Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Sep 12, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – ABC AM

Subjects: Marriage equality

SABRA LANE: To discuss the campaign we are joined by Government frontbencher Zed Seselja, who will be voting no, and Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, who will be voting yes. Gentlemen, to you both, thank you very much for joining us.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

ZED SESELJA: Good morning Sabra.

LANE: A quick pitch from both of you. Zed Seselja, why are you voting no?

SESELJA: Well first can I say what a great thing it is that the Australian people will get to have their say, but I will be voting no and for a couple of key reasons. One, I think that marriage between a man and a woman is an institution that has stood the  test of time and I think one of the reasons for that is because of the unique and complementary nature of the male-female relationship.

It is no reflection on single people, it is no reflection on people in same-sex relationships to say that marriage is unique and I would say that when you redefine marriage as it has been traditionally understood there are a range of obvious consequences. We have seen in other countries how it affects freedom of speech, freedom of religion and, most importantly I think, parental rights when it comes to decisions about teachings on things like human sexuality. We’ve seen a number of those cases overseas …

LANE: A quick pitch that was supposed to be. Anthony Albanese.

ALBANESE: This is a fundamental human rights issue. It’s about one thing and one thing only – whether two people who love each other, who want to express that commitment to each other in front of family and friends can do so, regardless of whether they happen to be in a same-sex relationship or a heterosexual relationship and with regard to relationships, they are complex and who is anyone to judge someone else’s relationship?

LANE: Zed Seselja, the Deputy Prime Minister says the same-sex marriage campaigners are in his face about this. What do you think?

SESELJA: It’s obviously been pretty aggressive. I think there has been a suggestion by many, not all, same-sex marriage campaigners that those who are opposed to redefining marriage are somehow bigoted or homophobic. I reject that. I think the Deputy Prime Minister was making that point. I think some of the language that is being used – even yesterday we saw Ben Law and his very violent, I think, tweet on this issue yet he is given a platform on our national broadcaster to talk about why Safe Schools should be rolled out. So yes, I think there has been a lot of aggressive language and a lot of people who don’t support redefining marriage feel, I guess, afraid to speak up because they might be called a homophobe or a bigot.

LANE: Anthony Albanese, on that point, there is a large portion of Australia that is still deeply conservative and not comfortable with this idea. Does that make them bigots?

ALBANESE: It certainly doesn’t. I respect people who have different views on this issue. I certainly understand that some people of faith regard marriage as not a civil institution but as something that is a consecration from God. For those people it is not, therefore, about the role of the state if you like. But the fact is we are secular country and what we shouldn’t do is seek to impose that view on others and that’s why marriage equality being granted in this country will not affect anyone’s existing relationship. It will not have any impact on the role of churches and what they can do or can’t do. It will simply mean that one group of society who currently don’t enjoy the rights that I enjoyed when I married my wife in front of my family and friends are able to do so.

LANE: Zed Seselja, this is a debate about marriage and I’m interested, no campaigners are talking about all sorts of other issues; you mentioned Safe Schools before; political correctness, you know, if you don’t like political correctness vote no, that this is about protecting children. They are all pretty negative campaigning points. Why is that and why drag in those other issues?

SESELJA: I think the yes campaigners can’t have it both ways. They can’t say that look, this is happening in many other like-minded countries like Canada and the UK and New Zealand and then when examples are used of some of the flow on consequences in those countries they say well it’s nothing to do with that. Well in the court cases, if you look at them where there is parental rights and other things that have been considered, the issue of same-sex marriage has been cited very strongly as a reason why parents shouldn’t be able to object to a Safe Schools-like agenda. That has been seen as a logical flow-on consequence. So if you are going to argue that other countries are doing it and therefore we should, it’s very reasonable to point to some of the examples in those other countries where there have been negative flow-on consequences as I would see them and I think many Australians would see them.

ALBANESE: It’s a weakness of the merit of the argument, the fact that the no campaign has had to raise issues that have nothing to do with the question that is before this voluntary postal ballot, nothing to do with it at all. With regard to children of same-sex couples, I’ve got news for Zed and other people from the no campaign – there are children of same-sex couples out there now. And you know what marriage would do for their parents? It would give them the same legitimacy, rights as people who have a mum and a dad. This is about respect and it is about acknowledging that we are a diverse society and giving respect and equal rights to a loving relationship regardless of its makeup.

SESELJA: Sabra I might respond to that because again, and Anthony has done it there and many others on the yes side have, they refuse to address those arguments so there is…

ALBANESE: Because they are not relevant.

SESELJA: Well why are they not relevant?

ALBANESE: Because they’re not relevant. It’s got nothing to do with the question. It’s got nothing to do with the question that’s put forward.

SESELJA: Well if you let me finish. They are relevant to people like Steve Tourloukis who said; I don’t want my kids having safe schools type agenda in the schools. And he was told; well now that we’ve got same-sex marriage in Canada you can no longer object because your rights as a parent are trumped by equality. That’s the flow on and we’ve seen similar things in the UK. So these are the examples and I don’t hear either Anthony or anyone actually addressing those questions.

LANE: A quick rebuttal and then we’re moving on.

ALBANESE: Because they are nonsense. The truth is that just as in the UK and New Zealand and Taiwan and all these countries, Ireland, that have marriage equality, people will wake up in the morning after we have marriage equality and wonder what all the fuss was about. This is coming – I’ve met a lot of people who say, I used to not support marriage equality; I do now. I haven’t met a single person who says, I used to support marriage equality and I’ve changed my mind the other way. This is about history moving forward, recognising the diversity in our community and granting equal respect.

LANE: All right, the ballot papers have gone out from today. From both of you quickly, protections around the campaign material proper – they’re not done yet, they’re not through Parliament. How confident are you that there’s going to be an agreement that the rules will be strong enough to stop any vilification happening during the campaign? Zed Seselja?

SESELJA: Well look I would certainly hope there would be good faith discussions. I’m told there are good faith discussions going on in the Parliament to make sure that the usual rules that apply at election time would apply. That’s what would have happened if it got through the Parliament, of course that wasn’t possible because Labor and the Greens and others voted against it in the Senate. So we’ve gone down a different path to give the people their say. I would certainly hope on that question that agreement can be reached between both sides of politics.

ALBANESE: We didn’t want this expensive voluntary postal vote process .We think Parliament should have just done its job. And at the end of the process, of course, Parliament will still have to do its job on the legislation. That’s the way that the marriage act will be changed but, nonetheless, we’re acting very constructively in trying to put around a framework that will provide as much protection as possible.

LANE: Gentlemen; Zed Seselja, Anthony Albanese thanks very much for joining AM this morning.

Sep 9, 2017

Transcript of doorstop – Sydney

Subjects: Marriage equality; New South Wales council elections.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  Well Australians have had imposed on them this voluntary postal vote on marriage equality. Now that Australians will be voting in this postal vote it’s important that Australians say yes. One of the things that has happened over the recent period is that many Australians who were previously reluctant to embrace marriage equality have changed their mind. There are many, literally, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Australians, who, if you asked them two or three years ago do they support marriage equality, they would have prevaricated or said no. What we have seen, just like we have seen from colleagues in the House of Representatives and the Senate, is more and more Australians embrace marriage equality, understand that it will strengthen the institution of marriage. Understand also that it will not undermine any existing marriages or relationships. It will just give two people who love each other, who want to make that commitment public in front of their family and friends the right to do so.

That’s why you see lots of Australians saying I now support marriage equality. I haven’t met anyone yet who says I used to support marriage equality but I have changed my mind. And that is why the polling is headed one way on this. So we need to get this done because it is very clear what the future is. Just like around the world, countries like Ireland, Malta, Taiwan; in Europe, the United States, around the world they have embraced marriage equality. Under the leadership of the conservatives in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, they embraced marriage equality. We have an opportunity to do that. Australia will embrace marriage equality. The only question really now is we do it now and get it done or do we continue to have this debate over months and years. I say vote yes, get it done and then we can move on to the other major issues that are facing our nation.

Today also people in this area of the Inner West Council and in some councils throughout New South Wales will be getting their democratic say in local government elections. These are critical elections. We have a New South Wales Government that is out of touch; that is arrogant and has taken its support for granted. Contrary to the commitments that it gave it forcefully imposed amalgamations and imposed new boundaries on communities, many of which frankly are simply rorts, distortions and gerrymanders simply to shore up Liberal Party support in particular areas. In this area, we had three councils that were all functioning effectively that got all amalgamated together against the interests of the community.

But people are voting and it’s an opportunity to say no to the Berejiklian Government on council amalgamations which are forced; to say no to the Berejiklian Government on its mishandling of major infrastructure issues where the community hasn’t been properly consulted and in many ways has simply been misled. There are people in this community who have had their houses acquired and under circumstances whereby they have been underpaid because the State Government withheld the report that said just that. It is also an opportunity to say no to over-development. Gladys Berejiklian wants to impose enormous developments. In the Inner West Council there is a proposal in Marrickville to turn an area that is currently two storeys and industrial into a 28-storey series of highrise. That’s not appropriate for that community. There hasn’t been proper consultation with that community and this is an opportunity to send a message to Gladys Berejiklian and her Government and I hope that people throughout New South Wales do just that so that maybe they wake up to themselves, forget their arrogance, put that aside, and start governing in consultation with the community.

Here our candidate for Labor is Darcy Byrne. He’s been a champion for the local community. He is Labor’s candidate for the Mayor of the Inner West Council and I would ask him to say a few words.

DARCY BYRNE: Thank you very much Anthony. I join with all of the Inner Westies across our region today in welcoming the return of democracy. For the last 18 months local residents haven’t had any say because the Liberal Party’s hand-picked dictator has been running our local government. Today the people of the Inner West and people across Sydney are going to send a message to Gladys Berejiklian and the NSW Liberals through the ballot box. They’ve had enough of the arrogance and the high-handed approach which saw our local councils abolished and they know that the Liberal Party is just ruling for its political interests and its developer mates. Here in the Inner West we want every single person to come out and vote, to have their democratic say and let’s restore a new council which will push back against the New South Wales Liberals’ agenda.

REPORTER: Would you also encourage voters to show their frustration if they are unhappy about the whole plebiscite situation?

ALBANESE: Well I think that it’s an opportunity for voters I think, in particular, to target local issues today. There will be different views on marriage equality but I do think this just shows the lack of leadership that is there from Malcolm Turnbull. I think people are really disappointed in Malcolm Turnbull. I don’t doubt his sincerity in supporting marriage equality. What I doubt is his courage and his capacity to lead. And I think that will also be a factor, the disappointment that is there with the Federal Liberals over issues like marriage equality, over its failure to lead on energy policy, over the fact that they seem incapable of providing leadership on the major issues and I think that will feed into the discontent when people go to the ballot box today.

REPORTER: Darcy have you picked up on that? Are people unhappy in this area, in the Inner West, about having to vote in the postal plebiscite?

BYRNE: I think Gladys Berejiklian and Malcolm Turnbull should be worried because people right across Sydney know that that Liberals are on the nose.

REPORTER: Do you feel that residents here are really disenchanted or is it really (inaudible)?

BYRNE: I think people realise that our councils were abolished so that the government could give the green light to Westconnex and over-development in this neighbourhood. And everybody knows that the Liberals are doing things here in the Inner West and across Sydney that they would never do in blue-ribbon Liberal electorates. So I do think that Gladys Berejiklian might get a bit of a shock at six o’clock tonight about the message that people are sending her and her Government.

ALBANESE: I’ll give you just one example on that that I think is very important. When, with regard to the northern beaches tunnel it was suggested there be a smokestack near schools on the North Shore, Rob Stokes, the Education Minister, held a media conference and said he would fight like hell any proposal to have a smokestack near a school in that region. Well there are going to be nine – including one just down the road near this school at Annandale North  – nine here in the Inner West that are unfiltered. That is a policy that is unacceptable. If you are going to say that smokestacks unfiltered are a problem near kids on the North Shore, then kids in the Inner West deserve exactly the same care from the New South Wales Government and it is that duplicity that is alienating so many people from the Berejiklian Government.

REPORTER: What do you make of the fact that not one single State Government minister is speaking publicly today, including, of course, the Local Government Minister?

ALBANESE: Well I’m not surprised that the Liberals are in hiding today, because they are on a hiding to nothing because of what they have done, because in this area over-development, forced council amalgamations, removal of democracy, failure to consult the community on major infrastructure. This is a State Government that is out of touch.

REPORTER: On another issue, what do you think of George Christensen trying to ban the burqa (inaudible).

ALBANESE: Well I think George Christensen needs to work out for himself whether he wants to be a Nationals MP that is involved in mainstream politics, or whether he wants to be a part of One Nation. Barnaby Joyce has clearly rejected such a proposal and surely the Nationals, if they are not going to be regarded as just a junior wing of One Nation, need to reject this proposal as well.

REPORTER: Are you worried by the poll in that paper today showing that support for the yes campaign for same sex-marriage has fallen?

ALBANESE: Well this is not a done thing. The no campaign are out there trying to distort what this postal survey is about. Let’s be very clear, it’s only about one thing – whether two people who love each, who are committed to each other and want to express that in a formal way in front of their family and friends will be able to do so. This will strengthen the institution of marriage and I think true conservatives, true conservatives, should be supporting this postal survey and should support marriage equality because it will strengthen the institution of marriage.

REPORTER: Do you think the yes campaign is cutting through especially when it comes to encouraging people to actually fill out the form and send it back?

ALBANESE: Well that’s going to be a big challenge. There’s no doubt that when Tony Abbott proposed the plebiscite it was all about blocking marriage equality. It’s not about anything other than that. But now that it is there, we need to make sure that people get the message that they need to have their say and I would encourage all people, whether they are going to vote yes or no, to have their say. With the postal survey, the more people that vote, the better. I respect people who have different views to the one that I have come to. I respect that and we need to have a respectful debate. But at the end of the day I don’t know anybody, including some of the advocates of the no campaign – we need to be honest about this – they all say it’s inevitable. They know it’s going to happen. They are just trying to block it and the longer it is delayed the more this debate has potential to cause division in our society. I hope that is not the case and I call on people to be respectful to people who have different views to the ones that they hold. But this is going to happen and it needs to happen before Christmas rather than have the country continuing to deal with this.

When I speak to people engaged internationally – I travelled to the UK last year – they shake their heads. Australia is seen as a progressive country. We’re a country that had the universal franchise, one of the first countries to give women the vote. We are seen as being ahead of the world in so many areas. On this we are way behind.

REPORTER: Bill Shorten says the advertising safeguards for this survey should go further than those under the Electoral Act. Why should there be one rule for this poll and (inaudible)?

ALBANESE: Well this is a different process of course. This isn’t something that is a part of the normal electoral process. No-one in a federal election campaign says if you vote here this will determine what will happen in California. No-one here during a federal election campaign says things that simply aren’t relevant, because a federal election campaign is about a whole range of issues. This is about one issue and one issue only and people who actually have confidence in their own view should debate the issue that is before the Australian people – whether two people of the same sex should have the right to marry – and they should debate just that, because that is the issue. When they raise other issues, when people hear them raise other issues, what they are really saying is that they don’t have confidence that their opposition to marriage equality stands up and that they are prepared to debate in a practical and a serious way that issue which is the only issue before the Australian people.

REPORTER: Just one more. Does Labor support sending a small number of troops to The Philippines?

ALBANESE: That’s a matter for Penny Wong and for Richard Marles to discuss. We haven’t had discussions on those things. But in general as well can I say that Labor’s attitude is to consult with the government and to try and play a constructive role when it comes to issues of national security. Thank you.

[ENDS]

Sep 8, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; marriage equality, postal vote survey, citizenship

LISA WILKINSON: Welcome back to the show. Well it is official the High Court has ruled that the same-sex marriage postal vote will go ahead. But will the Government citizenship crackdown make it through the Senate?

For more I’m joined now by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, and Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning to both of you.

PETER DUTTON: Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be here.

WILKINSON: It’s lovely to have you both here. Thank you for coming to Queensland just for us. Now, Peter; day one of the official campaign on same-sex marriage. It has already turned ugly with yes and no campaigners clashing outside a church in Brisbane. This is not the respectful debate that you were hoping for.

DUTTON: Of course it’s not, Lisa, and Albo and I would be on a unity ticket to say to both sides to the extremes; conduct yourself in a reasonable way, have a respectful discussion. People can have their points of view. They can argue for or against the change but do it respectfully and within the law. I think that’s what most Australians would want.

WILKINSON: Are you surprise by what happened last night Albo?

ALBANESE: Well unfortunately I’m not. That was one of the concerns that we had about a plebiscite or a postal vote is that there would be division in the community. But I’d say this; that it doesn’t advance the cause either for marriage equality or against marriage equality for people to behave disrespectfully. You can have different points of view without engaging in that sort of behaviour.

WILKINSON: Peter have you decided how you’re going to be voting?

DUTTON: Well Lisa I’ve said for a long time, for me personally, I don’t support a change so I will vote no. But I’ve advocated the postal plebiscite, or the plebiscite before that, because I wanted people to have their say and that was the election promise that we gave at the last election.

So if a majority of Australian support change, that is if they vote in favour of same-sex marriage, I’ve said that I will vote for it in the Parliament, so respect that democratic outcome.

WILKINSON: But is it really the majority of Australians? Because there’s so many variables on how this postal vote will go.

DUTTON: Lisa, I think we will end up with a very significant turn out. I think everybody now turns their mind to campaigning, on both sides, and I think you’ll see ads, you’ll see people advocating for and against. And I think that will motivate people because it’s a significant social change and people will want to have their say, so I think we will get a pretty good indication.

WILKINSON: So we’ll get the decision on November 15. What happens then?

DUTTON: Well after that if there’s a no vote then the Government has been very clear that there is no change for us. The Labor Party can speak for themselves as to what they would do but if there is a yes vote then there would be a bill before the Parliament and our presumption is that Bill would be voted on before Christmas, so the change would be made before Christmas, and that’s the timeline that’s involved.

WILKINSON: And how are the numbers running now? Yes or no?

DUTTON: Look my sense is that if there is a yes vote that there will be a significant number of Members who will support it in the Lower House and the Senate and that it will pass easily. And, as I say, if there’s a no vote then the Government has been very clear about not advancing it then.

ALBANESE: I think Australians will vote for marriage equality. I think a majority have made up their mind and I think it’s important that we get this done before Christmas. People will wake up the next morning and their relationships won’t have changed and people will wonder, really, what all the fuss was about. It will be fantastic for the tourism industry. It will be a huge economic boost for the country.

WILKINSON: Australia would certainly be a great place to get married for same-sex couples as well as the rest of everyone. Now moving on and the Government is seeking to tighten requirements for new citizens to include university standard English skills, an Australian values test and a four year wait for permanent residents to become citizens.

Peter, this is your initiative; you don’t think it’s too tough asking people to be university standard proficient in English?

DUTTON: Yes I do actually because that’s not what we’re doing, not what we’re proposing. So we’ve said that we want people to be able to integrate, to adopt Australian values, to integrate into Australian society, to abide by Australian laws. We want people to show, over a four year period, that if they’re of a working age, have a capacity to work, we want them to work, not on the dole. We want to know that their kids aren’t running around in gang violence, we want to know that they’re going to schools.

So look at all of those tests and what we’ve said is that we want a competent level of English. Because to function at school, at university, in the workplace, in modern Australia, people need a competent level of English language to function and that’s the level. Now 99% of people will have no problems at all, will go through, but there’s a 1% that we are concerned about either on national security grounds or on issues otherwise where we think, well these people aren’t deserving to become Australian citizens so that’s the motivation behind it.

WILKINSON: Albo, obviously Europe has lived with their porous border problem for decades now and it’s happening with the attacks we’re seeing. What do you think about this push?

ALBANESE: Well those things aren’t related at all. This is about people who are here, who have been granted permanent residency, who will stay here, whether they’re granted the right to be full citizens and participate in things like the marriage equality vote, participate in elections, participate fully as Australians.

There’s some irony, when it’s pretty clear that some of Peter’s colleagues have been able to become citizens of other countries pretty easily, that they are tightening this up in a way that is unAustralian. Currently we have a conversational level of English that is required; we do that now. To have this university level test, I mean some of his colleagues notwithstanding whether they’re citizens of one or two countries wouldn’t pass this test.

WILKINSON: All right, okay, we’re going to have to leave it there. Thanks so much for making your way to Queensland, we really appreciate it.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you and people thinking about travelling – Gold Coast is a great destination.

WILKINSON: Come to Queensland.

DUTTON: Absolutely.

 

Sep 7, 2017

Transcript of doorstop – Parliament House, Canberra

Subjects: Barnaby Joyce; infrastructure; marriage equality; Nationals.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning. Tomorrow Barnaby Joyce will be Acting Prime Minister of this nation. He will be that in a position when it’s unclear whether he even has a right to sit in the Parliament of Australia. And it’s not Labor that says that, it’s himself, it’s the Government. It’s the Government that referred Barnaby Joyce to the High Court of Australia because, as we now know, he has acknowledged at the time of his election he was a citizen of New Zealand. Barnaby Joyce concedes that. I think Barnaby Joyce should have, when that became apparent, resigned from Parliament, had a by-election and cleared up his citizenship issue. Instead we are going through this farcical situation whereby the Government is governing without a mandate from the people of Australia or itself.

Barnaby Joyce is already preparing for the by-election. We have three projects – Scone Bypass, Tenterfield Bypass for heavy vehicles, and the Bolivia Hill Upgrade on the New England Highway – which were all funded by the former Federal Labor Government, were all in the Budget in either 2013 or before, and the Government did nothing in 2014, nothing in 2015, nothing in 2016, nothing in 2017 until this month –  until this month when all of a sudden tenders are being issued. All of a sudden, this Government has an interest in New England infrastructure.

Well, that is Barnaby Joyce giving himself up. He’s out there campaigning for the by-election, issuing media releases that are not in his portfolio in the electorate of New England in the case of the Scone Bypass. The Government should do the right thing for certainty, for our democracy and not hand over the reins to Barnaby Joyce. Barnaby Joyce should step aside until the High Court brings down its decision, just as Matt Cavanan has stepped aside from the Cabinet.

JOURNALIST: Beyond the sort of image issues around making Barnaby Joyce Acting Prime Minister, what are the actual practical problems with that? I mean, what are the genuine serious implications?

ALBANESE: Well the genuine serious implications for ministers, let alone the Prime Minister, making decisions during a period in which they have acknowledged that they may be ineligible to hold office, brings into question the legitimacy of any decisions which are made. And that’s why there is a very serious practical implication here. This isn’t just about the normal argy bargy of politics. This is about the Australian Constitution, which sets out very clearly the eligibility rules to be a minister. What it says is you can be a minister for a period of time, for three months, without being a Member of Parliament so if there’s an issue over someone being elected or a by-election, a new appointment; that provision is in there. It is now much more than three months since the election. What the High Court is determining is whether in July of last year Barnaby Joyce was eligible to be the Member for New England.

So in terms of the circumstances of all of these decisions, post three months of that certainly, under the constitution are drawn into question. And, under those circumstances to make him Prime Minister draws into question every decision which is made by the Government. Now there are serious issues facing Australia. I’ve served as Acting Prime Minister. I know that there are decisions you have to make as Acting Prime Minister. And what the Australian people know is that those decisions shouldn’t be made under a cloud.

JOURNALIST: Are you expecting a particularly tumultuous Question Time what with the High Court challenge decision on the postal survey being delivered right in the middle of it?

ALBANESE: Well the decision on the postal survey is another example of a Government that simply can’t lead. They should have had a vote of the Parliament. This should have been settled by now. Instead they have had their plebiscite rejected. We now have this ridiculous voluntary, non-compulsory, non-binding survey which is costing the Australian taxpayer over $100 million which is being challenged because it hasn’t been authorised by the Parliament through any legislation. We’ll wait to see what the decision of the court is and respect that decision but this again just shows a Government that is not governing.

JOURNALIST: If the High Court shoots down the postal survey would Labor consider bringing on a vote of its own in the Lower House, a free vote, in the hope that perhaps it could get the numbers and convince a few Liberals to cross the floor?

ALBANESE: We support a free vote. We’ve had bills before the Parliament. That’s what should happen and that’s what should happen to save $100 plus million dollars of taxpayers’ funds. We could get it done on Monday, frankly and have a vote of the Parliament. Have the Parliament sit and give everyone an opportunity to speak. You can arrange these things so everyone can have ten minutes. Start Monday morning, through we go, until there’s a vote in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

And when everyone wakes up the day after they will wonder what all the fuss is about because everyone else’s relationships wouldn’t be impacted at all. All that it would be, a whole lot of people who love each other, who are committed to each other, would be able to celebrate their relationship and make that commitment in front of family and friends.

And as Shadow Tourism Minister, can I say this – the other thing that would happen is a whole lot of jobs created and economic activity if marriage equality was granted.

JOURNALIST: Would Labor consider bringing on a vote of its own?

ALBANESE: Look we’re not going to pre-empt the High Court decision. It’s this afternoon. We, unlike the Prime Minister, respect the fact that the High Court is an independent body and there’s a separation of the Government and politics from the legal processes and we’ll respect the decision of the High Court this afternoon which comes down I think at 2:15.

JOURNALIST: Senator Hanson has claimed credit for the Nationals voting at their Federal Conference on the policy to implement a burqa ban. Does she deserve it?

ALBANESE: I intend giving Senator Hanson all the oxygen on this issue that she deserves. Thank you.

Sep 6, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes segment

Subjects: Citizenship, energy.

HOST: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese, a very good morning to you.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Will and David and Anthony.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning team although I hope Penbo is getting some money for charity or something from wearing that ridiculous bloody coat that he has got on. I just looked on Twitter.

HOST: It’s my new look Albo, what do you think?

ALBANESE: What’s going on?

PYNE: Better than the duffle coat (inaudible).

HOST: Mate, I know you programmed Rage once. I reckon I’m half a chance of turning up this Friday night as some sort of hip-hop artist.  Just stay listening for the album Albo, it’s even worse than (inaudible).

PYNE: He used to wear a lumberjack coat at the uni.

HOST: That’s right. The sort of shabby-chic look that we all perfected back then.

ALBANESE: I can imagine him singing I’m a Lumberjack.

PYNE: He did. He used to sit down in the mall trying to sell the Green Left newspaper or some rubbish.

HOST: Come on Chris, that was just a phase I was going through.

PYNE: It was a phase. We’ve all been through these phases.

ALBANESE: No. I was never a Trot.

PYNE: I was very right-wing when I was at university actually. I’ve really mellowed over the years, no doubt about that.

HOST: You’re becoming more left-wing the older you get Chris.

PYNE: Well I think we all start moving towards the centre as we get older. Even Anthony has given up on Marxism.

ALBANESE: I’ve always been a statesman.

HOST: The statesman, that’s right. There’s a name that’s stuck. Hey, we’re going to change the batting order today. We’re going to start with you Albo.

ALBANESE: Excellent. About time.

HOST: Don’t worry; it’s not a particularly good question. The Newspoll on Monday for the first time in a long time, it showed that there’s been a swing back from Labor towards the Coalition. Do you think that this is because Labor have looked like they’ve been wasting the Parliament’s time by hammering the citizenship issue as hard as they have been?

ALBANESE: Gee whiz. Monday’s poll showed Labor on 53 and the Coalition on 47. I think it was yet another disastrous result for the Government, I think the 18th or 19th in a row and the countdown is on to 30. It is legitimate for us to raise whether the Parliament, in itself, is functioning properly where there are question marks over people’s eligibility. But more importantly, I think the Government is playing a really risky game having a Deputy Prime Minister, and on Friday someone who will be Acting Prime Minister, who has been referred to the High Court because there is a question mark at the very least over his eligibility to sit in the Parliament, let alone be Acting Prime Minister. I think it is a very irresponsible thing and it’s extraordinary that Matt Canavan resigned as a Minister, just stood aside, he is continuing to vote, but Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash are still sitting in the Cabinet.

HOST: Can you explain for us Chris Pyne, what is the logic by which Matt Canavan who was a Cabinet Minister, had to step aside from that role, yet Barnaby Joyce is allowed to continue as Deputy PM and will indeed, as Albo says, be Acting PM later this week?

PYNE: Well I think you hit the nail on the head when you asked Albo that question because Bill Shorten is clearly a brake on Labor’s vote. Given the media storm that apparently seems to follow the Government, you would expect Labor to be vastly farther ahead. But Bill Shorten is a very unpopular figure. People don’t trust him. They think he’s shifty and of course Anthony was out again yesterday trailing his coat with another manifesto in The Australian. Labor is wasting people’s time here talking about the citizenship issue and we are getting on with the job of talking about North Korea and our defence preparedness; energy prices, and today there has been another report about how we need to actually be doing the things that the Government is doing to fix electricity and we want to keep Liddell coal-fired power station open or another five years. Labor wants to close another coal-fired power station and we have seen how that story ends in South Australia when Labor closed the Northern Power Station and we have the highest electricity prices and the most unreliable in the developed world in South Australia.

ALBANESE: Hang on, you know your mates are in government in NSW? You do know that?

PYNE: Do you want to keep the Liddell Power Station open, Anthony?

ALBANESE: You do know that? AGL don’t. AGL, the owners …

PYNE: And you want to close it?

ALBANESE: Don’t try that. It’s not kindergarten, mate. AGL have nailed the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister said that he had had all these discussions and the head of AGL, Andy Vesey was texting out yesterday saying basically that it was just nonsense; that they are going to close the power plant because it is the end of its life.

PYNE:  But of course AGL …

HOST: Hey guys, guys, Sorry. Hang on. Hold, as they say in the AFL. Can I just wrap things up Chris by getting you to state the Government’s position on that AGL issue because the head of AGL did come out yesterday and deny that he had been talking to Malcolm Turnbull about keeping that coal-fired plant open? Is that the case?

PYNE: We are going to do everything we can to keep Liddell open because we have seen what happens when coal-fired power stations are allowed to close prematurely, or in Labor’s case, they encourage them to close. We have to keep electricity prices down.  If Liddell closes because AGL allows it to close, then that will force prices up again and make our power less reliable. It happened at Hazelwood in Victoria, Northern Power in South Australia and we have seen how that ends. Now Labor envisages an Australia with high electricity prices. We are trying to push electricity prices down.

ALBANESE: Well that’s absolute nonsense. Liddell is at the end of its life in 2022. It’s private sector coal-fired plant in a state where the Coalition are in government, in a nation where the Coalition are in government. How the hell can you possibly blame Labor for what is going on here? The fact is the Government is being left behind by the private sector that it claims to represent.

PYNE: You’ve got no solutions.

HOST: Chris Pyne, Albo, thank you for that. We will do it again next week.
 

Sep 1, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; Malcolm Turnbull’s travel claims; statues; Constitutional recognition of the First Australians 

KARL STEFANOVIC: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Good morning, guys.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, I’m starting with you. What was the PM doing claiming $500 a night for a hotel in South Australia he didn’t even pay for?

PYNE: Well, he was perfectly entitled to make the claim. The problem was that he wasn’t issued with an invoice. They’ve now asked for the invoice. He’ll pay the invoice quite correctly. It’s one of those administrative issues. It really is not a big story.

STEFANOVIC: Why do you claim for something that you haven’t been invoiced with?

PYNE: Well I doubt very much that the Prime Minister sitting down doing his travel allowance claims on a daily basis. That would be being done in his office. Obviously they’ve just gone through the normal processes and nobody pointed out that there was no invoice yet. As soon as it was pointed out to them they requested one. The invoice will be received, it will be paid. It’s no different to any other claim that MPs make for travel allowance.

STEFANOVIC: I’m not personally blaming the Prime Minister but this is the sort of thing that does rattle people’s nerves a little bit in the electorate.

PYNE: No, I think it’s a pretty minor issue. I don’t think anybody pays much attention to small administrative issues like that. There are bigger issues facing the country.

STEFANOVIC: Albo, you travel more than the Leyland Brothers. There anything you want to declare?

ALBANESE: No. Look, clearly here the Prime Minister or his office has made a mistake. They need to fix it up.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. You criticised Bill Shorten very publicly this week. Can I ask you this question this morning? When are you going to man up and take his job?

ALBANESE: I didn’t in fact criticise Bill Shorten. One of the things I said is that Bill Shorten is absolutely committed to reconciliation.

PYNE: He did attack him.

ALBANESE: Reconciliation requires the First Australians to work together who’ve come since and that’s the nature of reconciliation. One of the things that I think we should consider is more recognition of our Indigenous heritage.

Why aren’t there statues of Bennelong and other Aboriginal figures around Australia? That would be good for Aboriginal people in terms of their esteem and important recognition, but also it is important for people for who visit Australia who want to know more about our long history.

STEFANOVIC: Fair call. Would you add plaques?

PYNE: I agree with the last part of what Anthony said about statues of Aboriginal Australians like Pemulwuy but the truth is that Bill has an overactive political correctness gland and Anthony slam dunked him because Bill was trying to as usual appeal to the audience he was talking to. He wants his job; he should get on with it.

STEFANOVIC: Would you add plaques to the statues or keep them the way they are?

ALBANESE: I think there are far greater issues.

STEFANOVIC: Come on, you’re squibbing it.

ALBANESE: There are far greater issues facing First Australians in closing the gap on education, on health. They’re the issues that we need to concentrate on and we also need to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in our Constitution.

PYNE: Bill says new plaques. Anthony says no plaques.

STEFANOVIC: Who would you build statues for?

ALBANESE: Christopher has suggested Pemulwuy. There’s also Bennelong. There are a range of Aboriginal historical figures as well as current leaders. I think over a period of time they need that recognition.

STEFANOVIC: I think it’s a good idea.

ALBANESE: We need to understand that Australia’s history is the longest continuous civilisation on earth and be proud of it.

STEFANOVIC: See, there you go again, being a great opposition leader.

PYNE: He’s much better than Bill.

STEFANOVIC: He’s much better than Bill, isn’t he Chris? Do you agree?

PYNE: He’s much better than Bill. Bill wants plaques, new plaques. Anthony’s saying no new plaques. He’s done it again.

STEFANOVIC: Just do it! Just do it.

PYNE: He did it on Wednesday, now he’s doing it on Friday on The Today Show.

STEFANOVIC: Exactly, Christopher.

ALBANESE: I’m very happy with the job that I have. Very happy with the job that I’ve got.

STEFANOVIC: Come on, man up and take his job. Take his job. He’s doing no good in the ratings.

PYNE: Stop shadow boxing, Anthony. Stop shadow boxing.

ALBANESE: I’m very happy with the job that I’ve got.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, Christopher.

ALBANESE: I’m part of the team. See, Christopher doesn’t recognise the concept of teamwork.

PYNE: Rubbish. I’ve been in the team for 25 years.

ALBANESE: Abbott’s putting out Turnbull’s travel claims. Turnbull’s office is responding with Abbott’s travel claims.

STEFANOVIC: Now you’ve woken up. Christopher, just before we go. Your seat of Sturt could be under threat from a reallocation of seats in the lower house. Is this your last hurrah? Is this your swansong? Is the fat bloke singing?

PYNE: Karl, I’ve been through three redistributions that I can remember. There’s no more or greater reason or less reason why my seat would be abolished. Eventually there will be a twelve month process. I’ll be living in the seat somewhere in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide.

I’ll be standing for that seat. That’s where my party membership is. That’s where my electors are. I will definitely have a seat. The reality is what it will end up looking like is a matter for the electoral commission but there’s no reason to believe that I won’t be running for a seat in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide.

ALBANESE: Channel Nine have got Chris Uhlmann; they could have had Chris Pyne replacing Laurie.

STEFANOVIC: We’re very happy with Chris Uhlmann, thank you very much.

ALBANESE: It’s a very wise decision.

STEFANOVIC: And you should all be very afraid, you people in Canberra.

PYNE: I want to get paid as much as Chris Uhlmann’s gonna get paid.

STEFANOVIC: Come work in the private sector. It might be harder than what you’re doing.

PYNE: Oh, I don’t think so. I don’t get Iced Vovos every morning when I ask for them like you do, Karl.

STEFANOVIC: They’re not like they used to be, the Iced Vovos.

ALBANESE: You have to come into the studio mate; you should see it here today. Full on.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, there’s pies and everything.

ALBANESE: Breakfast, coffee, pies, everything.

PYNE: Banana lounges behind the scenes.

ALBANESE: It’s all good.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, that’s enough. Over to you Lisa.

Aug 30, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes segment

Subjects: North Korea, statues, reconciliation. 

HOST: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese for Two Tribes. Good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning team.

HOST: Now, unsurprisingly we are going to kick off by discussing North Korea – yesterday, another display of belligerence from Pyongyang. What do you think is the best way for the Western world to respond to this threat Chris Pyne?

PYNE: Well the best way is to ensure there’s no mistakes made and no shots fired in error that leads to a conflagration that takes the lives of tens of thousands if not more South Koreans particularly. The way to do that of course is to get China to tighten on the sanctions on North Korea. They have agreed to do that. The UN Security Council most recently imposed further sanctions – economic sanctions, travel and other sanctions, on North Korea. All the countries involved have agreed to that including China and China is implementing those. That’s a very important development because it indicates that China is beyond patience with the North Korean regime. Of course, North Korea needs to understand the resolve of the United States and her allies in ensuring that North Korea doesn’t take any steps to attack South Korea or any other country in the region and I think that’s pretty clear. So we are certainly doing everything we can to ensure that North Korea remains within its borders and that’s what we will continue to do.

HOST: What’s Labor’s position on this Albo? Are you guys lock step with the Government in terms of advocating that approach, where China muscles up and we maintain a sanctions approach to this at the moment?

ALBANESE: We are as one on this issue and, I think, as one with humanity. We need to make sure that any resolution of the issue is done peacefully. It clearly is, as crazy as we might think the North Korean regime is, a tit-for-tat with weapons would be a very bad outcome for the people particularly of the Korean Peninsula, but potentially of the entire region. So we support the Government in its very strong condemnation. That is appropriate. It is an escalation of the conflict to have the missile fly over Hokkaido in Japan.

HOST: Chris Pyne, Greg Sheridan has written in The Australian about Australia investigating a missile defence shield. Is that something that the Government needs to consider?

PYNE: Well the Government of course has some measures in place to protect Australia from missile attack. One of those of course is the replacement for our current missile defences around our deployed forces which is the surface-to-air missile defence system which I announced in June this year at a cost of $1.3 billion being implemented by Raytheon Australia. We of course would be very unlikely to be able to get a land-based defence missile shield similar to the United States shield in place any time soon. It will take years and cost upwards of over $10 billion to achieve. But there are other ways of course to protect our northern approaches through seaborne missile defence shields and we have of course very advanced air warfare destroyers built here in Adelaide. As you know, this Government is committed to the Future Frigates Program which is an anti-submarine warfare frigate, but also has capabilities beyond submarine warfare and we are looking closely, considering all the threats to Australia and how best to respond. But there’s not only one response, which is a land-based defensive missile shield similar to the Americans. There are other ways of protecting Australia from inter-continental ballistic missiles and of course we are always considering those.

HOST: Changing tack now, Ablo can I just get you clarify …

ALBANESE: That’s good. We are at risk of becoming one tribe rather than two tribes on these issues.

HOST: Don’t worry. We are going to lob a few hand grenades at you now. Hey Albo, what is Labor’s exact position on whether the inscriptions on these statues need to be changed to more accurately reflect our indigenous heritage and history, because yesterday it sounded a bit like Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek were backing away from the idea of making any changes to them despite Mr Shorten saying on Monday that they might need to be rewritten.

ALBANESE: Well my position on these issues is that there are far greater issues facing the first Australians than what’s on a statue. The fact is that that is a historical statue. It’s in Hyde Park, which I used to walk through on the way to school and from every day. This all came about really because of the debate about Australia Day and about the origins of European settlement and how it should be commemorated. I think personally that Australia Day is an important day which recognises the fact of European settlement that was an important part in our history. But also, at the commemorations I go to, also look backwards, not just forwards, and do acknowledge that with the European colonisation here in Australia the first Australians suffered greatly and that history is examined. I think that in terms of reconciliation, which is what we need, reconciliation between the original Australians who have such a rich history and those who have come since 1788, it can’t be achieved if it’s a conflict. It, by definition, has to be together. So I want to see less of a divisive debate and more a debate about how we go forward.

HOST: We had the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, on Leon’s show here on 5AA a couple of days ago Chris Pyne and he said that any suggestion that we should change these inscriptions was sort of tantamount to a Stalinist air-brushing of history. Do you think that that is an over-statement or do you think that that is the way that people would regard this sort of retrospective rewording of what it says on some of our monuments?

PYNE: Well Anthony at least has described his own position very clearly and perfectly sensibly. The problem with Bill Shorten’s position on the issue of changing monuments is that, as usual, he has an overactive political correctness gland and he wants to say to the crowd that he is talking to whatever they want to hear. So his initial statements about needing to  change the inscriptions on monuments was designed to impress the Green-leaning Left voters and then of course he realised that that wasn’t the view of most Australians, who recognise that there is much in our history about which we should be embarrassed and much in our history about which we should be proud. But that’s history. That’s the nature of the beast that it is not always perfect and trying to airbrush that or change it of course is quite impossible.

HOST: Is that a fair assessment, do you think, Albo? Did your boss change positions on this?

ALBANESE: Look I don’t follow every word, but what I do know is that Bill Shorten’s been very consistent about supporting reconciliation. He has taken on the portfolio of Indigenous Affairs himself and he is very passionate about the issues surrounding the first Australians and closing the gap practically moving forward.

HOST: Anthony Albanese, Christopher Pyne, thanks very much for joining us this morning.

PYNE: It was a pleasure thanks.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

 

Aug 25, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; Pauline Hanson, the burqa, welfare drug-testing 

LISA WILKINSON: A new poll reveals more than half of all Australians support Pauline Hanson’s call to ban the wearing of burqas in public. For more on this and a whole lot more joining me now is Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister, here in the studio, Anthony Albanese. Good morning to both of you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa.

WILKINSON: Christopher, I’m going to start with you. Now Pauline Hanson created headlines with her burqa stunt in Parliament. Does this poll suggest to you that she was right?

PYNE: No, she was wrong to do what she did. She was wrong to try and turn the Senate into a circus, but that’s a different issue really to the issues around banning the burqa. Now the concern that I have about the burqa is that it isolates women from society in general and I think that is a dangerous thing. It’s nothing to do with it being Muslim, or any other kind of religion for that matter and that’s why I think the debate needs to be parsed if you like, to be separated out.

Now Pauline Hanson and the One Nation crowd wanted to make it about Muslim women. I think it’s really more an issue about isolating any kind of woman from the rest of society and that’s why I guess the French Government they banned the burqa because they said it was a way of controlling women.

WILKINSON: Anthony, can you understand why people are uncomfortable when the burqa is worn in public?

ALBANESE: Of course I can understand it. I’m uncomfortable and I think people who aren’t from that culture are uncomfortable with it. That’s not surprising. There’s a big step though towards banning things. Banning things does not work. I think that’s why George Brandis made the comment that he did. There’s a whole range of behaviour from people of different cultures, different ethnicities, different religions that people mightn’t be comfortable with, but that doesn’t mean you go about banning it.

WILKINSON: All right, well let’s move on. Welfare recipients will be randomly tested for drugs from next year but the experts and the Government are divided on whether it could do more harm than good. Christopher, there are concerns that those who are most likely to fail these tests will turn to crime to feed their addiction. How is the Government going to monitor this?

PYNE: Well Lisa, there are a whole lot of steps before we get to the point of taking a person off welfare and the first step that this trial is designed to discover is if you are on ice or some other kind of addictive drug, we want to find out and then we want to get those people the help that they need. This is not about punishing people; this is about trying to get people off drugs and into work so they can become a full member of society again. Too many people have jumped to the conclusion at the end that this is a way of punishing people. It’s actually a way of trying to get help to people who can’t get work because they’re on drugs.

WILKINSON: Anthony, Labor wasn’t supporting this a couple of weeks ago. Is that still the case or are you just waiting for the results of these trials?

ALBANESE: All of the experts say that this punitive measure will not work. If they were serious about getting people off drugs, and everyone can agree that that’s a good thing, then what you’d be doing is putting money into rehabilitation, putting money into supporting people through that process of getting off drugs, not stigmatising particular communities including Canterbury-Bankstown, some of which I happen to represent in the national parliament. People are quite resentful with the singling out of particular communities to say that’s where the dole bludgers are, that’s where the drug addicts are. That’s what’s going on here.

PYNE: It’s a trial.

ALBANESE: Well, a trial happens to be – go have a trial in the eastern suburbs and see how you go in Woollahra or what have you. Just pick people up at random there. That of course won’t happen, because that’s Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate.

WILKINSON: But are there as many welfare recipients in those suburbs?

ALBANESE: No, but there’s certainly at least as many cocaine people, people who are taking various drugs in the eastern suburbs as there are in the electorate that I represent.

WILKINSON: I think you’re probably right.

ALBANESE: I am right.

WILKINSON: But are they using the public purse to feed their cocaine habit?

ALBANESE: The surveys show that that’s the case in terms of the analysis that has taken place.

WILKINSON: But are they using public funds, taxpayers’ money, to feed their cocaine habit?

ALBANESE: No, they’re not by and large because of the nature of the addictions that are in the eastern suburbs are different. But why are these communities being singled out?

PYNE: It’s a pilot program.

ALBANESE: All of the experts, not one expert has come out in support of the government’s position on this. We should be listening to the experts in the health area when it comes to policies to achieve outcomes, we can agree on the outcome of getting people off drugs as a good thing, but go about it the right way.

WILKINSON: There we go. We didn’t mention citizenship once. I think that’s a win.

ALBANESE: I think Australians are probably over it.

WILKINSON: They probably are. But they’ve got until October for this to keep running, unfortunately.

ALBANESE: We might get one or two mentions between now and October.

PYNE: He’s still going.

WILKINSON: Alright.

PYNE: Turn him off!

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: You’re out of time, you two.

 

Aug 23, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes segment

Subjects: Citizenship; marriage equality.

HOST: A big good morning to Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ALBANESE: Greetings.

HOST: Now we will kick off with you Chris as we normally do. The Government has clearly taken a bit of a hit in the polls with the distraction caused by the citizenship drama, but do you think that Bill Shorten is being a bit cute by refusing to release documentation proving once and for all that he and other Labor MPs are not dual citizens?

PYNE: Well Anthony Albanese has released his documentation, so if it is good enough for Anthony, it should be good enough for everybody else and the question here is why would Bill Shorten be refusing to release his documentation? Well the answer obviously is that he is worried that there are Labor MPs who don’t have documentation. So if he releases his, others will be forced to release theirs and we will discover potentially that there are Labor MPs who should be referred to the High Court. So I guess he doesn’t want to break the dam wall by releasing his. But I notice Anthony’s released his birth certificate showing that he didn’t know that he had an Italian father and that is the end of the matter from his point of view.

HOST:  To you Albo, has your decision to do that caused a problem for Bill Shorten?

ALBANESE: Well I haven’t done that. Don’t get sucked in by Christopher’s absurd spin. Look, for goodness, sake, I released a book, it’s written by Karen Middleton, available in all good books stores including there in Adelaide, called Albanese: Telling it Straight, and it outlines in a great deal of detail my origins and that is what I have pointed people towards. It is there for all to see in 320 pages.

HOST: But didn’t you do something extra though in the last 48 hours because the way it was written in The Australian it sounded to me like you had shown that reporter your citizenship papers to knock the citizenship speculation on the head.

ALBANESE: I don’t have citizenship papers. People who have wanted to see my birth certificate, I haven’t released it, but people have seen it and that arose out of talking with journalists about how silly it was that in spite of the fact that we had this rather comprehensive outline of the somewhat unusual circumstances of my birth, people were still carrying on and it led to David Speers making a bit of a joke on Sky News that I was the Jon Snow of the Federal Parliament in a Game of Thrones reference. Game of Thrones is a bit like Federal Parliament from time to time.

HOST: Yes. I think Federal Parliament is more bloody.

PYNE: You did show people your birth certificate so that is showing people your evidence.

HOST: Well Chris Pyne, will you guys pro-actively refer members of the Labor Party to the High Court to get this matter resolved?

PYNE: I think the Australian public are pretty sick of this issue and that’s why it needs to be resolved by the High Court. There are a lot more important issues around at the moment, things like creating jobs, creating investment …

HOST: Sure. But with a view to ending it, will you be referring their members over whom there is suspicion to the High Court?

PYNE: Well the High Court has a directions hearing on the 24th of August. They will start the process of deciding what Section 44 means in the Constitution in the modern period. I think they will resolve it pretty expeditiously and we will all be able to move on one way of the other. I think most people think it’s just not common sense that you could have absolutely no idea that you are a citizen of another country but somehow that means you have an allegiance to a foreign power. The High Court is the right place to clear this up and I am quite happy to leave it to them while I get on with …

HOST: I will try this one more time. Have you made any decision about whether you will refer any of those Labor MPs over whom there is a suspicion to the court?

PYNE: No, I haven’t made a decision about that.

HOST: OK.

ALBANESE: No and of course they won’t because such an action would mean that majority governments in future could refer people who they don’t like to a court. I mean, that would be just absurd. This is an attempt to reverse the onus of proof. Labor has rigorous procedures in place and I am absolutely confident there are no issues with any Labor MPs. It’s as simple as that.

HOST: But the doubt still remains Albo because …

ALBANESE: Oh, there is no doubt. It is like, you know …

HOST: But there is no compunction for them to release documents and indeed in some cases there are no documents anyway so it can’t be proved or disproved.

ALBANESE: Well, why should they?

HOST: Well can I ask you the question backwards then?  Should Bill Shorten and the other Labor MPs including Penny Wong do what you have done, either through showing …

ALBANESE: What, have a biography about their origins?

HOST:  Have a biography revealing their own backgrounds.

ALBANESE: Have a biography revealing they didn’t know who their father was?

PYNE: You released your birth certificate.

ALBANESE: I have not released my birth certificate.

PYNE: You showed your birth certificate to The Australian, which is a lot more than Bill Shorten has done.

ALBANESE: Well this is absurd. Labor has appropriate mechanisms in place and this is just an attempt to cloud the fact that since the Liberal Party went out there – I note there’s no Liberal Party members have issues either. Labor and Liberal both have their act together. The problem here is the Greens and the Nationals who have real issues in terms of the suggestions of breaches of the Constitution. There are people who are putting their hand up. I read today Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan both conceding before the court in their submissions that they were citizens of another country apart from Australia and, you know, that hasn’t happened with either Labor members or Liberal members.

HOST: Just finally and I will just get your thoughts on this Chris for time reasons, are you comfortable with the manner in which Tony Abbott is using his fairly booming voice to urge people to vote no against same-sex marriage on the basis of other extraneous issues – political correctness and so forth?

PYNE: Well the only question before the plebiscite is do we believe it is time to change the law to allow same sex couples to marry. That’s the only question. There are no other issues. Tony Abbott is very good at campaigning, particularly about something in which he feels strongly. He campaigned against the republic and the line that he used is that you shouldn’t trust politicians with the republic, in spite of the fact that he was a politician himself. So he will try and find a line to undermine the case for yes for same-sex marriage. I don’t think the Australian public believe this is a vote about anything other than allowing same-sex couples the same rights to marry as non-same-sex couples. I’m not in favour of marriage equality in spite of being a conservative. I am in favour of it because I am a conservative. I think more people should have access to the institution of marriage.  I think the children in same-sex households should be able to have the stability that that union brings and while Tony Abbott might well try and muddy the waters and make the vote about something other than what it is, it’s a pretty straightforward question – do you or don’t you agree that  same-sex couples should have the chance to marry?

HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, thank you both for your time.

ALBANESE: Bravo! I do think that Tony Abbott is reminding people not that he is an effective politician, but that he is an effective wrecker.

HOST: Good stuff.  Albo, Christopher Pyne, we will do it all again next week. Thank you.

Aug 21, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Michael Spooner program, ABC Mid North Coast

Subjects: Pacific Highway; citizenship; marriage equality.

MICHAEL SPOONER:  Well Anthony Albanese holds the Shadow portfolios for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. He has been on the Mid North Coast over the last couple of days and took a chance to look over Pacific Highway upgrades. Mr Albanese joins me this morning. Anthony Albanese, good morning to you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

SPOONER: Thank you for your time. So you’ve been on the Mid North Coast. What have you observed and what have you gone to look at specifically?

ALBANESE: Well what I looked at was when we were in Government we put in place the funding for all of the work that is taking place between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. Some of that work has been completed. Work like the Kempsey Bypass, Frederickton to Eungai. But there is other work taking place. I’ve been concerned about the cut that was in this year’s Budget. Last year there was $1.37 billion allocated for the Pacific Highway. That drops to $710 million in the current financial year so I’m concerned about the $600 million drop-off.

SPOONER: Is that simply a cut in funds because just about all of the highway is fixed up now?

ALBANESE: No, well it’s certainly not fixed up of course. Once you go north of Coffs there’s still work that’s substantial to be done between Arrawarra and Ballina.  Some of that upgrade was done already, like the Glenugie area. Some of the most dangerous areas were the ones that we completed first.

SPOONER: Ok, well what about the Coalition is committed to the work surrounding the Coffs Bypass. What commitment would you, would Labor, make relating to the Coffs Bypass?

ALBANESE: Well they haven’t committed anything in fact. There’s not a single dollar in the forward estimates.

SPOONER: They are doing all the geo-technical stuff at the moment.

ALBANESE: Yes, well that’s State Government work to do some of the geo-tech, which is a precondition for the planning work. There’s not a dollar allocated over the next four years and that is of some concern, particularly because Luke Hartsuyker has been promising that since 2002. He had a long time in government prior to our election and then has been in government for a long time since of course, into their second term.

SPOONER: Did you go and have a look at Macksville Bridge?

ALBANESE: No, I didn’t.

SPOONER: Because that’s well under way and you would probably see a project rushing ahead there.

ALBANESE: Yes that is under way. All of that work was allocated when we were in government. It was all under 50-50 funding – a share with the State Government. Of course, the State Government funding has dropped off as well unfortunately because the Federal Government, for the new funding, has allowed the state to drop its funding to 20 per cent.

SPOONER: Mr Albanese, I have to ask you of course while I’ve got you this morning, there is a fiasco over dual citizenship. I have heard you describing yourself as half-Italian, half-Irish. Are you, or have you ever been, a dual citizen?

ALBANESE: No I certainly haven’t. My background is fully documented in Karen Middleton’s biography.

SPOONER: Did you have to divest yourself of Italian citizenship to become a Federal politician?

ALBANESE: No I didn’t. My only legal parent on my birth certificate is my mother. I was due to be adopted out and I was told indeed that my father was deceased and my mother, as a young Catholic woman in 1963, as was pretty common at the time, was due to have me adopted out. She chose to keep me. She made that courageous decision. But my birth certificate has a blank next to father.

SPOONER: I need to also ask you while I’ve got you, of course same-sex marriage is a big issue at the moment. It’s almost derailing everything else the Government is trying to do. However, why does Labor oppose a plebiscite when polls show that people, the public, want an opportunity to vote on this issue?

ALBANESE: Well we don’t have plebiscites on education policy or health or anything else and we didn’t have a plebiscite when John Howard’s Government changed the existing Marriage Act or any other changes that have been made to the Act. We are of the view that people are entitled to love essentially whoever they want in adult relationships and that the institution of marriage indeed will be strengthened by more people being able to participate, but that that’s not something that others should pass judgement on and we are worried about a divisive debate. But the postal ballot is happening. We are certainly participating and I am campaigning very strongly for a yes vote in that voluntary postal ballot.  But I can think of better things to spend $122 million on.

SPOONER: Mr Albanese, we have to leave it there. The news is upon us. Thanks you for your time this morning.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

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Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

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

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