Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Oct 25, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Two Tribes segment, FIVEaa

Subjects; AFP Raids, NBN

HOST: It’s been a big last week in Federal politics and to pick over it Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us for Two Tribes. Good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Will.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

HOST: It’s been a big 24 hours as well with the big story obviously being the AFP raids on the offices of the Australian Works Union in Melbourne yesterday. We’re going to open the batting with you today, for something different, Albo. Is Labor really suggesting that the AFP is acting at the behest or even on instructions from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull?

ALBANESE: Well what’s occurred here is that the Government have established the Registered Organisations Commission on the basis of legislation from Senator Cash, who is the Minister responsible. What’s incredible about these raids is that the AWU found out something was going on because the media were there before the police. We know that Senator Cash’s office was ringing around media organisations yesterday afternoon, telling them that this was going to occur.

Now that is an extraordinary intervention in the process. Common sense tells you that if a raid is occurring by the police the whole justification of it is apparently, allegedly, to stop documents going missing. The fact that cameras were outside before the police were there means that there are questions to be answered about why it was that the Minister’s office were doing this ring around.

I just find it incredible that from a Government that appointed an actual law breaker to run the ABCC with the knowledge that laws have been broken, by the Minister, before that became public. Now we have with the Registered Orgs being used for clearly political purposes.

And what’s the claim here? That’s all about the AWU donating to the Labor Party. Well hold the front page, in 1891 the AWU was one of the unions that formed the Labor Party and they’ve been supporting Labor Party candidates ever since.

HOST: Well it’s probably a bit more about whether the money was being donated with the knowledge of members not just to the Labor Party, but to GetUp. But to your point about the Minister tipping off media organisations, we’ll jump over now to you if we can, Chris. Do you accept that that is true? That the Minister Michaelia Cash, that her office was wording up the journos that the raids were going to happen and, if so, do you think that is appropriate?

PYNE: Look I don’t accept that it’s true and Anthony has just done a sterling job at trying to muddy the waters here because the spokesperson for Employment, Brendan O’Connor, has completely overstepped the mark in accusing the AFP of being a politicised organisation. We know that’s not true. Your listeners know that’s not true. Brendan O’Connor went far too far yesterday and he should be stood down from his role as the Shadow Employment Minister.

And what Labor is now doing is a classic tactic of doubling down and trying to pretend the issue is something other than the Brendan O’Connor and now Bill Shorten completely overstepping the mark. The Australian Federal Police is utterly independent of government as is the Registered Organisations Commission.

They’ve been set up for a job, which is to make sure that the union movement, an (inaudible) organisation, don’t spend their members’ money, without their members’ knowledge. We did this because of the Health Services Union and the Craig Thompson case, which you would remember a few years ago when members’ money was being spent willy-nilly by union leaders on things that they shouldn’t have been spent on. Now, for Labor to try and attack the Australian Federal Police…

ALBANESE: No one is attacking the Australian Federal Police. That’s a nonsense.

PYNE: Brendan O’Connor did that yesterday…

ALBANESE: That’s a nonsense.

PYNE: And he should be stood down from his role as the Employment spokesman as punishment for his clearly overstepping of the mark.

ALBANESE: I notice Christopher that you’re not even prepared to put the case of why these raids occurred. The AFP do their job as instructed. That’s what happened there.

PYNE: No, the AFP was not instructed to raid the Australian Workers Union offices by the Government and that claim is a disgrace…

ALBANESE: No, by the Registered Orgs Commission…

PYNE: (Inaudible) Completely independent of Government.

ALBANESE: Well why was Michaelia Cash…

PYNE: I don’t know that is true. First I’ve heard of it is you putting it on the radio.

ALBANESE: Well walk up to the Gallery mate and ask anyone in Channel 7 or Channel 9 or the people who directly got calls from Michaelia Cash’s media office.

HOST: Hey Albo, Albo …

PYNE: The reason why the AWU was being raided was because the AFP was not confident, nor was the Registered Organisations Commission, that the union wasn’t going to destroy documents that might incriminate Bill Shorten as Leader of the Opposition. (Inaudbile) that were made to his campaign and other campaigns, and to GetUp, potentially without the union members’ knowledge, and not going through the proper processes; that’s why the AWU was raided and …

HOST: Hey guys sorry, I’ve got to jump in, I’ve just got one more question on this and it’s just for you Albo. We saw Julia Gillard limping towards an election defeat, and limping towards losing her job rather than Kevin Rudd, with the lead in her saddle bags of an alleged slush fund involving the AWU. Do you think, Anthony Albanese, this could become a similarly damaging issue for Bill Shorten’s leadership?

ALBANESE: No I certainly don’t. I think this will damage the Government. I think that your listeners would be no more shocked that the AWU would donate money to Bill Shorten’s campaign, given he was the National Secretary and the former Victorian State Secretary and given they’re an affiliated union to the Australian Labor Party, then that whatever the body is in Sturt, of the Liberal Party, would raise money for Christopher Pyne. It is just farcical.

HOST: Chris, you can answer that, given the nature of Albo’s response. Do you want to say anything in reply?

PYNE: Well of course the money that’s raised for my campaign goes through all the proper processes. The people who raise it know that it’s been raised, it’s probably accounted to the Electoral Commission. When we spend the money we have meetings, we decide how it’s going to be spent, we prepare a budget, we pass motions. There are minutes at those meetings, and we’ve been doing that for a quarter of a century.

The problem here, with the donations to Bill Shorten’s campaign and to GetUp, is the allegation that there were no proper processes followed. Now if you remember, when the AWU was asked to produce the minutes where they had meetings that decided that expenditure should be made, they said that they wouldn’t produce the minutes, but they were happy and satisfied with the process. Now if those minutes occurred, if those minutes exist, why weren’t they produced? And that is what the AFP was looking for yesterday at the direction of the Registered Organisations Commission.

Because the suggestion here is that the proper processes were not followed, because the rules of the AWU require any expenditure over a certain amount of money, I think it’s $5,000, needs to be approved by the executive of the AWU, and the suggestion here is that did not happen.

HOST: Alright gentlemen, let’s change tack for a moment if I could turn our attention to the Four Corners report at the state of the NBN that aired earlier this week. It seems to be broad agreement on all sides that the NBN is, for want of a better term, stuffed, at the moment. And I appreciate the construction of this question will lead to an orgy of interruptions, so I will give you both 60 seconds to answer it.

Starting with you Chris Pyne, being our representative from the Government, whose fault is the current state of the NBN, and how are you going to fix it? You’ve got 60 seconds, and Albo you’ve got exactly the same question.

PYNE: Alright, so we passed six million premises, and there are three million customers of the NBN, of course there are going to be people within that three million who would like their service to be better.

But we’ve actually saved the train wreck that was the NBN, Labor had earmarked 51,000 houses in six years; we’ve now passed six million in the last four years. So we’re passing about 51,000 every 10 days, that’s what they’ve managed in the six years that they were in government.

The NBN was a joke when we got into government, and we have fixed it. But of course there are going to be people that are unhappy; there will also be people who are very happy with the NBN. We could always do better and we will. But when you have three million customers, does anybody seriously think that three million are going to be sitting there perfectly happy every single part of the day? Of course they’re not, and that’s why we have processes to try and fix it. But it’s totally delivered faster, cheaper and sooner than it would have been under Labor.

HOST: Alright, Anthony Albanese.

ALBANESE: Malcolm Turnbull is responsible for changing the system so that we have fraudband being rolled out rather than broadband.

You have copper being rolled out rather than fibre.

That means people are getting a second rate service that isn’t fit for the 21st Century. It’s a handbrake on jobs growth and the economy and it means that we have a digital divide, so that because of just – no fault of anyone, you could be across the road from someone who has first class fibre to the home, high speed broadband, and because you’re on the wrong side of the street with Mr Turnbull’s flawed system you get a second rate service.

Broadband is as important in the 21st Century for education, for health, for a range of services being delivered, as electricity and running water.

HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, good on you both for joining us. We’ll do it again next week.

Oct 20, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Morning Shift with Samantha Madien, SKY News

Subjects; Voluntary euthanasia; marriage equality, opinion polling; New Zealand election, Tony Abbott.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Sam.

SAMANTHA MAIDEN: This is obviously a very emotional debate in relation to euthanasia. What is your position on it and what do you think of the legislation that has just passed the Victorian Parliament?

ALBANESE: Well we had a debate of course in the Federal Parliament about voluntary euthanasia. I voted in favour of voluntary euthanasia at that time. I must say it was a very dignified debate. It was a debate that showed Parliament at its best and I think that has happened in Victoria as well.

You’ve had a debate whereby you have had a conscience vote. It’s precisely the way, I think, that we should have dealt with the issue of marriage equality. I think it is very clear that if there was a plebiscite or a postal survey about voluntary euthanasia in Australia that a majority of Australians would vote yes to it. It is a difficult issue.

I certainly respect people’s views who don’t share my position on it. I do think that it is one of the issues where I think it’s not 100 – zero. It’s a sort of 60-40 call. Most people have to grapple with their conscience.

We want to make sure that loved ones don’t endure pain in circumstances which are so difficult. We all will depart this earth and it’s a matter of the circumstances in which we do and no-one wants to see people in pain.

The other argument about making sure that we value human life is also I think a very important consideration.

MAIDEN: Okay. But let’s talk about this idea of a plebiscite. I mean you raised the idea of a plebiscite on this issue and you said that if we had one in Australia in relation to euthanasia, you think it would be successful.

Should we have a national plebiscite now on this issue so voters can have their say, just as they have been able to have their say on same-sex marriage?

ALBANESE: Look, I think we have a system in Australia of parliamentary democracy that serves us well. I didn’t support the postal survey and I don’t support a postal survey on voluntary euthanasia. I think there is some irony for people who are arguing for the plebiscite.

I actually said to some people who I had respectful discussions with who were saying we need to debate this and everyone needs to have their say, of whether they would support a plebiscite on this very issue and they had the opposite view of course.

I think that this has been dealt with by – it’s not by the Andrews Government; it isn’t government legislation, it is legislation in the Victorian Parliament – as best as it could be dealt with.

I think it has been dealt with appropriately. I think people like Andrew Denton deserve a great deal of credit for being prepared to engage in civil society and promote this discussion and people certainly are having their say and having their say through their elected representatives.

MAIDEN: But you don’t think it’s time for you to rethink your position on this plebiscite? I mean people said that this would be incredibly divisive.

ALBANESE: And it has been, Sam.

MAIDEN: OK, but if the Yes case gets up pretty powerfully, and all of the polls suggest it will, won’t that also be a powerful endorsement that the majority of Australians actually support same-sex couples and same-sex people in Australia and they have demonstrated that at the ballot box?

ALBANESE: But we knew that already Sam. We knew that and this poll won’t be any different from the Newspoll or what the public polling has been showing. I expect that the Yes vote will be successful by a similar margin to the one in which the polls have taken place. It always amazes me that; a bit like people who speak about secret party polling.  I will give you the big tip, Sam, the secret party polling is usually exactly the same as Newspoll and the published polls.

MAIDEN: Oh come on. It’s got a bit more detail than that doesn’t it, the party polling?

ALBANESE: On the stuff that people are interested in in terms of your viewers – what the votes are, what the positive and negative is for leaders or candidates – it is usually pretty much the same. And in terms of this exercise though, you’ve had 122 million reasons to not have this postal survey.

We could have got this done. It could have been done some time ago. As it is I think we will have marriage equality by Christmas and this time next year – I will make this prediction to you – no-one will be asking questions of politicians or of anyone else for that matter about marriage equality except for one: Did you enjoy John and Bill’s wedding or did you enjoy, you know, Wendy and Mavis’s wedding last Saturday, because people will wonder what all the fuss was about.

MAIDEN: Okay, let’s go to a bit of diplomacy and a German term schadenfreude, is there is bit of schadenfreude do you think in relation to all the mud that was thrown by the Turnbull Government accusing Labor of trying to bring down the Australian Government with a foreign power in relation to this Barnaby Joyce and the questions about his citizenship and so on?

And now the government is the New Zealand Labour Government, that was the mob that Julie Bishop was saying a few weeks ago that she couldn’t work with.

ALBANESE: Well, it certainly is and it’s a good choice of phrase by yourself Samantha. I think that Jacinda Ardern will make an outstanding Prime Minister. I met her and indeed I addressed the New Zealand Labour Party caucus just about 18 months ago and they have some outstanding people.

They are ready to govern and I think Julie Bishop has used the word ‘congratulations’ for the new New Zealand Prime Minister and she needs to say one more word, in my view, show that she is big enough and say ‘sorry’. She should do it.

MAIDEN: Yeah, so you think that she should apologise? Because the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was saying today no apology required.

ALBANESE: Well, that’s the sort of macho stuff that doesn’t really help relations. When you commit an error, say sorry and then you move on. That’s the way we deal with things as adults. So Jacinda Ardern, she’s tough.

She’s shown that, over what has been a remarkable rise to prominence in politics from being a relatively junior frontbencher in the New Zealand Labour Party to being the Prime Minister of New Zealand, so I don’t think she’ll lie awake at night worried about Julie Bishop and whether she says sorry or not.

I just think it’s the right thing to do. It was a really juvenile performance frankly from Julie Bishop on that occasion trying to accuse somehow the New Zealand Labour Party of being responsible for what is purely the responsibility of Barnaby Joyce himself to not have his house in order.

I mean, it’s no accident that there are no Labor or Liberal party parliamentarians before the High Court at the moment. They’re from the minor parties, be it the National Party, the Greens Party or Nick Xenophon or One Nation.

MAIDEN: Yeah, so time for an audit do you think either way to find out if there’s any more of them hiding underneath any rocks?

ALBANESE: Where’s the issue? Everyone who’s before the High Court will be dealt with. I can say, you know the smart thing to do? Not have an audit after people are elected. Have a proper process before people are candidates. That’s what the Labor Party does.

MAIDEN: Okay, but just before you go you’re a keen student of politics, you can always read the room. After this week and this debate over energy policy do you think Tony Abbott’s stocks within the Liberal Party are reduced or do you think that they are elevated because he is essentially once again forced Malcolm Turnbull into his view in relation to dumping the clean energy target?

ALBANESE: Well, I think it’s a bit each way. Tony Abbott certainly has been shown to be influencing the policy debate in Australia and influencing the government far beyond what a backbencher should be doing.

I mean, the speech in London was an extraordinary speech for someone to give. He should watch Sky News a bit more and see the rise in both the number and the intensity of natural disasters.

You can’t say that any specific one is because of climate change. What you can do is point towards the trends that are clearly there. And you can point towards as well the fact that the three hottest years on record are 2016, 2015 and 2014.

It’s not by accident and so I think his speech was quite extraordinary dismissing the science and indeed saying that we could be better off with global warming. So there’s no doubt that in terms of him having an influence that has increased because it’s only a few months ago that the government brought down the Finkel Review.

The Chief Scientist made recommendations. Malcolm Turnbull recognised that the Clean Energy Target was a positive way to go and the Opposition responded constructively to it as the Labor Party because we want that certainty as well.

But his stocks within the party, I didn’t think they could go any lower but they continue to dive bomb in my view. He’s shown contempt really, not for people who have not been friends of Tony Abbott for some time but I think people who backed him right up until Malcolm Turnbull’s successful coup in 2015 are very angry with him.

They regard his behaviour as selfish and destructive. I think the Australian people know that he is a good wrecker. He tried to wreck the Labor Government and in some ways he was effective at that.

But with regard to the prospect of him ever running anything, running the country or running a portfolio what we need is someone who’s positive. Someone who actually has a plan to get things done, not just a plan to tear things down.

 

Oct 20, 2017

Transcript of television interview – The Today Show

Subjects; Energy, New Zealand, Holden, Kim Jong-un

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHIRSTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, first of all to you, how’s your carbon tax sitting this morning?

PYNE: Well we’re the people who abolished the carbon tax, Karl, of course. So what we’ve done this week is announced a policy, an energy guarantee that means we can have affordable and reliable power, something that hasn’t been able to be achieved for a very long time.

STEFANOVIC: It’s cap and trade though isn’t it? You set a level of emissions that retailers need to meet, that’s setting a carbon price isn’t it?

PYNE: Well look people can argue as much as they like about the technical details of what the energy guarantee means. Quite frankly all mums and dads, families and businesses care about is – will this deliver affordable and reliable power? And all the experts, the energy security board, tell us that it will, and that’s why we want Labor to get on board, end the climate wars no one cares about them, and do some practical things for the Australian public.

STEFANOVIC: Albo a carbon tax worked for you.

ALBANESE: This is of course a price on carbon. Because whatever system you come up with, you need a price signal. That’s what the Government is now acknowledging with this plan. They haven’t done the modelling. It will save something like, according to best case, 50 cents a week in three years’ time. We want to see the modelling; we want to see the detail.

STEFANOVIC: But you’re on board in principle?

ALBANESE: We want to see the modelling and the detail. We want to see what the impact will be. But what’s clear from this week, is that the Government has acknowledged that you do need that price signal when it comes to carbon.

PYNE: Labor can call it whatever they like quite frankly.

STEFANOVIC: If you’re saying you’re looking at modelling that means you actually in principle like it.

ALBANESE: Well we want to see the detail. What we know is that the Government has to come up with something. They talk about the need for certainty, it’s them who have created the uncertainty.

STEFANOVIC: Let’s talk about New Zealand this morning, wow. A new leader. Labor candidate Jacinda Ardern has won with the help of Winston Peters, gee he keeps kicking on doesn’t he, Winston? Didn’t she come from nowhere.

PYNE: And the Greens.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, you declared war on the country, well Julie Bishop did at least. We fought in the trenches with these people and during the campaign you declared war on them. How are you going to mend that fence?

PYNE: Yeah, well not quite Karl, that’s something of an exaggeration. But we do have a new government- amazing on breakfast television that there would be an exaggeration of any kind.

STEFANOVIC: Oh come now.

ALBANESE: That’s your job.

PYNE: But we do have a new government across the ditch. A Greens-New Zealand First-Labor Government. Of course our relationship with New Zealand transcends politics, it’s a very very long standing one. The Prime Minister has already spoken to Prime Minister Ardern, Julie Bishop has welcomed the resolution of their election, and we’ll all get on with our relationship.

STEFANOVIC: Has she picked up the phone yet? Or are we going to send Trevor Chappell over there to sort things out?

PYNE: That’s a blast from the past Karl, I haven’t heard of Trevor Chappell for a long time. I think our relationship even survived Trevor Chappell, so I’m sure we’ll get back on track pretty quickly.

STEFANOVIC: All right, Anthony?

ALBANESE: Big congratulations for Jacinda. She’s an awesome person. I met her a while ago …

PYNE: Name dropper.

ALBANESE: Well I’ve met her, you’ve just sledged her. That’s the difference. That’s the difference here. And Julie Bishop is humiliated by this outcome, and she should say, she’s said congratulations, she needs to say another word; Sorry.

STEFANOVIC: She used to be a DJ too, are you going to take any inspiration from her?

ALBANESE: She’s a very amazing personality.

STEFANOVIC: Answer the question, are you going to lay your own track down?

ALBANESE: I’ll be DJing this Sunday at the Inner West Beer Festival!

STEFANOVIC: Oh nice, there you go.

PYNE: Here we go again, you see he makes more money out of DJing than he does out of being an MP these days.

STEFANOVIC: It’s all for a good cause.

ALBANESE: All free.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, we’re going to finish with this one today, end of an era with the closing down of Holden. It’s a tough day actually in Adelaide, isn’t it? Christopher?

PYNE: Yeah look, it’s very disappointing about Holden making the decision to close the factory there. They did some things that made it almost impossible to stay open. They didn’t invest, in the equipment or the factory, and they wouldn’t allow them to compete with General Motors in the United States or even in the Middle East, which made it really hard for the company.

What we’re doing, what I’m doing through defence industry is creating new jobs. Six-hundred at Osborne South a couple of weeks ago; 150 here at Saab, so that’s 750 jobs in the last fortnight. What we need is new jobs we’ve got to find things for those people to do and we’re largely being successful, a lot of people have found work, but obviously it is a sad day for Australia.

STEFANOVIC: Okay.

ALBANESE: Our thoughts are with the Holden workers today. Holden has been an iconic brand here in Australia. It’s a pity that the Government, through Joe Hockey, told them to go.

PYNE: That’s not right of course.

STEFANOVIC: Thank you guys, thank you very much for all of that and good luck with the letters from Kim Jong-un, Christopher, over the weekend.

PYNE: I’ll be studying them closely.

STEFANOVIC: It’s good to see that he’s writing again

 

Oct 18, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Newsday with Peter Van Onselen, SKY News

Subjects: Urban policy; development; public housing.

PETER VAN ONSELEN: I’m joined live out of the nation’s capital by Shadow Infrastructure spokesperson Anthony Albanese. Thanks very much for your company.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Peter.

VAN ONSELEN: We’re going to do something unusual this week and presumably next and not talk about energy policy. I’ve got your colleague and friend Mark Butler coming on later this hour to do just that. I want to talk to you about your portfolio.

ALBANESE: Excellent, he’s more than capable of doing that.

VAN ONSELEN: I don’t know if that’s you acknowledging your own failings of knowledge in the area or …

ALBANESE: I’m acknowledging his expertise.

VAN ONSELEN: Fair enough, well we will talk to him about it, we’ll see whether you’re right about that. Look, infrastructure is a portfolio that in government and opposition you’ve held for a long time now. You’ve got a piece in today’s Daily Telegraph, making the point that yes cities need to get denser, in terms of urban sprawl, but without losing the kind of amenities that avoid that becoming a kind of unwanted urban sprawl. How do you do that though? How can government or indeed, I guess, the wider community ensure that higher density around things like railway lines and the rest of it, transport hubs, doesn’t just simply become a lifeless existence in an over-populated city centre?

ALBANESE: You do that with proper planning Peter. The Telegraph deserves, I think, praise for the fact that they’re really encouraging this debate about the nature of Sydney in particular, but a lot of the lessons are there for all of our major cities. Successful cities are inclusive cities; they are ones whereby you can’t determine automatically what income someone earns by just looking at their postcode. So that means a range of challenges have to be dealt with.

One of the reasons why you have that increased density in the inner areas is because that’s where the jobs are. One of the things that we have to do is make sure that jobs are created closer to where people live. Now Badgerys Creek Airport and the concept of an Aerotropolis is one way to do that. Universities can be one way to do that. If you look at Westmead Hospital at Parramatta, it has more PhDs living within a five kilometre radius of it, than any area of New South Wales, except for the CBD of Sydney. That’s because those high-value jobs are created- and people live around that area. Sydney doesn’t work if it’s a hub and spoke approach, if everyone is just going into and out of the city.

VAN ONSELEN: Let me jump in then. Is that you taking on the Government’s concept of the 30-minute city that Angus Taylor and others having talked about? Or is what you are talking about something that fits with that?

ALBANESE: Well I talked about it well before, two years before, as part of our ten-point plan for cities. We did that at the National Press Club on the day, indeed, on which I was appointed the Shadow Minister for Cities, so I’m pleased that the Government has adopted a similar position rhetorically. But what they haven’t done is to do it in policy terms. They haven’t got the planning mechanisms right. They continue to, in spite of the difference between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott on public transport – at least Malcolm Turnbull likes riding on trains and trams, he likes taking selfies on them – he just hasn’t funded them.

So we need, for example, the funding for the north-south corridor of the rail line through Badgerys Creek Airport, but making sure that those jobs in the employment lands, just to the north of the airport and south, are opened up to people in St Marys, Rouse Hill and the Macarthur region. We need that funding. I notice yet another road announcement from the State Government of the F6 proposal down into the end of the southern suburbs. One of the things that you can’t have with a major city that has high-density and medium-density living is reliance upon the private motor vehicle. It simply doesn’t work. You need public transport to be prioritised.

VAN ONSELEN: Well let me jump in there again. I saw that announcement by Gladys Berejiklian’s Government in last night’s news. You raise a broader issue though, which is in my mind do we need to have federation reform here to have clearer lines between the Commonwealth and the states? Because it feels like there is a constant argy-bargy of which project should or shouldn’t be funded or prioritised or gain appropriate due diligence and thus attention as part of that ever present stand-off between the Commonwealth Government and the State Government at any point in time, exacerbated I would argue when political complexions are varied.

ALBANESE: Well we of course set up the mechanism. It’s called Infrastructure Australia.

VAN ONSELEN: You say that’s been gutted.

ALBANESE: It just hasn’t been listened to. It’s been sidelined. So what we’ve had is a section set up within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, it’s not even in the Infrastructure Department, to advise on cities and to advise on financing, another group on financing, which is one of the core components in the Infrastructure Australia legislation, that they advise on financing of projects. But what we need is proper planning, not this ad hoc with Sydney’s road network at the moment. One road leads to another road being created to deal with the congestion created by the first road. You end up never providing a solution. A solution is an integrated transport network.

When you have medium density proposals; there’s a proposal just on the border of my electorate in Marrickville at the moment, Carrington Road, which is proposed for an area that currently has one and two-storey houses and it has some industrial at two and three storeys, of 28 story developments. Now this is an area where there is one road in and one road out. It’s on a flood plain. It’s a massive over-development that has been proposed. Now what occurs then is that you’ll end up getting a rejection of all of it, instead of having sensible planning, increases in density along railway lines by all means, but making sure that there’s open space created for the kids to play sport in, making sure that the schools and the health facilities are there as well.

VAN ONSELEN: On that, one of the other elements of, if you like, diversity and aligning with that community space that you talked about in your piece is not wanting to see what is currently happening in some states, particularly in New South Wales – inner-city, often expensive public housing sold off, relocated to outer suburbs and then the land being used in different ways. To play devil’s advocate on that, why is that important? If you look at the tough fiscal climate that governments are facing, as long as you are replacing the housing in cheaper-landed areas, can’t government then do more with that excess cash?

ALBANESE: It’s important for two reasons Peter. One is successful cities are cities that are inclusive. They are not homogenous. They provide a mix of people. That’s what provides the dynamism in a city and so for the nature of the population in itself, it is all the poorer if it just rich people living in the city and poorer people living in the outer suburbs. That creates a dynamic that is unhealthy and one that doesn’t contribute to the quality of life for everyone in that community.

Secondly, what you are talking about is moving people away from the social and community networks they have. The sort of treatment whereby one gentleman down at Millers Point had a note put under his door, who had lived in his house that used to be Maritime Services Board – it was for working people who worked on the wharves and on the waterfront in that part of Sydney – just telling him he was going to be evicted from the house in which he had lived his entire life – more than 80 years. That lack of respect for people is, I think, quite shocking and we’ll end up with circumstances whereby why wouldn’t you move them right out of Sydney completely because housing in regional communities is cheaper than it is anywhere in Sydney?

Once you go down that road; and I understand that on the surface, if you take people out of the equation yes it might make some sense, but it is people who make a city. It’s not just the infrastructure. It is the people and to destroy those communities, I think, has been a tragedy and we end up, I think, being all the poorer for it.

VAN ONSELEN: Just finally before I let you go Anthony Albanese, can you get to the bottom for us of what’s going on with the whole Michael Danby sickie, trip-to-Israel business? On the one hand I have heard Bill shorten accused of running some sort of white-anting campaign against him. On the other hand I have heard him accused of being weak for not acting to reprimand him. What is going on here?

ALBANESE: I don’t know to tell you the truth and I have got to say I haven’t given it a second thought.

VAN ONSELEN: OK, well I guess that is that then. Anthony Albanese, thanks very much for your company. We appreciate you joining us.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

Oct 18, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Two Tribes, FIVEaa

Subject: Energy policy.

HOST: Christopher Pyne, Anthony Albanese good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Will.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

HOST: Right, we are going to kick off with you Chris. Now we know that yesterday – the big energy announcement – a lot of it was about making sure that our power supply is reliable. But given the punishingly high bills that people have had to endure, they are looking to a bit of relief in the hip pocket. Do you think that a saving of possibly 100 bucks or so in there years’ time is enough to get the voters excited?

PYNE: Well I think the point is the more capacity we get into the system, which is what yesterday’s announcement was about – more supply of baseload power – then the more prices will come down and the less they will go up. So the forecast price rises are very high over the next few years. We are actually being able to deliver a saving to consumers. Under the business as usual the price will just keep going up. Now obviously if you can bring more capacity into the market through more supply, more baseload power like gas and like coal, like wind, solar when the wind is blowing, the sun is shining, more hydro, like Steven Marshall’s policy for the interconnector with New South Wales and battery storage, then that will bring down the price because that’s the elements of demand and supply. That is what we are trying to bring about.

HOST: Early days for Labor Albo and I know that Bill Shorten said last night that he is waiting to see the detail. But at first blush, what do you make of the Government’s plan?

ALBANESE: Well this is this week’s plan. This follows the plan that Malcolm Turnbull had supporting an Emissions Trading Scheme, before he supported an Emissions Intensity Scheme, before he supported a Clean Energy Target and before now a new plan, a new plan of which there is no modelling and which they say – it’s not three years’ time David, with respect –  it is 13 years’ time.

PYNE: People want solutions Anthony.

ALBANESE:  The saving in three years’ time is, with no evidence, no modelling, at best $25, not $100, $25 for some time in the first part of the next decade and they have no modelling and that was conceded by John Pierce last night in the briefing that Labor received. He’s the dude from the Australian Energy Market Commission. It’s all based upon assumptions. We want to actually see some modelling, see a serious plan and we haven’t seen it.

PYNE: I think what Labor wants is for nothing to work actually. That is their strategy – is about for riding into government on a negative platform.

ALBANESE: That’s rubbish Christopher. Unlike what Tony Abbott did, which was to say you wouldn’t be able to have a lamb roast and the world would end, what we said was we supported, when the Government came out with the idea of the Emissions Intensity Scheme, we said yes that is a good plan, we are prepared to be constructive about it. Then they came out with the Finkel review.

PYNE: I think it is time for somebody else to have a go.

ALBANESE: Well you have got nothing to say mate. That’s the problem.

PYNE: Rubbish. We’ve got a policy that is going to reduce prices, is going to bring reliability into the system …

ALBANESE: You’ve got no evidence of it.

PYNE: … and reduce our emissions and the Energy Security Board, which is entirely independent, which Alan Finkel, the Chief Scientist, asked us to set up, has come up with this plan and we have endorsed it and all you can do is have another political argument about it.

ALBANESE: You have no modelling. You can’t provide any facts.

HOST: Anthony we will come back to you. Is there a chance that this is entirely academic, given that it requires changes to the national electricity market. That means the states need to be on board and it sounds like there is no way in hell Jay Weatherill is signing off on this plan.

PYNE: Well Jay Weatherill wants a fight with Canberra. That is his whole political strategy. He has completely run out of ideas. Now the facts about that is that AEMO, the Australian Energy Market Operator, has had to intervene in South Australia several times in the last few weeks to keep the lights on in our state and our Premier is saying South Australia, beating his chest, saying we are going to go it alone. How can we go it alone when we can’t even keep the lights on in our state and the energy regulator has to regularly intervene to keep them on and we are in spring? We haven’t even got to the hot weather of summer yet, and our Premier is basically shouting at the moon, angry man lying on his back shouting at clouds, when what he should be doing is working with the Federal Government, which he says by the way is what he wants to do.

HOST: But you need that angry man to get your changes through.

PYNE: Well it’s a national model. I mean if the Premier of South Australia wants to have its own Renewable Energy Target that will simply let other states like Queensland off the hook because it will go into the national grid. I mean, good luck to him, but that means the voters of South Australia continue to have the highest prices in the country …

ALBANESE: But they don’t.

PYNE: … continue to have the most unreliable energy in the country.

HOST: Anthony Albanese, I’ll just turn to you quickly. How can it be the case that the Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s optimistic that this is a policy that will bring down power prices but Labor isn’t?

ALBANESE: How can it be the case that the Chief Scientist is asked to come up with a plan – he did that – it was the Clean Energy Target, then it was thrown out months later?

HOST: That was one of 50 recommendations. Forty-nine were adopted and he’s endorsed the plan.

ALBANESE: It was the key one. It was the key one. Well that’s his job, he’s a Government bureaucrat appointed by the Government.

PYNE: The tide has gone out on you Anthony.

ALBANESE: Appointed by the Government. Mate, if you think you’re going well by promising people that maybe, with no modelling, at best perhaps, with no guarantees they’ll get $100 in 2030, then good luck with that.

PYNE: We have a plan, you want business as usual. And as a South Australian, business as usual is blackouts …

ALBANESE: You had a different plan last week.

PYNE: Blackouts and higher prices and unreliable power.

ALBANESE: That’s just nonsense. See what Christopher says, your listeners should know that Christopher says that South Australia has the highest prices but in Parliament they say Queensland has the highest prices, or they say Victoria has the highest prices and, in fact, New South Wales has the highest prices.

PYNE: Rubbish. Rubbish.

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

PYNE: It’s always a pleasure.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

 

Oct 13, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Perth Live, 6PR

Subjects; Morley-Ellenbrook rail line, WA infrastructure 

OLIVER PETERSEN: Anthony Albanese, welcome to Perth. Welcome to the Perth Live studios.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s good to be here – a major refurbishment since the last time I was here.

PETERSEN: Yes, we’ve just opened the studios this week. I suppose I should ask you first, as the Infrastructure spokesman for the Labor Party, what do you make of our new studios?

ALBANESE: I reckon 6PR are doing pretty well. The ratings must be good because the studios have certainly improved. It’s a lot better than 2GB or 2UE over in the east let me tell you, these studios. They are fantastic.

PETERSEN: It is good to know. Now in the vein of being the Transport and Infrastructure spokesman for the Labor Party, you have been sprinkling a bit of magic dust today. If you win the next Federal election you are going to commit a whole heap of money to build METRONET out to Ellenbrook?

ALBANESE: We are – $700 million. It’s part of our $1.6 billion commitment we have made – A Fair Share for WA. WA is not getting its fair share of infrastructure funding. It’s not getting its fair share of the GST. It needs support from the Commonwealth. At the moment the WA share is about 8 per cent of the Federal infrastructure budget. That clearly is not good enough. We have had substantial growth in the size of Perth in terms of the suburbs and we know that when rail has been built here in Perth it has been an enormous success. So this project was first promised by Colin Barnett of course almost a decade ago. We, together with Mark McGowan’s Government, will get on with the business of doing it and it will be in our first Budget in 2019.

PETERSEN: OK. You must feel coming to Perth now the political tide has certainly change for Labor. This is now a red state and obviously the Liberal Party here at a state level here and federally is on the nose. Do you feel the change of winds are the air?

ALBANESE: I think certainly there are real prospects here. I mean Mark McGowan’s Government has begun really well and you can sense that. One of the things that you felt about the Colin Barnett’s Government – I got on pretty well with Colin personally – but they had run out of steam and run out of ideas and were just sitting back and complaining about everything being someone else’s fault. Mark McGowan is a go-to guy. He is getting on with the business. Rita Saffioti – I have been across here a number of times this year – she’s really on top of the infrastructure issues. They’ve got a list and we are working with them and we want the Commonwealth Government to match the commitment that we have made today. Construction can begin in 2019. So this is jobs in the short term, but of course up to six new stations in this growth corridor.

PETERSEN: So construction can begin in 2019 out to Ellenbrook. When will it be finished?

ALBANESE: Around about 2022. They are finalising those plans. It’s at least a three-year construction. They’ve got the geo-technical work taking place now so that’s not a firm date yet. But no doubt what we can see is it’s also picking up from some of the excess that is there in construction because of the mining sector moving production away from the construction phase. This is precisely the time when we should be stepping up infrastructure funding here in WA.

When we were in Government, I’m very proud of the record we have, we did Gateway WA, the Swan Valley Bypass we funded, we did the Leach Highway, we did the Great Northern Highway, the North West Coastal Highway, the roads to Bunbury and Esperance Port and Perth CityLink, where we were today at the press conference. That’s a fantastic project, uniting the city with the Northbridge precinct. So we worked very closely with the WA Government, of both persuasions, when we were in Government. We want to get back into Government so that these promises become actual construction on the ground.

PETERSON: Yes, well look I’m sure everyone will be happy to hear that there is some infrastructure spending commitments here from Labor if you do form Government again when we go to the polls, probably in the next year or so. But the other big question is you know, you get hammered with this every time you come to Perth is; what is Labor going to do to fix our share of the GST?

ALBANESE: We’ll await the review that’s taking place but we haven’t sat back and had nothing to say about it. We know that WA is not getting its fair share and that’s why we’ve committed this $1.6 billion. That would bring it up to the floor of 70 per cent, so there’s more than one way to skin a cat as they say.

PETERSON: Sure – $1.6 billion though only goes about halfway to what we lose. We lose over $3 billion per year and, as you know, we’re not happy.

ALBANESE: That’s right and I understand that but lifting it up to the floor level of 70 per cent is a pretty good first step. From Opposition, of course, it’s hard to fix these things. One of the things that I’m concerned about is that not only is the current Federal Government under promising for WA, they’re not even delivering on what they promised.

In last year’s Budget they allocated, that is in 2016, they said in the coming year we’re going to spend $842 million on infrastructure in WA. The actual amount was $614 million. So about a quarter of that was never realised and that means less money for programs like Black Spots and Roads to Recovery and major projects and it’s unfortunate that the Government hasn’t gotten on board for projects like Ellenbrook.

When I was the Infrastructure Minister we had announcements for WA projects in every single one of our budgets and that meant, some of those works are still happening of course, like up on the Great Northern Highway to Wubin. The Bindi Bindi curves and projects up there to improve road safety and of course the Swan Valley Bypass was funded by us in the 2013 Budget, with construction still going there.

PETERSON: Ok, now obviously there is a feeling as I said of probably confidence, is it fair to say Anthony Albanese when you come to Western Australia, when you come to Perth amongst the Labor rank and file that you’re on track to probably be the next Federal Government?

ALBANESE: Well, we’re not taking anything for granted. One of the things that you do notice when you come to WA is that the other side aren’t here. Darren Chester, I don’t know how many visits he’s made to WA or Paul Fletcher in the last year but I think if you could add up half a dozen of them they wouldn’t have been here as often as I have. Bill Shorten’s here regularly.

PETERSON: Not very regularly on the radio though, it’s got to be said. He’s been requested from our program for mornings. It’s very hard to nail down your leader Bill Shorten.

ALBANESE: Well, you’ve got me!

PETERSON: Yeah, we’ve got you. It’s great to have you here Albo.

ALBANESE: You’ve got me. I’ll tell him. I’ll get him to come on.

PETERSON: Okay. It would be great to hear from Bill. But it’s great to have you here, Albo. We’re not disappointed that you’re here in the studio talking to 6PR listeners this afternoon but it does at times, you know, sometimes here in Perth we do feel a little isolated.

We do feel as though it is a very parochial state, Western Australia. Is it understood though enough in Canberra? Is it understood at the federal level that, hey, Perth is part of the Commonwealth, we exist, we need some help. We’ve been banging on about this share of the GST for years.

ALBANESE: Look, I think the truth is that some people get it and some people don’t. Every time I’m on that plane across the Nullarbor you feel it. You do realise how long it is. Today was very efficient this morning. The last time we ran into headwinds and it took six and a half hours to go across. I was sure we’d miss Perth and hit Mauritius. Every time in a day, which I have done the last two times I’ve come across, about six weeks ago when I did it, I said to myself I won’t do that again, I’ll come overnight, but diaries being what they are you certainly feel it when you do it as a day trip. I always feel very welcome in Perth. I think it’s a great city. I’m a Sydney guy.

PETERSON: Big Sydney Rabbitohs fan.

ALBANESE: Absolutely.

PETERSON: Which has made Perth its home away from home.

ALBANESE: It is indeed. I understand they got Round 1 next year.

PETERSON: They do.

ALBANESE: But I think there’s a really great lifestyle here in Perth. I’ve been across to this part of the world to holiday as well. I think the time difference, to me is a great attraction.

PETERSON: Very good. It sounds like we’ve got a door open here and Albo’s starting to understand where Perth and Western Australia is sitting so it’s good to have a dialogue with you Anthony Albanese and I appreciate you coming into the studios and having a look around this afternoon.

ALBANESE: Thank you so much for having us. We’ll chat again next time.

PETERSON: Look forward to it.

 

Oct 11, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – FIVEaa Two Tribes segment

Subjects: Nick Xenophon; Clean Energy Target; High Court

HOST: It’s that time of the week – Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese -Two Tribes. Good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning. Did you say “that’’ time of the week or “best’’ time of the week?

HOST: I said “that’’ time of the week but I imagine for certain people it’s the best time of the week.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s our highlight. What sad lives we lead.

HOST: I bet you say that to all the hosts. We’ve missed you both terribly last week, Chris and Albo, so it’s good to have you back.

ALBANESE: I didn’t. I was on a beach.

HOST: Oh really? Oh mate, not one of those travel rorts was it?

ALBANESE: I had some time off.

HOST: Personally funded time off.

ALBANESE: Absolutely.

HOST: Always good to clarify. Hey we’re going to kick off with you Chris. The big story here politically in South Australia has been a local one over the last few days with the announcement by Nick Xenophon that he is ending his Federal career to run for the state seat of Hartley. Now when we interviewed him the other day he confirmed that at the moment he’s only got candidates lined up to run in seven Liberal-held or nominal Liberal seats, promising to find some candidates for Labor seats. But this is a bit of a nightmare scenario for the Libs isn’t it?

PYNE: Well Nick Xenophon is a celebrity candidate who is leading a shambles of a party. Already he has lost his first candidate and John Darley, his former member, he has also lost him by the way, is pointing out what it’s like being in the Xenophon team. It’s a one-man band and anyone who votes for Nick Xenophon is essentially re-electing a Labor Government for another four years, so it’s a 20-year Labor Government and I don’t think anybody wants to do that. So his shambles of a party lost its first candidate on Saturday. He claims to have all these special arrangements in place to make sure that didn’t happen. His first candidate didn’t even last 24 hours. I think the South Australian public are far too smart to be fooled by this celebrity cult figure and I don’t think that he’ll have nearly the impact that people say because people want to change the Government. They want policies about energy like Steven Marshall released yesterday. They want solutions to their problems. They don’t want more of the Xenophon circus that we’ve seen in Canberra.

HOST: Albo to you, you’ve probably had reasonably limited dealings with Nick Xenophon …

ALBANESE: I was the Leader of the House in a minority Parliament, so I have had a fair bit to do with Nick over the years. I’ve got a good relationship with Nick. I’ve no issues with him. The problem when you vote for parties led by people like, whether it’s Clive Palmer, or Pauline Hanson or Nick Xenophon, is you don’t know what you’re getting except for Nick Xenophon. These parties do have a history of getting people elected and then them abandoning their parties and of course that is the danger. We have seen, as Christopher said, one candidate hit the fence already. It’s pretty clear that the conservative side of politics are a mess in South Australia. You’ve got Cory Bernardi out there with his Australian Conservatives. You now have Nick Xenophon standing against the Liberal Party member, whoever they are in Hartley. And you’ve got Steven Marshall, a Liberal Leader, who called for a vote for Labor just before the last state election. And I don’t think he inspires anyone in South Australia and I think that’s why you have this mess in the non-Labor forces in South Australia.

HOST: But it’s not quite right to describe Nick Xenophon as representing the non-Labor forces, though.

ALBANESE: Well he is not a member of the Labor Party and has never been a member of the Labor Party.

HOST: But he is doing you guys a massive favour here by muddying the waters.

PYNE: He’s all things to all people. That’s the thing about Nick Xenophon. He’s like a frog on a lily pad. He keeps leaping from one lily pad to the next depending on the issue. He’s completely inconsistent. His first partner Ann Bressington, in the Legislative Council, she left him. John Darley has left him, so he’s lost both of his state representatives. He wants us to trust him that he’s got it right this time. He lost his first candidate on Saturday. He’s got Skye Kakoschke-Moore, the Senator, at the moment involved in a similar issue to the one of the candidate he lost.

HOST: No it’s not. That’s just a bit of silliness, though isn’t it? That’s not similar.

PYNE: Part of it is the same …

HOST: He made light of domestic violence.

PYNE: Yes that was the more-serious aspect to that, there’s no doubt about that but the first part of it was the other issue with Toni Collette and yet Nick Xenophon said that’s a big joke, we were supposed to laugh about that. I don’t think that is very funny.

HOST: Hmm.

ALBANESE: We will see it all played out in the fullness of time.

HOST: That’s right.

ALBANESE: One thing about Jay Weatherill is he actually leads a united team. He does have the experience; he is prepared to stand up to Canberra, in particular for South Australia’s needs and to take them on when we see a lot of South Australia bashing going on from the Coalition Government. Not from Christopher, of course, to be fair …

PYNE: Well the front page of the Advertiser today is about how we’re providing eight thousand jobs in shipbuilding, so we hardly not supporting South Australia.

HOST: That is a big story. Can we talk about some things in the Federal political sphere for a moment, namely the future of the Clean Energy Target? Christopher Pyne, does it have a future in your Government?

PYNE: Well what’s important is we get energy policy right. What Steven Marshall announced yesterday is practical methods to ensure that electricity in South Australia is affordable and it’s reliable, in stark contrast to the Weatherill Government, which has given us the chaos that we have at the moment.

HOST: Yes. Steve Marshall was on earlier. We had a long chat about that. What about the Clean Energy Target though, federally?

PYNE: Well the Clean Energy Target is simply one of the options that is available to government. But what has happened of course in the last five or ten years is that renewable energy – solar and wind – has become competitive against coal and other forms of energy – and gas – and we have to consider all that in setting the energy policy by the end of this year, which we promised to do. But the gas mechanism that we have put in place has caused gas prices to start coming down quite dramatically because domestic supply is increasing again, whereas Labor allowed all that to be exported when they were in Government. We are fixing that problem.

ALBANESE: The export deals that were signed by John Howard with China in 2002? The fact is that what we have is the Government asked for a report from the Chief Scientist. They received it. It called for a Clean Energy Target. It’s not Labor’s preferred option, but we have been constructive because we know, like the Business Council have said again just this morning, that what we need is certainty. We need to stop this nonsense of it being a part of the argy-bargy of politics. Malcolm Turnbull knows that. Christopher Pyne knows that too. But they haven’t got the ticker to stand up to Tony Abbott, who is completely off the reservation. He’s gone to London and made this quite frankly bizarre speech about how global warming is fantastic for everyone, completely ignorant of the increase that has occurred in terms of natural disasters and the impact that it is having around the world, not the least of which is in the northern part of Australia.

HOST: Can I ask you Chris Pyne, what did you make of Tony Abbott’s speech about climate change?

PYNE: Look, Tony Abbott’s got his own views. They are not necessarily always the views of the Government but I believe …

ALBANESE: The Government is following him.

PYNE: Of course it’s not. The reality is that Malcolm Turnbull is getting on with the job of fixing the mess in power than was created by Labor …

ALBANESE:  The Chief Scientist made the recommendation months ago.

PYNE: no more stark that in South Australia. That is the reality of it and we’ve lived that here. We’ve got the lived experience of Labor’s policy, which is ideological, whereas ours is a practical, all-of-the-above approach that just wants to create lower prices and more reliable power and that is what South Australian voters are looking for and Australian voters are looking for around the country.

ALBANESE: When you got rid of the carbon price you said that prices would fall.

PYNE: They did.

ALBANESE: Wholesale prices have doubled. They have doubled. You have been in government for four and a half years and you act like you have been in government for four and a half minutes.

PYNE: When we got rid of your carbon tax, it was the biggest single drop to electricity prices in recorded history.

ALBANESE:  Absolute rot. Just keep telling people that.

PYNE: It’s a fact. It’s a fact.

ALBANESE: So, are prices lower now than they were when you came to office? Is that right?

PYNE:  I just said the factual statement that when we got rid of your carbon tax …

ALBANESE: Complete nonsense.

PYNE:the biggest single drop in electricity prices in recorded history. It’s a fact.

ALBANESE: Complete nonsense.

HOST: Speaking of costs to taxpayers guys, I just want to read out some names to you and ask you a question. D.M. Bennett QC, A.L Tokley SC, Flecknoe-Brown, del Villar, B.E. Walters QC, E.A. Bennett, A.N.P McBeth. C.R.C. Newlinds SC, P Kulevski, R.J. Scheelings, B.W. Walker, G.E.S Ng. These are all QCs and SCs that are representing people in the citizenship court case that is going on at the moment. That’s not to mention the Government’s counsel – those representing the Attorney General and the Solicitor General of the Commonwealth of Australia. Have we got any idea, has anyone put together any sense of what this is costing the Australian taxpayer to have this going on in the High Court, acting as the Court of Disputed Returns at the moment?

ALBANESE: Too damn much. You know there is absolutely no need for that number of lawyers to be sitting in the High Court for essentially what is … the Government should have been represented. That’s fine. But the idea that you have got each of the people who the Government is arguing – five of them have exactly the same case which is: I was ignorant, don’t blame me. There is no need for this extraordinary waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

HOST: What is your take on it Chris?

PYNE: Well unfortunately we have to get to the bottom of what Section 44 means because this citizenship issue has come up. I don’t know what the cost is to the taxpayer. It’s very unfortunate that we are in this position but the reality is we have to find out what the foreign allegiance to another power exactly means when you didn’t know that you were a citizen of another country. But before we finish can I just clarify my remark before. I wasn’t suggesting for one minute that Rhys Adams’ case and Skye Kakoschke-Moore’s case was the same in all its parts. There was only one aspect of it which was the same – certainly not the domestic violence – making light of domestic violence – issue. But the part about the groping of the wax figures, not obviously people themselves, of Halle Berry and Toni Collette, that’s the part that I was comparing.

HOST: Yes. We get it.

ALBANESE: Now I am more confused.

PYNE: Any inference to the contrary shouldn’t be taken and I would apologise to Skye Kakoschke-Moore if she thinks that. That is certainly not what I was meaning.

HOST: For your benefit Albo, I know you are a Sydney bloke, but it’s become a bit of a thing here in South Australian politics, groping wax figures in you spare time. But you know, we just put that down as one of the little quirks of life in South Australia. You’ve got to make you own fun here in Adelaide. It’s always great to catch up with you both. We’ll do it again next week.

[ENDS]

Oct 7, 2017

Transcript of Doorstop, Rockhampton

Subjects: Labor Party; regional Australia, national security; infrastructure; ICAN Nobel Peace Prize; Bill Byrne, Adani protests; Nick Xenophon. 

JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY: This morning 120 Labor Party members joined Bill Shorten and some of our most senior members of the Shadow Cabinet including Anthony Albanese to talk about rural and regional Australia, to talk about Labor’s policy development and to talk about how we can best empower the regions and provide them with the best opportunity to make the best of the economic and social opportunities in the regions. We make no secret of the fact that the Labor Party is determined to make every rural and regional seat across the country contestable at the next election. We are here to win, but not for winning’s sake. We are here to help those local communities. We believe they are being sold short, taken for granted by the LNP. We believe they would be better served by a Labor Government and the progressive policies we bring to the table. We’ll be fighting all the way up to election day and of course we have our sights in particular on Capricornia where we believe Michelle Landry has been completely missing in action.

REPORTER: Are you shocked that the Government wants the ability to detain ten-year-old children or terrorism suspects for up to a fortnight without charge?

FITZGIBBON: Well, as Bill Shorten said this morning, we do our very best always to take a bi-partisan approach to national security issues.  We believe national security issues demand a bipartisan approach and we look very carefully at every proposition put forward by the Government. We will look at the details.

REPORTER: What safeguards would need to be put in place?

FITZGIBBON: We will look at the details when the Government puts some detail on to their proposition.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Can I just make some comments about infrastructure because it is great to be back here in Rockhampton in an electorate I have visited so many times as both a minister and as a shadow minister. As a minister we turned around the neglect that had happened for too long on the Bruce Highway. Over 12 years the Howard Government invested $1.3 billion in the Bruce. In half that time, just six years, we put $6.7 billion into the Bruce Highway and of course we have seen the benefits of that with the Yeppen Floodplain Upgrade – with the Yeppen Bridge and roundabout in particular as well as of course the Peak Downs Highway and other important infrastructure projects that have made a difference; with community infrastructure projects such as the Town Hall at Yeppoon, such as the fixing up of the memorial pool on the south side here in Rockhampton. What we have seen from the current Government, whether under Tony Abbott or Malcolm Turnbull, is neglect and taking this region for granted. There are no major infrastructure projects under way in this area or indeed throughout the Bruce Highway that weren’t funded by the former Federal Labor Government. What we have seen is neglect and taking that for granted and as projects have opened,  that were already under way and under construction, what we are seeing is that investment isn’t stepping up to fill that gap – that investment that creates jobs in the short-term but also produces safer roads and better productivity and a stronger economy in the medium and long term.

REPORTER: I’ve just got a question from Melbourne. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. How important is that recognition for an organisation that has its roots in Melbourne?

ALBANESE: Look that is a great honour and all Australians indeed should be honoured by the Nobel Peace Prize. ICAN are a grassroots organisation. Australia has a proud history of being a part of international engagement. We were major parties to measures such as abolishing land mines and chemical weapons when we were in government under leadership of people like Gareth Evans or Kevin Rudd. Right through as foreign ministers we have a very proud history. This award overnight is a great tribute. I am particularly pleased as the patron of the Tom Uren Foundation, named in his honour, which raises money for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. We can see with the threat from North Korea that is going on at the moment exactly how dangerous nuclear weapons can be in creating instability and quite rightly creating a great deal of international concern. Australia has a role to play but also ICAN’s award is recognising that civil society – the ordinary men and women who engage in politics who want a better and a safer world for themselves and their children have been given this great honour overnight.

REPORTER: So given that threat from North Korea how realistic is a nuclear-free world?

ALBANESE: Well we always have to deal with things as they are rather than as we would like them to be. The threat from North Korea is real. We need to respond to it. But Australia of course has been a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Historically we have played an important role and Australia is, I think, in a bipartisan way playing a constructive role in recognising the threat that’s there from North Korea, calling upon particularly North Korea’s allies in China to ensure that this threat is removed

REPORTER: Do you have any concerns about Julie Bishop’s travel  expenses?

ALBANESE: That is a matter for Julie Bishop.

FITZGIBBON: Can I just very quickly add to (inaudible) tribute this morning to Bill Bryne, my friend Bill Byrne. As a former Defence Minister I am very conscious of his service within the Australian Defence Force. As an Agriculture Minister and more recently as Shadow Minister I worked very closely with Bill on those issues around the agricultural sector. He made an outstanding contribution to his country as a leader of our military forces.  He made an outstanding contribution here as the local state member and he certainly made a great contribution as Minister for Agriculture and a number of other portfolios. We will miss him very dearly. I am sure the community will miss both him and his very, very hard and effective work and I wish him and his family all the very best for the future.

REPORTER: Do you have any opinions on who should replace him?

FITZGIBBON: Oh no. I will leave that for the Queensland party to determine but I do know that we have wealth of very, very effective local members here in Central Queensland, many of them attending the forum this morning, and I’ve no doubt that the Labor Party will put forward an outstanding candidate.

REPORTER: What do you think about the Stop Adani protests that are happening around the country today?

FITZGIBBON: Well we always support the right of people to have their say on any issue and on any project.

REPORTER: Anthony do you have any concerns about Nick Xenophon going back to state politics?

ALBANESE: Well I think this is a decision that those people in South Australia who have voted for Nick Xenophon to serve a six-year term just one year ago will be surprised by – the fact that he is leaving that position so early. What we need in Australia is stability and with the Weatherill Government you have that – a Government committed to jobs and growth in South Australia, a Government committed to making sure that South Australia leads the country in environmental sustainability. Jay Weatherill is doing an outstanding job and really what Nick Xenophon is doing is pointing out once again the fracturing the non-Labor forces in South Australia. You’ve got Cory Bernardi out there with his Australian Conservatives, you have Nick Xenophon standing against a local Liberal Party Member in Hartley and we see once again a vote of no-confidence in Steven Marshall as the alternative premier. This is a guy who himself was advocating a vote for the Labor Party just 24 hours before the last election and I think that said it all when it comes to the incompetence of Steven Marshall and no doubt that’s part of Nick Xenophon’s motivation for moving, or attempting to move to, the South Australian Parliament. Thank you very much.

 

 

Oct 6, 2017

Transcript of television interview – ABC Lateline

Subjects; Nick Xenophon; gun control, security reforms.

MATT WORDSWORTH: And for a look at the week in politics I was joined by Labor frontbencher, Anthony Albanese in the studio earlier. Anthony Albanese, welcome back to Lateline.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW TRANSPORT MINISTER: Good to be with you, Matt.

MATT WORDSWORTH: Firstly what do you make of Nick Xenophon quitting the Senate?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, this is quite an extraordinary decision. We’ll wait and see how it plays out. Nick Xenophon, of course, had spent 10 years in the South Australian Parliament. He then spent 10 years in the Senate and he’s going back or trying to.

MATT WORDSWORTH: Decade on, decade off?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, we’ll wait and see what the voters think. I think there will be some backlash given that he went before the people of South Australia and asked to be elected to the Senate just a year ago. Of course, with him at the top of the ticket, there were other people elected as well, that probably wouldn’t have happened.

MATT WORDSWORTH: What does it mean for those Senators, you know, Skye Kakoschke-Moore, Stirling Griff. Are they basically toast now?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, I think most Australians, with respect to those individuals, wouldn’t have heard of them.

MATT WORDSWORTH: Yeah, because you think they got in on the coat tails of Nick Xenophon?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: There is no question that that is the case and I think they’d acknowledge that as well. Now they’re going to find themselves negotiating over legislation in the Senate. Of course, the crossbenchers have a lot of influence in the current Parliament. Nick Xenophon, walking away from that, in order to run for a South Australian Lower House seat will, I think, be regarded quite cynically by many people in South Australia. It’s very clear that he won’t be in a position to be a government or an alternative government in himself.

MATT WORDSWORTH: Well, he’s ruled out cabinet positions or anything like that.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: What essentially he’s saying is, “Vote for me so I can give South Australia some more instability. Vote for me and I want to be in a balance of power position.” That’s a very risky thing to do. The truth is that it’s the major parties who seek to form government. Nick Xenophon isn’t saying he wants to form government. The Lower House is the house where government is formed.

MATT WORDSWORTH: Do you think he can win that seat he’s going for, Hartley, by the way? It’s Labor, now Liberal, marginal.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, in the past actually, third party candidates have had more chance of winning seats when they’ve run for safe seats because that ensures that they run second. So, it’s a counter-intuitive when you look at where the risk. For example, my seat of Grayndler is, has been potentially seen to be at risk from time to time because the Liberal vote is so low in my seat. So, we’ll wait and see how that plays out. I think South Australians will be very wary, though, of voting for an unknown.

MATT WORDSWORTH: He’s not exactly an unknown.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, it’s unknown as to how he would act if he were elected to the South Australian Parliament and what would happen to the rest of his team. We have seen minor parties, not the least of which is in the recent period, elect the people who’ve gone off the rails, who’ve become independents, who have gone off on a tangent, and contrary to who the leader is of the particular party and so we’ll wait and see.

MATT WORDSWORTH: Okay, can I just move on to gun control. It’s another big issue of this week due to the attack in Las Vegas. Malcolm Turnbull has thrown the pressure on Labor here because he wants a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for gun trafficking. This is what he said this morning.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, PRIME MINISTER: Now, Bill Shorten has opposed that now on two occasions and he continues to do so and he’s wrong and he should recognise that Australians expect their leaders to do everything they can to keep them safe. And that means we must send the strongest and clearest signal to people who smuggle or traffic in guns – break the law, they do that, they will go to jail. That’s the message we need to send. We want Labor to rethink their position.

MATT WORDSWORTH: Anthony Albanese, will Labor rethink their support and support five-year mandatory minimums for gun trafficking?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: You know what Australians expect of leaders is a bit of integrity. Malcolm Turnbull is a lawyer. He knows very well the argument about mandatory sentencing which is a pretty simple argument, which is that politicians should decide through the law what the maximum sentences are. They shouldn’t determine or try to determine through legislation what the precise sentences will be. There’s a separation …

MATT WORDSWORTH: He’s saying a minimum should be five.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: There’s a separation, there is a separation, a very clear separation, between the judiciary, the legal system and the political system in this country and that’s why Labor has a problem with the issue of mandatory sentencing as a principle. What Labor has said very clearly is that there should be up to life sentences for people who traffic in guns. We’ve also said, as a constructive suggestion, that the gun amnesty, which has been somewhat successful, in the current climate, after Las Vegas, surely it should be extended out. We know there’s about 600,000 illegal firearms still around Australia.

MATT WORDSWORTH: Malcolm Turnbull said it was more like 260,000-odd, according to his intelligence estimates. You’re saying 600?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, between 260,000 and 600,000, what we do know is that there are far too many and what we should be doing is putting in place the maximum effort that we can to get those guns out of the system and an extension would be a logical thing to do. I find it extraordinary that Malcolm Turnbull is trying to play politics with this issue. This should be a bipartisan issue. He should be mature about it and, frankly, it shows the desperation of his political predicament, the fact that he’s prepared to go down that road.

MATT WORDSWORTH: And just quickly, I want to talk about the national facial recognition database that has now been agreed to by the states, handing over those driver’s licence photos to assemble this database. What about the burqa ban? There are calls now for a ban on the burqa because it would render ineffective any of the surveillance of the CCTV if you can’t capture a face and compare it to a database.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, we’ve had that argument and one of the things that we’ve come down on the side of, in a bipartisan way, is that we won’t interfere with, religious freedom is important, and in terms of the issue that’s been put forward, it’s good that there was agreement across the board. I support, and tried to start the process as the Federal Transport Minister, national driver’s licences that would have made, of course, that process far simpler, and I understand that has been on the agenda at transport ministerial council meetings that have been held in the past couple of years.

MATT WORDSWORTH: All right, Anthony Albanese, thanks for your time.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

 

Oct 6, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

BEN FORDHAM: Welcome back to Today, well the horrific events in Las Vegas have once again put gun control on the agenda here in Australia. Bill Shorten is calling for the government to extend a national gun amnesty until the end of the year and impose tougher sentences on gun smugglers. Joining us, Anthony Albanese from the Labor Party, Christopher Pyne from the Liberal Party, thank you very much.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Ben.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Ben.

FORDHAM: Christopher let’s start off with you, the gun amnesty, the Turnbull Government introduced one this year, very successful, went for three months, lots of weapons handed in. Labor’s come up with a fair point saying okay, in the wake of Vegas, let’s have another one.

PYNE: Well look the gun amnesty’s been a great success and it’s done exactly the job that it was meant to do. We have a bill before the parliament right now for mandatory minimum sentences which Bill Shorten and the Greens are opposing. So it really takes a great amount of audacity to call for tougher sentences when you’re actually opposing tougher sentences in the parliament right now.

FORDHAM: I’ll take that up with Albo in just a moment, but just tell me, on the gun amnesty, it was very successful for three months, we’ve now had Vegas, have another one.

PYNE: Well we’ve just had a gun amnesty, so all the guns that would’ve been handed in, in the last three months have been handed in. Just extending the amnesty is not actually going to solve the problem.

FORDHAM: You don’t think that off the back of what we’ve seen in Vegas in the last week that more people would be compelled to hand in more weapons?

PYNE: I don’t think so, no, I think what would be a more useful thing to do, since we already have great gun laws here, they are not the same as the United States, would be for the Labor Party to support the bill the government already has before the parliament for tougher sentences for firearm offences, for smuggling guns, which Bill Shorten supported when he was in government, when he was a senior minister in government, and he’s now opposing in opposition.

FORDHAM: Let me take that up with Albo right now, now he makes a fair point, Christopher, on mandatory minimum sentences, because Bill Shorten’s come out and said, righto, we want tougher sentences for gun smugglers. The Labor Party has supported mandatory minimum sentences for people smugglers, why not gun smugglers?

ALBANESE: We do want tougher sentences, and one of the things that we’ve said that there should be is up to a life sentence for gun smugglers, but we’ve also said, as a second constructive proposal put forward in the wake of Las Vegas, is that it makes common sense to extend the gun amnesty. It has been successful but we know there are 600,000 illegal firearms still out there. In the wake of Vegas, what harm is there in extending the amnesty and trying to collect a few thousand more.

FORDHAM: Very quickly, mandatory minimum sentences, you’re doing it for people smugglers, why not gun smugglers?

ALBANESE: Judges decide sentences, if we have politicians deciding the actual sentences rather than…

FORDHAM: Bill Shorten’s come out yesterday saying life sentences.

ALBANESE: Yeah but not mandatory, life sentence should be available for people who have engaged in gun smuggling, that is a sensible proposition; we think the Government should take it up.

FORDHAM: Okay, we’ve got two more topics so let’s keep the answers brief. We’re facing an uncertain summer with concerns about power blackouts and fears that lives will be at risk if the elderly are left without air conditioning. Albo, Bill Shorten wouldn’t commit yesterday on radio to standing by that 50% renewable energy target. Are you guys crab walking away from that, are you getting cold feet?

ALBANESE: No we’re not at all. What we are saying is that there needs to be certainty, the Government had the Finkel Review from the Chief Scientist. He put forward recommendations, why doesn’t the Government get on with the Clean Energy Target.

FORDHAM: Okay Christopher, Bill Shorten is being labelled Blackout Bill by you guys, saying it’ll be his fault if the lights go out this summer. But you’re in government, you’ve been in government for a long time, it’ll be on you if the lights go out this summer won’t it? And also what’s happened to Malcolm Turnbull’s halving of gas prices that he was talking about a few months ago, that hasn’t happened.

PYNE: Well Ben, Labor’s all over the shop on energy policy and that’s the dangerous thing about it. The problem we’re facing now about gas is because Labor allowed the gas companies to export as much gas as they wanted to, they didn’t put any controls in place. We’ve changed that, and the gas companies have said they will make sure there is enough gas for the domestic supply over the next 12 months. The reality is that we have an all of the above, practical approach. Renewable energies, wind, solar, coal, gas, and Labor of course just want to have much more renewables; they want to close down the coal fired power stations before we’re ready.

ALBANESE: That’s nonsense.

PYNE: You do! You have a policy to close down the coal fired power stations. That’s your policy.

ALBANESE: Why don’t you adopt what the Chief Scientist said you should do? You’re the Government.

PYNE: You’re always talking in riddles all the time. The reality is that we want an all of the above approach, you have an obsession with renewable power, we can have both, but you don’t want both, you want to close down the coal fired power stations before we’re ready to move to renewable energy.

ALBANESE: That’s nonsense, you’re full of rhetoric, and the problem with this mob is that they’ve actually been in government for four and a half years, and they’re pretending they’ve been in government for four and a half minutes.

PYNE: Gas prices have come down because of the Government’s policies.

ALBANESE: They’ve halved have they? Malcolm Turnbull said he would halve gas prices. That has not happened.

PYNE: Well under you they went up a 100%, so you doubled them.

ALBANESE: That has not happened.

FORDHAM: I didn’t expect that you would agree on that and you haven’t disappointed, have a lovely weekend Christopher, thank you Albo. They’ll be back next Friday.

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