Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Aug 19, 2017

Transcript of doorstop – Port Macquarie

Subject: Pacific Highway Duplication.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s good to be here in Port Macquarie. Happy to take questions.

REPORTER: Mr Albanese you have come to Port Macquarie with some major concerns about the Pacific Highway duplication. Tell me a bit about what your concerns are regarding the funding of the highway.

ALBANESE: I’m particularly concerned that the funding for the Pacific Highway has undergone a major cut this year. For the year to June 30 the funding was $1.37 billion and that falls to $710 million this financial year. So we have seen under the former Federal Labor Government’s allocation, which is the funding that is being contributed to projects like either side of the Oxley Highway, the Kundabung Section, the section in between here and Coffs Harbour, was all funded by the former government. As that is starting to run down, what we are seeing is a failure by the Coalition Government to put the funding in. A $600 million cut in one year is a massive cut. That means less jobs being created in the short term. But more importantly it draws into question the Government’s commitment to meeting its own 2020 deadline for the completion of the full duplication.

REPORTER: The local MP Luke Hartsuyker has denied that and says Labor actually oversaw a $2.4 billion funding shortfall because of its inability to make sure that that the funding allocation was matched by the State Government. What is your reaction to that?

ALBANESE: It’s a nonsense of course and Mr Hartsuyker knows full well, or he should, that his Government has continued to see 50-50 funding on the sections of the highway such as Frederickton to Eungai, such as the sections to the north of Port Macquarie between here and Coffs Harbour were all completed under arrangements made by the former Government. So what we are seeing is that this Government has let the State Government off the hook by agreeing to it reducing its funding and now it itself is reducing the funding from $1.3 billion to $700 million in this current financial year. The result of Mr Hartsuyker’s efforts is a delay in the delivery of this vital project.

It took Labor coming to office in 2007 to press the accelerator on the Pacific Highway Duplication. We contributed some $7.6 billion to the Pacific Highway in our six years in office and that compares with $1.3 billion from the Federal Coalition over 12 long years of neglect. Mr Hartsuyker, for example,  has been promising the Coffs Harbour Bypass since he was elected in 2002 but we haven’t seen a hole dug on that project and the Government has now been in office for four years and we are seeing again a massive gap between the Government’s rhetoric and the reality of what is happening on the ground.

REPORTER: With that point in particular, it is obviously under planning. There’s a lot of geo-planning works and testing that needs to be done. Is it necessarily fair when you know we have had the department say that … (inaudible).

ALBANESE: Well of course you do need planning. The problem here is that Luke Hartsuyker has been full of hot air when it comes to promises on the Pacific Highway. His Government didn’t deliver the Kempsey Bypass. It didn’t deliver any of the projects that are currently under way. It didn’t do anything about Frederickton to Eungai – the site of course of the Clybucca crash all those years ago that led to the Coronial inquiry that recommended the full duplication of the highway. It took a Labor Government to put that funding in place and now we are seeing a wind back of the funding from the Coalition and it is symptomatic of the neglect that happened the last time the National Party was in office and it seems that they promise big but they really take communities like the like the North Coast here for granted when it comes to infrastructure investment.

Luke Hartsuyker is the only MP I can recall who ever protested against an opening of a community infrastructure project when he came and protested when schoolkids were participating in the opening of the new park facilities in Coffs Harbour and he was there with a megaphone instead of with a set of scissors helping to cut the ribbon and it says a lot about his approach towards this community and I think it is about time that the North Coast was treated with respect.

REPORTER: What is your immediate call to Darren Chester in particular?

ALBANESE: Well Darren Chester and the Government need to accelerate the investment on the Pacific Highway, not press the stop button. They let the State Government off the hook because of all of the projects that were funded 50-50 – the projects around Urunga, the projects like Frederickton to Eungai. What’s happened is the State Government don’t have to put in any money because they say, oh well it should be 80-20, so we will just stop putting in that investment. And then they haven’t stepped up to the mark to fill that gap that is there in the funding which is why you see such a significant fall. A $600 million cut from year to year is simply not good enough from the Coalition Government and Luke Hartsuyker needs to explain why that is the case. The Coffs Harbour Bypass, for example, that he has talked about since 2002, there is no money in the forward estimates. So not this year, not next year, not the year after, or the year after that for this project.

[ENDS]

Aug 18, 2017

Transcript of doorstop – Syndey

Subjects; The Multi-Nationals; Nick Xenophon; Barcelona attacks; Pauline Hanson stunt

ANTHONY ALBANESE: What we’ve had is a government too distracted by its own internal issues – so distracted that the Nationals have become the Multi-Nationals.

Both the Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Nationals have been referred to the High Court over their very eligibility to sit in the Parliament, and yet they continue to sit in the Cabinet, unlike Matt Canavan who was forced to stand aside.

The government has to answer why it is that they’ve had such an inconsistent approach to these issues, but this week we also saw absolute chaos on the floor of the parliament. We saw the government lose a vote on legislation.

We saw the government try to shut down parliament itself by calling a quorum, something I’ve never seen a government do before.

We saw Foreign Minister Bishop, in an extraordinary display of trying to suggest somehow Labor was to blame for the Coalition’s woes and for the chaos that is occurring on their side of the parliament.

Normally what should happen is that a leader – the Prime Minister – should step in and take control of the situation.

But Malcolm Turnbull is simply too weak to take control of the circumstances, hence the chaos just goes on and on – but with real consequences because of the failure to govern for the country.
REPORTER: Mr Albanese, why are Labor staffers dropping references about Mr Xenophon’s dual citizenship since the Party refuses to release any documentation about your MPs who might have dual citizenship?
ALBANESE: The fact is that we have our own processes. We have our own audit. We do it before people nominate. We check on people’s details and that is why the circumstances are there so that no Labor member has had issues either in the House of Representatives or the Senate.
REPORTER: If you’re so confident about that, why not consent to an audit of all MPs to prove that they are not dual citizens?
ALBANESE: We have an audit. We have a process prior to nomination and people, when issues have been raised about particular members, they have been addresses.
REPORTER: You’ve said that Nash should have disclosed her citizenship earlier. Why was that?
ALBANESE: Because she was told on Monday night that she was a citizen of the UK. Parliament sat on Monday, on Tuesday, on Wednesday and on Thursday.

At the very last minute possible, Senator Nash rose to her feet and informed the Parliament. But there was no referral to the High Court.

She stood up and said that in two and a half weeks time, there will be a referral to the High Court. Why wasn’t that done at the same time that Barnaby Joyce was done?

Why wasn’t it done at the earliest possible opportunity?

What we know is that Barnaby Joyce knew the week before, when parliament was sitting and the parliament wasn’t informed and in the meantime Barnaby Joyce went about denouncing his New Zealand citizenship prior to telling the parliament.

Surely Cabinet ministers have a responsibility to inform the parliament that there is a very serious question mark over their very eligibility to sit in the parliament, let alone be a Cabinet minister.
REPORTER: [inaudible] … gotten confirmation on Thursday from the Solicitor-General on Thursday afternoon, how could she…
ALBANESE: It’s very convenient for the government. I make this prediction. If parliament was sitting today, she would have said that she got that advice on Friday afternoon, just before parliament got up.

It’s very clear that this issue would have got out over the weekend given there had been Cabinet discussions, given the chaos that’s there in the Coalition. Given the fact that everything they do leaks to the media.

It is beyond belief that one minute before the Senate got up, and after the House of Representatives had risen, and after the commercial news networks had gone to air last night this information was put out there.

This is media management, not management of the country.

That’s the problem with this government. They’re incapable with providing the leadership that Australia needs.
REPORTER: Are you suggesting that she should have gone public [inaudible]
ALBANESE: When was the legal advice obtained? I’ve dealt with the Solicitor-General as a Cabinet minister. I know the sort of advice that’s available to the Commonwealth.

She was informed on Monday night by the UK of what the circumstances were.

It’s beyond comprehension that it takes days to get advice from the Solicitor-General. The Commonwealth has that legal advice available to it as a matter of course.

It’s not like the lawyers were all off overseas at the time and they couldn’t get the information to them. The Commonwealth Solicitor-General is available to give this advice.

The advice is very clear in terms of the Constitution. We’ve had legal cases about these issues in the past, and at the very least, the fact that Senator Nash is saying that she will be referred to the High Court means that she accepts that there is a serious question mark over her eligibility and that was always going to be the case given the circumstances surrounding Senator Nash.
REPORTER: What’s your reaction to the events in Barcelona?
ALBANESE: These events are a great tragedy. I think all Australians would express their condolences to the victims of this act of terrorism. These people want to damage our way of life.

Barcelona is a great international city. It’s a city where tourists go to have a look at the magnificent art, the architecture of Park Güell and Gaudi. It’s an Olympic city. It’s a city of food and dancing and culture and vibrancy.

It’s a tragedy that these evil terrorists would think that somehow it advances their cause by acting in such an inhumane and brutal way. Our thoughts go out to the families.

We hope that Australians who are visiting Barcelona are safe. I’m not sure of what the update is but certainly the Australian Embassy and consular officials will providing people every support that they can.
REPORTER: What’s your reaction to Senator Hanson’s stunt?
ALBANESE: This was an absurd act that undermines the dignity of our national parliament.

Senator Hanson is entitled to be treated with respect. But with that Senator Hanson is obligated to treat all Australians, not just some, with respect too. Not to divide the community.

George Brandis, I think deserves absolute praise for his response to Senator Hanson’s divisive and opportunistic stunt.

Thanks.

 

Aug 18, 2017

Transcript television interview – AM Agenda

Subjects; Barcelona attacks; Pauline Hanson stunt; The Multi-National Party 

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Australians are great international travellers, whether it be people when they’re young, Australians will tend to go and backpack for six months or more. I did that and I visited Barcelona, during that time, staying in a youth hostel.

I’ve visited again since, it’s a fantastic city, and this tragedy is another reminder that we need to be vigilant, that there are Islamic terrorists who want to cause us harm, and our way of life harm.

Attacking destinations like Barcelona – great international cities – is something that they see as somehow advancing their cause. What it does of course is to unite humanity against this scourge of terrorism.

KIERAN GILBERT: Back home now and we saw the stunt yesterday from Pauline Hanson. She says she was trying to raise concerns about security.

I guess we can have the debate about whether or not the burqa is appropriate in a western nation like ours in terms of the question of oppression of women and so on, its a separate debate, but I guess the security agencies would be worried about the impact of the Hanson stunt in alienating a cohort in our community.

ALBANESE: That’s right, and that’s why I think George Brandis’ immediate response was courageous and correct, and he deserves absolute credit for the dignity in which he responded to what was a very undignified moment from Senator Hanson, that did nothing to advance the debate.

It certainly did nothing, as Senator Brandis pointed out, to advance security. All of the security agencies that advise him as Attorney-General and advise us as parliamentarians, all say that what we need to do is to work with the community.

We know that overwhelmingly the Islamic community is cooperative, is loyal to this great country of Australia, and the idea of ridiculing any group in our society, attempting to single them out and poke fun at them.

It is beyond my comprehension how Senator Hanson thinks that somehow advance security, it does the opposite. It undermines it, as George Brandis pointed out so eloquently in the Senate yesterday.

GILBERT: In your view is it neither here nor there that the vast bulk of Muslims, certainly in this country but right around the world don’t wear a burqa. The criticism really underpinning it goes to the fact that it was seen to be mocking the faith given she’s not an adherent of it.

ALBANESE: That’s exactly right. I live in Marrickville in Sydney, it’s a great community, it’s a community whereby I have neighbours who happen to be of Islamic faith, I have people next door who are Salvos, I have people who are Catholics, people who are Jewish, people who are Hindu, people who are Buddhist. We live together in harmony.

We’re a great microcosm for what the world should be, people who have respect for each other, people who have tolerance for each other, people who recognise that our diversity is a strength. We should be proud of that, and shouldn’t seek to divide the community and single out any group in society and try to ridicule them.

It is counterproductive, it doesn’t assist the process, and it really undermined the dignity of Australia yesterday. I guess the point is to get people talking about Senator Hanson, we’re doing it right now, but really, if that’s the approach we have to political discourse in this country, then what we’ll see is a circumstance whereby people just try and think up stranger and stranger things to do just to get attention.

GILBERT: Yeah indeed. Just to wrap up, we’re almost out of time but I want to get your reflections on the citizenship dramas facing the National Party, particularly right now.

Is Labor reassured, have you done an audit of your own MPs so that we don’t have another spate of questions here as we await the High Court judgement on it?

ALBANESE: The good thing that we do is an audit before nominations. It’s part of the process, we have a very rigorous approach to these matters, the Nationals clearly don’t, which is why they’re becoming the multi-nationals. They’ve lost potentially a leader and a deputy leader.

I think its quite extraordinary that Senator Nash knew about this on Monday night and waited til the last couple of minutes that the Senate was sitting before she chose to inform the Senate.

That’s an outrageous abrogation of responsibility, frankly. But its consistent with a government which this week has been totally chaotic.

They lost votes on the floor of the House of Representatives. They called a quorum in themselves on Wednesday.

They had the circumstance whereby they tried to make it into a conspiracy, and questioned our relationship with New Zealand, and whether we could work, as a nation with a future New Zealand Government.

Julie Bishop really just embarrassed herself this week. This has been a shocker of a week for the Coalition Government.

 

 

Aug 18, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; Barcelona attacks; Pauline Hanson stunt; Fiona Nash

KARL STEFANOVIC: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Christopher to you first of all, your response? How is the Australian Government responding?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well obviously Karl, we’re very worried because Barcelona is a favourite destination for Australian tourists travelling to Europe.

At any one time, there are many Australians in Barcelona, and of course there is a festival I think in Barcelona right now that Australians tend to go to.

So we are concerned that Australians may be involved and the embassy there in Madrid and the consulates that are available are searching for the Australians in Barcelona.

There is a number that people can call if they’re concerned, a consular number which we’ve given to your producers which is 1300 555 135.

Obviously there are Facebook sites in which people can identify that they are safe and we would ask all Australians who are in Barcelona to indicate through Facebook or by contacting relatives or the consul that they are actually safe so that we can make sure that Australians aren’t involved.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, let’s move on from that. Pauline Hanson yesterday Albo, what did you make of it?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It was a stunt that doesn’t have any place in the Australian Parliament, or in the Senate. I think that George Brandis’ response was correct, courageous and spot on.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, in terms of your reaction, to what you saw yesterday, did she go too far?

PYNE: Well I’m not sure what Pauline Hanson’s point was, quite frankly. Now I’m told it was about security. Well, once Pauline Hanson is inside the entrances of Parliament House and has been through security, quite frankly what she wears in Question Time has no bearing on security whatsoever.

I think Pauline Hanson has to remember that she is a leader in the community. She’s a leader in Australia and to ensure that our country is cohesive we actually need to work with all the communities in it to protect each other.

STEFANOVIC: She has support though. We put a poll on Facebook last night. 58 per cent of people agreed with her stunt. 42 per cent of people were against it, and that was pretty much what it was all about yesterday, her shoring up her own support, right?

PYNE: Well, it was obviously about trying to make a political point but the point that I would make is that we have a responsibility as Members of Parliament, as members of the government to ensure that Australians are working together to defeat terrorism not trying to frighten Australians against other Australians.

I mean, the fear of the other breeds the kind of violence that we’re seeing around the world and Senator Hanson needs to work with communities, not divide communities.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, what’s happening with Fiona Nash?

PYNE: Well, unfortunately, Fiona Nash has discovered that she has a father with Scottish, British citizenship.

STEFANOVIC: How did she not do it earlier?

PYNE: Well, as soon as she was aware of the Barnaby Joyce situation she made…

STEFANOVIC: Well, that’s too little too late, right?

PYNE: She made her own enquiries, the Solicitor-General believes that she will not be found to be disqualified from the Senate and therefore she’s referred herself to the High Court. These matters will be cleared up by the High Court.

ALBANESE: The Nationals have become The Multinationals. We’ve seen absolute chaos on their side…

PYNE: Not a bad line, Anthony, I’ll pay you that.

ALBANESE: … on their side of the House. And what’s extraordinary is that Senator Nash knew about this on Monday night. Parliament sat Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. She waited until the very last minute to actually inform the Senate.

This is a week where they lost votes on the floor of the Parliament, we had Julie Bishop just about declaring war on New Zealand blaming Labor for a conspiracy over Barnaby Joyce. They are just a mess.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, that’s all we’ve got time for gentleman. Thank you very much for that.

Aug 17, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – Wendy Harmer Program, ABC Radio Sydney

Subjects: Australian music

WENDY HARMER: Albo, AKA Anthony Albanese would agree, and he is a senior Labor MP of course, known for his occasional DJ stints. G’day Anthony. Thanks for joining us today.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Wendy.

HARMER: Now this is a statistic that we are chewing over this morning and that we are worried about – that no Australian songs have hit number one on the ARIA charts in 2017 and I know that you are a real Aussie music fan. Are you worried about this? Have you noticed this yourself?

ALBANESE: No. I think that Aussie music is in fantastic shape.

HARMER: Yeah?

ALBANESE: You have, I think, across the range of music from bands like Polish Club, that are a good Inner West band who play sort of pub rock, really. They are a two-piece band and a song like Come Party should be number one. And last year you had a huge hit internationally indeed from Flume, from up your way, Northern Beaches.

HARMER: Yes, that’s right.

ALBANESE: Never Be Like You was Number One on the Triple J Hottest 100 last year. I have been listening to a fantastic new album by Meg Mac that includes Grace Gold, which I think is a fantastic song. You’ve got young artists like Amy Shark …

HARMER: Yes we just played her, actually.

ALBANESE: Adore. Did you play Adore?

HARMER: I sure did. Love it. I’m glad that you do too.

ALBANESE: It is a great song. In a couple of weeks I am going to the Enmore on a Saturday night to see Polish Club, but they are the support act for the Preatures, who are a fantastic band as well with a great female lead singer. And you know they have got a new album out as well. So I think that Australian music is pretty good across the board. And a lot of hip hop – my 16-year-old son is very much into hip hop music, as his generation are and there’s bands like Bliss N Eso who I think are from the Illawarra, I think. And they are producing some pretty exciting new music as well and of course what’s old is new again with a whole lot of bands like Hoodoo Gurus and You Am I and a whole lot of bands from when I was younger retouring.

HARMER: I wonder though, would you back the idea that has been talked about this morning to increase the quotas maybe on commercial radio?

ALBANESE: Well I would hope that you didn’t need quotas. I would hope that one of the things that radio stations should do is to ensure that they have Australian content there. And certainly one of the things that has happened, I don’t want to give plug to community radio there while I am talking on 702 …

HARMER: No, go right ahead.

ALBANESE: But I mean stations like FBI and 2SER in Sydney; FBI almost exclusively, if not totally, play Australian music and it’s very important for Aussie bands and musicians to get that start. Triple J, to give a plug to your sister or brother station there at the ABC, they play primarily Australian music and are so important for giving bands that break. I look forward – every Friday morning they have Like A Version, where you have …

HARMER: Oh yes. That is always fun.

ALBANESE: Australian bands playing songs, like I have watched the video while I am exercising about 50 times of Sarah Blasko doing David Bowie’s Life on Mars.

HARMER: Well you know what else the people need, and this is where we will leave it Anthony Albanese, what music bands need in Australia is fans like you – more of them.

ALBANESE: Well, I’m just a tragic you see. If you can’t do it, watch.

HARMER: Yes. I agree with you. Thanks you so much Anthony.

ALBANESE: Good on you Wendy.

Aug 16, 2017

Transcript of radio interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes segment

Subjects: Citizenship, New Zealand, Ship building 

HOST: Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese, good morning to you both.

PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ALBANESE: Good morning.

HOST: We’ll start with you if we can Chris. Now this attempt by the Foreign Minister to sort of suggest that relations between Canberra and Wellington have hit some sort of all time low, that was just a bit of a beat up to distract attention away from the fact that the Barnaby Joyce situation is totally embarrassing for the Government, wasn’t it?

PYNE: Not at all. This is a very serious matter. Now obviously the relationship between the New Zealand Government and the Australian Government remains very strong but what Labor has tried to do is use New Zealand Labour, which is in Opposition, not in Government, to undermine Australia. Now take New Zealand out and insert China or South Africa or Indonesia. I mean can you imagine what the reaction would be in the public and the media if it was the Labor Party conspiring with a political party in any other country besides New Zealand?

HOST: But it wasn’t. But isn’t that the point though, like it’s not Vladimir Putin, it’s the Kiwis? It’s like the seventh state of Australia.

PYNE: No the point is the Labour Leader in New Zealand has described it as disgraceful, unnecessary and appalling that her MP would behave in this way. Now, if it is good enough for the New Zealand Labour Leader to recognise the seriousness and inappropriateness of it, why is it Bill Shorten thinks it’s actually a hilarious joke and allowing his Foreign Shadow Minister, Penny Wong, to get her chief of staff to try and undermine the Australian Government through the New Zealand Labour Party. It’s Labor’s tactic to laugh this off. The truth is New Zealand…

ALBANESE: We are laughing at you.

PYNE: New Zealand is a foreign government and the New Zealand Labour Party has been attempted to be used by Australian Labor to undermine the Australian Government. It is scandalous and the New Zealand Labour Party Leader recognises it. Labor can laugh all they like. If the shoe was on the other foot; if this was a Liberal Opposition doing this; the media would be screaming from the roof tops.

HOST: Albo, given that the New Zealand Labour Leader has criticised the conduct of the MP who did do this, do you think that it was wrong the Penny Wong’s chief of staff did get involved with this covert chat about Barnaby’s citizenship status?

ALBANESE: Oh for goodness sake. Yesterday Barnaby Joyce admitted that he was a Kiwi, Julie Bishop did everything but declare war against the Kiwis and the Government then lost a vote condemning itself over the Great Barrier Reef. They had an absolute shocker and whoever came up with the strategy – I assume that Chris was outvoted, because he is a smart fellow in the tactics committee – whoever came up with the idea that they would try and question our whole relationship; Julie Bishop yesterday actually said that she wasn’t sure that she could work with a Labour Government if it was elected in New Zealand. So she, as the Foreign Minister, questioned, or intervened effectively, in the New Zealand election, which is being held in one month’s time. It was an extraordinary performance by Julie Bishop.

HOST: So you would do it again Albo?

ALBANESE: Her own side was laughing at her.

HOST: You’d do it again?

ALBANESE: Well what’s happened here …

HOST: If your chief of staff came to you and said to you, I’ve got this plan, we’ll get the New Zealand Labor guys to help us out …

ALBANESE: There was no plan. There was no plan.

HOST: That’s what happened isn’t it?

ALBANESE: No, no. What happened was that …

HOST: But would you do it again?

ALBANESE: … Penny Wong’s staffer, who used to be a chief of staff to a New Zealand MP, has mates in New Zealand and was talking to one of his, the people he knows in New Zealand and the issue of, funnily enough, citizenship of Barnaby Joyce came up. The truth is, but he didn’t ask for a question to be put on the notice paper and the New Zealand Government itself, Bill English, the minister responsible, have said that’s not how this issue came up in terms of the New Zealand Government made the statement; that was because of inquiries by the Fairfax press. That is how this story came out and we had yesterday Barnaby Joyce concede that he only tried to renounce his New Zealand citizenship on the weekend.

HOST: Chris Pyne, if the Government is as angry as it says it is over the manner in which this has been conducted is there any kind of formal complaint that you can issue to Wellington about it?

PYNE: Well I think the Foreign Minister has made it pretty clear that the Government is unimpressed, but so has the New Zealand Government. The New Zealand Government is as unimpressed with the Labor Party in Australia and the Labour Party in New Zealand as we are. So the two governments are in lock step about the inappropriateness of this. The only people who think this is the hilarious joke is the Labor Party because they see politics as a hilarious joke. It’s all about the game. It’s never about the outcome.

ALBANESE: This Government has been reduced to a joke.

PYNE: While the Australian Government is getting with things like the effects test, protection of small business, media law reform, reducing corporate income taxes, creating 250,000 jobs in the last 12 months, the Labor Party, all they do is play political games.

HOST: Chris Pyne, can I …

ALBANESE: The first answer to any question in Parliament from their own side of ministers, usually begins with something like: “Well the Leader of the Opposition’’, or “Bill Shorten.’’ They have nothing to say about governing this country, they have stopped doing it.

HOST: All right, well let’s turn our attention then directly to an issue that has South Australians intrigued this morning. Tory Shepherd’s written a piece, Chris Pyne, in the Advertiser,  citing tender documents for the future frigates program saying it contains no requirement to use an Adelaide workforce. Is there a danger here that Adelaide workers could be totally overlooked in this program?

PYNE: There’s absolutely no possibility of that. The ASC workers are the most skilled and experienced shipyard workers in the country. We need five thousand workers at Osborne between now and mid-2020. The idea that every one of those people who wants a job wouldn’t get one is quite frankly ridiculous. This is a absurd media beat up. The truth is every single one of the ASC workers who wants a job on the offshore patrol vessels, and the future frigates or the submarines, thanks to this Government will get one and four thousand more will get jobs who want them at Osborne.

HOST: It’s not just a media beat up though. Nick Xenophon is saying that this is a notice of execution for the ASC.

PYNE: Well that is a lie and Nick Xenophon, who used to be a supporter of ship building in South Australia has now flipped and decided he is going to become the chief critic. That’s his schtick, that’s how he gets himself into the media but obviously the Government is not investing $89 billion in ship building in South Australia in order not to employ the current workforce at Osborne. As I said every one of those people who wants one will get a job.

But the Government is not going to mandate that the ASC workforce must work on whoever wins the bid otherwise the union and the workers, but particularly the union would have the successful bidder over a barrel. They wouldn’t need to negotiate at all. They would be able to write their own cheque and that of course would be quite irresponsible. So the Government is doing everything it can to make sure that we have a continuous naval ship building. The first in Australia’s history. And Nick Xenophon should stop being the chief critic because it buys him a cheap headline in the Advertiser and actually get behind the program.

HOST: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese, always a fiery encounter on Two Tribes. We’ll do it all again next week and we look forward to the resumption of hostilities between Canberra and Wellington in Question Time today.

ALBANESE: Let’s hope the Government…We might need those ships.

Aug 16, 2017

Transcript of television interview – PM Agenda, SKY News

Subjects: Citizenship; Game of Thrones.

DAVID SPEERS: Anthony Albanese is with me now. Thanks very much for your time.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s good to be with you.

SPEERS: You did say on 5AA that Penny Wong’s chief of staff actually discussed specifically Barnaby Joyce when he spoke to his mate in New Zealand, the New Zealand Labor MP. Did he?

ALBANESE: Well that was wrong. I wasn’t a party to that conversation. It was in the context of a discussion this morning on 5AA – a regular spot that I have with Christopher Pyne – and I said something that wasn’t correct. I have corrected the record as you know, straight away after that. Apparently it wasn’t discussed specifically. It was a general discussion.

SPEERS: They did discuss, as you say, the general matter around citizenship.

ALBANESE: Well they are mates.

SPEERS: And presumably said it would be good to ask a question in the Parliament?

ALBANESE: No, apparently that was not discussed at all.

SPEERS: Just discussed the citizenship matter generally?

ALBANESE: Yes, as you would, like probably heaps of people in the pubs, at P&Cs and at the sidelines of footy games on the weekend will be discussing these sorts of issues.

SPEERS: Was it inappropriate?

ALBANESE: Well it wasn’t relevant. That’s the point David. The fact is that …

SPEERS: Maybe or maybe not.

ALBANESE: No, the New Zealand Internal Affairs Minister, who is the minster responsible here in the conservative Government,, has said that it was inquiries from Fairfax, that Fairfax made, that caused the New Zealand Government to make inquiries and then to make statements.

SPEERS: But the New Zealand Foreign Minister has said something different. The New Zealand Foreign Minister has said: I think you will find his question (the Labor MP’s question) – that prompted the need for the New Zealand High Commission in Australia to approach Barnaby Joyce to tell him about his situation.

ALBANESE: Well as you know David, Barnaby Joyce actually answered questions about these issues and answered them in a way that we now know isn’t true. He said that he checked. He told journalists, his office told journalists …

SPEERS: And that is a fair point. That’s a fair point. But getting back to Labor’s role, I mean you know the Government may have gone over the top in saying treason and treachery and so on, but was it inappropriate for a conversation with an MP, a member of the New Zealand Parliament?

ALBANESE:  Well the big issue, was it inappropriate? Cory Bernardi, I saw on Sky News earlier today speak about members of the Government contacting members of the British Government to say that he shouldn’t be allowed to have meetings and have discussions with Conservative Party people prior to his visit to Britain. We have Malcolm Turnbull has, in Spycatcher, outlined in great detail him providing questions in the Parliament for Neil Kinnock. There are a whole range of issues.

SPEERS: It is OK?

ALBANESE:  Well the issue here, it’s just not the issue. The issue here is Barnaby Joyce’s eligibility to be Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and then the other issue is Julie Bishop, as Foreign Minister, behaving in such a  chaotic way, questioning whether she could work with an incoming New Zealand Labor Government if it is elected in one month’s time, drawing into question whether she could have co-operative relationship with our closest near neighbours there in New Zealand, is quite bizarre. The way that the Government has handled this whole issue David, this is the first time I have ever seen a Government lose Question Time prior to the first question when the Prime Minster came in to the Parliament and gave a response to Yarra Council in Melbourne about the Australia Day issue, a quite extraordinary statement, to take up Question Time.

SPEERS: You don’t think the PM should speak up for Australia Day?

ALBANESE: That wasn’t what it was about.

SPEERS: What was it about?

ALBANESE: It was just about distracting and taking up some time of Question Time. The fact is there’s no-one in the Parliament from the Labor Party or the Liberal Party or the National Party advocating changing the date of Australia Day and if we are going …

SPEERS: The Greens are and councils.

ALBANESE: Well if we are going to respond to, you know, what every sort of Tom, Dick and Harry says in some council in the national Parliament then I would find that quite extraordinary.

SPEERS: Getting back to the question of New Zealand, obviously Labor in New Zealand have said this was wrong, they shouldn’t have done it. Penny Wong has even said it was inappropriate. Do you agree?

ALBANESE: Well I agree with Penny Wong’s statements on these issues, absolutely.

SPEERS: So there shouldn’t be this sort of conversation with the Kiwis about an internal matter?

ALBANESE: Yes. But it’s not a big deal. It’s a distraction. It’s an attempt by the Government to distract from the real issues and to say look over here.

SPEERS: So the real issue is the citizenship?

ALBANESE: And it needs to be dealt with and Barnaby Joyce should do what Matt Canavan has done …

SPEERS: Resign?

ALBANESE: Absolutely and step aside whilst this is occurring. If it is the case that the High Court rules that there’s no issues of course he could return. But why is it that there’s a different standard for Matt Canavan than there is for Barnaby Joyce and the real concern here is, is it at all tenable for Barnaby Joyce to be Acting Prime Minister when Malcolm Turnbull travels overseas? I mean the Government has to deal with this and instead of dealing with it there’s been all this look over here, look over there and some bizarre  performances in Question Time.

SPEERS: The Government is still considering, as I understand it, whether to refer a bunch of Labor MPS to the High Court as well. Do you think that would be a good idea to provide some certainty?

ALBANESE: Absolutely not. The idea that people will be referred by motions in the House of Reps or the Senate against their wishes is quite extraordinary. You think about the precedent there. The problem there is David that if you have a precedent whereby a Government tries to use its majority then any majority Government can refer anybody who is not part of that majority to a court or question their legitimacy. That’s not the way that it works.

SPEERS: So if the Government does this Labor will have a long memory?

ALBANESE: That’s not the way that it works and I don’t think the Government will go there.

SPEERS: What about the idea the Greens and others have said about an audit of all MPs? Not the High Court dealing with it but someone auditing.

ALBANESE: We have one David. It’s called the nomination process. We go through in a great deal of detail all of the eligibility requirements for our MPs before they nominate.

SPEERS: Clearly not every party has been doing this.

ALBANESE: Well that’s their problem, frankly. The rules are clear. It can be quite difficult. We do it every time as well.

SPEERS: But do you think the Australian people would like to see it cleared up once and for all with an audit?

ALBANESE: There’s no doubt that if you were writing the Australian Constitution you would do it in a different way, in my view. And indeed the Labor Party platform calls for reform of some of these issues.

SPEERS: Would you get rid of the way Section 44 applies?

ALBANESE: Well you’d have a debate about what the reform should be and I’m not about to try and rewrite the Constitution on your show.

SPEERS: What do you think personally? Should dual citizens be allowed to sit in Parliament?

ALBANESE: I think there’s a question mark over it. I think that on the one hand, you know, you want people to have absolute allegiance to Australia. I don’t think that is too much to ask that you have allegiance to Australia and only Australia.

SPEERS: But you do that with your oath or affirmation when you take your seat?

ALBANESE: I think there are, where the grey area has come in from my perspective, more relevant, is someone who is a teacher or someone who works at a university. Those sorts of issues of whether they get suspended or whether they have to – those issues are difficult, but they are there. We know what the rules are. We all have to apply to them.

SPEERS: When it comes to dual citizens though, you’ve faced many, many questions yourself about your own citizenship status?

ALBANESE: And I’ve answered them all.

SPEERS: I was going to invite you to remind us once again that you are absolutely certain that there’s no possibility of dual citizenship.

ALBANESE: Absolutely and you indeed have seen my documentation David.

SPEERS: Your documentation where it says father basically has a blank space?

ALBANESE: That’s right.

SPEERS: Without reliving your personal life story here, in some ways you’re kind of like the Jon Snow of Parliament for Game of Thrones fans.

ALBANESE: Well that’s an interesting Game of Thrones analogy there. Perhaps politics in this place is a bit like Game of Thrones at the moment. But look, one of the reasons why I made the difficult decision, it must be said, to cooperate with Karen Middleton doing a biography is that I didn’t want it just sort of slipped out in terms of my origins which were basically that my mother had me by herself.

She met someone and became pregnant. She came back to Australia and had me. I was due to be adopted out and she made the difficult and courageous decision for a young Catholic woman in 1963 to keep me. And under those circumstances though, in terms of my legal status, yes there’s a blank. There is no legal status of a …

SPEERS: Of a father?

ALBANESE: Yes, of anyone other than my mother who subsequently adopted the name.

SPEERS: And you’re not the only Australian in that situation, but it is pretty rare.

ALBANESE: So my position is clearer than most. And I didn’t know the details of my father. I was told that he was dead, which was something that was about, I guess, providing the issue of legitimacy to my origins.

SPEERS: Anthony Albanese, appreciate your time this afternoon and sharing that back story as well for us once more.

[ENDS]

 

Aug 14, 2017

Bills – Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment Bill 2017, Second Reading

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (19:07): I rise to speak on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment Bill, to support the second reading amendment and, depending upon the success of the amendment, to support the legislation, which is largely technical in nature. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 as it currently stands contains a sunset clause which has the effect of revoking plans of management where the regulations which give those plans effect are repealed. The changes proposed by this bill are designed to prevent this automatic revocation and they do not have consequences for policy or for the budget of the authority.

Plans of management are one practical tool we use to protect and support the reef. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, currently has four plans of management in place. They operate in Cairns, Hinchinbrook Island, Shoalwater Bay and the Whitsundays. Plans of management assist with the implementation of ecologically sustainable practices and effective environmental management, especially for at-risk or vulnerable species and ecosystems in need of protection. Of course, the Great Barrier Reef requires much more than this, with experts holding grave fears about its future life span. In an address to the University of Queensland, former United States President Barack Obama had this to say:

The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened … I want to come back and I want my daughters to be able to come back and I want them to be able to bring their daughters or sons to visit. I want that there 50 years from now.

I think it says something about the iconic nature of the Great Barrier Reef that then US President Obama went out of his way to ensure that he visited Queensland to give an important speech about the reef, about climate change and about the important responsibility that we have to future generations.

We on this side of the House are determined to take action on climate change and to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef continues to be an extraordinary part of Australia’s national landscape. It is, indeed, a national icon but also an international piece of natural environment that is incredibly significant. It has been recognised as one of the seven wonders of the natural world and the only living thing on earth visible from outer space. This is why the coalition’s inaction when it comes to the Great Barrier Reef is quite astounding.

In 2005, when I was the shadow minister for the environment, I said, ‘The Great Barrier Reef is in danger of disappearing over the next 50 years, but we have a government that is frozen in time while the world warms round it.’ Back then, of course, we had a Prime Minister who refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and who was talking about being sceptical of the science around climate change. When Malcolm Turnbull assumed the prime ministership after the assassination of the elected Prime Minister, the member for Warringah, Australians were entitled to expect a different policy on climate change, given the long-held views that the member for Wentworth had. Apparently, he was prepared to trade in all of that conviction for the keys to the Lodge. That is very problematic and not just because of the chaos that the government finds itself in. More importantly, the policy repercussions of the caving in of the member for Wentworth in order to secure those keys to the Lodge have had real consequences for the government’s approach to environmental issues.

The coalition has been given opportunities to address the challenge of looking after the Great Barrier Reef and climate change, but it has failed dismally with each opportunity. Earlier this year, the independent expert panel, led by former Chief Scientist Ian Chubb, recommended an urgent revision of the Reef 2050 Plan to enable ‘mitigation, adaptation and management of the reef in the face of inexorable global warming’. The simple fact is, if Australia and the world don’t keep global temperatures in line with our commitments under the Paris Agreement, the reef will continue to deteriorate.

In the last 18 months alone, the reef has suffered two unprecedented bleaching events—irrefutable climate change occurring right in front of us. Despite these events, under the coalition government, carbon emissions rose by 1.4 per cent in the last year. Of course, we had seen those emissions decline when Labor was in government, but we have seen that reverse. What is worse is that not just have we seen it reverse but also we have seen the impact on energy prices, with a doubling of wholesale power prices since the abolition of the price on carbon, in spite of the very clear commitments that were given by the coalition. Indeed, the government’s own emissions projection show that Australia will not even come close to meeting our obligations under the Paris Agreement, because of their failure to take adequate action.

It is more than just the experts who are severely worried about climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef. The recently released Climate of the Nation survey showed that 74 per cent of Australians have a high level of concern about climate change causing damage to the Great Barrier Reef. But still, it seems, the coalition has a general willingness to sacrifice our natural environment. This is made evident by their attempts to give environmental powers over issues of national importance to the states as well as sustained budget cuts to environmental programs since coming to power.

Earlier tonight, I was at the ARENA showcase. ARENA, of course, is an organisation that the coalition government wanted to abolish all funding for. But now they are prepared to go along. The minister for energy is giving a speech at the showcase, probably at the same time as I am on my feet now, to a body which he believed should be abolished, and voted for it earlier on.

The Prime Minister must be prepared to stand up to the troglodytes in his own party. He must be prepared to do that. You, of course, Mr Deputy Speaker, would know full well why it is so important for the Prime Minister to do just that: because, at the moment, he is pleasing no-one. The Neanderthals in the coalition who don’t believe the science of climate change aren’t giving him any support, and he’s losing support from people in mainstream Australia who understand that they’ve got to respect the science and take action. The fact is that the internals of the Liberal Party room keep winning out over the Australian people and the natural environment time and time again. Instead, in an act of which the reasoning behind is beyond my comprehension, the government revealed its plans last month to wind back protections in our oceans. No government anywhere else in the world has ever removed this many hectares out of conservation before. What we’ve seen throughout history—in particular, at the end of the last century and the beginning of this century—is a greater awareness that humankind must live in harmony with its natural environment, not in conflict with it, and an understanding that we have a responsibility to future generations to protect that natural environment. Yet this government seems determined to reduce the protection of the oceans around our coastline as an island continent.

To make matters worse, the Turnbull government plans to destroy Australia’s shipping industry and turn the Australian coast into a free-for-all, whereby, as much as it talks about national security, it’s prepared to have foreign workers without proper security vetting working on foreign wages around our coast, taking the jobs of the Australian workforce. That has real consequences for the environment as well. The truth is that every single incident around our coast that has led to environmental disaster has involved a foreign-flagged vessel.

The Shen Neng 1 was a ship more than 10 kilometres outside of the shipping lane when it struck the Great Barrier Reef late on the afternoon of 3 April 2010. It scraped along the reef, causing damage of a considerable length. It is the longest known grounding scar on the reef, approximately three kilometres long and 250 metres wide. Why did that happen? Because the captain of the ship simply forgot to turn through the channel. He wasn’t familiar with it, he was overworked, and he hadn’t had proper rest, and the consequence of that was damage to our reef. Some of the damaged areas have become completely devoid of marine life, and it will take up to 20 years for this section of the reef to return to the state that it was in prior to the incident. By 13 April, oil tar balls were washing up on the beaches of North West Island, a significant bird rookery and turtle nesting colony. All up, the spill killed over 400 different species of animals and over 500 different species of plants. The subsequent investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau concluded that the grounding of the ship was caused by human error. Indeed, they found that the chief officer, who was the officer on watch at the time, had neglected to program a required course change in the ship’s GPS navigation system due to fatigue.

That’s just one of the reasons why we simply can’t take shortcuts when it comes to protecting the Great Barrier Reef. We in this place have a real responsibility. It should, frankly, be a bipartisan issue because we know how critical it is. We on this side of the House have announced our Great Barrier Reef plan, which involves more coordinated and efficient long-term management of the reef that is appropriately funded and resourced and includes investment of up to $100 million to review and improve current management practices in the reef, in consultation with relevant stakeholders. It’s further supported by our climate change action plan. Labor will also double the number of Indigenous rangers in the Working on Country program. A number of its projects are in catchment areas. Our doubling of rangers includes the specialised Indigenous ranger program, which aims to improve marine conservation, particularly for dugongs and turtles, along the Far North Queensland coast.

But if I can’t convince those opposite about the environment, surely the economic benefits of the Great Barrier Reef should convince them. A Deloitte Access Economics study, At what price? The economic and social icon of the Great Barrier Reef, found the reef is worth $56 billion in economic, social and icon terms. It supports 64,000 jobs. These jobs are mainly tourism related, but the reef also supports fishing, recreation and scientific activities. It contributes some $6.4 billion a year to the national economy. That’s every single year.

In my time as the shadow minister for tourism, I have held a number of roundtable meetings in Far North Queensland on these issues. Most recently, I met with representatives of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, a new initiative designed to engage the world to support positive action and address climate change through a focus on preserving the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. They are working closely with Tourism Tropical North Queensland, showing that if everyone works together the outcomes can be maximised. That is absolutely critical for the tourism sector.

In conclusion, Labor is committed to working with environmental groups, the tourism sector and experts to ensure that the reef receives the protection that it deserves and needs. You only need to look to what we’ve done to see that we’ve shown our conviction on these matters. That is because we have a responsibility to future generations.

Aug 14, 2017

Transcript of doorstop – Parliament House, Canberra

Subjects; Marriage Equality, Tourism, Barnaby Joyce, the Greens Political Party. 

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Unless the High Court intervenes Australians will have to vote in a postal survey on whether marriage equality will occur. Of course the most important thing about that survey is giving equal rights to people to be able to marry their life partner, whether they are in a same-sex relationship or a heterosexual relationship.

But there’s also an economic case for it. As Shadow Tourism Minister, I know that the tourism sector understands how important this could be for our economy – literally, a boost to our national economy of billions of dollars as a result of ceremonies taking place, honeymoons taking place, people visiting Australia from international destinations as well.

Take for example the fact that 270 Australian couples in same-sex relationships got married last year in New Zealand alone. That’s foregone revenue to Australia of the ceremonies that took place, the after-honeymoons and other activity that takes place. That’s jobs foregone here in Australia. So I think part of the debate that will be taking place as people think about whether they’ll support marriage equality in this postal survey should be not just about the individuals, but about our national economy and there’s a real argument of why it is an important boost to our economy if marriage equality occurs.

At the moment so many Australians are going overseas to marry. There’s the other circumstances whereby people aren’t visiting Australia from overseas destinations in Europe and the United States and others, either to marry, to conduct the actual ceremonies, or to have honeymoons and other after activities. There is very much an economic case for marriage equality as well as a case, primarily, which is about giving human rights to people on an equal basis. Human rights, that currently heterosexual couples enjoy, that should be given to people who happen to love someone of the same gender as themselves.

JOURNALIST: Opponents of same-sex marriage have been in the media today cautioning corporate Australia against campaigning on the issue. Do you think that perhaps this economic argument is one that the big companies could take on?

ALBANESE: Companies are taking it up. Companies, whether they be banks or airlines, or other businesses, understand that their workforce is impacted by this. They also understand that there’s an economic benefit to it. At the moment the fact is that it is revenue foregone for the fact that you don’t have ceremonies taking place in Australia. They’re either not taking place at all or they’re taking place internationally.

As I said, 270 couples in the last year in New Zealand alone. That is 270 times a lot of money. Perhaps the average figure is around about $65,000 for a wedding to take place, that is revenue foregone. The fact is that giving people the right to marry, surveys have shown that a slight majority of same-sex couples would take up the option of marriage if they were able to do so. Business understands that it is good business and equality is good for business.

I find it extraordinary the attempt to intimidate business for speaking up for its workforce, primarily, but also speaking up for its own business interest.

JOURNALIST: Barnaby Joyce referred himself to the High Court over citizenship issues. No one from Labor has been in this boat yet. Is that incompetence on the other parties’ behalf or a good system for you guys?

ALBANESE: I guess the other parties will have to explain their own circumstances. Labor has in place a very rigorous process when we nominate of providing evidence that we’re eligible to nominate and that’s, I guess, one of the reasons, no doubt, why there is no one from Labor caught up with these issues.

JOURNALIST: Have you had any legal advice about your own circumstances given, I guess, the coverage over the years of your family story?

ALBANESE: Well my circumstances as you would know because I am sure you have read Karen Middleton’s book available in all good book stores.  There is a new edition with a new chapter out published by Penguin, by the way, available here in the Parliament House bookshop. The fact is the circumstance of my birth is that I had a single parent; there is a single parent legally on my birth certificate, that was my mother who was born in fact in the same hospital in which I was born at St Margaret’s at Darlinghurst. Her parents were both born here. Their parents were all born here as well. So my circumstances are perhaps a lot clearer than many others as someone who legally had just one parent.

JOURNALIST: St Margaret’s is a great hospital, I agree with that, but do you have any legal advice? Or do you feel like you should get any legal advice given the questions…

ALBANESE: My circumstances, I’ve indicated that it’s 300 page book of my circumstances and they’re very clear, and my birth certificate is very clear as well.

JOURNALIST: Albo on infrastructure, the West Gate Tunnel has come up in Victoria – this is obviously a Labor project – said the report today saying there was deliberate distortion and misrepresentation of some of the figures. Do you still back that from a Federal perspective?

ALBANESE: Well there hasn’t been an application for Federal funding and I’m not the Federal Infrastructure Minister. But can I say this – that Victoria is getting on with the business of building infrastructure, building the Melbourne Metro, getting on with road infrastructure as well, in spite of the fact they are getting less than 10 per cent of Commonwealth infrastructure funding.  The fact is that Victoria is being shortchanged by the Turnbull Government and just as Queensland is being shortchanged by a failure to fund the Cross River Rail project.  They ripped out $3 billion from the Melbourne Metro; they ripped out $500 million from the M80 road project and only put it back a number of years later. They ripped money out of the Managed Motorways Program. Victoria is getting a raw deal from the Commonwealth Government when it comes to infrastructure.

JOURNALIST: Back on Barnaby Joyce. His advice seems to be similar to that given to Matt Canavan and yet Matt Canavan has stood aside from Cabinet. Do you think that Barnaby Joyce shouldn’t be voting or should stand down as Deputy Prime Minister while this is sorted out?

ALBANESE: Well certainly that’s a matter for the Government to give proper consideration of. I don’t wish to politicise this issue.  There’s been a statement made very recently by Barnaby Joyce in the House of Representatives. I wasn’t expecting that statement and I’m sure you weren’t either.  So under those circumstances I think that running commentary doesn’t assist this process, and it’s up to Matt Canavan, and I guess up to Barnaby Joyce, to explain what the distinction is between his case and Senator Canavan’s case.

JOURNALIST: Do you think it’s strange though that there is a rule for one member of Parliament and another rule for another?

ALBANESE: That’s really up to Barnaby Joyce, with respect, to explain what distinction the Government is clearly drawing between Barnaby Joyce’s circumstances and Matt Canavan’s circumstances. Both of them have been referred to the High Court, and I think it is clearly in the Australian Parliament’s interests for these issues to be resolved one way or the other in an expeditious manner, and I’m certain the High Court will do that.

JOURNALIST: Is Labor likely to take up the PM’s offer to refer a block of MPs, anyone who could possibly be under a citizenship cloud?

ALBANESE: I’m not going to – the PM should worry about getting his own house in order. Labor has had our house in order, and I think the referrals that have been made are appropriate. They’ve been made in a self way except of course a One Nation senator – which seems pretty clear cut really – seems to have been reluctant to be referred, but that has been dealt with as well.  It clearly is in the interests of Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan, as well as Senator Roberts – or Senator-elect Roberts perhaps – to be dealt with as quickly as possible.

JOURNALIST: Has the Labor Party as a whole sought any legal advice on the status of some of its members? Tanya Plibersek being another person…

ALBANESE: I’m not going to give you running commentary about individuals. There are 150 Members of the House of Representatives. I’ve gone through my own circumstances; it’s up to others to speak on their own behalf. But the Labor Party has in place a very rigorous process when we nominate for public office.

JOURNALIST: Do you think, does Section 44 need changing, given that foreign citizenship laws seem to be able to be changed, and therefore could alter the status of somebody living in Australia, not even aware of what is happening in another country?

ALBANESE: The Labor Party’s platform, which I’ll refer you to, which I am amazed that no one seems to read. A big tip for journalists in the Press Gallery, go and read the Labor Party platform. On various issues when they come up, you would be surprised what a modern sophisticated political party gives consideration to. Unlike the Tories, who just do a fundraiser, and who knows what the Greens do? I mean, who would know, because their conferences of course are not open to anyone, and they have leadership challenges without anyone knowing. But I’m sure you will see some more on the Greens political party tonight on Four Corners.

JOURNALIST: But on Section 44…

ALBANESE: Well it’s in the platform that we support reform.

JOURNALIST: A referendum?

ALBANESE: We support reform. I refer you to the Labor Party platform; that is better than me saying something; have a look at the Labor Party platform. But of course a referendum is very difficult to get through, both because of the circumstances of the way that our constitution has to be changed. I should imagine it would be challenging to get through a referendum about politicians and whether they are eligible or not. I think that’s a fact.

There are a range of uncertainties there, not the least of which I think the Labor Party platform is primarily referring to the office of profit under the Crown, because that has been a grey area, in some circumstances, over a long period of time. The Labor Party does support constitutional reform in a whole range of areas, but it is difficult to achieve. But back on the Greens, given that you asked…

JOURNALIST: I didn’t.

ALBANESE: The Four Corners program this evening will outline, I think, the conflict that is there, the contradiction that is there in the Greens. A secretive political party who don’t open up their processes, who have leadership challenges without the public even knowing that it has occurred, and who have a bunch of people essentially in my electorate and in others, particularly in the New South Wales branch, who are former members of far left political parties. They have gone into the Greens political party, to give credibility, whereby if they ran as a member of the Socialist Labor League or the Democratic Socialist Party, or the International Socialist Organisation, which is the party to which my last opponent at the election ran for. If they ran under those banners, they would maybe receive one per cent of the vote.

So instead they run as the Greens political party and what is surprising perhaps, isn’t that I am saying that, as someone who has been challenged with heavily funded campaigns by the Greens in my electorate, over a period of time. But what is surprising is that the leader of the Greens historically, Bob Brown, is calling out these members of the NSW Greens. He is quite right in calling out people who have gone into his party but who aren’t really loyal to that party, are loyal to a very different ideological position.

JOURNALIST: You don’t think that there is anyone in Labor who was formerly a member of far left political movements, who have gone into Labor to seek candidacy?

ALBANESE: No, I certainly don’t. I do think that from time to time people change their political views, and that has happened. The distinction here is whether entryism, as a political tactic of Trotskyist groups, as a part of a philosophy of entryism. If you go back and have a look at the work of Leon Trotsky, he advocated that essentially being a democratic centralist model, which would go into political parties, whereby a few people could control an organisation by having a disciplined position.

And what’s happened to the NSW Greens is that they don’t talk much about environmental issues. They concentrate on attacking Labor and trying to replace Labor and they do so in a very unprincipled way. They particularly attack progressives in the Labor Party and the fact is, that has been called out on Four Corners tonight. I look forward to watching the revelations that are there on the record from former leaders of the Greens about what Bob Brown and others think about some of the members of the Greens Political Party. Thanks very much.

[ENDS]

 

Aug 11, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subject; Marriage equality survey

LISA WILKINSON: Joining me now for more on this is Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, joining us from Canberra by the looks of things and Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, good morning to both of you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa.

WILKINSON: Christopher, to you first, don’t you do household surveys on dishwashing liquid, not something as sensitive and significant as this?

PYNE: Well Lisa, we promised every Australian a say at the last election and it’s exactly what we are going to deliver.

WILKINSON: That sounds very flippant, though, to describe it as that.

PYNE: It’s not, actually. We wanted people to have a chance to be part of this major social change. I support marriage equality and I want every Australian to feel that they’ve had a part in that decision. That’s what we promised at the election and that’s what we are going to deliver.

Now, Labor’s voted against a compulsory attendance plebiscite so we’re going to do it the best way we can, which is through a postal plebiscite, and I think that works perfectly well.

Everyone will get to vote. I’m glad that Labor is not proposing that there should be a boycott.

That will return a yes vote I believe because I think people think it’s time for marriage equality and then by Christmas we can have it in this country as we have in so many other western democracies around the world.

WILKINSON: Okay. Can I just read you something that Michael McCormack who is the minister in charge of this postal vote once said about gay people and I’m quoting here, Christopher: “A week never goes by anymore that homosexuals and their sordid behavior don’t become further entrenched in society. Unfortunately gays are here, and if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay.”

Christopher, is this man fit to be put in charge of this postal vote when he is capable of comments like that?

PYNE: Well first of all, Michael is not the minister responsible for the plebiscite. The Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann is. Regardless of that though those comments are obviously unacceptable.

WILKINSON: He’s head of the ABS which has an overall responsibility for this.

PYNE: No, no. But the facts are… I’m not… I don’t want to quibble about it. The remarks he’s made are quite unacceptable. I don’t agree with them and I think that they are very unfortunate. I don’t know how long ago he made those remarks.

WILKINSON: They were made in 1993. Is he homophobic?

PYNE: I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him.

WILKINSON: They sound like pretty firmly entrenched views. If somebody thinks that, they think that.

PYNE: Well, it’s a very unpleasant thing to say and I’m sure he regrets it but he isn’t the minister responsible for the plebiscite.

The Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann is but regardless of that those remarks are not acceptable in modern society. I don’t agree with them and he should distance himself from them.

WILKINSON: Albo to you now – there is no other piece of legislation that has ever been decided by a non-binding, non-compulsory postal vote on anybody’s human rights in this country. Why is Labor backing it?

ALBANESE: Labor isn’t backing it. Labor very clearly has opposed this. We think we could have gotten this job done in the parliament by parliamentarians doing what we’re paid to do.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Here here.

ALBANESE: And eventually that is how it is going to be decided. Everyone needs to understand that this requires a vote of the parliament and that will happen.

Now, the real question is will it happen at the end of this year, if people vote yes in this voluntary postal vote, or will it happen under a Labor government after the next election?

WILKINSON: But your problem is Malcolm Turnbull went to the election promising a plebiscite. He won the election. He had a mandate.

ALBANESE: Oh, come on Lisa. We all know that Malcolm Turnbull has thrown out promises like confetti and it hasn’t mattered at all.

PYNE: That’s not true, actually. Name one promise that he’s broken.

ALBANESE: Oh, come on. The cuts to education.

PYNE: No, no. We’re doing exactly what we promised to do.

ALBANESE: All the changes to social security, the changes in the Senate all the time.

Pieces of legislation after legislation. Malcolm Turnbull says that he believes in marriage equality but doesn’t have the ticker to do anything to actually achieve it and this debate will be divisive.

That’s the truth of the matter. We will see homophobia out there encouraged by this debate. That is one of the reasons why we opposed the plebiscite. But given that theypostal vote is going to happen, we will be strongly advocating a vote for yes.

We’ll be out there campaigning for equality because it’s in Labor’s DNA to oppose discrimination. I spoke in my first speech in the parliament about removing discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, but also sexuality and it is time that this got done and that’s why I’ll be advocating strongly for a yes vote and people should get on the roll.

WILKINSON: So Christopher, if this non-binding vote on same-sex marriage does get up, it’s non-binding. What happens next?

PYNE: Well, if the Australian public vote for marriage equality and I hope that they will and I’ll be voting yes, and campaigning for a yes vote, then the parliament will introduce legislation.

It’ll be passed by Christmas and of course, people can always use their conscience not to vote for something that they wish to, but I would have thought it would be overwhelming for politicians to listen to the views of the public on these matters and if they don’t they have to face the public at the ballot box.

But whether it’s binding or not doesn’t really matter. The truth is that the Australian public express a view and politicians then choose not to listen to them, well then they will face the consequences.

WILKINSON: Unfortunately Christopher and Albo, we’re going to have to leave it there. Thanks a lot. Have a great weekend both of you.

PYNE: Thank you.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
 

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(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

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

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