Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Oct 27, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – 2GB Ben Fordham, Sydney Live

Subjects; Turnbull Minority Government, Barnaby Joyce, High Court Ruling, New England By-election

BEN FORDHAM: Okay, we’ll leave Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull there and go straight back to our 2GB studios where I’m joined by Labor’s Anthony Albanese who’s busy texting away on his phone but he’s going to have a talk to us right now. Albo, good afternoon, thanks for swinging into the studio.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’m just tweeting out that I’m talking to you!

FORDHAM: Is that right?

ALBANESE: If there are some people out there who aren’t listening to 2GB at this particular point in time, your ratings might be about to go up.

FORDHAM: Why have you got such a spring in your step this afternoon?

ALBANESE: Well, this is a debacle for the government. We know that the government has lost its capacity to actually govern for the nation. Today they’ve lost their majority. Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce have been humiliated, frankly. I mean, Malcolm Turnbull was full of chutzpah there, but this is a guy who stood up in the Parliament as the Prime Minister, attempted to pre-empt the High Court decision, say ‘nothing to see here’, that Barnaby Joyce could continue to serve not just as a minister but as the Deputy Prime Minister and as the Acting Prime Minister. Very unwise decision, as well as Minister Nash continuing to serve as well. Matt Canavan at least did the right thing and stepped down as a minister.

FORDHAM: Let me just play you what Barnaby Joyce said about an hour ago.

BARNABY JOYCE: You don’t try and second guess the High Court. They make their own deliberations and I respect their verdict. They’ve made their decision and we are so lucky to live in a nation that has the checks and balances that our nation has and now I’ll do something I’ll be preparing for. This morning I was going around Armidale, Uralla, Walcha, Bendimeer, basically saying g’day to people because, you know, in my gut I thought, this is the way it’s going to go.

FORDHAM: ‘In my gut I felt this is the way it was going to go’.

ALBANESE: Well, that is an astonishing statement from Barnaby Joyce. What he’s saying is that he’s been sitting in the Parliament, in the House of Representatives and more importantly, sitting around the Cabinet table thinking that in his gut he wasn’t eligible to sit there. What the High Court have determined here is that he wasn’t properly elected in 2016 and they’ve ruled that election invalid. And for him to say that in his gut he thought this was the way that it would go is quite frankly beyond belief.

FORDHAM: Have you got some sympathy for him?

ALBANESE: Look, I don’t mind Barnaby one-to-one.

FORDHAM: But I mean through this whole thing, and I said from the start that when these people started falling over and when it was revealed that it wasn’t just people who’d been citizens of another country but stuff involving their parents, people who’ve been citizens by default and everything else, I said straight away they need to have a fresh look at the Constitution, don’t they? I think Malcolm Turnbull’s just said something similar during that news conference.

ALBANESE: Malcolm Turnbull, I did notice say that. But I tell you what; it would be a very big call to think that the Australian people would vote for a constitutional change that would allow people to be citizens of another country apart from Australia and continue to serve in the national Parliament. The Australian people don’t change the Constitution very readily. There’s not a great deal of sympathy for politicians out there; you might have noticed from time to time on your program, Ben.

FORDHAM: When you’ve got so many people though who are citizens of Australia who’ve got parents born overseas, they themselves were born overseas, you know, you’ve got links to Europe yourself…

ALBANESE: And that is true, we’re a multicultural nation.

FORDHAM: I mean, we should do something about it shouldn’t we, about the Constitution? If we’re going to fix part of the Constitution up, this is the bit we fix up.

ALBANESE: If we were writing the Constitution today I would certainly suggest that would be an appropriate reform. Indeed, it’s in the Labor Party policies; it’s been there for a while to do something about that section, but it’s very hard to change the Constitution. And the thing that’s interesting, of all the people that were up today, there were no members of the Labor Party and no members of the Liberal Party. What that suggests is that the two major parties, the two big parties, do proper scrutiny beforehand.

FORDHAM: I’ll get to the Labor Party in just a moment, but I’ve got some breaking news for you. Tony Windsor will not run in the by-election, in New England, does that surprise you?

ALBANESE: That is big news. I haven’t spoken to Tony, obviously, since the announcement.

FORDHAM: This is just in now, the former independent member for New England, Tony Windsor, has shocked everyone in New England by saying he will in fact not run against Barnaby Joyce and anyone else who puts their hand up in that by-election coming up on December 2. He says he’s not going to put his wife through another election campaign. I did remark earlier that he did get towelled up by Barnaby just last year in the federal election. So maybe he’s thinking, well I’m not a chance of getting up?

ALBANESE: Well he pulled out of Parliament voluntarily, of course, in 2013.

FORDHAM: But he had another crack at the last federal election and he got smashed.

ALBANESE: That’s right, and that’s – well, that’s not quite accurate Ben.

FORDHAM: He was smashed.

ALBANESE: The truth is, Barnaby Joyce had a double-digit swing against him at the last election, that’s the truth of the matter.

FORDHAM: Barnaby romped it in, in New England. It was daylight second.

ALBANESE: He had a double digit swing against him. And we’ll wait and see how he goes on December 2.

FORDHAM: Let me go to the Labor Party, because there are five Labor MPs with questionable citizenship status including Brendan O’Connor, Justine Keay, Susan Lamb, Maria Vamvakinou and Tony Zappia. Labor’s refused to release any of their details, haven’t they?

ALBANESE: We have a rigorous process Ben, I’ll tell you the big idea, get it right before people nominate, not afterwards. That’s what we do.

FORDHAM: So they got it right.

ALBANESE: That’s what we do, absolutely.

FORDHAM: They got it right, their citizenship’s all good.

ALBANESE: Absolutely, the Labor Party gets it right.

FORDHAM: Why haven’t those five shown their documents?

ALBANESE: The Labor Party gets it right.

FORDHAM: Why haven’t those five shown their documents?

ALBANESE: Well people have been proven to be members of parliament, they’ve all been elected properly, the Labor Party has a rigorous process.

FORDHAM: We’re talking about the citizenship five!

ALBANESE: That’s not right. That’s not right.

FORDHAM: When they were elected everyone thought that they were elected properly and now we discover that they’re not. There are question marks over those Labor MPs.

ALBANESE: And they had a problem which is why they were referred, there are no question marks over Labor MPs. Labor has a rigorous process, it’s in place, it’s prior to nomination. I was talking to one guy recently who was complaining about the 60 pages of documentation that he had to submit in order to run for a seat where he struggled to get into double figures in a very safe conservative seat. That’s what we do.

FORDHAM: Nothing to see here on the Labor front, eh?

ALBANESE: We have our processes right, and the fact is that Labor and Liberal, the two big parties, didn’t have anyone before the High Court. It was the National Party, the Greens, One Nation and Nick Xenophon that were before the court today.

FORDHAM: Is Labor going to put a candidate in New England?

ALBANESE: Labor will have a candidate in New England.

FORDHAM: Do we know who that’s going to be?

ALBANESE: Well, no, it hasn’t been announced yet, and I’m not announcing it exclusively on your program Ben, but good try!

FORDHAM: Anthony Albanese, thank you so much for coming in.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you, Ben.

[ENDS]

Oct 27, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – ABC Melbourne Drive

Subjects: High Court decision; Michaelia Cash.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Anthony Albanese joins us at nine minutes past four – the ALP frontbencher, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Cities, Regional Development and Tourism. Good afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Gday Raf.

EPSTEIN: It’s not really going to change the Government’s fortunes is it? Barnaby Joyce will win and we’ll sort of all be back to normal next year.

ALBANESE: Well the Government has shown that it doesn’t have a capacity to govern over recent months even with 76 members of the House of Representatives. So it’s now 74 plus the Speaker, who makes determinations based upon precedent rather than based upon his personal view of any particular issue. The circumstances here though are how unwise it was for Malcolm Turnbull to leave Barnaby Joyce in particular, but also Senator Nash, as ministers during this period. And the fact that Barnaby Joyce said that in his guts he thought he would probably be knocked over is an extraordinary, an extraordinary concession.

EPSTEIN: Can I interrupt you Anthony Albanese? Why would that make difference? If they hadn’t been in Cabinet for what, two months, that wouldn’t make a difference to today would it? What would the difference be?

ALBANESE: Well the difference is any decision of which they have been a part is drawn into question when they knew that there was at least a cloud over them. They were before the High Court of Australia and Barnaby Joyce today is saying that in his guts he thought this was a likely outcome is – I just find it beyond belief that he’s so frank about that. He’s been sitting in the Parliament, sitting in the Cabinet room and of course has been not just a Member of Parliament who has been shown to have been improperly elected; he’s been a Cabinet Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and indeed Acting Prime Minister when he wasn’t even eligible to be a Member of Parliament.

EPSTEIN: Well look, I think he says that because he’s an inveterate pessimist and clearly the Solicitor General is an inveterate optimist. But can I ask you a specific question Anthony Albanese? You are part of the Shadow Cabinet. Will Labor challenge ministerial decisions in court?

ALBANESE: Well the thing here is Raf that any of your listeners are entitled to go to court to challenge decisions and that is why it is unwise to have …

EPSTEIN: That’s not an answer.

ALBANESE: Well I’m not – I myself, if you’re asking me. What we haven’t done is pre-empt the High Court decision. Unlike Malcolm Turnbull who said that, you know, it was all going to be fine, we have said that we’d respect the Court’s decision and we certainly did that. We haven’t pre-empted it, but now that this decision has been made I think the issue – Members of Parliament and members of the Labor Party aren’t directly affected by decisions, but a whole lot of other people are, much more so and we will wait and see what happens as a result of the High Court ruling.

EPSTEIN: Another specific question, will you try to get votes through in the Lower House? For example, a Royal Commission into the banks, will you try to get laws passed while there’s one less Government vote?

ALBANESE: Well we always try to get votes through, and indeed the Banking Royal Commission failed to get through the House of Representatives as a result of Barnaby Joyce’s vote. So his vote was very significant indeed.

EPSTEIN: So you will try the banking Royal Commission again before December 2?

ALBANESE: We’ll wait and see what happens. But what we will do is continue to hold the Government to account each and every day, and we will continue to pursue a Labor agenda from Opposition. I mean, we’ve put forward positive policies. We haven’t just provided a critique – making sure that the Government is held to account. We’ve been putting forward our own agenda. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll do that in whatever capacity we can, whether that’s on the floor of the Parliament, or on ABC Radio in Melbourne.

EPSTEIN: Why can’t you accept Minister Michaelia Cash’s assurance that she was never told anyone in her office leaked news about police raids to the media? She’s said it again and again and again, she was not told until the story broke in the media.Why don’t you accept that?

ALBANESE: It just doesn’t stack up. I had an interview with Christopher Pyne on Adelaide radio at 9am on the morning. What happened was that …

EPSTEIN: Wednesday morning?

ALBANESE: Wednesday morning. On five occasions, at least, Senator Cash said that there was nothing to see here, that her office didn’t know; she found out about the raids when she saw them on the TV. And what I said, very clearly, was that it was my understanding that Minister Cash’s staff had notified people in the press gallery, the media, and the fact is that TV cameras turned up before the police were even there.

EPSTEIN: She says she was not told until the story broke in the evening in the media. Why don’t you accept that?

ALBANESE: Because if that happens at 9 o’clock in a debate with Christopher Pyne with a transcript that is released, it is beyond belief that her staff don’t say: “well actually, what Anthony Albanese said on radio is true’’, while they watch her five times mislead Parliament and while they, the staff member concerned, sits in a meeting prior to Question Time with Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister Cash; sits there while they talk through Question Time tactics – one would assume was why the meeting was held – and he doesn’t say anything, and he waits until the dinner break and then he says something. And if you look at Malcolm Turnbull’s responses in Parliament were very careful. He said Minister Cash has assured me she did not alert the media. The allegation wasn’t about her, it was about…

EPSTEIN: You’re saying the Prime Minister; you’re accusing the Prime Minister and Employment Minister of lying.

ALBANESE: I’m accusing the Prime Minister of using his words very carefully and Minister Cash of misleading the Senate on five separate occasions.

EPSTEIN: Thanks for your time.

ALBANESE: Thank you.
[ENDS]

Oct 27, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Radio National Breakfast

Subjects: Michaelia Cash; High Court; Labor policies.

FRAN KELLY: Anthony Albanese is the shadow minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Tourism. Anthony Albanese, welcome to Breakfast.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Fran.

KELLY: You were asking pointed questions about who tipped off the media pretty much before anyone else was. Early on the morning after you said that the Minister’s office had been ringing the media to tip them off. Who tipped you off?

ALBANESE: Well I was aware that Minister Cash’s staff had been ringing around the media.

KELLY: How were you aware of that?

ALBANESE: That’s up to me to know. The fact is that I made that assertion not once, but twice in a debate that I have regularly with Christopher Pyne, on morning Adelaide radio. I did that at nine o’clock. It is beyond belief that Christopher Pyne, as Manager of Opposition Business wouldn’t have immediately alerted the Prime Minister’s office and Minister Cash’s office about that. He’s a professional. And the fact is that it’s unusual, for the first time ever, Christopher Pyne’s office didn’t circulate the transcript. I did of course. We know now that before lunch Senator Cash misled the Senate time and time again, and what’s interesting, are the words that Prime Minister Turnbull used in Question Time. He said that allegations had been made that Minister Cash had alerted the media. That was a straw person put up. That was never the suggestion. The suggestion was explicit and clear and it was the case that Minister Cash misled the Senate on five separate occasions. Her position is untenable. She had a meeting in the Prime Minister’s office with the Prime Minister, with the adviser who was thrown under the bus.

KELLY: Okay let me interrupt you there because she did have that meeting. She said the adviser was not asked questions or answered questions in that meeting and both Michaelia Cash, the Minister, and the Prime Minister have said repeatedly that they had no knowledge of these tip-offs. They didn’t know, they didn’t sanction the actions of this staffer. Why don’t you believe them?

ALBANESE: Because it just doesn’t stack up Fran.

KELLY: So you think they’re lying?

ALBANESE: Absolutely, it just doesn’t stack up that Minister Cash’s staffer sits there and watches her mislead the Senate on five separate occasions, that the allegation that’s been made very clearly by myself on Wednesday morning at 9am, that somehow she was not made aware of it, or misled about what that allegation is, even though Minister Cash says that she saw a transcript. Now, it was never distributed by Minister Pyne. It was distributed by my office and it is beyond belief that this guy sits in a meeting with the Prime Minister prior to Question Time, and Minister Cash, and doesn’t say, well by the way I should just let you know that our office did alert the media. And the reason why we knew something was up here was that the AWU offices were alerted about the raids, not by the police but by the TV cameras outside that arrived before the police.

KELLY: And that’s an issue, and we still need to find out who tipped off the Minister’s office. We know now the staffer said that he tipped off the media. Who tipped off the Minister’s office? Senator Nick Xenophon said on this program said that we need a Senate inquiry into that. The Minister herself has written to the Registered Organisations Commission suggesting it refers the matter to the AFP to investigate. Would you be satisfied with an AFP inquiry, do you want something more than that?

ALBANESE: Well there’s got be inquiries both of the Parliament, and also by the AFP. This undermined of course – forget about the legitimacy of the raids as requested by the Registered Organisations Commission – if you’re having a raid that’s about stopping, allegedly, the destruction of documents which was, allegedly imminent with this whole political exercise, when you had TV cameras alerting the union that this was about to occur then that undermines the whole supposed purpose of this exercise.

KELLY: Well it may have done away with the element of surprise as you say; it might not have been the smartest. Was it legal?

ALBANESE: Well this Government just seems as though they’ve stopped governing and they’re all about politics. They think that they’ll retain office through smart political manoeuvres. This is Malcolm Turnbull’s born-to-rule mentality that he has, writ large.

KELLY: Those lines are easy to say but is there anything that’s necessarily a political exercise about this organisation, this Registered Organisations Commission, which is set up to make sure there’s proper spending of union funds, and proper governance of union spending. Is there anything inherently political of that? A lot of people who pay their union dues might think that’s a good thing.

ALBANESE: Well of all the unions, of all the donations, of all the connections with the Labor Party, the one issue that they’re looking at, and having police raids with 25 AFP officers at a time when the AFP is giving evidence before the Senate that they’re unable to deal with having proper investigations into issues like the massive importation of cocaine, those resources being used, is quite extraordinary, Fran. And the fact is that the AWU providing support to Bill Shorten would not surprise anyone, The AWU have supported the Labor Party since a bunch of workers sat under a tree in Barcaldine in 1891.

KELLY: Sure, supporting a union leader to become a politician is not unusual, but its making sure that the money is signed off properly and the union’s money is spent well.

ALBANESE: We had a Royal Commission Fran, $80 million of taxpayer’s money was used, all sorts of documents, including from the AWU and a host of other unions were brought before that commission. We had Bill Shorten answer more than 900 questions before the commission. This is a government that has brought former Prime Ministers Rudd and Gillard before inquiries. This is a government that is abusing the use of state power to confront its political enemies because it’s incapable of engaging in proper public debate about the future of the country.

KELLY: You’re listening to RN Breakfast. Our guest is Labor front bencher Anthony Albanese. Anthony Albanese, we’ll know later today whether the Government loses its parliamentary majority when the High Court makes its decision on the Citizenship 7. You were leader of the government during the Gillard years in the hung parliament; you know how difficult that is. Is Labor going to make this difficult for the Coalition? Is it going to take every opportunity to expose the Government’s arithmetic vulnerability, or are you going allow proper policy debate as you just called for?.

ALBANESE: Well we’re engaging in that. The problem here is that this Government is incapable of showing leadership with 76 votes in the House of Representatives.

KELLY: You know what I’m asking, are you going to give them a hard time? Are you going to try and push Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership over a cliff, so to speak, to exploit this vulnerability?.

ALBANESE: We will continue to pursue our agenda in the Parliament as we were elected to do. That’s what we’ve been doing, both holding the Government to account, but also doing more than that Fran. Unlike what the Liberal Party did, they wasted their years in opposition, we’ve been developing alternative plans for government, we’ve been having major policy announcements across the whole range of areas, including in my areas of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Tourism. We’ll continue to do that and someone’s got to show some leadership Fran, the Government certainly isn’t.

KELLY: Labor’s not going to give a pair for Barnaby Joyce, why not?

ALBANESE: How can you pair someone who’s not elected Fran? What the court will rule this afternoon is whether last year, in 2016, Barnaby Joyce was eligible to be a candidate for the Parliament. You can’t pair something that is non-existent.

KELLY: And if the High Court rules that he is ineligible, does that mean the decisions that Barnaby Joyce, or Matt Canavan, if he’s to go, or Fiona Nash, if they’re to go, the legislative decisions they’ve been instrumental in since that time, are invalid?

ALBANESE: Well that will be a matter for the courts to determine but one of the things that we have said very clearly is that just as Senator Canavan stepped aside, Barnaby Joyce should have stepped aside, and we’ve had circumstances whereby, for example, the trigger, when it comes to domestic use of gas, has not been used because Barnaby Joyce, as the Minister – a decision like that would have been drawn into question. So because of that, we haven’t had the lower prices that would result from the trigger being used.

KELLY: Anthony Albanese, thank you very much for joining us on Breakfast.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you Fran.

Oct 27, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; Michaelia Cash; AWU; High Court ruling today; Barnaby Joyce; possible New England by-election

DEBORAH KNIGHT: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now, good morning to you fellas.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning, Deb.

KNIGHT: Christopher, Michaelia Cash has delivered this disastrous own goal for the government, so much for putting the spotlight on Bill Shorten this week.

PYNE: Well the truth is that Bill Shorten has a lot of questions to answer about the misuse of union members’ funds and producing the document that proves that he didn’t actually misuse those funds by making donations to his own campaign and to GetUp back in the early 2000s, so the reality is if he can produce the minutes that showed that he followed the processes of the union which is all he’s been asked to do, and if he won’t then the AWU should and the Registered Organisations Commission wouldn’t have had to organise the AFP raids on the AWU offices.

KNIGHT: Okay, but the buck is meant to stop with the minister when stuff ups happen. That’s how the system works. If a senior staffer for Michaelia Cash has resigned surely she has to go to.

PYNE: Well, Penny Wong should resign then too I guess because she had her chief of staff organising to try and get rid of the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia with the New Zealand Opposition, so what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

KNIGHT: But Michaelia Cash misled parliament, didn’t she?

PYNE: No she didn’t. She told the truth to the estimates. When she found out she’d been misled she immediately told estimates and owned up to it and apologised and that’s all you can do. She didn’t deliberately mislead the parliament and if it’s one rule for Michaelia Cash it’s got to be the same rule for everyone else. Bill Shorten bought Sam Dastyari back onto the frontbench after Sam Dastyari had his personal bills being paid by Chinese donors. I mean honestly.

ALBANESE: And he resigned. Not a great example. Not a great example to you, Christopher.

PYNE: Straight back, Anthony, onto the frontbench within a matter of months.

ALBANESE: He’s not on the frontbench.

PYNE: He is, on the frontbench in the Senate.

ALBANESE: He’s not.

KNIGHT: Well Albo, you guys must be high-fiving. You’ve dodged a huge bullet on this one.

ALBANESE: The truth is what happened on Wednesday morning in a debate with Christopher Pyne, in another forum that we do I said that Michaelia Cash…

PYNE: One of our many shows.

KNIGHT: You’re a dynamic duo, aren’t you?

ALBANESE: …Michaelia Cash’s staff had let the media know. And we know that the TV cameras were there before the police. It defies belief that that debate happened, which Christopher Pyne said at the time was untrue. Christopher knows a bit about politics, he would have told them straight away what had been alleged.

Michaelia Cash says she saw the transcript. She misled the Senate not once, not twice, but five times. She has to go. Her position is untenable. The ministerial code of conduct is not worth the paper it’s written on if Malcolm Turnbull keeps this minister there. He should just cash out. She should go.

KNIGHT: Bill Shorten is not off the hook over this one either. He has some serious questions to answer and the seed has been planted about questions being raised about the donations and the money granted when he was the head of the AWU.

ALBANESE: This is, of course, just farcical. The AWU have said they’ll provide whatever documents. They’ve provided it all already for the Royal Commission. We had $80 million of taxpayers’ funds spent on an inquiry which was aimed at getting Bill Shorten. This is a government which is prepared to misuse the power that governments have to have inquiries. We’ve had former Prime Ministers Rudd and Gillard, we’ve had Labor leader Bill Shorten, we’ve had all of these inquiries. We had an inquiry into institutional sexual abuse of children which had a great public good at its heart. This government is all about politics and trying to misuse power.

PYNE: Rubbish.

KNIGHT: It does scream of overreach here, Christopher. I mean, why was a raid necessary? Why couldn’t a request simply have been put in for the AWU to simply hand over the documents? They’ve done that in the past, why did we need a raid and this drama?

PYNE: Deb, that’s exactly what happened. The Registered Organisations Commission asked the AWU for the documents. They believed, they had a reasonable suspicion that the offices of the AWU might be going to destroy documents. They asked a magistrate for a warrant. They didn’t simply just raid the offices. The magistrate gave the warrant because they believed the suspicion was well founded. There are of course CFMEU officials before the court right now for the destruction of documents…

ALBANESE: A suspicion based on nothing.

PYNE: And as a consequence when the AWU did not provide the correct answers to the Registered Organisations Commission the AFP raided the offices.

ALBANESE: The questions weren’t asked. The TV cameras came before the police. The AWU found out there was about to be a raid because the media that were outside their offices told them.

KNIGHT: It is going to be a big day today as well for the citizenship seven, as they’re known, the High Court at 2.15pm will hand down their ruling on whether they can stay in parliament, Christopher what are you going to do if Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce is without a job?

PYNE: Well, we’ll have a by-election. That’s what we’ll do. So if the High Court finds against Barnaby Joyce today, there will be a by-election in New England and we will campaign to win it. We will ask the people of New England to re-elect Barnaby Joyce and I hope that’s what will happen.

KNIGHT: They will be welcoming another opportunity to elect their third Federal MP in such a short period of time, but Albo, what do you think? Will we see a mass sacking this afternoon?

ALBANESE: Well, we’ll wait and see. I don’t want to pre-empt the High Court’s decision but you know, the Constitution, the law is there for a reason. It’s no accident, I don’t think, that there are no Labor or Liberal MPs before the High Court this afternoon. They’re all from minor parties. We certainly in the Labor Party do our due diligence and I think that this is a government that doesn’t want to face a by-election.

If Barnaby Joyce is removed this afternoon, they lose their majority. They’ve already lost their capacity to govern. This will just formalise that.

KNIGHT: Alright, well we’ll wait and see, the decision coming down at 2.15pm. Nine News will be all across it as well. Fellas, thanks for joining us this morning.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

PYNE: Pleasure, Deb. Thank you.
 

Oct 26, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Mornings with Leon Compton, ABC Hobart

Subjects: Michaelia Cash; AWU; Tasmanian infrastructure.

LEON COMPTON: Anthony Albanese, is the Federal Government at the moment deliberately using the federal police to investigate you, its political rival?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, the tip-off to the media is the issue here. What occurred was that the AWU found out that the police were about to raid their offices not from the Australian Federal Police but from the people who were there from TV channels. We’ve had a raid that was broadcast live.

Now if you think about it, the so-called reason for this raid is over whether the minutes of a meeting of the AWU approved some donations more than a decade ago. Now, if you have the TV cameras there that say the AFP’s coming and we’re here to film them, that surely ruins the purpose of the raids.

COMPTON: OK, back to the issue. The Government created the Registered Organisations Commission. The Government referred the matter for investigation to them. This new body ordered that raid from the federal police. Is the government using the Registered Organisations Commission as a device for investigating its rival?

ALBANESE: Quite clearly the Registered Organisations Commission is being used for political purposes. We said it would be, which is why we opposed its creation and to use the power of the state, the power of government, against political rivals – what we’ve seen from this government is former Prime Ministers Rudd and Gillard, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called before inquiries which have been called for political purposes. We had $80 million spent on a trade union Royal Commission. That didn’t find anything against Bill Shorten so now we’ve got these raids of the AWU offices.

COMPTON: Do you believe that Michaelia Cash didn’t know that those raids were coming?

ALBANESE: Absolutely not. Very clearly, her staff were ringing around. What we’re being asked to believe here – I raised the issue. It was myself who raised it in an interview on Adelaide radio yesterday morning at nine o’clock with Christopher Pyne. Christopher Pyne denied that it had happened. Michaelia Cash denied it five times, attacked me, demanded that I apologise for the suggestion that this happened.

We know that there was a meeting yesterday between the Prime Minister, Michaelia Cash and the very adviser who has now resigned over these issues and we’re led to believe that this adviser sat there, said nothing when five times Michaelia Cash misled the Senate, when this ran as a media issue all day and that he knew but he didn’t say to his boss, to the actual Minister who was appearing before Senate estimates, oh, by the way, I did ring a few journos and give them a heads up that this raid was going to occur.

COMPTON: What’s important about that potentially is that he says it was the media that tipped him off in the first place. Do you believe that story? Could it be the federal police that tipped off the office?

ALBANESE: I’m not critical at all of the Australian Federal Police.

COMPTON: Why not? We otherwise have to believe that a journalist who had some sort of relationship with this minder’s office called him and then he proceeded to burn that journalist who was going to be ready and potentially have an exclusive by sending five other media there. I can tell you that you’d be hardly likely to do that.

ALBANESE: Yeah. It’s not real serious, is it?

COMPTON: You would be hardly likely to do that as a journalist if it meant that five other people would be covering the story that you might have had exclusively.

ALBANESE: Of course, and that’s why this is an absurd excuse that doesn’t stack up.

COMPTON: So why not ask questions as to whether the federal police in fact tipped her office off?

ALBANESE: Or whether the Registered Organisations Commission, which would have known about these raids, someone there tipped off the office? Bear in mind, these raids occurred because of a request by Michaelia Cash, because of a reference from her, and so this occurs as a result of an article appearing on the weekend about this AWU donation, and bear in mind how absurd the whole premise of this is. The idea that it should come as a shock to anyone that the AWU donated to Bill Shorten’s election campaign when he first ran for Parliament or that the AWU, which is there on the record – Bill Shorten was on the board of GetUp, they supported the creation of GetUp in order to secure the objectives of the union, as business organisations, as a range of organisations, do from time to time.

COMPTON: Anthony Albanese, that might seem obvious to you, but for members of the AWU who pay their hard-won dues into the union each and every fortnight with their pay, I mean it does raise questions about what the union thinks is appropriate to spend members’ money on.

ALBANESE: There wouldn’t be a member of the AWU, that has supported the Labor Party since people sat under a tree in Barcaldine in 1891, who would be surprised that the AWU supports the Labor Party.

COMPTON: Indeed, but there are questions around the nature of declaration, of making sure that when money is donated to political candidates it is done so with real transparency because, well we’ve seen issues with for example the HSU and Craig Thompson and his like that show what happens when unions have used money or have the ability to filter money through organisations without it being properly accounted for.

ALBANESE: Sure, but that has nothing to do with this issue. This issue is pretty clear that the AWU did donate money. The AWU have been very transparent. They have said they will make all the documents available. All they had to do was ask. And what’s more, most of these documents apparently were provided already to the Trade Union Royal Commission.

Unions, because of the law, are very transparent about what they publish. The AWU has a very proud history of engagement in the civic life of the country including their support for Labor governments and when the national secretary of the AWU was running for Parliament in 2007 I would have been surprised if there wasn’t some level of financial support for his election.

COMPTON: It’s not the reason we asked you on this morning. Anthony Albanese is our guest this morning, the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport in Australia. So to those issues, how much do you allege the Federal Government have short-changed Tasmania on infrastructure spending over the past three years?

ALBANESE: Well the first thing is that they haven’t promised much but they haven’t even delivered what they promised. There is not a single road or rail infrastructure project that is underway that wasn’t funded by the former Federal Labor Government, so what they have promised over the last three years from their first Budget in 2014 was $415 million. The actual Budget outcome is $323 million.

So a $92 million shortfall on investment and that includes a $67 million cut in that was promised for major roads, a $28 million cut in rail, a $3.5 million cut when it comes to the Black Spots program and that means less jobs in the short term, but it also means less safe roads, it means less productivity there in Tasmania and given that the government, that’s on top of the $100 million they cut from the Midland Highway funding from $500 million down to $400 million.

That doesn’t include the cuts that were there or the Rail Revitalisation Program that we were undertaking when we were in government.

COMPTON: How do you explain Anthony Albanese the non-delivery of this money?

ALBANESE: This is a part of a non-delivery right around the country of some $3.9 billion. This is a Government that is frankly just incompetent when it comes to delivering on its commitments. I note that when it comes to the road projects – the grade separation near the airport that was promised by both sides of politics in the lead up to the 2016 election, that just this week they’ve called for public consultation and comments. More than a year has passed and they still haven’t dug a hole. This is a Government that simply isn’t up to the task. They’re too busy worrying about what political manoeuvres they can do to try to destroy the Labor Party and that’s what we’ve seen playing out with the Michaelia Cash fiasco over the last 24 hours and seem to not have their eye on the ball of their day-to-day job.

COMPTON: Specifically, what are your priorities for Tasmanian infrastructure, if elected?

ALBANESE: Our priorities are rail freight, for one. We think that there are major improvements that can be made there. Secondly, in terms of the upgrades in terms of road projects. We’d also have a look at the projects that were mentioned by you in your introduction that have been given a lot of weight by Infrastructure Australia such as the STEM project, which has been put on Infrastructure Australia’s priority list. Tourism infrastructure …

COMPTON: Like what, for example?

ALBANESE: Like the upgrade at Cradle Mountain. The upgrade to the tourism infrastructure, to the visitor’s centre, that which was proposed by the Tasmanian tourism sector in the leadup to the last election. Since then I’ve been back in Tasmania and have sat down with them.

One of the good things that the Tasmanian tourism sector has done is to coordinate the promises that they’re looking for. One other thing of course, the Three Capes Track. Now we funded that when we were in government, the first sections, but at the moment, it’s a Three Capes Track that only goes to two capes. Surely we should build on the quite extraordinary success of that project and make sure that it’s able to be completed.

COMPTON: Anthony Albanese, appreciate you talking with us this morning.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

Oct 25, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Bolt Report, SKY News

Subjects: AFP raids; Michaelia Cash; Unions; big business.

ANDREW BOLT: Joining me is Labor’s Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Cities, Anthony Albanese. Anthony, thank you so much for your time.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Andrew.

BOLT: Is Brendan O’Connor correct; Malcolm Turnbull just called in the cops?

ALBANESE: No well what occurred here, Andrew, is that Malcolm Turnbull supported the creation of the Registered Organisations Commission. Indeed, that was one of the bills people watching this program might be surprised that we had an election over – a double dissolution.

Most people wouldn’t have heard of the organisation, but it was set up by Malcolm Turnbull’s Government after the Double Dissolution election, when it was carried through the Senate. They handpicked their appointments to the ROC and it called in the Australian Federal Police so it’s a Government creation that has called in the Federal Police for what were absolutely extraordinary raids.

And I think there’s a whole range of questions that have been raised here. One; why is it that the AWU found out that these raids were happening, not when the police contacted them, but when the television cameras turned up outside AWU offices and we know now…

BOLT: That’s indeed a very good question; I want to get back to that. I will pursue exactly that, but I just want to go back first to Brendan O’Connor because I asked you; was he wrong in saying that Turnbull himself rang the police and do you think he should now apologise for making the police seem corrupt, like just political pawns?

ALBANESE: Well Brendan O’Connor made a statement in the Parliament today of his support for the AFP. The AFP do the tasks that are given to them and I think Brendan O’Connor was talking metaphorically, as in the Government, rather than Malcolm Turnbull personally when he was talking about those issues…

BOLT: I think he was talking through his hat.

ALBANESE: But what’s very clear is that if you were the AFP I don’t think you would have said, what are we going to do today? Spontaneously you would have not said we’re going to use dozens of people to look through offices looking for the minutes of a meeting that occurred some ten years ago because of the extraordinary proposition that the Australian Workers Union supports the Australian Labor Party and that it provides funds from time to time for candidates.

And guess what? The National Secretary of the AWU, when he was running for Parliament, received some funding from the AWU that has supported the Labor Party since 1891, since they sat under a tree in Barcaldine.

So it’s quite bizarre that this is seen as an earth shattering issue and GetUp, which are funded also by the AWU, that wouldn’t come as a great surprise either, I wouldn’t have thought to anyone,  to you, or it certainly didn’t come as a great surprise to me. The Government seems intent on having these raids. It’s not the AFP’s fault, they do the jobs that they are given as is appropriate. But we have had, of course, the raids on Stephen Conroy and his staffs’ house and offices, including here in Parliament House over the National Broadband Network. There’s precedent for this…

BOLT: That’s over receiving leaks. That was the allegation he received leaks and it was unauthorised.

ALBANESE: And how did that go? At a great expense, at a time when the AFP are saying …

BOLT: He’ll be here later; I’ll ask him exactly that.

ALBANESE: They don’t have the resources to engage in a major cocaine bust that should have occurred. Before Senate Estimates they said they didn’t have the resources to track that down. This is just wrong priorities and it says everything about a Government that is very desperate and Malcolm Turnbull’s judgement – once again on display for all to see.

BOLT: All right, but you today claimed that Michaelia Cash’s staff were ringing around media organisations, you said, telling them these raids were going to occur. Now she denied that I think at least five times today in Senate Estimates, so it is essentially on oath. What proof do you have?

ALBANESE: Well journalists have told an online publisher tonight – that is recently, in the past hour – published reports of two journalists who have confirmed that that is how they knew about it. Journalists have told people that that is how they found out about it. I mean, the cameras didn’t happen to be walking past the AWU offices in Melbourne and Sydney yesterday. They were told. They were there before the police arrived. It was reported live on Sky News yesterday these occurrences.

If we are serious about dealing with wrongdoing – and as you know Andrew when unions have done the wrong thing, I have copped come criticism, it must be said from time to time, for speaking my mind and condemning it and I don’t shy away from that. That is an appropriate thing to do. But to have nationally televised raids for something that goes to an issue of a witch hunt against the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten? We had $80 million for the Royal Commission.

I mean, the precedent here, Andrew, is that we have had Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister, Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition – all dragged before inquiries. Where were the inquiries over Wheat for Weapons? Over the Iraq War? Over a whole range of things that occurred that we were unhappy with as the Labor Party when the Howard Government was in office for 12 long years. What we had a Royal Commission into was institutional sexual abuse of children and that has been something that has been cathartic for the country.

BOLT: Speaking of that, picking you up on this Anthony, you could be back in Government in a year’s time. Given what has happened, do you think that Labor might start giving the Liberals back some of their own and start calling Royal Commissions or inquiries into alleged abuses by the Liberals in office.

ALBANESE: Well I will tell you what, an inquiry into whether the Labor Party has connections with the trade union movement makes as much sense as an inquiry into whether the Liberal Party has connections with the top end of town; whether any donation to the Liberal Party or to the Menzies Foundation or to any of the think tanks – the Institute of Public Affairs – has been appropriately approved through boards of companies; raids on those companies to see whether the minutes are appropriate. I mean this is an abuse of the power of the State, of Government by the Liberal Party, and it says it all. To me from time to time I do wonder whether those opposite just think they have a right to be in Government and that we somehow should just disappear. Well they are I think envious of our history and they are afraid of our determination. We are not about to disappear and these sort of inquiries …

BOLT: Well, speaking of inquiries, you guys at the last election were making threats about Malcolm Turnbull’s role with the collapse of the HIH Insurance Company and all that. I wonder whether that will resurface. But going back to the issue, can you though guarantee …

ALBANESE: Well there are certainly outstanding questions there.

BOLT: Is that a threat?

ALBANESE: No. No, it’s just a fact that people would be aware – there’s a whole range of outstanding issues there. But my view, for what it’s worth, is that Government should not be used to settle scores. Government should be used for the national interest each and every day. This Government is not doing that and frankly it’s being distracted from its day job by this obsession with trying to undermine the Labor Party through – if we can just do some manoeuvre, or just do some trick. How about they do something about housing affordability? How about they do something about making sure the NBN actually functions properly, do their day job instead all of this manipulation.

BOLT: But can you guarantee though, going to this issue, can you guarantee that the AWU in fact does have proof, that Bill Shorten got the permission of his union executive, to not only give $100,000 to GetUp but $25,000 to his own campaign, in what was actually a very safe seat and didn’t need the money?

ALBANESE: As you know Andrew, I’m not an official of the AWU, never have been an official of any union. So I don’t know the precise details of what the circumstances are, but I can say this as a lay person like anyone watching this show and yourself; if you’re shocked by the fact that the AWU donated $25,000 to assist their National Secretary’s election to the national Parliament then I would be very surprised. To me that comes as no surprise at all.

BOLT: Ok, well Labor’s response to these repeated investigations into allegedly corrupt behaviour by unions would be easier, wouldn’t they, if Labor distanced itself from unions that did repeatedly break the law? Now two former Labor Prime Ministers, Bob Hawke, Kevin Rudd, have now said Labor should cut its ties to the CFMEU. Do you agree with them?

ALBANESE: No I don’t. I don’t support a blanket position against the CFMEU. Where the CFMEU has done the wrong thing and made statements that I believe are inappropriate, I’ve said so. I’ve said so on the record. I’ve said so on the front pages of national newspapers and …

BOLT: But this is a repeat offender in breaking the law. The other day they got attacked by a judge who said that they seemed to think that they could usurp Parliament and that they could set the law in this country. I don’t know why you guys keep taking their money.

ALBANESE: Well I certainly don’t support anyone thinking that they can usurp Parliament.  I’ll say this though about the CFMEU; construction sites, which I as the Infrastructure Minister of course have had a role in creating in Government, have occupational health and safety issues that do require the presence of trade unions. If that wasn’t the case then we would see the underpaying that we’ve seen, the exploitation of workers and most significantly, workers who didn’t get to go home to their families at the end of a day.

BOLT: That’s often said but let’s just point out that these guys get paid very, very well. They get paid extremely well; over the odds. But listen, before we go because I’m running out of money… not money; well money too.

ALBANESE: Well I think we have a problem in this country with wages being too low. That’s what the Reserve Bank Governor says, and that is what Scott Morrison has woken up to.

BOLT: (Inaudible) I’ve got it too, but just quickly because we have run out of time, but I want to ask you this; you’re Labor’s Shadow Minister for Cities as you point out. Last week Lucy Turnbull, Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, unveiled a plan to turn Sydney into three cities all connected and this is what she said:

It’s only taken us 230 years to catch up with a vision that our indigenous ancestors always had for this city.

Are you aware, Anthony, about any vision by Aborigines, 230 years ago, to split the city of Sydney into three zones connected by rail and road?

ALBANESE: Well I think it was a very different culture and a very different economy that the First Australians had, so I think that’s a rather unusual reference. I think the problem here with the Federal and State Coalition Government is that they talk the talk. They’re not doing things like making sure that there’s a North-South rail line through Badgerys Creek to open up those high-value jobs for people in St Marys and the Macarthur region. What we actually need is less discussion papers, more investment.

BOLT: Anthony Albanese thank you so much for your time.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

Oct 25, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Two Tribes segment, FIVEaa

Subjects; AFP Raids, NBN

HOST: It’s been a big last week in Federal politics and to pick over it Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us for Two Tribes. Good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Will.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

HOST: It’s been a big 24 hours as well with the big story obviously being the AFP raids on the offices of the Australian Works Union in Melbourne yesterday. We’re going to open the batting with you today, for something different, Albo. Is Labor really suggesting that the AFP is acting at the behest or even on instructions from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull?

ALBANESE: Well what’s occurred here is that the Government have established the Registered Organisations Commission on the basis of legislation from Senator Cash, who is the Minister responsible. What’s incredible about these raids is that the AWU found out something was going on because the media were there before the police. We know that Senator Cash’s office was ringing around media organisations yesterday afternoon, telling them that this was going to occur.

Now that is an extraordinary intervention in the process. Common sense tells you that if a raid is occurring by the police the whole justification of it is apparently, allegedly, to stop documents going missing. The fact that cameras were outside before the police were there means that there are questions to be answered about why it was that the Minister’s office were doing this ring around.

I just find it incredible that from a Government that appointed an actual law breaker to run the ABCC with the knowledge that laws have been broken, by the Minister, before that became public. Now we have with the Registered Orgs being used for clearly political purposes.

And what’s the claim here? That’s all about the AWU donating to the Labor Party. Well hold the front page, in 1891 the AWU was one of the unions that formed the Labor Party and they’ve been supporting Labor Party candidates ever since.

HOST: Well it’s probably a bit more about whether the money was being donated with the knowledge of members not just to the Labor Party, but to GetUp. But to your point about the Minister tipping off media organisations, we’ll jump over now to you if we can, Chris. Do you accept that that is true? That the Minister Michaelia Cash, that her office was wording up the journos that the raids were going to happen and, if so, do you think that is appropriate?

PYNE: Look I don’t accept that it’s true and Anthony has just done a sterling job at trying to muddy the waters here because the spokesperson for Employment, Brendan O’Connor, has completely overstepped the mark in accusing the AFP of being a politicised organisation. We know that’s not true. Your listeners know that’s not true. Brendan O’Connor went far too far yesterday and he should be stood down from his role as the Shadow Employment Minister.

And what Labor is now doing is a classic tactic of doubling down and trying to pretend the issue is something other than the Brendan O’Connor and now Bill Shorten completely overstepping the mark. The Australian Federal Police is utterly independent of government as is the Registered Organisations Commission.

They’ve been set up for a job, which is to make sure that the union movement, an (inaudible) organisation, don’t spend their members’ money, without their members’ knowledge. We did this because of the Health Services Union and the Craig Thompson case, which you would remember a few years ago when members’ money was being spent willy-nilly by union leaders on things that they shouldn’t have been spent on. Now, for Labor to try and attack the Australian Federal Police…

ALBANESE: No one is attacking the Australian Federal Police. That’s a nonsense.

PYNE: Brendan O’Connor did that yesterday…

ALBANESE: That’s a nonsense.

PYNE: And he should be stood down from his role as the Employment spokesman as punishment for his clearly overstepping of the mark.

ALBANESE: I notice Christopher that you’re not even prepared to put the case of why these raids occurred. The AFP do their job as instructed. That’s what happened there.

PYNE: No, the AFP was not instructed to raid the Australian Workers Union offices by the Government and that claim is a disgrace…

ALBANESE: No, by the Registered Orgs Commission…

PYNE: (Inaudible) Completely independent of Government.

ALBANESE: Well why was Michaelia Cash…

PYNE: I don’t know that is true. First I’ve heard of it is you putting it on the radio.

ALBANESE: Well walk up to the Gallery mate and ask anyone in Channel 7 or Channel 9 or the people who directly got calls from Michaelia Cash’s media office.

HOST: Hey Albo, Albo …

PYNE: The reason why the AWU was being raided was because the AFP was not confident, nor was the Registered Organisations Commission, that the union wasn’t going to destroy documents that might incriminate Bill Shorten as Leader of the Opposition. (Inaudbile) that were made to his campaign and other campaigns, and to GetUp, potentially without the union members’ knowledge, and not going through the proper processes; that’s why the AWU was raided and …

HOST: Hey guys sorry, I’ve got to jump in, I’ve just got one more question on this and it’s just for you Albo. We saw Julia Gillard limping towards an election defeat, and limping towards losing her job rather than Kevin Rudd, with the lead in her saddle bags of an alleged slush fund involving the AWU. Do you think, Anthony Albanese, this could become a similarly damaging issue for Bill Shorten’s leadership?

ALBANESE: No I certainly don’t. I think this will damage the Government. I think that your listeners would be no more shocked that the AWU would donate money to Bill Shorten’s campaign, given he was the National Secretary and the former Victorian State Secretary and given they’re an affiliated union to the Australian Labor Party, then that whatever the body is in Sturt, of the Liberal Party, would raise money for Christopher Pyne. It is just farcical.

HOST: Chris, you can answer that, given the nature of Albo’s response. Do you want to say anything in reply?

PYNE: Well of course the money that’s raised for my campaign goes through all the proper processes. The people who raise it know that it’s been raised, it’s probably accounted to the Electoral Commission. When we spend the money we have meetings, we decide how it’s going to be spent, we prepare a budget, we pass motions. There are minutes at those meetings, and we’ve been doing that for a quarter of a century.

The problem here, with the donations to Bill Shorten’s campaign and to GetUp, is the allegation that there were no proper processes followed. Now if you remember, when the AWU was asked to produce the minutes where they had meetings that decided that expenditure should be made, they said that they wouldn’t produce the minutes, but they were happy and satisfied with the process. Now if those minutes occurred, if those minutes exist, why weren’t they produced? And that is what the AFP was looking for yesterday at the direction of the Registered Organisations Commission.

Because the suggestion here is that the proper processes were not followed, because the rules of the AWU require any expenditure over a certain amount of money, I think it’s $5,000, needs to be approved by the executive of the AWU, and the suggestion here is that did not happen.

HOST: Alright gentlemen, let’s change tack for a moment if I could turn our attention to the Four Corners report at the state of the NBN that aired earlier this week. It seems to be broad agreement on all sides that the NBN is, for want of a better term, stuffed, at the moment. And I appreciate the construction of this question will lead to an orgy of interruptions, so I will give you both 60 seconds to answer it.

Starting with you Chris Pyne, being our representative from the Government, whose fault is the current state of the NBN, and how are you going to fix it? You’ve got 60 seconds, and Albo you’ve got exactly the same question.

PYNE: Alright, so we passed six million premises, and there are three million customers of the NBN, of course there are going to be people within that three million who would like their service to be better.

But we’ve actually saved the train wreck that was the NBN, Labor had earmarked 51,000 houses in six years; we’ve now passed six million in the last four years. So we’re passing about 51,000 every 10 days, that’s what they’ve managed in the six years that they were in government.

The NBN was a joke when we got into government, and we have fixed it. But of course there are going to be people that are unhappy; there will also be people who are very happy with the NBN. We could always do better and we will. But when you have three million customers, does anybody seriously think that three million are going to be sitting there perfectly happy every single part of the day? Of course they’re not, and that’s why we have processes to try and fix it. But it’s totally delivered faster, cheaper and sooner than it would have been under Labor.

HOST: Alright, Anthony Albanese.

ALBANESE: Malcolm Turnbull is responsible for changing the system so that we have fraudband being rolled out rather than broadband.

You have copper being rolled out rather than fibre.

That means people are getting a second rate service that isn’t fit for the 21st Century. It’s a handbrake on jobs growth and the economy and it means that we have a digital divide, so that because of just – no fault of anyone, you could be across the road from someone who has first class fibre to the home, high speed broadband, and because you’re on the wrong side of the street with Mr Turnbull’s flawed system you get a second rate service.

Broadband is as important in the 21st Century for education, for health, for a range of services being delivered, as electricity and running water.

HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, good on you both for joining us. We’ll do it again next week.

Oct 20, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Morning Shift with Samantha Madien, SKY News

Subjects; Voluntary euthanasia; marriage equality, opinion polling; New Zealand election, Tony Abbott.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Sam.

SAMANTHA MAIDEN: This is obviously a very emotional debate in relation to euthanasia. What is your position on it and what do you think of the legislation that has just passed the Victorian Parliament?

ALBANESE: Well we had a debate of course in the Federal Parliament about voluntary euthanasia. I voted in favour of voluntary euthanasia at that time. I must say it was a very dignified debate. It was a debate that showed Parliament at its best and I think that has happened in Victoria as well.

You’ve had a debate whereby you have had a conscience vote. It’s precisely the way, I think, that we should have dealt with the issue of marriage equality. I think it is very clear that if there was a plebiscite or a postal survey about voluntary euthanasia in Australia that a majority of Australians would vote yes to it. It is a difficult issue.

I certainly respect people’s views who don’t share my position on it. I do think that it is one of the issues where I think it’s not 100 – zero. It’s a sort of 60-40 call. Most people have to grapple with their conscience.

We want to make sure that loved ones don’t endure pain in circumstances which are so difficult. We all will depart this earth and it’s a matter of the circumstances in which we do and no-one wants to see people in pain.

The other argument about making sure that we value human life is also I think a very important consideration.

MAIDEN: Okay. But let’s talk about this idea of a plebiscite. I mean you raised the idea of a plebiscite on this issue and you said that if we had one in Australia in relation to euthanasia, you think it would be successful.

Should we have a national plebiscite now on this issue so voters can have their say, just as they have been able to have their say on same-sex marriage?

ALBANESE: Look, I think we have a system in Australia of parliamentary democracy that serves us well. I didn’t support the postal survey and I don’t support a postal survey on voluntary euthanasia. I think there is some irony for people who are arguing for the plebiscite.

I actually said to some people who I had respectful discussions with who were saying we need to debate this and everyone needs to have their say, of whether they would support a plebiscite on this very issue and they had the opposite view of course.

I think that this has been dealt with by – it’s not by the Andrews Government; it isn’t government legislation, it is legislation in the Victorian Parliament – as best as it could be dealt with.

I think it has been dealt with appropriately. I think people like Andrew Denton deserve a great deal of credit for being prepared to engage in civil society and promote this discussion and people certainly are having their say and having their say through their elected representatives.

MAIDEN: But you don’t think it’s time for you to rethink your position on this plebiscite? I mean people said that this would be incredibly divisive.

ALBANESE: And it has been, Sam.

MAIDEN: OK, but if the Yes case gets up pretty powerfully, and all of the polls suggest it will, won’t that also be a powerful endorsement that the majority of Australians actually support same-sex couples and same-sex people in Australia and they have demonstrated that at the ballot box?

ALBANESE: But we knew that already Sam. We knew that and this poll won’t be any different from the Newspoll or what the public polling has been showing. I expect that the Yes vote will be successful by a similar margin to the one in which the polls have taken place. It always amazes me that; a bit like people who speak about secret party polling.  I will give you the big tip, Sam, the secret party polling is usually exactly the same as Newspoll and the published polls.

MAIDEN: Oh come on. It’s got a bit more detail than that doesn’t it, the party polling?

ALBANESE: On the stuff that people are interested in in terms of your viewers – what the votes are, what the positive and negative is for leaders or candidates – it is usually pretty much the same. And in terms of this exercise though, you’ve had 122 million reasons to not have this postal survey.

We could have got this done. It could have been done some time ago. As it is I think we will have marriage equality by Christmas and this time next year – I will make this prediction to you – no-one will be asking questions of politicians or of anyone else for that matter about marriage equality except for one: Did you enjoy John and Bill’s wedding or did you enjoy, you know, Wendy and Mavis’s wedding last Saturday, because people will wonder what all the fuss was about.

MAIDEN: Okay, let’s go to a bit of diplomacy and a German term schadenfreude, is there is bit of schadenfreude do you think in relation to all the mud that was thrown by the Turnbull Government accusing Labor of trying to bring down the Australian Government with a foreign power in relation to this Barnaby Joyce and the questions about his citizenship and so on?

And now the government is the New Zealand Labour Government, that was the mob that Julie Bishop was saying a few weeks ago that she couldn’t work with.

ALBANESE: Well, it certainly is and it’s a good choice of phrase by yourself Samantha. I think that Jacinda Ardern will make an outstanding Prime Minister. I met her and indeed I addressed the New Zealand Labour Party caucus just about 18 months ago and they have some outstanding people.

They are ready to govern and I think Julie Bishop has used the word ‘congratulations’ for the new New Zealand Prime Minister and she needs to say one more word, in my view, show that she is big enough and say ‘sorry’. She should do it.

MAIDEN: Yeah, so you think that she should apologise? Because the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was saying today no apology required.

ALBANESE: Well, that’s the sort of macho stuff that doesn’t really help relations. When you commit an error, say sorry and then you move on. That’s the way we deal with things as adults. So Jacinda Ardern, she’s tough.

She’s shown that, over what has been a remarkable rise to prominence in politics from being a relatively junior frontbencher in the New Zealand Labour Party to being the Prime Minister of New Zealand, so I don’t think she’ll lie awake at night worried about Julie Bishop and whether she says sorry or not.

I just think it’s the right thing to do. It was a really juvenile performance frankly from Julie Bishop on that occasion trying to accuse somehow the New Zealand Labour Party of being responsible for what is purely the responsibility of Barnaby Joyce himself to not have his house in order.

I mean, it’s no accident that there are no Labor or Liberal party parliamentarians before the High Court at the moment. They’re from the minor parties, be it the National Party, the Greens Party or Nick Xenophon or One Nation.

MAIDEN: Yeah, so time for an audit do you think either way to find out if there’s any more of them hiding underneath any rocks?

ALBANESE: Where’s the issue? Everyone who’s before the High Court will be dealt with. I can say, you know the smart thing to do? Not have an audit after people are elected. Have a proper process before people are candidates. That’s what the Labor Party does.

MAIDEN: Okay, but just before you go you’re a keen student of politics, you can always read the room. After this week and this debate over energy policy do you think Tony Abbott’s stocks within the Liberal Party are reduced or do you think that they are elevated because he is essentially once again forced Malcolm Turnbull into his view in relation to dumping the clean energy target?

ALBANESE: Well, I think it’s a bit each way. Tony Abbott certainly has been shown to be influencing the policy debate in Australia and influencing the government far beyond what a backbencher should be doing.

I mean, the speech in London was an extraordinary speech for someone to give. He should watch Sky News a bit more and see the rise in both the number and the intensity of natural disasters.

You can’t say that any specific one is because of climate change. What you can do is point towards the trends that are clearly there. And you can point towards as well the fact that the three hottest years on record are 2016, 2015 and 2014.

It’s not by accident and so I think his speech was quite extraordinary dismissing the science and indeed saying that we could be better off with global warming. So there’s no doubt that in terms of him having an influence that has increased because it’s only a few months ago that the government brought down the Finkel Review.

The Chief Scientist made recommendations. Malcolm Turnbull recognised that the Clean Energy Target was a positive way to go and the Opposition responded constructively to it as the Labor Party because we want that certainty as well.

But his stocks within the party, I didn’t think they could go any lower but they continue to dive bomb in my view. He’s shown contempt really, not for people who have not been friends of Tony Abbott for some time but I think people who backed him right up until Malcolm Turnbull’s successful coup in 2015 are very angry with him.

They regard his behaviour as selfish and destructive. I think the Australian people know that he is a good wrecker. He tried to wreck the Labor Government and in some ways he was effective at that.

But with regard to the prospect of him ever running anything, running the country or running a portfolio what we need is someone who’s positive. Someone who actually has a plan to get things done, not just a plan to tear things down.

 

Oct 20, 2017

Transcript of television interview – The Today Show

Subjects; Energy, New Zealand, Holden, Kim Jong-un

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

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHIRSTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, first of all to you, how’s your carbon tax sitting this morning?

PYNE: Well we’re the people who abolished the carbon tax, Karl, of course. So what we’ve done this week is announced a policy, an energy guarantee that means we can have affordable and reliable power, something that hasn’t been able to be achieved for a very long time.

STEFANOVIC: It’s cap and trade though isn’t it? You set a level of emissions that retailers need to meet, that’s setting a carbon price isn’t it?

PYNE: Well look people can argue as much as they like about the technical details of what the energy guarantee means. Quite frankly all mums and dads, families and businesses care about is – will this deliver affordable and reliable power? And all the experts, the energy security board, tell us that it will, and that’s why we want Labor to get on board, end the climate wars no one cares about them, and do some practical things for the Australian public.

STEFANOVIC: Albo a carbon tax worked for you.

ALBANESE: This is of course a price on carbon. Because whatever system you come up with, you need a price signal. That’s what the Government is now acknowledging with this plan. They haven’t done the modelling. It will save something like, according to best case, 50 cents a week in three years’ time. We want to see the modelling; we want to see the detail.

STEFANOVIC: But you’re on board in principle?

ALBANESE: We want to see the modelling and the detail. We want to see what the impact will be. But what’s clear from this week, is that the Government has acknowledged that you do need that price signal when it comes to carbon.

PYNE: Labor can call it whatever they like quite frankly.

STEFANOVIC: If you’re saying you’re looking at modelling that means you actually in principle like it.

ALBANESE: Well we want to see the detail. What we know is that the Government has to come up with something. They talk about the need for certainty, it’s them who have created the uncertainty.

STEFANOVIC: Let’s talk about New Zealand this morning, wow. A new leader. Labor candidate Jacinda Ardern has won with the help of Winston Peters, gee he keeps kicking on doesn’t he, Winston? Didn’t she come from nowhere.

PYNE: And the Greens.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, you declared war on the country, well Julie Bishop did at least. We fought in the trenches with these people and during the campaign you declared war on them. How are you going to mend that fence?

PYNE: Yeah, well not quite Karl, that’s something of an exaggeration. But we do have a new government- amazing on breakfast television that there would be an exaggeration of any kind.

STEFANOVIC: Oh come now.

ALBANESE: That’s your job.

PYNE: But we do have a new government across the ditch. A Greens-New Zealand First-Labor Government. Of course our relationship with New Zealand transcends politics, it’s a very very long standing one. The Prime Minister has already spoken to Prime Minister Ardern, Julie Bishop has welcomed the resolution of their election, and we’ll all get on with our relationship.

STEFANOVIC: Has she picked up the phone yet? Or are we going to send Trevor Chappell over there to sort things out?

PYNE: That’s a blast from the past Karl, I haven’t heard of Trevor Chappell for a long time. I think our relationship even survived Trevor Chappell, so I’m sure we’ll get back on track pretty quickly.

STEFANOVIC: All right, Anthony?

ALBANESE: Big congratulations for Jacinda. She’s an awesome person. I met her a while ago …

PYNE: Name dropper.

ALBANESE: Well I’ve met her, you’ve just sledged her. That’s the difference. That’s the difference here. And Julie Bishop is humiliated by this outcome, and she should say, she’s said congratulations, she needs to say another word; Sorry.

STEFANOVIC: She used to be a DJ too, are you going to take any inspiration from her?

ALBANESE: She’s a very amazing personality.

STEFANOVIC: Answer the question, are you going to lay your own track down?

ALBANESE: I’ll be DJing this Sunday at the Inner West Beer Festival!

STEFANOVIC: Oh nice, there you go.

PYNE: Here we go again, you see he makes more money out of DJing than he does out of being an MP these days.

STEFANOVIC: It’s all for a good cause.

ALBANESE: All free.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, we’re going to finish with this one today, end of an era with the closing down of Holden. It’s a tough day actually in Adelaide, isn’t it? Christopher?

PYNE: Yeah look, it’s very disappointing about Holden making the decision to close the factory there. They did some things that made it almost impossible to stay open. They didn’t invest, in the equipment or the factory, and they wouldn’t allow them to compete with General Motors in the United States or even in the Middle East, which made it really hard for the company.

What we’re doing, what I’m doing through defence industry is creating new jobs. Six-hundred at Osborne South a couple of weeks ago; 150 here at Saab, so that’s 750 jobs in the last fortnight. What we need is new jobs we’ve got to find things for those people to do and we’re largely being successful, a lot of people have found work, but obviously it is a sad day for Australia.

STEFANOVIC: Okay.

ALBANESE: Our thoughts are with the Holden workers today. Holden has been an iconic brand here in Australia. It’s a pity that the Government, through Joe Hockey, told them to go.

PYNE: That’s not right of course.

STEFANOVIC: Thank you guys, thank you very much for all of that and good luck with the letters from Kim Jong-un, Christopher, over the weekend.

PYNE: I’ll be studying them closely.

STEFANOVIC: It’s good to see that he’s writing again

 

Oct 18, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Newsday with Peter Van Onselen, SKY News

Subjects: Urban policy; development; public housing.

PETER VAN ONSELEN: I’m joined live out of the nation’s capital by Shadow Infrastructure spokesperson Anthony Albanese. Thanks very much for your company.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Peter.

VAN ONSELEN: We’re going to do something unusual this week and presumably next and not talk about energy policy. I’ve got your colleague and friend Mark Butler coming on later this hour to do just that. I want to talk to you about your portfolio.

ALBANESE: Excellent, he’s more than capable of doing that.

VAN ONSELEN: I don’t know if that’s you acknowledging your own failings of knowledge in the area or …

ALBANESE: I’m acknowledging his expertise.

VAN ONSELEN: Fair enough, well we will talk to him about it, we’ll see whether you’re right about that. Look, infrastructure is a portfolio that in government and opposition you’ve held for a long time now. You’ve got a piece in today’s Daily Telegraph, making the point that yes cities need to get denser, in terms of urban sprawl, but without losing the kind of amenities that avoid that becoming a kind of unwanted urban sprawl. How do you do that though? How can government or indeed, I guess, the wider community ensure that higher density around things like railway lines and the rest of it, transport hubs, doesn’t just simply become a lifeless existence in an over-populated city centre?

ALBANESE: You do that with proper planning Peter. The Telegraph deserves, I think, praise for the fact that they’re really encouraging this debate about the nature of Sydney in particular, but a lot of the lessons are there for all of our major cities. Successful cities are inclusive cities; they are ones whereby you can’t determine automatically what income someone earns by just looking at their postcode. So that means a range of challenges have to be dealt with.

One of the reasons why you have that increased density in the inner areas is because that’s where the jobs are. One of the things that we have to do is make sure that jobs are created closer to where people live. Now Badgerys Creek Airport and the concept of an Aerotropolis is one way to do that. Universities can be one way to do that. If you look at Westmead Hospital at Parramatta, it has more PhDs living within a five kilometre radius of it, than any area of New South Wales, except for the CBD of Sydney. That’s because those high-value jobs are created- and people live around that area. Sydney doesn’t work if it’s a hub and spoke approach, if everyone is just going into and out of the city.

VAN ONSELEN: Let me jump in then. Is that you taking on the Government’s concept of the 30-minute city that Angus Taylor and others having talked about? Or is what you are talking about something that fits with that?

ALBANESE: Well I talked about it well before, two years before, as part of our ten-point plan for cities. We did that at the National Press Club on the day, indeed, on which I was appointed the Shadow Minister for Cities, so I’m pleased that the Government has adopted a similar position rhetorically. But what they haven’t done is to do it in policy terms. They haven’t got the planning mechanisms right. They continue to, in spite of the difference between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott on public transport – at least Malcolm Turnbull likes riding on trains and trams, he likes taking selfies on them – he just hasn’t funded them.

So we need, for example, the funding for the north-south corridor of the rail line through Badgerys Creek Airport, but making sure that those jobs in the employment lands, just to the north of the airport and south, are opened up to people in St Marys, Rouse Hill and the Macarthur region. We need that funding. I notice yet another road announcement from the State Government of the F6 proposal down into the end of the southern suburbs. One of the things that you can’t have with a major city that has high-density and medium-density living is reliance upon the private motor vehicle. It simply doesn’t work. You need public transport to be prioritised.

VAN ONSELEN: Well let me jump in there again. I saw that announcement by Gladys Berejiklian’s Government in last night’s news. You raise a broader issue though, which is in my mind do we need to have federation reform here to have clearer lines between the Commonwealth and the states? Because it feels like there is a constant argy-bargy of which project should or shouldn’t be funded or prioritised or gain appropriate due diligence and thus attention as part of that ever present stand-off between the Commonwealth Government and the State Government at any point in time, exacerbated I would argue when political complexions are varied.

ALBANESE: Well we of course set up the mechanism. It’s called Infrastructure Australia.

VAN ONSELEN: You say that’s been gutted.

ALBANESE: It just hasn’t been listened to. It’s been sidelined. So what we’ve had is a section set up within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, it’s not even in the Infrastructure Department, to advise on cities and to advise on financing, another group on financing, which is one of the core components in the Infrastructure Australia legislation, that they advise on financing of projects. But what we need is proper planning, not this ad hoc with Sydney’s road network at the moment. One road leads to another road being created to deal with the congestion created by the first road. You end up never providing a solution. A solution is an integrated transport network.

When you have medium density proposals; there’s a proposal just on the border of my electorate in Marrickville at the moment, Carrington Road, which is proposed for an area that currently has one and two-storey houses and it has some industrial at two and three storeys, of 28 story developments. Now this is an area where there is one road in and one road out. It’s on a flood plain. It’s a massive over-development that has been proposed. Now what occurs then is that you’ll end up getting a rejection of all of it, instead of having sensible planning, increases in density along railway lines by all means, but making sure that there’s open space created for the kids to play sport in, making sure that the schools and the health facilities are there as well.

VAN ONSELEN: On that, one of the other elements of, if you like, diversity and aligning with that community space that you talked about in your piece is not wanting to see what is currently happening in some states, particularly in New South Wales – inner-city, often expensive public housing sold off, relocated to outer suburbs and then the land being used in different ways. To play devil’s advocate on that, why is that important? If you look at the tough fiscal climate that governments are facing, as long as you are replacing the housing in cheaper-landed areas, can’t government then do more with that excess cash?

ALBANESE: It’s important for two reasons Peter. One is successful cities are cities that are inclusive. They are not homogenous. They provide a mix of people. That’s what provides the dynamism in a city and so for the nature of the population in itself, it is all the poorer if it just rich people living in the city and poorer people living in the outer suburbs. That creates a dynamic that is unhealthy and one that doesn’t contribute to the quality of life for everyone in that community.

Secondly, what you are talking about is moving people away from the social and community networks they have. The sort of treatment whereby one gentleman down at Millers Point had a note put under his door, who had lived in his house that used to be Maritime Services Board – it was for working people who worked on the wharves and on the waterfront in that part of Sydney – just telling him he was going to be evicted from the house in which he had lived his entire life – more than 80 years. That lack of respect for people is, I think, quite shocking and we’ll end up with circumstances whereby why wouldn’t you move them right out of Sydney completely because housing in regional communities is cheaper than it is anywhere in Sydney?

Once you go down that road; and I understand that on the surface, if you take people out of the equation yes it might make some sense, but it is people who make a city. It’s not just the infrastructure. It is the people and to destroy those communities, I think, has been a tragedy and we end up, I think, being all the poorer for it.

VAN ONSELEN: Just finally before I let you go Anthony Albanese, can you get to the bottom for us of what’s going on with the whole Michael Danby sickie, trip-to-Israel business? On the one hand I have heard Bill shorten accused of running some sort of white-anting campaign against him. On the other hand I have heard him accused of being weak for not acting to reprimand him. What is going on here?

ALBANESE: I don’t know to tell you the truth and I have got to say I haven’t given it a second thought.

VAN ONSELEN: OK, well I guess that is that then. Anthony Albanese, thanks very much for your company. We appreciate you joining us.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

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