Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Nov 6, 2015

Transcript of television interview – Today Show, Nine Network

Subjects: GST; income tax, Bill Shorten’ Pacific Islands trip, Kitchen Cabinet

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: Welcome back to Today. Well it is a burning issue now at the heart of the Turnbull Government: Will the PM push through a hike in the GST before the next election? For more this morning, we are joined by Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese. Anthony, last night on The Verdict you made it clear that Labor will oppose the GST. We are going to speak about that in a moment. First to Christopher.  A lot of noise, Christopher, about the GST and tax reform. When will something actually be done?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well, the government’s got a plan and that plan is to talk about and then implement a new tax system that means that we have a tax switch away from income tax and towards other taxes that’s fair, that compensates all Australians and that ensures that we go forward with the revenue we need to pay for the health and education that Australians expect. Labor just wants to do their usual carping from the sidelines, pretending everything is fine while they rack up more debt. Labor is old politics. We’re new politics.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, yesterday we saw Malcolm Turnbull give a speech and not mention the GST. I mean, quite extraordinary. They say they’ve got a plan. They just don’t want to tell anyone what it is. The way that I’ll judge any plan is what is the impact on the pensioner, on the low income earner.

PYNE: Well Labor has $57 billion of unfunded promises …

ALBANESE: Well that’s just making up a figure. You are just making up a figure, Christopher.

PYNE: … on taxes that they oppose and on savings that they oppose – $57 billion they are going to pay for with their money tree in the back yard. This is what we saw with the Gillard-Rudd governments of course; this idea that you could just keep spending money, not raise the revenue that you need and just borrow from overseas. Well, we are not going to do that. Labor is old politics and we are not going to be like that.

JEFFREYS: Let me bring up Anthony’s plan. You spoke about it last night on The Verdict. Your plan in all this is to target multi-nationals and superannuation. The Australian points out today that that’s only going to raise $2 billion a year, which is 5 percent of the revenue lifting that is required. What else is the Labor Party going to do?

ALBANESE: That’s $20 billion over 10 years.

JEFFREYS: That’s not enough though to get us out of debt.

ALBANESE: Well, we also need to look at other measures but we need to judge them on the basis of fairness. The problem with the GST is that whether you or I or a low income earner make a purchase we pay the same rate, whereas for income taxes, they are progressive – the more you earn, the more you pay. One of the things that we can look at …

PYNE: Our income tax is too high in Australia.

ALBANESE: One of the things we can look at is… You might want to turn up to Sydney Christopher if you want to just give us a go.

PYNE: You can’t go on for ever Anthony. We can’t have an Albanese monologue this morning.

ALBANESE: In terms of the tax arrangements we know that there are 75 millionaires who earned a total of $195 million who paid just $82 in tax in 2011-12. We need to look at measures which ensure that just because you’ve got an accountant and a lawyer, you can avoid tax. We need to make sure that people who can pay and should be paying are paying.

JEFFREYS: We need to look at the fact that the average Australian from next year will be paying 30 cents to the dollar for everything they earn. Christopher, you can have go now.

PYNE: Yes Sylvia.

JEFFREYS: Malcolm Turnbull’s speech yesterday, his address, was as poetic as it was light on detail. I’m sure you have to agree with that. So where do we go from here? When is something actually going to be done as I said and can you guarantee the most vulnerable Australians will not be left worse off?

PYNE: I can absolutely guarantee that if there are any changes to the tax system, the most vulnerable Australians will be the ones that we look after first because we want to make sure that the people who have the least to be able to pay are the ones that are protected and supported by the government. Malcolm Turnbull said yesterday we want a high-income, high-wealth, generous safety net in Australia and we can have it. And by the next election, which is still 12 months away by the way, there’ll be a very clear outline of a new tax system from the government. You hit the nail on the head Sylvia before when you said that Labor wants to try and trick people into pretending …

JEFFREYS: That’s not what I said.

PYNE: With a few changes around the edges …

JEFFREYS: Those aren’t my words.

PYNE: With a few changes around the edges they can somehow solve every financial problem for the tax system. You and I both know that is not true. The Australian knows that and the public knows it’s not true. There needs to be widespread tax reform to pay for the health and education that Australians expect. Jay Weatherill, a Labor Premier, and Mike Baird, a Liberal Premier, started this debate. Labor doesn’t want to be in the debate. They just want to try and win elections because they are still trying the politics of the old world, rather than the politics of the new (inaudible).

JEFFREYS: You must be concerned at least that this whole debate will take some of the wind out of Malcolm Turnbull’s sails?

PYNE: No, I’m not concerned. I think the Australian public are quite mature. They are very sophisticated. They know that we can’t go on as you pointed out with income taxes rising every year because of bracket creep. They want a government with a plan. They don’t want an Opposition who simply say everything is fine, we don’t need to change anything. We can just borrow more money overseas and get ourselves further and further into debt. That’s Anthony’s plan. That’s not our plan.

ALBANESE: Well, we don’t know what your plan is. That’s the problem here.

JEFFREYS: There’s been a noticeable absence from the tax debate this week and that is one Bill Shorten who has been very busy across the Pacific, shuffling his way across the dance floor. This moment was the moment that received the most coverage of the Opposition Leader’s Pacific Island tour. Anthony, has this been a wasted opportunity?

ALBANESE: No, not at all. Bill Shorten was there talking about climate change but having a bit of fun there, respecting the cultures. It gives hope to dancers everywhere.

JEFFREYS: How, how does it give hope? It’s like watching a horrible Blue Light disco.

ALBANESE Well it’s all relative. It’s all relative.

PYNE: Anthony would never have done that.

JEFFREYS: He does realise there are no votes to be won in Kiribas doesn’t he?

ALBANESE: I think our leaders travel overseas and he went there and to Papua New Guinea and it’s good that we have good relations with our Pacific neighbours.

JEFFREYS: You are right. He did travel and he did go overseas to the Pacific islands (inaudible).

ALBANESE: It’s a bit better than making jokes about people drowning in the Pacific, which is what Peter Dutton did.

JEFFREYS: All right.

PYNE: As a dancer he makes a better politician, I think.

JEFFREYS: The two of you did come together this week for a cooking session in the kitchen for the ABC’s program Kitchen Cabinet. What did you take from your experiences of rolling dumplings together?

PYNE: Dumplings are for everyone. That was my take-out.

ALBANESE: It was good fun and we both avoided getting cameras in our respective kitchens, which was a good thing.

PYNE: That’s true.

ALBANESE: And we also had assistance with the cooking which was a very, very good thing given …. Look at Christopher’s little dumplings. I mean seriously!

PYNE: He can’t help it can he? My dumpling tasted delicious. It’s the tasting. It’s the tasting, not the looking.

ALBANESE: Micro dumplings.

PYNE: It’s the tasting, not the looking.

JEFFREYS: Well, it sounds like we are going to have to redo that segment in this kitchen so that we can be the judges of that.

ALBANESE: Without bits hanging out of the dumplings. Look at all the bits hanging out of his dumplings, so to speak.

PYNE: (Inaudible).

JEFFREYS: We’re going to end on the dumplings this morning. We’re going to do a rematch right here in this studio by the end of the year. Gentlemen, thank-you for your time this morning. I want to see what your dumplings throw up, for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 4, 2015

Transcript of television interview – SKY News, PVO Newsday

Subjects: GST; superannuation, tax avoidance; Gary Gray

PETER VAN ONSELEN: Thanks very much for being there.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Peter.

VAN ONSELEN: Let’s get straight into Tony Shepherd. He saying Australians have to get used to paying more tax if we want to maintain the kind of services that government currently provides. Do you accept that?

ALBANESE: Well I think certainly in terms of the tax mix the idea that you can have more and more services and infrastructure with less and revenue certainly isn’t right. But you need to get the balance right. We need to look at both expenditure and revenue and certainly I think Tony Shepherd – I’m not sure of the context of his comments – but I am sure that that would have been it, knowing Tony as I do.

VAN ONSELEN: From his perspective he’s arguing for GST. I’m sure that we can have a very different perspective from yourself on that in a moment. But the general principle from him is more tax – like it or not if you want to pay for the kind of services we have and the ongoing cost in an ageing society and so forth that are attached to that. Is your point, Mr Albanese, that yes, more tax is probably unavoidable but equally we need to look to try to contain spending as and where we can?

ALBANESE: Yes but also that tax should, I think, be kept to a minimum in terms of the rates. I’m not an advocate of increasing rats of taxation. What I would say is this: That we need to make sure that people who should be paying tax are paying tax. That’s why measures such as the multi-national tax measures put forward by Labor are important. That’s why the measures on superannuation that essentially allow the very top end to avoid their obligations through manipulating the superannuation contributions need to be looked as well. And if you look at that then you’ll find the revenue verses expenditure equation ends up being very different. My concern about the GST of course is the inequity in it; is the fact that the pensioner pays the same as the billionaire when they make a purchase and low and middle income earners of course spend far greater of their income on the necessities of life and that is a major concern. I think that should be considered. I raised an issue the national conference about the fact of looking at the Buffett Rule should be considered and I note that the government in Joe Hockey, when he was treasurer, said that would be looked at. There’s a real concern when you have people who are very high income earners who use taxation arrangements and smart accountants and lawyers to get out of their obligations, something that average PAYE taxpayers certainly don’t do.

VAN ONSELEN: But going back to the GST for a moment, I mean surely there’s capacity to alleviate some of your concerns through compensation. Those same concerns existed when the carbon tax was introduced – that if it was passed on to consumers by businesses paying it that therefore lower income earners might be stung. But that was overcome by the compensation measures. I guess what I am asking is why does Labor rule out the GST carte blanche rather than think about ways that it could be tailored to allow for safeguarding the areas you are worried about?

ALBANESE: It’s a matter of your priorities Peter and why would you look at increasing at a tax that is by its very nature regressive? There are a range of taxes that aren’t regressive – that are progressive and that impact more on those that can more afford to pay. The government isn’t looking at that. The government is

looking at increasing the regressive tax and decreasing the progressive taxes that are there that scale up the higher the income that you earn. I am certainly not against taxation reform. But I do think you need to look at the impact of it and you need to look at issues including particularly tax avoidance in this country.

VAN ONSELEN: What about this though: You’ve got the Liberal Party, the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, doing some of the things you are talking about. They are looking at tax avoidance, they are opening the door to superannuation which Tony Abbott was simply not prepared to do. Yet he is making these concessions, the new Prime Minister, yet Labor continues to play old politics you could say about the GST.

ALBANESE: Well, old politics if you want to define as the person on $30,000 a year paying the same as the person on $30 million a year then I am happy to be identified with it. Old politics, if it is about progressive taxation measures, then I am happy to be identified with that as well. The GST is fundamentally an unfair tax. It’s a regressive tax by its very nature and what I want to see is a comprehensive debate on taxation particularly looking at the impact of it. Unless you do that then you are having a somewhat unreal debate. And Malcolm Turnbull could fix superannuation by the end of this year. You have Labor’s position very clear. He can go into the Parliament- unlike the GST that requires the support of states and territories, it’s quite complex to change – he can fix some of these measures that would assist in boosting the fiscal position of the government. He could do that in the remaining three sitting weeks. They’ll sail through the House of Reps and the Senate. I think he would get a big tick were he to do that.

VAN ONSELEN: We will wait and see when Parliament returns. Mr Albanese, I put out a tweet asking for any viewer questions for you. One that came in was about the situation with Gary Gray in Western Australia. I wonder if you are aware of this. He’s refusing to sign the parliamentary candidates’ pledge and he’s of a view that he could be in trouble with his preselection because of it. What’s your response to that?

ALBANESE: Well, that should be fixed. This is an archaic pledge. My understanding is pledging to be bound by the WA conference. As a federal candidate, what he is bound by is the national platform of the Labor Party and that is the pledge that we sign. My understanding is this is an outdated measure that has remained in WA. I am sure that common sense on the national executive will prevail and Gary Gray will be allowed to context the preselection.

VAN ONSELEN: Let’s hope so. He’s one of the better performers in my opinion at least.

ALBANESE: Gary Gray makes an outstanding contribution to the federal shadow cabinet. He was an outstanding contributor to the previous cabinet. And he is someone who I think has very strong connections with industry and he’s someone who happens to be a friend of mine to declare an interest there. I think he is a very good human being. From time to time he will ruffle feathers. He says things I don’t agree with from time to time. But the thing about Gary is he will put forward his views, debate them out and then go with the collective decision and that’s the sort of person that you want making a contribution.

VAN ONSELEN: Just a final question, I know you’ve got a meeting to get to. But on the GST, Laura Jayes was up on set with me earlier saying that behind the scenes in the Labor Party there seemed to be people that are suggesting that they understand the need for something like that if it can be tailored correctly because of the volume of revenue that it would bring in. Kristina Keneally didn’t quite go that far, but she had heard similar things internally. Your reaction to that? Are you hearing the same things internally?

ALBANESE: What I say publicly is the same as what I say internally Peter and what I know is that the Labor Party fundamentally has issues with regressive taxation. We are a political party with social justice at its core and you don’t advance social justice by saying that we need a tax cut for the top end of town at the same time as we’ll hit the bottom end with an increase in taxation

VAN ONSELEN: Anthony Albanese always a pleasure to have you join us on the program. Thanks once again.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

 

 

 

Nov 4, 2015

Transcript of radio interview – FIVEaa Breakfast with David Penberthy and Will Goodings

Subjects: Marriage equality; Royal Commission into nuclear energy, GST debate; need to invest in South Australian infrastructure projects 

PRESENTER: Well, they are two of the most experienced political operators in Australia from either side of the ideological divide, and they are going to be slugging it out here on FiveAA breakfast at 8.30 every Wednesday.

PRESENTER: I’m looking forward to this, David.

PRESENTER: Absolutely. It’s going to be a lot of fun. The Member for Sturt and Industry Minister Chris Pyne and the Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, good morning to you both and thank you so much for joining us here on FiveAA breakfast.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Dave, good morning Will, and good morning Anthony. Thanks for having us.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Penbo, g’day Will, g’day Christopher.

PRESENTER: Guys, you’ve got a bit of form with this over the years. You’ve done stints on the Today Show. You do a bit of stuff on Sydney radio, so the format is always plenty of fun so you can get stuck into each other as much as you want.

PYNE: We might get stuck into you instead!

PRESENTER: Hang on. That’s not how this is meant to be.

ALBANESE: We’re in different cities here, so I’m on Christopher’s home turf. We do Ben Fordham in Sydney on – this afternoon, in fact.

PYNE: Indeed.

PRESENTER: Who generally wins that one?

ALBANESE: My home field.

PRESENTER: Well, it’s good that you’re playing an away game for each other, Albo.

ALBANESE: Ben Fordham usually wins.

PRESENTER: Guys, we wanted to kick off with the issue of same sex marriage. It’s quietened down over the past couple of weeks but the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop breathed new life into it yesterday when she made these comments.

[AUDIO] JULIE BISHOP: I think the Australian people should have their say. I have absolutely no concerns about it myself but I know that there are a lot of people who are deeply concerned about the issue.

That’s why I think a plebiscite where the Australian people get to have a vote on it, on an issue as fundamental as this that goes to the composition of our community, the way we treat each other, how we feel about each other.

I think that’s an important issue for a plebiscite and that’s why I support it and look forward to the Australian people having their say.

PRESENTER: We’ll start with you, Chris. Do you think that Malcolm Turnbull, who is obviously a supporter of same sex marriage, has been true to himself by sticking with the process which Tony Abbott laid out?

PYNE: Well, the party room had a many hour debate about the process and while I was on the side of people who believe we should have a free vote in the Parliament, the view that was overwhelming was that we should put it to the people. The only poll published on that shows that 70% of the public like that idea.

They want to have a say on an issue which is going to be quite important to our society and so what’s wrong with giving the public a say? I want everyone to have a free vote, whether it’s me or Anthony or you and Will or the general public, and then once the decision is made, the Parliament will implement whatever that decision is.

PRESENTER: What about you, Albo? You’re from Labor’s left which has long championed this cause. What do you think of the plebiscite process? Are you worried, particularly if you have an equally funded yes and no campaign, that it might flush out some sort of ugly hostilities toward gay people?

ALBANESE: I’m not worried about it. I know that it will happen. Anyone who has a look at the sort of content of the emails that we receive knows that an equally funded yes and no campaign will unfortunately bring out some of the more bigoted elements.

You can of course have different positions on marriage equality, and still have respect for individuals but for some people out there, that’s not the case. We’ve seen homosexuality linked to bestiality, for example and quite hurtful comments.

I am concerned that this idea of a plebiscite is essentially a cop out by the Liberal Party room. If you ask people, do you want a plebiscite on the GST, I’m going to war, do you want a plebiscite, on paying taxes, of course people will say yes.

PYNE: I think the Irish managed it very well. I have great faith in the Australian public to be able to have this debate in a sensible way. Almost every election is conducted in a sensible way. There are always funny elements on all sides of debate and having faced eight elections, and I think Anthony’s faced seven, we see plenty of extreme views. But that doesn’t mean that the great majority of the Australian public can’t have a proper debate, and if the Irish can manage it, I don’t see why we can’t.

ALBANESE: We have a system in Australia whereby parliamentarians are elected to make decisions. We know what the overwhelming of the public think about this and the truth is if this change was made, for the overwhelming majority of Australians it would make absolutely no difference to their life.

PRESENTER: Do you worry, I’ll switch it back to Chris Pyne, if I can Albo, do you worry that as we saw with the republican referendum back in 1999, I mean you’re a republican, you support gay marriage, do you think that it’s easy to run the negative campaign against it saying, oh, we’re going to have to go and vote on this, it’s going to cost so much money, a lot of that negativity will feed into it and harm the yes vote?

PYNE: I think there was a vast difference between the republic debate and this debate. I think a lot of Australians who are very sensible thought that there was no need to change our constitutional model, because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That worked very well with the Australian public. I think with this debate, the overwhelming view is that it’s time to change, that in my case, I think there are so many children now of same sex households that they deserve some legal stability around the households in which they live. I think the world has changed dramatically.

When my 86 year old mother is saying “let them in, why wouldn’t we want them to be part of what we have? We value marriage, if they want to value marriage why would we exclude them”, I think that’s a very big change in society and I don’t think that this will be conducted in a negative way. I think it will be seen as a big positive for Australia.

PRESENTER: Speaking of another large and sometimes emotion fuelled debate, nuclear power and engaging in the nuclear fuel cycle has been a discussion that has been enabled largely in part thanks to Premier Jay Weatherill, a member of Labor’s left faction here in South Australia’s Royal Commission into the nuclear fuel cycle.

We had the Prime Minister in the studio last week who said that after chatting with Brett the cook he’s largely supportive of the concept and there’s some value in engaging in it. Is it time for the Labor left faction federally, Anthony Albanese to engage in that debate as well?

ALBANESE: I have a very firm view on this, and it’s been a consistent view, which is that when someone can show me that there’s a solution to the issue of nuclear waste then I’m prepared to have a further discussion about any involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle. But whilst that remains an outstanding issue, I don’t think it can be just wished away. That’s my concern. It’s one I’ve held for a long period of time.

I respect the fact that Jay Weatherill, as is his right, as the Premier of South Australia is having this inquiry, but hopefully that’s one of the things it’ll look at, because those issues haven’t been resolved, certainly to my satisfaction, and I don’t think to anyone else’s either. It’s a case of putting off what the problems are in the nuclear fuel cycle for someone else to deal with.

PYNE: There are countries around the world which have managed to solve the issue of the storage of nuclear waste, so I think that is a bit of an old fashioned argument. I certainly welcome the Royal Commission in South Australia being conducted by Kevin Scarce. You couldn’t accuse Kevin Scarce of being a Labor or a Liberal lackey, so he will come up with fair and reasonable findings on all of these issues and I agree with Anthony…

PRESENTER: I thought you previously said, Chris Pyne, that it was just a distraction from the Repat and the Modbury Hospitals closing?

PYNE: Well, it might have been at that particular time, but when it hands down its findings hopefully…

ALBANESE: Don’t look for consistency from Christopher.

PYNE: ..sooner rather than later. Well, you’re so consistent that you’re still arguing about things to do with nuclear waste that people were talking about in the seventies.

ALBANESE: Mate, there are ships floating around the world with waste on them that don’t land. There is an ongoing issue, Christopher, with nuclear waste.

PYNE: You just don’t want to fall out with your left supporters, that’s all that’s about.

ALBANESE: Not at all.

PYNE: Well, I’m looking forward to the Royal Commission’s findings and if Kevin Scarce can convince the Australian public through his Royal Commission that we should go down the track of investing in a nuclear industry, well I’m interested in having a look at it. I’m not convinced but I’m happy to look at it.

PRESENTER: Hey, we want to switch now to the GST. Christopher, are we going to see you walking around Burnside Village with a ‘vote for me and I’ll put the GST up to 15%’ placard?

PYNE: I’d love to be able to go and campaign at Burnside Village but the proprietors of Burnside Village don’t want any people like me hanging around, handing out my leaflets.

ALBANESE: If you took that principle, you’d never go anywhere, Christopher!

PYNE: That’s right. I think I should just gate crash Burnside Village and hand out my leaflets.

PENBERHTY: “Man arrested at Burnside Village.”

PYNE: I go all across my electorate handing out leaflets and talking to voters, but Burnside Village won’t have me. It is a real problem.

ALBANESE: You’re not welcome in my electorate, either, mate.

PYNE: I am so. They love me in Grayndler. They love me.

PRESENTER: It’s a hard sell though, isn’t it?

PYNE: Look, we haven’t made any decisions about changing the GST. Obviously Jay Weatherill thinks it’s a good idea to increase the GST and hand over the money to the states for education and health.

ALBANESE: You’re the government. It’s not his decision.

PYNE: Well, it’s a state tax. There are other Premiers like Mike Baird in favour of increasing the GST and handing it to the states and also changing the tax mix. Look, I think we are mature enough as a country to have a debate about it, to have a discussion about it, but the Government is far from making a decision about it.

What the Treasurer is working on at the moment, of course is making sure we can live within our means and there will be a midyear economic forecast handed down at the end of this year, so we will see more then in terms of how we’re going fixing Labor’s mess.

PRESENTER: Hey Albo, we’ve got almost one in ten South Australians out of work. Why would the Labor Party be trying to demonise business and talk about, we’re going to go after the big end of town and companies and do something by jacking up company taxes, it’s going to make it less likely that businesses are going to hire.

ALBANESE: We’re not doing that at all.

PRESENTER: That seemed to be what Bill Shorten was archly hinting at over the weekend.

ALBANESE: Absolute nonsense. I was with Bill Shorten on Saturday at a public forum and what we were talking about was indeed the creation of jobs, about education, about health.

One of the things that they could do in South Australia to create jobs today is restore the funding for the Gawler line electrification that I put in the Budget when I was the Infrastructure Minister. Get on with that project which would create jobs today.

PYNE: If I was Bill Shorten, I wouldn’t be standing on a railway platform with Anthony Albanese.

PRESENTER: Well, he was the rank and file choice to lead the ALP.

PYNE: He was the people’s choice. There’s no doubt about that.

PRESENTER: Who knows, maybe this segment will be the springboard for a renewed tilt at the top job. Anyway, we’ll regroup next week. Albo, thank you to you and also to you, Chris Pyne, we will catch up with you every Wednesday and it’s great having you as part of our breakfast team at FiveAA.

PYNE: Thanks for having us.

ALBANESE: Talk to you next week.

PRESENTER: Cheers guys.

 

Nov 4, 2015

Transcript of radio interview – 2GB Ben Fordham with Christopher Pyne

Subjects: Bill Shorten visit to Pacific; enrol to vote proposal; national anthem in schools

BEN FORDHAM: These two are fully charged and ready to fire. Anthony Albanese, good afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day. It’s pretty ugly, the weather out there mate.

FORDHAM: Geez, that’s a nice positive way of starting things.

ALBANESE: I’m just saying.

FORDHAM: Just proving that you’re in Sydney, are you? Alright now, Christopher Pyne, what about you?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well, I’m actually in Canberra, we had Cabinet today. So I’m in Canberra, I’m on my way to Sydney for the industry ministers council meeting tomorrow.

FORDHAM: That’s sounds exciting.

PYNE: Yes, indeed.

ALBANESE: You could broadcast that live, Ben.

FORDHAM: Sounds fantastic. Now, what time was the Cabinet meeting and have there been any leaks out of it yet?

PYNE: No.

ALBANESE: He just leaked the fact that it was meeting.

PYNE: We meet every week.

FORDHAM: It does leak.

PYNE: Cabinet is as tight as a drum.

FORDHAM: Were Bill Shorten’s dance moves discussed in Cabinet today? I’ve put a video up on 2GB.com; the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten dancing with locals in Kiribati in the Pacific Islands. It’s gone viral. Now look, I want to ask Anthony Albanese for his honest assessment of his boss’s dance moves.

ALBANESE: All of us over the age of 25 get a bit ordinary when it comes to dancing. What Bill was doing was showing respect for his hosts. I remember a great photo of Paul Keating with the full Papua New Guinea head dress.

FORDHAM: He was carried in, wasn’t he?

ALBANESE: It was fantastic. Carried in like an emperor. When you visit foreign countries, Julie Bishop wore of course a head dress when she was in Iran recently, there are things that you do when you pay respect to people’s customs. Malcolm Turnbull did a nose kiss; I’m not sure what the formal term is, in New Zealand. The Maori nose kiss.

PYNE: I think Anthony’s being very generous. I think as a dancer Bill Shorten makes a good politician.

FORDHAM: So hang on, you’re saying Bill Shorten is a good politician?

PYNE: He should be better off as a politician than he is as a dancer. I think your listeners know exactly what I’m saying.

FORDHAM: Well it’s up on 2GB, people can see for themselves. Christopher, I don’t think you’ve even been filmed dancing before. I know you correctly selected the winner of The Bachelorette recently so you’ve got that score that’s fallen your way.

PYNE: When it comes to popular culture I’m right in front.

FORDHAM: Yeah… you have avoided any dance moves I think on camera but anyway we’ll see how long that goes for. Now, onto some serious business. A New South Wales MP has proposed an idea to get all young Australians voting in elections.

Currently 25% of Australians aged between 18 and 24 are no registered to vote. So a quarter of them are not, that’s around quarter of a million people. Alex Greenwich, who’s the independent MP for Sydney, we’re going to talk to him after 5pm, he says young people should not be allowed to get their drivers licence or proof of age card unless they’re enrolled to vote.

Let me go to you first of all, Anthony Albanese. I know Bill Shorten was talking in the last week of lowering the voting age. What do you think of this idea from Alex Greenwich?

ALBANESE: It’s certainly an interesting one. He’s essentially putting forward a proposal to make sure that people comply with the law. Of course, being on the roll is compulsory. It’s an obligation that we have in Australia. I do support compulsory voting.

Whether this is a good idea or not, I think it’s an idea from left field. Certainly when I was at school, one of the things that occurred, I don’t know if it still occurs, that was a long time ago of course, people came in and made sure you were on the roll, once you were within a distance of being 18 and I think that probably is a preferable way.

FORDHAM: Alright, let me switch it, flip it to you Christopher if I can for a moment. What do you make of the idea of saying to young people, look, you can’t get your driver’s license or proof of age card unless you’re enrolled to vote.

PYNE: Look, getting your driver’s license is voluntary. Enrolling to vote and voting is compulsory, so I think leaving something that’s compulsory to something that is voluntary is a daft idea. Sounds like Big Brother.

One is state, the drivers licence, the other is federal and state and so linking things that are entitlements under state law to things that are compulsory under federal law? I don’t think Alex has really thought this through very deeply. It sounds like Big Brother to me and I’m not enthusiastic about it at all.

FORDHAM: We do go out of our way to try and force people to do something that many of them don’t really have an interest in. I mean, it should be voluntary anyway, shouldn’t it Christopher?

PYNE: No, I’ve always been in favour of compulsory voting for a couple of reasons. If you look at the UK and how much they spend to get the vote out, it’s about a third of all the costs of at election time, which is about thirty million pounds, to get the vote out, and I also think that every Australian who votes because they’re part of the system, they have a say in who the government is.

They can’t just say well look, don’t blame me; I had nothing to do with it. It means the whole of the Australian community has a buy in to the election outcome whether you voted Liberal or Labor, or for one of the independent parties. So I’ve never been in favour of voluntary voting.

FORDHAM: Albo?

ALBANESE: Unity ticket on that one.

FORDHAM: Your boss Bill Shorten recooked the old idea of, oh, you know; let’s allow the 16 or 17 year olds to vote. We’ve heard that argument so many times. Was it out of sheer desperation or a lack of the spotlight that Bill Shorten brought up the voting age to vote again?

ALBANESE: Not at all. He was floating an idea. He hasn’t said he’s committed to it.

FORDHAM: Thought bubble!

ALBANESE: The fact that we’re discussing it now shows it was effective.

PYNE: It’s an old chestnut [inaudible]

FORDHAM: That’s what I should have said when I was a young bloke, if I was chatting up a girl and she made it clear she wasn’t interested, that’s what I should have said; oh, I wasn’t actually asking you out, I was just floating the idea.

ALBANESE: How did that work out for you, Ben?

FORDHAM: I wouldn’t be so brazen to even try that as an excuse, but anyway we’ll put that one in the waste paper basket. Mr Pyne, your replacement in the education portfolio, Simon Birmingham made a comment on Q&A on Monday night.

I couldn’t believe it, he was discussing students walking out of their national anthem in a Melbourne school and I think we discussed it all together. Mate, instead of calling out the behaviour as just about everyone has done, he condoned it.

He said “if there’s a legitimate reason in terms of somebody’s faith, whether it’s Islamic, or Jewish, or Christian or anything else, that for a few days or for a few weeks of the year it’s not appropriate for them to join in singing or other types of activities, then we should respect that”.

It sounds to me like he’s making excuses here and waving a white flag.

PYNE: Well, I think what he’s really saying is that it’s a free country and freedom of speech is something that we value, and no one can be forced to sing the national anthem if they don’t want to.

That’s a bit different to whether the national anthem is an offensive song to religious minorities. Twenty years ago or more we changed the words of the national anthem to take out all the gender specific references, and all the religious and colonial references and I thought that was…

FORDHAM: Sure, but what he’s saying here is into the future, if there are these kind of things that happen again into the future, if people feel, look, I don’t want to be here in this assembly for the national anthem because I have an objection to it, he’s saying fair enough, we all need to be a bit more understanding.

PYNE: What he’s saying, how I’ve interpreted what Simon is saying, and he’s a very good friend of mine, and he’s a good fellow, is that it’s a free country. And it is.

FORDHAM: So therefore, if you don’t want to sit there during the national anthem you don’t have to.

PYNE: Well, you can’t be made to. You can’t be made to sing the national anthem. But there’s nothing in my view that’s offensive about the national anthem.

FORDHAM: No, but when you’re at the school having a school assembly, all students are expected to be at the school assembly. You’re saying it’s fine that some students say, I’m bailing the moment the anthem’s played, I’m outta here, I’m not going to sit here as I’m required to do with every other student because I’ve got an objection to the nation anthem, and because the Education Minister thinks it’s okay, yes, no dramas, you can just leave?

PYNE: No. What I’m saying is that no one can be forced to attend a school assembly. No one can be forced to attend the national parliament. No one can be forced to sing the national anthem. That’s a freedom of speech issue. But the national anthem has been altered so that it’s not offensive to anyone and therefore it shouldn’t be a problem.

FORDHAM: Anthony, let me ask you about it. What’s your take on all of this? I would have thought that there’s one rule for everyone. If everyone’s expected to be at the school assembly, sure, if you don’t want to sing it, that’s up to you I suppose, but I think it’s bizarre that we’ve got the federal education minister excusing people and saying look, we need to be a bit more understanding here if people choose to walk out during the national anthem.

ALBANESE: The national anthem is something that unites us. It speaks about those who’ve come across the sea. One of the things about a school assembly is that unlike what Christopher said, it’s not actually voluntary, these things are compulsory and people should participate in it.

Of course, you can’t make someone sing but the idea that people will walk out, I think is really unfortunate because it does draw a divide for something that should be uniting. We’re a multicultural country. That means we respect people’s origins. But it also means that we have loyalty to Australia.

FORDHAM: Is Simon Birmingham soft, Christopher?

PYNE: The principal who made that decision got a real pasting.

FORDHAM: I know, but then you’ve got the education minister on the ABC defending it on Monday night. Is Simon Birmingham soft, is he?

PYNE: No, look I’m not going to start using that language about my Cabinet colleague. It was a freedom of speech issue. I think that’s fair enough. But I certainly love to sing the national anthem.

FORDHAM: I’m sure you do. Would you like to sing it right now, Christopher, to finish the segment?

PYNE: I’ve got a bit of a frog in my throat.

ALBANESE: Think of the listeners, Ben!

FORDHAM: I’ll talk to you both next week. Good on you gents. Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne.

 

 

Oct 30, 2015

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

 

Subjects: Newspoll; election date; Melbourne Cup

KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the show, it’s good to have your company. Well, another pretty bad week for Bill Shorten. Things have gone from bad to worse for him in the polls with the Labor leader plummeting to his lowest ever rating but will the axe fall on him before the next election? When will that election be? Joining me now is Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer and Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Nice to see you all.

KELLY O’DWYER: Nice to see you all.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Nice to be here in Melbourne.

STEFANOVIC: What’s going on?

ALBANESE: With what in particular? The racing carnival?

STEFANOVIC: Anything to get away from it.

O’DWYER: Nice try. Nice try.

ALBANESE: You’ve got flowers and all.

STEFANOVIC: I know, I know. When are you going to move on Bill Shorten?

ALBANESE: That’s not going to happen. We went through a process of electing Bill as the Leader. We’re going through what you would expect to happen after a leadership change on the other side. Malcolm Turnbull is having a strong period and it’s not surprising because the whole country, including Kelly and others, are breathing a sigh of relief that Tony Abbott’s gone and is across the other side of the world.

STEFANOVIC: The thing is if they go to an election, you won’t win at the moment. You’ll get smashed.

ALBANESE: Well, we’re not going to an election this week. What Malcolm Turnbull has to do, the big challenge is twofold. One is to unite his team, and it’s clear that the Tony Abbott supporters are still very raw about what happened to him, knocking off a first term elected Prime Minister. Secondly, he’s got to match his rhetoric with policy. Here in Melbourne, where a billion and a half dollars has been sitting in a bank account, not being able to be used for infrastructure, finally this week the Government has acceded to Labor’s call to put that into projects. Build the Melbourne Metro, get that money creating jobs and building infrastructure.

STEFANOVIC: Kelly, when are you going to an election? You may as well go sooner rather than later.

O’DWYER: Well, it’s interesting. Just picking up on what Anthony said. I didn’t hear him say he’s not going to be running for the leadership of the Labor Party and I think it’s pretty clear –

STEFANOVIC: Well, he’s more popular.

O’DWYER: He is the choice of the Labor members.

ALBANESE: I did in fact say that. I say it every week on this show, Kelly. You should tune in.

O’DWYER: No, no, no, you haven’t. So you’re ruling it out forever and a day? You’re never running for the Labor leadership?

ALBANESE: Bill Shorten will lead us to the next election.

O’DWYER: See? So you’re not ruling it out.

ALBANESE: Well, in 2050 maybe when I’m sitting there as an experienced…

O’DWYER: You can be tricky about it. The truth is that the Labor Party is divided as it has been for many, many years. We know that Anthony is the person that most Labor members would like to see as leader.

STEFANOVIC: That’s true.

O’DWYER: You’re the people’s choice. That’s probably why you’re going to be backing Preferment at the Melbourne Cup.

STEFANOVIC: Now Kelly, you can’t back him so publicly. It’s humiliating for him to be so popular.

ALBANESE: You can’t do that and also speak about us being divided.

O’DWYER: I don’t say he’s that popular. I just say he’s more popular than Bill Shorten.

STEFANOVIC: He’s very, very popular. When are you going to an election?

O’DWYER: We’ve got a lot of work to do before we go to an election. We’re in no rush to go to an election. We are going to serve our term.

STEFANOVIC: April?

O’DWYER: We are going to serve our term. We have another 12 months to run.

STEFANOVIC: So you’re going to confirm on the Today Show you’re going to go another 12 months?

O’DWYER: Well, it’s not my decision. It’s a decision of the Prime Minister. But I know that he is absolutely focused not on the election, not on whether or not the Liberal Party wins but on doing the job we need to do for the Australian people.

STEFANOVIC: He’ll go before a tough Budget though, won’t he?

O’DWYER: Well, no. No. We are working very hard to deliver a sound and sensible Budget…

STEFANOVIC: It’s got to be tough love.

O’DWYER: You’ve only need to go back to the Budget we delivered only a number of months ago…

STEFANOVIC: You’ve wound back almost everything on it.

O’DWYER: Let me finish, Karl. A $5.5 billion jobs and growth package, which is with my industry for small business, the biggest boost, the most historic boost that we’ve ever seen. A 1.5% tax cut for small business, a $20,000 instant asset write off for those businesses that are setting up, an immediate deduction of all of the professional expenses that go into setting up a small business. A huge boost for small business and for those who are unincorporated, a 5% deduction for those people who are in unincorporated businesses.

STEFANOVIC: And when are you lifting GST?

O’DWYER: You know, we have –  I love the scare campaign that Labor is running on this.

STEFANOVIC: No, I’m just asking personally.

O’DWYER: We are talking about serious tax reform. We are not talking about raising taxes. A lot of people, when we talk about changing taxes think that we’re simply talking about raising taxes.

That’s not what the government is looking at. We are looking at whether our taxes are currently fit for purpose. Whether it’s harming our competitiveness as a nation. Whether it’s actually rewarding people for their effort that they put in or whether it’s actually penalising them. We’re looking at the full tax mix.

STEFANOVIC: When do you think they’re going to go to an election?

ALBANESE: Well, I think March 19 is a possible date.

O’DWYER: Is that what you’re campaigning for?

ALBANESE: It’s possible that they’ll go before the redistribution in New South Wales, which has been bad for the Liberal Party, is finalised. That would be a double dissolution. The problem they’ve got is having a Budget.

At the moment, Malcolm is going around and promising all things to all people. Their small business package was so good they sacked the small business minister a few weeks ago.

This is a government every time it’s brought down a Budget, it’s dived in the polls. They might well want to avoid that scrutiny.

STEFANOVIC: What’s your best guess for when they will go to an election?

ALBANESE: I think March 19.

STEFANOVIC: Anything to say?

O’DWYER: All I’d say is that I’m not so sure that he’s tuned into the Prime Minister’s thinking.

STEFANOVIC: You’re not ruling it out though?

O’DWYER: We’re going to be having a full term. We’ve got lots to do.

ALBANESE: Malcolm might have to make a tough decision if they go a full term.

STEFANOVIC: He’s got to make one at some point, you would have to think.

Let’s have a look at the Melbourne Cup, the race that stops the nation.

There are a couple of horses that we need to look at here. What do you think, who’s going to win?

O’DWYER: I’m a sentimentalist, so I’m going to be backing High Midnight, which is a Cummings horse – Bart Cummings’s son, it’s his horse. It will pay out big if it wins.

STEFANOVIC: You might be able to pay off the debt!

O’DWYER: I’m a sentimentalist. But I imagine Christopher Pyne, he would be backing Fame Game if he was here.

STEFANOVIC: I’m not sure Pyney is across the horses.

ALBANESE: No, I don’t think he is. Sport and Pyne don’t mix.

STEFANOVIC: Who do you like?

ALBANESE: I’m a mug punter. I’m one of those Melbourne Cup, once a year punters. I actually have to look and see the colour of the horses. A gray horse, I have no idea why. Sentiment, that’s all, there’s no logic to it.

O’DWYER: How’s that gone for you?

ALBANESE: It’s gone okay, actually. They grays have won a couple of times in the last decade.

STEFANOVIC: You’ve forgotten the name of the horse you’re tipping, haven’t you?

ALBANESE: Bondi Beach. Because I reckon, an Irish horse called Bondi Beach has got to have something going for it.

O’DWYER: This is Labor logic.

STEFANOVIC: I think Lloyd Williams is involved in that, which is always good. Great stuff. Nice to see you all, and have a great Derby Day.

 

Oct 26, 2015

Transcript of radio interview -RN Breakfast

Subjects: Malcolm Turnbull; bipartisanship; Trade Union Royal Commission; Coalition reannouncement of Labor infrastructure package; need for real action on climate change; Labor Party

FRAN KELLY: Anthony Albanese is the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Tourism who once famously boasted of how much he likes fighting Tories, “that’s what I do”, he said. Anthony Albanese, welcome to breakfast.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

KELLY: Malcom Turnbull seems determined to reset the political tone in the country. Is that what voters are crying out for, an end to the toxic, bipartisan way politics has been played since the hung parliament?

ALBANESE: They certainly are and I think there’s been a huge sigh of relief with the exit of Tony Abbott from the nation’s leadership and that’s what we’re seeing played out here. Since the day that Tony Abbott took over the leadership of the Liberal Party in 2009 on the basis of opposing what had been bipartisan support for an emissions trading scheme to take action on climate change, we saw a very toxic form of politics.

Firstly, Tony Abbott being a very effective opposition leader, just saying no to everything. I said he turned the Coalition into the Noalition. His failure as Prime Minister was that he didn’t transition from that into the nation’s leadership.

He kept acting like an opposition leader – aggressively opposing everything that the Labor Party stood for, holding inquiries and Royal Commissions into former governments, unlike any other government.

I think that the nation reacted accordingly and Malcolm Turnbull has picked up that mood and I think that is why he is playing this out.

KELLY: So he says he won’t hesitate to chuck out policies that aren’t working and make compromises to get them through the Senate, he won’t be afraid of the opposition saying it’s a back down or a backflip, because quote “an agile government is one that is prepared to abandon policies that won’t work and we have to stop describing everything, or using scare campaigns as a response to every change”. Will you play ball or will you cry backflip and cave in every time a policy is dumped?

ALBANESE: He’s got to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. The last major announcement from the Labor Party was in my area of infrastructure and Bill Shorten announced a ten billion infrastructure investment financing initiative, a series of loans, or grants, or seed funding. In his speech Bill Shorten stated that we shouldn’t just hand out grants – there was an opportunity to use the Commonwealth’s funding to leverage private sector investment. That was immediately opposed by the Coalition – by Warren Truss as the Minister.

They said it wouldn’t work and then I noticed on the weekend that Malcolm Turnbull had obviously read Bill Shorten’s speech because he came out in his interviews with his vision for the nation which was essentially exactly the same policy of using the Commonwealth’s balance sheet to mitigate risk, of being prepared to look at new borrowing for public transport and other nation building projects.

KELLY: So you welcome that approach?

ALBANESE: Of course I welcome it. But the point is that when Bill Shorten announced exactly the same thing two weeks earlier, the Coalition were out there lining up to say that they opposed that policy.

So there’s a role for the government as well as the opposition in responding to policy initiatives. And it does require Malcolm Turnbull, who is in a position as the Prime Minister to show leadership on these issues.

I was disappointed, frankly, on the response to Bill Shorten’s Brisbane speech on infrastructure, because infrastructure is an area where you do need bipartisanship, where most projects that are certainly significant projects will last longer than one term of government and chances are will last longer than the period in which the particular party that holds government when it is announced will hold office.

KELLY: Doesn’t the same go for all policy, and here we have Malcolm Turnbull on the weekend urging Bill Shorten to come and talk to him about reintroducing the ABCC. He said he’s very happy to talk to him about passing laws to curb corruption in the building industry.

ALBANESE: Get real. That’s just a wedge in terms of the union movement. When we’ll take Malcolm Turnbull more seriously, and what he should do, because he does believe in action on climate change, he is serious about that issue and he should be prepared to sit down with the Labor Party and talk about real action on climate change. Not the sort of action that Eric Abetz and the sceptics approve of, but doing something real in the interests of the ultimate intergenerational issue.

KELLY: But I’m not talking about climate change, I’m talking union corruption.

ALBANESE: Of course you are. Because that’s what the Coalition want to talk about.

KELLY: Yeah, but let’s look at this. The CFMEU on the weekend –

ALBANESE: I’m sorry, Fran. If you think that the CFMEU are more important than climate change –

KELLY: No I don’t, but I’m saying they’re two different issues.

ALBANESE: No. What we’re talking about here, if we are at all serious about long term working in a bipartisan way, then that has to be at the top of the agenda.

Other issues have worked quite well. To give Tony Abbott credit, he certainly tried to work with the Opposition on reconciliation and advancing the recognition of the First Australians. There are a range of issues that we should be prepared to talk across the board about.

KELLY: Including union governance?

ALBANESE: There are very strong union governance measures in place now.

KELLY: So no change there, no change from Labor?

ALBANESE: What about corporate governance? That’s the point. If you’re serious at all about a mature approach to politics then you have to do something other than be part of a government, which Malcolm Turnbull has been a member of, which has had Royal Commissions and inquiries into two former Labor Prime Ministers in Julia Gillard, over something that happened well before she was in politics, into Kevin Rudd and into Bill Shorten as Labor leader.

That’s the track record that we’ve seen, and if we’re going to use examples of the way to lift politics above the mud then let’s talk about the big issues that are facing Australia and our future; skills and education development, where we go in the Asian Century, the action that’s needed on climate change and all of those issues.

KELLY: Anthony Albanese, can I just ask you briefly and finally; the latest IPSOS poll puts Bill Shorten 46 points behind Malcolm Turnbull as preferred Prime Minister. You contested the Labor leadership after the last election and won the popular vote. Could you ever see yourself being a better match for Malcolm Turnbull?

ALBANESE: We made our decision. We went through that process. We had a democratic process. I accepted the result. The quote that you used earlier about fighting Tories was in a context.

Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd and their supporters were causing a great deal of stress inside the Labor Party, and what I said was that my priority wasn’t fighting internal issues, it was actually arguing the case to get Labor into government.

The way to get Labor into government is by showing the united form that we have and working together as a team. I’m a part of Bill Shorten’s team and I’d much rather be a minister in a Shorten Labor Government than the Leader of the Opposition.

KELLY: Anthony Albanese, thanks for joining us.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you, Fran.

 

 

Oct 23, 2015

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects: Gun control; Joe Hockey’s retirement; man buns

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: We’re joined now this morning by Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese. Christopher, first to you, good morning. Why does anyone in Australia need a gun that fires eight shots in eight seconds?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well, good morning Sylvia and good morning Anthony. Well, I don’t believe that they do. You’re right, Sylvia. We have the toughest gun laws in the world thanks to John Howard when he was Prime Minister, supported by the Labor Party I might add, following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. We have acted to stop the importation of semi-automatic weapons that fire eight rounds in eight seconds or more than five rounds, and that’s why this is now in the news, because some people in the gun lobby would like to see us allow that particular new type of weapon into Australia and the government has acted to make sure that doesn’t happen, and I assume that we have the support of the Labor Party.

JEFFREYS: So you can say with absolute certainty that this semi-automatic weapon, this lever fired weapon will not make it onto our shores?

PYNE: Well, the reason I’m being lobbied by some people in my constituency is because we’ve stopped that weapon from being imported into Australia and I think we’re now acting, we’ve acted on the basis of regulation, we’re going to make sure that the laws are toughened up, so that they can’t even attempt to bring those weapons into Australia and I think that is the right step, on behalf of the government.

JEFFREYS: Anthony, do the laws need to be tougher?

ALBANESE: No. The government has done absolutely the right thing here as John Howard did the right thing. It’s one of John Howard’s greatest legacies. I think it’s something that Australians should be proud of – the fact that the leadership of Australia, in a bipartisan way, supports strong gun control and you compare that with the United States where they’ve confused the concept of liberty with the right of any lunatic to walk down the street with a semi-automatic weapon. It’s embarrassing for the United States. About once a week we seem to hear of a catastrophic massacre as a result of their lax gun laws and I don’t want to see that here and I don’t think any fair minded Australian wants to see that either.

JEFFREYS: Well I think Australians are very proud of our record in that case. Christopher?

PYNE: President Obama has been virtually begging the US Congress to act in a way that is much more consistent with Australia’s laws. It’s something about which we should be proud and I think we’ll always have bipartisan support in this regard.

JEFFREYS: Alright, we’ve got to move on. We have a lot to get through this morning. Former Treasurer Joe Hockey bid farewell to federal politics earlier this week after 20 years in the job. In his valedictory speech, Hockey urged both sides of government to stop the revolving door of leaders. Gentlemen, are we done changing leaders?

PYNE: We are. The Liberal Party certainly is. I think Anthony Albanese might have his eyes on the top job and if I was Bill Shorten I’d be resting not very easily in my bed at night, but certainly the government has.

ALBANESE: Good try from a bloke who’s just been a part of knocking off an elected Prime Minister in their first term.

JEFFREYS: Well, they’ve got reason to feel confident this week, Anthony. How low can the polls go before you change Bill Shorten?

ALBANESE: Malcolm Turnbull has had a lift in the polls, as you’d expect for any new leader. But what we need is not just a change of style, but a change of substance and at the moment there’s all the froth and bubble but no real change in terms of policies.

JEFFREYS: But how do you expect to win an election when your leader is on a 21% approval rating?

ALBANESE: It’s a tough poll. There’s no question about that. But you expect that after a change in leaders. That’s what happened when Julia Gillard took over the leadership from Kevin Rudd. It’s what happened also when Kevin Rudd took over the leadership from Julia Gillard.

If you want an example of how every new leader gets that immediate lift, wait and see what happens when people have a look at the substance of Malcolm Turnbull. The substance is that the same unfair cuts are in play; 136,000 single parents will be affected by the cuts that they introduced just this week.

PYNE: Anthony, I think people are looking at Malcolm Turnbull’s substance and they’re liking what they’re seeing. They’re liking the tone of the government. The fact that we got the China free trade agreement yesterday is just another example of getting things done.

JEFFREYS: There were divisions within your own party on show yesterday, Christopher, on same sex marriage. What’s going to happen? Are we going to see this plebiscite before the election?

PYNE: Well, unlike the Labor Party, Sylvia, we want to give every Australian a free vote on marriage equality. Labor just wants to give the parliamentarians a free vote. Now, I think it’s eminently fair in such an important change in policy that after the next election, there will be a plebiscite. The plebiscite will be binding on the parliament.

No politician in their right mind would hold a plebiscite of the Australian public and then turn around and say whatever the decision is, turn around and say they’re not going to implement it. So the public will get their way.

JEFFREYS: It seems Malcolm Turnbull is considering the plebiscite before the election. Are you saying he’s not of sound mind?

PYNE: No, I’m saying that any politician that held a plebiscite and then ignored it would not be of sound mind and they wouldn’t be elected. We’re talking about holding a plebiscite after the next election; that’s our policy. When the plebiscite is held, whatever the decision, whether it’s yes or no to marriage equality, that will be implemented and if the  parliament or the government at the time tries to not implement the people’s will in the House of Representatives, well woe betide that leader.

JEFFREYS: Alright, let’s mix things up very quickly. I know you’re both very conservative men with very conservative style, but let’s have a look at what Christopher Pyne and what Anthony Albanese might look at with the very modern trend of a man bun, because it’s becoming a bit of a trend in politics in the moment. Mr Obama has led the way. There he is.

PYNE: Oh, no!

JEFFREYS: Anthony Albanese, down there in Marrickville. You’d fit in a treat!

ALBANESE: No, no. It’s a bit like all the young people around Parliament House. They all have beards. They’re all back as well. Neither of them are good.

PYNE: If I grow my hair long, Sylvia, I’ll have an afro.

JEFFREYS: I think there’s nothing wrong with freshening up politics in Australia and that’s a very good place to start.

ALBANESE: No. Man buns, we’ll leave those to the Greens.

PYNE: I’d look the one from the Hair Bair Bunch with an afro.

JEFFREYS:  Just not quite as cuddly, Christopher. Thank you to you both for joining us this morning.

[ENDS]

 

 

 

 

Oct 21, 2015

Transcript of radio interview – Ben Fordham Show, 2GB

Subjects: The Bachelorette; China Free Trade Agreement; Joe Hockey; Back to the Future

BEN FORDHAM: I’m here and I’m planning to talk to Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne about the Labor Party finally agreeing to support the Free Trade Agreement with China. But meanwhile, Christopher Pyne is busy outside the studio chatting to Harriet about The Bachelorette. Let me talk to you first Anthony Albanese. Good afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We don’t need him, mate.

FORDHAM: Have you been watching The Bachelorette?

ALBANESE: I haven’t. Not for a minute.

FORDHAM: I’m with Christopher Pyne. Hello Christopher.

PYNE: Ben, I have four children aged seven to 15. There’s nothing I don’t know about The Bachelorette. I have only watched three by I have managed to keep up with the entire, you know, story.

FORDHAM: Well, I have given up on it although I must admit I did watch the first few episodes. Who’s going to win then Christopher? Go on.

PYNE: It’s only now getting really interesting. I think Sasha is going to walk away with Sam. That’s my tip. I think she has liked him from the first moment they met. There was a real frisson between the two of them. That’s my tip.

FORDHAM: Albo, are you at all surprised by this?

ALBANESE: I’m not surprised at all, Mate.

PYNE: It’s a great show.

ALBANESE: I mean, I know as much about The Bachelorette as Christopher knows about rugby league.

PYNE: You’ve got to keep up with popular culture, Albo. That’s your problem. You are getting out of touch. You are moving behind the times.

ALBANESE: The idea of watching shows about people dating …

PYNE: Young people are watching very religiously.

ALBANESE: I get that. I get that.

FORDHAM: Christopher, I would like to hear you work this into one of you answers during Question Time.

ALBANESE: I don’t l know about that. I don’t think that’s possible.

(inaudible)

FORDHAM: Order, Order. Now listen, before we talk about the Free Trade Agreement with China, I have just been discussing Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who is the Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs. She addressed the National Press Club today and she spoke about what she called her wog name. And when she got married, her father said well maybe just be Concetta Wells. She said no, I want to keep the Fierravanti because I am proud of my wog name and my heritage. I note Christopher that you always call Anthony Anthony Albanese.

PYNE: That’s right. That’s how you pronounce it. It’s the Italian pronunciation.

FORDHAM: So Albo, everyone else says Anthony Albanese.

ALBANESE: People say all sorts of things. That’s why I tend to get Albo because it’s too hard.

FORDHAM: Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: Sure. It’s Anthony Albanese.

FORDHAM The Labor Party has finally agreed to a the Free Trade Agreement with China. Bill Shorten says he’ll now support the deal after the government agreed to his three conditions. So this will start delivering tariff cuts to businesses by the end of the year. It has taken some time Albo. Some would say that Labor has been dragging their feet on this deal.

ALBANESE: No, we haven’t. We’ve been after making sure that this deal is in the interests of the Australian workers and it’s a good deal today. What we have done is make sure that employers who are doing the investment facilitation arrangements under the CHAFTA – under the Free Trade Agreement – have to advertise jobs locally before turning to overseas workers. That’s the first thing we’ve done. That’s what we have said the whole way through and also we require 457 visa workers, if they come in in trades like electrical or plumbing, they have to obtain the relevant licence as well under our licensing provisions within 60 days of coming into Australia. So these are important safeguards to make sure that locals can benefit from the Free Trade Agreement and the Government and the Opposition, I think this is Parliament working as it should.

FORDHAM: All right. Let me bring in Christopher. Are these reasonable concessions, Christopher?

PYNE: Well, what the Government has done is provide a letter of comfort to the Opposition which clarifies what aspects of the China Australia Free Trade Agreement mean. The actual agreement is not being altered or changed but that letter of comfort has satisfied the Opposition. What the government is showing is that we can deliver big policy reform. This is a massive change to Australia, to the future … new mining industry, agricultural industry, innovative industries. This will mean a positive standard of living for Australians into the decades into the future.

FORDHAM: This letter of comfort that you refer to – does that mean the government has not agreed to Labor’s three conditions?

PYNE: No. What the government has done is explained, clarified, what some aspects of the agreement that Labor felt were ambiguous to what they actually clearly mean. That’s been enough to satisfy the Labor Party. I think this is a great example of Parliament working , of the new government trying to get things done.

FORDHAM: Can I just fling that one to Albo?  Albo, is that a fair summary of the whole thing. In other words, there haven’t been changes as a result of that negotiation?

ALBANESE: No, it’ not. There have been changes including …

FORDHAM: Not to the deal though?

ALBANESE: No. But that was always to be the case because you couldn’t change the deal.  If you change one element of it you have to go back and change the whole thing. We always accepted that. But what you had is a whole range of regulations around the way this could actually be implemented and one of the changes is to increase the minimum base rate of pay for these 457 visa workers up to $57,000 a year. Now that’s a very concrete change as well. Three elements were put forward. There was no ambit claim here.

FORDHAM: Right. Well as you’ve both …

ALBANESE: Andrew Robb and Penny Wong sat down. Both of them.

FORDHAM: As you both pointed out hopefully this is a sign of great things for economy and it’s going to help jobs and everything else and it is above politics. Now, speaking of being above politics, that’s what happens when a politician says goodbye. Today it was Joe Hockey giving his valedictory speech today, thanked his family, friends and staff, as you do. He also urged the, well, the Parliament to stop the revolving door of leaders and I suppose that’s a lesson for both sides. What did you make of the speech, Albo?

ALBANESE: I thought it was a very good speech. I didn’t agree with everything as you’d expect, but Joe Hockey has made an enormous contribution to public life and it was fantastic that his family were there for his farewell. I think he’s someone who certainly has my respect. I got a mention in his speech for working with him on the Badgerys Creek airport that we worked on for 20 years.  He’s someone who – I’ll tell you a story about Joe Hockey. Very early on in our first term, he was chair of the Sydney Airport Community Forum. People were massively affected by aircraft noise in the Sydenham area. And he came and sat with my constituents – no votes in it for him, no publicity – sat down about their concerns and we got things done. From that point on, I’ve had a positive personal relationship with Joe, and I wish him well.

FORDHAM: Good on you. Let me go to you, Christopher. There’s been some criticism, I just noticed a story online from James Massola at The Sydney Morning Herald this afternoon, saying there’s been some criticism from conservative members of the Liberal Party that Julie Bishop didn’t turn up to, or she was late to arrive, and that she didn’t make any public speech in recognition of Joe Hockey.

PYNE: Well, Julie was meeting with a delegation from the Middle East in her role as Foreign Minister and she came as soon as that was over, so I think that is a very unfair criticism. We had the same number of speakers as the Labor Party. We had the Prime Minister, Minister Warren Truss as Deputy Prime Minister, the Treasurer. Labor had the Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek as Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Treasurer so there was synergy about that. I enjoyed Joe Hockey’s speech. He’s a very old friend of mine. We’ve known each other since we were teenagers and we’ve been in lots of fights together, both internally and against the Labor Party. We’ve won a few and we’ve lost a few, but the great thing about Joe is that he’s a person of integrity and he’s leaving with dignity, and he’ll have a continuing role to play in government of one way or another and I think he gave a very fair and reasonable speech today.

FORDHAM: Yeah. Always nice to see when both sides of politics put all of the rubbish aside and say nice things about each other. It doesn’t happen enough. Now, just quickly, it’s Back to the Future Day today because in the 1989 movie Back to the Future II, at this moment, or 4.30pm on this day, was marked as the time that they were flying into the future to try and save the world. So what I’m wondering is, whether we play right now, Back to the Future, together. So what I want you to do; I don’t think looking 30 years ahead is going to be all that instructive. I think maybe 10 years is enough. Albo, I want you to say where you think Christopher will be in 10 years and then Christopher, I want you to do the same for Albo. Albo,you first.

ALBANESE: I reckon Christopher will be Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate.

FORDHAM: In the Senate?

ALBANESE: Yeah, well he will have lost his seat of Sturt by then.

PYNE: That’s churlish!

ALBANESE: Due to his failure to support rugby league. There’ll be this rugby league resurgence in South Australia after the Adelaide Rams reform.

PYNE: They were in my electorate, the Adelaide Rams. I had a brief moment of interest in rugby league when the Adelaide Rams were in my electorate.

FORDHAM: And you’ll be the number one ticket holder when Adelaide return to the national rugby league. OK?

ALBANESE: He’ll be the patron.

FORDHAM: Christopher, where will Albo be in 10 years?

PYNE: I think poor old Albo will still be battling away as the Leader of the Opposition for the 10th year after he takes over from Bill Shorten in the next 12 months and he’ll still be there 10 years later, still against Malcolm Turnbull, still with the same old tired lines being used out every day.

FORDHAM: Well, the boxing gloves are back on, which is what we expect. We’ll talk to you next week.

ALBANESE: See you next week.

FORDHAM: Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne.

 

 

 

 

Oct 16, 2015

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects: Parramatta shooting; control orders; national security; ISIS; Australians fighting overseas;

LISA WILKINSON: We’re joined now by Industry and Innovation Minister Christopher Minister Pyne and Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you, gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa.

WILKINSON: Christopher, I will start with you. A teenager in court this morning, a 12 year old on the terror watch list. Control orders for children. That is an indication of the scale of the problem facing authorities.

PYNE: It is, and we’ve obviously got a lot of work to do. I was listening yesterday to some of the Police Commissioners who met with Malcolm Turnbull and Michael Keenan and George Brandis and they weren’t saying there weren’t enough resources, but they were saying they need to use their resources very wisely, that they are not losing the battle, but they are realising it is very deep and engaging with the community is one of our number one priorities.

Getting the community on side to work with the government, with the police forces, is a vital priority for us. There is a lot to do and we’re pleased to have the support of the Labor Party in these measures.

WILKINSON: Do you support this proposed doubling of the amount of time that a 12 year old can be held if they are suspected of terror related activities?

PYNE: I think that’s a proposal from the NSW police. I think we will look at it. We will look at all of these measures. Our proposal at the moment is to reduce the age for control orders. That’s the legislation we will be bringing into the Parliament. We will look at other measures, but I don’t think we’re proposing that one at this particular time.

WILKINSON: What do you think about it, Anthony? Should a 12 year old be held accountable for their actions?

ALBANESE: What we will do is take expert advice. It is important that these issues are above politics. The murder of Mr Cheng, going about his work was just a real wake up call, I think, about how dangerous this threat is, the fact that it was a young man who committed this murder. It really makes you shake your head about how that can occur, but it’s real and we need to respond to it in a real way.

WILKINSON: The Prime Minister brought together key parties for the Terror Summit yesterday. He says combatting the power of the internet to influence young people is one of the biggest challenges, but how on earth do you do that?

ALBANESE: You need to get in and work with the community and that’s what the Prime Minister and other leaders are doing and the police certainly have an enormous challenge.

We’ve got to think at a time like this as well about the police, it must be of a real concern that this occurred outside Parramatta police station. The NSW command is there. The fact that it can occur there means we need to think about those people who put their lives on the line every day making the rest of us safe.

PYNE: We are being helped at the moment by a better relationship, I think, with Google and Facebook and Twitter, with governments around the world who are now assisting in removing offensive websites and Twitter feeds and threads. I think that’s a big change.

WILKINSON: Yet for all that Farhad Jabar, he wasn’t even on anyone’s watch list.

PYNE: No. That’s why we have a lot of work to do. We wouldn’t want to underestimate how important it is to ensure that the youth of Australia are not radicalised in schools.

That’s why proposed when I was Education Minister at the last COAG meeting of Education Ministers that we have a deradicalisation program in schools. They didn’t embrace it. I think we talked about it on the show that day, but I hope they will embrace it under the new minister.

WILKINSON: 120 people have left to fight in Syria so far. Do we really want them back?

PYNE: Well, if they’ve got dual citizenship, we don’t have to have them back and in fact we’ve moved to deny them Australian citizenship if they have dual citizenship. Unfortunately, if they don’t have dual citizenship, they are citizens of Australia. They are our responsibility. We probably do want to get them back and put them in prison. We can’t just wash our hands of Australian citizens.

WILKINSON: What about those who are heading overseas, Anthony? What do we do with them? If we stop them at the border, what do we do with them?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s a challenge for authorities to try and determine whether they are a threat or not. If they’re a threat to Australians, then appropriate action should be taken to protect the country from them. But, you know, we can’t just wish it away.

This is a real challenge. The numbers of people going over to fight for these lunatics in Islamic State is quite scary. But it’s real and that’s why we need to have a response from all levels of government, but importantly here from the community as well.

This isn’t something that politicians can control by themselves or law enforcement authorities. It’s got to be a whole of community response and that’s why it’s been good this week that the Prime Minister and NSW Premier Mike Baird and Luke Foley met with Islamic community leaders to make there sure that there is cooperation, because they’re just as concerned about it as other loyal Australians are.

WILKINSON: It’s an indication that’s that the game has changed. I think that’s the first issue we’ve ever had our pollies in on a Friday where you’ve both agreed.

ALBANESE: Well, it’s is important that we do.

WILKINSON: It certainly is. Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne, thanks very much.

 

Oct 12, 2015

Transcript of television interview – Lateline

 

Subjects: Coalition infrastructure cuts; public transport funding; Malcolm Turnbull; Trade Union Royal Commission; Newspoll

ALBERICI: Anthony Albanese is the Opposition’s Infrastructure spokesman. A few days ago, Labor put forward a $10 billion plan to fund 10 major projects, including big rail and road investments.

At the same time, Malcolm Turnbull has been signalling, like his predecessor, he wants to be known as infrastructure prime minister. Over the weekend he announced a federal grant to extend the Gold Coast light rail line. Anthony Albanese joined us a short time ago from Canberra. Anthony Albanese, thanks very much for joining us.

ALBANESE:
Good to be with you, Emma.

ALBERICI: As shadow Infrastructure Minister, you’d be happy with the Turnbull Government’s focus on roads and transport?

ALBANESE: I’m happy that the Turnbull Government has not ruled out funding for public transport, unlike the Abbott Government. But they’ve got a lot of catching up to do. We know that there’s been a 20 per cent decline in public sector infrastructure and investment since the election of the Coalition government and there’s something like $4.5 billion of cuts that they made to public transport.

So they need to catch up on that even before you look at the fact that over the last two years, there’s been so little action on infrastructure; a lot of talk, but not much building and not much construction.

ALBERICI: As you intimated there, Malcolm Turnbull has taken a different tack it would appear to that of Tony Abbott and with Malcolm Turnbull appearing to be governing much more from the centre, how much harder is that making it for Labor to come up with distinct policies?

ALBANESE: Well we welcome the fact that there’s been a change in regards to public transport policy in cities, cities where eight out of 10 Australians live and it drives 80 per cent of the national economy. So, it’s important that our cities become more productive, sustainable and liveable.

But the Government has to do more than just appoint the numerous spokespeople they appear to have at the moment. Today we saw Greg Hunt out there announcing a managed motorways program for the Monash Freeway in Melbourne, one that indeed was approved by Infrastructure Australia in 2012, funded by the federal Labor government in 2013, cut by the Coalition government in 2014, and today, pretending that this project was somehow a new idea from the Coalition. They need to come up with new projects which will drive jobs growth in the short and medium term, but also of course, drive productivity and economic growth in the long term.

ALBERICI: You would admit though it’s now becoming much harder to differentiate between the policies of Labor and the Coalition?

ALBANESE: Well, Tony Abbott of course had a bizarre position with regard to my portfolio. He said he wanted to be the infrastructure prime minister, but he barely dug a hole. Infrastructure investment collapsed on his watch.

And what we saw was a range of products funded with advance payments, the East West Link in Victoria that had a return of 45 cents for every dollar invested, the WestConnex project in Sydney and Perth Freight Link without any business case and advance payments made, the money sitting in State Government bank accounts without actually creating jobs, and at the same time, the cuts to important projects that did stack up, that were approved by Infrastructure Australia …

ALBERICI: But that was then and this is now.

ALBANESE: Well, the funding still is not there for Cross River Rail, for Melbourne Metro, for Perth public transport projects, for the rail link to Badgerys Creek Airport. Now, what sort of government says you’re going to build a new airport in Western Sydney, but not have public transport links from day one?

ALBERICI: Now the Royal commission into trade unions today heard from a former executive of the big construction firm Thiess John Holland who claims he struck a deal with Bill Shorten when the now Opposition Leader was the head of the Australian Workers Union. The deal was that the construction firm would make payments to – or for an AWU worker for the duration of a Victorian roads project. Now are you worried that these allegations are going to start to colour the voters’ views of Bill Shorten?

ALBANESE: Well I think Tony Abbott’s Royal commission has been discredited because of the political way that they’ve gone about conducting their business, including of course the way that Dyson Heydon compromised himself by agreeing to speak at a Liberal Party fundraiser.

ALBERICI: But with respect, that doesn’t go to my question. My question is specifically about some of the evidence that’s been taken at the Royal commission. If I can draw you back to that. Are you concerned that voters are going to start to think poorly of Bill Shorten?

ALBANESE: No, I think they’ll see it as a political exercise that it is and with regard to any of the specifics of the evidence, that’ll play out. Those processes should be allowed to occur.

What Labor has said – Bill Shorten and the entire Labor team have said: if there’s any wrongdoing here, then it should be prosecuted under the law with proper processes. But what we’ve seen here is a politicisation of the process and I think that has been most unfortunate. It’s undermined the integrity of a Royal commission.

ALBERICI: Well Bill Shorten – sorry to interrupt you, but Bill Shorten was the secretary of the Australian Workers Union, so he’s very aptly being drawn in here given his role at the time that’s being questioned.

I mean, the suggestion being made by the former Thiess executive was that money he paid for this AWU worker was essentially to avoid problems at the work site. It does sound a little suspect.

ALBANESE: Well as you’d be aware, Emma, I’m not aware of all of the details of those circumstances, but what I am aware of is that trade unions and employers will get together in a cooperative way. They have a common interest in jobs being secured and in workplaces being safe.

So, if there were arrangements in place, I’m not commenting on any specific proposal, but it is not unreasonable that employers and employees will get together to make sure that workplace safety’s looked after, to make sure that the entire workforce benefits, because there’s a common interest here between construction occurring in a way that minimises costs, but in a way also that ensures good outcomes for employees.

That’s what I want to see industrial relations as and I think that’s what the overwhelming majority of trade union and employers want as well and there’s no doubt that from my knowledge, Bill Shorten was a trade union official who got great respect, not just from his AWU members, but from employers as well for the way that he conducted himself.

ALBERICI: Now this morning’s Newspoll must’ve been a disappointment to you.

ALBANESE: Oh 50-50, Emma. To quote the great Tex Perkins, “The honeymoon is over, baby,” when it comes to Malcolm Turnbull.

ALBERICI: Really? Malcolm Turnbull on preferred prime minister at 57 versus Bill Shorten’s 19. That’s something to celebrate?

ALBANESE: They’re not voting for him, Emma. 50-50 is an extraordinarily bad poll for the Coalition after …

ALBERICI: That’s two-party-preferred, …

ALBANESE: That’s right.

ALBERICI: … but if you look at the primary vote, it’s 35 to 44, and preferred prime minister is a pretty shocking result, isn’t it?

ALBANESE: Well, we’re in a preferential system, Emma, and after you play – the ultimate card has been played. The Coalition have knocked off a first-term elected prime minister in Tony Abbott, and just a few weeks after it, they’re not even ahead in the polls. That’s extraordinary. And the Coalition members I’ve spoken to around Parliament House here today are certainly not upbeat about that result.

When you have a change of leader, historically, there’s a big bump in the polls, for which this time round there’s been a little blip and it’s back to 50-50. So I think given that, given the fact that Malcolm Turnbull became the only prime minister I’ve ever seen ridiculed by his own party conference on Saturday.

Today we’ve seen Tony Abbott, Bruce Billson, Ian Macfarlane, Joe Hockey, all of them sitting up the back as a reminder of the fact that we still have a state of undeclared civil war in the Coalition.

ALBERICI: Fewer than one in five voters now want Bill Shorten to lead your party. Is that a good enough result?

ALBANESE: Well what’s important here, Emma, is the outcome in terms of votes. And the outcome shows that we are very competitive indeed at 50-50.

ALBERICI: So are you saying it doesn’t matter who the leader is?

ALBANESE: Well, what I’m saying is that people make a judgment with regard to the political party and what’s clear is that voters are marking down the fact that Malcolm Turnbull has become leader, but has overturned – policy has …

ALBERICI: Well they’re hardly marking it down. 50-50 is certainly …

ALBANESE: … he has held dear for years. Well, 50-50 after a change of leader.

ALBERICI: Anthony Albanese, I think what you’re saying is it doesn’t matter who the leader is.

ALBANESE: No, they’ve gone to the cupboard, “In case of emergency, break glass”. They’ve broken the glass. They’ve got a new leader. They have all sorts of problems with the Coalition. Barnaby Joyce out there as well …

ALBERICI: We’re running out of time, so just let’s go back to the question, which was about Bill Shorten. Are you saying you’ll just ignore the public’s message about him?

ALBANESE: What we’re saying is we’re a team, we’re united behind Bill Shorten’s leadership and we have put forward – not just held the Government to account, but put forward in the last two weeks a comprehensive infrastructure plan as well as a comprehensive plan for higher education, going together with the plans we have for multinational tax, for superannuation.

We’re out there presenting an alternative as well as holding the Government to account. That I think is being recognised out there in the public. We obviously have a new challenge with a new leader in terms of Malcolm Turnbull.

But the fact that our vote has actually improved on a two-party-preferred basis to level pegging just a few weeks after that change is, I think, a positive sign.

ALBERICI: Anthony Albanese, many thanks for your time.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you, Emma.

 

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