Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Sep 18, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Parliamentary Doors, Canberra – Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Subjects: Women in Parliament, Liberal Party chaos, election.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Another day in Parliament, another episode of the Muppet Show. The Liberal Party caucus room meets today. They don’t need a chair; they need a referee for the ongoing brawls that are occurring within the Coalition. The fact is they have a systemic problem. It’s a structural problem they refuse to acknowledge. But when you have not just Julia Banks withdrawing from the Parliament, but now Ann Sudmalis; when you have an actual reduction in the number of women prepared to put themselves forward as candidates; when you have a Prime Minister who advocates for a woman to be the Liberal Party candidate in Wentworth but who finishes fifth in the ballot and men finish first, second and third; then that just identifies what the structural problem is.

Scott Morrison needs to address this. The Liberal Party needs to address this and that is why the Liberal Party isn’t fit to govern and people are looking on at this and saying if the Prime Minister himself can’t say why he is the Prime Minister and not Malcolm Turnbull, then it is time this Government just went to an election.

ENDS

Sep 17, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – RN Drive with Patricia Karvelas – Monday, 17 September 2018

Subjects; Ann Sudmalis quitting, Wentworth preselection, Royal Commission into aged care, Peter Dutton eligibility 

PATRICIA KARVELAS: Anthony Albanese is the Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure, Cities and Tourism and joins us on RN Drive again. Welcome.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good evening Patricia. Thanks for having me on.

KARVELAS: If we can deal with this sort of breaking news – Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis has announced she won’t be contesting the next election. Are you surprised by the news?

ALBANESE: Well this is devastating for the Coalition. We know that they have so few women sitting on the Government benches. They have removed one of them, or in Queensland of course, has lost preselection. There was a question mark over whether Ann Sudmalis would lose preselection to a man. And now, having gone through that process, she has decided to withdraw from nominating. She’s given the people who run the Liberal Party in her local area on the South Coast a spray on the way out and said that she can’t work with them and has spoken as well about bullying. So this is yet again a sign that there’s a real structural problem within the Liberal Party that Scott Morrison needs to deal with.

KARVELAS: Well he has said he’ll deal with it. He’s said that he will establish a process and has asked his party to do that.

ALBANESE: Well he asked his party to preselect a woman in Wentworth last week. They didn’t run first, second or third. His preferred candidate ran fifth, showing that the divisions within the Liberal Party run far beyond just the Parliamentary Party.

KARVELAS: What do you make of the argument though that what happened there was a case of merit? That ultimately David Sharma was the most meritorious candidate and therefore prevailed?

ALBANESE: Well I haven’t met any of the candidates I’ve got to say, except for Richard Shields who ran second in the ballot. But Scott Morrison I assume has met them, is the newly elected Prime Minister, made his views very clear and that seemed to be rejected. He was supporting someone who’s been a public office bearer from the local area. No doubt they did that with the fact that Kerryn Phelps will be a very strong independent candidate – having that in mind – and they were rebuffed. That’s not to say of course – I don’t support the idea that every woman is better than every man, obviously I’m in Parliament myself, but the fact is there’s a structural problem when the Liberal Party has been going backwards when it comes to representation of women in their ranks, whilst the Labor Party’s been moving forward substantially, not just federally, but in every state and territory branch across the country.

KARVELAS: On this question of aged care and this Royal Commission, the problems in aged care didn’t just emerge in the last five years, they date back decades. Does Labor take any collective responsibility for the state of the system?

ALBANESE: Look it’s true to say that with the ageing of the population the pressures will be more acute. But Labor has raised the issue of cuts that are there in the Budget, including the 2016 Budget which bears Scott Morrison’s own name, in Budget Paper No. 2 – it’s all there on page 101. And I quote from the Budget Paper, “The Government will achieve efficiencies of $1.2 billion over four years through changes to the scoring matrix of the aged care funding instrument that determines the level of funding paid to aged care providers”. It’s there very clearly that that cut is there and when Labor raised the issues of the national crisis that there is in aged care, the Minister just a couple of months ago stood up in Parliament and said that was, “verging on the abuse of older Australians”. So just last week the Minister was opposing a Royal Commission and it’ll be interesting to see what comes out of the Four Corners program tonight. I’m certainly of the view that the Parliament as a whole needs to work together on this issue because it’s an issue that is difficult to overcome. The ageing of the population needs a whole of government approach.

KARVELAS: You also think it should be above politics?

ALBANESE: Well yes, but your starting point as to be an honest appraisal of the existing circumstance and you can argue for a bipartisan approach and I hope that arising out of the Royal Commission that has now been agreed to by the Government – yet again, Labor leading from Opposition – that arising out of that there can be recommendations that will be undertaken by both sides of politics. But you do have to start with saying that, at a time when the population is ageing, the fact that those cuts occurred is not a good thing.

KARVELAS: So you’ve argued that a $1.2 billion decrease in planned spending in aged care has contributed to problems in the sector, so will you commit to restoring that funding if you win Government?

ALBANESE: Well of course we’ll make our funding announcements at appropriate times. I’m not the spokesperson and with due respect to Radio National on a Monday night it probably isn’t the place to be announced by the non-spokesperson. But we have been campaigning very strongly through Julie Collins, the Shadow Minister, and Bill Shorten raising these issues as the Leader.

And we think that there does need to be a serious Royal Commission, it needs to be comprehensive now that it’s been announced, we need to make sure that people have the time to make submissions. It will be a traumatic process no doubt. Those of us and just about everyone in our society will have had their own personal experiences with people needing increased care as they’ve got older.

It is important that the Royal Commission not just be a place where we find out what the issues and the problems are, because no doubt that’s part of the process and that’s important, but what is important is that recommendations about the way forward, that can provide the basis for a bipartisan response, are made.

KARVELAS: Just quickly, Kerryn Phelps has announced she is running as an Independent in Wentworth, which you’ve mentioned. She says she won’t do preference deals, will Labor preference her?

ALBANESE: We’ll make that decision…

KARVELAS: But do you think that would be, you know, a smart decision to make?

ALBANESE: The New South Wales branch will make that decision…

KARVELAS: You’re in the New South Wales branch. You’re a senior MP.

ALBANESE: I am not an official of the New South Wales branch, I moved on from that a long time ago and I was very glad to do so. So I will leave that decision for them. We’ll wait and see, obviously, when nominations close but what people do need to do of course is to issue how-to-votes and they need to issue how-to-votes numbering all squares in order to maximise the formality of votes.

So at the Federal level, preferences will be allocated and what’s clear is that the voters of Wentworth will have an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the person they elected as their local member and a majority of them supported not just Malcolm Turnbull being the Member for Wentworth, but being the Prime Minister of Australia. He was removed and no one including Scott Morrison can say why.

KARVELAS: Julie Bishop says on the current evidence she wouldn’t vote with Labor to refer Peter Dutton to the High Court over this section 44 issue. So what does that mean? It’s kind of dead, isn’t it? You haven’t got the numbers.

ALBANESE: We’ll wait and see what happens.  But I think people when they examine the facts including the important advice from people like Anne Twomey, the constitutional experts; when they look at the Solicitor-General’s advice that says that the only way you can provide certainty is with a referral to the High Court. Then when people examine those facts plus Peter Dutton’s own actions whereby it would appear that he has sat in Cabinet, while most of the discussions have taken place on child care, but has removed himself from the room because of a conflict of interest, that to me would indicate two things: one, that when you declare a conflict of interest then it is game, set and match. Secondly, you can’t remove yourself just once, you have to remove yourself every time or not at all. Either there’s a conflict or there’s not.

Quite clearly the way for this to be cleared up is by a referral to the High Court. That should happen because it is very serious that Peter Dutton as the Home Affairs Minister is making decisions each and every day that could be drawn into question if his status as a Member of Parliament and therefore a Minister is under a cloud.

KARVELAS: Anthony Albanese, thanks for your time.

ALBANESE: Thanks Patricia.

 

Sep 14, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop, Schofields – Friday, 14 September 2018

Subjects; Labor’s $30 million commitment to Park and Ride at Schofields station, the Coalition Government’s failure to govern.

MICHELLE ROWLAND: Good morning and welcome to Schofields train station. I’m delighted to be joined here this morning by Anthony Albanese, who is Labor’s federal spokesperson for transport, cities and infrastructure, to Ryan Park, who is Labor’s Shadow Treasurer in New South Wales and also to our amazing candidate for the state seat of Riverstone, Dr Annemarie Christie. Anthony is no stranger to the issues that confront us here at Schofields and in the North West of Sydney, where we have had chronic issues here at Schofields concerning the lack of commuter car parking. Two years ago Anthony came out here during the 2016 election campaign, identifying that it was important to improve people’s quality of life by providing extra commuter car parking. I’m very pleased that Anthony has returned here today in order to make a very important announcement on this very matter that is so important to local residents.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much Michelle and it’s great to be here with Ryan Park, the Shadow Treasurer from New South Wales Labor, but also with champions of this region – Michelle and Annemarie. They’ve campaigned very strongly for commuter car parking here at Schofields and I’m very pleased to announce that a Federal Labor Government would contribute $15 million towards the $30 million expansion of commuter car parking here at Schofields.

That would transform the capacity of people to be able to use this rail line. Commuter car parking is essential. That’s why Federal Labor has established a $300 million Park and Ride Fund, to fund commuter car parking in our capital cities, particularly in our outer suburbs. This is consistent with Federal Labor’s commitment under Bill Shorten to deliver $6 billion towards rail to assist Western Sydney. We know that upgrading rail infrastructure is critical, but it’s also important to give people the capacity to be able to use that rail infrastructure. And since two years ago when we made this commitment, this morning I can see that the queues are even longer. The need is even greater, which is why it’s good that we will be able to work with Luke Foley and his New South Wales Labor team, with Annemarie as a local state MP who will actually stand up for this region.

RYAN PARK: Well what a contrast. Whilst there is chaos in Canberra, chaos in Macquarie Street, here on the ground in one of the fastest growth areas in Western Sydney we have Labor delivering for the people of Western Sydney, thanks to the tireless advocacy of Michelle and Annemarie. It is great to join with Anthony Albanese, someone who is always putting commuters first when it comes to the infrastructure we need in the suburbs right across New South Wales. There can be no clearer contrast today than what Labor will be able to deliver in Government, compared to what is happening already in New South Wales and Canberra. In Canberra we have a chaotic, out of control Government. In New South Wales we have a Government completely out of touch – one that thinks it is smarter to spend billions of dollars on Eastern suburbs stadiums, rather than funding local infrastructure like commuter car parks that suburbs like Schofields and Western Sydney communities need as soon as possible. It is a great day, this will be a great new piece of infrastructure, it will make such a difference to the working life of men and women right across this area and I’m delighted that Labor at a state and federal level, once again, are demonstrating that we’re putting the people of Western Sydney first.

DR ANNEMARIE CHRISTIE: I’m so excited to be here today with representatives from both State and Federal Labor to make this announcement. This will have a massive impact on our community here in Schofields, taking an hour each day off the travel time. People have to park half an hour away from the station, if they can leave half an hour later it means they can have breakfast with their kids and they can be home in time at night time to read them a bed-time story. This has a massive impact on our local community and we’re so excited that Labor is able to deliver this for us.

ALBANESE: Thanks very much, happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Anthony, why is North West Sydney such a priority for you?

ALBANESE: Well it’s a priority because this is where the growth is. One of the things that Federal Labor understands, and I know that State Labor does as well, is that you have to get the infrastructure right before you move the population in. What we’re seeing in this area is a massive expansion. We’re seeing literally hundreds of thousands of people moving into this region and the infrastructure isn’t keeping up. We can see it when we walk in any direction from this station, on either side of this station, that people have to walk for half an hour from where they parked their car. Increasingly people are having to get here before 6AM to get a spot anywhere near this station. We know that this is a national issue. Under Federal Labor, last time we were in Government, we changed the way that the Federal Government relates in particular to our outer suburbs by funding public transport. Funding public transport, new rail lines is important. The North-South line, the new Metro through to the north of the existing Western rail line is critical. But it is also important that we deliver on projects like this that make a real difference to people’s lives.

JOURNALIST: What does $30 million worth of parking in this area look like?

ALBANESE: It looks like about 500 spaces and we’d work, obviously, with local government, with Blacktown Council, to ensure that it maximises the benefit for the region. We know that park and ride facilities are very much welcomed. One of the things that we’ve had from Michelle and Annemarie is tireless advocacy. They’re in touch with what their local communities want. It’s extraordinary that a state member, here, has said that they’ll build a small, just a few dozen places, but they’ll do it a couple of years ago and nothing has happened. What we’re committed to is making sure that we get on with delivering what infrastructure is about. The reason why I’m very committed and have had this portfolio now for a decade is because I want to make a real difference to people’s lives. This project will do just that.

JOURNALIST: Michelle, what is it like seeing this neglect for so long for the people of Schofields?

ROWLAND: It’s extremely frustrating and it is the top issue that people raise when I doorknock or do mobile offices in the area and it’s been that way for so many years. It is really a sign of how, I think, in touch Labor is with our local community, that we have taken this up from Opposition, at a federal and state level. We haven’t seen this matched from the conservative governments who are in power and, in fact, at the last federal election, the Liberal candidate went so far as to effectively say, ‘Oh, it’s not an issue’. Well it is an issue. It’s something that people are affected by every day and it goes to their quality of life. So we want to do practical things to assist people. It’s hard enough living in outer-metropolitan Sydney. Sure, it is a fantastic lifestyle and that’s why people want to move in here and we welcome that but we need to have sustainable development and with that comes investment in being able to access public transport. It’s one thing to have public transport, but you’ve got to be able to enable people to access it.

JOURNALIST: Annemarie, why has this area been neglected for so long as well?

CHRISTIE: That’s a really good question, Jake. This is the fastest growing area in North West Sydney and you only need to look around to see how much it’s changed in the last eight years and nothing has happened. The State Government will say, well we have invested because we have the North West Rail Link. What they’ve forgotten is that that actually doesn’t cater to most of the people that live in North West Sydney. That will take people to Chatswood, but this line is critical in taking people to where they are actually working, so places like Blacktown, Westmead, Parramatta and straight, direct line into the city. So why they have neglected it, I can’t answer that, but we’ve had enough and the residents around here have had enough too.

JOURNALIST: What have residents been telling you on the ground? You’ve been doorknocking for quite some time now.

CHRISTIE: Yes, I’ve been doorknocking pretty much throughout the electorate over the last few months and universally people are saying that the Government is not listening, they’re not hearing what the people are saying, they’re not listening to the issues. People are saying that car parking, everyone I doorknock says car parking is an issue. Not just for the people who are catching the train, but actually for the residents of the area who can’t get in and out of their houses because of the cars parked all the way up and down the streets. This is a major issue in our area and the only thing that the residents have heard from the existing Government is that they don’t need to do anything about it, because they are doing something else on the other side of the electorate.

JOURNALIST: Anthony, can the Federal Liberal Party actually challenge this? Do they have the ability (inaudible)?

ALBANESE: Well, I hope that the Federal Government get on board and match this commitment. Labor has been leading from Opposition when it comes to policy. We’re leading from Opposition in funding the western Metro, in funding the North-South Rail Line through Badgerys Creek. We’re leading from Opposition when it comes to commuter car parks here, in Wyong, in Gosford, in Riverwood. The fact is that the Federal Government is too obsessed with its own internal fights and yelling at each other like cats in a bag rather than actually representing what people want. They’ve stopped governing, which is why we think they should call an election and put themselves, frankly, out of their misery.

 

Sep 14, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 14 September 2018

Subjects: Leadership spill; Malcolm Turnbull; Peter Dutton; Scott Morrison; envoys; Rabbitohs.

KARL STEFANOVIC: I’m joined by Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne from Adelaide. Good morning guys, how are you this morning?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, you’re first up again, Christopher. What is the former Prime Minister doing? Doesn’t he just need to shut it?

PYNE: Well look I don’t think people want us to keep talking about the internal dynamics of political …

STEFANOVIC: But he keeps talking about it.

PYNE: (Inaudible) whether it’s Labor or Liberal. We had great news this week on jobs figures. One million, one hundred and forty four thousand jobs created since the Government was elected five years ago, most of them full time. A lot more women, in fact, record numbers of women.

STEFANOVIC: OK.

PYNE: That’s what people want us to talk about.

STEFANOVIC: They do. But we’re being side-tracked by the former Prime Minister himself. Malcolm Turnbull, he seems to be actively involved in trying to bring your Government down now?

PYNE: Well Karl we’ve spent far too much time in the last 10 years talking about the internals of Labor or Liberal or Greens.

STEFANOVIC: Have you spoken to the former Prime Minister? Have you told him to be quiet, to get on with it?

PYNE: Well I’ve spoken to Malcolm several times since he left for New York and I’ve spoken to him, texted him. He’s a very good friend of mine, as is Lucy. And I intend to continue to be in touch with him, but I think it’s time for us all to stop talking about the internals of political parties and put the Australian public first.

STEFANOVIC: So have you urged him to stop talking publicly and get on with it?

PYNE: I’m not revealing my private conversations. He’s a private citizen now. He doesn’t need to have his conversations talked about on the Today Show.

STEFANOVIC: Is Julie Bishop also aiding and abetting?

PYNE: Julie Bishop seems to be perfectly relaxed. I spoke to her several times this week. She’s just getting on with it, just like the Government is.

STEFANOVIC: Okay.

ALBANESE: Yeah it’s going well, Christopher.

PYNE: It is thank you.

ALBANESE: Keep with that line mate.

PYNE: Unemployment is down.

ALBANESE: This is a Government in its death throes and the whole of the country can see it. We now have a Parliament where Peter Dutton is sitting there – people know there is a question mark over his eligibility. He should refer himself to the High Court. This Government should go to an election and give the Australian people a say in who the Prime Minister is. Because it’s now three weeks since they knocked off Malcolm Turnbull and no one, including Scott Morrison, can explain why that happened.

STEFANOVIC: Are you asking for clarity on Peter Dutton, Christopher?

PYNE: Well we have good advice on Peter Dutton. And there are half a dozen Labor MPs who have much bigger clouds hanging over their heads than Peter Dutton.

STEFANOVIC: Why does Julie Bishop say there needs to be clarity, then?

PYNE: We’ve moved on from all of that and if Labor wants to keep pursuing it …

STEFANOVIC: She’s asking for clarity on Peter Dutton why aren’t you?

PYNE: I think it’s perfectly clear. If Labor wants to keep pursuing it, there’s half a dozen Labor MPs who could be sent to the High Court as well. So be careful what you wish for.

STEFANOVIC: The problem is, your government at the moment looks like it’s eating itself. That’s a perception issue and it’s a reality.

PYNE: No it isn’t, Karl. We’re getting on with the job, we’re creating the jobs in the workforce. The economy is growing. It’s the fastest growing economy in the G7. So we’re getting on with the job, as we are in defence and defence industry. We’re dealing with the drought, reforming childcare.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, you also do talk straight on occasion. You have to know this looks so incredibly bad for your party.

PYNE: I think it’s time to move on, Karl. I think people are thoroughly sick of it.

STEFANOVIC: What with a different government?

PYNE: No, people are thoroughly sick of talking about it.

ALBANESE: Give the Australian people a say by calling an election. Christopher says there are doubts over others. The point here is Peter Dutton is a Minister. He is continuing to make decisions. There’s a question mark over every single one of those decisions.

STEFANOVIC: Albo, I’ve got a question for you. How on earth is Bill Shorten not further ahead of Scott Morrison? That to me defies any kind of logic.

ALBANESE: Well the fact is we’re way ahead in terms of the two-party-preferred vote. That’s the vote that counts. And if an election was held this Saturday, Labor would win 30 seats.

STEFANOVIC: How is Bill Shorten behind Scott Morrison?

ALBANESE: Well, a new leader gets a bit of a honeymoon. I think that’s happened in terms of a positive. But what they’re doing is marking down their entire team.

STEFANOVIC: Albo, how unpopular do you need to be before you get turfed?

ALBANESE: Well they are marking down their entire team, which is why they are just so far behind.

PYNE: Why don’t you answer the question?

ALBANESE: Well, I am. And what I want …

PYNE: You’re a straight talker.

ALBANESE: Our team is way ahead of their mob.

STEFANOVIC: You’re way ahead but your leader is not. Your leader is behind Scott Morrison. Who – I mean it defies any kind of logic that he is behind Scott Morrison, that’s how bad he is going.

PYNE: He’s as popular as arsenic.

ALBANESE: He leads a team that’s going extremely well.

STEFANOVIC: Come on Albo.

ALBANESE: Going extremely well, we’re a mile ahead.

PYNE: Stop it.

ALBANESE: And this mob, I mean Scott Morrison …

PYNE: He’s as popular as arsenic.

ALBANESE: Scott Morrison is just trying to – I mean this is like cats in a bag. They are all fighting and scratching. People can hear the noise out there …

STEFANOVIC: And still Bill Shorten is not more popular.

ALBANESE: And people are over it.

PYNE: Good question. Very good question, Karl – no wonder you get paid so much money.

ALBANESE: You just keep saying how well the Government is going, Christopher.

STEFANOVIC: You know what, Christopher, can we just level with each other and also the Australian people watching this morning.

PYNE: There’s only 600,000 people as part of this conversation.

STEFANOVIC: You have to know, the Australian people are sick of the way that this Government is leading this country. They are sick of it.

PYNE: They are sick of politicians talking about themselves that’s for sure. And that’s why I’ve been talking about jobs and growth.

STEFANOVIC: And your party keeps talking about themselves, the former Leader keeps talking about himself.

PYNE: Not me, I’m just talking about jobs and growth.

ALBANESE: You’ve got two former leaders as envoys, sitting on the backbench.

STEFANOVIC: I know, it’s bad.

ALBANESE: Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott – no one knows what their responsibility is. We can’t ask questions of them in the Parliament. But they’re being given jobs just to send them off, send them away.

STEFANOVIC: When are you going to have a crack? Bill’s not cutting it.

ALBANESE: The fact is, we are a stable team. I don’t think people want any instability. What people want is a political party that is going to focus on them and that’s the Labor Party under Bill Shorten.

STEFANOVIC: Good luck in the finals this weekend. Sorry Chris your side is not in the finals, you’re really having a bad run.

PYNE: Thanks Karl, I’m going for the Demons now. They’re my second team.

ALBANESE: Yeah, tomorrow night Souths and St George.

STEFANOVIC: Nervous, nervous Nelly.

ALBANESE: Traditional rivals. We’ll see how we go. I’ll be there, cheering on.

STEFANOVIC: You’re as nervous as Neil Mitchell.

ALBANESE: Watch it on Nine.

GEORGIE GARDNER: We don’t even pay him to say that.

ALBANESE: Go the Rabbitohs!

Sep 14, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – Ben Fordham Program, 2GB – Friday, 14 September 2018

Subjects: Early election, Morrison Government dysfunction.

BEN FORDHAM: Albo, good afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Ben.

FORDHAM: Sure, we need to go to an early election do we?

ALBANESE: Well, quite clearly the Government has stopped being able to function. This week we saw a Government that wasn’t pursuing its legislation, it wasn’t pursuing policies. It was pursuing vendettas really within the Government, whether it be Malcolm Turnbull saying from New York that Peter Dutton should be referred to the High Court, Julie Bishop walking through the Press Gallery, happened to run into 30 or 40 journalists who got told that she may well vote to refer Peter Dutton to the High Court, whether it be Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce sitting on the backbench but as envoys with responsibility for policy, being a humiliation really for the Cabinet Ministers who are in charge of those policies. What we saw was Julia Banks standing up and saying that she would not run for Parliament at the next election because of bullying within the Liberal Party during the chaos that occurred three weeks ago. But most importantly, we had the existing Prime Minister, the current one, saying that he couldn’t really say why Malcolm Turnbull was removed .

FORDHAM: You have summarised all of their nightmares very succinctly there Albo, but I think, look, no-one’s got short memories on these things. We can think back to when Labor was in power not so long ago and there was plenty of drama in that time as well. In fact, I remember you calling a press conference at some stage and shedding tears over some of the internal dramas with the Labor Party, so it’s not really foreign to you either.

ALBANESE: No and certainly we did the wrong thing in 2010 when we removed an elected Prime Minister in his first term and we suffered for it. What has occurred with what’s now the ATM Government – the Abbott Turnbull and Morrison Government – is that this is the only ATM in the country where you can’t get anything out of it. It’s rusted and nothing is coming out of it. And the Government isn’t functioning. The Australian people should get a say in who the Prime Minister is which is why the sensible thing is to go to an election. I just heard your statement that Scott Morrison says if they lose the Wentworth by-election, they still won’t have an election. Well I’ve got news for Mr Morrison – if you can’t control confidence on the floor of the Parliament, you don’t have a choice. You have an election. And this Wentworth by-election is turning out to be a disaster already. We had Mr Bragg, who was the former Federal Director of the Liberal Party, withdrawing so a woman could win. Not only did a female candidate not win that pre-selection last night, they didn’t run second, they didn’t even run third. They ran fourth, showing complete contempt for what Scott Morrison had made very clear were his wishes. And Scott Morrison is from NSW. It just shows there is no authority in the show at all, which is why I say that Scott Morrison should call an election and give the Australian people a say and let’s get some certainty to policy direction in this country.

FORDHAM: I appreciate you coming on. Have a good weekend.

ALBANESE: Thanks very much Ben.

Sep 13, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Canberra – Thursday, 13 September 2018

Subjects: Malcolm Turnbull, Peter Dutton, women in Parliament.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The tweet from Malcolm Turnbull stating that Peter Dutton should be referred to the High Court is an extraordinary intervention. It follows revelations in today’s newspapers that Malcolm Turnbull has been lobbying his Liberal Party colleagues to vote for a referral to the High Court. What should happen today is that Scott Morrison should show some leadership. He has shown none in the first few weeks of his prime ministership. He is unable to explain why he was elected Prime Minister and why Malcolm Turnbull was removed.

What he needs to do today is to go to Peter Dutton and say: Listen, it’s not Its not appropriate that the person who is responsible as Home Affairs Minister for administering a range of serious laws relating to national security is himself the subject of doubt when it comes to his legal status to sit as a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives.

It’s very clear from Peter Dutton’s own statements that he believes there is a conflict of interest when it comes to the issues of child care and we know that arises out of his pecuniary interest. It’s about time that Peter Dutton himself stopped being angry, stopped making wild accusations against other people under parliamentary privilege, and actually acted like an adult and said: I am going to do what others have done’ – refer himself to the High Court and ensure that there is no doubt over his status to sit as a Member of the House of Representatives.

REPORTER: Do you think that the Morrison Government is protecting Peter Dutton?

ALBANESE: Well quite clearly what we have here is Scott Morrison running a protection racket for Peter Dutton. Scott Morrison knows that his own position as Prime Minister is very vulnerable, but he should learn from Malcolm Turnbull, which is that giving in to people in his own team and being weak will inevitably lead to his own destruction from within and that is why he needs to show a bit of strength and refer Peter Dutton to the High Court and he should do it today.

REPORTER: There’s been a lot of talk within the Liberal Party about bullying and perhaps the need for gender quotas. What advice from Labor do you have to the Liberal Party to clean itself up?

ALBANESE: Well quite clearly the accusations from very senior members of the Liberal Party, from Julia Banks, who has taken the step of saying that she’ll remove herself from politics over these issues; Julie Bishop, the former Deputy Leader and Foreign Minister; Kelly O’Dwyer, the Minister for the Status of Women, have all pointed out the issues that related to the challenge by Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison to Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership. They have said that they were bullied. They are entitled, I think, to expect much better and the people of Australia are entitled to expect much better.

What needs to happen in the Liberal Party is that those issues need to be addressed and they need to be addressed in a transparent manner. It’s not up to Scott Morrison to have a cup of tea with someone and sort it out in private. It needs to be sorted out transparently. The second thing that needs to happen is the Liberal Party needs to acknowledge that they’ve got a structural problem. The structural problem is they have been going backwards when it comes to women’s representation at a time when Labor has reached almost 50 per cent and we are very confident we will be on 50 per cent or more after the next election. And Labor has done that through a series of rules, by ensuring that the culture is changed, by ensuring that we promote women candidates. And you know what, we are stronger for it because the Parliament should represent the people who are voting for it and 50 per cent of voters are women. Fifty per cent of Members of Parliament should be women as well.

 

Sep 12, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview -FIVEaa Adelaide, Two Tribes Segment – Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Subjects: Female representation in Parliament, Newspoll.

HOST: Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning team.

HOST: Chris Pyne, can I start with you? A big topic of conversation this week has been the prospect of the Liberal Party introducing a quota system on account of the fact that you just don’t seem to have too many women on your side of politics at the moment. Labor did it. They are about 50-50 now. Is it something you need to contemplate?

PYNE: We won’t introduce a quota system because it goes against the grain of the Liberal Party that every selection should be based on merit. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a lot more women in the Parliamentary party. We’ve gone backwards in terms of representation over the last couple of decades, whereas Labor has gone forwards and they have done a good job at balancing their caucus. It doesn’t mean that I think Labor should be in office by the way. Far from it. But on our side of the House we need to do more and we need to encourage women to run for pre-selection. We need to help to train the women about how to compete in pre-selections and Kelly O’Dwyer has started a fund in Victoria which we can all contribute to around the rest of the country to support women who get pre-selected to win seats from the Labor Party. So there are other ways to do it. We just haven’t been doing it effectively.

HOST: So you say the Labor position at the moment on the distribution of gender is laudable. They achieved that by way of a quota system initially, didn’t they?

PYNE: Yes and the problem with a quota system is there is always that doubt hanging over the heads of the people who have been chosen because of an affirmative action policy that they weren’t as good as other people in that particular race. Now I am not saying that all the women in the Labor Party aren’t as good as the men who were running in the pre-selection, but that doubt lingers because of the affirmative action policy.

HOST: How does it work on the Labor side, Albo? One Labor example of the moment, because of the fact that a well-known politician of the female persuasion is departing the local stage as the Member for Adelaide, we’ve now got a situation where Steve Georganas and Mark Butler …

ALBANESE: She’s only got one thing wrong with her, that Kate Ellis.

HOST: Thank you mate.

PYNE: You have beautiful children.

ALBANESE: No, it’s certainly not the children, and it’s not the dogs, including Zorro.

HOST: I’m being ganged up on by both of you. But you guys, to maintain your affirmative action targets, you are going to have to knock off either Mark Butler or Steve Georganas at the end of this term aren’t you.

ALBANESE: Well that’s not right, that’s not right.

HOST: But you are over the male quota now aren’t you?

ALBANESE: No, that’s not right. What we are doing is ensuring that the number two person who will go in from the Senate will be a woman and we also have a female candidate in Boothby. So what we have done is to ensure that there are structures in place that have driven the change, that have made Labor, I think, better, stronger and more representative of the community most importantly that we seek to represent and half the community are female and that should be reflected in the Parliament. One of the practical ways that we have done for example, that has driven the actual outcomes in New South Wales where we have 100 per cent rank and file pre-selection – if there is a woman candidate she gets a weighting of 1.2 for every vote for them. So guess what? The power brokers that exist in parties, whether it be the Liberal Party or the Labor Party, have an incentive to find and to support, where everything else is equal, a good woman candidate above a good male candidate because they have a greater chance of being elected and that has driven the change right through the party at both federal and state levels.

PYNE: And at the next election there will be a lot more women running for the Liberal Party and the Coalition than at the last election. For example, we have Georgina Downer pre-selected for Mayo. We have Anne Ruston …

ALBANESE: Yes, but she won’t win.

PYNE: … heading our Senate ticket in South Australia. We have Nicole Flint in Boothby. In Tasmania we have just elected two women on winnable positions on the Tasmanian Senate ticket. In Queensland we replaced a male senator with Susan McDonald for the Liberal Party at the next coming election. We have two women running in the Northern Territory in the two winnable seat there.

ALBANESE: But you have replaced sitting Liberal Members …

PYNE: Hang On.

ALBANESE: … who are in safe seats.

PYNE: Hang on, I let you talk and I didn’t interrupt you. We have had one woman replaced in Brisbane. We have had many other women now being pre-selected across Australia. The Nationals have pre-selected a woman for their number one on the Senate ticket in New South Wales. So there is a lot of movement. For the Liberal Party, by the way, we actually hold most of the firsts for women in Australian politics – the first woman to get elected to Parliament in South Australia; the first woman to be a cabinet minister in the national Parliament. We have had most of the firsts when it comes to women. We have had more Cabinet ministers in our governments over time who have been women than the Labor Party.

ALBANESE: That’s not true.

HOST: Hey just setting gender aside though, if Monday’s Newspoll is to be believed, hardly any Liberals are going to be gaining seats at the next election whenever that is held Chris. I wanted to get your thoughts though Albo. What does it say about Bill Shorten that after the chaos that the Liberal Party subjected us to and the fact that there was no widespread public clamour for Scott Morrison to become Prime Minister, that he is now ahead already of Bill Shorten as preferred PM?

ALBANESE: Well most people when they have taken over leadership positions, particularly prime ministers, have had a bounce in the polls in terms of the people are prepared to have a look at them and give them a go. What’s significant is that the Liberal Party would lose 30 seats based upon that Newspoll. So we’d see 30 extra Labor members. So for all of Christopher’s talk about women candidates in seats that are marginal but are held by Labor, they are not going forward.

HOST: But is Bill Shorten your Achilles heel? I mean, in the glare of an election campaign, and campaigns these days are increasingly presidential when it comes down to a choice between not just two parties but two individuals, if you have had four years of apparent stability on the Labor side and policy development and all that, and everyone has seen a lot of Bill Shorten in that time and, you know, four out every five people haven’t really got any time for the bloke.

ALBANESE: Well, they are prepared to vote for, and are saying they will vote for, the team that is led by Bill Shorten.

PYNE: He is deeply unpopular and he is very untrustworthy.

ALBANESE: That would give us 30 seats off the Liberal Party; would reduce them to a little corner of the Parliament.

PYNE: And you expect that to happen on election day do you, that they are going to have a 56 to 44 per cent result?

ALBANESE: No, I think things will tighten up as they inevitably do. But we have, I think, a stark contrast between Labor putting forward policies concentrating on the national interest and a Government that has become a rabble and that’s concentrating on themselves.

PYNE: I don’t think that you will be able to keep saying that. But the truth is that people have looked at Bill Shorten and they think he is a phoney. And they are looking at Scott Morrison and they realise it is authentic and the reality is that, as David said, there will be a large focus on leadership at the next election and of course the economy is growing very well. There are huge numbers of jobs coming into the system. We are funding the essential services that the Australian public want, whether it is defence or health or education or aged care, and I think the next election is more than competitive for the Coalition as long as we respond and listen to what the Australian people are interested in.

HOST: Good on you guys, Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese – Two Tribes. We’ll do it again next week.

Sep 12, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – David Speers Program, SKY News – Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Subjects: Road safety, Liberal Party, religious freedom.

DAVID SPEERS:  Welcome back to the program. I want to talk a bit of policy for a moment here because today quite a shocking report was made public, an independent review that was commissioned by the Government looking at road safety in Australia. It’s a big deal in a lot of regional areas; a lot of urban areas as well. This report showed that about 12,000 Australians are likely to die on our roads unless more is done by State and Federal governments over the coming years to spend, it’s been recommended, $3 billion a year on road safety and set a new target of zero road deaths by 2050. The report highlighted that the current plan, the ten-year strategy we’re currently in to cut the road toll by 30 per cent by 2020 is not going to be met, that more than 660 people have died on Australian roads this year alone and it’s only September, and that last year there were 1226 road fatalities. I’m joined now by the Shadow Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese. Thanks very much for your time this afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for having me on.

SPEERS: It probably didn’t come as a huge surprise to you, a lot of this, but are there any simple answers to doing more on this front?

ALBANESE: Well there aren’t, but this is a very welcome report. I was the Transport Minister that commissioned the National Road Safety Strategy. And what had occurred over decades, really since seatbelts was the big change that made a difference in reducing the road toll, but year on year for three decades, we had three issues. New technology – seatbelts, ESC, air bags – all making a difference; cars being safer through new technology. The second change of course is better infrastructure – the duplication of the Hume Highway, getting on with the duplication of the Pacific Highway – better roads. The third is driver behaviour – much more consciousness now about things like …

SPEERS: Drinking and speeding?

ALBANESE: All of those things. And people also, I know when I was a kid, having a seatbelt on was something that was optional. Now it always amazed me that when my son or his friends are in the car I would say, ‘you’ve got your belts on?’ I don’t know how they did it in one movement, sit down, and it’s just part of that.

SPEERS: And it’s a cultural norm now.

ALBANESE: And people are conscious of it.

SPEERS: Other driver behaviours change, though. What about texting and fiddling with the mobile phone?

ALBANESE: That has got to be – one of the things that’s occurred over the last two years, is that we’ve seen an increase for the first time. So you see this trend going down and then all of a sudden this spike and it happens to be when smartphones have become more prevalent. People are feeling the need for immediacy in terms of texting or looking at information. Even new technology like some of the, looking at maps where people are going, can be dangerous if people are distracted from looking at the road, instead looking at a device for where they’re driving to.

SPEERS: What’s the rule on that because you know nearly every Uber driver, taxi driver, professional driver has their phone stuck next to the steering wheel and they’re following the maps and taking orders and all that sort of stuff? I mean they’re allowed to do that, presumably?

ALBANESE: In part one of the things that today’s assessment has done is to really take a bit of an assessment. Let’s stop, have a look at why it’s not working and see if we can work (Inaudible). It was commissioned by Darren Chester, the former Transport Minister, and myself and Michael McCormack launched the report jointly today. This is something that isn’t about …

SPEERS: Which is a bit of rare bipartisanship we need.

ALBANESE: Absolutely. And Michael McCormack, I must say, has been very good as the new Minister in being consultative about that and I thank him for it. We had today interestingly – it wasn’t just road and transport experts – some of the people who participated in this report are people who are the parents and relatives of victims of road trauma. And of course every fatality on our road is an absolute tragedy. But it’s not just a tragedy for those people directly, it’s their family, their friends, the whole community can suffer.

SPEERS: So if the texting problem is the one that’s caused a recent spike and we have campaigns – you know ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ is a very successful campaign. There’s fines and so on and penalties in place. Do they need to be really ramped up or do we need to go with some sort of technology to block the use of a mobile phone while you’re in a vehicle?

ALBANESE: I think those issues need to be considered and that’s one of the recommendations. There’s a range of recommendations in the report that need to be examined. I thank you for having us on talking about it today. We want people to have a look at this and we want – myself and Michael McCormack are committed to working together to make sure that we get an outcome.

SPEERS: You’ve got to work with the states too, a lot of this is their jurisdiction.

ALBANESE: Absolutely. The states are responsible for a lot of the legislation and the law enforcement. In particular law enforcement has made an enormous difference.

SPEERS: A couple of other things away from the report there today. You were sitting there in Question Time this afternoon. The questions keep going to the Prime Minister: Why was there a change in the job? His answer today: Get over it. You think there would be Australians who agree that it’s time to get back to some policy?

ALBANESE: Well, there’s probably, maybe, 45 people who might agree in the country. But I think that Australians are entitled to know why it is that Prime Minister Turnbull was replaced. And what is extraordinary is that Scott Morrison, the new Prime Minister, doesn’t seem to know why that has occurred. There are Members of Parliament in the Coalition who are asking us, who are saying around this building – and you would know that David yourself – who were saying we don’t know why all this happened. We had circumstances whereby the Government was putting forward an argument that it was governing well. They can’t have it both ways.

SPEERS: You know though what happened here. There was a significant section of the party that were agitating and pushing and Turnbull couldn’t control it and everything happened the way that it did. It was untenable for him.

ALBANESE: I think there were some people who never saw Malcolm Turnbull as being a legitimate member of the Liberal Party. I think that is part of the problem of what we are dealing with here. If so, they should say that, because I will tell you what that means. What that means is that anyone who doesn’t have hard Right economic and social views isn’t welcome in the modern Liberal Party. If that is the argument, they need to say that and that is one of the reasons why they can’t answer the question.

SPEERS: But will Labor be getting over it? Or will you keep going with this line of questioning?

ALBANESE: We will continue to pursue the issues of the dysfunction because the dysfunction has an impact. It’s not a matter of who is sitting in the top chair. It is a matter of whether the Government can function or not and what we have seen as well, and I asked a question in the Parliament about the leaks of infrastructure investment, about a whole range of the other leaks as well about Catholic schools, the leaks with regard to discussions between the now Prime Minister and the Tasmanian Treasurer. All of these issues are having an impact. Take the infrastructure one. What we know now is the Government allocated $7.6 billion to various infrastructure projects in the Budget in May, but they are not telling anyone about it and they are not getting on with it. But why is it? Now we know for example there is $3.5 billion that has been allocated for Western Sydney Rail through Badgerys Creek Airport. Why isn’t that commencing so that people can actually … .

SPEERS: You guys never took a decision and held off the announcement?

ALBANESE: What we didn’t have David is this sort of massive leak whereby you have had the entire infrastructure program that the Government has set between the Budget and election day leaked out there.

SPEERS: All right. Let me just finally ask you about another theme that we heard from Scott Morrison today. He said in Question Time we are standing up for those people of faith and belief in this country and only this Government could be guaranteed to protect it. Do you get the feeling that this Prime Minister is going to be using faith and religion as, I don’t know, a political weapon, but certainly something to distinguish the Government from the Opposition?

ALBANESE: Well I hope not David, because Australia is a secular country and we have had a separation of church and state. It  is a very fundamental principle that we have in this country. I respect people of whatever faith they have and I’ve been a strong advocate for example, a consistent advocate, not always agreed to by people who I usually agree with in my party, about conscience votes for example. But the idea that one side of politics has a monopoly on faith, I think people of faith know that that is a nonsense.

SPEERS: Do you agree with the need for tougher religious protections?

ALBANESE: Well, I think you have got to make a case for what the problem is before you search for a solution. In this country what I recognise as one of our great strengths is that in my local community you have people who visit churches, both Catholic, Orthodox of various persuasions; you have mosques; you have a synagogue, and everyone is able to practice their religion I think in absolute freedom.

SPEERS: Anthony Albanese, thanks very much for joining us.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

Sep 7, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Sky News – Friday, 07 September, 2018

Subjects: Infrastructure investment in Victoria, Liberal Party chaos, bullying, immigration, Peter Dutton.

TOM CONNELL: Anthony Albanese has been good enough to join us from Melbourne. Thanks very much for your time Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for having us on Tom.

CONNELL: An announcement today – this extension out to Baxter on the Frankston Line. So you could get out there previously but it is an old diesel train, which surprised me. This is a commitment made twice now by the Government so they seem very committed. Now you would welcome this given Labor has committed to this?

ALBANESE: Well, there’s nothing new in today’s announcement and what is still there is that only $60 million of this $225 million is available in the Forward Estimates, so it is off into the Never-Never this commitment. You have to elect Scott Morrison whenever the election is, then you have to elect Tony Abbott or Michael Sukkar or whoever the Leader of the Liberal Party is if they are successful the next time around before you actually see any real investment in this project. And it comes after the leaking on the weekend of the revelations of $7.8 billion of projects – 10 projects – of which Victoria gets not a single new transport project.

And that is after Victoria has only got around eight to nine per cent of Federal infrastructure funding up to this point since the election of Tony Abbott’s Government some five years ago, even though they are one in four of the population and even though Victoria is Australia’s fastest-growing state and Melbourne is Australia’s fastest-growing city.

CONNELL: You mentioned off into the Never Never. So too obviously is this plan to actually connect up all of Melbourne’s metro train lines Anthony Albanese, but is that a good idea?

ALBANESE: It is certainly a good idea but the Victorian Government are getting on with the Melbourne Metro project. That’s a project that had $3 billion of Federal funding in the Budget before Tony Abbott was elected five years ago. And so it was cut by Tony Abbott. Malcolm Turnbull maintained the cut and Scott Morrison has maintained the cut. So Liberal prime ministers have come and gone – three of them with only one election in between – but the cuts to Victorian infrastructure remain. The fact of failing to deal with urban congestion in our major cities remains. And their objections to funding public transport projects like the Melbourne Metro, like Brisbane’s Cross-River Rail Project remains as well.

CONNELL: So what would Labor do though on this linking up of the train lines? Obviously it is in embryonic stages including just how it would happen, but is this something you could see a Labor Government putting billions of dollars towards? That’s the only way it would get up, isn’t it?

ALBANESE: Well potentially down the track absolutely. I mean it is at the early stage. It has got to have its planning done and we would do infrastructure right as we did when we were in Government. We established Infrastructure Australia to get those processes right. What you do is, you have your planning, you then work out your financing and then you get on with construction. The problem with this Government is it cut funding for projects that were ready to go, like the Melbourne Metro, now under construction here in Victoria, and put it towards toll road projects that either didn’t stack up, like the East West Link that produced 45 cents benefit for every dollar invested, or other projects that simply never went ahead like the Perth Freight Link project, of which there had been no planning whatsoever.

We need to do much better when it comes to infrastructure investment and I would have thought when Scott Morrison travelled out there with the local Member and State MPs today we might have actually got a new announcement from the new Prime Minister. But instead all we got was an old announcement being re-announced.

CONNELL: Leadership contests have just been on in earnest in the Liberal Party. Now you know a bit about these Anthony Albanese. They can be brutal. They can be emotional. I still remember you after one of them talking about how you just wanted to fight Tories. Have we actually seen anything in concrete in evidence here that hasn’t necessarily gone on in a Labor leadership contest?

ALBANESE: Well I think what we have seen here is total chaos. We, I think, and I said at the time and I maintain that position consistently, that we made a mistake in 2010 when we replaced an elected Prime Minister in their first term. What we have seen from this Government is it go through three prime ministers with one election in between and no-one can explain why Malcolm Turnbull was replaced – no-one. There is no explanation. It is very clear that there are no policy reasons and no big policy shift. It’s very clear that Scott Morrison doesn’t seem to have an alternative narrative or agenda other than the rather strange speech that he gave in Albury yesterday and it is clear also that the chaos and dysfunction in the Coalition will go on. They’ll all be in the same building next week.

CONNELL: What are you saying on that speech Anthony Albanese?  What did you find strange about it? Are you talking about the religious references?

ALBANESE: No no, I think it is fine for people to talk about who they are and their faith. It’s up to them whether people talk about that and I respect people of faith. I think the strange thing was to grab the entire Cabinet, take them all to Albury to hear someone just do off the cuff about a couple of their values that he could have done, frankly, here in Melbourne where the Prime Minister Morrison is here today, or could have done it in his electorate, or could have done it in Parliament next week. I am not quite sure that going back  ….

CONNELL: It’s good to get out of the city isn’t it, out to the regions?

ALBANESE: It is good that people get around, but you don’t need to take the entire Cabinet with you. If you look at the images there, apart from Members of Parliament and their staff I don’t know who else was there in Albury. It didn’t look like very many people at all to me. It looked like a hastily convened media opportunity.

CONNELL: Can I just ask you about the leadership contest finally on this though, on the nature of this? Do you consider as a specific example a threat of a pre-selection during a leadership contest – is that bullying, or is that politics?

ALBANESE: That’s bullying, that’s what that is.  To try to provide either an incentive …

CONNELL: So if that was made in a Labor contest as well, that would be bullying?

ALBANESE: Absolutely it would be. People who are elected Members of Parliament should make their own decisions without having either incentives to vote a particular way or a threat if they don’t vote a particular way. And what we’ve had here, which Mr Morrison seems to have excused and dismissed today, doing this ‘nothing to see here’, is you now have a range of very senior women in the Liberal Party, including Kelly O’Dwyer, the Minister for the Status of Women, including Julie Bishop, the former Deputy Leader and Foreign Minister, including of course Julia Banks, including Sarah Henderson, the Member for Corangamite – a whole range of women in the Liberal Party saying that there were standover tactics and bullying went on in that ballot. Now the Liberal Party needs to address this. They can’t just dismiss it because I think that everyone out there, regardless of their gender, but particularly women will look at this, they’ll look at the Liberal Party and say why is it that the Liberal Party has gone backwards in recent years, since Tony Abbott became the Leader, they’ve gone backwards in terms of women’s representation in the Parliament. Labor is now at 48 per cent women’s representation. We want a Parliament that reflects the community. That will strengthen our democratic processes if that happens.

CONNELL: It keeps getting put to the Liberal Party about quotas. They seem reluctant at the moment. But you mention there that bullying could be threats or incentives, surely every leadership …

ALBANESE: Except that some of their members have come out and supported it.

CONNELL: OK, some have. It’s not happening at the moment. I just want to touch on this element about either threats or incentives. Surely there are incentives in these leadership contests. For example when Kevin Rudd came back as Leader, you were Deputy. Isn’t that an incentive?

ALBANESE: No, I was elected in a ballot in the Caucus. I defeated Simon Crean in that ballot. I don’t think either of us had a chance to lobby at all in that process. And I myself have stood for …

CONNELL: So no one’s ever gotten a ministerial upgrade though from changing sides?

ALBANESE: Well I haven’t been involved in that at all and when I stood for Leader in 2013, I certainly refused to offer any incentive in terms of front bench positions or anything else, any favours. I stood on my own merits. That’s as it should be.

CONNELL: OK. I want to ask about Peter Dutton. I know we’ve gone through so much of the entrails through this enquiry and so far there certainly doesn’t appear to be any sort of smoking gun. Let me put this to you, if you had a friend call you up about an urgent visa matter and it was a Sunday and you were asked to forward something simply to the office – let’s say Labor’s in power at this stage – so forward something on to the Immigration Minister’s office. Would you do that?

ALBANESE: Well it hasn’t happened. That’s a fact. And I’ve been a Minister and I’ve never behaved in that way. And when it comes to Peter Dutton there are a number of issues that will be raised next week. One is his eligibility to sit in the Parliament. Forget about what he does as a Minister. All of the decisions which he makes are drawn into question because there’s a big question mark over whether he can sit in the Parliament and the legal advice from the Solicitor General was quite clear – that only the High Court can make a definitive decision about that. Then, when it comes to Mr Dutton, I’ll tell you what, what we’re talking about here aren’t the circumstances whereby someone’s life is in imminent danger; they are about to be sent back to a country where they would be endangered; there’s a health crisis. What we’re talking about here is au pairs – nannies. There are people in this country who can be au pairs or nannies to young children and who could perform that task.

And what’s more you have a departmental decision here saying that the person, or one of the people, weren’t entitled to work as an au pair. That they had previously been in breach of the visas which had been issued, which is why it was triggered when they attempted to come into Australia on that occasion. And you had an intervention to turn that over.

CONNELL: I understand what you’re saying there, it’s not a life and death situation. I think everyone would agree with that. But it could still be someone coming out here that paid a lot of money, they’re going on holiday. If a constituent came to you in that situation and they couldn’t get through for some reason, to the office on a Sunday …

ALBANESE: Let me be very clear. If someone was going to breach their visa – the Department had said they were coming out here on a visa that didn’t allow them to work, and they were going to work which is why they had been pulled up, absolutely not. Absolutely not and I find it extraordinary that anyone would.

CONNELL: Well the claim is that they weren’t going to work. There was a mix up. You’re saying, is tourist visas the sort of area you just wouldn’t interrupt in. You’re saying you would put forward the concerns of a constituent in a more serious matter, not a tourist visa?

ALBANESE: No. I’m not saying that at all. You can do your hypotheticals all you like. I’m saying I’ve never done that. I’ve certainly made representations to ministers at various times over circumstances. There was one for example where a woman had been in Australia who, according to the Department, had been advised that they had to leave when they were a young girl. They had actually lived in Australia for about 25 years or thereabouts. I can’t remember the exact period, but a long time. In the time in which they had been there after – allegedly they’d been asked to leave – they had done a medical biology Master’s Degree from university. They were precisely the sort of person who we want to come into Australia someone – a woman with those skills in science. They’d lived here for decades and the Department had no evidence that they were ever – when they were a child, asked to leave.

So I did contact the Minister over that case, I wrote to the Minister, there was intervention there. That’s an appropriate circumstance. Because what would have happened was the woman would have won a legal case. It was very clear the courts would have determined that, but it would have cost both the Australian Government and this woman substantial amounts of money and she was someone who’d been a good citizen and thought she was here legitimately for a very long period of time. She had family here. So those are the sort of circumstances where you intervene. So, I’ll give you a specific one rather than you getting to make up hypotheticals. But this isn’t a hypothetical case that we’re dealing with here in either of these au pair cases.

CONNELL: No, it’s not. And I’m just going to jump in there sorry, Anthony Albanese, because we are right out of time. Go on, I’ll give you 10 more seconds.

ALBANESE: Well I think what will jar with Australians, is Peter Dutton saying that he intervened because of justice and compassion. They are words that you don’t associate with Peter Dutton and the Australian people know that.

 

 

Sep 7, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 07 September, 2018

Subjects: Lack of public respect for politics and politicians; bullying, female representation in Parliament; football finals.

GEORGIE GARDNER: Five prime ministers in five years, allegations of bullying and intimidation, and policy gridlock. Australians are sick of it. The Government is meant to serve its people but these days it seems like it is only serving itself. We put it to you, asking on Facebook: do you trust our politicians? More than 13,000 of you voted. Ninety-four per cent said no and just six per cent said yes. Joining me now is Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne from Melbourne. Good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for having us.

GARDNER: Christopher firstly, your response to that poll?

PYNE: Well look Georgie, a lot of people like the politician that they know, like their local member, often, but they don’t like us as a group. And I think that is the case for quite a lot of different professions in Australia – union leaders, even sometimes journalists – we all tend to get down below on the ladder unfortunately in terms of most trusted profession whereas dentists, chemists, doctors are always closer to the top. I think this, unfortunately, comes a bit with the territory, but there is no doubt that the last 10 years has been tumultuous in Australian politics and I think it has been a tremendous shame and done us all a great disservice. And it is time that, as you say, the politicians, that the Government and the Opposition, for that matter, stopped this constant civil war, if you like, in politics and put the people’s interests first and that is exactly what the Morrison Government intends to get on with doing.

GARDNER: Anthony, there is clearly an absolute vacuum of trust and respect for politicians.

ALBANESE: There is.

GARDNER: What are you doing about it?

ALBANESE: There is. Well it is one of the things I was talking about in my Whitlam Oration a couple of months ago, was the fact that there is a disconnect between what Australians want from their politicians and what they are getting. The fact that we have had now four elected prime ministers …

GARDNER: So what are you doing about it?

ALBANESE: … turfed out in their first terms. Well we just have to be better. First we have to acknowledge that there is a problem and the Liberal Party at the moment is copping it in particular, but there is a general problem as well with the way that Australians see their politics. The fact is that Christopher and my segment here on the Today Show has outlasted now four prime ministers. That says a lot.

PYNE: We are leading by example.

ALBANESE: Christopher and I have been consistent, but it is no wonder that there is disillusionment when you talk about – today in fact, it is five years since we lost office. If you had said five years ago we would have three prime ministers with only one election in between, but three prime ministers, it’s no wonder people are disillusioned.

GARDNER: Christopher, Julie Bishop has come out swinging this week as you know, calling out the appalling behaviour in Parliament – her words – which she says would not be tolerated in any other workplace across Australia. Liberal MP Julia Banks was bullied and intimidated so badly she quit. What does that say about the Liberal Party?

PYNE: Well, I don’t think it says particularly about the Liberal Party. I don’t think Julie Bishop was talking about the Liberal Party. She was talking about politics in general and there is no doubt that politics is a robust business and it is probably time that it started to get more modern, more up with the times. People expect a different workplace. The antagonism that exists between Opposition and Government has been a feature of our politics for a very long time, for 118 years, and you can go back to the early speeches of the Commonwealth and you will find exactly the same comments being made. But the last couple of weeks and the last five years as Anthony points out, the last 10 years as I said before, has taken things to a new level and I think we need to recognise that this constant excitement and chaos …

GARDNER: But the problem is you are not recognising it. You are not recognising it and Julia Banks – her allegations were dismissed as scuttlebutt, innuendo and rumour.

PYNE: Not by me.

GARDNER: But by Michael Kroger. She was told to toughen up. Can you imagine how offensive that is for a woman who is so appalled by her treatment that she is quitting? That is unacceptable.

PYNE: It is unacceptable and I agree with you entirely and whoever said that people needed to roll with the punches, it was a particularly bad choice of words because what we all need to do is be a lot more caring of each other. Now as Anthony pointed out, we have managed to be on this show for five years without having any kind of major falling out. It can be done and people need to grow up.

GARDNER: More than grow up I would suggest. I would suggest start respecting women. I mean can you imagine, what woman would want to enter politics these days?

ALBANESE: Well of course and that is what Julie Bishop has pointed out. I might point out that Julia Gillard’s treatment as Prime Minister was disgraceful.

GARDNER: Of course it was. But it was your party …

ALBANESE: We’ll that’s not right. The fact is that …

GARDNER: Well, you rolled her.

ALBANESE: The fact is that our party, our party, has 48 per cent of women. One of the ways in which politics can get more respect is to be more representative of the community. It is a good thing that we have 48 per cent. We will hit 50 after the next election I am confident.

PYNE: I think it’s fair to say though Anthony …

ALBANESE: It is also good that now we have indigenous Australians in the Parliament on both sides.

PYNE: Definitely.

ALBANESE: It’s a very good thing that that has occurred. We need to represent the people.

GARDNER: Of course. We do hold up 50 per cent of the sky.

PYNE: After 11 and half years of one Prime Minister with John Howard, it was your party that started the rot by rolling Kevin Rudd in the first term.

ALBANESE: Yes and that was a mistake.

PYNE: That was a mistake and unfortunately it set the pattern for the next ten years and I think we all need to say to the Australian public we respect your choice when you vote at an election. I mean it can be changed so easily.

ALBANESE: I think the other thing that is happening is that in 2010 one of the big problems was people woke up the next morning and thought, “Hang on, we voted for Kevin Rudd, how is Julia Gillard the Prime Minister?’’ What has happened now is that people think they voted for Malcolm Turnbull and there is no explanation of why he has been knocked off, none at all that passes muster frankly. And until the Government can work out some sort of narrative other than “we don’t like him’’ then they will continue to be in trouble and it doesn’t matter how many speeches Scott Morrison gives in Albury or wherever, the Australian people I think will mark the Government down.

GARDNER: Just on that speech from our new Prime Minister, who we didn’t vote for, yesterday, Christopher, it talked about a new generation of Liberal leadership but it didn’t outline any new course of action, instead harking back to the golden era of the Menzies Government. I mean that is gone, that’s done. We want to hear of a progressive government, forward-thinking, giving our kids hope.

PYNE: Well Georgie it wasn’t a speech designed to announce new policy proposals or new directions, it was a speech about where the Liberal Party comes from in terms of its values, what it believes in, and that is why it harkened back to the founding the party in 1944, because those values around support for the individual, families, communities, multiculturalism, small business, they remain the same. So it wasn’t a speech designed to say here is a bold new policy; it was a speech about the kind of person that Scott Morrison is and it needs to be seen in that context. And I think from that context it was very good rendition of the kind of person we now have as Prime Minister, who I think will resonate very well with the Australian people in a way that Bill Shorten simply doesn’t because people don’t trust Bill Shorten.

GARDNER: All right. Well I hope you are right. I want to end on something light and happy because it has been a terrible week. Who is your football team that you are supporting this weekend Anthony?

ALBANESE: (Points to cardinal and myrtle neck tie) My beloved Rabbitohs, playing Melbourne tonight.

GARDNER: Of course, wearing your colours on you.

ALBANESE: Go the Rabbitohs.

GARDNER: And Christopher?

PYNE: Well of course I am a Crows ambassador Georgie, so thank-you for raising the finals. But my second team is the Demons. I am a Melbourne supporter because that is my Redlegs colours, red and blue, so I will be supporting the Demons in the finals.

GARDNER: Well we wish you luck. I think you both need it.

ALBANESE: It would be nice if the Dees do well. It’s been a very long time.

PYNE: It has been. It’s time to give them a go.

GARDNER: Thank you both, We will see you next week. OK. Over to you Karl.

KARL STEFANOVIC: I just never want to see Christopher Pyne’s red legs.

PYNE: You’ve seen them before Karl. Stop it.

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: You devil.

ALBANESE: That’s too much information.

PYNE: You saucy minx.

STEFANOVIC: Like a flamingo across the Serengeti.

GARDNER: Saucy minx!

JEFFREYS: It’s nice how football brings everyone together in our country. Very good. Thank you Georgie.

 

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