Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
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.

 

 

Mar 26, 2015

Transcript of doorstop – Parliament House, Canberra

Subjects: NSW Election; asset sales; electricity privatisation; Mike Baird; Tony Abbott; metadata retention; press freedom; GST; WA infrastructure

ALBANESE: On Saturday voters in New South Wales will have an important decision to make. It’s a decision of whether they want the electricity assets that they own that currently contribute $1.7 billion to have teachers, police, and nurses funded to provide those essential services for the people of NSW into the future, or whether they flog off these assets to a buyer Mike Baird can’t identify. Mike Baird on today’s Fran Kelly program just this morning couldn’t answer two fundamental questions. The first is who would be the buyer. Will it be a transfer from one government ownership – that is the people of NSW – to another government, a non-Australian government in terms of owning these essential assets?

The other question he couldn’t answer is what is his plan B? In the first debate with Luke Foley, these questions were raised. Now, just two days before people go to the polls Mike Baird still has no plan B. He still can’t say how he’ll fund any of his programs if these assets aren’t sold, if he can’t get it through the Upper House. And we know those of us who have been in Canberra for the last couple of weeks get access to regional TV. And you can’t turn on regional TV without having the National Party having its ads saying essentially that flogging off poles and wires is a bad idea. That’s what their campaign is. How absurd a strategy is it that you flog off the assets that produce a return, you only hang on the loss-making assets, thereby having a detrimental impact on the NSW budget over a period of time. The National party have belled the cat. They think privatisation is a bad idea.

So people in New South Wales also have a decision to make that’s relevant for this building here. Because here in the Parliament a majority of Tony Abbott’s own caucus colleagues wanted to get rid of him as Prime Minister. They voted that way. They still think that way in ever growing numbers. Well, the people of New South Wales can do what the Coalition caucus, the Liberal Party caucus, didn’t have the ticker to do, do what’s necessary for the country, and get rid of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister.

If Mike Baird loses office on Saturday, Tony Abbott will be gone by Monday. So if you want Tony Abbott to be gone by Monday, if you want Bill Shorten to be Prime Minister at the next election, you’ll vote Labor on Saturday. If you want Malcolm Turnbull to be the Prime Minister next week, you’ll vote Labor this Saturday. If you want Julie Bishop to be the Prime Minister next week you’ll vote for Labor and Luke Foley this Saturday. Because it’s very clear that if Mike Baird goes, Tony Abbott will go as well.

REPORTER: Back to your comments on the NSW election, your former Cabinet colleague would say that you’re scare mongering – Martin Ferguson. What do you say to him?

ALBANESE: What I say to him is his views have been pretty consistent over the years. If you read the Telegraph yesterday Jackie Kelly and Martin Ferguson, who are both opposing the political parties that gave them those political opportunities in life:  Jackie Kelly is a traitor, but Martin Ferguson is a hero? I think that people will make their own judgements about these people. Martin Ferguson now represents private interests in the resources sector. So he’s in favour of more private interests for the resources sector. That shouldn’t be a surprise.

REPORTER: What are your concerns about the metadata laws as they stand now?

ALBANESE: I’ve raised my concerns internally. I don’t talk about our internal processes. What I do know is that as a result of Jason Clare and Mark Dreyfus and the work they did on the committee securing the dozens of amendments it’s much better legislation as a result of the intervention of the Labor Party in this process.

REPORTER: Do you think that warrants for journalists’ metadata should be contestable in court?

ALBANESE: Well I’ll raise … it’s not my portfolio area. I’ll raise these issues internally. I think it’s very important that this legislation be the best that it can. The Labor Party through that committee process fought strongly for that. Bill Shorten of course wrote to the Prime Minister to secure the changes in the legislation to provide some protection for journalists.

REPORTER: The last bunch of anti-terrorism laws that passed Parliament, you came out swinging for press freedom after they had passed. Is that what you’re going to do this time?

ALBANESE: Well that’s just not a characterisation so I reject that characterisation and I note that since then people like, who do you work for?

REPORTER: AAP

ALBANESE: You’re a bit independent I think but people in the media like Lachlan Murdoch came out. Bill Shorten wrote to the Prime Minister echoing the concerns that I’ve raised. The fact is that when you have legislation you should make sure that it’s as good as it can be. Those issues were raised beforehand, not after. Beforehand. Go back and have a look at the comments that people in the Labor Party make. Don’t just run off the social media feeds. Those issues were canvassed beforehand and I think journalistic freedom is very important. I’ve been consistent on that. I spoke about Peter Greste in this Parliament earlier, before his release. I think these issues are important. It’s important they’re canvassed and it’s important they’re dealt with appropriately.

REPORTER: Some of the nation’s top investigative reporters have said the metadata retention laws are a threat to investigative journalism in this country and risk the health of our democracy. Are they overblowing the case?

ALBANESE: People are entitled to put forward their views in a democracy. That’s the whole point. And I’m sure they’ll continue to do so.

REPORTER: Do you think WA is being dudded in the carve-up of GST?

ALBANESE: I think that this is a debate that will continue to go on. We had a system that benefitted WA for a long time. What we did in government was provide additional infrastructure investment in WA in recognition of the fact of their contribution. So projects, if you go there, like Gateway WA – some 3000 people I think at the moment there would be – working on that vital project for WA even though the government of course pretends it’s a new project. It began in 2012.

REPORTER: But what’s your view on the GST?

ALBANESE: My view is that I’m not the Shadow Treasurer. I’m the Infrastructure spokesperson and that’s what I’m talking about. So in terms of infrastructure, that’s how we dealt with those issues in government. If you go and look at the Perth City Link project, that’s a critical project for WA and for Perth. It’s a successful project. It’s now up and running along with all the other projects that we’ve contributed to in the west. Thanks very much.

 

Mar 25, 2015

Transcript of radio interview – Ben Fordham Show, 2GB

Subjects: NSW election; poles and wires; traffic; the Labor Party; Paul Keating; Millennium Development Goals, gallery of photographs of Leaders of the House.

BEN FORDHAM: Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Education, and Anthony Albanese, the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure. Christopher, good afternoon.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good afternoon, Ben. Good afternoon Anthony.

FORDHAM: Isn’t he polite, Anthony? He always says good afternoon directly to you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Oh, he is a polite gentleman some of the time. G’day to both of you.

FORDHAM: Good day to both of you. Now NSW heading to the polls on Saturday, Premier Mike Baird, Opposition Leader Luke Foley, they’ve been campaigning across the state. It’s looking good for Mike Baird going into the polls. Albo, you would almost concede this Wednesday afternoon that Labor is not going to win the state election, wouldn’t you, almost?

ALBANESE: Oh no. I don’t take voters for granted and I think the issue of privatisation of electricity is cutting through out there. I’ve been in a number of electorates during the last month and people are concerned about the long-term sustainability of the Budget and they are concerned that all of Mr Baird’s promises are all predicated on that. It’s like selling your house to go on a holiday. You can have a good holiday, but what happens when you come back?

FORDHAM: They are leasing the house, aren’t they?

ALBANESE: Well, that’s right. If they had any confidence at all, I think it must be coming through when the Liberals are doing ads saying it’s not privatisation, we’re not selling anything. Well, that’s nonsense. That’s just treating the electorate as mugs.

FORDHAM: Christopher, are you ready to call a Liberal victory on Saturday? I know I am getting ahead of myself. Usually we wait until at least five minutes after the polls have closed. Are you ready to go? You are always keen.

PYNE: Well, I would never count my chickens before they hatch but I think in terms of the poles and wires debate I think the Labor Party campaign has been described best by Martin Ferguson on the 11th of March, 2015, when he said it’s just deliberately misleading the public, creating unnecessary fear, trying to scare people into voting Labor – not on merit, but on misinformation. In many ways I am ashamed of the party. That’s Martin Ferguson – a very well-respected Labor figure, calling out Labor’s campaign for what it is – a campaign of misinformation and fear. Now, Anthony Albanese just talked about privatising electricity. But 49 percent of the poles and wires will be leased, which means of course the public will still own the asset. So it’s just not true and I think Labor has been caught out by a very smart NSW public which knows they have been fed a campaign of lies.

FORDHAM: Gentlemen, I’ve got to quickly got to Graham who has called in. You will understand why when you hear the seriousness of this. Graham, good afternoon. What’s happening on the Princes Highway now?

GRAHAM: Mate, there’s a deer on the side of the road. It actually was on the road. It’s just moved off on the side of the road halfway up Mt Ousley.

FORDHAM: A deer?

GRAHAM: Yes.

FORDHAM: But he’s off the road now?

GRAHAM: Yes he’s just moved off the road. He’s having a little feed on the grass on the side.

FORDHAM: We’re assuming it’s a he Graham. Thank you very much. Back to Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese. I’m sorry about that fellows but you never know, particularly when people are driving along the road and all of a sudden there’s a deer in the headlights.

Now, there are a lot of Labor people who have come out though, Anthony Albanese, questioning the approach that has been taken by Luke Foley. I mean when you go through the list: Eric Roozendaal, Michael Costa, Paul Keating, Mark Latham. I can’t believe I am quoting Mark Latham, but he says the only conclusion any sensible person – and we know that Mark is sensible – can draw is that electricity privatisation is overwhelmingly good for NSW. What I am worried about with Luke Foley is the denial of facts. Now I know that you are not going to pay much attention to Mark Latham, but Paul Keating Albo: “I support the Premier’s view about this.’’

ALBANESE: Paul Keating is strongly supporting Luke Foley in this election.

FORDHAM: But not this key policy.

ALBANESE: Well, Paul Keating has supported at various times privatising assts. There’s no secret there. The problem here is it’s a bad deal. It’s a bad deal. It’s a one-off sugar hit that will then take away $1.7 billion from the Budget that could be used to fund nurses and police and teachers. The State Government says that it is under fiscal pressure. Well, the way that you deal with that isn’t to hang on to the debt and to get rid of the assets that produce a return to the government. That is the concern here.

PYNE: You guys are just being troglodytes. Morris Iemma tried to do this. Bob Carr wanted to do it. Paul Keating has described Luke Foley as an obscurantist. In other words, that he is against change for no good reason.

ALBANESE: Paul Keating has not said that at all.

PYNE: He said there are still some obscurantists …

ALBANESE: Paul Keating has not described Luke Foley in that way at all and you just gave yourself up. (Pyne interrupting)  Don’t verbal Paul Keating. You are better than that Christopher.

PYNE: That’s what he said …

ALBANESE: The fact is that …

FORDHAM: Hang on, hang on, what did he say? Christopher, you read out what you say he says. What did he say?

PYNE: On the 28th of November, on the ABC news online on he said there are still some obscurantists in the Labor Party. There’s still some there. This is about electricity privatisation. Now, last time I looked Luke Foley was opposing the poles and wires policy which means

that he is …

ALBANESE: He is, very proudly. He is, very proudly. And so are most people. Luke Foley wasn’t the leader of the Labor Party then.

PYNE: But he was opposing the poles and wires.

ALBANESE: Luke Foley is with the mob. You can be with the elite.

FORDHAM: It’s been revealed that Labor would have doubled the amount spent on foreign aid if they were in power, so we’re told. Shadow Foreign Minister Tanya Plibersek wanted to spend more than $44 billion on foreign aid between 2013 and 2014 compared with the government’s $25 billion spend. So that would hit the taxpayer with an extra $18 billion bill. Mr Albanese, what do you make of this?

ALBANESE: I make of this that the Daily Telegraph should have an authorisation at the bottom of it at the moment – ‘authorised by the Liberal Party.’  They are campaigning hard each and every day against Luke Foley and New South Wales Labor. That’s fine, they’re entitled to do that, but it should be seen for what it is – article after article in that newspaper bagging Labor. The fact is …

FORDHAM: Well, have they just made this up have they?

ALBANESE: Absolutely. Since John Howard …

FORDHAM: But where did they get this figure from?

ALBANESE: I have no idea.

PYNE: Well I can tell you.

FORDHAM: I want to get to this. Where did it come from, Christopher?

PYNE: Well, Tanya Plibersek has said that the Labor Party will meet the Millennium Development Goals – she said it three times – that 0.5% of GDP will be in foreign aid. Now that’s $18 billion more than is currently being spent.

ALBANESE: When? When?

PYNE: Now we took over from the Labor Party, I think everyone accepts that they didn’t deliver a surplus ever but delivered $123 billion of deficit into the future and we were elected on the basis of getting the budget back under control. One of those areas where we made reductions is foreign aid because we think we shouldn’t be borrowing money from foreign banks to then send it overseas in foreign aid. Now, Labor on the other hand want to increase the foreign aid budget by $18 billion to meet that 0.5% commitment.

FORDHAM: Let me go back to Anthony. I’m guessing, and I know you’re not the foreign affairs minister or the Labor leader, but I’m guessing that is not an official Labor policy, is that what you’re saying?

ALBANESE: Well, since John Howard the Liberal Party have had the same target of 0.5%. The same target that we’ve had … so you could argue exactly the same in terms of plucking a figure out. The fact is because of the reductions that have occurred, of course the target won’t be able to be met under the same timeframe. But that is something that the Liberal Party have shared since John Howard. There is also – it’s important to say this – there’s a self-interest there. We did things like fund schools in Indonesia that stopped young Indonesian kids going to schools that are funded by the jihadists.

PYNE: So you do want to increase the foreign aid budget by $18 billion?

ALBANESE:   You’re just making it up Christopher – we fund schools in Papua New Guinea under this government, under this government, as they should. We fund health because of the proximity to Australia, the spread of disease in PNG, and in today’s world can mean it has an impact on us.

FORDHAM: Well, today there’s not going to be any cut to foreign aid in the upcoming budget because it looks like Julie Bishop and Joe Hockey sorted that out during the week.

ALBANESE: The old eye roll!

FORDHAM: Yes, the eye roll. Now there was a bit of a secret meeting last night I understand and you both attended and no journalists were allowed to go to it. What was this all about?

PYNE: Well, you can’t be coming to everything.

FORDHAM: What was this all about?

ALBANESE:  Away you go Chris.

PYNE: No, you ago ahead Anthony.

ALBANESE: Well, it was a terrific event that Christopher hosted outside his office for the current (himself) and past Leaders of the House and included myself, the current Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and Peter Reith and other people from all sides of the Parliament came. It unveiled – for various positions around the Parliament – Speakers, Prime Ministers – there are portrait galleries – in this case, it’s photographs of everyone who’s held the office and it was actually a nice convivial get together outside what’s now Christopher’s office and used to be mine. And it’s a good example – not enough of it happens I think – where we get together on a friendly basis, put down the swords.

FORDHAM: Nice.

ALBANESE: And it was a very good occasion.

FORDHAM: Well if you’d like to have more of those friendly occasions Albo, I know that you’re taking a holiday next week. Christopher, you could always go with Albo on holidays together if you wanted to spend more time together.

PYNE: That might be a bridge too far.

ALBANESE: For everyone concerned, I think. I’m looking forward to having my much better half, Carmel Tebbutt – of course retires from State Parliament on Saturday and we realised that our son’s 14 and we actually have never had a long holiday ever as a family in his entire life.

PYNE: I don’t think Carmel or Nathan would really be pleased if I joined the holiday.

ALBANESE: No, we’re looking forward to turning the phone off!

FORDHAM: Well you get a holiday from Christopher as well.

PYNE: I might be wrong! But I don’t think so.

FORDHAM: Well Christopher, maybe you could lend Albo your wetsuit, he could always use that while he’s away.

PYNE: He wouldn’t be able to get into my wetsuit. We’d have to get him a bigger wetsuit.

FORDHAM: Oh, please!

ALBANESE: Now he’s being mean after I was so nice before. I’m sure Caroline wouldn’t want me coming on – and Christopher’s kids – don’t want me on their holiday either.

FORDHAM: We’ll talk to you both soon, thank-you. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese – the odd couple.

 

Mar 18, 2015

Transcript of radio interview – Ben Fordham Show, 2GB

Subjects: Higher education, NSW election, Operation Slipper

FORDHAM: Christopher Pyne, good afternoon.

PYNE: Hi Ben, how’re you going?

FORDHAM: I’m all right. Anthony Albanese, good afternoon sir.

ALBANESE: G’day Ben, g’day Christopher.

PYNE: G’day Anthony.

FORDHAM: Now, should we be calling you Mr Pyne or Christopher or Mr Fix It? What should we be calling you these days?

PYNE: The thing about the Abbott Government was that we were elected to fix Labor’s messes, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. So in higher education, for example, they cut $6.6 billion from higher education, didn’t allow the universities  any chance to gain extra revenue, which has damaged our chances of having the best higher education system in the world and I’m trying to fix that. I’m fixing Labor’s problems, I do that every day.

FORDHAM: 122,000 extra students went into our universities, Anthony Albanese, but no money was provided by the Labor Government to fund all of those students.

ALBANESE: That’s nonsense. Labor increased substantially the funding for tertiary education. What we’ve seen from Mr Fix It across the corridor is that he’s trashed the building. What he did was hold 1700 research jobs held by scientists to ransom and acted like he was in student politics.

PYNE: That’s not true. The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme –

ALBANESE: I gave you a chance Christopher –

PYNE: But you tend to go on too long Anthony.

ALBANESE: I gave you a chance Christopher.

PYNE: You’ve got to let it be a little more free-flowing.

ALBANESE: It’s not the Government, you don’t have Bronwyn in charge here like the Parliament, mate. He trashed this reform. He actually managed to go backwards. He got less votes this time than he did last time and it’s not surprising because of the way you’ve mishandled it and Australians don’t want $100,000 degrees. It’s as simple as that.

FORDHAM: You did have a strange way of wooing the crossbenchers, Mr Pyne, when you threatened those research jobs.

PYNE: Well I didn’t. In fact I found the money. See the problem is that Labor –

FORDHAM: When you say you didn’t, anyone who watched Insiders on the weekend would say that you did.

PYNE: Labor defunded the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme. Penny Wong admitted yesterday it was a lapsing program and they had no intention of refunding it. It was too important to lose. So like all sensible ministers, I found saving measures which were in the reform bill to fund the continuation of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme. Labor was opposing that, crossbenchers were opposing it, the Greens were opposing it. The only people threatening those jobs was the Senate. Now when that became obvious that was a distraction, I went away and found the money, which will be revealed in the Budget where that’s come from, so that can continue. But the only person threatening jobs was the Opposition, which is a politically opportunistic Opposition, the Greens, who are irresponsible, and the crossbench, who didn’t want to support the legislation.

FORDHAM: Anthony there must be some good behind Christopher Pyne’s package here if all of these vice-chancellors at universities around Australia have shown overwhelming support for elements of his higher education package.

ALBANESE: Well, deregulation means they can go out there and charge more.

FORDHAM: Well, vice-chancellors – they don’t have a reputation of being money-hungry individuals who only care about the profit or the bottom line. I mean these are people who genuinely care about the welfare and the education of people who go through their universities.

ALBANESE: What you can have if you have an Americanisation of universities –

PYNE: That’s just rubbish –

ALBANESE: – you can have a system which encourages closer links to industry and greater making of money for the institutions. I don’t cast aspersions on the VC’s. They’re entitled to put forward their view. But Australians support the university system that has served us well. It’s a system whereby students have access regardless how humble their beginnings and that has served us well.

FORDHAM: Let me go to state politics in New South Wales. The Opposition Leader Luke Foley has secured a preference deal with the Greens. The Greens declared that they would direct their preferences to Labor in 25 seats at the March 28 election. Christopher Pyne, the Greens and Labor back in bed together?

PYNE: Well of course they are and I will be interested to hear what Anthony thinks about this because he’s has spent a lifetime fighting the Greens in his own electorate and here is Luke Foley from Anthony’s own faction hopping into bed with the Greens, supporting their policies in a number of areas and making the choice for New South Welshpeople very, very stark. They can either have a responsible government led by Mike Baird which is getting on with the job, or they can have the Green-Labor alliance. Now, last time they had a Green-Labor alliance, in Canberra, they introduced the carbon tax. So goodness knows what Luke Foley will do with the Greens if he gets elected.

FORDHAM: Is this a case of whatever it takes, Albo?

ALBANESE: This is politics with preferences being granted in 25 seats. That means they’re not doing it in 68 seats – they are not giving us preferences.

PYNE: Twenty-five key seats.

ALBANESE: So for goodness sake, we are putting forward our own policies. Luke Foley is the former shadow minister for the environment. Labor has a proud record of supporting national parks. We saved the North Coast forests in New South Wales under Wran and Carr. We have a proud history when it comes to the environment. We are putting forward our own policies. The Greens are out there off the planet. They support, for example, no airport at Kingsford Smith. They want to shut it, but they oppose Badgerys Creek and Wilton as well. So I know people will be able to get in with a parachute into Sydney. I’m not sure how they’ll get out.

PYNE: And now you’re attacking the Greens.

FORDHAM: I’m just writing this down.

PYNE: Don’t you need to make a choice, Anthony? Your Labor leader is in bed with the Greens.

FORDHAM: I’m just writing this down Anthony – ‘the Greens are out there off the planet’. So is that the message that Luke Foley needs to hear and get rid of this preference deal in those 25 seats?

ALBANESE: There’s no preference deal. The Greens are choosing Labor ahead of the Liberals because Labor won’t sell the electricity assets that everyone in New South Wales and all of your listeners currently own. It’s a bad policy.

PYNE: You want to have your cake and eat it too.

ALBANESE: We’re putting ourselves forward.

PYNE: Luke Foley’s getting into bed with the Greens.

ALBANESE: Do you support the Shooters and Fishers policies that are going to give you preferences?

PYNE: Do you agree with the Greens that we should scrap the $18 billion coal industry in New South Wales?

ALBANESE: For goodness sake. Of course I don’t. We support Labor’s policy and what we’re asking for is primary votes.

PYNE: But you have an alliance with the Greens.

ALBANESE: We have no alliance with them.

PYNE: You’ve got an alliance with the Greens.

ALBANESE: That’s not true.

PYNE: And their policy is to scrap the $18 billion coal industry with 20,000 workers.

ALBANESE: That’s not true, Christopher, and you wouldn’t know. You probably haven’t been following the New South Wales election because the New South Wales election is a Federal Liberal free zone.

FORDHAM: Just let me jump in here. I’m guessing it’s more of understanding is it, this preference arrangement, as opposed to a deal, Albo? Is that what you are saying?

ALBANESE: Well the Greens are choosing to give their preference to Labor above the Libs which is about electricity privatisation because they know that that is a rotten deal.

FORDHAM: Let me find something you’ll both agree on. This Saturday thousands of Australian Defence Force personnel will take part in parades across Australia to mark the end of the war in Afghanistan. I don’t think there’s been anywhere near enough promotion of this

happening on Saturday. Many of my listeners have backed this up this afternoon to say they we didn’t even know that it was happening this Saturday. You would be both endorsing, and I will start with you Christopher, the fact that people get out there in large numbers this weekend and support the men and women who served in Afghanistan.

PYNE: Well definitely and as the senior cabinet minister in South Australia, I will be giving a speech on Saturday as part of the commemorations of Operation Slipper as it was called. I think a cabinet minister in every state and territory is giving a speech simultaneously about this very subject and we obviously want to honour the servicemen and women who fought in Afghanistan for our own safety, for our freedom and for the freedom of those people who have been benighted by the Taliban regime for all those years.

FORDHAM: Albo?

ALBANESE: Look it’s a great thing and we should welcome home people who served on behalf of us, on behalf of our nation. I think one of the things that we should regret (and on Saturday I was talking to some of the veterans themselves up in the Blue Mountains) is that those people who came home from Vietnam didn’t get celebrated. And I think regardless of what people thought of our involvement there, it is vital that we as a nation unite to support our veterans. I happen to support very much our engagement in Afghanistan. It is a critically important engagement supported across the spectrum and I think they deserve a big cheer. I have nothing but the highest admiration for people who put their lives on the line to defend freedom.

FORDHAM: Well let’s make sure we have plenty of Sydneysiders getting out there in force 10 o’clock Saturday morning George Street in the CBD.

ALBANESE: Good on you for promoting it.

FORDHAM: No worries.

 

Mar 16, 2015

Transcript – Radio Interview ABC Goulburn Murray

SUBJECTS: High Speed Rail, Four Corners, Tony Abbott.

INTERVIEWER: First up this morning, the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese is in Albury Wodonga this morning to call on the Federal Government to support the creation of a High Speed Rail planning Authority. Do you want High Speed Rail at the top of the current agenda or at the moment are there more pressing matters? How do you feel about that? Anthony Albanese, good morning.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

INTERVIEWER: You’re calling on the federal government to bring on your Private Members’ Bill to create a High Speed Rail Planning Authority. Can you just recap for us what the purpose of this authority would be?

ALBANESE: In Government we did a $20 million study that was published in two parts that found High Speed Rail down the east coast from Melbourne to Brisbane via Sydney and obviously via Albury Wodonga but other centres like Shepparton and Wagga Wagga, was viable. In particular it found $2.15 benefit between Melbourne and Sydney and that was largely on the back of the support from regional communities.

I then appointed an advisory group that included people like Tim Fischer, the head of the Business Council of Australia Jennifer Westacott, the head of the Australasian Rail Association, Bryan Nye. What they found was that you actually needed an authority to actually drive the change. Because it is across jurisdictions, you need to preserve the corridor, undertake the environmental approvals and basically get going on this project. But it needed a driver. We intended to do that were we re-elected in 2013.

We weren’t. So I put forward this Private Members Bill. We had funding of $52 million for the authority over the forward estimates. That was cut by the Coalition in last year’s Budget. But if they’re serious about it, you need a driver and the driver has to be an authority with the ability to work across jurisdictions.

INTERVIEWER: What would be the point of creating the authority before the government is committed to High Speed Rail as a concept in the first place?

ALBANESE: Well, we were committed and the new government says that it is. That’s why it’s important that it actually do something about it. Because it’s a long term project – obviously High Speed Rail – you wouldn’t make a decision today and be riding on the rail in a couple of years’ time – it will take substantial planning. The preservation of the corridor is vital and the preservation of the corridor issues are critical because unless you do that, then you could find yourself in a few years’ time saying yes to High Speed Rail, everyone wants to do that but we can’t because of urban growth or because it simply becomes impossible because of what has occurred along that corridor that has already been identified. That’s the important thing. A lot of the hard work has been done on that project. That why people like Ross Jackson, who I am here with this morning, are so keen on making sure this project is advanced. And other people in local government – not just Albury council but councils right along the route are very keen on this happening as well because they know that this could literally transform these regional communities and create economic opportunity here. It would also be good of course for the big cities by taking pressure off them.

INTERVIEWER: Ross Jackson being the Labor candidate for the seat of Albury. I was going to ask why raise this High Speed Rail question now when it’s not particularly really on the radar. Is that basically the reason you are talking about it – to try to bring a spotlight onto Ross Jackson’s campaign?

ALBANESE: Well Ross Jackson is a big supporter of this project. He’s not alone, he is the Deputy Mayor of Albury of course. What he tells me is there’s enormous support for High Speed Rail in this local community as he has been talking about this project as he’s been going around. This requires the support of not just the national government and that national leadership but it requires the support of state governments. Certainly if he were to be elected as the State Member for Albury he would have this project at the top of his agenda. If you could get to Melbourne in about an hour and to Sydney in about two, that would just transform the way this city works.

INTERVIEWER: One criticism that we have heard of very fast trains was as follows; that timeframe sounds good but that they won’t stop in most regional towns and they might only stop in Albury Wodonga. Wagga and maybe Shepparton. I mean people in those centres might use High Speed Rail but maybe to the detriment of the normal passengers’ services which might become unviable as a result. What’s your response?

ALBANESE: I don’t think that’s right. If you look at the study it showed for a start that High Speed Rail would be more expensive that the current XPT operation to travel on it, but it would be viable because of the two sorts of trains that would flow on the line. One is your three hour direct, non-stop Sydney to Melbourne, city to city which is very competitive to say the least with air travel door to door. It took me three hours at least to get from the city of Sydney to the city of Melbourne last week when you take into account the waiting times. It’s also more productive time though.  It showed that if you have High Speed Rail – and it would indeed stop at Shepparton, Albury Wodonga, Canberra, and there’s a Southern Highlands stop being envisaged as well – it would be of enormous benefit to those regional cities and of course those regional cities would grow which would also of course take pressure of the current country rail routes that operate in the form of the XPT. So it should actually be able to improve the service. It wouldn’t be on the same line. You need a dedicated High Speed Rail Line which is one of the reasons for the costs being relatively high in terms of construction. But the important thing about the work that was done it’s that it also identified the benefits. I met with people from the Japanese rail system just a fortnight ago in Canberra. The international community are climbing over each other to be part of this project whether it be from our region or the European operations from Spain, Italy and France. What we know is that it works. No-one anymore takes a plane from London to Paris, they are all on rail and for that sort of length of journey it can have such extraordinary benefits and open up economic opportunity and jobs here in the region and that’s really what it’s all about.

INTERVIEWER Let’s say your Bill gets up Anthony Albanese. What would your authority actually do first given that we don’t actually have a dollar commitment to build anything?

ALBANESE: We had the $52 million to enable it to do the planning work, to enable it to begin the EIS process. It would identify in terms of the purchasing of the corridor that is required. In practical terms, a lot of this will go through greenfields sites that won’t require purchasing of actual properties. In places like Sydney it would go underground, that’s the only way to do it in Sydney is essentially through a tunnel which would be 67km long to the north and the south. But you could have a property for example that was about to be sold for development, if that’s going to be on the corridor doesn’t it makes sense to make sure that corridor is preserved and purchased now rather than potentially one of the levels of government opening up that land, having development and then it creating a problem down the track? So that early purchase of land would be available and then future budgets need to obviously put more funding in for the purchasing of that corridor.

INTERVIEWER: Just last question to you Anthony Albanese, no doubt it hasn’t escaped your attention that Four Corners tonight on ABC TV has more revelations from behind the scenes obtaining text messages from the party Treasurer showing deep divisions over the Prime Minister’s office and his Chief of Staff Peter Credlin. So all of that continues to simmer along. You must be licking your lips at these things.

ALBANESE: This is a dysfunctional government. Tony Abbott and his team promised an adult government. What we’re seeing is whether it be on the organisation level, or the impact it’s having on real people, this is a government that is saying that unless its plans for $100,000 degrees are passed by the parliament this week it will withdraw funding for 1700 researchers in the scientific and innovation fields. That is just an extraordinary proposition, the problems is that Mike Baird isn’t standing up to Tony Abbott on any of these issues so you have an impact particularly here in NSW. You essentially have a bunch of people who think that they are still in student politics. It is time that this undergraduate behaviour stopped and the government actually acted in the national interest.

INTERVIEWER: Anthony Albanese, enjoy your time in Albury Wodonga, thanks for speaking to us today. Anthony Albanese is the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

[ENDS]

Mar 16, 2015

Transcript of joint press conference – Albury Train station

Subjects: High Speed Rail, NSW election.

ALBANESE: I’m here today with Ross Jackson, Labor’s candidate for Albury at the state election and I am here today to call upon the Federal Government and the New South Wales Government to support my High Speed Rail Planning Authority Bill.

We spent, when we were last in government, $20 million on the plan for High Speed Rail – a line some 1750km long from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Albury Wodonga and Shepparton. What that study showed was that there was particular economic benefit for the Sydney to Melbourne section, particular benefit because of the economic activity and jobs that would be created right here in Albury.

A High Speed Rail line taking people from this region to Melbourne in just over an hour and into Sydney in just over two hours would transform economic opportunity here.

The Federal Government has backed away from support for this project. They say they support it but they have walked away from the creation of this planning authority. They cut the $52 million that had been allocated in the Budget for this authority and they are using as their excuse a lack of support from state government, in particular from the NSW Government. This is important for regional economic development and I can’t think of any other single project that could create jobs here in this region other than a High Speed Rail line.

REPORTER: If Labor were in power how would you make it happen though?

ALBANESE: What we’d be doing is establishing the authority. That was upon recommendation of the advisory group that included people like Tim Fisher, Jennifer Westcott from the Business Council of Australia, Bryan Nye from the Australasian Rail Association. A unanimous recommendation that said that you need an authority in order to drive that change, in order to preserve the corridor, in order to proceed with the environmental approvals that will be necessary in order to turn this vision into a reality.

We know with an economic return of $2.15 for every dollar invested it’s a smart investment. It’s an investment in our future. It’s an investment in nation building and it’s the sort of vision that Ross Jackson has for Albury and that Australians and people in this region are crying out for.

REPORTER: Does Australia have the critical mass to make it viable though?

ALBANESE: We certainly do. We are a vast continent but we are concentrated along the corridor of this High Speed Rail line. That’s what makes it viable – a three-hour journey from Sydney to Melbourne, capital city to capital city, CBD to CBD. That’s very competitive.

I caught a plane to and from Melbourne from Sydney last Thursday. It took me more than three hours door to door. If a High Speed Rail line could deliver that, it would transform capital city transport.

But more importantly here, a rail line that went through this region could transform the region, take pressure off our capital cities. That’s why it’s vital for this region of Albury-Wodonga that this rail line proceed. All it requires is political will.

We know also that foreign investors are queueing up, people are queueing up to provide advice on how such a High Speed Rail line would work. We know that it’s occurring throughout the region – not just Japan that created a high speed rail line some 50 years ago – but also in China, in other parts of South East Asia and throughout Europe.

Anyone who travels to Europe will know that if you are going from Rome to Milan or London to Paris or Madrid to Barcelona, you do it by High Speed Rail. It has transformed those regional cities. That will take pressure off the big capitals. We need to grow our regional centres and there’s nowhere better to grow than right here in Albury-Wodonga that is well positioned to take advantage of such a line.

REPORTER: Do you reckon Ross Jackson has any chance of winning when Greg Aplin holds the seat by 27 per cent?

ALBANESE: I went and campaigned in Queensland in seats with a two in front in terms of the margin. What I know and in this region, you just have to look a little way to the south to see the sort of outcomes that happened at Shepparton in the last Victorian state election to know that you can have big turnarounds.

What we know is that the Liberals have taken this region for granted. The Nats have abandoned the field and the Liberals are essentially run from the northern beaches of Sydney.  Mike Baird and his best mate Tony Abbott don’t care about this region. Ross Jackson does and Ross Jackson will stand up for Albury.

REPORTER: Would a High Speed Rail not be in jeopardy of just passing through and taking tourists away from Albury?

ALBANESE: Not at all. We did the study and the study showed that in order to be viable you need two sorts of train journeys. One is the three-hour direct journey. But what really lifts up the value of the High Speed Rail line is those regional journeys. Stations that have been identified if you look at the study – the work has been done: a stop in Shepparton, a stop in Albury-Wodonga, a stop in Wagga Wagga, a stop in Canberra, a stop in the Southern Highlands.

That is what transforms the value. Why wouldn’t you want to live in a great regional centre such as Albury-Wodonga if you were one hour from the capital city of Melbourne and two hours from the capital city of Sydney and an hour from Canberra? It would really transform this region. That’s what makes it viable is those regional express trains on a High Speed Rail line making sure that those regional centres are lifted up economically.

This at the end of the day is about jobs. A High Speed Rail line is good for the economy, it’s good for employment, it’s good for the environment.

It’s also a much more pleasant experience. I’ll be today to travelling from Albury to get to Canberra where Parliament is sitting. I’ll be flying to Sydney. I’ll be waiting at the airport. I’ll be hustling on to a plane. I won’t have time to do any work on that plane. I’ll then get off. I’ll then wait for another plane. I’ll then be sitting on the journey to Canberra – won’t get any work done.

A High Speed Rail journey is a great experience. That is why people internationally have voted with their feet for High Speed Rail by travelling on High Speed Rail journeys. That’s why every on single line that has been built internationally  – the actual number of travellers has exceeded the forecast. Every single one.

If it’s good enough for France and Spain and China and Italy and Japan, it’s good enough right here in Australia and because of the pattern of settlement we have down the east coast, that is what makes it viable.

REPORTER: What kind of state government commitment would it require of the project was to go ahead?

ALBANESE: The state government needs to do the planning. The state government needs to do the environmental studies, needs to help with the preservation of the corridor, which is why you need an authority to co-ordinate planning in terms of the southern journey across Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT. That’s why that state government input and support is so critical.

When I raised this with ministers in the Baird Government when I was the federal minister who had commissioned this study, we didn’t ask them for money. We didn’t ask them for anything other than support. What we got was just cynicism. We’ll, that’s not vision. That doesn’t help the people of Albury and that is what Ross Jackson would bring as the Member for Albury.

REPORTER: Has NSW Labor made a commitment to this?

ALBANESE: Well I am here today. We’re not asking for funding. I’ve discussed the issue with Luke Foley. He’s supportive of High Speed Rail. We have here a candidate that would take to Macquarie Street passionate advocacy for this project because Ross knows what it would do for jobs here in Albury.

REPORTER: Last Friday the Victorian Government announced a sum of money as part of a rail development that side of the river. We’ve got one about 13km that way. Is that duplication or a waste of taxpayers’ money?

ALBANESE: Certainly what we need to do is have co-ordination on across the jurisdictions in terms of NSW and Victoria. That’s one of the reasons for going back to the vision of Tom Uren, one of my mentors in politics – he had a vision for this region of Albury-Wodonga – making sure that it worked together. Certainly we need to make sure that there is co-operation between NSW and Victoria.

REPORTER: So clearly that hasn’t happened here.

ALBANESE: Well I’m not going to comment on the specifics, but NSW and Victoria need to have a co-operative relationship, particularly in the border areas. One of the issues of Federation is that you do have a need for co-operation across our state boundaries. That’s one of

the reasons why today I am talking about the creation of an authority – an authority that would ensure that you had that co-operation across the different jurisdictions.

REPORTER: I’ll take that as a yes.

REPORTER: Ross, from a local perspective what would a High Speed Rail do?

JACKSON:  Well, effectively it you put Melbourne an hour and a half away the potential for this economy changes drastically. There’s a lot of support for High Speed Rail in the country. We have to look at this as the next Snowy Mountains scheme. It’s the next great nation building project that we have to push forth and ensure that it is there for future generations.

REPORTER: The Coalition said over the weekend that they will put in a new XPT train fleet. You sort of can’t beat that really can you?

JACKSON: The main thing to remember is that replacing the XPT is just replacing classic rail. We have a problem with classic rail and we are just upgrading the problem we have. If that $1 billion was actually put towards fast rail, what sort of outcome would we have towards the future? The press release itself – I’m a railway worker – there’s a lot of issues in that press release. There’s a lot of holes in that press release and there’s a lot of things I would like to see clarified in it

REPORTER: Such as?

JACKSON: It says that there will be a reduction of 25 minutes of services between Albury and Melbourne. Either they are paying for a signalling system increase in Victoria to take speeds past 130km/hr or they are removing stops on the line.

REPORTER: So you are saying it’s sort of a follow promise.

JACKSON: There’s holes. They should have thought it thorough a bit more.

 

Mar 9, 2015

Transcript of media conference – Pacific Highway, Newrybar NSW

Subjects; Pacific Highway funding; asset sales; electricity privatisation 

REPORTER: You were here when this was officially launched, I heard?

ALBANESE: I was indeed. Construction began here in 2012 and this was a part of the $7.6 billion that the former Federal Labor Government put into the Pacific Highway. Projects that have been completed like the Banora Point upgrade to the north, the Ballina Bypass just to the south. But throughout the Pacific Highway we invested $7.6 billion over 6 years. That is more than 6 times what the Howard Government invested in half the time. They had $1.3 billion. And now that the Coalition are back in charge federally, the investment has dropped.

In 2013, our last Budget, there was $1.023 billion for the Pacific Highway. This year in the Abbott Government’s first Budget there’s just $357 million – a fall of 65% in investment. That says it all about the National Party who continue to take this area and these communities for granted, which is why I’m here today with Justine Elliot and Janelle Saffin, our former Member for Page and our current Member for Richmond, but importantly with Paul Spooner, who’s our great candidate for Ballina.

What you have is federally the record of Labor as opposed to the Coalition, but statewise since the Coalition came to office, they’ve cut their contribution to the Pacific Highway, and last year we saw the extraordinary decision by the State Government to take money that had been allocated for the Pacific Highway and use it for a walkway across Moore Park to the Sydney Cricket Ground. That says everything about the National Party taking this community for granted.

REPORTER: So what does that lack of investment in Northern Rivers roads mean for locals?

ALBANESE: What it means is you don’t get big new projects under the National Party. It took Labor to get the Ballina Bypass done, to get this project underway, to do the Alstonville Bypass. On the way here I drove past the Byron Bay Parklands – a fantastic project once again funded by the former Labor Government. In Ballina when I arrived yesterday, I was reminded as I drove along the coast of the Surf Life Saving Club upgrade that we did in Ballina. It’s taken Labor Governments to invest in the North Coast. The National Party are tired politically, but they’re asleep when it comes to putting in new investment, whether it be local community infrastructure, whether it be for schools or hospitals, or whether it be for investment in road infrastructure. That’s important for all those people who travel on it, not just for locals, but it’s particularly important for safety.

REPORTER: And you’re also here today to talk about poles and wires?

ALBANESE: I am indeed. We have a state government that is determined to sell off assets that the people of New South Wales currently own. Now you only sell assets to private operators if the private operator thinks they’re going to make a windfall gain. And what we’re seeing with the preparation for that sale is government decision making deliberately trying to increase electricity prices in order to up the sale price.

REPORTER: Mike Baird has come out and said that the sale of poles and wires would only go ahead if they guaranteed in the next 5 years that it would decrease the cost of electricity.

ALBANESE: Well, he has no Plan B. That’s Mike Baird’s problem. With regard to that, there are two possible outcomes. One is the sale will not go ahead, in which case every one of his promises turns to dust instantly. Or second, the sale does go ahead, in which case there’s no real guarantee. What are they going to do, send a nasty letter? Once you have a for-profit system of a natural monopoly such as electricity, then prices of course can go up. You only need to look at what is happening South Australia whereby there’s more than $400 being made by the private owners of electricity from every household in South Australia. That’s $400 per household which could be put into education and health. The problem with electricity privatisation is that if the government says that they have a fiscal issue with long term funding of state government responsibilities, how does it make sense to sell an asset that is producing a return of $1.7 billion that can go into schools, can go into hospitals, can go into community services and go into local road upgrades? It makes no sense whatsoever which is why privatisation has been rejected by the people of Queensland and it should be rejected by the people of New South Wales. They have a big opportunity on Saturday March 28th to put electricity privatisation off the agenda for good.

REPORTER: Another point the Government did make though was that electricity prices went up 60% under Labor.

ALBANESE: There were some issues relating to infrastructure costs and gold-plating. They were federal issues and they were dealt with when we came to government through the reforms that Julia Gillard put in place. They were to do with the national electricity market and the failure of the Howard Government to put in place the appropriate regulatory measures. We fixed that when we were in Government.

REPORTER: So that wouldn’t happen again, there are reforms in place to stop prices rising again?

ALBANESE: Absolutely, the reforms are in place. There are two threats which could result in electricity prices rising. One is with regard to privatisation whereby you move to a for-profit system, but the second is the Abbott Government’s attacks on renewable energy. Their attacks on the Renewable Energy Target mean we’ve seen a flight on investment in renewable energy. The way the market works is like other markets – if you have greater supply you will have a decrease in price. What we’re seeing with the Abbott Government, supported by his best mate, here in NSW, Mike Baird, is we’re seeing pressure placed on the renewable energy sector. We’re seeing international investment shift offshore from Australia. We’ve seen an 88% decline in that investment – left already due to the uncertainty.

REPORTER: So would there be more investment in renewable energy under a state Labor Government or even a federal one?

ALBANESE: Absolutely. We supported the renewable energy sector. Under the former Labor Government, we saw an enormous growth in jobs, an enormous growth in renewable energy with the Target ready to be met. What we have with Tony Abbott coming into government is the remarkable situation whereby they had a review. That review found that the RET was successful, that it was creating jobs, that it was putting downwards pressure on prices. But they found it was too successful, so they want to wind it back. That is the decision of the Warburton review – that the Renewable Energy Target was too successful. It’s a bizarre logic that suggests that. One of the things that it butted up against was the determination of ideology for ideology’s sake. The people who will benefit from this sale is the owners, and also the lawyers and accountants in Sydney who will benefit from the actual process of the sale. People in regional areas such as this will cop it in the neck compared with people who live in metropolitan Sydney, and that’s why people who live in regional New South Wales are right to be particularly opposed to this measure.

 

Feb 27, 2015

Transcript of television interview – SKY News Australia

Subjects: Iraq, the Budget, Liberal Party leadership, children in detention, Max Moore-Wilton

KIERAN GILBERT: Now from our Sydney studio is the Shadow Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese. Mr Albanese thanks for your time.

ALBANESE: Morning Kieran.

GILBERT: First of all I want to ask you about the Prime Minister, he’s in New Zealand today, heading there later in the day. What’s Labor’s position when it comes to the prospect joining up with the Kiwis for an enhanced training mission in Iraq?

ALBANESE: Well that will be a matter for consideration when there’s proper discussions between Labor’s leader Bill Shorten and Tony Abbott. Of course the action up to this point in terms of Iraq has been bipartisan. This is something that’s spoken about between the respective leaders and defence ministers. It’s absolutely vital that that bipartisanship be continued.

GILBERT: On to some other matters and the Prime Minister is getting on with the job – visiting the cyclone affected areas yesterday and heading off to New Zealand as I say later in the day. You would obviously be of the view the vast bulk of the electorate are fatigued with naval gazing, internal political naval gazing, and they just simply want the focus on them as the Prime Minister argues.

ALBANESE: They certainly are Kieran. But they are also concerned that the focus on them from this government has been on attacks on them and on their living standards. Attacks on health, education pensions and the ABC and SBS – all things that the government said they would leave alone. A Budget that has an attack on fairness at its core. The problem with the Budget and the general approach to government from Tony Abbott and his team is that it hasn’t been about securing Australia’s future. It’s all been about winding back the gains of the past. Australians know that and that’s why they’ve reacted against this government. And what I saw in Canberra this week Kieran was Liberal Party huddles, people talking on their mobile phones in the courtyards, talking to each other – the campaign in earnest for who will replace Tony Abbott because it’s pretty clear that his leadership is over. It’s only a question of when and who replaces him.

GILBERT: A Labor MP told Mark Kenny with the Sydney Morning Herald that he’s got post-traumatic stress disorder – having flashbacks, can’t sleep because it’s all flooding back to him. It wasn’t so long ago that Labor was undertaking the same sort of scenario.

ALBANESE: Well certainly I believe, I’ve said very clearly, that the actions that were taken in June, 2010, were a mistake and damaged both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. What’s going on here though is that Tony Abbott and his team haven’t looked like the government from day one. They had a plan to get into government but they don’t have a plan to govern and it is obvious to Australians every day that that is the case. When you ask them about their position they go back into retreat – to  three-word slogans, to attacking Labor. The sort of actions this week where you had Gillian Triggs, the chair of the Human Rights Commission, hand down a report – that’s a report that’s critical of both the former Labor Government and the current government over an issue of substance. It’s titled the Forgotten Children because that’s what it is about – children in detention. And once again Tony Abbott has shown nastiness – attacking the player rather than the issue, attacking an independent statutory authority.

GILBERT: But on the substance the government has succeeded on that policy in terms of reducing the number of children in detention by any measure. Surely the Government deserves some credit for, through Scott Morrison initially, stopping the boats and, by doing that, reducing the number of children in detention from up near 2000 to under 200.

ALBANESE: What the report says Kieran is very critical of the fact that children were kept in detention for longer than was appropriate. Why? Because the government made a decision to not process applications deliberately to put pressure on the Senate, essentially using these children in detention as a bargaining chip with crossbench senators. That is inappropriate, just as the report is also critical of the former Labor Government. It’s critical of both sides of politics and what we’ve seen is this attack on an independent statutory officer, clearly a job offer being suggested – an inducement for her to resign because she can’t be sacked from her position and then the government unable to put a clear position about those events. Now they are the sorts of things that led to a premier in my state of New South Wales losing their job for offering an inducement. This is a very serious issue but it also highlights I think the government’s problem of just being relentlessly negative, acting like they were in Opposition. They just haven’t been able to transition into government.

GILBERT: Yesterday you, on another matter, just to wrap up, you put out a news release via your press secretary. I haven’t seen a news release like it – the shortest I think in Australian political history. We’ve got it. We’ll put it on the screen. You’ve heard about the departure of the chairman of the Sydney Airport Corporation Max Moore-Wilton and you are obviously very fond of Mr Moore-Wilton, Anthony Albanese, given that response.

ALBANESE: Well sometimes Kieran one word can say more than 1000.  My late mum used to always say: “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.’’ Well, I said one word.

GILBERT: You didn’t risk that.

ALBANESE: I think it got the message across.

GILBERT: I think so. Appreciate your time. Thank you.

ALBANESE: Thanks Kieran.

 

 

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

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

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