Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
May 22, 2015

Transcript of television interview – The Today Show, Nine Network

Subjects: Refugees, polls, DJ Albo

LISA WILKINSON: We’re joined now by Education Minister Christopher Pyne and Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning to both of you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

WILKINSON: Christopher, the Rohingyas are facing genocide in Burma. As a signatory to a number of refugee conventions, surely Australia can change the no boats policy in extreme circumstances such as this?

PYNE: Well, I have deep sympathy for the asylum seekers who are in this position right now Lisa, there’s no doubt about that. But we do have a process and they have to go through the same process as everyone else. Now, getting to Australia is winning the lotto of life as we all know. There are tens of thousands of refugees throughout the world who’ve applied to come to Australia. We’ve increased the humanitarian group from 14,000 to about 18,000, recognising that we have responsibilities as part of our international obligations. I want those people to be able to come here as much as anyone else. They have to come through the correct processes and apply as refugees along with everyone else around the world. And I’m glad that Indonesia and Malaysia are recognising their responsibilities as they are the first country that those refugees have come to. But we can’t allow open slather on our borders because that will take us back to the chaos that occurred under the Gillard and Rudd regimes.

WILKINSON: Anthony, speaking of which 50,000 refugees arrived in Australia during your time in government so this is a sticky area for Labor, but what would you do if you were in government?

ALBANESE: One of the things I think that needs to happen is a regional solution and Australia must play its part in it. I frankly don’t think that Tony Abbott was very Prime Ministerial yesterday. You can be opposed to people smugglers and I am, and Christopher is, but we need to be very careful about drawing a distinction between them and people.

These are kids just like mine or Christopher’s on these boats around the Andaman Sea. The idea of pushing them off and seeing people die is something that we find abhorrent. One of the reasons that offshore processing is in place is to stop people dying at sea. And that is a bipartisan policy. But there are international responsibilities and Australia, along with other countries in the region could help advance the long term solution by playing a part in that regional solution to this particular problem.

WILKINSON: Alright. Let’s move on to opinion polls now. Business confidence is up. Consumer confidence is up. The Budget seems to have been well received, even Tony Abbott’s approval rating, is up, which brings us to Bill Shorten’s leadership. He’s just not cutting through, is he?

ALBANESE: I think Bill Shorten has held the Government to account. We had the most unfair Budget that we’ve seen in living memory last year. This year, it’s a little bit less unfair but the cuts are still there to education, the cuts to health, and we know that if Tony Abbott gets a second term then the pension cuts and other measures that have been taking off the table temporarily will be put straight back on.

WILKINSON: But Tony Abbott’s had a pretty terrible 12 months, leading up to the Budget, a drover’s dog should have been able to knock Tony Abbott with a feather. Is Bill Shorten’s leadership even being discussed?

ALBANESE: No, not at all.

WILKINSON: Why not?

ALBANESE: Because we went through a period of instability with Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. I think the Australian people want stability.

WILKINSON: You’re saying anyone’s better as long as it’s stable?

ALBANESE: No. What you’ve got under Labor is stable. We made a decision about Bill Shorten being the Leader of the Labor Party and he’s done a good job. You have a look at where we’ve been in polls. Even the worst poll at the moment has us on 50/50. The other polls have us ahead still as we have been almost since the last election.

WILKINSON: The government has had a terrible year, things have started to come good in that time. Bill Shorten has never really cut through. I’ll tell you what Laurie Oakes said about him this week – ‘Shorten is no performer. If he is an actor at all, it is of the ham variety. He lacks timing, he lacks pizzazz, force, gravitas and he’s unconvincing’.

PYNE: And they’re his good points.

WILKINSON: Anthony, back in 2013 it was the factions that put Bill Shorten in but the rank and file overwhelmingly voted you in. They got the wrong guy, didn’t they?

ALBANESE: The Party voted for Bill Shorten. I accepted that decision and what I’ve got on with doing is being a part of Bill Shorten’s team. Doing work on infrastructure and cities in my policy work, and I look forward to being a Minister in a Bill Shorten Government.

WILKINSON: Chris, the truth is you’d much prefer to go to an election with Bill Shorten as the Leader, wouldn’t you?

PYNE: Well Lisa the code for everything that Anthony’s just said is ‘I’m available’. That’s the code. You’ve just heard it. I want to be a team member.

WILKINSON: Are you available Anthony?

ALBANESE: I’m not available. We have a Leader. The Leader is Bill Shorten and he’ll lead us to the next election.

PYNE: I’ve heard that before too.

ALBANESE: All the polls show that we’ll win. The only team that’s been unstable is the Coalition. 39 of Christopher’s caucus colleagues voted for an empty chair against Tony Abbott just earlier this year.

WILKINSON: They seem to have forgiven Tony Abbott, not only the Party’s forgiven Tony Abbott but the electorate appears to have forgiven Tony Abbott as well.

ALBANESE: That’s not the case. That’s not the feedback on the ground I get. There’s one sense for which there’s a bit of relief that they didn’t get hit with a baseball bat like they did last year. But they’ve still –

PYNE: – you’ve had a lovely run this morning. I know that you wanted to talk about leadership all this time, but –

WILKINSON: You’d be arguing for a double dissolution right now, wouldn’t you?

PYNE: I think the difference is that in the Budget we were talking about childcare and families, small business, the Budget’s been well received because we’re talking about the things that people care about. Labor is still talking about bringing back a carbon tax, opening the borders. More taxes on superannuation. Labor’s response to everything is to increase revenue rather than actually look back at what we’re spending money on and deciding if that’s the priority, and I think that’s why Labor is suffering. Bill Shorten hasn’t been through any kind of process of looking back on the Gillard-Rudd years and deciding what they did right and wrong. They’ve just tried to paper over the divisions. Anthony was the people’s choice. He wasn’t the Caucus’ choice, and I think people want Anthony and they don’t want Bill Shorten. And who wouldn’t? Look at him!

WILKINSON: I know, look at him.

ALBANESE: I’m not sure I want your endorsement Christopher, I’ve got to say.

WILKINSON: We probably should finish with the biggest story in Canberra this week and it was DJ Albo. Let’s have a look at this. This is Anthony Albanese as DJ. Look at that. The bomber jacket, the polo shirt, jealous much Christopher?

PYNE: Yes I am jealous, actually. I am, very jealous.

WILKINSON: I would have thought so.

ALBANESE: It was good fun.

PYNE: The closest thing I’d come to that sort of thing is doing Triple J radio and that’s about it.

WILKINSON: Look at you two cool groovers. You need to go to the next one I think, Christopher.

PYNE: And maybe I should do it too.

ALBANESE: The next one’s a charity event in Sydney on a Friday night. Reclink Community Cup who do a lot of work with disadvantaged youth.

PYNE: I’ll have to see what my wife and four children think.

ALBANESE: The Education Minister would be very welcome there, I’m sure.

WILKINSON: So you’ve got to rock out the leather jacket again.

PYNE: I might need your advice on the music though, that’s the only thing.

ALBANESE: I wouldn’t let you near the music.

PYNE: We’re an auction item for charity at the Midwinter Ball this year, Anthony and I.

WILKINSON: Oh, what do you think you’ll go for?

PYNE: Goodness knows. Goodness knows. Hopefully you’ll bid on us, Lisa.

WILKINSON: I think Karl and I should bid on you.

ALBANESE: Absolutely.

PYNE: I think you should too.

WILKINSON: We see you every Friday morning. We don’t need to pay for you.

PYNE: We’re part of the family.

WILKINSON: You’re worth a lot. Thanks very much gentlemen, we’ll see you next week.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

[ENDS] 

May 20, 2015

Transcript of press conference – Sydney

Subjects: Workchoices on Water; Australian shipping industry; share economy regulation

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  The Government today will announce its proposal to introduce Workchoices on Water around the Australian coast. The Liberal and National Parties seem to be obsessed with attacking workers who work on the waterfront or on Australian ships.

It’s what they did last time when they were in office. This attack they’re launching today is an attack on the Australian national interest. It is in Australia’s national interest to have the Australian flag on the back of Australian ships working around the Australian coast and internationally.

For a government that says it wants to stop the boats, what they want to do is to stop Australian ships working on the domestic freight task around our coast. Today they’re making the announcement at a Shipping Australia conference.

What people might not know is that that is the body made up of ship operators who aren’t actually Australian owned. The Australian based organisation, Maritime Industry Australia Limited, is opposed to these reforms.

If you are a truck driver and you carry freight from Sydney to Melbourne you expect that you’ll be paid Australian wages and Australian conditions. If you move freight on a train from Sydney to Melbourne you expect you would be paid Australian wages and receive Australian conditions.

It should be no different if you move freight using the blue highway around our coast. People working on the domestic route should be paid Australian wages and receive Australian conditions. It is as simple as that.

If that doesn’t occur, then it will undermine the ability of Australian ships to compete with foreign ships.

What is of concern is that while Labor ensured that foreign ships had to pay the same wages as Australian ships, thereby having a level playing field, what the Government is proposing is that the wage rates and conditions of Australian ships and people working on them needs to be brought down to foreign levels.

In the Budget papers flagged a number of measures including ‘better aligning employment conditions for ships based in Australia with international standards’. (Budget Paper No. 2, p132)

What is extraordinary is when you look at third world conditions of ships including flags of convenience, they are low paid, they have less rest time, they endure conditions far worse than those in Australia and they tend to be the ships which draw the ire of those authorities that enforce environmental standards.

It is in Australia’s national economic interest, environmental interest and national security interest to have an Australian shipping industry. What the Government proposes is to wreck that Australian industry with these so-called reforms that are all about introducing Workchoices on Water.

This is just stage one. They’ve also flagged getting rid of Australian preference for the aviation sector, firstly in Northern Australia. That doesn’t occur anywhere else in the world. Everywhere in the world makes sure that the only planes that are allowed to fly domestic routes are those that are based in that nation.

And yet this government is considering changing that, opening up Australian aviation on a domestic level to foreign carriers that are foreign based paying foreign wages and conditions. That would undermine the Australian aviation industry and is a threat to Qantas and Virgin. It should be opposed and immediately ruled out by the Government.

REPORTER: Isn’t it in Australia’s national interest to have an affordable shipping industry too? The Government’s used the example of getting sugar from Thailand – Warren Truss has said it’s cheaper to get sugar from Thailand than to take it from port to port. Wouldn’t this make things a little more affordable?

ALBANESE: It’s just nonsense. Warren Truss just makes things up. The fact is that at the moment whether you have an Australian flag on the back of a ship or the flag of a third world country, while you are in Australia on the domestic freight task you have to pay Australian wages and conditions.

It would also be cheaper if you allow a truck that’s based in the Philippines with a Filipino truck driver, to pay Filipino wages to drive between Sydney and Melbourne. But we don’t do that because the truck wouldn’t be as well maintained, the driver wouldn’t be trained as well, and it would undermine safety and the environment and the national economic interest.

There is a very simple principle here. When you are working in Australia, whether it be on a building site or on a road, or on a rail system, or on a ship, you should be subject to the same wages and conditions. It’s as simple as that. To undermine that risks that being transferred onto other industries. The Government has already flagged that in terms of the aviation sector.

REPORTER: Can I ask, today Treasurer Hockey is expected to announce that Uber drivers should face a 10% GST. Would Labor support such a move?

ALBANESE: Andrew Leigh’s done a lot of work on this, I must say well in advance of the Government. What we’ve said is that there needs to be an examination of that sector of the economy that is growing, whether it be Uber or the accommodation sites or other sectors that are outside the traditional economy.

We need to make sure that there is a level playing field and that there is proper regulation of those industries. So we’ll examine any proposal but certainly with the growth in these sectors of the economy there needs to be a proper examination.

This sector of the economy is growing – we think that’s a good thing. But it needs to be on the basis of a level playing field, with the traditional way that these markets have operated, whether they be taxi drivers or whether they be accommodation in the form of the growth of Air B’n’B and other companies.

REPORTER: On shipping, do you think it’s a productivity issue though – the Government’s said that some ships under foreign flags are going from port to port with nothing in them because it would cost so much to pay Australian wages. Shouldn’t we be making use of the ships that are going from port to port?

ALBANESE: We want to absolutely make use of ships going from port to port. Under the changes that we made as part of the federal government’s reforms that was certainly encouraged on the basis of introducing certainty, so that you didn’t have a contract granted just on a one on one basis, it was granted on multiple journeys over a period of time.

So that was certainly permissible, and there’s a strong role in Australia for foreign ships around our coast. But not at the expense of wiping out the Australian industry. Not at the expense of making sure that people are paid proper wages and conditions.

When that doesn’t occur, there are incidents that can cost literally tens of millions of dollars. You saw two incidents off the Queensland coast – one off Gladstone and one off Moreton Island. The consequences of that were dire for the Australian economy as well as for the environment.

So we need to make sure that the Government puts the case of why it is acceptable that foreign wages can be paid for people doing jobs that are the Australian task.

When you look at the cost structure of shipping, the cost of the staff is a very small proportion of the cost of taking a ship from Sydney to Melbourne or anywhere else around the coast. It is a minute area.

This is ideology before common sense, before good economic policy. This is a Government that wants to introduce Workchoices, that believes in Workchoices, and in this case is doing it through the backdoor by introducing Workchoices on Water.

People need to ask themselves; would you find it acceptable if two buildings were being built next to each other, one by an Australian company employing Australians, paying Australian wages and having Australian safety standards, and next door, one being built by a Filipino company, paying Filipino wages, with Filipino conditions and Filipino safety standards? What do Australians think about that?

The blue highway is no different from any other section of the Australian economy, which is why these proposals are so outrageous. The reforms that were introduced by the former Government in 2012 were never given a chance to work. They were worked out with industry cooperation after a two year consultation period, with exposure drafts of legislation, making sure that industry was involved.

This has all been done behind closed doors. We haven’t even seen a draft of the legislation. There’s been no proper consultation with Australian industry or with the workforce. This is simply about replacing Australian workers with foreign workers who are paid less. That is not the Australian way. Thanks.

 

May 18, 2015

Transcript of press conference – Springvale Railway Station, Melbourne

Subjects: Budget 2015, Tony Abbott’s refusal to invest in public transport; urban congestion; Melbourne Metro; East-West Link; Infrastructure Australia.  

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’m delighted to be here with Clare O’Neil, Labor’s Member for Hotham, and Sean O’Reilly, the Mayor of the Dandenong Council. I came here to Springvale Railway Station a number of times looking at this vital project, which deals effectively with urban congestion. Here in Melbourne, the removal of level crossings makes an enormous difference to the time it takes people to get to and from work, and it’s also of course a major road safety issue.

The removal of this particular level crossing benefits 28,000 commuters every single day. It was a $140 million investment joint from the federal and state former Labor Governments. It was part of the contribution that we made to Victorian infrastructure which included here in Melbourne, the M80 road project, the Regional Rail Link project and important projects like this one which we are visiting today.

In Melbourne’s east we’d allocated some $69 million for the Managed Motorways program on the Monash Freeway. Now that had a cost-benefit ratio of more than $5 benefit for every dollar that was invested. That compared with the East-West Link that was 45 cents benefit for every dollar invested.

And yet what the Abbott Government did was take money that was allocated for the Melbourne Metro project that will benefit the whole of Melbourne and Victoria, take money from the M80 project, take money from the Managed Motorways project and put less money than had already been allocated towards the East-West Link.

But in last week’s Budget, we had that money taken away from Victorians and nothing put back.

The Budget shows that Victorians will get just 8% of every infrastructure dollar that is spent by the Commonwealth, even though they have 25% of the population. It’s extraordinary that Tony Abbott thinks it’s okay to punish the people of Melbourne and Victoria for the fact that they voted Labor at the last state election.

This is an absurd policy. It’s one that should be reversed and it is unsustainable. Tony Abbott is driven by politics and what we saw in last Thursday night’s Budget Reply from Bill Shorten is that we would prioritise Infrastructure Australia recommended investment, just like we did when we were in government last time.

That means that the dollar goes to the area that has the most benefit, and what we know is that Victorians need that investment in projects like the removal of level crossings, in the M80 project where funding was withdrawn, in the Melbourne Metro project and in other rail and road projects here in Melbourne.

SEAN O’REILLY, MAYOR CITY OF GREATER DANDENONG: As the Mayor of the City of Greater Dandenong, my name is Sean O’Reilly I am thankful for the opportunity to be here with Anthony Albanese and our local MP Clare O’Neil, the Member for Hotham.

We’re going to be discussing the infrastructure priorities of the City of Greater Dandenong. These are not just contained within our municipal borders but more broadly the south-east, and with Melbourne being the fastest growing city in Australia, with the council having sensible medium to high growth housing demand and Council looking to meet that, we want to talk with Mr Albanese and Ms O’Neil about how we can best manage that with assistance from the Federal Government.

CLARE O’NEIL: Thanks everyone for being here. We’re standing today in front of Springvale Railway Station, a $140 million project that was completed last year and funded in part by the former federal Labor Government.

I’d say very simply that the thousands of people who live and work in my electorate of Hotham benefitted from this terrific project and it is testament to Labor’s commitment to investing in better cities, investing in public transport and importantly, investing in the infrastructure that Victorians actually want and need.

We saw last week Tony Abbott come to Victoria to have a big old complain about why the Victorian State Government won’t proceed with a road that returns just 45 cents in every dollar. Labor announced last week that it wants to make really significant reforms to take the politics out of infrastructure decisions and we’re very pleased to see that here in Melbourne’s south-east.

 

May 13, 2015

Transcript of press conference – Canberra

Subjects: Budget 2015, infrastructure cuts, East-West Link, Infrastructure Australia, Coalition Magical Mystery Infrastructure Reannouncement Tour

ANTHONY ALBANESE: All economists and indeed the business community know that one of the big challenges for our nation is that as investment in the mining sector drops off, what needs to step up to fill that gap is investment in infrastructure.

That’s the key to securing long term economic growth, boosting productivity, boosting employment and boosting living standards. And we know that it’s necessary.

This Government was elected with a lot of rhetoric about infrastructure but no action. What we saw in the latest figures that were released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in April should have been a wakeup call to this government when it was developing this Budget that they released last night.

It showed a drop-off in infrastructure construction activity from quarter December 2013 to quarter December 2014 of some 17.3% in spending on infrastructure for the public sector. That is a massive decline that has occurred on the Abbott Government’s watch. So we should have seen that reversed last night.

Instead of that, we’ve seen the opposite. There will be a further contraction in investment in infrastructure as a result of last night’s Budget. Last night’s Budget produced a $2 billion dollar cut over the next two years in what the Abbott Government itself had projected it would spend in last year’s Budget. A $2 billion cut. It also of course over not just the next couple of years but over the forwards and beyond, we’ve seen a mean spirited decision and a vindictive decision by this government to cut $3 billion in infrastructure investment for Victorians.

Victorians are being punished by the Abbott Government for voting Labor at the last state election. One of the reasons why they voted Labor was because the Napthine Government prioritised investing in the East West Link project, a project that we know would have produced 45 cents of benefit for every dollar that was invested.

And yet the Abbott Government clings onto this, making a farce of the statements prior to their election that they would make infrastructure investment based upon the recommendations of Infrastructure Australia and based upon proper cost-benefit analysis. With this government, it’s all politics and no serious policy.

They’ve also decided to gut Infrastructure Australia. Infrastructure Australia was scheduled for funding of $15 million per year. But by the end of the forward estimates it will receive just $8 million in funding – a decline to $11 million next year and down further and further each year. This is an extraordinary decision by the Government but it’s not surprising given they left Infrastructure Australia without a CEO for more than a year, given that Infrastructure Australia on its watch hasn’t put a single project on the priority list for investment.

This Government’s infrastructure policy is in tatters. And the consequences of this for the national economy are long term. What we saw last night was no new investment in the Pacific Highway. No new investment in the Bruce Highway in Queensland. No new investment at all in any public transport project anywhere in Australia. No new major projects.

In our last Budget the Labor Government  produced a booklet with documentation and maps of where the infrastructure projects were occurring. Last year the Abbott Government did the same thing. The problem was of course when people looked at the detail just about every project in their booklet was from the previous year’s Budget that had been funded in the 2013 Labor Budget. So this year they produced nothing.

This is the first time in over a decade that you’ve had a national Budget with no new major infrastructure projects anywhere in Australia. The Howard Government at its worst at least came up with one or two new projects to put some bells and whistles on even though infrastructure investment declined under them.

This Government has given up the infrastructure agenda just one year after they were caught out with their magical mystery infrastructure reannouncement tour, which they took right around the country pretending that old projects were somehow new.

[ENDS]

 

May 11, 2015

Transcript of radio interview – ABC Brisbane, Mornings with Steve Austin

Subjects: Cross River Rail project, public transport

STEVE AUSTIN: You may have forgotten that Treasurer Joe Hockey boasted once that he would fund the equivalent of eight Snowy Mountain schemes in new infrastructure in Australia over the next decade. Prime Minister Tony Abbott once declared that he would be the Infrastructure Prime Minister of Australia. Well tomorrow night we’ll get a chance to see if they’re delivering on that with this Budget. Once we had an agreement with the federal government to fund the Cross River Rail project. When Anthony Albanese was the Labor Minister for Infrastructure he reached a deal with then Premier Campbell Newman to build it. But since Tony Abbott became Prime Minister the project was shelved. Let’s go to the man who is now the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese. Anthony Albanese, good morning to you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Steve.

AUSTIN:  Whatever happened to it?

ALBANESE: Well, what happened was that Campbell Newman got rolled by his own Cabinet. There was an agreement, we even had the press conference organised for the Friday after the 2013 Budget. We had $715 million allocated by the Federal Government but the Tony Abbott obsession with refusing to fund any public transport project because he believes that, in his own words, people don’t, not enough people want to go from a particular destination to another at a particular time to warrant anything other than roads, means that all public transport funding from the Federal Government was going to be canned if he became Prime Minister and that’s exactly what happened. So in anticipation of that, the Queensland Government walked away form that agreement.

AUSTIN:  Now the Treasurer Joe Hockey once did say he would fund the equivalent of eight Snowy Mountain schemes over the next decade and I’m quoting him. Is there any indication or talk in Canberra that any of this at all will be delivered in the Budget?

ALBANESE: Of course (in) last year’s Budget all they did was take money from projects like Cross River Rail and commit it to a road project in Melbourne that hadn’t been through any proper process and we now know would have returned 45c for every dollar that was invested. That was the East-West project. So they took money out of Queensland and gave it to election commitments in other places. There’s no new infrastructure for South-East Queensland. All the projects for which there’s some funding, like Gateway North, was committed by the previous Government, was already in the Budget. The Bruce Highway funding is actually less over the forward estimates than was committed by the former government and of course the withdrawal of public transport funding means that projects like the Moreton Bay Rail Link, that’s gone gangbusters, and importantly the Gold Coast Light Rail project where I noticed just a couple of weeks ago that they tipped over for five million journeys on that light rail project. This was a project that was also opposed by the Coalition. You can’t deal with urban congestion unless you invest in public transport. Roads are important, we invested in the Ipswich Motorway and of course the Legacy Way tunnel as well had $500 million of Commonwealth funding, but you also need to deal with public transport and Cross River Rail was identified by Infrastructure Australia as the best project in the country, bar none.

AUSTIN:  I’d forgotten that. So just remind me what it would look like if we went ahead with it Anthony Albanese, the Cross River Rail project that is now shelved for Brisbane?

ALBANESE: What it is essentially about is increasing the capacity of the rail line. So you had a second river crossing plus in addition to that new stations, urban redevelopment around either side of the river and importantly by dealing with that congestion issue if you like, in terms of the rail system, you’d increase the capacity not just for people in Brisbane but for the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast commuters as well.

AUSTIN:  Could we still build it? Is there any impediment to it other than political will?

ALBANESE: There is certainly no impediment to it. Taking Teresa Gambaro’s comments and I note that she has in the past and reaffirmed today what a great project it was and said that she supported it. Well, she’s the local member who would benefit from this along with the people that she represents most importantly. But you can’t just say that and then say, oh we will wait until we get back into Budget surplus given that Joe Hockey has said that might be a long time into the future. The important thing about infrastructure investment is it’s not just a cost. It produces a return to the government to increase productivity in the economy and allowing the economy to grow as well as of course the jobs that would be created during the construction phase, just like a lot of jobs have been created in the northern suburbs through the Moreton Bay Rail Link project.

AUSTIN:  I’m talking with Anthony Albanese. He was the Minister for Infrastructure when he struck deal with then Premier Campbell Newman to build the Cross River Rail project. As we know there was a change of heart in Cabinet and things changed, there’s been a change of government federally and more. Anthony Albanese is now the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. It’s two minutes to nine, Steve Austin’s my name and this is 612 ABC Brisbane. How much would have it have cost, Anthony Albanese, what was the planned start date had it gone ahead, your agreement with Campbell Newman?

ALBANESE: The construction was due to start in the current financial year, it would have been underway now in 2014-15 was when funding was due to start. There was $715 million committed from the federal government, $715 million from the state government and we were looking for just like the Gold Coast Light Rail project, looking for some private sector funding to supplement that as well. The costings at the time were around about $6 billion and it would have taken around about eight years to be fully completed. But over that period of time there was also, at the request of the Queensland Government, a guarantee built into the project from the Federal Government. It had been worked out in a great deal of detail, but of course part the benefit of the project was going to be what economic pointy heads refer to as the uplift factors – which essentially means that when you build a new railway station all the land around that railway station is worth more money because developers, of course, want to build higher urban density and residential as well as commercial close to having that access to the public transport corridor. So this was a project that had been worked at in great detail and it was supported originally by Anna Bligh’s government, Campbell Newman came into government and continued to support it and importantly Infrastructure Australia, just like the Queensland Government has Jackie Trad, is sending it off to her equivalent.

AUSTIN: I’m going to have to go, Anthony Albanese thank you very much for you time.

ALBANESE: No worries, thanks very much.

 

 

 

 

 

May 8, 2015

Transcript of television interview – The Today Show, Nine Network

Subjects: Budget, Greens leadership, Scott Morrison, Mother’s Day

LISA WILKINSON: For more, we are joined by Education Minister Christopher Pyne and Shadow Transport Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you gentlemen.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

WIKINSON: Okay, which one of you is playing the role of Bart and which one is Homer this morning?

PYNE: I don’t think either of those would be good for us.

ALBANESE: I think he plays Bart in Parliament quite often in terms of being a bit naughty.

PYNE: You have been thrown out almost as many times as I have Anthony.

WILKINSON: The Prime Minister said yesterday that after last year’s perceived tough Budget, that and he has listened and he has learned so and he has already promised dull, so we know that, which is exactly Christopher Richardson is warning against. How much of next Tuesday is about fixing the Budget deficit and how much is about having your eye on next year’s election?

PYNE: Well, the Intergenerational Report showed we had halved the debt and deficit projection that would have occurred if Labor had stayed in office. So we have made enormous gains with just last year’s Budget. But there is a difference between being an armchair economist and armchair being an armchair economist and being an armchair commentator and actually being in the Cabinet as Anthony was and as I am now and having to make next decisions that affect people. So next Tuesday, we will be having a Budget that is about getting families back to work, supporting jobs, creating economic activity, and that is very important for the economy.

WILKINSON: To be fair, Chris Richardson is respected, highly respected.

PYNE: He’s very respected. Sure.

WILKINSON: By both sides of only politics and it sounds you’re only comparing yourself to Labor rather than the job that needs to be done.

PYNE: Well, we are getting on with the job; we have halved Labor’s debt and deficit. We are going to have a Budget next Tuesday that will restore confidence, support the economy, create jobs, support families, and help with childcare. We see in the papers this morning support for disadvantaged families with disabled children. That is what government should be after about. It should be about looking after our families and creating jobs. It shouldn’t just be about the Budget bottom line.

WILKINSON: Anthony, Chris Richardson was not kind to either side of politics saying no one is standing up and taking the initiative.

ALBANESE: What Chris Richardson has also done, is during our period of government, acknowledged the work that we did to get through the global financial crisis. It is no wonder, though, that he is confused by this government’s narrative. The only job that is of concern to Tony Abbott is his own. This Budget is all being driven by their internals over whether Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey survive and get through next week, after their shocker of a Budget in 2014. First, they doubled the Budget deficit when they came into government. Then they said there was a Budget emergency. Now they say they have fixed the Budget emergency, that never was, and now they are moving on with a whole new narrative and no wonder the Australian public are confused.

PYNE: That is just politics. I mean the truth is Budgets should be about jobs, they should be about families, and they should be about supporting Australians.

WILKINSON: So you are saying you just didn’t do that last time?

ALBANESE: You are just giving clichés. What the Budget next week should be about is creating jobs, given that the unemployment rate is at 6.3%. We have interest rates at 2%. What that says is that the Reserve Bank knows that there are real problems with a sluggish economy because the last Budget hit confidence because it was unfair to its core and it damaged the Australian economy. We Budget need a repair job on last year’s Budget next Tuesday.

PYNE: Well, we had a mess that we inherited from Labor, Lisa, and we are fixing it and next Tuesday, we will see the benefits of the good work we did last year, 300 out of our 400 measures passed the Senate. 100 didn’t. Labor voted savings against $5 billion of their own savings that they had proposed in government. Now, the electorate voted for us to fix Labor’s mess. We have been getting on with the job. Next Tuesday we what will confirm that we know exactly what we are doing and that is supporting families and supporting jobs.

WILKINSON: We saw a change in the leadership of the Greens this week. Christine Milne generally seen as fairly hard line. Anthony, does Labor have something to fear with that change from Christine Milne to a more moderate leader in Richard Di Natale? It sounds like they are going to side with the government a bit more.

ALBANESE: I don’t think there is anything more moderate about Richard Di Natale. The problem is that the Greens fundamentally don’t have an economic strategy at all for jobs and for economic growth. That’s the fundamental job of government. If you can’t do that, then you can’t fund the social policies that you want to put in place. When you examine the details of the Greens policies, for example, I had a piece this week about Sydney Airport, whereby there is agreement across the Parliament and the people who have looked at it for the last 40 years to get on with the job of a second Sydney Airport. The Greens say close Kingsford Smith Airport but they oppose Badgerys Creek also. I don’t know how you would get into Sydney. Perhaps parachute in. I don’t know how you would get out. That is the problem with the Greens. When you look at the detail, they simply don’t stack up as a credible political party or an alternative government.

WILKINSON: All right. We will wait ask and see. Just finally, Christopher, I have to ask you, Scott Morrison has been very visible, he has done 16 interviews in a week and Joe Hockey has only done four. What is going on there?

PYNE: Well, families and childcare and universal access in my own area, for example, are big parts of next week’s Budget. So Scott Morrison has had a lot to say about the reforms that we will be bringing in next Tuesday around pensions. He is the social services minister. You would expect him to be out there prosecuting that case and he is doing a very, very good job.

WILKINSON: Not jockeying for position in any way?

PYNE: He is just doing his job. The thing about politics in Australia is rather than worry about people jockeying, we should recognise when someone is doing a good job and Scott is out there, prosecuting the case around social services reform, around pensions and families and childcare. And I think he is a star of the government.

WILKINSON: OK. You both are doing the right thing on Mother’s Day?

ALBANESE: Oh, absolutely. I’m heading to Port Macquarie for my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary.

PYNE: Which is an amazing achievement.

ALBANESE: For Bede and Marcel Tebbutt, on Saturday night. So it will be a great occasion where the family have come from all over the world literally, a brother from London, and one from Perth to spend the time…

PYNE: Let’s hope we make it to 60 years with our respective spouses Anthony.

ALBANESE: If they put up with us. It’s a miracle that we have both lasted as long as we have.

PYNE: Both my mother and mother-in-law are alive so we will be catching up with all of them of Sunday.

WILKINSON: Fantastic.

ALBANESE: Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums.

WILKINSON: Absolutely. Well said.

PYNE: He is a charmer.

WILKINSON: Only just works on you. Thanks guys. We’ll see you next week.

 

 

May 6, 2015

Transcript of radio interview – Ben Fordham Show, 2GB

Subjects; Mother’s Day, Greens leadership; foreign aid; French ambassador; Budget  

BEN FORDHAM: Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Education and Anthony Albanese, the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure. They’ve had a little bit of a time off, a little bit of holiday time. They are back into it, with the Budget next week. Christopher Pyne, good afternoon.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good afternoon Ben.

FORDHAM: And Anthony…

PYNE: I had no time off at all.

FORDHAM: Oh, here we go.

PYNE: I’ve been at work. I just missed your show for four weeks while Anthony has been doing the hula in Cuba, I understand.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s just one complaint after another. Poor Christopher’s got to work.

FORDHAM: Anthony Albanese, good afternoon.

ALBANESE: G’day Ben. How are you?

FORDHAM: Let’s test the honesty of politicians here for just a moment. I just mentioned Mother’s Day this weekend. Have either of you organised anything for your wives for this weekend?

ALBANESE: We actually will be driving up to Port Macquarie – wait for it Ben, there’s a punchline.

FORDHAM: Oh, your lucky wife. She gets a car trip to Port Macquarie.

ALBANESE: There’s a punchline. It is her parents’ 60th wedding anniversary.

FORDHAM: Have you got her a present?

ALBANESE:  It’s coming. My son has got her a present.

FORDHAM: Christopher?

PYNE: Carmel loves a car trip.

FORDHAM: Christopher, have you organised anything for Mother’s Day so far this weekend?

PYNE: We have morning tea with my mother.

FORDHAM: Have you organised a present?

PYNE: Why would I? Carolyn is not my mother.

ALBANESE: Ha, he’s too cheap.

FORDHAM: Have you organised a present for your mum?

PYNE My children have organised … yes, of course I’ve got a present for my mother. My wife has organised a present for my mother. My wife has organised a present for her mother.

FORDHAM: Enough of that, let me get onto the news of the day, the Greens have a new leader after the surprise resignation of Christine Milne, did either of you guys see this coming?

ALBANESE: No, I certainly didn’t and I wish Christine all the best, she’s been in political life for 25 years and she’s entitled to have some me-time for herself in retirement. I wish her all the best. I don’t agree with many of her views, I have to say but I didn’t see it coming and I think it is a bit rough for the Greens who talk about process from time to time and criticise the major political parties both Labor and Liberal. I mean if we had the sort of process, either political party for that matter whereby you have an announcement and an hour later behind closed doors you just select a replacement it’s pretty clear that it’s a bit rough regarding any input into who the new leader should have been.

FORDHAM: What’s gone on here Christopher?

PYNE: Well I think it’s interesting that both Adam Bandt and Christine Milne have gone. Obviously there are deep divisions within the Greens, we’ve known that for some time and it starts to remind me a bit of what happened to the Australian Democrats who were a very popular third party for twenty five plus years but when they started to fight amongst themselves then their voters turned right off because they saw them as no better than the major political parties and on this occasion I have to agree with Anthony and say their process reminds me a lot less of the major parties and a lot more of a secret society.

FORDHAM: Albo your boss, Bill Shorten released a statement and I focussed on the last line of that statement a little earlier, he said I’m proud to lead the only political party that gives its members a say in choosing their leader but I thought, no hang on a moment, didn’t the members want Anthony Albanese and didn’t the MPs and the factions go for Bill Shorten? The members wanted you Albo.

ALBANESE: The important thing is that we did have a process, and it was open and transparent and the membership did get a vote…

FORDHAM: They had their say but their say didn’t count.

ALBANESE: People had their input and I haven’t complained about the process, I’ve got on with the job of having the honour of being a part of the Labor frontbench team and I think it was a really good process and I think it is one of the reasons why being in a pretty strong position from the end of 2013 so people could see there was a mature debate about policy and about future direction.

FORDHAM: Christopher?

PYNE: Give someone else a go! What really happened was that Anthony was the people’s choice, Bill was the faction’s choice and Anthony’s own faction split and Kim Carr from Victoria backed the Bill Shorten candidacy, or some of his people did at least, and gutted Anthony Albanese, and now they’re doing it again over the federal presidency.

FORDHAM: Well, Anthony will have his time. Anthony will have his time. Don’t worry about that. We will dissect the Budget next week because, of course, it will be the day after the Budget. We’ll get to have a conversation about all of that. But there is a report today in the Sydney Morning Herald that Indonesia may be facing a cut in aid in next week’s Budget. You know, a lot of money that goes off overseas, no doubt there’s a bit of quid pro quo here and a bit of back-scratching that goes on and we’ve got important trading partners. But do you think anyone would object if we were, say for example, going to change their $600 million to $500 million a year and maybe give $100 million to our farmers who are stuck in the middle of the drought? Anthony?

ALBANESE: I think we’ve got to look at what our national interest is and we have a national interest in funding education, for example, in Indonesia that makes sure that girls can go to school and that you don’t have schools run by some of the more fundamentalist groups who are preaching in a way that is divisive. I think that is in our interest. I think that Australians do accept that Australian foreign aid that goes to give a kid clean drinking water is something that we, as a relatively rich country, have to contribute to. There’s already been $11 billion worth of cuts to foreign aid.

FORDHAM: Christopher, are there going to be more cuts next week to foreign aid?

PYNE: Well, you will see that in the Budget and that is part of the ERC process. Obviously we have to make rational decisions about foreign aid when we are faced with the belt-tightening that has had to go on since the defeat of the Labor Government, who were profligate spenders. Foreign aid is an area where we have reduced spending into the future. It continues to increase, but not as fast as Labor promised. Labor promised to put $11 billion more into foreign aid. But they’ll have to find that money, which I assume they would do with higher taxes.

FORDHAM: You are committed to that are you Anthony, replacing that $11 billion?

ALBANESE: We’ll make polices and promises at the appropriate time, and certainly not according to Christopher Pyne’s timetable.

FORDHAM: Okay, let me ask you this one before I let you guys go. Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he doesn’t concern himself with trivia when asked about reports that the ambassador Stephen Brady offered to resign after his partner was asked not to take part in an official welcome. I think everyone knows the details of this by now. This was when the PM was flying into Paris and Mr Brady’s partner, Peter Stephens, was told not to take part in the airport greeting because protocol says partners are only there if the Prime Minister has his partner there and Margie Abbott wasn’t there at the time. Is this one giant beat-up Christopher?

PYNE: I think this is a really embarrassing story on the part of the media. The truth is that I have had dinner with Stephen Brady and Peter Stephens and Tony Abbott for their farewell, for Stephen Brady’s farewell to leave Government House and go to Europe. Tony Abbott is not in the least bit concerned about people’s sexual preferences and for the Sydney Morning Herald to try and write this story in the way that they did, I think cast them in a very negative light.

FORDHAM: It was a bit harsh, wasn’t it Albo?

ALBANESE: I think what should happen here is just for the details to be made clear and then people can move on. I think the concerning thing about the story was that the resignation was offered. And I think that’s what’s raised questions.

FORDHAM: Isn’t is clear that the protocol states and he should know this as a diplomat that the partner is only there when the Prime Minister is travelling with his partner? I mean Tony Abbott took Peter Stephens and Stephen Brady out to dinner that night in Paris.

ALBANESE: I wasn’t there, so I’m not aware of all the details but frankly in terms of the scale of a story I think that people are entitled to accept explanations when they are given, but I think it’s not surprising that an explanation was asked for given the resignation appears to have been offered.

FORDHAM: Sometimes people just have dummy spits, don’t they?

ALBANESE: Well, a lot of the time things can be misrepresented and unfortunately when you’re in public life you’ve got to give the explanation and I think often if it’s a choice between the stuff up and the conspiracy, often it’s just the stuff up.

FORDHAM: Are you two going to be behaving yourselves when Parliament resumes?

ALBANESE: I always behave Ben.

FORDHAM: Christopher?

PYNE: That will depend on Anthony I guess. Until I came along he had the record for being thrown out more than any other MP in the Parliament. And now I think my record’s been broken by a wayward Labor MP called Nick Champion.

FORDHAM:  I’m glad I’ve got two of the biggest trouble makers on my show. I’ll talk to you next week.

ALBANESE: See you then. I hope this year’s Budget goes a bit better than the last one.

PYNE: I don’t think you mean that. I don’t think you mean that.

ALBANESE:  It was a shocker. A shocker!

PYNE: I don’t think you mean that Anthony.

FORDHAM: Ok gentleman. See ya.

[ENDS]

May 1, 2015

Transcript of television interview – Today Show, Nine Network

Subjects: Childcare, Budget, Indonesia, same-sex marriage conscience vote  

KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the program, it is time now for a look back on the week in politics and a little look ahead too. Joining me is Education Minister Christopher Pyne, good morning Chris and Shadow Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese’s back from holidays folks. Get ready.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Back and firing Karl.

STEFANOVIC: I hear that. I do hear that. Let’s go to you first Chris first of all the Budget’s not far away now, thank goodness. Working parents to get a boost they say in the Australian today, but stay at home mums to miss out. Is that true?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well good morning Karl, and welcome back Anthony, it’s nice to have you back in the country after your lovely long break.  I hope you are feeling very rested.

STEFANOVIC: Are you having a crack?

PYNE: No, no, I’ve been here keeping the shop, keeping the shop you while you’ve been away.

ALBANESE: How did Fitzy go mate?

PYNE: I’m glad you’re back. He wasn’t too bad. Better than you in some respects and not as good as you in others. It’s a backhanded compliment. Working families, yeah, it is very important, the IGR, the intergenerational report set out how important it is for us  to build our workforce over the next 50 years, we have to get as many  people as possible participating in  the workforce. We have to be as productive as we can, so where people want to  work and can work we need to get them the skills but also we need to get them the support in childcare that allows them to work,  so there will be in the budget some major package for families, and for  small business, and the childcare  announcements Scott Morrison will make with the Prime Minister at the appropriate time but they’ll be designed to make the system simpler to put more resources in the  hands of families, and to give them the  freedom to be able to get into the workforce if they want to.

STEFANOVIC: So what you’re going to do is you’re going to subsidise childcare to get mums out of the house, working mums will get payback as well in the system. But those mums who stay at home and choose to stay at home and look after the kids, they’re going to lose out?

PYNE: Well Karl, wait and see. Every Budget has a surprise. I’m sure this Budget will have a surprise. So wait and see about that side of the equation, but I can tell you certainly that the childcare reforms that the Productivity Commission handed down – a report about childcare a few months ago – Scott Morrison has been beavering away making sure that we can have a good announcement in the budget that will support Australian families, support productivity and support participation.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, quickly on that one Anthony?

ALBANESE: Childcare is one of the issues that have been the subject of cuts through the previous actions of this Federal Government.  One hopes that any changes are fair.  We do want to encourage people back into the workforce. Childcare is absolutely critical for working parents, and so we’ll judge any proposals on whether they are fair as well as whether they achieve the objective of encouraging people back into work.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, when you see the details we’ll talk more about that obviously. On to the executions this week, very sad news obviously, across the board. But Indonesia doesn’t seem too bothered or concerned about Australia’s decision to withdraw our Ambassador. Chris, your thoughts?

PYNE: I think they are concerned because it’s a very important step and withdrawing an Ambassador sends a very strong message to Indonesia in diplomatic language. It’s one of the strongest actions we can take. In fact Bill Shorten himself has said that he thinks the Government has handled this matter as well as can possibly be expected in the circumstances. The Indonesian Ambassador is talking soothingly today about the need to make sure our bilateral relationship is a strong one and gets back on an even keel. That is important, obviously the whole country is in shock that these two men have been executed, but there is a wider issue, and the wider issue is a strong bilateral relationship with Indonesia. We have done the things that are necessary and important to express our dismay. I’m pleased to see the Indonesian Ambassador talking this morning about the importance of the relationship.

STEFANOVIC: That’s all well and good after the fact. As you know, whether we like it or not Indonesia choose to ignore us, and more pointedly you as a government. Even after the lads were executed they didn’t tell us what had happened. Was it arrogance or incompetence?

PYNE: The Indonesian President made the decision to execute the Bali two, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, that’s the Indonesian law and Australians who travel overseas need to make sure that they maintain all the laws of the countries into which they go. Now I’m opposed to the death penalty. The Australian Government is opposed to the death penalty as is Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party. But at the of end of the day this was a decision of the Indonesian President, we couldn’t have been more clear in our –

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, with respect, how good is a relationship when they don’t even bother to ring you and tell you that the executions have taken place? It’s not a great relationship.

PYNE: Well obviously this matter has not been one that has pleased the Australian Government. We have expressed real disappointment to the Indonesian Government throughout the entire process. That’s part of the continuing disappointment that we have had with this matter, we didn’t want Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran executed, we wanted them to come home to Australia and do a prisoner swap. We tried everything we could to get them back to this country. At the end the day the Indonesians have made several mistakes along the way. But now we have to continue with a strong relationship with Indonesia for a whole host of reasons.

STEFANOVIC: In relation to Bill Shorten, his stance, he says he wants that he wants strong retaliation for all this. And then Bob Carr came out and said removing the Ambassador was going too far, so where does Labor stand on all of that?

ALBANESE: It is critical that there be bipartisanship on this issue. I think the Parliament was at its best when we stood as one in opposition to the death penalty. That was the Parliament at its finest. What we have seen from the Indonesian government unfortunately, is not government at its finest, far from it. It is hard to see how anything was achieved from the death of not just these two young men, but the six other people who were executed as well. Yes, they committed a crime. They should have remained in jail for that crime, but I do not support the death penalty nor does any other Australian Parliamentarian.

STEFANOVIC: Finally, quickly as we are out of time but Tanya Plibersek took over for Bill Shorten for a short time this week, were you surprised or disappointed by her comments on gay marriage?

ALBANESE: No, she is entitled to put forward views. We’ll have a debate in the lead up to the National Conference. There are two issues here. One is the issue of principle. Do you support marriage equality or not? I certainly do, and have campaigned for it strongly. The second issue is how should that best be resolved. I’ll talk with Tanya and others about what the strategic point –

STEFANOVIC: You were that surprised she came out and said that as Acting Leader?

ALBANESE: In terms of vote a conscience vote, a conscience vote has been seen up to this point, I think, as being the best way of getting it through this Parliament.

STEFANOVIC: So you were surprised?

ALBANESE: I was not aware of it Karl, it didn’t make news in South America, I’ll let you in on that.

STEFANOVIC: What about in Australia?

ALBANESE: I wasn’t here – so I could get away from Australian political news, Karl, and have a proper break with my family.

STEFANOVIC: And you deserved it too. Thank you very much for being with us. Christopher, make sure you’re back good in the studio next week too.

PYNE: Indeed. Good to see you.

STEFANOVIC: You too mate.

ALBANESE: See you Christopher.

[ENDS]

Mar 31, 2015

Transcript of television interview – AM Agenda, SKY News

Subjects: Aviation safety, metadata retention laws, NSW election

KIERAN GILBERT: Now, the Shadow Transport Minister Anthony Albanese to discuss the issues of the day and the week. Mr Albanese, first of all as the transport spokesperson for the Labor Party and I know that you had carriage of these responsibilities in government as well, I’m just wondering what rules are there for Qantas and Virgin – Australian carriers – when it comes to this issue of two people in the cockpit, ruled mandates that two people must be in the cockpit of a plane at any given time?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Qantas and Virgin certainly do that at the moment. They have their own safety management systems that are then overseen by CASA our Civil Aviation Safety Authority. What will occur as a result of this incident and indeed, just terrible tragedy Kieran, is that when you have any significant incident in the aviation sector, the accident investigation report is then used by the airlines to monitor their own systems, what improvements can be made. Now as a result of this incident, there’s no doubt that all of the airlines that operate in Australia will have to examine their own systems. They’ll consult with CASA and therefore if any improvements are required that will occur. Here in Australia we have the best safety record of any nation in the globe. It’s something of which we can be proud but we can’t be complacent about it.

GILBERT: Just to clarify, is that currently the approach of Qantas and Virgin, the two big local airlines, to have that rule that if a pilot leaves another crew member must replace them in the cockpit? Is that your understanding?

ALBANESE: That is my understanding – that Qantas and Virgin both operate that way. But nonetheless every single airline when an incident like this happens, any incident related to safety, what occurs is that all Australian airlines examine the investigation report, they all have their person in charge of safety then consider if any adjustments need to be made, then CASA as the safety bureau oversees any of those changes which might be necessary.

GILBERT: Thanks for clearing that up for us. On the metadata legislation that’s passed the Parliament, are you entirely comfortable with this, and the fact that our communications will be held for two years? Coming from the left of the Labor Party, your concern for civil liberties are you entirely comfortable with what’s transpired here?

ALBANESE: There’s no doubt here Kieran that what you’ve got to balance up is the need for our agencies, our law enforcement bodies, anti-terrorism bodies to be able to undertake their task in keeping the community and the nation safe. And that’s got to be balanced with appropriate civil liberties and protections for the rights of individuals. As a result of the work that Jason Clare and Mark Dreyfus did on the committee, there’s substantial improvements to this legislation, including of course protection for journalists. There was no protection at all in the original legislation. So they’re important improvements. Obviously with legislation like this it will have to be monitored and if any improvements are required that should occur. But of course we know that technology moves very quickly. I noticed Tony Abbott, his comment of when he was a working journalist; he wasn’t worried about his metadata. That of course was because the internet didn’t exist! So whilst it was a silly comment from the Prime Minister to make, but it did remind people of how fast technology moves. And no doubt the legislation will have to be constantly monitored to ensure it achieves its objectives of keeping people and the nation safe whilst making sure there aren’t any abuses.

GILBERT: Now on to the NSW election tomorrow. You are going to be campaigning this morning I believe at a train station pretty soon.

ALBANESE: I’ll be at Ashfield station with Jo Haylen who is the candidate for Summer Hill. People could drop by.

GILBERT: You’ve got the work ahead of you though – 55-45 according to the Galaxy poll to the popular Mike Baird. Yesterday you said something as you left Parliament – a bit tongue in cheek of course – you said that if you vote for Foley you could get Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister next week. I suppose the flip side of that is that if the Liberals do very well tomorrow should Mr Abbott get some of the credit for that as well?

ALBANESE: Well I think Tony Abbott has been kept from this campaign. It is an Abbott free zone here in NSW – his home state – because Mike Baird knows that Tony Abbott is incredibly unpopular and there’s no doubt that if Luke Foley is elected as Premier tomorrow then the Abbott Prime Ministership will end I think as early as Monday. So if people do want Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister they should vote Labor tomorrow. If they want Julie Bishop as Prime Minister next week they should also vote Labor tomorrow.

GILBERT: One of your Labor colleagues is quoted in the paper this morning saying that Baird is the most popular premier since Neville Wran. He looks like he’s going to hold on doesn’t he?

ALBANESE: It’s not a matter of just the Premier. It’s a rotten government. He’s got a rotten plan. He’s got a nice smile, but a bad plan. He has failed to answer what the intervention by his office was to change the report from UBS into privatisation of electricity assets that the people of NSW own that said it would be bad for the budget.

GILBERT: Are you comfortable with the union campaign though? It’s xenophobic isn’t it? That’s what the Race Discrimination Commissioner believes, that the union campaign that Labor supports is employing dog whistle politics.

ALBANESE: Absolute nonsense. These are assets that are owned by the people of New South Wales, owned by the government of New South Wales. It appears the Liberals are happy with another government owning these assets.

GILBERT: Okay.

ALBANESE: It’s important that there be scrutiny of this policy. It does not make sense to flog off assets that produce $1.7 billion return to the people of New South Wales to fund ongoing nurses, teachers and police whilst getting a sugar hit. This is selling you house to go on a holiday and when you come back you don’t know how you are going to live. That’s the problem. This is bad for the finances of New South Wales and it’s the issues that count tomorrow and I think when people go into those polling booths the issue of do they want those power assets sold will be front and centre.

GILBERT: Anthony Albanese, thanks for your time. Chat to you soon.

ALBANESE: Good to talk to you.

 

Mar 27, 2015

Transcript of television interview – The Today Show, Nine network

Subjects: Metadata retention laws, NSW election, cricket

LISA WILKINSON: Let’s get reaction from our political heavies, Education Minister Christopher Pyne and Shadow Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, good morning to both of you.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

WILKINSON: Both of you were onside with this, there was bipartisan support for this bill to be passed so there were problems there. But people do have a few problems this Christopher. With this newfound power and being able to access our very personal internet and phone records, how can you ensure that this won’t be misused? You can’t really, can you?

PYNE: Well, we can. I mean right now the Federal Government has, and State Governments have for that matter very wide policing powers that requires you to get warrants to listen to people, for example, listening devices. They use that and very sensibly and responsibly and they catch a lot of people doing the wrong thing. In 92% of cases from July to September last year  last year metadata was used in counter-terrorism actions by the Federal Police. So it has been extremely helpful. You can’t see what is inside the envelope, if you like. It is all the information outside the envelope. It’s where the emails are going to, who is responding to them, what time of the day etc. That is how they caught this Adrian Bayley criminal in Victoria who killed Jill Meagher using metadata from his mobile phone. So you are right, it is needs to be sparingly used but it is very powerful in terms of being able to catch people doing the wrong thing.

WILKINSON: Have you got any idea be at this stage how many people will be able to access it if they decided they wanted to?

PYNE: There’s 20 agencies. So it was planned to be 80, it’s now down to 20.

WILKISNON: And that’s how many people?

PYNE: Well, it’s not a question of people being able to – you won’t be able to drop in and have a look at people’s metadata. You will need to have proper processes in place so that there is for example, an investigation going on and the police might decide they need to see the metadata and there will be senior people involved in all those decisions. It is not just anybody’s going to be able to drop in and have a look, the whole department of the Federal Police, for example.

WILKINSON: Moving on, and let’s get on to the government’s turn around in the polls in week. A few weeks ago Tony Abbott’s leadership was on the line now it looks like the pressure is on Bill Shorten. Anthony you’ve got to be a little bit concerned about that at a time when Australia would have been turning to look at the alternative to Tony Abbott, who in the leadership spill, a third of his own party didn’t want him there. So Bill Shorten is somebody that is being closely scrutinised and it seems Australia don’t like what they see.

ALBANESE: If election was held tomorrow Bill Shorten would be the Prime Minister according to the polls. He would be the Prime Minister. He has been ahead in the polls since the end of 2013. The alternative in the short term, in the next week or so, to Tony Abbott is actually within his own party – Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull.

WILKINSON: But Tony Abbott, by his own admission, has had a very ordinary start to the year. Shouldn’t Bill Shorten be further be ahead? Shouldn’t your party really be leading the polls at the moment?

ALBANESE: We are leading and you look at the various polls, they have bounced around but they’re anywhere between 51 and 56. The good thing is for Labor that every one of the polls has a five at the front of it. That’s a winning score, Lisa.

WILKINSON: So you are comfortable with that lead?

ALBANESE: That has been the case. Of course, as we all know, as politicians will say, and you might have heard the term before, the only poll that counts is polling day.

WILKINSON: But you guys only ever use that when it suits you.

ALBANESE: When we’re behind, usually. And both sides do that. The truth is that politicians do look at the polls, but the polls are showing very positive outcomes.

WILKINSON: But a move away from Labor.

ALBANESE: One of showed them which showed a move away, that showed a move to us a fortnight ago. So I think tomorrow for example when people in NSW vote, if they actually want to remove Tony Abbott – if Luke Foley is elected premier tomorrow then Tony Abbott will be gone next week.

PYNE: That is a bit of a desperate gambit. Of course Anthony is the alternative to Bill Shorten. So Anthony, you put up a very good defence of Bill. But if Bill falls over Anthony will be the person who picks up the prize.

WILKINSON: And I’m sure you would be very pleased with that Christopher.

PYNE: Well actually I think Anthony would be a much better leader than Bill Shorten. I don’t think Bill Shorten has the substance to be the Prime Minister.  I think Anthony has a great deal more substance.

WILKINSON: Chris, we have seen quite a bit of you in videos in the last couple of weeks.

PYNE: It seems to be that way. A few people with not enough to do out there Lisa.

WILKINSON: We saw you previously as Mr Fix-It, now this last week we saw you as  a character in a Star Wars film – let’s have a look.

PYNE: They’ve gone to a lot of work, haven’t they?

WILKINSON: If this politics caper doesn’t work out for you, you do have another vocation you know.

PYNE: I look scarily relaxed in a general’s uniform, which worries me a bit!

ALBANESE: He fits in, doesn’t he?

PYNE: I like Peter Cushing’s face though in that scene. He looks very sceptical.

WILKINSON: Good stuff. Just quickly, who is going to win the cricket on Sunday?

PYNE: Australia hopefully. Definitely.

ALBANESE: The Aussies, they were awesome last night I thought. Mitchell Starc to take five.

PYNE: It was terrific that the Indians came in such huge numbers to support their team.

WILKINSON: Great atmosphere.

PYNE: It was apparently fantastic. It looked great on the television. But I hope the Australians win.

ALBANESE: With my Tourism Shadow Minister hat on, it has been fantastic for Australian tourism.

WILKINSON: Great to see you both, have a lovely weekend.

 

 

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Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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