Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Jan 28, 2016

Transcript of television interview – Speers Tonight, SKY News

Subjects; Grayndler electorate, federal election, Labor’s education package, Australian Labor Party, Greens political party, Malcolm Turnbull, public transport funding, cities policy

DAVID SPEERS: Anthony Albanese is our first guest for the year and I spoke to him a short while ago. Anthony Albanese, good evening. Thank you for joining us. I want to start with your announcement today that you’re going around again – you’re recontesting in your seat of Grayndler despite the redistribution of the boundaries that’s happened there.

But I want to ask you, personally, sticking around in Parliament I mean you’ve been in Parliament 20 years this year. You’ve been a Minister. You’ve been Deputy Prime Minister. Labor is out of office and the polls indicate it may be out of office for a while to come. Why are you sticking around for another term at least?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, thanks for the vote of confidence in our political system, David.

SPEERS: I’m talking about the polls.

ALBANESE: I’m running because I want to continue to represent the community where I’ve lived my whole life and I want to see a Labor Government elected. I’ve thought long and hard about whether I would stay in Parliament and contest another term. I’ve chosen to do so.

I think it’s the right thing and I think you need a mix of people with experience but also new people coming through. We’ve had some fantastic new members elected. People like Terri Butler. Andrew Giles. People like Jim Chalmers in Queensland.

But you need people who understand how Government works and you also need people with that Parliamentary experience and I must say, I was very much encouraged by people in the electorate to contest again and hence I’ll be putting myself forward firstly for preselection in the Labor Party. I don’t take that for granted. Nor have I ever taken my electorate for granted.

SPEERS: Well, I’m sure you won’t have too much trouble on the preselection front within the Labor Party, Anthony Albanese but could I just tease out what you said there, you weighed very carefully as to the decision or not. Can you give us an insight into what were the pros and cons? I mean, what were you weighing up? How seriously were you thinking about not recontesting?

ALBANESE: Well, each and every time I’ve contested I’ve never automatically just nominated for Parliament. There are a lot of downsides in being a Member of Parliament. One primarily, which is the time that you spend from your family. I’ve got a son who’s just entered, today literally, Year 10 in high school, so the next few years are pretty important for him. We as a family talked about it, weighed it up, as well. I wouldn’t do it without my family’s support but I think that’s the major negative.

If you speak to Parliamentarians across the spectrum, overwhelmingly people are in politics regardless of what party they represent for the right reasons I believe, but you’ll get a common thread, which is that the time away from family, not just in Canberra of course, but the time that you have to spend travelling round this vast nation.

SPEERS: Well, I’ve got to ask you because a lot of people will interpret your decision to stick around in Parliament as a sign, an indication that you may want another go at the leadership down the track. In all honesty, did this enter your mind when you were considering all of this, did you think about whether the leadership may still come your way yet?

ALBANESE: I’ve only got one thought, David and that is a Labor Government. I want to be a Minister again in a Labor Government. Having been there for two terms, having, I think, a record of achievement in infrastructure and transport, in local government, in communications, I understand that it is when you’re around the Cabinet table that you can make a big difference to the nation. Rolling out fibre to the premises in the National Broadband Network. All of those policies.

SPEERS: And you know that, because you’ve done that. But you also fought pretty hard and successfully for the leadership after the election. You’ve won the vote of the party membership. I mean, would you still like a go at the leadership?

ALBANESE: What I’d like is for us to win the next election, and then I’d be a minister in a Labor Government.

SPEERS: But that’s not the question.

ALBANESE: Well that’s the answer. Because the answer is I want that to not be on the table because I want us to win the next election.

SPEERS: Alright, let me ask you about Grayndler though, because the redistribution there, it does make it a little harder for you. You take in Balmain which is, as you say, where you made the announcement today. A lot of Green voters there. Is this going to be a harder fight for you this time around?

ALBANESE: Oh, look, it’ll be a tough fight, no doubt about that. It always has been. I’ve never taken it for granted. People speak about my seat being vulnerable but if you look at the political pendulum you’ll find Grayndler at the top of the list. That’s out of hard work that I got it to that point. I think I’m well known in the electorate. I’m known as someone who stands up for their values. What you see is what you get.

Even people who might disagree with me on some issues might respect the fact that I am a conviction politician. I’m authentic and I am who I am. So people will make their own judgements about that at the next election. I think I’ve been helped by the fact that the Liberal Party haven’t selected a candidate at all yet and the Greens political party have selected someone who has spent more time in the International Socialist organisation than they have in the Greens political party.

I think it’s a pity that so many from the fringe parties seem to have joined the Greens political party as a vehicle to give themselves some legitimacy. That seems to be a common thread through the New South Wales Greens and why the New South Wales Greens are so at odds with the national Greens Party leadership.

SPEERS: Well I see the candidate that you’re talking about there, Jim Casey, he’s made no apologies. He says ‘for his socialist ideals, it is a bit sad that Anthony Albanese is running away from this. He’s happy to DJ songs for his mates but when it comes to a political context he’s channelling Joe McCarthy’. That’s been his response to what you’ve said today.

ALBANESE: Well, that’s just absurd. He just needs to be honest. The truth is that he was an activist for a long period of time. I didn’t even know he was in the Greens. I have heard of his involvement as part of the fringe parties, including the International Socialist organisation that has now evolved into the Socialist Alliance, all part of this fringe international group that seem to have gone into the Greens in the inner west.

People who are thinking about voting Greens will think about people who have been involved with the Australian Conservation Foundation, with the various movements, Greenpeace, people have been involved as environmental activists. What they tend to be in my area in terms of the leadership – not their voters but the leadership, seem to be people who all have histories with the fringe parties who have all gone into the Greens to give themselves some legitimacy.

SPEERS: Well, the federal leader, Richard Di Natale I suppose is trying to position the Greens as a more mainstream party. But you know, more broadly on the fight against the Greens, do you accept that there will be quite a lot of voters in Grayndler who quite like what the Greens are saying about boat turnbacks, for example. They are flat out opposed to them. They won’t be happy with where Labor’s gone on this.

ALBANESE: I think people are very sophisticated in the electorate of Grayndler. They’ve elected me in the past. One of the things I know that they’ve weighed up, including, might I say, members of the Greens political party I know, who vote for me in the election, because they actually understand that whilst they like the idea of many of the Greens party policies, they know that it’s better to have someone there who can actually make a decision, rather than someone who can just protest against that decision once it’s made.

There are two possible governments after the next election. The Labor Government is by far the best option for progressives and having someone such as myself, who has been a strong advocate, including on environmental issues as well as human rights issues, is something that I think progressive voters in Grayndler will embrace at the next election and one of the reasons why I’m being encouraged to run – not just by Labor Party members, but by members of other political parties, be it the Greens or even some conservatives who like the fact that I’m prepared to stand up for my values.

SPEERS: Ok, that’s interesting. But just on boat turnbacks, you don’t think that’s going to hurt you in your electorate, the fact that Labor’s now embraced this policy?

ALBANESE: I’ll be standing up and advocating Labor’s policies. But I’ll also be arguing for my record, and I have a proud record. In terms of my electorate office in Grayndler doesn’t just talk about assisting asylum seekers, we do it.

I’ve always had someone in my office who dealt with migration issues. There are people in the Grayndler electorate who have been assisted in their time of need. They’ll be out there I’m sure telling their stories and advocating the need to have someone who’s actually effective. Not someone who can just protest, but someone who can get things done.

I’ve always campaigned since the 1998 election under the slogan ‘real solutions’. I know Tony Abbott liked it so much he stole it at the last federal election for the Liberal Party. But that’s been my slogan, that’s been on my letterhead since the last century, literally.

That’s because one of the big distinctions I draw between me and my opponents in terms of the Greens political party is that I can actually get things done and be a part of decision making, not just protest after the decisions have been made.

SPEERS: I want to just turn to the big election battle nationally, and this year it will be on things like tax but also schools and hospitals. Today Bill Shorten has been announcing what Labor intends to do to fully roll out the Gonski funding. This is $4.5 billion over the forward estimates but $37 billion over the decade. The government says, look, we can’t really afford all of that. I mean, are you confident that Labor can pay for these sorts of promises?

ALBANESE: Look, we can’t afford not to do it as a nation. This is an investment, not just a cost. This is an investment in people. And if there’s one thing that’s characterised my political involvement, it’s that I believe in investing in capital in terms of infrastructure and investing in social capital in terms of people – in health and education.

SPEERS: But has more money worked in education? I mean, we’ve fallen down the international rankings despite extra investment.

ALBANESE: I’ll tell you what. If you don’t have additional funding you can’t get additional teacher support. You can’t get one on one assistance for those people who are most in need. Those people, who can afford it, at the wealthy end, will always be able to buy a good education for their kids and if their kids fall back a bit they can hire a tutor.

Someone like me as a Member of Parliament can afford to do that. People in my electorate and people around the country who can’t afford that who rely upon the public education system, who if their kid needs help with literacy and numeracy, can get that additional assistance. Now, every student will benefit as a result of this and every school will benefit.

SPEERS: So does that mean that this has got to be for Labor a higher priority, spending this money than repairing the Budget, for example.

ALBANESE: We have made, at the same time as we’ve made this announcement, we’ve made of course over this cycle we’ve already announced more than $70 billion worth of savings. So those decisions have been tough decisions. But we’ve made them to create the space to make today’s announcements.

And bear in mind, David, that these are cuts that were made by the Abbott Government reinforced by the Turnbull Government. I think when the Prime Ministership changed at the end of last year, Australians were entitled to do two things.

One, to breathe a sigh of relief that the politics of negativity characterised by Tony Abbott had gone. But they had an expectation there would be new policies. But we’ve got the same. The same policy on education. The same policy on health cuts. The same policy on climate change. The same policy of not prevaricating over marriage equality. The same policy on the republic as Tony Abbott had.

SPEERS: But despite all that, and despite some problems for the Government over the summer break with ministerial resignations and internal preselection brawls in New South Wales, I mean the early polls show he’s still going from strength to strength, Malcolm Turnbull and certainly Bill Shorten’s popularity is going backwards. Why do you think this is?

ALBANESE: Malcolm Turnbull did pretty well when he was last Liberal leader, until they had a good look at him. And then you saw judgement come into the frame. Here, I think Australians will have a look at Malcolm Turnbull and say, what was the change about? Apart from changing who had the keys to The Lodge.

SPEERS: You don’t think they have been looking at him for a few months now?

ALBANESE: I think what there was, was a great sigh of relief that the shouting game was over and one of the things that Malcolm Turnbull did very well when he became Prime Minister, was have the nuance of, if you like, the new vibe, that there’d be a new politics, he was positive in terms of his outlook, the sort of statements of, ‘there’s never been a better time to be an Australian’.

Well, never been a better time unless you actually want NBN to the home, never been a better time unless you want marriage equality, or you want a republic or you want real action to avoid dangerous climate change, or you want funding for schools based upon need in the Gonski funding principles, or funding for public hospitals.

If you want any of that then this isn’t a great time, because Malcolm Turnbull has walked away from all of the principles that he has held for so long in order to have the keys to the Lodge.

SPEERS: So finally, let me ask you this, how long is it before people do wake up to that reality that you’re talking about there, how long until things improve for Labor, how long can Labor afford to wait this year in the position that it’s currently in, in all of the polls?

ALBANESE: We have a very significant announcement today on schools funding. Schools are so important for our future. I think most Australians are pretty simple in life. They don’t ask for everything, but what they want is greater opportunity for their children than they themselves had. It’s as simple as that. And today’s policy front and centre on the day that schools have gone back just about right around the country is very significant.

SPEERS: So you’ll get a boost in the next couple of weeks?

ALBANESE: I think it will mark a turnaround. We’ll be holding the government to account, but we’ll also be putting out our positive alternatives for the future. Malcolm Turnbull, for example said in my area, ‘I’m the Shadow Minister for Cities’, he came in, he appointed a Minister for Cities, that didn’t go real well for Jamie Briggs, but more importantly than the personality is the policy.

What has he done? There’s still no funding for public transport except a small stage of the Gold Coast Light Rail project where the funding was taken from somewhere else. There’s no urban policy. There’s no Major Cities Unit. It was a headline but no changes of substance.

I think that will be borne out across the board, and I think when people have a look at Malcolm Turnbull, they’ll see someone who not only has conflict with the conservatives in his own party, but more importantly has conflict with himself and the views that he has held for so long that he seems to have abandoned in order to secure the Prime Ministership.

SPEERS: Anthony Albanese, good to talk to you at the start of this election year. Appreciate your time.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you, David.




Jan 27, 2016

Radio interview with David Penberthy and Will Goodings, FIVEaa

Subjects: Republic debate; Malcolm Turnbull; GST; multinational tax avoidance; superannuation loopholes; Apple company tax; Christopher Pyne

PRESENTER: Well, every Wednesday we are going to be catching up this year with our good friends the Liberal Member for Boothby, Christopher Pyne, and also –


PRESENTER: What did I say, Boothby?

PRESENTER: Deary me. Sorry. Good pickup Will. And also the Member for Grayndler from New South Wales, Anthony Albanese, who is the Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure. We mentioned at the start of the show people are meandering their way back to work. Well, Chris Pyne is in that category this morning. He’s back on deck but he’s on a flight so we’ll have to let the hostilities between the pair of them resume next week but we talk now to Albo.

Good morning Albo. Thanks very much for joining us.

ALBANESE: G’day. I think that’s one-nil in my column, isn’t it? A no show!

PRESENTER: It’s a forfeit this morning. You’ve hit the front in 2016.

ALBANESE: The local boy forfeits.

PRESENTER: That’s right.

ALBANESE: His alarm clock hasn’t gone off.

PRESENTER: He’ll get the transcript later and he’ll be spewing.

ALBANESE: Hope so.

PRESENTER: This republican push by the Premiers, it looks like the world’s most short lived republican campaign with Malcolm Turnbull taking less than 24 hours to come out despite his own republican pedigree and declare that now is not the time. What do you think of that?

ALBANESE: Well, good old Malcolm. he bloke who stood for the republic, the bloke who stood for real action to avoid dangerous climate change, the bloke who stood for marriage equality.

Except that none of them were as important as getting the keys to The Lodge. You know, this is a bloke who has sacrificed all of the principles that he has held over in the republic cause over decades just to appease the conservatives in his own party.

PRESENTER: Is that entirely fair though?

ALBANESE: You bet it is.

PRESENTER: Saying now is not the time, though. I mean if he, and the polls suggest that he will win at the election this year, that we’re scheduled to have, he’ll then have his own mandate. It’s probably not too far off, is it, him trying to get it back on the agenda, or do you think as long as the conservatives are there and active and organised and shooting their mouths off in the Liberal Party as they quite clearly currently are, that he’s basically sold his soul for party political reasons?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s pretty clear that the Liberal Party remain a party in conflict between the conservatives and the moderates within the party and it’s clear that that isn’t the problem. The problem is Malcolm Turnbull’s in conflict with himself. And I think people want conviction politicians. No one’s saying that the Prime Minister’s position is one whereby you’ve got a right of veto either way over the republic, but he went out of his way yesterday to dampen enthusiasm for the republic.

I don’t think the republic will happen tomorrow, I don’t think anyone’s arguing that that’s the case, but in terms of building momentum, you can either be a part of that, or you can be a part of winding it back and Malcolm Turnbull clearly has chosen the latter.

PRESENTER: Is there a danger though, for your side of politics, Anthony Albanese, that if Bill Shorten comes out between now and the election and really nails his colours to the mast and says ‘we will act on the republic as a matter of urgency’, I’ve got to say here in South Australia, for a full calendar year now we’ve had the highest unemployment in the nation. I don’t think our listeners regard – and I’m a republican – I don’t think our listeners regard the republic as a real bread and butter matter of urgency.

ALBANESE: They’re right in terms of what’s the most important priority that a government should have, and its first priority is to create jobs and to grow the economy, to deal with education and health issues.

That’s what people are concerned about each and every day. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. It doesn’t mean that you should dismiss the right of our nation to mature, essentially and have our own head of state.

For me, I’m a member of the Australian Republican Movement. I’ve been a republican for a very long time. I can’t remember not being a republican, to be frank, but you know, it’s not something that is a first order issue for me. That’s been infrastructure and jobs and economic growth, and doing it in an inclusive and sustainable way. But, it just doesn’t mean that the republic isn’t an issue that shouldn’t be dealt with.

PRESENTER: The big issue that’s gaining momentum in South Australia is the GST. Our Premier said recently that there is a massive and undeniable revenue problem threatening our hospital and school services as well as the health of the federal budget. Your leader, the Leader of the Federal Opposition has taken the diametrically opposed view. Who should SA Labor support, who should Labor supporters in South Australia believe?

ALBANESE: That’s not right, that there’s a diametrically opposed view. Jay Weatherill and Bill Shorten have argued that there’s a revenue problem as well as a fiscal problem that has to be dealt with.

PRESENTER: Bill Shorten said that a 15% GST on everything is just plainly a bad idea.

ALBANESE: What he has said is that there’s a revenue problem, that that’s one issue that is on the table from the Federal Government, and he’d be prepared to look at other issues as well, and of course we have other measures on the table. Let’s get rid of the superannuation loopholes that are there for the very, very wealthy, who are using it as an avenue not for saving for their retirement but as tax avoidance. Let’s look at multinationals and their tax avoidance that’s occurring. Let’s look at other measures as well as looking at savings measures in order to one, get the Budget over a period time onto a sustainable footing, but secondly, we do have to deal with education and health. This is a federal government that has ripped $80 billion out of the education and health sectors, and that’s why state governments including the state government of South Australia, are under such pressure.

PRESENTER: Actually, can I ask you about company tax. I was taken by an article in the Australian this morning that Apple paid $84.9 million in tax despite revenue of about $7.86 billion.

ALBANESE: Well, I wouldn’t mind that deal. Nor would your listeners for their tax. They’re the sort of things that really have to be looked at. Because if you’ve got tax avoidance occurring and I’m not specifically aware of all the details, obviously of the Apple company, but common sense tells you as I sit here, with an iPad and an iPhone on the desk, they’re not doing too bad this company, they’re not doing too bad.

There’s a store here in George St that has grown into a sort of metropolis, that has glass windows so everyone can see what looks like thousands of people packed in there and for them to be paying that level of tax just seems to me to be an issue.

This is what causes people frustration, I think. The people listening to this program go out and work hard each and every day. They pay their tax through the PAYE tax system and you have, I raised this at national conference, the fact that you have something in the order of, I forget the precise figures, but essentially it was well over a couple of million dollars for each person, paying zero tax at the end of the day because of various deductions and schemes, and at the same time spending a fortune on accountants and lawyers in order to achieve that outcome.

We really do need to make sure that those people at the high end are doing their share of heavy lifting as well. That’s why Warren Buffett in the US has promoted the rule known as the Buffett Rule, which was essentially a minimum rate of taxes that people on high incomes would have to pay, when he realised that his secretary was paying more than he was in tax and he was one of the wealthiest people in the world.

PRESENTER: It’s perverse. Well, the score for 2016 is A.Albanese, one. Chris Pyne, nil. Albo winning on all hands there on account of the forfeit by the Member for Sturt.

ALBANESE: That’s one of his best performances! Silence is golden when it comes to Christopher Pyne.

PRESNETER: The ding dong tussle will resume next Wednesday. Good on you Albo, we’ll catch up with you next week.




Jan 8, 2016

Transcript of interview of Today Show, Nine Network

Subjects: Liberal Party chaos, unions, Bill Shorten, infrastructure, New Year’s resolutions

JEFFREYS: Welcome back to you. Well most of our politicians have been on holidays the past few weeks enjoying a rest, but the Government’s dramas certainly did not take a break. One Minister has been suspended pending a police investigation; another has resigned over a drunken night in Hong Kong. The Immigration Minister has come under siege for a controversial text message he sent to a female journalist.

And that is where we say good morning and welcome back to 2016. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you both.

ALBANESE: Good to be back here.

PYNE: Good morning Sylvia and Happy New Year to you and Anthony and all your team.

JEFFREYS: Not exactly a happy start to the new year for you Christopher. You’re the fixer, how are you going to fix this mess?

PYNE: Well, we’re focusing on jobs and growth Sylvia, that’s what we’re doing.

ALBANESE: He’s got his talking points.

PYNE: I’m focusing on executing the national innovation and science agenda and that’s what the public are interested in. All those other matters that you talked about in the intro, they’ve all been well and truly canvassed, and the public have moved on from them and I, certainly, have moved on from them.

JEFFREYS: Well you and your colleagues are trying to move on from it, the public clearly has not moved on. If you look in the newspaper this morning there’s a new poll out this morning that shows more than a third of Liberal voters in Jamie Brigg’s supposed safe seat in South Australia are now not likely to vote for him. What does that say to you Christopher?

PYNE: Well that same poll indicates that Jamie Briggs would win Mayo with a 59 to 41 per cent vote against the Labor Party.

JEFFREYS: But he is losing support. You can’t deny that.

PYNE: Well a win by one vote is a win, a win by two votes is a landslide, and three votes some people will say is wasted effort. So I think Jamie Briggs in Mayo, sure he has had a rough couple of weeks, brought about by his own actions obviously. I’m not excusing that, but I think the Australian public see the bigger picture and that is that they want a Malcolm Turnbull led Government – a Liberal Government. They know that Labor doesn’t have the policies for jobs and growth that we have and I think that is where they will place their vote. I certainly hope they will.

JEFFREYS: Would you expect Mr Turnbull to call perhaps an early election to secure things before more damage is done?

PYNE: Look I don’t think so. The Labor Party probably need more time to try and bring their own policies together. We have a three-year term. That expires in September this year. That’s about when I think the election will be. We have a budget to bring down in May, the Defence Industry policy statement, the Defence White Paper, the Tax White Paper.

As I said, we need to execute the national innovation and science agenda that I released in December. So we have a lot on that’s about jobs, it’s about growth, it’s about making our country secure. That’s the job of the Government and I’m looking forward to the year.

ALBANESE: Well Sylvia, I like Malcolm Turnbull more than I like Tony Abbott. But that’s not the issue here. The issue is Malcolm Turnbull’s judgement – Malcolm Turnbull’s judgement firstly in appointing Mal Brough as a Minister, even though the cloud was over him;  Malcolm Turnbull’s judgement in hanging on to Mal Brough even though he clearly misled Parliament and contradicted what he said right here on the Nine Network on 60 Minutes; his judgement when it comes to Jamie Briggs and Mal Brough – announcing their resignations, or standing aside, during the quick Christmas to New Year period, in the so called quiet period, to try and bury it.

This is a Prime Minister who has a trashcan of Ministers and within these first 100 days has seen his Government fall apart.

JEFFREYS: There are problems in your own house though Anthony. We start the election year with Bill Shorten surrounded by the stench of the union corruption hearing. He’s been very quiet though. Surely the findings of that corruption hearing warrant a formal response from Mr Shorten?

ALBANESE: Well people are entitled to have some leave over this period.

JEFFREYS: But this is a big announcement.

ALBANESE: Bill Shorten has made it very clear from day one that we have absolutely no tolerance for any corruption in the union movement, or from employers. Anyone who has committed any illegal acts should face the full force of the law. With regard to any legislation, well we haven’t seen it yet Sylvia so it’s a bit hard to comment on it.

JEFFREYS: All right, election aside, there’s definitely a Cabinet reshuffle coming up and one name that is likely to feature quite prominently in that reshuffle is Barnaby Joyce, who created his own headlines in 2015. Let’s have a little reminder, let’s have a look at this:

TALK SHOW HOST: He’s not wrong to be angry. The problem is he quickly started to lose the moral high ground.

JOYCE: Now Mr Depp either has to take his dogs back to California or we’re going to have to euthanize them. He’s now got about 50 hours left to remove the dogs.

TALK SHOW HOST: He gave them a death countdown!

JEFFREYS: Christopher, is Barnaby Joyce a suitable successor to Warren Truss as, A. Nationals Leader and, B. Deputy PM?

PYNE: Well of course that’s a matter for the National Party. Number one, Warren Truss hasn’t stood down from the leadership of the National Party and he is a very valued Cabinet colleague doing a very good job I must say in transport and infrastructure, delivering all the promises that were made by Labor but never delivered.

Warren Truss is getting on with the job of it. But if he does stand down the National Party, if they choose Barnaby Joyce, which I think they will given the publicity recently, he would be an excellent Deputy Prime Minister.

He speaks for rural and regional Australia in a very clear-eyed way. He stands up for small business, as I hope I do and the rest of the Government does. He has a very focused view on creating jobs, particularly in rural and regional Australia and in terms of his handling of the Agriculture portfolio, well it is booming. Agriculture is booming in our economy and thank God for that.

ALBANESE: You know the scary thing about this prospect isn’t Deputy Prime Minister Joyce, it’s Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. Just say that slowly, and think about it and think what that would mean. I’m sure Australia would get a lot more attention internationally, given his propensity for gaffes.

JEFFREYS: Entertaining.

ALBANESE: Well it’s entertaining, no doubt about that, but threatening to kill puppies I’m not sure was the smartest way to go, but it did get him out of another crisis.

PYNE: Well Johnny Depp had to keep the rules.

JEFFREYS: He is looking like a front runner at the moment anyway so watch that space.

ALBANESE: Well I do notice that Christopher Pyne just conceded that Warren Truss’ Transport portfolio consisted of implementing our agenda, which is right. So he’s got that right.

PYNE: No, the reality is you made promises, Warren Truss is delivering.

ALBANESE: And it’s Warren Truss cutting the ribbons on projects that we began.

PYNE: You promised them, you never did them.

ALBANESE: They were under construction.

JEFFREYS: Thanks for joining us again. I’m going to have to let you go. Quickly, a New Year’s resolution for you Anthony?

ALBANESE: I got distracted by arguing with Christopher there. See more Souths games and see more live music and live plays.

JEFFREYS: And you’re just going to fix a few more things – jobs and growth, Christopher?

PYNE: I’ve got two. I’ve got jobs and growth and I’ve got to lose six kilos.

ALBANESE: Stick to those talking points Christopher.

JEFFREYS: It’s good to stay accountable you two, thank you for joining us this morning and happy new year to you both.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

PYNE: Pleasure, thank you.

Jan 7, 2016

Transcript of media conference, CPO, Melbourne

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning. It’s good to be here in Melbourne and there is nowhere better to outline why there is an absolute need for the Australian National Audit Office to undertake an audit into the Government’s infrastructure program. I wrote to Grant Hehir, the national auditor, yesterday calling for just that. And I did it in the context of a complete breakdown in the Government’s infrastructure agenda.  I think it is quite notable that Tony Abbott used to talk about himself with regard to infrastructure. But when he departed the scene as Prime Minister, in terms of any claim of achievements, infrastructure doesn’t get a mention. And that’s because it’s a sorry record indeed that can be traced back to the 2014 Budget.

This government came to office promising proper cost-benefit analysis and published business cases for all projects of value above $100 million. Today, that commitment is in tatters. You have here in Melbourne the East West Link where, as a result of my writing to the Auditor General last year, the ANOA report was very critical of the fact that it provided money from the Commonwealth for a project that would produce 45 cents of benefit for every dollar invested.

Worse than that is the fact that money was taken from projects that do stack up, projects like the Melbourne Metro, the  M80 ring road project here in Melbourne and the Managed Motorways program on important freeways such as the Monash.

That result is that Victoria is receiving 8 per cent of the infrastructure investment in terms of the Commonwealth budget. Victorians are being punished for voting Labor and electing Daniel Andrews as the Premier of Victoria in spite of the fact that the Federal Government said it was a referendum on the East West Link.

With regard to the Perth Freight Link, it’s a complete disaster. This is a project that surprised even the WA state Coalition Government when it was announced in the May Budget. Indeed, in June, just one month after that occurred, the person in charge of the project in the upper house – the Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Jim Chown, said, in June 2014: “At this stage we have not actually got plans that are worthy of public scrutiny’’.

What an indictment on the government.

And of course their third project is Westconnex in Sydney that they said would cost $10 billion but is now at a cost of $16.8 billion – a $6.8 billion blowout in the project before anything has actually been built. All that is occurring during this term of the Federal Government is a widening of the existing M4 for which there will be a toll put on it for western Sydney residents – a toll put on a road that they have already paid for. We believe very strongly that there shouldn’t be new tolls on old roads.

And to hide all of this we now know that they are actually diverting infrastructure funds – $18 million in the next six months in an election year – to have an advertising campaign on their infrastructure agenda – taking money from the existing infrastructure budget that should be about building roads and rail lines and ports and using it instead on government propaganda.

Well, no amount of government propaganda can hide the fact that infrastructure investment has fallen by 20 per cent under this government if you compare the September 2013 quarter with the last quarter available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That means less jobs and less economic growth in the future.

Happy to take questions.

REPORTER: There’s already been a federal Auditor General’s probe into the East West Link and a very through state investigation. Why do you need this wider investigation?

ALBANESE: Well what’s clear is that the problem with the East West Link has been replicated with the government’s infrastructure program nationally. The problem with the East West Link was that funding was provided for a project that didn’t stack up – that didn’t have a business case.  Now, Perth Freight Link is a good example whereby a minimal examination of this project, that was about putting a road through a wetland that had already been taken off the agenda from the former WA State Government was put back on the agenda, it would appear without even without consultation with the WA Government of the time, indeed, with senior members of the WA Government and without any business case.

Now that project has been knocked over in the WA courts. It’s been knocked over on environmental grounds and anyone who had ever looked at what used to be called the Roe 8 project would know that it was unlikely that it would receive approval, given the environmental consequences of this project.

But what the government has is two sets of infrastructure projects.

One is a part of their Magical Infrastructure Re-announcement Tour, where they go around Australia and they pretend that projects that were funded by the former federal Labor Government, such as the Regional Rail Link project here in Melbourne that is open, that is up and running – funded in our 2009 Budget  – that they had something to do with them.

They’ve got to do that because all of their own projects are in trouble – simply don’t stack up – which is why the audit office needs to look at why it is that not just an advance payment was made for the East West Link, an advance payment to make the Federal Budget look worse in the 2013-14 financial year but make the Victorian Coalition Budget look better in the lead-up to their election.

The same thing of course happened in NSW with an advance payment for the Westconnex project where almost all the funds for that project have already been delivered – $2.75 billion. Now the government said that it would make milestone payments. This are taxpayers’ funds that should be paid in accordance with actual delivery of actual infrastructure – roads that people can drive on, trains that people can ride on. And what we are seeing instead is the budgets being manipulated in order to produce political outcomes. Now the Auditor General found that with regard to the East West Link .I think it is the case across the board when it comes to the Government’s infrastructure program, which is why we are asking that it be looked at.

REPORTER: Don’t you think it’s a bit rich though to criticise the Turnbull Government over wasting taxpayers’ money when Daniel Andrews here blew $800 million of taxpayers’ money?

ALBANESE: Daniel Andrews kept to his commitment. Daniel Andrews did exactly what he said he would do. What the commonwealth government should do is what they said they’d do, which is …

REPORTER: Yes, but Daniel Andrews didn’t say he was going to blow $800 million.

ALBANESE: Daniel Andrews said he would not proceed with the East West Link because it doesn’t stack up. And it didn’t stack up. Forty-five cents for every dollar. Now, if I go to someone, anyone at random around here in Treasury Gardens or anywhere in Melbourne and I say to them: If you give me $100; if I say to you, sir, you give me $100 and next time I see you I will give you $45 back, I’m happy if you accept that that is a good deal. It’s a dud deal, which is why Daniel Andrews rejected it, which is why Daniel Andrews is getting on with construction in terms of level rail crossings, which is why he is getting on with important infrastructure projects here in Victoria. But he’s doing it not just without the support of the Commonwealth Government but with the hindrance of the Commonwealth Government. Every Victorian should be outraged that Victoria, with one on four of Australia’s population, is receiving 8 per cent of the national infrastructure budget.

REPORTER: Just on that Perth project, would a federal Labor government scrap funding for it if it does make it through the courts?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s unlikely that it will get through the courts. That’s the fact. This isn’t a new idea. This is essentially Roe 8. The important part of the project has been the subject of environmental scrutiny in the past. And the other thing is that this is a road which is about taking freight to Fremantle Harbour that’s at capacity. The issue for Fremantle and for WA is the outer harbour and it is extraordinary that the Federal Government isn’t playing a role in proper cities planning.

I mean we did have, of course, a Cities Minister. He is no more, in Jamie Briggs. And the government – it says a lot about the government’s policy the fact that they haven’t even bothered to replace Jamie Briggs because after all he didn’t have a department, there’s no Major Cities Unit, there’s no urban policy of the Federal Government. All they have now – well they used to have a title that was a consolation prize because Bruce Bilson couldn’t be bothered doing the job -.Jamie Briggs has now departed and it says everything that they don’t need to replace him because he didn’t have a real job because this is a government, whether under Tony Abbott or Malcolm Turnbull, that’s abandoned good policy and good planning when it comes to our cities.

I notice Colin Barnett making the extraordinary plea to the Federal Government to fund the airport rail link and the light rail project in Perth. We had $500 million that was in the Budget and was cut for those very projects in the 2014 Coalition Government Budget.

And Colin Barnett was silent about that cut. He should have complained at the time about the $500 million that was ripped out of public transport, just like there was $3 billion ripped out of the Melbourne Metro here.

Bear this in mind with regard to the East West Link: There wasn’t a single extra dollar put in by the Commonwealth Government for Victorian infrastructure. There was $3 billion ripped out of the Melbourne Metro, more than $80 million ripped out of the Managed Motorways program including for the Monash that Greg Hunt tried to announce as new later on, and then $500 million ripped out of the M80.

REPORTER: Malcolm Turnbull has said though that the funding for the East West Link and other projects can be spent on public transport. So he’s sort of putting it in the hands of state governments in some ways isn’t he?

ALBANESE: No he’s not. He’s being duplicitous. He’s saying that the $1.5 billion that has already been paid to the Victorian Government, that was put in the Victorian Government’s bank account in the financial year of 2013-14 can be spent (because the Commonwealth Government can’t get it back – they’ve already made the payment to the Victorian Government), can be allocated for infrastructure projects. But it’s for infrastructure projects that they have already said that they would fund.

And the duplicitous nature of this commitment is shown by Greg Hunt’s splash that was made at the end of last year with regard to the Monash Freeway funding. So you cut funding in 2014, you then give a little bit back in the lead up to 2016, pretend it’s a new project and pretend it’s new money.

What about the other $1.5 billion that they cut from the Melbourne Metro that they are not saying they will proceed with to allocate to new projects in Victoria? What about the funding that they have cut from the Metro, the M80 and the Managed Motorways Program? That’s just to get it up to what was already in the Budget in 2013. They need to do that and then they need to add additional funding for vital projects like the Melbourne Metro. Or they could fund level crossings. There’s plenty of projects here that the Victorian Government have requested assistance for.

REPORTER: So I take it that what you are saying this morning as we go into an election this year is that infrastructure will be high on the agenda for Labor?

ALBANESE: It has always been on the agenda for Labor. We are the nation Building Party. We are the party that historically, from the Transcontinental Railway through all the major road and rail projects throughout this country are responsible for. The Snowy Mountains Scheme was opposed by the Coalition way back in the post-war period and they opposed of course the creation of Infrastructure Australia.

I’ve noticed some rhetoric out there from the Government about Northern Australia. Well Infrastructure Australia under this government completed the audit that was asked for on Northern Australia. It has been ignored by the Government. They are ignoring proper advice and what they are doing instead of having proper advice and funding real projects that create real jobs is spending $18 million on propaganda.


Dec 16, 2015

Transcript of television interview, PVO Newsday, SKY News

Subjects: MYEFO infrastructure figures; Coalition’s infrastructure advertising campaign; health cuts  

PETER VAN ONSELEN: Welcome back. Joining me now as promised live from our CBD studio in Sydney is the Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, thanks very much for being there.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you, Peter.

PVO: Now, let me ask you this. Lots announced in your portfolio area of infrastructure in the MYEFO statement yesterday I see, poring over the details. Three new projects it would seem, a bunch of new money. Is the Infrastructure Prime Minister gone but the infrastructure government rolls on?

ALBANESE: Well, the infrastructure spin rolls on, Peter. What we had yesterday is quite remarkably three new projects that have been announced since the May Budget.

The Northern Connector, in Adelaide, which was announced the day that Tony Abbott was rolled. That was an attempt by him to lock in some South Australian votes in his party room.

You had a project in Western Australia in the electorate of Canning that was announced during the election campaign – a road project around Armidale.

You had the Gold Coast Light Rail project which at the time I said was funded through savings on the existing Redcliffe Rail Link that’s been extended, that was funded when I was a minister, and the government said that wasn’t the case.

What’s remarkable is that all this adds up to, well not quite a billion – $999 million to be precise – but there is not a single extra dollar of funding.

You can’t spend the same dollar twice, so the government either has to come clean and say that its money allocation in the May Budget was based on a falsehood or they need to say where the equivalent cuts are coming from if it is indeed funding these new projects through the infrastructure budget.

PVO: Let me see if I understand this. So, all of these projects, even the ones for example in the Canning by-election post the May Budget, were they all contained in the May Budget? Because if one or two of the three is post the May Budget, that’s ok to be part of a MYEFO statement, even if it is a doubling up on the announcement, isn’t it?

ALBANESE: They’re all new projects that have been announced since the May budget. The problem here is that the MYEFO statement says there’s no additional money. They’ll be funded from within the existing funding envelope. So maybe Santa Claus has brought these three projects in terms of the actual dollars for construction.

PVO: So no new money since the May budget, but new projects. Nearly a billion dollars worth. So your concern, or your question I suppose really, is if there’s no new money and there’s a billion dollars worth of new projects, you want to know what was in the May budget that was going to be scrapped, presumably.

ALBANESE: Absolutely. And where is the money coming from? Tony Abbott’s infrastructure performance was a farce, which is why I notice since he’s been deposed as Prime Minister, he doesn’t speak about infrastructure as one of his achievements. The only hole that was dug under his Prime Ministership was the one that his caucus buried that very Prime Ministership in.

PVO: Okay. The other issue, Mr Albanese, you’re talking about, it’s a fair question. We want to know, I want to know where this billion dollars worth of realigned spending from the May budget is going to see cuts.

I’m sure people that have heard infrastructure announcements from May that they’re relying on will be curious to know where they’re going to be cut. You’ve got to cut Warren Truss a bit of a break though don’t you, Anthony Albanese? He’s been a bit busy trying to get Ian McFarlane across over the last couple of months. I’m sure he’ll clear it up for us later.

I do notice though, that it looks like there’s new money for advertising for infrastructure, is that right? New money to be able to sell their projects to the public.

ALBANESE: That’s right. Because the public are onto them and the fact that they are not an infrastructure government at all, they’ve decided to have a new program of advertising. But again, that money is from the existing infrastructure budget.

So they’re taking money that had been allocated for construction, for actually building things, and they’re not building something with it, but they’re advertising to say that they are going to be building something.

PVO: So hang on, sorry, let me see if I understand this correctly. So there’s money, do we know the quantum? How much money?

ALBANESE: We don’t know. There’s just a line in the Infrastructure and Regional Development section to say that they’re going to have an advertising campaign to promote their infrastructure agenda but the funding for that advertising campaign is to be found from within the existing infrastructure budget.

The infrastructure budget is there to build things. They’re taking money from that to advertise what they’re not building and to try and con Australians into believing that something’s actually happening.

Remember we heard from Tony Abbott that there would be cranes in the sky and bulldozers on the ground? Well, the only thing we’ve seen in the sky from this government is Bronwyn Bishop’s helicopter and there certainly aren’t bulldozers on the ground either, just bulldust when it comes to their infrastructure agenda.

This is now reaching farcical proportions. Warren Truss should actually get out there and build something.

This week they’ll be opening the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale section of the Pacific Highway on the North Coast, funded by the former Labor Government in the 2010 budget. Construction started in 2011. They’ll be out there pretending they had something to do with this project.

But they need to do something more than just have this magical infrastructure reannouncement tour. Now they’ve added to that with Santa Claus, apparently funding things in the Budget in terms of the new projects that they’ve announced since May.

PVO: Alright, let’s move into another area, it’s the main one being discussed today, obviously various health organisations complaining about MYEFO. The Treasurer has accused them of simply protecting their commercial interests.

That’s a fair point, isn’t it? Health might be something that we’re all interested in but there are commercial interests in the health sector. Scott Morrison’s right to call that out, isn’t he?

ALBANESE: I’ll tell you what there’s not interest in, Peter. There’s not interest in ensuring people getting proper diagnostic treatment. People getting proper pathology so that you find out what’s actually wrong.

That can save money, because early detection and prevention is not only good health care, it’s also good economics in terms of finding out where problems are there before they become acute problems at great cost to the taxpayer as well as of course, the most significant issue, is the health cost to the individual concerned.

So I’m very concerned about the mean spirited nature of these cuts.

It’s pretty clear that the Treasury brought out, and Finance brought out things that were in the bottom drawer, that even Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott at their meanest in 2014 said no to. This is reminiscent of them just giving the tick.

A new Treasurer with training wheels on and a new Prime Minister whose sole objective seems to be to have become Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. He’s so constrained by the manner in which he got there, and the people who he owes, and his support base and the fragility of the Coalition, that he hasn’t had the ticker to take on issues like superannuation at the high end. Like multinational tax avoidance. The sort of measures that we should have seen included in yesterday’s MYEFO.

PVO: Let me get back to health, though. Do you accept that it’s a fair cop to say, isn’t it, that there are commercial interests, at least in part, dictating criticisms coming from the health sector? That’s a fair comment.

ALBANESE: Well, of course there are always commercial considerations but I listen to doctors and what I’ve heard is some experts this morning expressing their concern about the health policy implications of these cuts, to pathology, to diagnostics.

I’ve had an MRI once in my life, what it found was that indeed an operation that was being suggested on my knee wasn’t necessary. They found arthritis, essentially, and it ended up saving a medical procedure that had been recommended.

Now, that’s an experience that I’m sure many people can relate to. These advances in medical technology have been critical in terms of not just finding where problems are and getting better healthcare outcomes but also making sure that savings are made.

PVO: Anthony Albanese, always appreciate talking to you on Newsday. I think we’re talking again next week in the lead up to Christmas, I hope that locks you in, saying that publicly.

ALBANESE: Good try, Peter. I can assure you from outside in Sydney a little bit earlier on, the backdrop doesn’t quite reflect the weather it has been out there.

PVO: I hope you’ve got an umbrella with you. We’re going to go straight to that now, actually, with what’s happening down south. Thank you very much for your time as always.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.





Dec 14, 2015

Transcript of media conference, Marrickville

Subjects: Commonwealth Auditor-General report into East-West Link released today; infrastructure funding; value capture; Badgerys Creek rail 

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Today the Australian National Audit Office will release its report into the East West Link project in Melbourne and significantly, the Commonwealth’s involvement in providing funding for this project against its own Commonwealth Government policy.

This is as a result of a request made by myself as the Shadow Minister. I wrote to the National Audit Office because it was very clear that this farcical proposal needed proper investigation and scrutiny so that this never occurs again.

Today’s report follows the report of the Victorian Auditor-General just last week. What we know from the Commonwealth’s involvement is that it was totally contradictory to its own policy. They provided $3 billion for this project in the 2014 Budget. That’s without having seen a business case. Without any recommendation from Infrastructure Australia and without any cost-benefit analysis being undertaken.

Indeed, we know from the Victorian Government’s processes that what has actually occurred is that the former Coalition Government in Victoria deliberately kept information from Infrastructure Australia so that it couldn’t have a proper examination.

And yet, $3 billion was allocated with $1.5 billion as an advance payment that’s been sitting in the Victorian Government’s bank account since the 2013-14 financial year. So no transparency. No cost-benefit analysis. An advance payment in direct contradiction to the policy that says there should only be milestone payments based upon construction.

And at the same time, this funding was taken from projects that had been through cost-benefit analysis and recommended by Infrastructure Australia. Funding cut from the Melbourne Metro. Funding cut from the Manager Motorways program, and funding cut from the M80 project in Victoria.

What we also know is that the billion and a half dollars has since been removed from the Commonwealth Government’s funding for the second part of its funding for the East West Link, not to be replaced. And the $1.5 billion they have said to the Victorian Government can only be used for existing projects. So effectively, a $3 billion cut in funding from the Commonwealth for Victorian infrastructure.

A Commonwealth Government that says they will punish the state and people of Victoria for voting Labor. Completely unacceptable, and today’s Audit Office report will no doubt confirm the fact that all of these decisions directly contradicted the Government’s own policy and directly contradicted proper processes and care for taxpayers money.

REPORTER: How much do taxpayers have to fork out?

ALBANESE: Taxpayers forked out $1.5 billion. It was put aside in the 2014 Budget as an advance payment. In an extraordinary action, half a billion was for Stage 1. $1 billion was for Stage 2. Now, Stage 2 wasn’t due to commence for many years in advance.

This advance payment was deliberately designed to make the Commonwealth’s Budget look worse in 2013-4 and make the Victorian Government’s budget look better in the lead up to the Victorian state election.

So the Commonwealth Government playing games with Commonwealth taxpayer’s money in order to assist their colleagues in the Coalition in Victoria.

REPORTER: Anthony, I must admit I don’t know a whole lot about this but, if this doesn’t make sense, tell me. But why should federal money promised for the East West now be used on the Western Distributor?

ALBANESE: Because Victoria, now, is receiving 8 per cent of Commonwealth funding. It consists of 25 per cent of the national population. Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing capital city.

Yet you have a Commonwealth Government that is starving the Victorian Government of funding for worthwhile projects like the Western Distributor, like the Melbourne Metro, like the level crossings removal program. All of these projects have positive cost-benefit analysis, unlike the East-West Link.

The East-West Link, as the Victorian Auditor-General’s report confirmed, would produce 45 cents of benefit for every dollar invested. Now, if I went up to anyone in the street and said if you give me a hundred dollars, I’ll invest it and I’ll give you $45 back down the track, you would be laughed at. And that’s precisely what the Commonwealth has done here in supporting this dud project, the East West Link.

Just to prop up the Victorian Coalition Government and secondly, because of the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s obsession with roads.

The Perth Freight Link in WA is very similar. No proper cost-benefit analysis, and for Stage 2, they don’t even have a route for the project and the whole design of the project is to take freight to a port that’s at capacity.

The port that actually will be growing is the outer harbour port. And yet we have the Commonwealth Government, through Malcolm Turnbull, still insisting on this roads-only approach, on not having proper analysis. So this is a very much a flawed approach from the Commonwealth and the ANAO will no doubt be confirming that today.

REPORTER: When you talk about Badgerys Creek rail, we are hearing a lot in NSW at the moment about this value capture idea. We heard it with the Western Sydney Light rail. Now we are looking at it in terms of the Badgerys Creek rail line. Do you think it’s fair for developers to pay a levy for this infrastructure to be built?

ALBANESE: Well, I’m glad that the NSW Government has woken up to something that was announced by myself and Luke Foley in the lead-up to the NSW state election that was held in March.

We announced precisely a value capture proposal to fund Badgerys Creek rail, value capture because of the increase in the value of the airport if it has a rail line attached and the lease, of course, hasn’t been granted to the private operators of the airport yet.

Value capture in terms of the increase in the value of the employment lands of the western Sydney employment zone that is just to the north of the airport. And of course value capture that will occur with some of the residential development that will occur along the route of that line from Leppington to St Marys.

So this isn’t rocket science and it’s not new. This is catch-up from the Coalition which it appears from today’s article in The Australian that they have just read that. I spoke about it at the speech at the Australasian Railway Association national conference last month. I’ve spoken about it in Parliament. We have done opinion pieces in the Daily Telegraph and other publications calling for just that.

Now, if you have an asset like the western Sydney employment lands or the airport and their value is increased by the rail line, then of course that should be included because it increases the value of the land that is there so it is just a common sense approach to it.

What we’ve had up to this point is a Commonwealth government and a state government saying that airport rail won’t be necessary until later on down the track – we’ll just have an airport without a rail line. That’s absurd. The people of western Sydney know it’s absurd. Western Sydney Region of Councils have called it absurd, as has the business community.

So it’s good that finally a couple of people at the Commonwealth level are starting to talk about Labor’s policy that we announced prior to the NSW state election.

REPORTER: So if property developers are chipping in, where is the bulk of the money going to come from?

ALBANESE: Well, if you’ve got the airport, that’s increased in value, if you’ve got the western Sydney employment lands, that’s increased in value because workers can get to and from work without getting into their car and working there becomes more attractive. The value of the property becomes more attractive.

Residential development along the line becomes more attractive. Then the sale of that land, that is owned by either the Commonwealth or the state government can, in my view, capture a substantial amount of funding for such a rail line’s construction given that, thanks to the Rees Labor Government’s commitment to build the rail line to Leppington, much of the project has already been completed and my view was very clear, which is why I was calling for it at the time, was for construction to just continue from Leppington through to Badgerys Creek.

We’ve been calling for this for a long period. If that had of occurred as I called on the State Government to do and the Commonwealth Government to do that would have made a lot of sense because you would have saved money on construction costs if they’d just kept going. Just like it makes sense to build the rail line, have it open from day one, because it’s a lot cheaper than to go back to retrofit the station and new stations after the airport is there.

REPORTER: Can we talk Ian Macfarlane. He’s in front of the LNP in Queensland today. Do you think the executive in Canberra is sort of washing its hands of him just trying to keep him at arm’s length?

ALBANESE: I think Ian Macfarlane is symbolic of a lot of the chaos that is there in the federal Coalition. I mean you’ve got Malcolm Turnbull who is at war with the Tony Abbott forces in the Liberal Party, who is at war with his Deputy Prime Minister who is poaching his members from under his nose in Warren Truss having secret discussions with Ian Macfarlane to get him across to the National Party so that they secure an extra seat in the Cabinet and in the ministry.

You’ve had of course, most significantly, Malcolm Turnbull at war with himself – Malcolm Turnbull at war with the position that he has held historically on climate change, on public transport and roads funding, such as over this East West Link, such as over the Perth Freight Link, at war with his own position on marriage equality. So you have I think a trauma within the Federal Coalition.

Ian Macfarlane is showing a real snub to the coalition. Ian Macfarlane is someone who was seen as a competent minister, who was dumped by Malcolm Turnbull because Malcolm Turnbull wanted to pay back all of the people who were part of his little cabal at Peter Hendy’s house on the Sunday evening including Peter Hendy, Wyatt Roy and Mal Brough.

Now Wyatt Roy and Mal Brough have their own problems. Wyatt Roy is going to have great difficulty being a minister given he can’t even recall the assistance that he gave to James Ashby in terms of the Ashbygate issues. And of course the appointment of Mal Brough, I mean, if you were Ian Macfarlane you’d think to yourself: Well here is a bloke who Malcolm Turnbull knew was under investigation, knew was under a cloud.

Tony Abbott knew that and had the good sense to not make him a minister and he has appointed him to, of all things, Special Minister of State so he is in charge of government integrity. It’s no wonder that with Mal Brough promoted and Ian Macfarlane demoted that Ian Macfarlane has taken his bat and ball and run across to the National Party.

REPORTER: Do you reckon he’ll slide back into the ministry?

ALBANESE: Well that will be a decision for the National Party. But what is very clear is that he is moving with that intention. He said it himself. And that is a recipe for ongoing tension within the Coalition and we see that as a result of the Paris conference decision as well whereby already you have backbenchers out there sniping at the government for  signing up to the Paris agreement.

That will of course mean higher cuts and will mean that they need to get rid of their fraud of a policy when it comes to climate change and get real about reducing emissions. The days of trickery are over post the Paris conference.

REPORTER: What about Bill Shorten – 14 per cent. Is it time for Mr Albanese to step up?

ALBANESE: Bill Shorten will lead us to the next election. I think the political party that has internal problems is the Coalition. Labor is united. We are a team and we are all working toward that in the lead up to the 2016 election. Thanks very much.


Dec 11, 2015

Transcript of television interview of Today Show, Nine Network

Subjects: Bill Shorten; indefinite detention for terrorists; Tony Abbott’s white-anting; Coalition instability

PETER STEFANOVIC: A bad thing is just about right there because it is going from bad to worse for Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten.

An embarrassing new video has caught him texting while driving. He has apologised saying, “Like most drivers, I always try to do the right thing. There is no excuse. I shouldn’t have done it and won’t do it again.”

So to discuss we are joined by Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne and Shadow Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you chaps.


CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Peter.

STEFANOVIC: First of all, better start off with the texting, with the texting and the driving. It is an embarrassing picture, it’s an embarrassing headline. What was he thinking?

ALBANESE: Well, George Thorogood got it right with the intro and Bill has said exactly that – that he did the wrong thing, that he won’t do it again. He hasn’t made excuses. He has put his hand up. It is a regrettable incident but it is one that he has done the right thing and apologised for.

STEFANOVIC: Politically, we’ve said this before; he is a dead man walking. Are you the man to take his place? I know that you have been asked that many times before.

ALBANESE: Good try, but the truth is that Bill Shorten is the leader. We went through a process of instability during the last period when we were in government. We learnt from that. We have a system whereby people made it clear that whoever was elected leader after the election would lead us to the next one. And Bill Shorten will lead us to the next election.

I think in terms of the way that we finished the parliamentary year was extremely positive with the government in trouble over the Mal Brough affair and in trouble in policy issues with GST all over the place – said they wanted a debate, but tried to avoid any responsibility for one.  And of course Ian MacFarlane defecting from the Liberal Party to the National Party. Then there is Tony Abbott engaged in a civil war within the Coalition.

STEFANOVIC: We will get to that in just a few moments. Christopher, I will bring you in now. I have got to sympathise with the Opposition Leader here somewhat because most people in one way or another text while they’re driving at some point. I see it all the time. Surely, you have done it before?

PYNE: Well, Pete, the truth is this is one of those cases when you are hot you are hot and when you are not you are not. Bill has had trouble with a hot coffee in his lap that caused him to run into a few parked cars a couple of months ago and now he has had this unfortunate incident with the texting.

My strong advice to Bill is keep both his hands on the wheel at all times and then he’s not going to get into any trouble. But obviously I sympathise with him because obviously things aren’t going very well for him. We have finished the year on a positive of course which is that jobs are up again. Yesterday unemployment was down.

The government’s innovation and science agenda has been very well received this week. So we have a domestic economic plan which I think the public is very much embracing. So we have finished the year on a positive and next year will be all about jobs and growth and hopefully Bill will keep both hands on the wheel.

STEFANOVIC: Have you ever texted while driving?

PYNE: Well, before it was illegal, probably, but now that it’s illegal I would try and avoid that, and that’s  why my wife does the driving so I can be on my phone if I need to dealing with my emails and things.

STEFANOVIC: Alright, moving on Malcolm Turnbull wants to see jailed terrorists locked up indefinitely. Is this something that you support the Prime Minister on?

ALBANESE: If people are a threat they should be kept away from those who they threaten. Certainly my gut instinct is to be supportive of such a proposal.

STEFANOVIC: Not too much?

ALBANESE: We will wait and see the specifics, of course. But the threat to society is real. We know that that’s the case. We have seen it here in Sydney, we have seen it in Paris, we know that there are people who would seek to do us harm. The public have every right to expect that governments will do whatever is necessary to protect the public from those who would do us harm.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, what sort of support do you think this will get at COAG?

PYNE: I think that it will get a lot of support. A lot of the States already, I know South Australia for example already has preventative detention for violent  offenders and sex offenders who have not been rehabilitated. What Malcolm Turnbull wants to do is expand that to terrorist offenders who have not been rehabilitated.

I think that is a very sensible step and I think the States and Territories will embrace that and it is a step in the right direction. We have to as a government and as all State and Territory governments, protect our citizens as our number one priority. The second priority must be providing the jobs and growth necessary in the economy to make sure we all have a happy life.

STEFANOVIC: Moving on to a topic we just alluded to a little bit before, the former Prime Minister said after he was ousted that all of this sniping has to stop, yet here we are, here he is throwing all these darts at the government which could be seen as somewhat hypocritical. Christopher, has anyone thought of bringing the former Prime Minister in, checking him in, pulling him into line?

PYNE: I don’t think that we are going to check him; I think that he is probably perfectly well and happy. Look, he is not saying anything that is against the government’s policy. He is out there advocating for his particular views, and I have a lot of respect for Tony Abbott. We are all just getting on with the job in our portfolios, mine particularly in innovation and science.

I spent the week talking about the government’s new proposals around commercialisation of research and creating the environment for enabling of risk and science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, etc. So we’re getting on with the job. He wants to talk about those issues. He is not saying anything that is outside the government’s policy and I welcome all players in the debate.

ALBANESE: Good try saying Tony Abbott is happy.

STEFANOVIC: It must be politically destabilising for the government.

ALBANESE: Of course it is. Tony Abbott is not happy and he is engaged in destabilisation. He is engaged in a deliberate campaign to derail the government’s agenda.

It is no accident that every time the government has had a major announcement ready as they did this week, Tony Abbott is out there undermining it by stopping them talking about what the government about wants to talk about and talking about his agenda and whether it’s consistent with the Turnbull agenda.

These are people who don’t like each other, who have very different political agendas and Tony Abbott really wants the top job back.

And he has a whole bunch of people around him who are determined to undermine this government. So Malcolm Turnbull is at war with is Tony Abbott.

But Malcolm Turnbull is also at war with himself over marriage issues like climate change, marriage equality and a range of policies where he frankly compromised himself in could order to get the leadership.

PYNE: I could be talking about how you want to be the leader of the Labor Party but I am not practising old politics like you are because the public is not interested in all that nonsense.

ALBANESE: Tony Abbott is practising old politics. Tony Abbott is practising the politics of undermining the leader.

PYNE: The public wants to know what we’re all going to do for jobs and growth. We have an innovation and science agenda –

ALBANESE: I agree with you. Someone should tell Tony. Ring him up Christopher, if he will take your call! I doubt whether he will.

PYNE: You don’t have a plan.

STEFANOVIC: We are out of time unfortunately. We could keep talking for hours, but we’re probably not going to get anywhere, but thank you very much for coming in.

PYNE: Happy Christmas.

STEFANOVIC: Happy Christmas to you both too.

ALBANESE: Merry Christmas.

PYNE: And have a good New Year.


Dec 9, 2015

Radio interview with David Penberthy & Will Goodings, FIVEaa

Subjects: Innovation agenda; South Australian economy; automotive industry; Tony Abbott’s white-anting; Joe Hockey; Ian McFarlane defection; Labor Party; GST

PRESENTER: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us talking all things federal, state and in between. Christopher Pyne, good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Will, good morning Dave, good morning Anthony.

PRESENTER: Anthony Albanese, good morning.

ALBANESE: Good morning lads.

PRESENTER: Gentlemen, we’ve been talking this week about the $1.1 billion innovation package that was unveiled by Malcolm Turnbull a couple of days ago.

Now, Christopher, you were the minister responsible for the package and the PM urged you to, and I quote him here, “unleash your inner revolutionary” in applying yourself to the task.

Do you think that the model you’ve come up with is going to help revolutionise the jobs landscape here in South Australia?

PYNE: There’s absolutely no doubt about that. This is a transformative reform. I’m very excited to be responsible for it particularly as the senior South Australian Cabinet minister.

This is happening because Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister wants to drive a jobs and growth agenda around the ideas boom, following the resources boom. It’s great for South Australia and it’s great for South Australia because it will support our incubators at places like the University of South Australia.

It’ll support a new research impact metric which means that universities like the University of Adelaide that have a heavy agricultural research priority will benefit because they have practical outcomes from their research and it’s going to make the industry and university collaboration much stronger and it will give us a real advantage.

All of our universities do great health research around biomedicals and so therefore the biomedical translation fund to turn those good ideas into jobs and growth will be of benefit to South Australia and for the automotive industry our innovation connections which brings a researcher from a university into a small or medium enterprise to help them turn a good idea into a new product or service will advantage the automotive industry which is emerging from the trough that it’s been in for the last year or two. It’s great news for South Australia.

PRESENTER: So Chris Pyne, by how much should the South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis revise up his predicted job growth in South Australia?

PYNE: Well, goodness. I wouldn’t want to attach myself to the star of Tom Koutsantonis or the South Australian State Government.

PRESENTER: Well, he’s predicting 0.25 job growth. What should it be in light of this package?

PYNE: Well, that’s an impossible question to answer obviously because we haven’t yet seen the benefits flowing through from the package.

There are short term benefits, like changes to the way we deal with taxation of small and medium enterprises and start-ups, and capital gains tax and income tax. They’ll have an impact short and medium term.

There are longer term impacts by investing in science, technology, engineering and maths at schools and universities and preschools. We’re going to bring new entrepreneurs here through visa arrangements.

It’s a comprehensive package. There are a lot of people who’ve said [inaudible], Ian Chubb, the Chief Scientist who David and I would remember from university days was never really regarded as a great supporter of the Liberal Party, he said that it exceeded, wildly exceeded his greatest expectations. That is a big positive.

PRESENTER: Hey Albo, this seems to be an uncharacteristic outbreak of love between Labor and the Coalition over this. Your side of politics is, despite a bit of quibbling about who came up with some of the ideas first, you are welcoming the general direction of it.

But you’re someone who has always represented working class people with a great deal of passion. My question in the South Australian context, for people who have grown up working in a sort of production line type environment, how do you shift them across from the old economy to the new economy?

ALBANESE: That’s a challenge, and it is good that there’s a level of bipartisanship on the need to transform our economy, the need for innovation, the need to create new jobs in new industries.

The world doesn’t just stand still, but I do notice that Christopher just said the problems that the automotive industry faced in the last year or two, that’s called the election of the Abbott Government, that basically told the automotive industry to rack off.

PYNE: Mitsubishi closed under under Labor, I mean let’s not be partisan –

ALBANESE: The government – I gave you a chance Christopher, so – the government told the automotive industry to rack off from South Australia. That’s what happened. So there is, and in terms of some of the changes, you know the CSIRO was cut by $110 million. It’s good that that money’s been put back, but it would have been better if it wasn’t cut in the first place.

The government needs to take off the table the abolition of ARENA, South Australia is of course ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to renewables. The abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation that’s doing such fantastic work promoting private sector investment.

And they need to get serious about the National Broadband Network. I mean, it is now half the speed but double the cost. The NBN, if there’s something that consistently runs across all the new industries it’s access to high speed broadband services.

PRESENTER: Can I ask you just for a moment, Chris Pyne, he’s writing a column now for News Limited newspapers, the analysis of which appeared on the front page of the paper today, his comments continue to get massive traction in the community whenever he does speak publicly. Is there a danger that Toby Abbott is a bit like the Prime Minister in exile at the moment?

PYNE: No, not at all. I mean, Tony Abbott is a backbencher in the government, he wants the government to be re-elected, he’s a person with a fine policy mind, he wants to make a contribution and none of the things that I’ve heard him say or write are at odds with either his government’s policies or the current government’s policies and I welcome him to the debate. He’s a great advocate.

ALBANESE: I bet you don’t, Christopher, because he’s out there causing enormous grief. You’ve had in the last week of Parliament, Ian McFarlane defect from the Liberals to the Nats, you’ve had enormous disquiet and there’s no doubt that Malcolm Turnbull enjoyed a very strong honeymoon, but last week in Parliament you just had to walk round the building to see the little cabals of Abbott supporters gathering and talking to each other and plotting to cause some difficulties.

PYNE: You wish.

ALBANESE: I think Joe Hockey’s comments yesterday were pretty extraordinary when he said the only reason why he’d hang round in Parliament is to pay back people who removed him and that’s one of the reasons why he moved on to be the US Ambassador.

PYNE: You guys spent the week on old politics [inaudible] and the polls indicated –

ALBANESE: I didn’t make Joe Hockey make that statement yesterday, nor did I organise for Tony Abbott to do the Sky News interview yesterday or the Daily Telegraph column today.

PYNE: Poor old Bill Shorten went overseas for a week and his poll rate still went down. He wasn’t even in the news for a week and he went down.

PRESENTER: Hey, Chris Pyne can I ask you though, on this situation with Ian McFarlane who is the former industry minister who is defecting from the Liberal Party to the National Party, should he be rewarded for effectively betraying your party with a return to Cabinet?

PYNE: Well, that’s just really an internal thing in Queensland LNP because the LNP is both the Liberal Party and the National Party. Now, they’ll work that out in Queensland. The LNP State Executive will sort that out and there will be some kind of resolution arising out of it.

PRESENTER: But whether he returns to the ministry’s not an internal thing, that’s an external thing because that gives him hands  on the policy levers, influence over people’s lives.

PYNE: It depends on a whole range of things, all of which have got to be worked out internally within Queensland. I don’t think the public care one way or the other, whether Ian McFarlane’s in the National Party or the Liberal Party or quite frankly whether he’s a Cabinet minister or whether the Nationals got more than the Liberal Party. I don’t think people are talking about that over the breakfast table this morning.

PRESENTER: But a lot of Liberals would care if he was back in the Cabinet, wouldn’t they?

PYNE: I think what they were talking about is about my innovation package, and the enormous jobs and growth potential that this package represents. It’s one of the biggest packages in Canberra ever.

PRESENTER: Hey Albo, we’ve been calling him Mr 15%; we had to re-nickname him Mr 14% this week. Bill Shorten is a real chance of being beaten by the margin of error in Newspoll soon, isn’t he?

ALBANESE: What we’ll get down to is the debate about the policies and this week, indeed tomorrow, the Federal Government is taking a plan for a 15% GST to the states in terms of COAG, but they’re pretending they’re not doing that even though the modelling’s out there.

PYNE: Because we’re not.

ALBANESE: You can’t have it both ways. This is a government that said it wants a mature debate and a discussion about increasing the GST and every time it’s raised –

PYNE: It’s a state and territory tax.

ALBANESE: Well, are you ruling it out, Christopher?

PYNE: It’s a state and territory tax, my friend.

ALBANESE: Give Penbo and Will a scoop here, Christopher. Increase the ratings of the fine FIVEaa by ruling it out now.

PYNE: We’ve already increased their ratings by coming on their show.

ALBANESE: Yeah, but rule it out. It will give them a national profile, which they deserve.

PRESENTER: We’re going national!

ALBANESE: Come on Christopher; just say “there will be no increase”.

PYNE: Let me finish! You can [inaudible] Mike Baird and the people who put the GST on the agenda.

ALBANESE: You can do it.

PYNE: We’re happy to have that debate. But it’s not our tax; it’s their tax as you well know.

PRESENTER: Hey guys, we’re going to have to leave it there, and this is our last Two Tribes for the year.

ALBANESE: He hasn’t said the one line he has to say.

PYNE: I think the one line you have to say is you won’t challenge Bill Shorten –

ALBANESE: It’ll give you momentum.

PYNE: When are you going to take over from hapless Bill? He’s gone very quiet now.

PRESENTER: Merry Christmas guys. Are you getting each other a present for Christmas?

PYNE: Yeah.

ALBANESE: Aww. I wonder what it’ll be. We’ll see each other on Friday morning.

PYNE: I’m going to give him some space. Some space from me.

ALBANESE: That’d be a very good thing.

PRESENTER: We’ll resume again in the new year but to you Anthony Albanese, and you Christopher Pyne, thanks very much for joining us this year and we look forward to doing it all again in 2016. Merry Christmas.

PYNE: Thanks for having us.

ALBANESE: Thanks guys. Merry Christmas.

PRESENTER: Thank you very much.


Dec 4, 2015

Transcript – Today Show – 4 December 2015


Subjects: Ian Macfarlane; Mal Brough; David Speers Walkley Award for “fixer” interview with Pyne.

LISA WILKINSON: Well joining me now is the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne and Shadow Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning gentlemen.

CHISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa, good morning Anthony.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Christopher.

WILKINSON: Get the niceties over, a bit Brady Bunch style but that’s ok.

PYNE: I hope you enjoyed the Walkleys while I was working in Canberra.

WILKINSON: We’ll get to that in a second. Now Christopher, Ian Macfarlane says he’s jumping ship to the Nationals with another MP rumoured to follow. This is surely a sign the Government is far from united.

PYNE: Look this is really just an internal Liberal / National Party Queensland issue. Whether Ian Macfarlane is in the Liberal Party room or the National Party room he’s still part of the coalition and he’s a valued colleague. I’m sorry he was disappointed that he was asked to retire from the Cabinet but he has been in the Cabinet since 2000 so he had a pretty good run in the Cabinet, but I’m sorry that he was disappointed and if he wants to be in the National Party room well you know, he goes with our best wishes but he’s still part of our Coalition.

WILKINSON: Yeah but it doesn’t sound like a very united Liberal Party. When did the PM find out the McFarland was defecting?

PYNE: I don’t know the answer to that Lisa but I don’t think it was very long ago.

WILKINSON: When did you find out?

PYNE: Yesterday.

WILKINSON: Ok, were you shocked.

PYNE: Look, I was disappointed but the LNP in Queensland is different to the rest of the country. In every other part of the country there’s a Liberal Party and a separate National Party, in Queensland they are in the same party so it’s really just an internal party dynamic and I don’t think that the public think it’s very important, it’s neither here nor there. Ian McFarland is a good friend of Malcolm Turnbull, there’s no angst between those two and we’re getting on with trying to create jobs and growth. We passed three bills last night through the Senate, the Citizenship Bill the Labour Savings Bill and the Multinationals Tax Bill that Labor tried to block. So we’re just getting on with the job.

WILKINSON: You have had a heck of a week.

PYNE: It has been a big week.

WILKSINSON: Special Minister of State Mal Brough remains under pressure over his involvement in the Peter Slipper affair after this week completely contradicting his previous statement to 60 Minutes. Take a look.

LIZ HAYES: Did you ask James Ashby to procure copies of Peter Slipper’s diary for you?

MAL BROUGH: Yes I did.

MARK DREYFUS: Did you ask James Ashby to procure copies of Peter Slipper’s diary for you?


WILKINSON: Christopher, Mal Brough clearly hasn’t told the truth here.

PYNE: Well Mal came back into the Parliament after that answer and he explained that he was a confused and that he was sorry if he’s confused the Parliament.

WILKINSON: What part of that question was confusing?

PYNE: Well the question, according to Mal and what he told the Parliament was that the question had several prongs to it…

WILKINSON: Oh hang on, I’m sorry, please, we’ve seen the unedited version. There was a small stumble but that question was absolutely clear. And after telling Liz Hayes that he did do it, he then spent three minutes justifying why he did it. Not whether or not, or if he did, procure private diaries of Peter Slipper. To then stand up in Parliament when the heat is on and say that he didn’t do it, as a federal minister he has misled parliament.

PYNE: Well you know there is an investigation into the AFP into this matter…

WILKINSON: There is so as Special Minister, someone who is meant to be upholding ethics and standards of the Parliament, why doesn’t he stand aside while this police investigation is going on?

PYNE: Well if there are any charges laid he will but you can’t have ministers or leaders of the opposition standing aside every time a claim is made against them. Bill Shorten was investigated by the Victorian Police for 12 months. The Government didn’t at any point ask him to stand aside because he was eventually cleared and I was the first to congratulate him for being cleared because it would have been very traumatic for he and his family for that 12 months.

WILKSINSON: Ok, let’s let Anthony have a say here.

ALBANESE: That is absolute nonsense Christopher. What we are talking about here is something that we know that he did. He misled Parliament. That’s why his position as a Minister is untenable. Very separate from any AFP investigation, that will take its course. But what we saw this week was Mal Brough each and every day mislead the Parliament so clearly that there wasn’t anyone in the Government, including Christopher as the Leader of the House, prepared to defend him. I’ve seen government’s gag and stop oppositions speaking before. I’ve never seen for a whole week a Government gag itself and move that motions be put so that it didn’t have to defend Mal Brough and this is connected of course to Ian Macfarlane and the chaos that is there, because now the National Party will be entitled to Mal Brough’s position when he goes. Because it’s not a question of if he goes, it’s a question of when he goes.

WILKINSON: Alright we will have to leave it there unfortunately we’ve run out of time but I have to quickly before I go congratulate you Christopher Pyne, you sort of won a Walkley Award last night for the “fixer” interview with David Speers.

PYNE: I was the subject of the Walkley but I am very pleased and congratulate David Speers on winning a Walkley on the back of an interview with me good luck to him. Well done.

ALBANESE: Christopher, they were laughing at you not with you, a very important distinction.

PYNE: Don’t you be nasty Anthony at the end of the interview.

ALBANESE: David Speers was laughing at you not with you. Just saying.

PYNE: You try and be nice. Try and be nice.

WILKINSON: You both try and be nice.

ALBANESE: Why don’t you try and be nice to your Coalition colleagues, you’re falling apart.

PYNE: You’re now being nasty this morning. It’s too early to start the day grumpy Anthony.

ALBANESE: You’re falling apart. Bye bye.




Dec 4, 2015

Transcript of media conference, Petrie Railway Station


Subjects: Moreton Bay Rail Link; Mal Brough, Labor policies; Malcolm Turnbull; Healthy Welfare card.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I am pleased to be here today with Jacqui Pedersen, Labor’s candidate for the electorate of Petrie at the next election. I was very proud when, in 2010, I was here with Julia Gillard, the then Prime Minister, the then Premier Anna Bligh and the Mayor of Moreton Bay Council, Allan Sutherland, to announce three-way funding for the Moreton Bay Rail Link. This is a project that was first promised in the Parliament back in 1895 – in the Queensland Parliament – and was talked about for many decades before then. It took federal Labor working with State Labor to make this project a reality and at the time of the announcement in 2010 the Liberal candidate for Petrie opposed the project and said it wasn’t the right time. Well, it is the right time. It was too long waiting, but now this project is becoming a reality and it’s thanks to the fact that when we were in office we were prepared to fund federally public transport.

The project here received $742 million – about half of the $1.5 billion that was required. What this will do is provide that direct rail access for the people of Redcliffe and the people around Petrie. New stations have meant that jobs have been created in construction on this vital project, which began construction in 2012. And the only reason why this project didn’t get cancelled like the Cross River Rail project was cancelled by the Abbott Government was because it was already under construction.

Labor believes that we need to deal with urban congestion. We can’t deal with our cities without dealing with public transport. Now, Malcolm Turnbull likes to catch trains. The problem is he’s part of a government that has cut funding for trains and for public transport. That’s why this project symbolises the reality of Labor funding public transport and that’s why Jacqui Pedersen is someone who will stand up and make sure she delivers for the people of Petrie, unlike the local candidate and member at the moment, who hasn’t done anything in terms of supporting major projects of infrastructure in this electorate.

JACQUI PEDERSEN, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR PETRIE: I’d just like to say that this is so exciting for our area to get the rail to Redcliffe after all these years. It’s really awesome and for such a big growth area through the North Lakes, Mango Hill and Griffin area. It’s a boom town and we really need this transport infrastructure ASAP and it’s coming fast.

REPORTER: Are you confident with the election coming up that this may be one of the areas that you can win (inaudible) and do you think you will be able to pull this off and do you think people will sheet home something like this to Labor?

ALBANESE: Oh absolutely, because people will know also, of course, that Yvette D’Ath, when she was the Member for Petrie, did more than anyone else to deliver this project. She is now the local State MP and a Minister in the Palaszczuk Government. So it’s a very stark reminder, I think, that they will draw between her performance as a local member and the performance of the current LNP member and they will know the Jacqui Pedersen will fulfil the sort of legacy that Yvette D’Ath did when she was the member for Petrie.

REPORTER: Mal Brough: Is he a goner?

ALBANESE: Look, Mal Brough should resign. The fact is he misled Parliament repeatedly over the last fortnight. When you are in a hole, you should stop digging. Mal Brough should stop digging and should just resign.

REPORTER: Do you think Bill Shorten squandered the opportunity yesterday to do some real damage to him?

ALBANESE: Not at all. The fact is that Mal Brough’s own colleagues – own colleagues – failed to defend him. Now I’ve seen governments from time to time gag oppositions and stop them speaking on issues. What we have seen in the last fortnight is Mal Brough’s colleagues gag themselves and refuse to defend Mal Brough. Not a single minister in any of the motions that were moved by Labor over the last fortnight has been prepared to stand up and associate themselves with Mal Brough. It’s pretty clear that his own colleagues know and that is why we have seen the extraordinary positioning of Ian Macfarlane in leaving the Liberal Party, joining the National Party, so he can be a candidate, which he declared yesterday, for the upcoming vacancy which will be filled when Mal Brough eventually falls on his sword.

But I’ll say this to Malcolm Turnbull, just to give him a bit of advice. He should think about what happened when Tony Abbott held on to Bronwyn Bishop for too long, even though her position was untenable. He knows that Mal Brough’s position is untenable. He shouldn’t make the same mistake that Tony Abbott made with Bronwyn Bishop.

REPORTER: It has been a pretty good week for Labor but are you concerned that you’re not making the most of it given that you are still behind in the polls with the election fast coming up. Is there a bit of pressure on Bill Shorten there and if he were to not succeed in the next election, would you be putting your hand up?

ALBANESE: No, what we are about is succeeding. I want to be a minister in a Labor Government, not the Leader of the Opposition. And that’s why I am working each and every day to that end and with projects like this; plus our plan to fund the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane; to fund public transport; to fund roads; to fund infrastructure; our plan for multi-national taxation where yesterday, in a deal between the Coalition and the Greens Party they actually wound back the transparency of big multinational companies and excluded a whole lot of companies from having to go through that process that Labor had put in place; through our plan for superannuation;, our plan for higher education; our plan to revitalise the TAFE system nationally. Labor has in place a range of policies. Of course our infrastructure policy was announced by Bill Shorten at the Brisbane Media Club just a month ago and its stands in stark contrast to the Coalition which is at war with itself. The problem isn’t just that the Coalition is at war with itself, it’s that Malcolm Turnbull is at war with himself – at war with his own position on climate change, his own position on marriage equality, his own position on a republic for Australia, his own position on so many issues which he doesn’t have the courage to advance because he doesn’t have the strength of support in his own Coalition and we have seen that writ large with people actually defecting – one yesterday, but more to come.

REPORTER: Who are you thinking?

ALBANESE: Well I think quite clearly Scott Buchholz is considering his position and I think that there may well be many others. Malcolm Turnbull was a failure the last time that he led the Liberal Party. He was a failure because of his own hubris and arrogance and that hubris and arrogance that led him to put his entire leadership staked on Godwin Grech and a fake email is the sort of judgement that we’ve seen that would lead someone to appoint Mal Brough to, of all positions, to be the minister in charge of integrity when it comes to the government and the minister who is in charge of what happens in parliamentary offices and the parliamentary and ministerial staff legislation. Mal Brough’s responsible for that which, given his role in the Ashby affair, is quite an extraordinary lack of judgement for Malcolm Turnbull. That’s why he should go. That’s why the longer this goes on the more it’s an issue for Malcolm Turnbull rather than Mal Brough because Mal Brough is done. That’s over. Everyone knows that he misled Parliament and he simply should just go. It’s a matter of when.

REPORTER: Can I just ask you about … Labor supported the government to put in place a trial of the Healthy Welfare Card.  Aboriginal Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda says it’s essentially experimenting on Aboriginal people. Do you regret supporting that legislation?

ALBANESE: Well, this of course is a government trial and one of the things about a trial is that people make comment and judge the outcomes. That’s why it’s a trial and not a final position. So we will, along with the rest of the Parliament, give consideration and Mr Gooda is certainly well respected and his views should be taken into account. But we will await proper processes and I’m sure that Shayne Neumann, as the responsible shadow minister, will respond in detail on Labor’s behalf.



Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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