Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Aug 22, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa Adelaide, Two Tribes segment – Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Subjects: Liberal Party, Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, Australian political system.

HOST: Good morning to Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day. I think that Two Tribes is now just about the Liberal Party. I am redundant.

HOST: No. We will get to you Albo.

PYNE: Boom tish.

HOST: You will have your turn.

HOST: You guys changed the rules to make it too hard. You can’t have any fun these days.

HOST: I would argue that what the Liberals are going through now is something that was invented by the Labor Party about 10 years ago Albo. But we will get to that shortly because we are going to start with Chris. Now Chris, you are obviously a Malcolm Turnbull loyalist and you tried yesterday to do your level best to prevent Peter Dutton from becoming Prime Minister. The consensus though is that Malcolm Turnbull’s position is untenable. Given that that is the case, what is Plan B?

PYNE: I don’t think that is correct that Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership is untenable. Yesterday he won 48-35. A number of people who voted for Peter Dutton have indicated to the Prime Minister in writing that they will support Malcolm Turnbull and not support another spill motion. That means that in fact Malcolm Turnbull’s position has strengthened, not weakened, since yesterday’s vote. I don’t believe that we will see another spill in the short term. In fact I think the Government is skating close to the precipice and my colleagues need to understand that. We have three colleagues who have indicated they would sit on the cross benches if Peter Dutton becomes the Prime Minister and in that situation, you know we could well be at an election within a matter of weeks. So people need to really take stock of the destruction that they are wreaking on the Government and that this is actually a zero-sum game. One party wins, another party loses. And if the other party wins it will be the Labor Party in government and Bill Shorten will be the Prime Minister. That is what people are playing with.

HOST: But how can Malcolm Turnbull go into Question Time today when everyone in Australia knows that more than a third of his ministers don’t want to work for him?

PYNE: Because he has more than 50 per cent plus one of the party room ballot and that is a win. There is an old saying in politics that one vote is a win, two votes is a landslide and three votes is wasted effort. The truth is of course that it is a saying, but what it means is that a win is a win is a win.

HOST: Given how much damage, and it is undeniable damage that he has sustained in the past 24 hours, what do you make of the theory, and it is a strong one, that rather than the more progressive people in the Liberal Party copping Peter Dutton ending up seizing power, that you come up with a compromise candidate, namely the Treasurer Scott Morrison, and that for the good of the party, to stop the blood-letting, Malcolm Turnbull should walk away and that Scott Morrison should contest a ballot?

PYNE: Because Malcolm Turnbull was elected Prime Minister in the 2016 election. He is the person who is most popular in the country to lead the country. All of the polling indicates that he is vastly more popular than Bill Shorten. The public willed Malcolm Turnbull to succeed and they want him to win and to do well. The idea of removing him simply because there are a group of people in the Liberal Party who have tried to destabilise his leadership and that the answer to that is for them to win and for him to walk the plank is quite frankly absurd. Malcolm Turnbull is the Prime Minister. I support him. A majority of the party room supports him. The public wants him to stay. Stability is our watchword for the future. Instability will see Bill Shorten as Prime Minister of Australia and potentially very soon.

HOST: We will get to Albo in a tick. Thanks for your patience Albo. One final one to you though Chris.

PYNE: This happened to him the other day too, if you remember.

HOST: It did. It did.

ALBANESE: I had nodded off.

HOST: We will get to you shortly. Neither of you were disappointed about playing the role of mute either.

PYNE: He did it better than me.

HOST: Chris, would you serve under a Dutton Prime Ministership on the frontbench?

PYNE: I don’t believe that there will be a change of leader. I believe Malcolm Turnbull will lead us to the next election and with a growing economy, with a million jobs in the last five years, with reform in education and health, in aged care, in child care and defence industry that we have been able to do as a Government I think we will win, especially when the contest is between Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten.

HOST: But what if you didn’t? What would you do?

PYNE: I’m not going to speculate about that because my view is that Malcolm Turnbull will lead us to the next election and I am a loyal member of his Cabinet.

HOST: Albo, what is wrong with our political system? This is the fourth time now in less than a decade that the Australian people have voted for X and got Y.

ALBANESE: I think there is a bit of a cultural problem. I bring it back to – I don’t want to blame any individual – but I think the rise of Tony Abbott to the Opposition leadership in 2009, where he had a ruthless and relentless negative campaign against the Government, including between 2010 and 2013, when Julia Gillard was the Prime Minister, the argument that an elected Government wasn‘t legitimate, I think, did a lot to damage the fabric. We saw motions in Parliament every single day to suspend standing orders and to disrupt and wreck and the problem is that Tony Abbott brought that wrecking strategy into Government as the Prime Minister and he is still doing it now.

HOST: OK, but tell the truth Albo. That might have sounded too strong. I’m certainly not suggesting that you are lying. You can say what you like about Tony Abbott, but you were a massive Kevin Rudd loyalist right through that whole torturous process within the ALP. Surely you would have to concede that this knifing, backstabbing, backgrounding model that the Liberals are now paralysed by themselves was pioneered and perfected by the ALP with what happened to Kevin Rudd in 2010.

ALBANESE: I say that publicly. I said it in Parliament again last night that the mistake of the 23rd of June, 2010, where people woke up the next morning and saw that there was a different Prime Minister and there was no lead-up to that at all. You will well recall people including the caucus chair, Daryl Melham at the time, as he left Parliament House saying the ABC were making it all up.

HOST: Yes.

ALBANESE: Which is what most people thought. That changed politics in this country.

HOST: Because I’ve got to say and to both of you and you Chris, I mean as Defence Minister the big story here has been the insecurity for the workers at the ASC. You guys on both sides of politics, not to put too fine a point on it, are giving our listeners the shits because it looks like you are just talking about each other and not talking about the voters.

PYNE: Yes and I absolutely hate it. And I agree with them. They are right. Those colleagues of mine who want to have this introspection here in the bubble in Canberra, fed by the media, but they are obviously giving them the story, are not talking about the things that people care about.

Those 90 workers at the ASC, I am happy to be able to say that we have put in place, I have done this as Defence Industry Minister, a number of other projects which means that even though they might not be wearing ASC t-shirts they could well be wearing Offshore Petrol Vessel t-shirts, Collins Class Sustainment and Maintenance, Osborne South Shipyard and Construction, Osborne North Submarine Construction, scholarships at the Naval Shipbuilding College. And that is what I have done. We have created about 1200 new positions across the shipyard so even though the 90 are at risk on the Air Warfare Destroyer because of course the Air Warfare Destroyer is finishing, I believe they will all get jobs across the shipyard so that we won’t lose their skills from the workforce.

Now that is the kind of stuff that we should be doing. When Anthony was the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, every day he got up and he tried to do jobs for the Australian public that made their lives better and as Defence Industry Minister, that is what I want to be able to focus on every day and I think I have done for the last two years. But these kinds of ludicrous distractions, the public are right to be furious about them.

ALBANESE: Can I say this David, I agree with what Christopher just said. The Whitlam Oration speech I gave a couple of months ago, that got written up by people who never read it, talked about his. It talked about the political culture. It talked about the need for more consensus across the political spectrum between unions and business as well. The form of politics that we have descended into at the moment is a huge problem and I tell you what people missed perhaps in the poll that was out on Monday was there was a 32 percent vote not for the Liberals or the Nationals or Labor, but for someone else.

HOST: We made that point yesterday on air.

ALBANESE: Now what that shows, well – great minds think alike David. You know 32 per cent are voting for what ends up being chaos because we know what happens when we have the minor parties in control. They swap around and you don’t know what you are getting. But that is an indictment of – we need to do better – the Coalition and the Labor Party – need to do better.

HOST: Is this where potentially someone like a Peter Dutton might well be a more dangerous political adversary for Labor at the next election? Nineteen percent of that 32 you mention are from other – largely One Nation, Bob Katter in Queensland and others. If the Liberals are led by a conservative more able to galvanise the conservative vote, doesn’t that make him potentially more dangerous than Malcolm Turnbull for you?

ALBANESE: I think it is delusional. I think the idea that you win elections from either the hard right or the hard left in Australia is delusional and Peter Dutton we’ll see, if he was the Leader of the Liberal Party, we’ll see people who are currently in the Liberal column go across to us because he’s divisive. When he was Health Minister he was the guy who wanted a GP tax. He was the guy who cut health. He’s the person who has shown on asylum seeker issues no capacity for any empathy with people at all.  I think that he would alienate the great mainstream of Australia, which is basically in the centre and I think that he would be a disaster for the Liberal Party if he was Leader.

HOST: I note that Christopher didn’t interrupt you once as you were providing that free character assessment there Albo. Was any of that wrong Chris?

PYNE: Well I think Malcolm Turnbull is the best person to lead the Liberal Party to the next election. I have been saying that for many years. I have strongly supported Malcolm Turnbull. He is the person with the biggest brain in the room and he is the kind of guy who I think the Australian public warm to. If he wasn’t being attacked from within his own side I think we would be in a much better position politically and I don’t think that we should change the leadership. I think that the disease of the last 11 years in politics, when people feel that there is a bit of pressure on the first thing to do is smash glass and change the Leader, is very destructive and I would leave you with one statistic. We have had six leadership spills in the Liberal Party in the last ten years. We had four in the previous 50.

HOST: The numbers do speak for themselves.

PYNE: They do.

HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, as always a rollicking chat and that was a particularly good one. You guys are absolutely in the thick of it over there in that mad house and we appreciate you making time for us here in Adelaide. We are particularly glad too Chris that you gave us that answer on that ASC question because, as you both said in your own different ways, that is exactly what politics should be about. Chris Pyne and Albo, good on you.

PYNE: Thanks a lot.

ALBANESE: See you guys.

Aug 21, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – SKY News – Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Subjects: Liberal Party chaos.

KIERAN GILBERT: Joining me now is senior Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese. Well, we have been here before haven’t we, in terms of a Prime Minister under threat sadly many times over the last ten years.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We have and it would be quite extraordinary if, for four terms in a row, an elected Prime Minister didn’t get to see out their term. But I think that is what we are facing here. No doubt the Liberal Party is in absolute crisis and it’s very deep because it is about different values and different world views. And people like Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly and others who have made this seat their own in the Sky studio, up here day after day, hour after hour, are trashing their own Government.

Tony Abbott’s behaviour is quite unbelievable. I mean this is the guy who signed up to Paris. This is the guy who as Prime Minister established a 26 to 28 per cent target and yet he has done everything to wreck that. When Malcolm Turnbull capitulated completely and showed himself to not have any convictions about anything anymore, except retaining power, they have then responded to that by pointing out his weakness.

GILBERT: From a Labor perspective you are obviously feeling very comfortable in the sense of the Labor Party trajectory to win the next election. Would it have been better to have some sort of bipartisanship, some sort of deal, some sort of framework for that most contested of spaces – energy – so you are not starting with a blank sheet of paper as of the next election?

ALBANESE: Well, we tried Kieran. The Government came up with an Emissions Intensity Scheme. We said we would give that constructive consideration. They then abandoned that. They asked the Chief Scientist to come up with a plan. He came up with the Clean Energy Target. We said we think we can work with that. They abandoned that. They then came up with the NEG – the National Energy Guarantee. We said we would be constructive about it as long as it didn’t constrain future governments to enhance the target, because we thought the target was very weak, given that we will reach 24 per cent by 2020 as a result of our policies, as a result of the Renewable Energy Target that was established under the Rudd Government. We thought you need to do better; as long as that could be adjusted, we said we’d be constructive.

And now we have a Prime Minister yesterday standing up in Parliament and saying that he wouldn’t introduce the legislation, not because he was worried Labor wouldn’t support it, but because he was worried that Labor would support it. That is the big thing that came through Question Time yesterday. I was Leader of the House of course during the Rudd and Gillard Governments and under the Gillard Government we started off every piece of legislation with 70 Government votes – 70 – and we had to get to 75 and we did it for every piece of legislation. We did it for the NDIS. We did if for all of the ground-breaking policies that we had in terms of education and health and infrastructure – all the big picture reforms that we put through in Government. We did, I think from memory, 595 to nil was the scoreboard at the end of that term – and yet this Government isn’t prepared to argue its case on something that is fundamental because one of the things …

GILBERT: But you touched on it before. It is riven by division right now this Government in terms of its view on those policies and those climate wars, they continue unabated. But the thing is, if there were to be a change of leadership – I remember when Tony Abbott became the (inaudible) the Labor Party was delighted with that change. But in the end he turned out to be a very potent opponent. Are you more cautious this time when it comes to Dutton if he were Prime Minister?

ALBANESE:  Well what’s important here Kieran is that the seeds of the destruction were sown by how Tony Abbot got there. So Tony Abbott – people say he was an effective Opposition Leader. He behaved as Opposition Leader like he did as Prime Minister, like he has as a backbencher. He’s sitting back there throwing rocks. He wasn’t capable of governing and that’s the problem. How you get there is important, because how you get there determines what the culture is and the culture of the Liberal Party at the moment and really since Tony Abbott’s rise in 2009 has been toxic. So Tony Abbott had a plan to get into government; he just didn’t have a plan to govern. And then Malcolm Turnbull had a plan to get rid of Tony Abbott, but he also didn’t have a plan to govern. And that’s the problem we’ve got here. Take energy policy. We have had now five years of drift, five years of uncertainty, five years of investors out there not being certain about what the policy framework is going forward and as a result we’ve seen higher energy prices than we would have if Labor’s policy had been continued or if they’d adopted any one of the myriad of policies that have essentially been about certainty.

GILBERT: Given how turbulent it is right now it’s hard to predict as you know these things – very hard to predict how they unfold. But is Labor ready for an election if it were to happen sooner rather than later, because that could be the outcome here?

ALBANESE: We’re always ready Kieran. One of the things I’d say about Labor is that we’ve used our time in opposition to actually prepare for government – to do the hard work on policies. We have in my area of infrastructure a comprehensive plan of how we’d deal with cities with recreating the Major Cities Unit, with the sort of programs that we would implement through a City Partnership Policy. We have a plan for regional economic development and driving decentralisation as well. We have a plan for tourism and we have engaged with the business community, with the sector.

One of the things on my much reported Whitlam speech that I was talking about is writ large by this week’s activity here in the House. What people want is a government that has a plan for the nation, not just a plan for its internals. They are sick to death of this and I think that if Malcolm Turnbull decides that the way for him to have a circuit breaker here is to is to get through this week and then visit the Governor General on the weekend or next week, then I think that would be a good thing for the nation because something has to change. This is chaos in this Parliament at the moment.

GILBERT: Mr Albanese as always, I appreciate your time. Thanks.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you Kieran.

Aug 21, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Canberra – Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Subjects; Coalition Government in chaos, NEG. 

JOURNALIST: What do you make of what is happening within the Government?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This is not a government. This is a rabble. And the problem is that that creates a problem for the nation. We’ve had now five years of energy uncertainty. We’ve had as a result of that, higher energy prices because this Government can’t get its act together. They’ve come up with a whole myriad of plans. They had the Emissions Intensity Scheme, then they had the Clean Energy Target, which the Chief Scientist recommended, then they’ve had various iterations of the national energy guarantee. And what we’ve had there is a government that is simply incapable of having its act together. They’re a government that’s at war with itself and they’re governing to survive to the end of the day, rather than governing in the national interest.

JOURNALIST: Has Labor deliberately stalled negotiations on the NEG to watch the Government implode?

ALBANESE: The Labor Party has been constructive. The Government stood up yesterday through Malcolm Turnbull, on the floor of the chamber of the House of Representatives, and conceded that he wasn’t worried that Labor might oppose it – he was worried that Labor might support it.

And he said, himself, he wouldn’t bring it forward unless he could guarantee that there was a majority of Government members, that is, every single one of them, would vote for the NEG. What that means is that there is a veto over the NEG from any single member. We know that Tony Abbott is completely out of control and isn’t concerned with anything except for vengeance.

JOURNALIST: Labor could end that uncertainty by coming forward and saying yes we will support the NEG?

ALBANESE: We haven’t seen the legislation and Malcolm Turnbull has made it clear that he’s not interested in Labor’s support. What he’s interested in is whether he has 76 votes on his side to support the NEG.

JOURNALIST: A little while ago it seemed the Labor Party was heading in this direction too. There was speculation that you would make a tilt at the leadership of the Labor Party. What’s it like to watch this happen?

ALBANESE: Well if you compare with the way that I conduct myself, and the way that we in the Labor Party conduct ourselves, we have always been interested, including at a time when various journalists were speculating, what we were concerned about is the national interest and getting out there and campaigning. And as I said we would, win those by-elections, as I made clear that that was my view that we would. I campaigned very strongly with the entire rest of the Labor team to ensure that we did.

JOURNALIST: Has Labor done any polling on whether Peter Dutton would be a popular leader?

ALBANESE: I’ve met Peter Dutton. I talk to people in the street.

JOURNALIST: What are they saying?

ALBANESE: I think that if you go out there and do a vox pop, I reckon if Peter Dutton stood we would be a real chance of winning seats that we’ve never dreamed of winning on the north shore of Sydney and in the suburbs of Melbourne. And, indeed, I think right around the country, Peter Dutton is a divisive character. And you’ve got to look at what happens in terms of how people rise. I think here we have a very small rump of people who are causing this chaos. We can name them: Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Craig Kelly. They’re there in the Sky News studio, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, causing chaos. A majority of the Coalition want to get on with the business of being in government. But a small group behaving badly are wrecking the Government, which is a problem for the Coalition, but it is a disaster for the nation.

[ENDS]

Aug 21, 2018

Grievance Debate – Liberal Party Leadership – Tuesday, 21 August 2018

This week’s events illustrate the issue that I want to raise in this evening’s grievance debate: the decade-long degeneration of this country’s political culture. Wherever I go in this country Australians tell me the same thing: they are tired of people shouting at each other; they’re tired of the division and discord. They also despair at a political culture that so readily disposes of elected prime ministers. Above all, they’re angry that negative politics is acting as a handbrake on national progress. Let me give you one example. Ten years ago, in 2007, there was a political consensus in an election, when John Howard and Kevin Rudd both went to the election committed to having an emissions trading scheme—a market based solution to drive down emissions. A decade later, we still don’t have a solution. The government has been in place now for five years without a policy. Without the Renewable Energy Target that had been set by the former Labor government, we wouldn’t be having anywhere near the drive-down of emissions, and prices would be even higher.

Yesterday the Prime Minister stood up in parliament and said that he wouldn’t pursue an emissions target as part of the National Energy Guarantee, not because Labor wouldn’t support him but because Labor might. He would rather lose that policy framework because he was in a circumstance whereby he couldn’t guarantee that all members of the coalition would vote for it on the floor of the parliament. I think the style of politics brought in by Tony Abbott in 2009, who some say was a successful Leader of the Opposition, isn’t quite right. Whilst the member for Warringah was successful, from one perspective, at creating chaos and a feeling of conflict on the floor of the parliament with his daily interruptions in question time and moving suspensions of standing orders, the problem is that when he was successful in being elected in 2013 he didn’t have a plan to actually govern the country.

The problem now is that the coalition has been infected by the toxic approach. It is divided. It is distracted. It’s dysfunctional. It stumbles from one internal conflict to the next, unable to muster the unity of purpose required to deliver effective government. While the previous Labor government was a good government, we also allowed ourselves to be derailed by division. I’ve said before and I say again tonight that it was a mistake to remove a first-term elected Prime Minister on 23 June 2010. But, while Labor has learnt from that mistake, it appears from today’s challenge, the coalition is doomed to repeat it. The member for Warringah’s glove puppet, the member for Dickson, will be back for another go.

Those opposite need to reconsider their approach. If they hope to serve the Australian people, they should ask themselves what Australians want out of life and how we in this place can help them to achieve those aims. The key aspiration of Australians is to live productive, enjoyable lives, to give their children more opportunities than they enjoyed and to leave the environment in better shape than they found it. But, for months now, the Prime Minister and his ministers have misused the term ‘aspiration’. They have accused Labor of standing in the way of aspiration because we oppose their plan to cut taxes for wealthy individuals and multinational corporations. Their argument seems to be that aspiration is just about the top end. This is absurd.

While Australians have personal aspirations, they extend beyond individual needs. They have aspirations for themselves but also for their family, for their community, for their environment and, indeed, for the national interest. Australians aspire to a whole range of things—many of which this government refuses to support. My grievance is with a government that chooses to serve the aspirations of the few by undermining the aspirations of the many. Of course Australians want to improve their living standards and feel comfortable. But, in the land of the fair go, people think beyond their individual needs.

Our aspirations extend to the welfare of our families and our communities; the health of our environment; a nation where schools and universities are properly resourced; a nation that devotes resources to skills training for young Australians, rather than cutting apprenticeships and importing skilled workers on a temporary basis; and a nation where people can be confident that, if they or their children become ill, a well-resourced health system will be able to meet their needs. Australians also aspire to the maintenance of a good social safety net. That’s because in this country most people believe we are only as good as the way we treat our least advantaged members. Commuters aspire to live in a nation that invests in public transport, so they can get home from work in time to play with their children.

All of these aspirations relate to quality of life, and all of them are just as important and just as meaningful as the spirit of entrepreneurship that drives business and creates jobs. Yet on all of these quality-of-life measures, the government has been found wanting. We’re still getting cuts to health and education. We’re getting cuts to vocational training. We’re getting the social safety net being undermined. We’re not seeing investment in important public transport projects, like Melbourne Metro and Cross River Rail. The irony is that, while the Prime Minister and his colleagues champion tax cuts for the wealthy few in the name of aspiration, the cuts to services undermine everyone else’s ability to achieve their aspirations.

The coalition wants to replace this nation’s cultural respect for egalitarianism and the fair go with the conservative creed to individualism and self-interest. They want Australians to embrace their view that the free market can cure all ills and people should be blamed and punished for their own disadvantage. They believe in the trickle-down effect: if we help people at the top, somehow people at the bottom and in the middle will benefit. To quote that great Australian Darryl Kerrigan, ‘Tell them they’re dreaming.’

Prior to the 1996 federal election, then Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating famously warned:

When the government changes, the country changes.

Mr Keating had it half right: incoming governments do attempt to imprint their own culture and philosophy on the societies that they govern. Sometimes this changes prevailing views or social values; however, some Australian values are immutable. One of those is the fair go, the idea that everyone deserves a chance to be their best and that Australians help each other out in times of need. Throughout our history, the fair go has been the constant moderating force against the excesses of conservative ideology. That’s why in 2007, for example, Australians rejected John Howard’s WorkChoices legislation, which sought to destroy trade unions. It’s why Australians supported Gough Whitlam’s introduction of universal health care in 1973, and supported it again under the Hawke government, after it was abolished by the Fraser government. It is also why Australians now, wherever they live, care about people who are suffering from the drought in rural and regional Australia, and are putting their hands into their own pockets to help out people who they have never met and are unlikely to ever meet. It’s also why Australians are so disappointed with this bitterly divided rabble of a government. This government needs to get its act together in the national interest.

Aug 20, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 6PR, Oliver Peterson program – Monday, 20 August 2018

Subjects: Malcolm Turnbull, NEG, Tony Abbott

OLIVER PETERSON: What a time indeed for the Monday Agenda to have the Odd Couple with us. I speak of senior Government Minister Christopher Pyne. Good afternoon.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good afternoon Ollie.

PETERSON: And senior Opposition member Anthony Albanese. Hello to you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Ollie.

PETERSON: Well I think first of all Christopher Pyne we might start with you because it has been a very busy day, or busy couple of days, on your side of the fence. Is the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, a dead man walking?

PYNE: No, quite the opposite. Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership is absolutely secure.

PETERSON: He’s got the full support of Cabinet?

PYNE: One hundred percent support of the Cabinet.

PETERSON: Including Peter Dutton?

PYNE: The so-called putative challenger Peter Dutton has made it clear to Malcolm Turnbull, to me, to the media, that he supports the Prime Minister. What we are seeing here is an enormous beat-up because unfortunately there are some sections of the bubble, or inside the beltway here in Canberra, that would much rather focus on a story that isn’t happening rather than the things that people care about like energy prices, jobs, the economy, growth, tax cuts.

PETERSON: Then if energy policy is so important, why has the Prime Minister had to do an about-face and back down on his National Energy Guarantee? Why has, all of a sudden, he has had to remove these emissions targets Christopher Pyne if he doesn’t have the support of his own party?

PYNE: Well because out of 100 people in the party room, four said they wouldn’t support it, which means we haven’t got the numbers in the House of Representatives and politics is the ruthless application of arithmetic and if you haven’t got the numbers, you can’t get something passed, so the Prime Minister very sensibly, with the support of the Cabinet, has done everything other than what is required to be done by legislation, like take the big stick to electricity companies, introduce the default pricing for consumers, which will help 1.2 million Australians get lower prices, introduced divestment powers that will allow us to take the electricity companies apart if they are not doing the right thing down the track, which I am sure they will do if that power exists. The NEG, the National Energy Guarantee, is in place. The only thing that is not going to be done is the legislation for a 26 per cent Renewable Energy Target, because we don’t have the numbers and we can’t trust the Labor Party because Bill Shorten just wants to play politics with everything. He has had months and months and months to say whether he supported  the Government’s National Energy Guarantee but he …

PETERSON: Well let’s ask Anthony Albanese. Have you seen the National Energy Guarantee? Has it been leaked to you?

ALBANESE: No-one has seen it. It changes hourly and today in Parliament we had the preposterous circumstances whereby the Prime Minister said he couldn’t guarantee getting it through the Parliament because he wanted Labor to give a guarantee we would support it, but he wouldn’t show us the legislation beforehand. So he wanted a commitment that we would vote for something we haven’t seen and nor has anyone else. We asked in Parliament did it exist and he said yes and then just tied himself in knots. This is …

PYNE: Labor is just playing politics Ollie. This is pathetic. And Anthony Albanese is better than that. Anthony Albanese is better than that.

ALBANESE: We are sitting back watching.

PYNE: Bill Shorten pretends to be this character who is interested in bipartisanship. He has refused to support the NEG for months. Now, today, the Government has admitted that we don’t have the numbers to get it through the House of Representatives so we will do everything other than what is required by legislation and Bill Shorten is trying to pretend: “Oh I am shocked. Why didn’t you come and talk to me. I’d love to talk about how to do it in a bipartisan way’’.

ALBANESE: You won’t even sit down and discuss …

PYNE: Bill Shorten is a political fraud and everyone can see through him.

PETERSON: Julie Bishop, the Foreign Minister, has earlier today said she has seen a move like this before and I suppose it is in relation to the leadership rumblings of the Government. Anthony Albanese, you lived through all of this with Kevin Rudd, with Julia Gillard, with Kevin Rudd again. Do you think Malcolm Turnbull’s days are numbered as the Prime Minister?

ALBANESE: Well he certainly looked that way today and I think that’s unfortunate if that happens, in terms of if we basically remove four elected prime ministers in four terms, I think that would be in indictment of our political system. But it’s very clear that the dogs are barking on the Coalition side. The circumstances whereby the Prime Minster has had to withdraw his own legislation, well not even introduce it, is just a humiliation for Malcolm Turnbull. He used to believe in action on climate change and now he is saying: “Oh well don’t worry about that, don’t worry about emissions targets, don’t worry about everything that I have said’’. And bear this in mind – this isn’t the first lot. This is the third iteration. We had the Chief Scientist come out with a policy. Then we had a Clean Energy Target. We have had various iterations of this policy. Last Tuesday he declared victory. On Friday he changed the policy. Today he has changed the policy again and we are being asked: Do you support it? Well we don’t know what it is we are being asked to support.

PETERSON: Ultimately Christopher Pyne, all Australians obviously want to pay cheaper prices for their electricity. How do you go and sell that message now to the Australian public when it appears as though there is disunity within your ranks?

PYNE: Well, because we have a much tougher policy now than we had even a week ago. We are introducing new powers to give the Government the capacity to break up energy companies that do the wrong thing by consumers, assuming that those powers are necessary. We’ve introduced new powers to the ACCC to monitor the pricing of electricity companies and to enforce a default price which will help 1.2 million consumers have a lower price. We are supporting recommendations from the ACCC that allow us to underwrite support for new infrastructure in energy production, whether it is coal, gas, hydro or other forms of power. So in fact prices are already coming down. Prices will continue to come down because of the Government’s policies.

ALBANESE: They are coming down because of the Renewable Energy Target Christopher.

PYNE: No they are not. They are coming down because of the …

ALBANESE: Four hundred dollars of the $550 is because of the Renewable Energy Target.

PYNE: Absolute rubbish. You always interrupt me.

ALBANESE: You’ve had an incredibly long run Christopher.

PYNE: Excuse me. The reason why the energy prices are coming down is because the Prime Minister said to the gas companies last year if you don’t allow more gas into the market and if you don’t stop exporting the gas we will stop you from doing so by taking away your permits and that has been one of the main reasons why prices are coming down. If Labor was in power and we increased the Renewable Energy Target to 45 per cent, prices would go through the roof. We have seen that film before. It is called the South Australian energy market.

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that the Government’s own Energy Security Board, chaired by Kerry Schott, says that the NEG will make a difference of $550. Four hundred dollars of that is what is already in the system through the Renewable Energy Target, will reach 24 per cent in just two years’ time, by 2020. So what the Government is saying, this is the thing that Abbott and these Neanderthals are revolting over, is the difference between 24 to 26 – two per cent increase over an entire decade and what Kerry Schott’s committee says is that that is responsible for $400 of the decrease and $550 is the total. The other $150 is just due to the reduction in the risk premium by there being some certainty. Now in order to have certainty, by definition you need both sides of Parliament to be on that table. But …

PYNE: You didn’t give us that support.

ALBANESE: We haven’t been given any opportunity.

PETERSON: And if you are given that opportunity, would you consider supporting it Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: Of course we’d consider supporting it. We have said that consistently. We haven’t got the legislation. What we have said is we want to support renewables. Yes, we want to be able to adjust it because we do have a higher target because the evidence is that more renewables will lead to cheaper prices.

PYNE: The evidence is not in South Australia …

ALBANESE: That’s what the Energy Security Board say. That’s what all the providers say. All of them say that that is the case.

PYNE: You have been saying for months that 26 per cent was low and you wouldn’t support it.

ALBANESE: It is too low.

PYNE: And then you colluded with the Victorian Government to make sure that they slowed down the process and you have done everything you can frustrate ….

ALBANESE: You cannot possibly blame us …

PYNE: And now you are trying to pretend …

ALBANESE: … that you have Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly and all these crazy people in you party room who want to have a Government funded and subsidised new coal-fired power station.

PETERSON: Talking of Tony Abbott there Christopher Pyne, over the weekend and being reported in the Sydney Morning Herald today is that he spoke to the Young Liberals in Tasmania saying that he looks forward to serving under a Dutton Government. Can you still work with Tony Abbott?

PYNE: Well Tony Abbott’s got a lot to say. He has been saying a lot for several years and it doesn’t surprise me. Whatever he says he has a different view about the direction of the Government. I think the public have well and truly factored the Tony Abbott matter into their support or non-support for the Turnbull Government and I don’t think that he has an impact when he says things like that, if he said it, because I think the public have well and truly worked out that Tony Abbott is not a big fan of the current Prime Minister.

PETERSON: Well we put out a poll this afternoon on our website and Tony Abbott was the winner of our poll on who should lead the Liberal Party. In second place Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and third place Peter Dutton. So 6PR listeners are certainly ….

ALBANESE: Where was Christopher?

PETERSON: Well Christopher unfortunately wasn’t on our list. But we can add you to our mix. Christopher, would you like to challenge?

PYNE: Well that’s the only poll of that nature Ollie in the country.

PETERSON: That’s it?

PYNE: No other poll in indicates that the public want Tony Abbott to be the Prime Minister of Australia again or the Leader of the Liberal Party. In fact the poll that was published by IPSOS today showed that 66 per cent of Coalition voters support the National Energy Guarantee.

PETERSON: Would you rather that Tony Abbott just went quietly off into the distance and stopped entering the public national debate right now?

PYNE: Look we are a democracy. If Tony Abbott thinks that he is helping the Government by his interventions, well that’s a judgement call that he has made.

PETERSON: Anthony Albanese, you’d be probably be happy that the spotlight is not on you this  afternoon. All of a sudden you are probably measuring up your desk as the Infrastructure Minister in a Shorten Government.

ALBANESE: Well we take nothing for granted but the fact is that Tony Abbott is trying to blow up the entire show, campaigning against a target that he set as Prime Minister. He was the one who signed up to Paris. He was the one who said 26 per cent to 28 as his target and he walks around like he had nothing to do with it. I mean, I think his behaviour is morally repugnant. I don’t know how he can have frankly any integrity at all and Peter Dutton is just Tony Abbott’s glove puppet. He is just there being used, waiting for this to drop into his lap and I do feel some sympathy for what Christopher  is going through because the hypocrisy of the Abbott forces here is quite breathtaking and every time they come up with a new position, the Abbott forces just move the barrier, they move the line. So it’s impossible for us as the Labor Party. We want to be responsible, we want to be co-operative, we understand that the greater amount of unity in the national interest is required here. But it’s impossible because we can’t even get a discussion about what the position we are being asked to agree with is.

PETERSON: All right gentlemen, we are almost out of time. Final words for you both. Christopher Pyne, do you believe there will be a challenge within your ranks in the coming weeks or months?

PYNE: No I don’t. I have been around a quarter of a century. I have seen as many leadership ballots as Anthony Albanese. He might have the wood on me on that one because he has been in the Labor Party because of the Gillard/Rudd period. But I do not think there will be any change in leadership. I think the party is extremely united behind Malcolm Turnbull and he will lead us to the next election

PETERSON: Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: I think it’s a mess and I think it’s likely that there will be at least one challenge.

PETERSON: At least one challenge. Gentlemen, really appreciate your time. We’ll let you go back into the bear pit of Federal Parliament. Thank you.

 

Aug 17, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Today Show – Friday, 17 August 2018

Subjects: Peter Dutton, NEG, Aretha Franklin.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is reportedly considering resigning from Cabinet over the NEG, sparking wider leadership speculation this morning. Either way it is a big problem for the Government. We are joined now by Labor’s Anthony Albanese and in Adelaide, Christopher Pyne. Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher to you first of all, is Peter Dutton going to have a crack or not?

PYNE: Absolutely not and Peter Dutton hasn’t said that he is going to resign over the NEG. He has outlined what ministers have to do if they don’t support a Government policy. At the same time he said that he does support the Government’s policy and I can tell you that the Cabinet is 100 per cent united behind Malcolm Turnbull and in the party room on Tuesday only four people said that they reserve their right not to vote for the NEG. Only four others had criticisms of the NEG and about 26 supported it. So there is a lot of hyper-ventilating going on, but we are listening to the party room and that is why the Prime Minister and the Cabinet will propose a big-stick approach to electricity prices next week, because we want to bring prices down too. That’s what we did with the gas companies and that is what we will do with the electricity companies.

STEFANOVIC: Have you laid your eyes on the NEG legislation yet?

PYNE: No. I haven’t seen the legislation. I am not the Minister for the Environment. That is Josh Frydenberg.

STEFANOVIC: Hang on, you haven’t seen the legislation, but Labor has seen the legislation?

PYNE: Well the legislation was shared with the states and territories on Tuesday night I believe.

STEFANOVIC: Hang on a second. Hang on a second. You haven’t seen the NEG legislation, but Labor has?

PYNE: Well, I could ask Josh Frydenberg for the legislation if I wanted to and he would give it to me.

STEFANOVIC: How can you vote for something you haven’t seen?

PYNE: Because it has been through the Cabinet. It has been through the ERC. I have read the submissions that have come …

STEFANOVIC: That’s a startling admission.

PYNE: Don’t be ridiculous Karl. I don’t read every piece of legislation. Nobody does. That is absurd. That is why we have Cabinet ministers.

STEFANOVIC: Have you seen the legislation?

ALBANESE: Well I haven’t seen it but certainly Labor has  and the fact is…

STEFANOVIC: Before Christopher? That is absurd.

ALBANESE: This is a Government in absolute chaos.

PYNE: Karl, that is complete nonsense. You read the submissions …

STEFANOVIC: You haven’t read the legislation, but Labor has. That is extraordinary.

PYNE: No, its not. You read the submissions in the Cabinet and you respond to those submissions. As everybody knows, the idea that I read every piece of legislation you know is complete nonsense and I don’t know why you are taking the interview in this direction.

STEFANOVIC: It has been pretty topical, the NEG, this week. I would have thought you would at least throw your eyes over it.

ALBANESE: He’s the Leader of the House.

PYNE: I know what the legislation does. I know what the NEG is. I support it 100 per cent. We are toughening it up with a big-stick approach to electricity companies and I certainly didn’t read every piece of legislation that went through the Parliament this week. Six pieces of legislation went through the Parliament this week.

STEFANOVIC: If you are not annoyed there are members of your own party who certainly are. Inside Parliament they are furious that they haven’t seen the legislation but Labor has.

PYNE: Well I am sure if they ask Josh Frydenberg for it he will share it with them.

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that Christopher has just come on national TV and said it’s all OK because only four people are going to definitely cross the floor and only four others might cross the floor. They don’t know what they are doing. Peter Dutton went on radio yesterday and outlined the path that he is considering – resigning from Cabinet to go to the backbench to challenge Malcolm Turnbull. That now has been laid bare for all to see. This is a Government in absolute chaos and of course we know the Peter Dutton is just a glove puppet for Tony Abbott, who is back there, back there on the backbench causing all of this chaos.

STEFANOVIC: You haven’t seen the policy or this legislation either yet, but is Labor going to back it?

ALBANESE: Well we haven’t had consideration of it yet. We don’t know how it will end up. It hasn’t been properly approved by the Coalition. The states were asked to sign up to something before they knew what it was. This is chaos. We are waiting for these guys to get a semblance of their act together before we finalise our position.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, this is the thing – you could very well lose five seats in Queensland alone at the next election You are on the ropes right now.

PYNE: No we are not. We are not on the ropes Karl. The polls are about 50-50 and there’s a lot of hyper-ventilating going on and there’s a few people I think who are trying to put the band back together from the late 2000 and noughties.

STEFANOVIC: Who’s that? Who’s trying to put the band …

ALBANESE: They are in your party room, mate.

PYNE: I think we know who they are but the reality is the Government is getting on with the job of putting the energy policy together. We have to work with the states, the territories, our party room. We are listening to our party room and we will ensure that electricity prices keep coming down. And if we need to use a big stick to do so, we will introduce the penalties, just like we did the gas companies when we said we would have export controls on gas and gas prices came down. We aren’t afraid to take firm action.

ALBANESE: The problem with the big stick is that the Coalition Party room have got it and they are belting themselves in the head. This is self-flagellation from the party room.

STEFANOVIC: I think you have gone into a territory that we can’t go into on breakfast TV and as much as I love you …

ALBANESE: You can show it after nine maybe.

STEFANOVIC: We can show it after nine for sure. Thank you gentlemen and just before we go Aretha Franklin passing – it is very sad news, but also we are celebrating her life. It’s a shame people in the Senate didn’t have a little more R-E-S-P-E-C-T this week, but what’s your favourite song Chris?

PYNE: Well definitely R-E-S-P-E-C-T is my favourite Aretha Franklin song.

STEFANOVIC: Sing it.

PYNE: No I’m not singing it.

STEFANOVIC: You know you want to.

ALBANESE: You do.

PYNE: Well I like singing. I can sing. I can sing.

ALBANESE: Lighten up Christopher. This is your chance. Start a new career.

PYNE: You are the cool DJ.

ALBANESE: You might need one soon mate. I am trying to help you out.

PYNE: Well, you can get me a job as a DJ.

STEFANOVIC: And how the wheel turns. It’s DJ Albo. What’s your favourite?

ALBANESE: This is great, but Sisters are Doing it for Themselves is pretty cool too.

STEFANOVIC: Beautiful stuff. I think that might have been the Pointer Sisters.

ALBANESE: Was it? No it wasn’t. They did it in the movie.

STEFANOVIC: Yes. Beverley Hills Cop.

ALBANESE: Yes. Or one of them.

PYNE: Brush your hair Karl.

STEFANOVIC: You are so knowledgeable for a DJ. Thanks Albo. Thanks Christopher. See you soon.

[ENDS]

 

Aug 13, 2018

Airports Amendment Bill 2016 – Consideration in Detail – Monday, 13 August 2018

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:12): I ask leave to move amendments (1) and (2), as circulated in my name, together.

Leave granted.

Mr ALBANESE: I move amendments (1) and (2), as circulated in my name, together:

(1)   Schedule 1, item 19, page 6 (line 6), omit “$35 million”, substitute “$25 million”.

   [lower threshold amount]

(2)   Schedule 1, item 22, page 7 (lines 9 and 10), omit “then the Minister is taken, at the end of that period, to have approved that shorter period”, substitute “then, at the end of the period referred to in paragraph (b), the request is taken to have been refused”.

[refusal of shorter consultation periods]

I thank the minister for the constructive way in which we’ve engaged on this legislation to make sure that what is, I think, a good piece of legislation is made better by dialogue. These questions shouldn’t be partisan; they should be the subject of proper scrutiny—hence these amendments that I’m moving today, which the government will accept, I think will improve the bill before it goes to the Senate and should ensure that passage is expedited in the other place with the support of all of the adults in the room.

Amendment (1) changes the lower-threshold amount in schedule 1, substituting $25 million for $35 million. The rationale for this is quite clear: a major development plan must be completed in a number of circumstances, including when a monetary trigger is reached. The current monetary trigger of $20 million was determined in 2007. The bill originally proposed to increase this threshold by 75 per cent, to $35 million. In my view, that’s excessive and it’s also problematic. While the government has argued that this increase reflects changes to construction industry costs, and other economic conditions that have occurred, I believe that a 75 per cent increase doesn’t accurately reflect the changes in construction costs since 2007. According to the ABS construction CPI, costs have increased by 20 per cent. A number of major and sizeable airport construction projects would fall under a $35 million threshold, and such projects would be exempt from public consultations and other assessments. A $25 million monetary trigger is far more appropriate.

I will say to the minister that one of the first things I did upon coming to the high office that he now holds, of transport minister responsible for aviation, was go to an opening of a number of projects at Melbourne Airport. I asked what the process was for the MDP. What had occurred was they’d broken up what was a very large expansion into a series of smaller projects in order to not have an MDP. The truth is that we, as public office holders, have a responsibility to ensure that there’s public scrutiny available. That’s what the government’s acceptance of this amendment will do. I thank him for the spirit in which it’s put forward. It is to ensure that there’s no diminution of accountability as a result of the expansions, of which there are a number of very considerable expansions to aviation around this country.

What I see, and I know the minister sees when he sees those expansions, is jobs and economic activity. It’s a good thing, but it needs to have that scrutiny to make sure that whilst we maximise the economic benefit of aviation we also minimise the impact on the community, because from time to time infrastructure projects do have a negative impact on the community and that’s why it’s important that they be able to be consulted.

The second amendment is to change the issue of shorter consultation periods. It is:

Schedule 1, item 22, page 7 (lines 9 and 10), omit “then the Minister is taken, at the end of that period, to have approved that shorter period”, substitute “then, at the end of the period referred to in paragraph (b), the request is taken to have been refused”.

This is an important amendment. It’s about ensuring that the power of the minister is retained and that you don’t have, through a default circumstance, consultation periods being cut off, or approval being deemed to have occurred, without a conscious decision of the minister to examine the proposal that is before him or her, and to be able to therefore— (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr S Georganas ): The member’s time has expired. The member for Grayndler.

Mr ALBANESE: Due to a range of circumstances that can occur—the minister is very busy with a very large portfolio—it is important to have proper examination. I know that the minister will take his duties very seriously and examine each of these plans. With a range of plans, particularly for the secondary airports, I found they can have a real impact, because—whether it be the Parafields, the Jandakots or the Bankstowns—they tend to be located around a lot of residences. I certainly took my responsibility seriously and on a range of occasions basically sent it back effectively with a mark of ‘needs to do better before it’s approved’. And guess what? They did do better. That provides a confidence there for the public.

Currently the public consultation period associated with draft MDPs, as specified in subsection 92(2A) of the act, is 60 business days. The minister can approve a shorter period, not less than 15 days, if asked in writing by the airport operator to do so, and as long as they are satisfied that the proposed development is consistent with the airport master plan and does not raise any issues that have a significant impact on the local or regional community.

The bill seeks to insert new subsection 92(2BA), which would provide that if the airport makes a request for a shorter consultation period and the minister does not make a decision on the request within 15 business days then the minister is deemed to have approved that shorter period. Labor can’t support that amendment, and I’m pleased that the minister’s been very much open to having some dialogue about this. This is one of the pieces of legislation in this parliament which won’t change a vote either way. Most legislation is like that. We should be able to consult, have dialogue and come out with better outcomes in the national interest. In the words of the Bills Digest that was prepared by the Parliamentary Library:

This amendment seems to raise the possibility that the Minister could simply not decide on the request, and then be deemed to have approved the short period, even if the development is inconsistent with the airport master plan, or raises issues that have a significant impact on the local or regional community.

It should be within a minister’s capability to consider a request for reduced consultation within 15 days. In circumstances where this doesn’t occur, it’s appropriate for it to be deemed that the request is not approved, is refused. That achieves a better balance. The whole philosophy behind the aviation green paper and white paper process was to ensure that you had proper planning around airports. In some of the debate that’s taken place about flight paths, for example, with Western Sydney airport, I note that of course there aren’t flight paths yet, because they’re done every five years under an airport master plan. There is a constant review. There is a constant need now, and indeed a legislated requirement, to have community consultation and engagement. Interestingly, at the time that that was done, a lot of the airports weren’t exactly fans of this reform. They all acknowledge now that, as a result of this reform, their processes have been substantially improved and the relationships with the communities around their airport have been enhanced.

I commend the amendments to the House and I thank the government, and the minister, in particular, for their support.

Question agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Aug 10, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 10 August 2018

Subjects: Energy policy; Great Barrier Reef; Malcolm Turnbull, National Integrity Commission; Emma Husar.

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: Well, the fate of the Turnbull Government’s National Energy Guarantee will be discussed today at a crucial meeting of State and Federal governments and this morning there are warnings of more blackouts and higher prices if Labor premiers block the power plan. I’m joined now by Labor’s Anthony Albanese and, in Adelaide, Christopher Pyne. Good morning to you both.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Sylvia.

JEFFREYS: Christopher, let’s be up front about it. It is not likely that you will reach an agreement on this today with the state leaders. So what’s next?

PYNE: Well, I think we will win an in-principle agreement from the state premiers at COAG about the NEG because ….

JEFFREYS: That’s being optimistic, isn’t it?

PYNE: No, I think that is what a lot of people are saying. Victoria is really the only hold out state and I think we can work and negotiate with them. I think we will get in-principle agreement because everyone wants affordable, reliable and responsible electricity in Australia. We want to meet our international commitments. We want lower prices, which we can achieve, and we want it to be reliable in terms of baseload power. And then I think we will get the support next week of the Parliament, of the party room and then a final tick-off from the premiers and I think we will achieve a great outcome.

JEFFREYS: So what you’re saying is there is room for compromise in order to get Daniel Andrews across the line?

PYNE: Well, negotiation is about negotiating outcomes, ensuring you don’t give away the core things that you want, but making sure that you get an outcome. So, of course, we are always happy to talk. But there are some baselines. We want affordable power. We want reliable power. We want it to be responsible and we are not going to just hand the policy over to the Greens, which is what the Daniel Andrews Government seems to want to do. But I think we will get there and that’s what voters want. They want, actually, governments to work together to achieve outcomes.

JEFFREYS: Voters want a plan, they want it in place, and they want it urgently. Anthony, I’m sure you agree with that. So why is Labor getting in the way? Why are Labor premiers blocking this plan?

ALBANESE: They are not, of course. What they are trying to do is negotiate in good faith. As late as yesterday afternoon, Annastacia Palaszczuk still hadn’t got the documentation that she had requested and the Government goes to a COAG meeting today saying: “Well, we can’t actually agree to anything finally because we go to our party room next Tuesday”. So this isn’t leadership. And the problem that the Government has is that Tony Abbott and the forces around him don’t want a solution, they want an argument.

JEFFREYS: OK. So Annastacia Palaszczuk doesn’t have the documents on the day of the meeting. Daniel Andrews is digging his heels in. Is Malcolm Turnbull a bad negotiator Christopher Pyne?

PYNE: Well, Anthony says that but you wouldn’t want to believe everything Anthony says. The truth is the Queensland Government has been working closely with the Federal Government for 12 months, not just today. They are not just getting the documents yesterday. They have been working for 12 months with the Energy Board and the various organisations that we have established. Every state and territory has, including Queensland. That’s why they know exactly what the National Energy Guarantee will do. And if you speak to anybody across industry, they will all say that they want the certainty of the National Energy Guarantee. It’s time to stop arguing and give the consumers of Australia and the businesses of Australia affordable, reliable and responsible power and that’s what we’re trying to do. Labor wants to have a fight.

ALBANESE: You’ve given them five years of uncertainty Christopher. That is the problem.

PYNE: Labor wants to keep having a fight. The public don’t want it. The public want us to get on and reduce their power prices and that’s what we’re doing.

ALBANESE: The Government was elected and said we will get rid of the carbon price and it will all be okay. What we saw was that …

PYNE: Well, prices dropped 14 per cent.

ALBANESE: Wholesale prices doubled. We’ve had five years of uncertainty.

PYNE: Carbon tax! After we abolished the carbon tax, prices dropped immediately.

ALBANESE: Keep your arguments for the party room Christopher, because the big argument has been within the Liberal Party and because of that, the whole of the country has been held back.

PYNE: Rubbish.

JEFFREYS: I want to talk about Malcolm Turnbull and his negotiation skills and I want to talk specifically about the grant, the half a billion dollar grant, that was given to the Barrier Reef Foundation. Christopher, was that a captain’s call for Malcolm Turnbull? Was that his decision?

PYNE: No. It went through the normal processes of the Expenditure Review Committee.

JEFFREYS: There was no tender.

PYNE: It went through the normal processes of the Expenditure Review Committee. What we wanted to do was get $440 million to support the Great Barrier Reef to help repair it after the damage done to it by Labor. It went on to the endangered watch list of the UNESCO under Labor…

ALBANESE: There isn’t even one. There isn’t a watch list. There isn’t a watch list. There isn’t one. It is just a lie.

PYNE: We wanted to get that money out there doing its work. And that is what Malcolm Turnbull has done. It certainly wasn’t his call. It was the call of the Government through the Expenditure Review Committee. And it’s amazing to me that Labor is criticising trying to fix the Great Barrier Reef.

ALBANESE: This is red hot Christopher. You can just keep talking to hide from the fact.

PYNE: Sylvia asked me a question.

ALBANESE: This is an argument for a National Integrity Commission. This is one of the reasons why we need one because I’m concerned about the fish on the Great Barrier Reef, but I’m also concerned about the fishy smell that’s coming from this stinking agreement whereby the Prime Minister and Josh Frydenberg sit down with someone and they give them a grant. They didn’t ask for it. There was no tender process. They had six people employed at the time. And they got $444 million of taxpayers’ money – has been paid upfront, upfront, not as it’s required. This stinks.

PYNE: What stinks…

ALBANESE: And there needs to be a proper examination of this …

PYNE: At least you cared about Emma Husar’s staff and Emma Husar’s story …

ALBANESE: A rotting fish stinks from the head and this stinks from Malcolm Turnbull’s head. It stinks.

PYNE: Your Leader of the Opposition claims that he knew nothing about what was going on in Emma Husar’s office. At least you said you knew about it.

ALBANESE: It stinks.

JEFFREYS: We are speaking in different tangents here on different subjects, so let’s move in the same direction here. I think we know that fund, that grant, is going to dominate Question Time when Parliament resumes. So we will watch that space. But I want to talk about the findings of the internal investigation into the accusations around Emma Husar, Labor MP Emma Husar. They are handed down today. Anthony, will they be made public?

ALBANESE: Well, I’m not sure of all of the circumstances around the basis, for example, of how the staff members made submissions.

JEFFREYS: But yes or no? Will the report be made public?

ALBANESE: That’s not a decision for me Sylvia.

JEFFREYS: Well should it be made public?

ALBANESE: I don’t know what the circumstances are in which people have come forward. Sometimes when you have inquiries, people come forward on the basis of confidentiality. I’m not sure of all of those circumstances and frankly neither are you or Christopher. What we know is that Emma Husar has said that she won’t contest the next election and what we know is that the Government has tried to make this the big issue rather than the $444 million grant.

PYNE: Please!

ALBANESE: And they say they know nothing about Barnaby Joyce. I mean for goodness sake!

JEFFREYS: Christopher, should the report be made public?

PYNE: Well look, what I find remarkable about this Sylvia is that Anthony Albanese was at least honest enough to say that he knew about this weeks and weeks ago and his leader, Bill Shorten, was pretending that he had only heard about it when it was published in the newspaper.

JEFFREYS: The question was should the report be made public?

PYNE: Well I don’t know what the …

ALBANESE: And Barnaby Joyce’s report about the woman who alleged that she had been assaulted by Barnaby Joyce? Well, should that be made public?

PYNE: You’ve had a go. You’ve had a go. The question of whether the report should be made public, I don’t understand the internal Labor Party processes and, quite frankly, I don’t want to. Certainly the story around Emma Husar has been dominating the media. And what’s amazing is that Bill Shorten should want to clear the air with this. He should want to release the report, clear the air, get on with it. It’s amazing to me that he pretends, or is saying, that he’s never heard of any of these stories until they appeared in the newspaper. Anthony Albanese said he’s known about it for months. Tony Burke says he has known about for months. Why isn’t anybody telling Bill Shorten?

ALBANESE: As everyone in the building knew about Barnaby Joyce.

JEFFREYS: We are out of time Christopher and Anthony.

PYNE: What a pity!

JEFFREYS: Plenty up for discussion next week, clearly. Thank you so much for coming in this morning.

ALBANESE: We could come back after half past seven.

PYNE: We could. Let’s do it again.

JEFFREYS: I’m sure you will, it just won’t be here on the Today Show. Have a great weekend – time is of the essence, plenty up for discussion.

ALBANESE: Come on.

JEFFREYS: Thank you very much to both of you for joining us.

[ENDS]

 

Aug 9, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 3AW, Neil Mitchell Program – Thursday, 9 August 2018

Subjects: Emma Husar, Sky News, Latham, NEG. 

NEIL MITCHELL: Anthony Albanese, good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you. I’ve got a face here.

MITCHELL: She said the faceless men got her.

ALBANESE: Well I certainly didn’t have any role in that as far as I know. I take it that …

MITCHELL: As far as you know?

ALBANESE: No. It’s a rather strange accusation for you to begin with Neil.

MITCHELL: I am just repeating what she said.

ALBANESE: I am not faceless. I am here. You can see me. There is even a camera in the studio.

MITCHELL: You are not of her faction. Did you help get rid of her?

ALBANESE: No.

MITCHELL: Did she have to go?

ALBANESE: It’s a decision which she has made.

MITCHELL: Has she really? Everybody is suggesting she was told to go or else.

ALBANESE: Well, no point pontificating about it. All I know is what she has said, that it is her decision.

MITCHELL: But she has also said it ends now. But it doesn’t, does it? There are still questions about travel entitlements.

ALBANESE: Well, that will be dealt with by the appropriate authorities if need be. There is the New South Wales investigation that is under way.

MITCHELL: That is a Labor investigation.

ALBANESE: Yes, that’s right.

MITCHELL: You’d need an independent one now, surely?

ALBANESE: Well, that’s not a matter for me. The New South Wales report will come down probably in the next 24 hours or so and then it will be dealt with. She’s made a decision …

MITCHELL: Is she a loss?

ALBANESE: … to not re-contest.  Well she has made that decision.

MITCHELL: But is she a loss to the Parliament?

ALBANESE: Well she is someone who was in in her first term and we won’t know what contribution she could have made. Lindsay is a marginal seat.

MITCHELL: You are damning with faint praise here. Do you want to keep her or not?

ALBANESE: Well she has made a decision to go, so it is not a matter of what my thoughts are.

MITCHELL: Well, was she a good member?

ALBANESE: The contact I had with her, she was good. She had me out to her electorate. We met with Penrith City Council with her. Badgerys Creek Airport of course is not in her seat, but it certainly impacts on it, so the related infrastructure issues I was engaged with her on and she was a strong representative. That was the contact I had with her. I had never met her before she got elected.

MITCHELL: How long had you known about the allegations?

ALBANESE: Oh, for a while. There were various rumours around the building.

MITCHELL: I see. But only rumours? You didn’t know anything about it?

ALBANESE: Well, I have never met any of her staff, so I don’t know them.

MITCHELL: People are finding it really hard to believe that Bill Shorten, who was close, closer than you were to her, didn’t know anything about it. Do you believe that?

ALBANESE: Well, what I think has been said there is a matter of when he was formally notified. I don’t know and I can’t speak for what someone else knew and when. All I can do is say what I knew, which is that there were various rumours around about issues with staff that I had heard around the building. Parliament House is a bit like that.

MITCHELL: Did you do anything about it or just say that is a rumour?

ALBANESE: No. Well if you did something about it you wouldn’t do your job; if every time you heard about something that might have happened in the building. That’s not my job.

MITCHELL: Yes, but you make all these grand statements about protecting people in the workplace and decency toward staff, decency toward women. Here we have a Labor Member of Parliament. The rumours are she is doing bad things with her staff. Oh well, we’ll ignore that.

ALBANESE: Well I didn’t know that. What I knew was that there was a high staff turnover.

MITCHELL: Oh, I see.

ALBANESE: And then I knew that there was this investigation by John Whelan. I have been upfront about that. I talked with people – raised it with me at the ALP State Conference in June. You have a two-day, two-night gathering, people talk about what is going on. It wasn’t at the centre of discussion but on the fringes it was discussed. I have said honestly, yes I knew that investigation was taking place.

MITCHELL: OK, let’s move on. Jacinta Allan, who I know that you have seen today, has banned Sky News from train station platforms here in Melbourne after that interview with Blair Cottrell. She said that was the final straw. I asked her what else was the problem.

(TAPED INTERVIEW FROM EARLIER) 

JACINTA ALLAN: Well I think there’s been a number of interviews that have started to go down a slippery slope.

MITCHELL: Well, which ones?

ALLAN: Well, there’s been some of the conversations that Mark Latham has engaged in through that channel.

MITCHELL: He is one of yours, or he was.

ALLAN: He was but he’s not anymore.

MITCHELL: Ok, so you don’t approve of Mark Latham or Blair Cottrell. What else have they done?

ALLAN: Well there was also the promotion of the dreadful things that Senator David Lyonhjelm said about Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

(TAPE ENDS) 

MITCHELL: That’s Jacinta Allan earlier. Mark Latham will love that publicity won’t he?

ALBANESE: Well Mark Latham does like publicity and the problem if you are addicted to getting publicity is that your statements become more and more extreme because the next statement has to be more out there than the one before and I think Mark Latham’s trajectory, now, whereby I notice he has been defending having Blair Cottrell have a national platform on Sky, just shows how sad it is, I think. He is …

MITCHELL: He’s not a mate anymore?

ALBANESE: I was never a Mark Latham supporter Neil. I think you know that. I think my judgement was right in warning people prior to his elevation as leader. I mean we already knew a whole range of things about Mark Latham and people made the decision to make him Leader. I think that was an error. But the Australian public got it right in …

MITCHELL: By keeping you out of government?

ALBANESE: By not making him Prime Minister.

MITCHELL: Well what about this Jacinta Allan issue? Is it appropriate that a Government bans media for saying things it doesn’t like?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s not a matter of banning it. There are other things they could have. They could have 3AW being broadcast.

MITCHELL: We are not popular with the Government either.

ALBANESE: They could have 3AW broadcast out. See, this as an opportunity Neil.

MITCHELL: I have tried that. I have tried that.

ALBANESE: You should of.

MITCHELL: I did.

ALBANESE: You could have a range of things out there. There’s no reason why …

MITCHELL: So it is appropriate?

ALBANESE: Well, why wouldn’t they have ABC 24 running through?

MITCHELL: Oh yeah, let’s have the Left instead of the Right. They could be just as bad the other way.

ALBANESE: Why can’t they have the public broadcaster through the public transport network? That’s decision they have made. Look, I think that Sky News people that I have spoken to are horrified. Some of them have made public statements about having this fellow who advocates having a photo of Adolf Hilter in every class room.

MITCHELL: He’s anti-semitic. Let’s not defend him.

ALBANESE: Well why have him on there?

MITCHELL: What about David Lyonhjelm? He’s got thrown into this. Well, I’ve had him on here too, but I have argued with him. I have debated with him. It seemed it was a mistake. They have admitted it. They have apologised and to ban any form of media because you don’t like what they are doing is Nazi-like.

ALBANESE: I think the problem with Sky is that they have some fantastic interviewers. They have David Speers and Kieran Gilbert, Laura Jayes – have good journalists during the day, and it hits a certain hour of the day and it becomes …

MITCHELL: Yes but let’s ban Bolt now. People don’t like Bolt. How about we ban Bolt too?

ALBANESE: I go on Andrew Bolt’s program as you know Neil. I talk to a range of people. I am here talking to you. Not everyone talks to you Neil. But I do.

MITCHELL: Well that reminds me, how is Bill?

ALBANESE: I am always happy to talk on whatever medium. But you do have to draw a line between someone like Blair Cottrell, who I just wouldn’t give a platform to.

MITCHELL: Fair enough. But the point is banning media is a bad look. I mean David Lyonhjelm for heaven s sake?

ALBANESE: Well, are they banning media or choosing to put something else there? Why is it? Why is it up here in the beginning?

MITCHELL: They don’t like what I do a lot of the time and neither does your Leader, so he doesn’t turn up. What’s the next step? You win Government and he says we’ll ban 3AW?

ALBANESE: I think you are drawing a very long bow there.

MITCHELL: Can you get him in the studio for me?

ALBANESE: Well, I am not in charge of Bill’s media appointments, but I am happy to pass on a message for you.

MITCHELL: Thank you. Can you explain the National Energy Guarantee to me?

ALBANESE: Oh, the National Energy Guarantee. What is part of the problem Neil, is that we don’t actually know the detail of what’s in it. What we know is that they say there will be a $550 saving if it passes through. But we know of that, $400 of it is locked in by the Renewable Energy Target that is already there. So that is a given. And $150 of it, according to their own modelling, is for policy certainty, like any certainty.

MITCHELL: I don’t think most people understand it and they tend to glaze over when it comes up. But we’ve got a national regulator saying if this doesn’t go through tomorrow, we are in strife, power prices are going up. And yet it is being blocked.

ALBANESE: Well what we have had Neil since 2013, remember Tony Abbott got elected and said we will get rid of the price on carbon and it will all be fixed?  And it wasn’t fixed.

MITCHELL: But can you bring prices down?

ALBANESE: Of course we can. You bring prices down by increasing supply. That’s the fundamental basis of economics.

MITCHELL: What, with renewables?

ALBANESE: Absolutely, renewables.

MITCHELL: But the wind is not blowing. The sun is not shining.

ALBANESE: With renewables, with batteries, with storage.

MITCHELL: And that is going to be cheaper?

ALBANESE: Absolutely, as one of a suite of measures, it of course will. What we know is that renewables are far cheaper to put into the system than a new coal-fired power plant.

MITCHELL: Thank you for coming in. Is caucus getting a bit willing? You’ve got a black eye and broken rib. What happened?

ALBANESE: It’s a very boring story, walking the dog on Marrickville Golf Course.

MITCHELL: Mugged?

ALBANESE: Not even that interesting.

MITCHELL: You fell over?

ALBANESE: A little bit of metal up on the retainer wall sticking out of the ground tripped me and unfortunately, if you hit concrete, it hurts. So I am suffering a little bit from a broken rib at the moment.

MITCHELL: How’s the dog?

ALBANESE: Oh, the dog was fine. You can’t hurt the dog.

MITCHELL: Well, it is your only friend isn’t it? Wasn’t it Peter Costello: if you want a friend in politics, buy a dog.

ALBANESE: I’ve got other friends Neil. I thought you were my friend.

MITCHELL: Get Bill in the studio and we will see. Thank you for your time.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

Aug 9, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – ABC, 7.30 Program – Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Subjects: Emma Husar; population; opinion polls; Labor leadership; infrastructure.

LEIGH SALES: Anthony Albanese, thanks very much for coming in.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Leigh.

SALES: What is your reaction to the news that Emma Husar won’t be contesting the next election?

ALBANESE: Well she has come to this decision herself. Obviously she believes that that is the best thing to do for herself and for the party. It is now time I think for the endless media speculation to be put to bed and for people to move on from this issue. Obviously the party is going through its investigation process. It will be concluded in the following 48 hours. It will bring down any recommendations so it should be allowed to now go through its course.

SALES: Emma Husar says the allegations against her are vicious and baseless even though she won’t contest the election. Is it possible she is the victim of a smear campaign for some reason?

ALBANESE: What is absolutely certain is it is not in Emma’s interests, nor in the interests of those people who have made complaints and forwarded those complaints in good faith to Mr Whelan’s investigation, to have people who aren’t aware of the facts, such as myself or yourself for that matter, making further commentary on this matter.

SALES: Let’s turn to hitting a population of 25 million this week. Are you in favour of a big Australia?

ALBANESE: Well, what I am in favour of is a productive, a sustainable and a liveable Australia for all of our citizens. The fact is that it is the quality of life that is important, rather than any particular figure I think.

SALES: A substantial proportion of Australians don’t like immigration. How much is opposition to it tied to racism?

ALBANESE: I think that by and large Australia is a tolerant country. We are a very successful multicultural nation. With the exception of the First Australians we are all either migrants or sons or daughters or more distant relatives of people who have migrated to Australia as a land of opportunity. We continue to be so and I’m very optimistic about our future. One of the things that does happen though, is that politicians, if you have issues of urban congestion not being dealt with, if you have a diminution of people’s quality of life, then some politicians will point towards some other group that’s not them to provide some blame. That is not productive. That is not the Australia that I want to see advance in this century.

SALES: Let me ask you about a few other things. When Labor last won majority federal government its primary vote was 43 per cent. Today it is 36 percent. What primary vote will Labor need to win the next election?

ALBANESE: Well of course what we have seen Leigh is an increase in non-major party votes. I think that is an issue for both …

SALES: So does that mean you have to look down the barrel of minority government again?

ALBANESE: No it doesn’t mean that at all. What it means is that we need to work very hard to increase that primary vote, to restore faith. Both of the major parties I believe are suffering from a view that they are not able to stand for all of the issues and secure the support of the sort of figures we used to see – 40 per cent and above for both of the major parties and neither party is doing that at the moment.

SALES: Bill Shorten does not have a good personal approval rating. How much of a drag is that on the party’s primary vote?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that we are a team and Bill Shorten leads that team.

SALES: But Bill Shorten is not well liked by a majority of people in the electorate.

ALBANESE: Well Bill Shorten leads that team and when I go to places with Bill and see him engaging with people, people like him. People like our policies and the important thing is the way that our entire team is regarded and whether people are prepared to elect us into government. We have won 37 Newspolls in a row. That is quite remarkable. And in terms of the by-election, Malcolm Turnbull, for reasons beyond my comprehension, talked up the prospect of the Government winning a seat off the Opposition for a first time in a hundred years. What that showed yet again was the lack of judgement from Malcolm Turnbull when it came to basic political strategy.

SALES: There’s always a lot of speculation about whether you are still interested in the Labor leadership. So let me just ask you straight. At some point in the future, you know, who knows when, Bill Shorten will cease to be the Labor Leader. Are you interested in being next in the seat?

ALBANESE: Well ask me when that happens in 2035 Leigh.

SALES: I just want to know if you’ve still got the baton in the back pack.

ALBANESE: What I have said consistently is that I am interested in Labor being in Government and I want to be part of that team.

SALES: The way I phrased that question I am not trying to, you know, suggest there is any imminent challenge or anything. I am just asking, you know, generally, in five years, 20 years, whatever, have you still got an interest in being the leader?

ALBANESE: Well, we will wait and see if I am here in 20 years as a Member of Parliament. It’s possible that I will be going for Philip Ruddock’s record, but I doubt whether that is the case. My ambition is to be a minister in a Shorten Labor Government, to be able to advance the sort of policies that I want to see in terms of infrastructure; building public transport around the nation; re-establishing the Major Cities Unit; developing the sort of policies that we have put out there; making sure that High Speed Rail is advanced; preserving the corridor; setting up the authority; going to the market to see if it can be tested about High Speed Rail down the east coast of Australia; making sure that we have the Cross River Rail project; building Western Sydney Rail. That is my ambition and I think that if we are able to do that, no one will be more happy than me. We are a Labor team. We are very united. That is one of the reasons I think why we have been successful.

SALES: Anthony Albanese, thanks for joining us.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

ENDS

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