Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Sep 26, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – David Speers PM Agenda, SKY News – Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Subjects: ABC; Radio Birdman; quotas; Doug Cameron; Morrison Government’s infrastructure underspend.

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you, David.

SPEERS: So do you think the ABC chairman Justin Milne should now step down?

ALBANESE: Well it’s pretty hard to see that his position remains tenable given the content of this email, in which he’s indicating his view, essentially on behalf of the Government, that the journalist Emma Alberici should be sacked in order to appease the Government. I think the real story here is the ongoing intimidation of the ABC by the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government that has been ongoing from day one. It’s quite extraordinary that the public broadcaster, which needs to be independent of government, it has been intimidated in this way. There’s a word for …

SPEERS: Just to be clear on this because I mean – is the problem here, and I think you touch on it, the Chairman can clearly talk to the Managing Director when there’s a big, you know – blow up that’s creating damage to the organisation and so on. But you know maybe they can talk about staffing matters, but it’s when he goes to the fact this isn’t about journalistic integrity and so on, it’s to keep the Government happy. It’s to not upset their political masters. That’s the problem isn’t it?

ALBANESE It’s the politicisation of the ABC that’s the problem here. And there’s a word for governments telling journalists that they shouldn’t do their job and it’s called totalitarian regimes. I mean this is – tinpot shows intervene in the media and shut down voices of opinion. And here we have a Government that from time to time speaks about freedom of speech, but really don’t act like it, don’t want alternative voices to their own. The ABC annoys all politicians from time to time. I’ve been annoyed with them that they haven’t shown a particular documentary about Radio Birdman and I’ve given speeches about it, but it’s their decision. It’s not a political decision. And I think here we have a circumstance whereby explicitly the Government has obviously complained about Emma Alberici and that’s been the source of whether ABC management should appease that or not. Quite clearly it’s inappropriate, the intervention by the Chairman. And quite clearly we have a circumstance whereby the ABC, which is regarded,and I say this with respect to Sky News and all the other commercial broadcasters around, the ABC is regarded as Australia’s most trusted news source by people regardless of what their politics would be and it’s very important that independence of the ABC be protected.

SPEERS: Well, look and whether you trust them or not. Maybe viewers of this channel may not trust the ABC as much as others. You want them to be independent of government; I think everyone would agree on that. Look, just a quick one on this one before we move on. The Greens are talking about an urgent Senate hearing to get Justin Milne, the ABC Chairman, to come and answer some questions because he’s, you know, he’s keeping fairly quiet so far today. Would Labor support that to make him actually answer some questions?

ALBANESE: That would be a matter for Michelle Rowland, the Communications Spokesperson, for Labor to respond to. The Greens Party try to make themselves part of most stories. I think here though, don’t these e-mails speak for themselves?

SPEERS: Yeah, as long as they’re confirmed. They’re only reported at the moment. But as mentioned, they’ve not been denied. Look, a few other things. The idea of having not just a gender quota, in terms of getting more women into Parliament, but quotas to get more gay or Indigenous members into Parliament for Labor. The backstory to this – when you and Bill Shorten were slugging it out for the Labor leadership all those years ago, back in 2013. Bill Shorten’s manifesto of his policy says, “We should consider quotas for sections of our community that are underrepresented in our Parliaments, including Indigenous Australians and the LGBTI community’’. Obviously not much has happened on that since. Do you think it’s a good idea?

ALBANESE: No, I don’t. I didn’t then and I don’t now.

SPEERS: All right and are you surprised this hasn’t been followed up?

ALBANESE: Look, that’s not a matter for me. I think the fact is that when someone who might be gay or lesbian is a Member of Parliament, as of course there are on all sides of the Parliament now and in in all Houses of the Parliament as well, they’re not defined by just their sexuality. They’re defined by their range of views that they have, by what they bring to the position.

SPEERS: Isn’t that the same with women though? With respect, I mean, are women defined by their gender?

ALBANESE: No, they’re not. But politics is changed by having a more representative Parliament and women are 50 per cent or a little bit over of the population. What we haven’t done for example is in – say the Member for Bennelong has to be a woman, we will have a woman candidate for that particular seat. What we’ve put in place …

SPEERS: I get that, but it sounds like you’re saying because there are more women in the population then gender quotas are a good idea. But because what; there’s not so many Indigenous Australians or LGBTI Australians, that quotas aren’t necessary there?

ALBANESE: No. It’s a matter of – I think that you can bring identity politics to a point whereby it’s not constructive or practical. What about quotas for people with disabilities? What about young people? What about a whole range of different categories?

SPEERS: Well exactly, once you start down the path of quotas for women, do you open the door to all these arguments?

ALBANESE: No, you don’t. Quotas for women across the board in terms of 50 per cent of the Parliament are far more achievable. And the fact is that we’ve managed to do that and the difference of quotas has been that – one of the things I’ve said with regard to increasing the number of women in Parliament. Some people say, well women have to put themselves forward. Change happens from the bottom up, but it also happens from the top down. And the truth is that the power brokers in the Labor Party and the Liberal Party and the Greens Party for that matter and the Nats, have tended to be, and it’s changing, but have tended to be men. And one of the things that …

SPEERS: Are there any women who are power brokers right now, would you say, in the Labor Party?

ALBANESE: Absolutely. Kaila Murnain for example, is the convener of the National Right of the Labor Party; she’s the General Secretary of the NSW Branch. The Leader of the Organisational Left in New South Wales is Rose Jackson. So both of the heads of the factions, if you like, in New South Wales in the Labor Party, are women.

SPEERS: That’s good.

ALBANESE: That’s a good thing. The fact is that there are factions in both parties. One of the things that we’ve done is rank and file preselections, where there is a woman candidate and a male candidate, the vote for the woman candidate is worth 1.2 and one of the things that’s done is encourage power brokers to ensure that there are women candidates putting themselves forward. And that cultural change has gone through the party, the same as in terms of Indigenous representation – we’ve had Linda Burney, Pat Dodson, Malarndirri McCarthy all elected to the Parliament from the Labor Party in recent times. And of course Ken represents the Liberal Party from WA and is a Minister.

SPEERS: All right, I’ve got to move on. We’re going to lose time here, I apologise. A couple of other things, Doug Cameron, would he – you know he wants to leave at the election, he’s been there in the Senate for, well, quite a while now. Some suggestion, maybe he should be installed as the candidate for Lindsay, currently held by Emma Husar in Western Sydney. What do you reckon?

ALBANESE: Well what’s important is what Doug Cameron thinks and Doug Cameron will be stepping down from the Senate at the next election, in his own time. And I’ve seen nothing from him or no comment from him. I know Doug very well, he’s a very good friend of mine. There’s no one I’m closer to in the federal caucus and I think there’s more chance of you being the candidate for Lindsay, for either party, than there is Doug Cameron being the candidate at the next election.

SPEERS: Well, we can rule that out then. That’s good to hear.

ALBANESE: I think that’s a fair assumption.

SPEERS: I think it is. Is there a problem though of finding a candidate for Lindsay, is that what’s going on here?

ALBANESE: No, not at all. I think there’s a range of people there who would be very good candidates. There are people I’m aware of. We have some very good locals, both through local government there in Penrith council through the branches. It’s a very active area for the Labor Party and we’ll have a good candidate.

SPEERS: All right, let me ask you finally on the Budget figures we saw yesterday. This was the final budget result for last financial year, better than expected. Clearly there’s more money coming in the door and less being spent as well, it would seem. What do you put this down to?

ALBANESE: Well one of the problems here David is that the infrastructure underspend continues. That is, the difference between what the Government says on Budget Night they’re going to invest and what actually happens. And in this case there’s a billion dollars difference, a billion dollar underspend which adds up to …

SPEERS: Just for one year?

ALBANESE: In just one year. Over four years the underspend is $4.9 billion. Now that’s massive. A massive difference between what they said they would do and what they’ve actually done. And for some programs like the Beef Roads Program there’s a 93 per cent underspend, but there’s underspends all the way through – in smaller programs like the Black Spots Program, but also major programs of rail and road and the Northern …

SPEERS: And is it deliberate? Or is it just that some projects, you know, take a little longer to get off the ground?

ALBANESE: Well, what’s impossible to justify is how every program every year for four years can see this underspend. And these aren’t Labor figures – these are on the Government’s own figures. What they say on Budget Night last year $7.9 billion; the actual spend- $6.9 billion. So this is a massive underspend, some 58 per cent on the Heavy Vehicle Safety Program, which is essentially for truck rest stops and for programs that are designed – essentially to not just keep heavy vehicles and their drivers safe, to keep those of us who share the roads with heavy vehicles safe as well. It is hard to see how that can possibly happen. A 46 per cent underspend on the Western Sydney Infrastructure Program. They said they’d spend $1.6 billion and they’ve only spent half of that. What that shows is that the Government really hasn’t got its act together. And this comes on top of the fact that we now know, through the leak a couple of weeks ago, that they have put $7.6 billion aside for various infrastructure projects. They just haven’t announced them and they’re holding them off, even though it’s all been in the papers.

[ENDS]

Sep 26, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 2GB, Chris Kenny Program – Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Subjects: ABC, Newstart, rugby league.

CHRIS KENNY: Thanks for joining us Anthony.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for having me on Chris.

KENNY: I want to get to some economic matters in a moment but first up your take on the ABC. Surely it is open and shut here. This is a case of attempted political interference by the Chairman no less and he should resign.

ALBANESE: Well the ABC Charter is very clear about the independence of the ABC. The real story here of course is there is ongoing intimidation of the ABC by members of the Government. It should be allowed to operate independently of government. From time to time the ABC says things that all of us in politics don’t like.

KENNY: Heaven help. Heaven help that that should ever be the case.

ALBANESE: But that’s just the way it is. But this email, if it is proven to be true, and one would suggest that if it wasn’t Mr Milne would have stated that by now – he has been given the opportunity and has failed to do so, then it is a pretty clear breach of saying essentially that in order to appease the Government a journalist, Emma Alberici, must be dismissed.

KENNY: Yes it seems open and shut to me. I don’t think this controversy will last very long although we are going to have to see who replaces him and how they replace Michelle Guthrie and all the rest of it. I want to get on to economic matters. You would have noticed of course the Budget Outcome announced yesterday shows that the Federal Budget is getting now very, very close to being balanced, perhaps even in this financial year, certainly the one after, and this has reignited a push that has been put about by a lot of people for a long while now that we should increase the dole – that the Newstart Allowance should be increased. What is your view? What is Labor’s view on the Newstart Allowance and whether it should be increased?

ALBANESE: Well look, what we have said is we will have an inquiry into the level of Newstart if we are elected, whenever the election might be. It’s pretty clear that it hasn’t been increased for a very long period of time and people really can’t get by on the level of Newstart which is there. So that is our position. I notice today Scott Morrison in one of the interviews I heard him on certainly indicated that he was open to the idea and I think that would be a good thing. These issues shouldn’t be partisan. Everyone agrees that the priority should be to get people into employment, but whilst they are not, it shouldn’t be the case that people are living essentially in abject poverty.

KENNY: Yes. Just so we are clear on that, you are talking about surviving on $275.10 a week with some extra rent assistance of $67.90. That is the best you can do on Newstart. Try living on that sort of money in any of our major capitals. It’s an interesting balance here. Of course you always want to make sure that there is enough incentive in the welfare system so that people are trying to get work Anthony Albanese, but that just doesn’t seem like enough money for people to live.

ALBANESE: Well, you just struggle to pay your rent. That is the truth in an electorate like mine in the Inner West of Sydney where rents are exorbitant of course and I don’t know how people get by. I grew up, as you know Chris, in a family with a mum who was on an invalid pension and she managed to be the most frugal person. I don’t know how she managed, but she seemed to. But it was literally putting little bits of money aside in envelopes every fortnight …

KENNY: Indeed.

ALBANESE: … when the pension payment came in and you know, it’s pretty tough for people. But on Newstart, it hasn’t been increased for such a long period of time so the truth is both sides of politics have been responsible for this and I’d like to see personally both sides of politics solve it.

KENNY: Yes, when there is some money around, sure. We have run a decade of deficits but when there is some money around, you would have thought it needs some attention and you are right, it might be one of those issues where we might look to try to get some bipartisan agreement. Speaking of bipartisan agreement, who do you reckon is going to win the Dally M tonight?

ALBANESE: I think Cook is a certainty. Souths have got to win something mate. I am a still hurting from Saturday night so I think Damian Cook had quite an explosive year. He began the year of course not even being certain of being a starter in first grade and to make the State of Origin side and I’m pretty sure he will be named as the Australian hooker given the great Cameron Smith has chosen to stand down from rep football. So if I was a gambling man, which I am not …

KENNY: If you are a gambling man he is second favourite coming in at $4.50 but I had a hunch you might go for the Rabbitohs.

ALBANESE: Who is the favourite?

KENNY: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. He’s a short-priced favourite at $1.90.

ALBANESE: He has had a very good year and he is the stand-out in the Warriors side. Often what you’ve got to be is the best player, but in a team whereby you are clearly the best player.

KENNY: Yes, you don’t have too many sharing the votes.

ALBANESE: You are competing against your team mates as well.

KENNY: Indeed. A bit like a political leadership contest isn’t it?

ALBANESE: It can be a bit like that. That is right.

KENNY: Thanks so much for joining us Albo.

ALBANESE: Thanks for having us on Chris.

Sep 25, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop -Yeppoon, QLD – Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Subjects; Great Keppel Island, tourism infrastructure, rail trails, Emma Husar.

RUSSELL ROBERTSON: So we’re here today and we’ve had a great discussion with the local Keppel Council and I’ve got with me the local Keppel Member, Brittany Lauga, Queensland Senator Murray Watt and my great friend Anthony Albanese, the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure. Today was about talking to local tourist providers and the local Capricorn Enterprise to find out what the local industry needs to boost it along, to keep this and grow this local area. And it was a great meeting, some great outcomes and I look forward to coming back and working on these as a candidate to try and deliver some solid outcomes for the local region.

JOURNALIST: What were some of the concerns this morning raised with you?

ROBERTSON: Things like GKI. Things like access to that and no work from the local Federal Member to match the hard work that Brittany’s doing. We want to do that, we want to get in and assist the local tourist foundations and the local market to try and increase tourism here and grow this region into a significant tourist economy.

JOURNALIST: Once the election’s called and you are obviously up and running, if you get in what are your priorities going to be with the Keppel and the Capricornia tourism sector?

ROBERTSON: Well I want to see it grow, I want to put my heart and soul into this area and make sure we can get GKI up and moving again, not to be left behind like the local Member has done. I want to try and see some real productivity, some real tourist gains in this local area.

JOURNALIST: What brings you to our neck of the woods today sir?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’ve held roundtables right around the country about tourism. Tourism has been identified as one of the super growth sectors. There’s already around about one million Australians employed in the tourism sector, but we can do much better.

The growth in domestic tourism will be important, but what will be a real game changer is the growth in international tourism. We had more than 50,000 visitors to the region from overseas last year, but we can do much better and what that needs though is attractions like Great Keppel Island to be able to fulfil it’s potential.

Today we had an opportunity to talk about the sort of programs that are required. We’ve had the State Government offer $25 million on the table to fix up water and power for Great Keppel Island. But we’ve had at the Commonwealth level a failure to invest in tourism infrastructure, whether it be major projects like that or whether it be the programs that used to exist like the T-QUAL program, making small grants available to private operators who want to improve their business and therefore create more local jobs and expand their economic activity.

Today one of the groups that we met with was the group from the Capricorn Caves talking about just that, talking about the opportunities that are available. We used to have a Tourism Infrastructure Regional Fund that has also been abolished by this current Government.

So we want to prioritise regional economic development and we want to prioritise growth in tourism. These are sustainable jobs, these are jobs in which we need to create career paths for locals to be employed. We need to make sure we maximise this amazing environment here to produce not just a wonderful lifestyle for people who live in this great part of the world, but economic opportunity and jobs so that young people can stay in this community and continue to work in a sustainable way.

We’ll have further meetings, we’ve organised today, in Canberra just next month when operators from Northern Australia visit the capital for meetings in Parliament House. But we think there are huge opportunities here and I look forward to working with Robbo as the local Member for Capricornia to make a real difference to this community.

JOURNALIST: You talk about tourism infrastructure – we’ve just done a story this morning about they want to extend – they have a rail trail here that goes about – I think it’s 3 kilometres at the moment – they want move out (inaudible) … and make it like a 20 kilometre or 35 kilometre loop to go out and come back. Would you be pushing for some funding to extend the rail trail?

ALBANESE: Well rail trails have been an enormous success, I know from the last time when I was in Government as a Minister we funded many rail trails right around the country because they did make a big difference for people who either walked or who cycled on those rail trails. The good thing about it is it brings people to a region not just for an hour or two but for a week or longer. People are prepared to come and stay, it increases the visitor nights and I’d welcome any proposal to give that consideration if we were in government.

JOURNALIST: Do you welcome Emma Husar’s return to the Labor Party?

ALBANESE: Well Emma Husar is in the Labor Party.

JOURNALIST: As a sitting Member.

ALBANESE: Well Emma Husar is the sitting Member for Lindsay. She has made an announcement that she wouldn’t be recontesting at the next election and I certainly welcomed Emma back to the Parliament when she returned for the last sitting fortnight and I wish Emma all the best in whatever she decides to do with her future.
 
JOURNALIST: And in recontesting the seat.

ALBANESE: Well she has said that she’s not recontesting the seat. That’s a decision that she has made and I respect that decision.

JOURNALIST: Has Keppel been too long in the waiting, it’s been nearly 10 years now – like it’s yes and no and should we have taken the Towers licence years ago.

ALBANESE: It’s been far too long, far too long. We met with other operators of course on Great Keppel Island who are doing their best under difficult circumstances to keep their business going, to keep employment going on Great Keppel Island. But what clearly it needs is for this issue to be resolved. It’s good that it will be resolved,  that there’s now a timeframe on it in terms of the licence that Tower has and I really look forward to advancing this project and seeing Great Keppel Island not just restored to its best, but I think it can be much, much better than it was even before.

Sep 25, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – CQ Radio Network 4RO – Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Subjects; Great Keppel Island, Rockhampton Ring Road, tourism, Wentworth by-electio

AARON STEVENS: I’m joined now by the Opposition spokesman for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Anthony Albanese. Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Aaron.

STEVENS: I’ve got to tell you, you’ve got a very busy stay in Rockhampton and on the coast today. Every person I have spoken with this morning has a meeting with you at some point in time.

ALBANESE: That’s exactly right. I’m speaking to you from Yeppoon this morning. I’m just having a quick brekky with Robbo our candidate, Russell Robertson, and Senator Murray Watt and Brittany, the State Member. We’ve got a good roundtable this morning with all the tourism operators about how we can increase jobs and economic activity here. Of course part of the discussion will be about Great Keppel and what happens there and yesterday we had a range of meetings in Rocky itself and a pretty good function last night at the racing club.

STEVENS: Fantastic. Let’s start with Keppel because money has been promised to Keppel on a state level but it’s going to take more than that. Do you think there should be a commitment on a federal level too?

ALBANESE: Well that’s one of the things I’m going to be talking to people about this morning. Quite clearly Great Keppel has suffered, both through natural disasters and through other issues over the years. It’s a great, iconic tourism asset for Queensland and particularly for Central Queensland. What we are keen to see is that it be restored to its former glory and be made even better in the future. Queensland, of course, has the commitment of $20 million for power and for water and we’re going to be talking about in what way the Federal Government could potentially help.

I had a discussion last week, before I came up here, with Kate Jones who is a very passionate advocate for Queensland tourism and we’ll wait and see what comes out of today’s discussion. But clearly tourism is one of the super growth sectors that’s been identified by all the economic studies about Australia’s future. It already contributes massively and this part of the world had 51,000 visitors from overseas last year and over half a million domestic visitors. But we can do much better.

STEVENS: Well a full strength Keppel is imperative for this region for tourism and it has to happen now. We’ve been waiting for ten years. It really needs to be fast tracked.

ALBANESE: I agree. You can’t have an asset like that just sitting idle because what that means is that is lost employment opportunities for the region. We live in a part of the globe as well that’s seen an explosion in the middle class two hours to our north and those tourists from China and India and Indonesia and other parts, as well as joining those other people who come here from the UK and the US and parts of Europe, really can see a potential explosion in economic activity here.

But you need to have the assets that add value, that turn weekend trips into week long trips and turn week trips into fortnights; that’s how you really maximise the benefit of the tourism potential that’s here on the coast.

STEVENS: It will be interesting to see what comes out of those meetings that you have this meeting. Of course one item of discussion that you’ve been very strongly involved in is the Ring Road for Rockhampton and you’ve promised it would happen in the first term of a Labor Federal Government.

ALBANESE: We have. We committed when I was last Infrastructure Minister we did the study, in 2009 we commissioned that. It reported in December 2011. Of course we funded when I was the Minister the works on the Yeppen Flood Plain and other mitigation works that made an enormous difference to Rocky including during the recent – the last time it flooded in the region. But the long term solution was identified as being the Ring Road and that’s why we’ve committed to fund it and to start that construction during our first term of office. We’re somewhat concerned that the current Government has in a number of instances promised various infrastructure projects but off in the Never Never and quite clearly it’s needed now.

STEVENS: And that’s the thing, that’s why we’re frustrated here in Central Queensland because there’s all these little carrots being dangled, but nothing’s happening.

ALBANESE: Well that’s why we’re putting timeframes on our commitments, like we did last time with the Yeppen Flood Plain. We didn’t promise it when I was Minister and then come back five years later and turn the first sod. We got on with it. We got on with those jobs in construction. I must have visited that site there at least four or five times for the announcement, the sod turn, the construction activity which went at pace and got delivered. And that’s what’s needed on the Ring Road. I frankly am surprised that a report in December 2011 – we certainly were given consideration to the timeframe – it should have been gotten on with by now. It’s been five years since the change of government and there hasn’t been any new projects commenced. Once the flood plain upgrade was completed, one would have thought that activity should have started on the Ring Road.

STEVENS: Yeah well we want to see these projects go ahead and obviously they are vital to the future of Central Queensland. Let’s talk about the Labor Party at a Federal Level. Obviously there have been the goings on for the Liberals, they’ve changed Leader, we’ve got our new Prime Minister. Has everything settled down as far as the Opposition goes?

ALBANESE: Well certainly we’ve been busy with developing policies. We had a policy last week to improve women’s superannuation. We have a policy announcement today about universities and we’ve been getting out there, whether it be on infrastructure or schools or health policy, concentrating on what the needs of the Australian people are rather than the Government, which seems to have been focused largely on itself. And the disappointing thing is, having sat in the Parliament the last two weeks sitting, Scott Morrison couldn’t answer why he was the Prime Minister rather than Malcolm Turnbull.

And of course I tend to have shadowed the National Party Leaders and Infrastructure Ministers over recent years and we’ve been through four different Shadow Ministers for Infrastructure and three different Leaders of the National Party in just the last few years as well. And I think people really want a bit of stability and the Government’s not providing that.

STEVENS: We seem to be in election mode, when do you reckon we’ll go to the polls?

ALBANESE: I doubt whether it will be soon. If Scott Morrison can survive through to Christmas I think his intention is to call the election next year. But we have the Wentworth by-election of course, where Kerryn Phelps as the Independent candidate has a good chance of winning there and if that does happen then we could well be forced into an election before the end of the year.

So Labor’s ready. We’re ready with policies. Russell Robertson and I have been here campaigning for the last two days and you’ll see a very steady stream of Shadow Ministers. Bill Shorten was here just a couple of weeks ago, of course, holding a town hall meeting and we’re ready for the election whenever it is. And I do think that there’s a case when you have an unelected Prime Minister in place in Scott Morrison to actually give the Australian people a say in who the Prime Minister should be. The only way you can do that now is to have an election.

STEVENS: Absolutely. Good to have you in Central Queensland, lovely to talk to you. Thank you for your time.

ALBANESE: Thanks for having me on the program.

 

 

Sep 24, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 6PR, The Odd Couple – Monday, 24 September 2018

Subjects: Parliament, Newspoll; welfare recipients, Gender pay gap.

OLIVER PETERSON: We welcome back to Perth Live the Odd Couple and I speak of the Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and the Opposition Infrastructure and Transport spokesman Anthony Albanese. Christopher Pyne, good afternoon to you.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Ollie thank-you for having me. It’s nice to be on again.

PETERSON: It’s nice to have you back. Anthony Albanese, hello to you. Commiserations on South Sydney’s loss in the finals series in the rugby league.

ALBANESE: It was very sad. I fled to Rockhampton.

PETERSON: Fled to Rockhampton?

ALBANESE: To get away from Roosters supporters.

PETERSON: Sydney has become a very, very lonely place I can imagine while we are all flying high here hoping the Eagles can destroy Collingwood this weekend. Christopher let me start with you. Last night on 60 Minutes Julie Bishop has claimed that the way that you lot carry on in Question Time makes you no better than school children, Has she got a point?

PYNE: Well before I answer that, Anthony was a little overconfident on Friday morning saying that they would be having chicken on Saturday night, the Rabbitohs.

ALBANESE: Mate, I was I was confident when we didn’t make the finals for 20 years. I was confident. It’s called loyalty.

PYNE: I understand, the Redlegs, my local SANFL team lost on Sunday in the Grand Final against North Adelaide actually so we were very disappointed about that too. But I must admit that I am supporting the Eagles at the AFL. Of course, I would as a South Australian, especially against Collingwood. But in terms of Julie Bishop, well you know I do think that people are thoroughly sick and tired of politicians talking about politics. I think they want us to talk about issues that count for them – education, health, incomes, jobs – and that is what I intend to focus on. I think the weeks of talking internally about introspective issues are not changing one thing in the Australian public’s minds about who is putting them first. So I am just not talking about that any more.

PETERSON: OK. Well, put the personalities to the side. That’s fair enough. But when you sit back and have a look at Question Time, whether it be your side or whether it be Anthony’s side and what not, we look at the rough and tumble, the bear pit, of the Federal Parliament during Question Time in particular and just say that is how it is, that is the way that you all carry on and behave. But is there a problem with that? Is it the way that we might view that from the outside that in the end that you are all looking like school children just mucking around in the yard during recess or lunch time?

PYNE: Well Ollie, politics is a robust business. It is very, very competitive. Labor wants me to lose. I want Labor to lose. It’s not for the faint-hearted. That doesn’t mean you can’t be respectful and see good in the other side. I mean Anthony and I do your show, we do several other shows around the country on a regular basis. We manage to disagree on issues – not all issues but plenty of them – but we manage to maintain a respectful friendship and I think that is not a bad model quite frankly.

PETERSON: All right Anthony Albanese I will ask you. Scott Morrison is obviously narrowing the gap with Labor. It is now 54-46. But as the preferred PM question your leader Bill Shorten is about as popular as a Collingwood fan in Perth today. So what is wrong with Bill?

ALBANESE: Well what today’s poll shows is that Labor would win in the order of 25 to 30 seats if an election was held today. And the interesting thing I found about today was the question that was asked: “Are you more likely to vote for the Coalition now that they have changed Leader’. And the answer overwhelmingly is no. And I think going back to the Julie Bishop interview, where I think she made some salient points, one of the things that she said that I think the Australian people are saying as well as former or current foreign ministers to Julie Bishop, is they don’t know why this change happened. And I understand Christopher’s point about inside the beltway but I do think that the Australian people are owed an explanation for why Malcolm Turnbull was removed by Scott Morrison.

PYNE: Ollie I think the poll that Anthony was most interested in today was the preferred prime minister poll which showed that Bill Shorten was preferred PM for one week in the last five years and Scott Morrison has been ahead of him for five of the last six weeks because of course the public have worked out Bill Shorten. They don’t trust him, they think he is a phoney and they don’t want to vote for him. And so if the Government can put together the policies and the record that convinces the public that we are the people they want to keep in Government, I think Bill Shorten will be very much the Achilles heel of the Labor Party and Anthony knows it. That is why he has been circling for some time.

PETERSON: We will turn to policy in a moment. Anthony Albanese, how does Bill Shorten become more popular if he is, as Christopher Pyne says, the Achilles heel of the Labor Party when it comes to polling time and people just think you know what, I just can’t vote for Bill Shorten, but I want to vote for Labor.  Then is there somebody in your owns ranks who might be a little bit more popular? Maybe yourself?

ALBANESE: What they are saying in today’s poll is precisely that they will vote for Labor to the tune of 54 per cent. I mean get some perspective here. When the polls were for about two months were Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals on 49 and Bill Shorten’s Labor on 51 that was so catastrophic apparently that they had to remove an elected Prime Minister for the fourth term in a row. But today the polls are on 54 for Labor and 46 for the Coalition and you would have us believe some of the Coalition commentators, the spin doctors, that that somehow that is terrific. I mean it does not make sense. The fact is that Australians have marked the Government down because they have a range of policies that are bad policies for the country and the latest result of trying to end the debate on education by adding to the division that is there – I fully support Catholic schools, particularly poorer Catholic schools getting more funding, those that are in need. But public schools have missed out here and the Government I think has shown yet again that they are about creating division rather than creating harmony and moving the country forward as one.

PETERSON: So that point Christopher Pyne, is the Government creating division or is it trying to make the education sector a more level playing field when it comes to the announcement regarding school funding last week?

PYNE: Well Ollie I think Anthony is sounding very over confident and the public, the Australian public in particular, don’t like overconfidence in their footy teams or in their political teams so Labor would want to be very careful. We thought we were going to win in 1993 very easily and the public could see that we were over-confident and they didn’t elect us. They elected Paul Keating again. To your question about education, well the truth is that we are increasing spending on public schools by about $6.2 billion. So there is a huge amount of money going into public schools. There is also a lot more money going into Catholic and Independent schools because that has been part of our education reform. We asked Michael Chaney from Western Australia to do a review of the formula about how schools get funded. He did that review and he came back making recommendations, all of which we have accepted and that has meant more funding to poorer Catholic schools and smaller Christian schools who the formula had been disadvantaging in the past when Labor was in office and when we’ve been in office. So we have actually fixed the problem that existed under Labor, that existed under us and Michael Chaney from your own Western Australia helped us with that through the report that he gave us about six weeks ago

PETERSON: Anthony let me ask you about a policy announced over the weekend to target welfare dodgers and say you can’t travel overseas. So they might be stopped at the airport before they clear up their debts with the Government. That seems like a wised idea, doesn’t it?

ALBANESE: Well people who owe the Government money legitimately should have to repay it and you shouldn’t be taking an overseas holiday if you owe the Government money. If you are saying I can’t pay back my debt but I am off to Europe for three months, there is obviously something wrong there. The thing is though is the Government got it really very, very wrong when it came to the Robodebt Scandal at the beginning of last year. What we saw was that every single constituent who came to me and asked for assistance – and there were dozens of them – either got their debt reduced to zero or reduced substantially because this Robodebt system they had frankly had got it wrong. Now I am for prudent fiscal policy when it comes to Government money. I want to see the Government be as hard in chasing after corporate tax cheats who seem to be never mentioned by the Government. So if you are cheating on welfare or you owe money to the Government of course you should pay, but what we have seen is that the Government hasn’t been very good frankly at being accurate about that and I hope that they are starting to get it right because we need to.

PYNE: Well I am glad to hear Anthony say that because when Labor was in office they didn’t do this once. They didn’t collect a welfare cheat’s debt leaving the country or refuse to allow them to leave the country on any occasion. This has been something that the Coalition Government has introduced and it is really bearing fruit.

ALBANESE: You know you have been in government five years Christopher.

PYNE: Yes and we are doing it. You didn’t do it once. So I am glad to see that you have actually changed your mind about it.

ALBANESE: But you weren’t doing it a fortnight ago.

PYNE: The truth is this is working. We’ve had people with debts of tens of thousands of dollars of debts if you can believe it to the Commonwealth trying to leave the country to go on overseas business trips and as soon as we refuse the opportunity to leave, miraculously they have been able to repay some of their debt, or all of their debt and start repayment plans, Now I am glad we had to take this harsh measure  – I’m not glad – I am delighted we have taken this harsh measure because it’s not right that everyone who wants to do the right thing doesn’t get rewarded and those people who do the wrong thing have been getting away with gaming the system for too long.

PETERSON: My guests are Christopher Pyne, the Defence Minister and Anthony Albanese, Opposition Infrastructure and Transport spokesman. Should companies have to reveal their gender pay gap?

PYNE: Look I don’t think that is a relevant step for companies to be required to do. What we have done in the past five years is reduce the gender pay gap from 17 per cent under Labor to 14.5 per cent under us. It blew out under Labor. It was about 14.5 per cent. It went up when they were in Government. What we have done is there are now more women in work than ever before in Australia’s history and more women in full time work we’ve seen it before and the gender pay gap has been reduced. Now we look at every measure to try and reduce the gender pay gap. But we also don’t want a situation where people are sitting in the same workplace and wondering whether the person on the other side of the desk got a pay rise and they didn’t, not because of their ability but simply because of their gender. We want to reduce the gender pay gap, but we also don’t want to create two classes of workers in the same workplace.

PETERSON: Anthony, what would this achieve? If Labor wins government, what do you think it achieves in the companies? Why are they going to be more open and transparent?

ALBANESE: What we have found is that when you have had the reporting about numbers who are executives – same as the numbers, a focus on how many women there are in Parliament as a proportion, when you have that focus, that can often be a very good first step to remedying the situation and getting greater equity in the outcomes. The reason why people are concerned about wages at the moment is they are flat-lining or they are going backwards in real terms. Real wages have been in decline. That has been identified by the Reserve Bank of Australia and other economists as being a real problem for our national economy and I can’t understand why companies wouldn’t jump on board this and say yes we support being transparent about any gender pay gap that is within our companies because we know it is out there, so why shouldn’t there be transparency in it as one way of overcoming …

PETERSON: But isn’t everybody’s own salary confidential information? If I asked you now what do you get paid, you are not going to front up and tell me.

ALBANESE: Yes I am. It is s published. Every time we make a phone call it’s available to you Ollie. And the fact is that transparency can make a difference. We are not talking about information that would say Mary Smith works at the Commonwealth Bank and she gets $10,000 less than John Smith. What we are talking about here is that the Commonwealth Bank has 10,000 employees and on average the men receive X dollars greater than the women who work for the Commonwealth Bank. So that’s the sort of transparency that I think would be appropriate. There’s all sorts of reporting now about numbers of employees, the gender of them and different issues. There is no reason why this shouldn’t be reported in a transparent way.

PETERSON: All right gentlemen. We will wrap things up. Christopher Pyne, you have already told me that you will be an honourary Eagle this weekend. Anthony Albanese, will it be Eagles or Collingwood?

ALBANESE: I’m hoping for a very good match, I am not going to jump on either team.

PETERSON: You can’t sit on the fence!

PYNE: That’s outrageous!

ALBANESE: I can because I still depressed about my Rabbitohs.

PETERSON: Whichever audience you are talking to you will just pick whichever team. You told me last time you were the honourary minister for Western Australia.

ALBANESE: I didn’t give a different message. Christopher will be on 3AW tomorrow and he will say: “Go the Pies’’.

PYNE: No I won’t, because Collingwood is Bill Shorten’s team. No wonder you in fear. You are in fear of Bill Shorten.

ALBANESE: I have good friends who go for both teams. Stephen Conroy is very excited about the Pies and my mate Ollie Peterson and all the team here are very excited.

PYNE: Well you have lost every vote in Perth you have every put together.

PETERSON: Yes that’s right, all that hard work, the 10 visits you have been here this year – undone, Gentlemen, thank you very much.

Sep 24, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – ABC Capricornia – Monday, 24 September 2018

Subjects: Rockhampton Ring Road; Tourism; Newspoll.

HOST: Another week, another visit. Today it is the turn of Labor’s Anthony Albanese, who is coming to Rockhampton later on today to talk about infrastructure for the region especially the Ring Road for the Rocky region in his role as Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities, Regional Development and Tourism.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning. Thanks for having me on.

HOST: Not long since Bill Shorten was here. Can we expect in influx of Federal Labor figures through these marginal seats of Capricornia and Flynn?

ALBANESE: I think you can certainly expect a steady stream of Labor Members and Shadow Ministers over the coming weeks and months but this is pretty consistent. I have been to Rocky at least once a year for many years now and I look forward today to being there with our candidate, Russell, and it will be a good day talking about the Ring Road. But tomorrow, also, I am hosting a round table along with Russell Robertson and Senator Murray Watt about tourism, particularly about what might happen with Great Keppel, at Yeppoon, so I am looking forward to that as well.

HOST: What announcements do you have today on the Ring Road for Rockhampton given that Bill Shorten just a couple of weeks ago has already pledged funding to construct it?

ALBANESE: Well I will be reinforcing that commitment and calling upon, now that we have yet another change of Liberal Prime Minister, the Government to match our commitment to partner with the Queensland Government to build the 22km Ring Road. I funded, when I was last Infrastructure Minister, the study into the Ring Road that identified the route and identified where it would go from the Yeppen Roundabout there, which was also funded when I was the Infrastructure Minister, along the western side of the airport to another bridge crossing before reconnecting with the Bruce Highway there. The fact is that highways shouldn’t really run through the centre of cities and what we have seen is the Mackay Ring Road is being built; Townsville of course, and what should happen is that Rockhampton should have the same treatment. It will make a big difference to road safety. It will make a big difference to travel times. And it is a project that will of course create many hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs if you include indirect jobs, so during construction, but will also help to boost economic activity for the Capricornia region in the medium term once it has been done.

HOST: So we’ve got the Rookwood Weir coming and that funding has been pledged. Any other infrastructure projects for the region that you are looking at?

ALBANESE: One of the things I will be doing today is to talk with members of the business community, members of the local community with Russell Robertson, our candidate, and identifying other projects. We’ve got important funding streams available, including we have $1 billion in the Northern Australia Tourism Fund we will be talking, with particularly the people on the coast at Yeppoon, about any potential projects there. But today also I will be hosting a dinner tonight to catch up with the locals. I look forward to it. It’s a pretty miserable day in Sydney as I leave.

HOST: Well you are coming up to the best part of the world. There’s no doubt of that and talking of tourism, what do you feel could be done at a Federal level regarding Great Keppel Island?

ALBANESE: Well I have had discussions with Kate Jones who is the wonderful Queensland Tourism Minister. She is very passionate, of course, about Queensland tourism and one of the things I will be doing is sitting down with the sector to see if there is any way in which the Commonwealth can provide assistance there. Great Keppel Island for course, when I was young it was an iconic destination particularly for younger people to come to Queensland. Of course there are investment opportunities there. Tourism is critical for job creation and for the region and that Capricornia Coast region has so much to offer with a great city of Rockhampton at its core as well, so I am very hopeful that we can have some constructive proposals out of that. One of the things I will be doing is informing people of the opportunities that are there with our Northern Australia Tourism Fund, which myself and Jason Clare as the Shadow Minister for Northern Australia have been working very hard on.

HOST: Anthony Albanese is with you this morning and have you been looking at this morning’s Australian’s Newspoll that has Prime Minister Scott Morrison increasing his lead over Bill Shorten as preferred PM? So Scott Morrison now 45 per cent, Shorten just 32 per cent. What does Bill Shorten need to do to gain people’s approval?

ALBANESE: Well I think the important figure that I take from today is that Labor remains 8 per cent ahead of the Coalition. If those figures were reflected on polling day then Labor would win more than 90 of the 150 seats around Australia and certainly seats like Capricornia and others in Queensland would fall on those figures. So there is no doubt that new prime ministers have traditionally got a short-term boost but still an interesting poll there as well is that people are less likely to vote for the Coalition now because of the change of Leader from Malcolm Turnbull to Scott Morrison. I have just sat through two weeks of Parliament in which we asked every day Scott Morrison to explain to the Australian people why it is that he is the Prime Minister and not Malcolm Turnbull and he can’t explain that and I think the Australian people deserve frankly to have a say themselves. So my view is stop the polling,  call the poll and give the Australian people a say in who the Prime Minister is. I think they deserve that in a democracy like ours.

HOST: And what is the Labor Party leadership doing about perhaps about the marginal parties that could very well do very well in seats like Capricornia and Flynn at the next election and I am thinking here most specifically about One Nation?

ALBANESE: What we are doing is putting out an agenda for Government. One of the things that we’ve seen, and I think closer to the poll that people will be cognisant of, is the fact that so many people have been elected for these minor parties. In Queensland’s case, of course, the number two candidate was found to not be eligible and ruled out of sitting in the Senate and then you had them replaced by someone who, on day one, on the way to being sworn in, defected from One Nation and became an Independent and then later on has joined another political party. So I think people need to be very cautious about voting for minor parties because they don’t know who they will end up with and the Senate is full of people who have changed allegiances, some of them on a whim, they have gone from being Jacqui Lambie Party is now a National and the Family First Party is now a Liberal and One Nation have lost so many. They have lost more than half their party and the thing is that Pauline Hanson’s party have had a record of getting people elected and then them collapsing within. And of course that was the experience in the Queensland State Parliament and unfortunately is has been the experience once gain in the Federal Parliament.

HOST: Anthony Albanese good to hear your views this morning on ABC Capricornia. Thanks for your time.

ALBANESE: Thanks for having me on.

Sep 24, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop, Rockhampton – Wednesday, 24 September 2018

Subjects: Rockhampton Ring Road, Michelle Landry, live exports

RUSSELL ROBERTSON: I’m excited to have Anthony here today to announce this great project, another great project driven by the Labor Party about really bringing services and infrastructure to Capricornia. It shows again that we understand what the regions need and we are going to make sure that we deliver on all of these projects and only a Labor Government in the future can deliver on this projects. I am going to hand over to Anthony to touch on more around the specifics of the project.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much. It is great to be here – back here – in Rockhampton with Russell Robertson – Robbo – our candidate for Capricornia and it is also good to be here with Murray, my parliamentary colleague from Canberra and Barry from the State Government. A Federal Labor Government will partner with the Queensland Government to deliver the Rockhampton Ring Road.

We undertook a study that we commissioned in 2009 that reported in December, 2011. What it found was that the long-term solution in terms of flood issues, in terms of congestion here through the CBD of Rockhampton was the Ring Road and that is why we have committed to this vital project. It follows of course the commitment that we have made already to the Rockhampton-to-Yeppoon Road Duplication Stage I.

It follows of course the massive amount of work that we did when we were in Government through the Yeppen Floodplain, the bridge, the other work that we did that the current Government has tried to take credit for even though they haven’t put in any additional dollars for those projects.

Now we have had five years in which the current Government under Scott Morrison, the latest version of the ATM Government – Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison – have taken deposits from the people of Rockhampton and Central Queensland into their ATM Government, but they haven’t taken anything out. They haven’t put back into the community and Federal Labor will do just that. We know from a leak that they have planned to do something, they just haven’t actually announced it or put dollars in the Budget. And when they have announced funding it has either been just replicating funding that Federal Labor already had in the Budget or it has been off in the Never Never.

It took a Federal Labor Government to get serious about the Bruce Highway and it will take a Federal Labor Government once again to take the needs of regional Queensland, and Central Queensland in particular, into account. So I am very proud that we would be able to step up if we’re successful in the election, whenever it’s held over the next six months. We’ll be committed to doing the next step following on from the work that we did when we were last in government that has made such a big difference here in Central Queensland. And I look forward to having Robbo as a member of the Caucus – someone who is committed to his local community, someone who is an outstanding candidate and who would make a big impact in Canberra. Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST:  I have a question for Barry though – can you run us through the update on this project at a state level? Obviously it is mainly a State Government thing.

BARRY O’ROURKE: This is a step in the right direction. We’re finally starting to get the project underway. We’ve now seen the Federal Labor Government commit to this project. You know people living in Rockhampton we’re aware of the struggles that we have with all the trucks coming through town and it’s some 60 odd intersections that a traveller travelling through Rockhampton has to go through. So this Ring Road will be essential for our community – hopefully reduce some of the congestion and we’ll end up with that third bridge out of town.

JOURNALIST: Do you know the latest with TMR? What they’re doing at the moment?

O’ROURKE: At the present time, TMR I know have been doing a lot of work around the land acquisition stuff and doing that planning work to be able to get on with that project.

JOURNALIST: So Anthony sorry, Michelle Landry said they’d committed something like $65 million towards the land acquisitions and what not – design – so in a way they’re already sort of getting on with it.

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that they’ve been in government since 2013. They’ve had five Budgets to put money into the Budget for construction of this Ring Road. A great deal of credit goes to Kirsten Livermore, who was a champion of this project when she was the Member for Capricornia.

And the difference between a Labor Member – and Robbo would fit that mantle that Kirsten Livermore had – and Michelle Landry and the Nats is that a Labor Member for this region actually delivers concrete and steel, not just talk. And the Yeppen Floodplain is a great example of that whereby the current local Member pretended that she had something to do with that even though construction was begun here. I was here with Julia Gillard, you’ll have footage and photos of the construction that was taking place there – came along, pretended that she had something to do with it. It was all fully funded and we of course were always going to complete that project. It’s the logical thing to do, and then to move on to the Ring Road.

But nothing’s happened under this Government in terms of advancing this project and indeed this Government have just taken the money that we had in our 2013 Budget for the Bruce Highway and have been complacent and have just sat on that, whether it be this project, the Mackay Ring Road, whether it be the works around Townsville, whether it be the works right up and down this vital highway here in Queensland.

So this is a Government that has been complacent. We know that when John Howard was in Government they put $1.3 billion into the Bruce Highway over 12 long years. And we put four times that into the Bruce in half the time. So we increased funding eight-fold for the Bruce. And we would deliver once again. We’d be committed. The fact is they’ve had a Budget. They had a Budget in May. They had an opportunity in May to put money in that Budget for this project and they haven’t.

JOURNALIST: I’ve just got something that Michelle Landry said today: “the Labor Party has only become aware of the Ring Road, which promises to deliver jobs and a third bridge over Fitzroy since I started advocating for it. They did the same thing on Rookwood Weir and I’m sure they will do the same on the next thing I talk about. It’s this ridiculous piggy-back politics that central Queenslanders are tired of”. What do you have to say about this allegation of piggy-backing on their ideas?

ALBANESE: The idea that people are sitting listening to Michelle Landry shows a lack of self-awareness on behalf of Michelle Landry, with respect. The fact is that it is Federal Labor – I was the Minister- who commissioned the study. It had been talked about, the Ring Road, for a long period of time. The study that identified the route, that identified the third crossing, that identified all the works that had to take place was commissioned by me and received by me.

Just like the Yeppen Floodplain work was promised, funded and built by the former Federal Labor Government, working in cooperation with, I was prepared to work with either the State Labor Government here in Queensland or, indeed, the State Coalition Government as well. I wasn’t interested in playing politics. I was interested in outcomes and the fact is that it is Federal Labor that has advanced this project in partnership with State Labor. That was when the project was commissioned, that was when we did the Yeppen Floodplain in cooperation. And for Michelle Landry to suggest that somehow she was out there in advance of this project ignores the fact that she has been in Government for two terms.

In the two terms, in which I was the Minister, have a look at what we actually got done. Promised, built, opened right up and down Queensland. And we did that by basically tripling the funding for infrastructure that the Commonwealth was giving here in Queensland and, in particular, in regional Queensland.

JOURNALIST: Just a quick question for Russell. Michelle has been calling you out today about not just coal mining but also live exports and wanting to know what you thought about Derryn Hinch foreshadowing that cattle live exports were next. And I was just wondering about what you thought about the whole banning of live exports and where you draw the line or what you feel about that issue?

ROBERTSON: Well the Labor Party’s committed to banning sheep and I think this is where the local Member is getting lost. So we’ve committed to banning sheep. We’re committed to the live export market as long as it’s done humanely, as long as it’s followed per the legislation. And again, around the coal, Michelle keeps concentrating on the coal owners, how about we focus on the people who are struggling? How about we focus on those people who make the coal industry work, which is the workers. We’ve seen the scourge of casualisation continue and not a peep from the local Member. So we need to get away from worrying about coal owners’ pockets and start focussing on the workers who are struggling today.

ALBANESE: Thank you. Thanks everyone.

Sep 21, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 21 September, 2018

Subjects: Scott Morrison; education; Peter Dutton; aged care; Rabbitohs; Redlegs; Roosters.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the program, good to have your company. Scott Morrison has announced an extra $4.3 billion for private schools over the next 10 years in a bid to finally end the funding war. For more I’m joined by Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne from Canberra. Good morning guys.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning, Karl.

STEFANOVIC: Let me start with this – Albo, isn’t Scott Morrison doing a good job?

ALBANESE: In whose world? This is a Government that’s in chaos.

STEFANOVIC: He’s getting stuff done.

ALBANESE: Well what he’s done according to the New South Wales Liberal Government, is recreate the education wars. Here we have this massive injection of cash but only to Catholic and independent schools. Public schools, where most kids go in Australia, are missing out. It’s changing again, moving away from the formula. And he should look after all children, not just some.

STEFANOVIC: So you would take away this funding?

ALBANESE: No. What we would do is give additional funding to public school students as well. Every kid deserves the best opportunity in life, not just some.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, Christopher. In terms of the NSW Government, so they’re not going to tick this off. So what are you going to do about that? That ends it doesn’t it?

PYNE: Well Anthony of course has the Labor money tree. His solution to everything is to give money to as many people as ask for it. The truth is, that we did have a announcement of an education reform about half a year ago. We then relooked at the formula because the Catholic and small independent Christian schools said that the formula wasn’t working. In fact we were told that the formula could be improved. The $4.3 billion of extra funding is because of that change to the formula. It’s a very good outcome and of course funding for public schools or state schools – which are the responsibility of the state governments by the way, goes up every year for the next four years, and into the future, by billions and billions of dollars. So there’s a lot more money and what we should have to focus on of course, is outcomes. Not just the money, but the outcomes for students which Labor never focuses on.

STEFANOVIC: So essentially you’re looking after – or Scott Morrison is looking after, kids in Catholic schools like his own?

PYNE: No. His children don’t go to a Catholic school, Karl. They go to the local Baptist school. No that’s not what’s happening. We had a formula. The formula was improved. The outcome of the formula is fair funding based on income.

ALBANESE: There was a formula and you threw it out!

STEFANOVIC: Are public schools going to get any more, or is it going to stay the same? Because if they don’t you are pitting private against public.

PYNE: Not at all. Because the funding for public schools was enormously increased in the reforms introduced by the Turnbull Government and what we’ve done of course is take our share of the funding of state schools to a set 20 per cent. It was actually well below that under Labor. Because of that the funding to state schools has massively increased, but the formula that was developed was hurting the Catholic and small independent Christian schools, that’s been fixed and we can move on, stop arguing about the money and focus on the outcomes …

ALBANESE: But you can’t move on, that’s the point.

PYNE: Outcomes have slipped. And the NSW Government should focus on outcomes, rather than cash.

ALBANESE: They are focused on outcomes, that’s the point.

STEFANOVIC: The problem is, Chris, they have said no, they have said no to this. So that effectively kills this boost doesn’t it?

PYNE: No it doesn’t. Not at all. I’ve heard state governments say no to this and that – I’ve never seen them say no to extra money.

ALBANESE: Well they’re not getting extra money, that’s the point here.

PYNE: But they will be because those schools are in their states.

ALBANESE: As part of this formula, there’s a $1.2 billion fund that no one seems to know how it’s going to be allocated or what it’s for …

PYNE: You’re just disappointed that we’ve fixed the problem.

ALBANESE: It’s been described as a slush fund.

PYNE: You’re just sorry that we’ve fixed it. That’s what you’re disappointed about.

ALBANESE: What we’ve got here – we had a formula with all schools getting a level of funding. Seventeen billion dollars was cut from that. What they’ve done is put some of it back to private and Catholic and independent schools. But they haven’t put the money back for public schools and that’s where most disadvantaged kids are.

STEFANOVIC: So how much more would you put into public schools?

ALBANESE: We would put the total of $17 billion back.

STEFANOVIC: Where would you find that?

ALBANESE: Well we’ve made the funding announcements, we’ve made …

PYNE: Where is the money coming from?

ALBANESE: We have made a whole range of financial statements, which will put us ahead of you …

PYNE: Just funny money, empty promises.

ALBANESE: You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say we’re increasing taxes and changing revenue …

PYNE: Funny money, empty promises …

ALBANESE: And then say it’s not real. You can’t have both arguments.

PYNE: Nobody trusts your bloke to deliver.

STEFANOVIC: Hang on a second. What’s funny money?

ALBANESE: I have no idea what he’s talking about. He’s lost it.

PYNE: They’re making up figures, Karl – $17 billion apparently.

ALBANESE: It’s been a long week for Christopher.

PYNE: Anthony’s got $17 billion to spend.

ALBANESE: The Government have been busy trying to defend Peter Dutton. He shouldn’t even be in the Parliament, let alone be a Minister. They’ve had this crisis …

STEFANOVIC: You tried your best but you didn’t kill him off.

ALBANESE: Well, Christopher tried to kill him off too – a couple of weeks ago in the leadership ballot.

PYNE: Labor has had two poor weeks, Karl.

ALBANESE: So it’s been around a while. This is a Government yet again – another week, another member has said that they’re going to resign because of bullying from their own party, this time the Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis. This is chaos.

PYNE: But if you’re right and your conversations about inside the bubble are true, how come your bloke is behind Scott Morrison as the preferred Prime Minister? All you do in Labor is talk about what’s inside the bubble.

ALBANESE: Well, you’re way behind when it comes to the vote …

STEFANOVIC: Just in relation – back to my original point …

ALBANESE: I reckon …

STEFANOVIC: No?

ALBANESE: I reckon that the people who live in Nowra …

STEFANOVIC: Yeah?

ALBANESE: It isn’t inside the bubble, the fact that their local member after two terms isn’t going to run again because they’ve been bullied out of the job.

STEFANOVIC: Can I say this, though. Scott Morrison, he is much more of a threat isn’t he, to you?

ALBANESE: I think Malcolm Turnbull, frankly, was the most effective person the Liberals could have had.

STEFANOVIC: Scott Morrison is a better retail politician than Malcolm Turnbull. He’s much more of a threat to you and he’s getting stuff done. Are you concerned about that?

ALBANESE: I don’t think that’s right, at all. I think Scott Morrison leads a rabble and we see that in Parliament. All week we see people pulling out of the team.

STEFANOVIC: He’s going so bad, but he’s still beating Bill Shorten in the polls.

PYNE: We’ve had two weeks focusing on aged care, on strawberries and small businesses and family businesses, on reducing income taxes, increasing jobs …

ALBANESE: Aged care? We called for a Royal Commission before you …

PYNE: All you’ve done is ask one question after another …

ALBANESE: Education, we said that they shouldn’t have cut funding.

STEFANOVIC: You two are just talking all over each other today.

PYNE: You know he’s talked over me all morning, Karl. I have not had a go all morning, Anthony has talked constantly.

ALBANESE: Poor Christopher.

PYNE: Because he is under pressure.

STEFANOVIC: Is Bill worried about Scott Morrison? More than Malcolm Turnbull?

ALBANESE: Not at all. What we’re doing is putting forward policies. This week again we had a policy to give women a fairer go when it comes to their superannuation.

STEFANOVIC: Scott Morrison might just give you another chance, Albo.

ALBANESE: No. The fact is that what I want to be is a minister and we’re on track to achieve that. We’re ready for government. We’re setting the agenda. And when you look at announcements like the …

PYNE: What agenda? What agenda are you setting?

ALBANESE:  The Aged Care Royal Commission, who called for that?

PYNE: That was months and months ago. You haven’t done anything lately.

ALBANESE: That’s right – it takes you months to catch up.

PYNE: What have you done lately, nothing.

STEFANOVIC: All right gentleman.

ALBANESE: Women in super, this week.

PYNE: Nope, all you do is talk about inside the bubble.

ALBANESE: It’s a $400 million announcement.

STEFANOVIC: Have a great weekend and good luck to your respective footy teams.

ALBANESE: Go the Rabbitohs.

PYNE: Go the Redlegs on Sunday in the SANFL final.

STEFANOVIC: Wow.

PYNE: That’s my team.

STEFANOVIC: Good to see them back, the Redlegs.

PYNE: Norwood.

ALBANESE: The Redlegs?

GEORGIE GARDNER: The Redlegs?

STEFANOVIC: We talked about this last week.

ALBANESE: What sort of a name is the Redlegs?

STEFANOVIC: Well, it’s after he’s been on the beach, you know.

PYNE: They’re 140 years old so don’t be rude.

ALBANESE: Oh, well, good on them.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah. Don’t be rude, Albo.

ALBANESE: Who are they playing?

PYNE: They’re playing North Adelaide, but that’s been a controversy of its own.

STEFANOVIC: It has been a controversy.

PYNE: Because they had 19 players on the field at one point.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, that was ridiculous. That shouldn’t have been allowed.

ALBANESE: I’ll go for your mob Christopher, just for old times’ sake.

PYNE: Go the Rabbitohs.

STEFANOVIC: Finally we’ve got peace in the world.

ALBANESE: Old times’ sake.

STEFANOVIC: Thank you guys.

ALBANESE: He’s on board the Rabbitohs.

PYNE: I am, because of you.

STEFANOVIC: And peace broke out across the land.

ALBANESE: We’re having chicken tomorrow night.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER, 2018

Sep 19, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa Adelaide, Two Tribes Segment – Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Subjects: Strawberries; Aged care and disabilities; Tony Abbott versus the Empty Chair.

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

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning. I was worried for a second there that you had replaced Frankie with Van Morrison as our theme.

HOST: No.

ALBANESE: I thought that’s a bit chilled.

HOST: No, we wouldn’t do that – a bit of Astral Weeks to send everybody to sleep. Before we get down to brass tacks, we’ve been going big all morning urging our listeners to get out there today and buy a punnet of strawberries, echoing the excellent line from the strawberry industry: “Cut them up’’ … What’s the rest of it?

PYNE: Don’t cut them out.

HOST: Don’t cut them out. Thank you, Chris. Would you guys like to lend your voices to that campaign?

PYNE: You are such a smooth operator.

HOST: I’m having trouble breathing Chris.

ALBANESE: Absolutely. Our farmers are really doing it tough and the visual footage of farmers ploughing their strawberries into the ground is not only tragic for them, it’s so wasteful. So if we can all combine together and make sure that whichever lunatic is doing these incredible criminal acts isn’t successful.

PYNE: Absolutely. People have to go out and rush out and buy strawberries and prove that this terrible act is not successful. Goodness knows what the motivation for such behaviour is and the Government is working with the strawberry industry here in Canberra, I am sure in a bipartisan way with Labor, to try and address some of these issues and I think will make more announcements about that today. But the best way of dealing with it is to keep buying strawberries. You can cut them up. If there’s a weapon inside, you will soon find out. But please don’t ruin the strawberry industry by not buying strawberries.

HOST: Yes. Well said both of you.

ALBANESE: You’ve got the cut them up or chew them up anyway, that’s the truth.

HOST: That’s right, exactly. To matters of import in the world of Federal politics, Christopher Pyne, the Aged Care Royal Commission – the Greens are calling for it to be expanded to the realm of disability care. Why isn’t that a good idea?

PYNE: Well look. because the Aged Care Royal Commission is already a huge subject. The treatment, the safety and the quality of treatment in residential aged care and home care is a massive subject. So to widen it even further would make it extremely unfocused and a very large job and it is already a large job and I don’t think, while nobody suggests that there aren’t issues around the treatment of people with disabilities, and I have been listening to many of the speeches that have been given and reading about them in the newspapers, the reality is you can’t simply have a Royal Commission into the violence against everyone in the country. You have to have something that is digestible. Now maybe there is an argument for a Royal Commission down the track around people with disabilities and the way that they have been treated. But to put them together would make the job, I think, far too unwieldy. The first thing to do is to deal with people in residential aged care, including young people with disabilities who are in residential aged care, which is part of the Royal Commission. I think to widen it any further would make it very difficult to manage.

HOST: What do you think is a better model Albo? Is it broadening the terms of reference or having a stand-alone Royal Commission?

ALBANESE: No, it’s a model that we have called for. We called for a Royal Commission into the treatment of people with disabilities 18 months ago at the beginning of 2017 and that is important. It’s a significant enough issue to have its own Royal Commission. Royal Commissions shouldn’t be about political vendettas. They should be about getting evidence to change policies in the national interest. That is why we called for and certainly support the Royal Commission into Residential Aged Care. That’s why also we called for the disabilities Royal Commission as well.

HOST: Chris we saw a bit of a push by some of your colleagues in the New South Wales moderate faction this week to knock off Tony Abbott ahead of his pre-selection in Sydney’s North Shore. Do you think that the Liberal Party would be travelling better in his absence?

PYNE: Well these matters are for the organisation. I defeated a sitting member in pre-selection 26 years ago. That is part of the democracy of the Liberal Party. It’s the same in the Labor Party, the same in the Greens for that matter. The truth is that everyone has to be selected before they can actually run for the seat if you are running under the flag of a political party, rather than as an Independent. And that is a matter for the Liberal Party branches on the Northern Beaches and they obviously had a vote and he won the vote. In spite of the fact that there was no other candidate, they indicated some displeasure and that is a matter for the organisation on the Northern Beaches. That’s just the fact.

ALBANESE: (Laughter)

HOST: (Laughter)

PYNE: Why is it funny? It’s just true.

ALBANESE: You said that so straight Christopher.

PYNE: It’s true. That’s what happened. That’s the process. They have a vote on, you know, whether the person should be endorsed.

ALBANESE: You can have Tony Abbott or an empty chair.

HOST: And the chair was coming home with a wet sail.

ALBANESE: The chair, if it had gone on for another hour, the chair would have won.

HOST: People were warming to the chair.

ALBANESE: This is the second time. This is the only bloke I have ever heard of who has almost lost two ballots against empty chairs – once as Prime Minister in Canberra and once in his own seat. Look, this bloke is on the nose. He represents an electorate that voted 70 per cent in favour of marriage equality and he has the opposite view. He represents an electorate based on the Northern Beaches that is very conscious about the environment and the weather and climate change and this bloke has got a flat-earth position and he will be challenged at the general election. And I will tell you what, there’s a whole lot of people, when more than a third of Liberal Party delegates to his own FEC – these aren’t even rank-and-file members, these are senior members of the Liberal Party in his electorate – prefer an empty chair, then he is in trouble come the Federal election if there is a decent Independent. And there is a Mayor up there on the Northern Beaches. I know him. He has been a long-term Mayor. He is a genuine Independent and if he has a crack I think he’s a real show.

HOST: All right. We are going to have to leave it there, not just because we were laughing too much…

PYNE: But that’s just the process. I don’t know why the process is so amusing. I mean, it’s a democratic process for people to have a vote on the endorsement of their candidate.

ALBANESE: (Laughter).

HOST: (Laughter).

ALBANESE: I’ve been in the Labor Party for a long time now. I have never been a part of a political process where you vote in favour of someone or you vote in favour of an empty chair. It’s a Liberal Party thing.

PYNE: It doesn’t happen in the South Australian Division, it must be said. We don’t do that. They do it in New South Wales.

ALBANESE: Weird, that’s why. It’s weird.

PYNE:  In Queensland they have to have this endorsement meeting so you know, maybe they won’t have those in the future.

ALBANESE: Yes they’ll be worried about the empty chair occupying more than one seat.

PYNE: Everybody in the Liberal Party wants to vote for me. I can say that much.

ALBANESE: That’s only because you have imposed a rule which means that a chair can’t run against you.

HOST: The empty chair is firming to be our next Prime Minister. Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese – Two Tribes.

Sep 18, 2018

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

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

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

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

ENDS

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