outcomes, we can agree on the outcome of getting people off drugs as a good thing, but go about it the right way.

WILKINSON: There we go. We didn’t mention citizenship once. I think that’s a win.

ALBANESE: I think Australians are probably over it.

WILKINSON: They probably are. But they’ve got until October for this to keep running, unfortunately.

ALBANESE: We might get one or two mentions between now and October.

PYNE: He’s still going.

WILKINSON: Alright.

PYNE: Turn him off!

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: You’re out of time, you two.

 

Aug 23, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes segment

Subjects: Citizenship; marriage equality.

HOST: A big good morning to Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ALBANESE: Greetings.

HOST: Now we will kick off with you Chris as we normally do. The Government has clearly taken a bit of a hit in the polls with the distraction caused by the citizenship drama, but do you think that Bill Shorten is being a bit cute by refusing to release documentation proving once and for all that he and other Labor MPs are not dual citizens?

PYNE: Well Anthony Albanese has released his documentation, so if it is good enough for Anthony, it should be good enough for everybody else and the question here is why would Bill Shorten be refusing to release his documentation? Well the answer obviously is that he is worried that there are Labor MPs who don’t have documentation. So if he releases his, others will be forced to release theirs and we will discover potentially that there are Labor MPs who should be referred to the High Court. So I guess he doesn’t want to break the dam wall by releasing his. But I notice Anthony’s released his birth certificate showing that he didn’t know that he had an Italian father and that is the end of the matter from his point of view.

HOST:  To you Albo, has your decision to do that caused a problem for Bill Shorten?

ALBANESE: Well I haven’t done that. Don’t get sucked in by Christopher’s absurd spin. Look, for goodness, sake, I released a book, it’s written by Karen Middleton, available in all good books stores including there in Adelaide, called Albanese: Telling it Straight, and it outlines in a great deal of detail my origins and that is what I have pointed people towards. It is there for all to see in 320 pages.

HOST: But didn’t you do something extra though in the last 48 hours because the way it was written in The Australian it sounded to me like you had shown that reporter your citizenship papers to knock the citizenship speculation on the head.

ALBANESE: I don’t have citizenship papers. People who have wanted to see my birth certificate, I haven’t released it, but people have seen it and that arose out of talking with journalists about how silly it was that in spite of the fact that we had this rather comprehensive outline of the somewhat unusual circumstances of my birth, people were still carrying on and it led to David Speers making a bit of a joke on Sky News that I was the Jon Snow of the Federal Parliament in a Game of Thrones reference. Game of Thrones is a bit like Federal Parliament from time to time.

HOST: Yes. I think Federal Parliament is more bloody.

PYNE: You did show people your birth certificate so that is showing people your evidence.

HOST: Well Chris Pyne, will you guys pro-actively refer members of the Labor Party to the High Court to get this matter resolved?

PYNE: I think the Australian public are pretty sick of this issue and that’s why it needs to be resolved by the High Court. There are a lot more important issues around at the moment, things like creating jobs, creating investment …

HOST: Sure. But with a view to ending it, will you be referring their members over whom there is suspicion to the High Court?

PYNE: Well the High Court has a directions hearing on the 24th of August. They will start the process of deciding what Section 44 means in the Constitution in the modern period. I think they will resolve it pretty expeditiously and we will all be able to move on one way of the other. I think most people think it’s just not common sense that you could have absolutely no idea that you are a citizen of another country but somehow that means you have an allegiance to a foreign power. The High Court is the right place to clear this up and I am quite happy to leave it to them while I get on with …

HOST: I will try this one more time. Have you made any decision about whether you will refer any of those Labor MPs over whom there is a suspicion to the court?

PYNE: No, I haven’t made a decision about that.

HOST: OK.

ALBANESE: No and of course they won’t because such an action would mean that majority governments in future could refer people who they don’t like to a court. I mean, that would be just absurd. This is an attempt to reverse the onus of proof. Labor has rigorous procedures in place and I am absolutely confident there are no issues with any Labor MPs. It’s as simple as that.

HOST: But the doubt still remains Albo because …

ALBANESE: Oh, there is no doubt. It is like, you know …

HOST: But there is no compunction for them to release documents and indeed in some cases there are no documents anyway so it can’t be proved or disproved.

ALBANESE: Well, why should they?

HOST: Well can I ask you the question backwards then?  Should Bill Shorten and the other Labor MPs including Penny Wong do what you have done, either through showing …

ALBANESE: What, have a biography about their origins?

HOST:  Have a biography revealing their own backgrounds.

ALBANESE: Have a biography revealing they didn’t know who their father was?

PYNE: You released your birth certificate.

ALBANESE: I have not released my birth certificate.

PYNE: You showed your birth certificate to The Australian, which is a lot more than Bill Shorten has done.

ALBANESE: Well this is absurd. Labor has appropriate mechanisms in place and this is just an attempt to cloud the fact that since the Liberal Party went out there – I note there’s no Liberal Party members have issues either. Labor and Liberal both have their act together. The problem here is the Greens and the Nationals who have real issues in terms of the suggestions of breaches of the Constitution. There are people who are putting their hand up. I read today Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan both conceding before the court in their submissions that they were citizens of another country apart from Australia and, you know, that hasn’t happened with either Labor members or Liberal members.

HOST: Just finally and I will just get your thoughts on this Chris for time reasons, are you comfortable with the manner in which Tony Abbott is using his fairly booming voice to urge people to vote no against same-sex marriage on the basis of other extraneous issues – political correctness and so forth?

PYNE: Well the only question before the plebiscite is do we believe it is time to change the law to allow same sex couples to marry. That’s the only question. There are no other issues. Tony Abbott is very good at campaigning, particularly about something in which he feels strongly. He campaigned against the republic and the line that he used is that you shouldn’t trust politicians with the republic, in spite of the fact that he was a politician himself. So he will try and find a line to undermine the case for yes for same-sex marriage. I don’t think the Australian public believe this is a vote about anything other than allowing same-sex couples the same rights to marry as non-same-sex couples. I’m not in favour of marriage equality in spite of being a conservative. I am in favour of it because I am a conservative. I think more people should have access to the institution of marriage.  I think the children in same-sex households should be able to have the stability that that union brings and while Tony Abbott might well try and muddy the waters and make the vote about something other than what it is, it’s a pretty straightforward question – do you or don’t you agree that  same-sex couples should have the chance to marry?

HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, thank you both for your time.

ALBANESE: Bravo! I do think that Tony Abbott is reminding people not that he is an effective politician, but that he is an effective wrecker.

HOST: Good stuff.  Albo, Christopher Pyne, we will do it all again next week. Thank you.

Aug 21, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Michael Spooner program, ABC Mid North Coast

Subjects: Pacific Highway; citizenship; marriage equality.

MICHAEL SPOONER:  Well Anthony Albanese holds the Shadow portfolios for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. He has been on the Mid North Coast over the last couple of days and took a chance to look over Pacific Highway upgrades. Mr Albanese joins me this morning. Anthony Albanese, good morning to you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

SPOONER: Thank you for your time. So you’ve been on the Mid North Coast. What have you observed and what have you gone to look at specifically?

ALBANESE: Well what I looked at was when we were in Government we put in place the funding for all of the work that is taking place between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. Some of that work has been completed. Work like the Kempsey Bypass, Frederickton to Eungai. But there is other work taking place. I’ve been concerned about the cut that was in this year’s Budget. Last year there was $1.37 billion allocated for the Pacific Highway. That drops to $710 million in the current financial year so I’m concerned about the $600 million drop-off.

SPOONER: Is that simply a cut in funds because just about all of the highway is fixed up now?

ALBANESE: No, well it’s certainly not fixed up of course. Once you go north of Coffs there’s still work that’s substantial to be done between Arrawarra and Ballina.  Some of that upgrade was done already, like the Glenugie area. Some of the most dangerous areas were the ones that we completed first.

SPOONER: Ok, well what about the Coalition is committed to the work surrounding the Coffs Bypass. What commitment would you, would Labor, make relating to the Coffs Bypass?

ALBANESE: Well they haven’t committed anything in fact. There’s not a single dollar in the forward estimates.

SPOONER: They are doing all the geo-technical stuff at the moment.

ALBANESE: Yes, well that’s State Government work to do some of the geo-tech, which is a precondition for the planning work. There’s not a dollar allocated over the next four years and that is of some concern, particularly because Luke Hartsuyker has been promising that since 2002. He had a long time in government prior to our election and then has been in government for a long time since of course, into their second term.

SPOONER: Did you go and have a look at Macksville Bridge?

ALBANESE: No, I didn’t.

SPOONER: Because that’s well under way and you would probably see a project rushing ahead there.

ALBANESE: Yes that is under way. All of that work was allocated when we were in government. It was all under 50-50 funding – a share with the State Government. Of course, the State Government funding has dropped off as well unfortunately because the Federal Government, for the new funding, has allowed the state to drop its funding to 20 per cent.

SPOONER: Mr Albanese, I have to ask you of course while I’ve got you this morning, there is a fiasco over dual citizenship. I have heard you describing yourself as half-Italian, half-Irish. Are you, or have you ever been, a dual citizen?

ALBANESE: No I certainly haven’t. My background is fully documented in Karen Middleton’s biography.

SPOONER: Did you have to divest yourself of Italian citizenship to become a Federal politician?

ALBANESE: No I didn’t. My only legal parent on my birth certificate is my mother. I was due to be adopted out and I was told indeed that my father was deceased and my mother, as a young Catholic woman in 1963, as was pretty common at the time, was due to have me adopted out. She chose to keep me. She made that courageous decision. But my birth certificate has a blank next to father.

SPOONER: I need to also ask you while I’ve got you, of course same-sex marriage is a big issue at the moment. It’s almost derailing everything else the Government is trying to do. However, why does Labor oppose a plebiscite when polls show that people, the public, want an opportunity to vote on this issue?

ALBANESE: Well we don’t have plebiscites on education policy or health or anything else and we didn’t have a plebiscite when John Howard’s Government changed the existing Marriage Act or any other changes that have been made to the Act. We are of the view that people are entitled to love essentially whoever they want in adult relationships and that the institution of marriage indeed will be strengthened by more people being able to participate, but that that’s not something that others should pass judgement on and we are worried about a divisive debate. But the postal ballot is happening. We are certainly participating and I am campaigning very strongly for a yes vote in that voluntary postal ballot.  But I can think of better things to spend $122 million on.

SPOONER: Mr Albanese, we have to leave it there. The news is upon us. Thanks you for your time this morning.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

Aug 19, 2017

Transcript of doorstop – Port Macquarie

Subject: Pacific Highway Duplication.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s good to be here in Port Macquarie. Happy to take questions.

REPORTER: Mr Albanese you have come to Port Macquarie with some major concerns about the Pacific Highway duplication. Tell me a bit about what your concerns are regarding the funding of the highway.

ALBANESE: I’m particularly concerned that the funding for the Pacific Highway has undergone a major cut this year. For the year to June 30 the funding was $1.37 billion and that falls to $710 million this financial year. So we have seen under the former Federal Labor Government’s allocation, which is the funding that is being contributed to projects like either side of the Oxley Highway, the Kundabung Section, the section in between here and Coffs Harbour, was all funded by the former government. As that is starting to run down, what we are seeing is a failure by the Coalition Government to put the funding in. A $600 million cut in one year is a massive cut. That means less jobs being created in the short term. But more importantly it draws into question the Government’s commitment to meeting its own 2020 deadline for the completion of the full duplication.

REPORTER: The local MP Luke Hartsuyker has denied that and says Labor actually oversaw a $2.4 billion funding shortfall because of its inability to make sure that that the funding allocation was matched by the State Government. What is your reaction to that?

ALBANESE: It’s a nonsense of course and Mr Hartsuyker knows full well, or he should, that his Government has continued to see 50-50 funding on the sections of the highway such as Frederickton to Eungai, such as the sections to the north of Port Macquarie between here and Coffs Harbour were all completed under arrangements made by the former Government. So what we are seeing is that this Government has let the State Government off the hook by agreeing to it reducing its funding and now it itself is reducing the funding from $1.3 billion to $700 million in this current financial year. The result of Mr Hartsuyker’s efforts is a delay in the delivery of this vital project.

It took Labor coming to office in 2007 to press the accelerator on the Pacific Highway Duplication. We contributed some $7.6 billion to the Pacific Highway in our six years in office and that compares with $1.3 billion from the Federal Coalition over 12 long years of neglect. Mr Hartsuyker, for example,  has been promising the Coffs Harbour Bypass since he was elected in 2002 but we haven’t seen a hole dug on that project and the Government has now been in office for four years and we are seeing again a massive gap between the Government’s rhetoric and the reality of what is happening on the ground.

REPORTER: With that point in particular, it is obviously under planning. There’s a lot of geo-planning works and testing that needs to be done. Is it necessarily fair when you know we have had the department say that … (inaudible).

ALBANESE: Well of course you do need planning. The problem here is that Luke Hartsuyker has been full of hot air when it comes to promises on the Pacific Highway. His Government didn’t deliver the Kempsey Bypass. It didn’t deliver any of the projects that are currently under way. It didn’t do anything about Frederickton to Eungai – the site of course of the Clybucca crash all those years ago that led to the Coronial inquiry that recommended the full duplication of the highway. It took a Labor Government to put that funding in place and now we are seeing a wind back of the funding from the Coalition and it is symptomatic of the neglect that happened the last time the National Party was in office and it seems that they promise big but they really take communities like the like the North Coast here for granted when it comes to infrastructure investment.

Luke Hartsuyker is the only MP I can recall who ever protested against an opening of a community infrastructure project when he came and protested when schoolkids were participating in the opening of the new park facilities in Coffs Harbour and he was there with a megaphone instead of with a set of scissors helping to cut the ribbon and it says a lot about his approach towards this community and I think it is about time that the North Coast was treated with respect.

REPORTER: What is your immediate call to Darren Chester in particular?

ALBANESE: Well Darren Chester and the Government need to accelerate the investment on the Pacific Highway, not press the stop button. They let the State Government off the hook because of all of the projects that were funded 50-50 – the projects around Urunga, the projects like Frederickton to Eungai. What’s happened is the State Government don’t have to put in any money because they say, oh well it should be 80-20, so we will just stop putting in that investment. And then they haven’t stepped up to the mark to fill that gap that is there in the funding which is why you see such a significant fall. A $600 million cut from year to year is simply not good enough from the Coalition Government and Luke Hartsuyker needs to explain why that is the case. The Coffs Harbour Bypass, for example, that he has talked about since 2002, there is no money in the forward estimates. So not this year, not next year, not the year after, or the year after that for this project.

[ENDS]

Aug 18, 2017

Transcript of doorstop – Syndey

Subjects; The Multi-Nationals; Nick Xenophon; Barcelona attacks; Pauline Hanson stunt

ANTHONY ALBANESE: What we’ve had is a government too distracted by its own internal issues – so distracted that the Nationals have become the Multi-Nationals.

Both the Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Nationals have been referred to the High Court over their very eligibility to sit in the Parliament, and yet they continue to sit in the Cabinet, unlike Matt Canavan who was forced to stand aside.

The government has to answer why it is that they’ve had such an inconsistent approach to these issues, but this week we also saw absolute chaos on the floor of the parliament. We saw the government lose a vote on legislation.

We saw the government try to shut down parliament itself by calling a quorum, something I’ve never seen a government do before.

We saw Foreign Minister Bishop, in an extraordinary display of trying to suggest somehow Labor was to blame for the Coalition’s woes and for the chaos that is occurring on their side of the parliament.

Normally what should happen is that a leader – the Prime Minister – should step in and take control of the situation.

But Malcolm Turnbull is simply too weak to take control of the circumstances, hence the chaos just goes on and on – but with real consequences because of the failure to govern for the country.
REPORTER: Mr Albanese, why are Labor staffers dropping references about Mr Xenophon’s dual citizenship since the Party refuses to release any documentation about your MPs who might have dual citizenship?
ALBANESE: The fact is that we have our own processes. We have our own audit. We do it before people nominate. We check on people’s details and that is why the circumstances are there so that no Labor member has had issues either in the House of Representatives or the Senate.
REPORTER: If you’re so confident about that, why not consent to an audit of all MPs to prove that they are not dual citizens?
ALBANESE: We have an audit. We have a process prior to nomination and people, when issues have been raised about particular members, they have been addresses.
REPORTER: You’ve said that Nash should have disclosed her citizenship earlier. Why was that?
ALBANESE: Because she was told on Monday night that she was a citizen of the UK. Parliament sat on Monday, on Tuesday, on Wednesday and on Thursday.

At the very last minute possible, Senator Nash rose to her feet and informed the Parliament. But there was no referral to the High Court.

She stood up and said that in two and a half weeks time, there will be a referral to the High Court. Why wasn’t that done at the same time that Barnaby Joyce was done?

Why wasn’t it done at the earliest possible opportunity?

What we know is that Barnaby Joyce knew the week before, when parliament was sitting and the parliament wasn’t informed and in the meantime Barnaby Joyce went about denouncing his New Zealand citizenship prior to telling the parliament.

Surely Cabinet ministers have a responsibility to inform the parliament that there is a very serious question mark over their very eligibility to sit in the parliament, let alone be a Cabinet minister.
REPORTER: [inaudible] … gotten confirmation on Thursday from the Solicitor-General on Thursday afternoon, how could she…
ALBANESE: It’s very convenient for the government. I make this prediction. If parliament was sitting today, she would have said that she got that advice on Friday afternoon, just before parliament got up.

It’s very clear that this issue would have got out over the weekend given there had been Cabinet discussions, given the chaos that’s there in the Coalition. Given the fact that everything they do leaks to the media.

It is beyond belief that one minute before the Senate got up, and after the House of Representatives had risen, and after the commercial news networks had gone to air last night this information was put out there.

This is media management, not management of the country.

That’s the problem with this government. They’re incapable with providing the leadership that Australia needs.
REPORTER: Are you suggesting that she should have gone public [inaudible]
ALBANESE: When was the legal advice obtained? I’ve dealt with the Solicitor-General as a Cabinet minister. I know the sort of advice that’s available to the Commonwealth.

She was informed on Monday night by the UK of what the circumstances were.

It’s beyond comprehension that it takes days to get advice from the Solicitor-General. The Commonwealth has that legal advice available to it as a matter of course.

It’s not like the lawyers were all off overseas at the time and they couldn’t get the information to them. The Commonwealth Solicitor-General is available to give this advice.

The advice is very clear in terms of the Constitution. We’ve had legal cases about these issues in the past, and at the very least, the fact that Senator Nash is saying that she will be referred to the High Court means that she accepts that there is a serious question mark over her eligibility and that was always going to be the case given the circumstances surrounding Senator Nash.
REPORTER: What’s your reaction to the events in Barcelona?
ALBANESE: These events are a great tragedy. I think all Australians would express their condolences to the victims of this act of terrorism. These people want to damage our way of life.

Barcelona is a great international city. It’s a city where tourists go to have a look at the magnificent art, the architecture of Park Güell and Gaudi. It’s an Olympic city. It’s a city of food and dancing and culture and vibrancy.

It’s a tragedy that these evil terrorists would think that somehow it advances their cause by acting in such an inhumane and brutal way. Our thoughts go out to the families.

We hope that Australians who are visiting Barcelona are safe. I’m not sure of what the update is but certainly the Australian Embassy and consular officials will providing people every support that they can.
REPORTER: What’s your reaction to Senator Hanson’s stunt?
ALBANESE: This was an absurd act that undermines the dignity of our national parliament.

Senator Hanson is entitled to be treated with respect. But with that Senator Hanson is obligated to treat all Australians, not just some, with respect too. Not to divide the community.

George Brandis, I think deserves absolute praise for his response to Senator Hanson’s divisive and opportunistic stunt.

Thanks.

 

Aug 18, 2017

Transcript television interview – AM Agenda

Subjects; Barcelona attacks; Pauline Hanson stunt; The Multi-National Party 

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Australians are great international travellers, whether it be people when they’re young, Australians will tend to go and backpack for six months or more. I did that and I visited Barcelona, during that time, staying in a youth hostel.

I’ve visited again since, it’s a fantastic city, and this tragedy is another reminder that we need to be vigilant, that there are Islamic terrorists who want to cause us harm, and our way of life harm.

Attacking destinations like Barcelona – great international cities – is something that they see as somehow advancing their cause. What it does of course is to unite humanity against this scourge of terrorism.

KIERAN GILBERT: Back home now and we saw the stunt yesterday from Pauline Hanson. She says she was trying to raise concerns about security.

I guess we can have the debate about whether or not the burqa is appropriate in a western nation like ours in terms of the question of oppression of women and so on, its a separate debate, but I guess the security agencies would be worried about the impact of the Hanson stunt in alienating a cohort in our community.

ALBANESE: That’s right, and that’s why I think George Brandis’ immediate response was courageous and correct, and he deserves absolute credit for the dignity in which he responded to what was a very undignified moment from Senator Hanson, that did nothing to advance the debate.

It certainly did nothing, as Senator Brandis pointed out, to advance security. All of the security agencies that advise him as Attorney-General and advise us as parliamentarians, all say that what we need to do is to work with the community.

We know that overwhelmingly the Islamic community is cooperative, is loyal to this great country of Australia, and the idea of ridiculing any group in our society, attempting to single them out and poke fun at them.

It is beyond my comprehension how Senator Hanson thinks that somehow advance security, it does the opposite. It undermines it, as George Brandis pointed out so eloquently in the Senate yesterday.

GILBERT: In your view is it neither here nor there that the vast bulk of Muslims, certainly in this country but right around the world don’t wear a burqa. The criticism really underpinning it goes to the fact that it was seen to be mocking the faith given she’s not an adherent of it.

ALBANESE: That’s exactly right. I live in Marrickville in Sydney, it’s a great community, it’s a community whereby I have neighbours who happen to be of Islamic faith, I have people next door who are Salvos, I have people who are Catholics, people who are Jewish, people who are Hindu, people who are Buddhist. We live together in harmony.

We’re a great microcosm for what the world should be, people who have respect for each other, people who have tolerance for each other, people who recognise that our diversity is a strength. We should be proud of that, and shouldn’t seek to divide the community and single out any group in society and try to ridicule them.

It is counterproductive, it doesn’t assist the process, and it really undermined the dignity of Australia yesterday. I guess the point is to get people talking about Senator Hanson, we’re doing it right now, but really, if that’s the approach we have to political discourse in this country, then what we’ll see is a circumstance whereby people just try and think up stranger and stranger things to do just to get attention.

GILBERT: Yeah indeed. Just to wrap up, we’re almost out of time but I want to get your reflections on the citizenship dramas facing the National Party, particularly right now.

Is Labor reassured, have you done an audit of your own MPs so that we don’t have another spate of questions here as we await the High Court judgement on it?

ALBANESE: The good thing that we do is an audit before nominations. It’s part of the process, we have a very rigorous approach to these matters, the Nationals clearly don’t, which is why they’re becoming the multi-nationals. They’ve lost potentially a leader and a deputy leader.

I think its quite extraordinary that Senator Nash knew about this on Monday night and waited til the last couple of minutes that the Senate was sitting before she chose to inform the Senate.

That’s an outrageous abrogation of responsibility, frankly. But its consistent with a government which this week has been totally chaotic.

They lost votes on the floor of the House of Representatives. They called a quorum in themselves on Wednesday.

They had the circumstance whereby they tried to make it into a conspiracy, and questioned our relationship with New Zealand, and whether we could work, as a nation with a future New Zealand Government.

Julie Bishop really just embarrassed herself this week. This has been a shocker of a week for the Coalition Government.

 

 

Aug 18, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; Barcelona attacks; Pauline Hanson stunt; Fiona Nash

KARL STEFANOVIC: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Christopher to you first of all, your response? How is the Australian Government responding?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well obviously Karl, we’re very worried because Barcelona is a favourite destination for Australian tourists travelling to Europe.

At any one time, there are many Australians in Barcelona, and of course there is a festival I think in Barcelona right now that Australians tend to go to.

So we are concerned that Australians may be involved and the embassy there in Madrid and the consulates that are available are searching for the Australians in Barcelona.

There is a number that people can call if they’re concerned, a consular number which we’ve given to your producers which is 1300 555 135.

Obviously there are Facebook sites in which people can identify that they are safe and we would ask all Australians who are in Barcelona to indicate through Facebook or by contacting relatives or the consul that they are actually safe so that we can make sure that Australians aren’t involved.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, let’s move on from that. Pauline Hanson yesterday Albo, what did you make of it?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It was a stunt that doesn’t have any place in the Australian Parliament, or in the Senate. I think that George Brandis’ response was correct, courageous and spot on.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, in terms of your reaction, to what you saw yesterday, did she go too far?

PYNE: Well I’m not sure what Pauline Hanson’s point was, quite frankly. Now I’m told it was about security. Well, once Pauline Hanson is inside the entrances of Parliament House and has been through security, quite frankly what she wears in Question Time has no bearing on security whatsoever.

I think Pauline Hanson has to remember that she is a leader in the community. She’s a leader in Australia and to ensure that our country is cohesive we actually need to work with all the communities in it to protect each other.

STEFANOVIC: She has support though. We put a poll on Facebook last night. 58 per cent of people agreed with her stunt. 42 per cent of people were against it, and that was pretty much what it was all about yesterday, her shoring up her own support, right?

PYNE: Well, it was obviously about trying to make a political point but the point that I would make is that we have a responsibility as Members of Parliament, as members of the government to ensure that Australians are working together to defeat terrorism not trying to frighten Australians against other Australians.

I mean, the fear of the other breeds the kind of violence that we’re seeing around the world and Senator Hanson needs to work with communities, not divide communities.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, what’s happening with Fiona Nash?

PYNE: Well, unfortunately, Fiona Nash has discovered that she has a father with Scottish, British citizenship.

STEFANOVIC: How did she not do it earlier?

PYNE: Well, as soon as she was aware of the Barnaby Joyce situation she made…

STEFANOVIC: Well, that’s too little too late, right?

PYNE: She made her own enquiries, the Solicitor-General believes that she will not be found to be disqualified from the Senate and therefore she’s referred herself to the High Court. These matters will be cleared up by the High Court.

ALBANESE: The Nationals have become The Multinationals. We’ve seen absolute chaos on their side…

PYNE: Not a bad line, Anthony, I’ll pay you that.

ALBANESE: … on their side of the House. And what’s extraordinary is that Senator Nash knew about this on Monday night. Parliament sat Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. She waited until the very last minute to actually inform the Senate.

This is a week where they lost votes on the floor of the Parliament, we had Julie Bishop just about declaring war on New Zealand blaming Labor for a conspiracy over Barnaby Joyce. They are just a mess.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, that’s all we’ve got time for gentleman. Thank you very much for that.

Aug 17, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Wendy Harmer Program, ABC Radio Sydney

Subjects: Australian music

WENDY HARMER: Albo, AKA Anthony Albanese would agree, and he is a senior Labor MP of course, known for his occasional DJ stints. G’day Anthony. Thanks for joining us today.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Wendy.

HARMER: Now this is a statistic that we are chewing over this morning and that we are worried about – that no Australian songs have hit number one on the ARIA charts in 2017 and I know that you are a real Aussie music fan. Are you worried about this? Have you noticed this yourself?

ALBANESE: No. I think that Aussie music is in fantastic shape.

HARMER: Yeah?

ALBANESE: You have, I think, across the range of music from bands like Polish Club, that are a good Inner West band who play sort of pub rock, really. They are a two-piece band and a song like Come Party should be number one. And last year you had a huge hit internationally indeed from Flume, from up your way, Northern Beaches.

HARMER: Yes, that’s right.

ALBANESE: Never Be Like You was Number One on the Triple J Hottest 100 last year. I have been listening to a fantastic new album by Meg Mac that includes Grace Gold, which I think is a fantastic song. You’ve got young artists like Amy Shark …

HARMER: Yes we just played her, actually.

ALBANESE: Adore. Did you play Adore?

HARMER: I sure did. Love it. I’m glad that you do too.

ALBANESE: It is a great song. In a couple of weeks I am going to the Enmore on a Saturday night to see Polish Club, but they are the support act for the Preatures, who are a fantastic band as well with a great female lead singer. And you know they have got a new album out as well. So I think that Australian music is pretty good across the board. And a lot of hip hop – my 16-year-old son is very much into hip hop music, as his generation are and there’s bands like Bliss N Eso who I think are from the Illawarra, I think. And they are producing some pretty exciting new music as well and of course what’s old is new again with a whole lot of bands like Hoodoo Gurus and You Am I and a whole lot of bands from when I was younger retouring.

HARMER: I wonder though, would you back the idea that has been talked about this morning to increase the quotas maybe on commercial radio?

ALBANESE: Well I would hope that you didn’t need quotas. I would hope that one of the things that radio stations should do is to ensure that they have Australian content there. And certainly one of the things that has happened, I don’t want to give plug to community radio there while I am talking on 702 …

HARMER: No, go right ahead.

ALBANESE: But I mean stations like FBI and 2SER in Sydney; FBI almost exclusively, if not totally, play Australian music and it’s very important for Aussie bands and musicians to get that start. Triple J, to give a plug to your sister or brother station there at the ABC, they play primarily Australian music and are so important for giving bands that break. I look forward – every Friday morning they have Like A Version, where you have …

HARMER: Oh yes. That is always fun.

ALBANESE: Australian bands playing songs, like I have watched the video while I am exercising about 50 times of Sarah Blasko doing David Bowie’s Life on Mars.

HARMER: Well you know what else the people need, and this is where we will leave it Anthony Albanese, what music bands need in Australia is fans like you – more of them.

ALBANESE: Well, I’m just a tragic you see. If you can’t do it, watch.

HARMER: Yes. I agree with you. Thanks you so much Anthony.

ALBANESE: Good on you Wendy.

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