Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Feb 28, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes Segment

Subjects: Adani coal mine, corporate tax cuts, Murray Darling Basin, the Nationals.

HOST: Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us. Good morning to you gentlemen.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Greetings.

HOST: We start with you Albo following revelations on the ABC’s 7.30 program about what appears to be a contradiction in Bill Shorten’s position on the Adani coal mine. According to Geoff Cousins from the Australian Conservation Foundation, he was told by Bill Shorten that the licence for the mine would be revoked should Labor form Government, yet at the same time you’ve got Bill Shorten fronting workers from the CFMEU saying your jobs are safe with me. So which is it?

ALBANESE:  Well Bill Shorten has been out there consulting very widely. Last week he had three town hall meetings in Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton. He has spoken to industry. He has spoken to conservationists, as you would expect him to do. And what we have said consistently is that if the economics or the environmental issues don’t stack up, then this mine won’t go ahead. And what we are seeing on the ground is the fact that again Adani has missed a deadline. They keep putting deadlines on themselves and saying ‘we will begin construction on this date’ and they never meet them and they don’t meet them because they can’t get any financing of this project.

HOST: Is this a case of, in combination with your position on the corporate tax cuts federally as well, of potentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater trying to secure Batman, the inner Melbourne seat, from the Greens, and that the party is lurching to the Left?

ALBANESE: No it’s not. It’s a matter of the fact that this mine has not got financing.  It hasn’t got any money for it to proceed and indeed environmentalists said to me that without public subsidy, ie without the taxpayer coming in building all the construction for the private company, then this project wouldn’t be viable. Now both Labor and indeed, I note, the Government, have now ruled out public subsidy in terms of the proposed infrastructure project, the rail line, from the mine to the port – that it won’t support such a subsidy. And what we are seeing around the world is that the thermal coal market is in decline as the world moves towards clean energy and what that is resulting in is the economics of opening up a new basin in the Galilee with the Adani mine becoming more and more obvious that it’s not viable, which is why they can’t get financing here in Australia from any banks, they can’t get financing in the North American markets, they can’t get financing from China, which was proposed earlier on.

HOST: On the question of corporate tax cuts though, and we will bring you in here Chris, Labor with this rallying cry of Bill Shorten at caucus yesterday seems to be trying to paint Malcolm Turnbull as having come back from Washington giddy with sort of neo-con delight at having met Donald Trump and having converted to trick-down economics. How hard is it going to be for the Government to win over blue-collar voters on the merits of a corporate tax cut in the face of a populist campaign against it by the ALP?

PYNE: Well David, I don’t think it will be hard at all because the reality is that the more tax cuts are delivered for companies, the higher the wages for workers. And, similarly, the more income tax that the cuts deliver, which has been the hallmark of Liberal Governments in the past, the more take home pay that people have in their pockets. The public know that in Liberal Governments we manage the economy better than Labor. We manage the Budget better than Labor and if we think that company tax cuts will have the impact of increasing wages, well the evidence for that is not just us saying it; that’s what Labor used to say, that’s what Bill Shorten used to say.

HOST: I couldn’t agree with you more in principle about the idea of giving companies tax cuts, provided the money is going to trickle down. But is it a harder argument to make? Is it harder to make that case at a time when we’ve got such low wages growth in Australia and there’s a lot of people working now who have been zeroed out for the past three, even five years, for pay rises?

PYNE: No I don’t think so. Because what Labor is doing, and what Bill Shorten as you’ve quite rightly pointed out, is speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and Anthony very carefully stepped around all that in previous answers. But the public are hearing from Labor that they are going to increase taxes by $164 billion, they’re going to soften our border protection policies and they want to empower the unions. Now that’s what the Left agenda is and they have the numbers at the National Conference.

The reality is that Labor is going very sharply to the Left to try and win the Batman by-election and the great middle class of Australia and the vast majority of our population, they recognise that to be able to have tax cuts for either companies or individuals, you have to have a growing economy and a balanced Budget, and that’s where the Liberals usually end up and Labor, on the other hand, think that if you increase taxes by $164 billion somehow this will be good for the economy.

The public know in their instincts, that that is not correct. But what we saw with the Adani mine is Bill Shorten of course telling Geoff Cousins one thing, and saying to the public another and this is a real pattern with Bill Shorten. There is a great mural in Batman at the moment for the by-election, with the two faces of Bill Shorten, one with his hard hat on saying one thing to the miners in Central Queensland and one with his soft greenie hat in the other direction when he says what he thinks the greenies want to hear and you have to be consistent in politics.

PRESENTER: Are there any circumstances Albo where Labor would support a company tax cut?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that it is a matter of priorities. And our priority is investing in education, investing in health, investing in infrastructure and what we’re talking about here is more than $60 billion of cuts, on the basis of – trust us it will all trickle down. The fact is we have some record profits out there, including from the banking sector, that not only is not passing down any of those profits to their workers, they’re also laying of thousands of staff at the same time. Now workers can see that, they’re not silly, and Australians know that bosses don’t just, in major corporations,  say ‘Oh well we’re doing OK, here’s some more money’. That’s not the way that the world works unfortunately.

PRESENTER: The banks might argue though, that they are one of the few groups in Australia that’s actually not just taxed once, they’re taxed repeatedly. They pay payroll tax, they pay company tax, now they have paid a brand new Federal Bank Tax as well. They’ve got taxes coming out of their nostrils.

ALBANESE: This Government of course brought in that new tax, we supported it. They’re very convenient when targeting particular industries, at the same time as they are arguing for a major tax break of course. And at the same time of course there is a tax increase in terms of personal income tax that they are arguing for as well.

PYNE: You don’t think we should fund the NDIS Anthony? Because that’s a $300 increase in the Medicare Levy, which you supported, to fund the NDIS …

ALBANESE: There are a range …

PYNE: You’re now pretending that is an income tax increase are you?

ALBANESE: You and I both know that taxes in Australia aren’t hypothecated.

PYNE: We think it’s important to fund the NDIS. You don’t apparently.

ALBANESE: We created the NDIS.

PYNE: But you didn’t fund it my friend.

ALBANESE: We created it, it’s a Labor creation!

PRESENTER: We’re going to wrap up …

(Inaudible)

ALBANESE: Like Medicare!

PRESENTER: I need a buzzer!

PYNE: We’re funding it.

PRESENTER: Hey guys, Christopher just finally and this one’s just for you, Chris. The Nats are meeting today to thrash out the ministerial positions that they are going to be carving up. Wearing your South Australian hat now, are you concerned that Michael McCormack, who seems to have some quite unnerving views about the joys of irrigation; for those of us who have the pleasure of living down the bottom end of the Murray, are you concerned about his views about irrigation? And are you concerned too, that we are going to see a continuation of this system where the Agriculture portfolio is split, and these pro-irrigation Nats end up retaining control of the water portfolio?

PYNE: Well that’s not how it’s characterised. I mean we’ve got the balance right. We’ve got a Liberal in Anne Ruston, who is South Australian, as the Minister for Water, and we have Michael McCormack, David Littleproud at the moment, is the Minister for Agriculture. He’s a National. That works very well. In fact most recently it was David Littleproud standing up for the Murray Darling Basin Plan and it was Labor voting the Murray Darling Basin Plan down in order to support votes in the seat of Batman. So selling out South Australians to win votes in Batman.

ALBANESE: We were supporting South Australians, give us a break! We were standing up for the Murray! We were standing up!

PYNE: Really? How many of the gigalitres in the Northern Basin were flowing into South Australia?

ALBANESE: We were standing up for the Murray …

PYNE: Less than three, less than three …

ALBANESE: You have allowed – on your watch there has been massive water theft …

PYNE: Rubbish.

ALBANESE: … in Northern NSW and Queensland.

PYNE: We stood up for the Murray Darling Basin Plan!

PRESENTER: Come on guys. The debate about water will continue beyond this particular day on Two Tribes. Unfortunately though we are out of time. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese, thank you both. We will be revisiting that issue, because it will continue to be one here in South Australia, beyond certainly even the South Australian State Election.

Feb 26, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Sky News with David Speers

Subjects: Michael McCormack, infrastructure investment, Inland Rail, Barnaby Joyce.

DAVID SPEERS: Returning to – here in Parliament House – Michael McCormack sworn in as the new Nationals Leader, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure today. He took his place there in Question Time this afternoon. Across the chamber in the Shadow portfolio, as always – Anthony Albanese. Thank you for joining me this afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be here David.

SPEERS: I say as always, because this is now the fourth Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the third in three months, is that right?

ALBANESE: It’s a revolving door David. If only they committed to spend more money in infrastructure and do things every time there was a new Minister we would be doing okay.

SPEERS: What are the three things he should do from your perspective as the Minister?

ALBANESE: Well there are a number of things he should do. The first he has to do is just to stop this ridiculous figure that they use that just isn’t true, in terms of spending. Spending is falling off a cliff over the forward estimates. Last year in 2016-17 they budgeted to spend $9.2 billion. They only spent $7.5 billion, that is one of the things that has been happening …

SPEERS: They’ll allocate the money …

ALBANESE: They’ll allocate money and then they don’t spend it. Over the first four budgets, $4.8 billion has been effectively cut from what they said themselves in their own budgets, to what the actual outcome is.

SPEERS: Does that return to consolidated revenue, or is that then spent elsewhere?

ALBANESE: The truth is it disappears. Finance and Treasury get hold of it and it’s gone. It’s for across the board. It’s for major road and rail programs, but it is also the Black Spots Program, it’s funding for local government, it’s the Beef Roads Program. Across the board we’ve seen these under-spends that effectively means there are cuts. That comes down to competence and being on top of the portfolio.

SPEERS: Well just on that, I mean he has only been in there five minutes, only sworn in today. You did kind of give him a break today I noted. Is that a fair assessment? Labor laid off the new Minister today?

ALBANESE: Well I think on day one it would be unreasonable to expect him to be on top of the portfolio. Of course we asked questions during the last sitting week about Barnaby Joyce, about Tasmanian infrastructure, for example, where I was today, making announcements about new funding for the Bass Highway. What Barnaby Joyce answered, when we asked about the fall off in Tasmanian infrastructure investment from the Federal Government, and the fact that there isn’t a single new major infrastructure project underway in Tasmania that wasn’t initiated prior to 2013, not one – there have been cuts – and Barnaby Joyce answered about the Inland Rail. Now there is something called the Bass Strait, David, in between …

SPEERS: It doesn’t quite stretch that far …

ALBANESE: It doesn’t even get to Melbourne Port so …

SPEERS: Maybe that’s a project for a future government, getting right across the Bass Strait. Speaking of Barnaby Joyce, and I take your points on the portfolio, we’ll see what Michael McCormack does on those issues. But Barnaby Joyce, we learnt this afternoon, Malcolm Turnbull did launch, or did ask his department secretary Martin Parkinson, to look into Barnaby Joyce. But that was called or went in on Friday when he resigned. Is that appropriate or do you think Parkinson should still be looking into various matters?

ALBANESE: Well the question that Malcolm Turnbull didn’t answer today in Parliament was why he waited nine days from the time in which issues of whether the Ministerial Code of Conduct had been complied with, until he asked Martin Parkinson to investigate. Now that happens to coincide with issues that were raised about the Inland Rail Project. What we know about Inland Rail is that it doesn’t go to the Port of Brisbane or to the Port of Melbourne. We know that it is off Budget. One of the big challenges for Michael McCormack is that last Friday the head of the Australian Rail Track Corporation confirmed yet again that this is a project that won’t produce a commercial return to Budget – a return on investment.

SPEERS: Are you saying it shouldn’t go ahead?

ALBANESE: No, what I am saying is you shouldn’t bodgy up the figures and at the moment it is off-budget, that is, it is not affected the Budget bottom line. It’s an equity injection, so an investment, rather than a grant and that makes a big difference in terms of Budget because if the Government changes that decision then all of a sudden $8 billion goes on to the Budget deficit. Now the fact that it isn’t going to produce a commercial rate of return, the head of the Australian Rail Track Corporation has confirmed that. I think there will be questions certainly raised in Senate Estimates this week about how it is that Finance have possibly approved it being considered as an off-budget measure that will produce a return and therefore doesn’t hit the Government bottom line. It is a very important issue because we are talking about a potential hit to the bottom line of $8 billion.

SPEERS: I sense that you are very keen to focus on the portfolio matters and fair enough, rightly so. Do I detect that you are not so keen to keep pursuing Barnaby Joyce yourself Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: I think the policy issues are ones that I concentrated on a couple of weeks ago in terms of raising those issues because they do go down to Barnaby Joyce’s management or mismanagement of the portfolio. That’s the mess …

SPEERS: But in terms of matters around his relationship, when they became partners, jobs for Vikki Campion?

ALBANESE: I have never been interested in the private matters. The issues that the Prime Minister has said will continue to be investigated and are legitimate public concerns is the issue of taxpayer funds and whether there has been any abuse of them. The fact that today we found out that Vikki Campion didn’t have an email address while working for Damian Drum.

SPEERS: What does that tell you?

ALBANESE: Well, it tells you that a staff member who can’t be contacted by email needs an explanation of how that occurred.

SPEERS: Do you think that was a dodgy position?

ALBANESE: That is up for others to assess based upon the facts and I think that there is a legitimate concern certainly there about taxpayers funds and whether they were used appropriately. And whether the ministerial standards were complied with isn’t something that is an academic exercise. That is something that is important because it goes to the heart of the functioning of Malcolm Turnbull’s Government and whether he presides over a government takes those standards seriously.

SPEERS: All right Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, thank you.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.


Feb 23, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 6PR – Perth Live with Oliver Peterson

Subjects: Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals, company tax, Labor road funding announcement; tourism awards; Christopher Pyne, Perth visits.

OLIVER PETERSEN: Anthony Albanese, it is great to have you back in the studio on Perth Live. Good afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s good to be back in Perth. It’s a beautiful day here.

PETERSON: It certainly is a beautiful day here. I imagine as you were doing your Today Show commitments this morning on Channel Nine from Sydney, and the flight across to Perth, by the time you landed the Deputy Prime Minister had resigned.

ALBANESE: Well yes. The elephant has left the room literally, so I think Australians will breathe a sigh of relief that they don’t have to talk about it too much anymore.

PETERSON: Well it has dominated. What is it, 15 days in a row I think in the Daily Telegraph it has been the front page story?

ALBANESE: Well it has been a shocker and everyone knew that Barnaby Joyce had to go. I actually felt sorry for Christopher Pyne this morning on the Today Show. Karl Stefanovic asked him about half a dozen times to express confidence in Barnaby Joyce and of course he couldn’t. Everyone knew that there were just so many issues where there were breaches of ministerial standards and he was relying upon trying to argue there was some technical way in which he hadn’t breached the standards. Australians know when something is up. What was he thinking when he accepted basically a house for free off a significant businessman in Armidale? I mean, for goodness sake, just after had said people should move to Armidale as a solution to the housing affordability issue.

PETERSON: And the personal issues to one side about them moving somebody over, whether or not Vikki Campion was his partner at the time, from office to office to office; now it may not be a breach of ministerial standards or guidelines, but that is probably where a lot of the focus turned its attention to in the last ten days at least.

ALBANESE: Well that’s right and the fact is if you are junior position like the Whip for the National Party, Damian Drum, he is simply not entitled to have someone with the title Senior Adviser. That’s a title that goes to staff of senior ministers – of Cabinet ministers – and so I think people were well aware of that and that is why there continued to be this pursuit of the issue. I think that Barnaby Joyce’s relationships are matter directly for the people involved, but here there was an issue of public expenditure and accountability.

PETERSON: Does it worry you a little bit Anthony Albanese; you have been in Parliament for a long time now; you have seen what has played out with Barnaby Joyce over the last two weeks, where our role as the media is playing here? Are you worried, stepping out of the politics for a moment and Barnaby Joyce being on the other side of the political divide, did the media go too far with its investigations into Barnaby Joyce? Is everything up for grabs now in your personal life for example, or of your colleagues’ in Parliament?

ALBANESE: Well look I hope that we don’t go down the US or the UK road because what we see with some of the tabloids in the United Kingdom in particular is no one talks about education or health or housing or transport or other issues.

PETERSON: Well admittedly the last two weeks we haven’t talked about anything else have we?

ALBANESE: That is right and Australia is better than that. I think in general we have an attitude that people’s private life is their private life. Certainly we never raised, as the Labor Party, we never raised Barnaby Joyce’s situation and personal circumstances and relationships. It was pretty common knowledge frankly in Parliament House but we never went there because it wasn’t appropriate.

PETERSON: Is this the end of the Government? Can the Nationals and the Liberal Party still work together?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s going to be difficult. They have got to work through of course who the Deputy Prime Minister is.

PETERSON: Who do you think it will be? Who is going to be the next Leader of the Nationals.

ALBANESE: Who would know?

PETERSON: Maybe they could get the Akubra and put everyone’s name in a hat.

ALBANESE: That’s the point here. There is a range of them putting themselves forward. The fact that there is no obvious candidate suggests there is a lack of talent there, either a lack of talent or lack of experience. Some of the newer people we have seen rise to the Cabinet – David Littleproud has risen to the Cabinet.  A media release has just come out a little while ago saying that the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, who I shadow, is John McVeigh. I have never met the bloke. I have never, ever met him.

PETERSON: OK. So bring it on in Infrastructure and Transport.

ALBANESE: And when he was first appointed I thought he was a senator. I had no idea where he was from and he is in the Cabinet and now he is acting not just in his own portfolio, and I am not sure what his portfolio is, but he is now acting in Infrastructure and Transport so I am shadowing him, which will be a difficult task because to shadow someone you’ve of course got to be behind them and looking at what they are doing. If you can’t recognise them it is going to be a pretty difficult task I reckon.

PETERSON: Does this gift the Labor Party, does this gift the Opposition, does this give you an advantage now, heading into the rest of 2018?

ALBANESE: I think the thing that really gives us an advantage is the lack of narrative, the lack of sense of purpose for the Government. The view out there that Malcolm Turnbull is occupying the Lodge, but really they are acting like an opposition in exile and part of what I would say is that if they want to behave like an opposition in exile, why don’t we just make them the Opposition?

PETERSON: Does this feel similar to you watching the Government this time around to when you were the Government a few years ago and the revolving door between your mate Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, and it looked like the wheels were off from the Labor Government at that stage?

ALBANESE: There is no doubt that we were responsible for some of our own problems. I think that the Australian public, people listening to this program this afternoon, want a government that is concerned about them. About whether their kids are getting a good education, about whether they have got access to health care, about whether the Government is responding to future challenges like getting fast broadband, about fixing transport and infrastructure issues, about dealing with climate change and the environment. They don’t want a government that is focused on themselves.

PETERSON: Yeah we want to be talking about the issues on the national agenda not a political personal life. Company taxes are something that obviously the Government has been trying to push now for a couple of weeks. That conversation is not really getting anywhere at this stage, most of our listeners – you’re right Anthony Albanese to ask this afternoon, I wouldn’t mind a pay rise, I wouldn’t mind being able to put a better meal on the table tomorrow night.

ALBANESE: Absolutely, and at the end of the day Australians are pretty simple I reckon. We all want more for our kids than we had ourselves, a better quality of life, and we want to be able to see that our living standards are able to be lifted and what we’ve seen with real wages in decline for the first time in generations really, is a lot of pressure being put on families out there.

PETERSON: Indeed. Now you came to Perth today for a number of reasons not just to talk, obviously, about the national political agenda, but you’re here to spread the magic dust should the Labor Government win the next election. There is a little bit of money on offer for a major road project.

ALBANESE: That’s right, the project has been identified as Perth’s most heavily congested road, it is the Leach Highway and Welshpool Road and today I was there with Rita Saffioti, the State Minister and Hannah Beazley, our candidate for Swan, and Lauren Palmer, our candidate for Hasluck. We announced that we would put in our share of the $93 million that it will cost to fix that road. It has a benefit-cost ratio; the business case is all done – more than seven dollars benefit for every dollar that is invested. So even today when we did the media conference a little while ago, you could just see the traffic banking up and of course in the morning and afternoon peaks, it’s an acute issue. We’ve got a solution to fix it.

PETERSON: Very good, and you’re here for the Tourism Awards this evening, they should be fantastic.

ALBANESE: They will be great and I look forward to seeing the new stadium, I haven’t been there before.

PETERSON: You’re going to love it.

ALBANESE: It will be a great thing. The Qantas Australian Tourism awards are held every year and they have paid tribute, WA usually does pretty well I have got to say, in them.

It’s a great night, it’s a celebration of the importance of tourism to our future growth. There’s about 1 million Australians earn their living directly and indirectly due to tourism and of course the prospects for the west, I’ll be back over here next month for the first direct flight from Perth to London and that’s incredibly exciting and that will change the whole dynamic.

Not just opening up for overseas tourists, but I think it will be very attractive for people from the east coast. To come to Perth, do some business or have a look around, not just here but up or down the coast, or go have a look at Kalgoorlie, go across to Rottnest, to then travel onto London directly and not have to go through customs in Singapore or Dubai or Abu Dhabi or some other stop. I think it’s a great thing that Qantas are doing and it’s particularly good for Perth.

PETERSON: Indeed, and also your sparring partner, because we’ll be talking to yourself and Christopher Pine shortly, he still hasn’t been here despite saying that when he comes to Perth everybody will put him on their shoulders when he goes to Henderson.

ALBANESE: See he lives in Adelaide, and he never looks, he looks up north and he never looks to the left, he just can’t cross that Nullarbor and you know he has got defence as well, he has got his own RAAF Plane. He could hop on, come over here. I’m a regular visitor and I think one of the things that is really important is that you can’t just drop in for an hour or two hours every year. You’ve got to come here regularly, develop relationships find out the way that the city ticks.

It’s a good thing. I just had lunch at a little café. You’re talking to people about what’s going on, what they think is happening in the economy here and I always enjoy my trips to Perth, it’s always pretty good weather too.

PRESENTER: It certainly is, we’re happy to host you Anthony Albanese. Good to see you again and we’ll catch up shortly.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY, 2018

Feb 23, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Perth, WA

Subjects; Leach Highway and Welshpool Road upgrade; WA infrastructure funding; Barnaby Joyce

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s fantastic to be here back in Perth once again for my third visit in the last couple of months. I’ve been visiting Perth because we are absolutely committed to delivering improvements in WA infrastructure.

Today I’m joined by Hannah Beazley, our candidate for Swan and Lauren Palmer, our candidate for Hasluck and of course Rita Saffioti, the State Infrastructure Minister.

What we are committing to today is to fund half of this upgrade of the Leach Highway with Welshpool Road. This is the most congested spot of any road in Western Australia. It has a BCR (benefit-cost ratio) of above $7 for every dollar that is invested in it, and it will make a huge difference.

We’re right next to the Gateway WA project, the largest ever federally funded road project in Western Australia. It was completed in a partnership funded primarily by the former Federal Labor Government.

This is good for jobs; it’s good for reducing travel times; it’s good for the sustainability of this growing city. Today Infrastructure Australia have produced a report speaking about the problem of urban congestion and the need to deal with the productivity, sustainability and livability of our major capital cities.

It’s only Labor that has a plan to deal with that urban congestion and this follows on from the $700 million dollar commitment we made to the Ellenbrook rail line. The fact is that Labor’s committed to improving both rail and road here in Perth and indeed throughout Western Australia. This is a part of our $1.6 billion infrastructure package for WA ,because WA is missing out and is being short-changed at the moment by the GST.

So this is a great announcement. It’s fantastic that we are partnering with the WA Government. They’re committed to projects like METRONET, but also committed to upgrading the roads here in Perth and Federal Labor wants to partner with the WA State Government to improve the livability, sustainability, and productivity of this great city.

RITA SAFFIOTI, WA TRANSPORT MINISTER: Thanks very much. It’s great to have Anthony Albanese back in Perth. He’s in Perth quite often and what he’s always looking at is ways to improve the infrastructure through Perth and WA. This is another new commitment from Federal Labor and as you can see, this is a heavily congested intersection and has a very strong BCR of over seven so we welcome the additional infrastructure commitment from Federal Labor; and also, moreover, the fact that Federal Labor does come to WA.

Anthony Albanese, as the Federal Shadow Minister for Infrastructure knows WA, and what we’ve seen so far is a significant commitment to METRONET in particular the Ellenbrook rail line; and of course we’re working with Federal Labor to see what other commitments we can have as part of this lead up to the next election. So we welcome the commitment. Again, we appreciate the fact that Federal Labor is keen to work with us to deliver new infrastructure, to reduce congestion and create jobs in WA.

REPORTER: Will this project go to Infrastructure WA?

SAFFIOTI: This project has already had a strong BCR as I’ve outlined, of over seven so regarding the timing, yes; it just depends on the timing of when Infrastructure WA is set up but I just want to outline this a little bit in particular in relation to main roads and PTA over here. Because we have an established processes and for example PTA in all of its Metronet projects works through a business case process with Infrastructure Australia.

Every project with over $100 million has a detailed business case. Every project under $100 million is still submitted to Infrastructure Australia, for example currently, and there is also a project plan that’s also submitted. So we already had that process underway. Infrastructure WA of course will help supplement that, but because my agencies have been working with Infrastructure Australia in particular over the past year, there is an established process and that’s what’s been occurring.

ALBANESE: No questions about my Minister?

REPORTER: Just on this project, this money is to come out of a Better Deal for WA Fund. Wouldn’t it just be better for WA in the longer term to reform the GST?

ALBANESE: The fact is that we’re doing what Colin Barnett has called the most significant federal response by any political party to the fact that Western Australia is being shortchanged on the GST. We’re actually doing something by committing $1.6 billion and that’s over and on top of the other infrastructure commitments that we would make to WA.

So we are dealing with the circumstance from Opposition – where of course you can’t make changes – but what we’re doing is making sure that West Australians know, just as we did when were last in Government, with Gateway WA, with the Perth CityLink project, with the Great Eastern Highway, with the Swan Valley Bypass, with the Esperance Port Access Road, with the Bunbury upgrades, with the Great Northern Highway, what we are doing is investing here in WA.

Now, what’s occurring is that a whole lot of projects that were funded by us, that were in our Budget either in 2013 or earlier – the North West Coastal Highway – these projects are either completed, like Gateway WA, or they’re underway. This Government isn’t creating that pipeline of projects. Now, this project could commence, my understanding is, in 2019. We want to commit very early. We have that commitment there so that the WA State Government knows that that is the case.

Now, if ever the Coalition get their eye back on the ball on infrastructure and actually engage in infrastructure policy, hopefully we’ll get some commitments out of the Coalition Government as well. But at the moment we simply haven’t got that. They’ve lost another Infrastructure Minister today. It’s symptomatic of a Government that’s lost its way.

I’d say to Prime Minister Turnbull, who gets to allocate portfolios; please appoint someone who actually knows where Western Australia is; who actually knows where capital cities are; who knows that we need to deal with urban congestion as a priority when it comes to dealing with infrastructure in accordance with the report that is out today from Infrastructure Australia.

REPORTER: [inaudible]

ALBANESE: That work will now be done, but there has obviously been a business case developed for this project; that all depends of course on our money flowing. When the election date is, we don’t know.

We’ll work those issues through, but we’re committing very much for that money to be available immediately upon the next federal election – if we’re successful in that election campaign. One of the ways that we can be successful is by having Hannah and Lauren elected in Swan and Hasluck.

There are a range of seats here in Western Australia and West Australians know that they’ve been neglected by the current Government in spite of the fact that they have senior members in the Cabinet.

It’s about time that the Federal Government woke up to the fact that Western Australia deserves a fair go and that’s what we’re doing today, just as we are with the Ellenbrook rail line; just as we will other commitments that we’ll be making over the course of the coming year.

REPORTER: You alluded to the fact that Barnaby Joyce has resigned as leader of the Nations, do you think that’s going to restore stability to the Government?

ALBANESE: This is a government that has lost its sense of purpose. The problem is that this is a Government that is concerned about itself, not concerned about the people of Australia.

Not concerned about whether kids are getting the right education; whether our universities and TAFE colleges are properly funded; whether the healthcare care system is functioning effectively; whether proper infrastructure is being delivered in our cities and in our regions.

This is a Government that has lost its way on a range of policy areas. They simply have been in drift. We still don’t have a national energy policy under this Government. There has been a sense of drift for years now. We don’t really have an infrastructure policy or plan being rolled out to deal with the challenge of urban congestion.

They don’t have a policy on climate change. They don’t have a policy to deal with our ageing population.

They don’t have a policy to deal with the fact that real wages aren’t keeping up with inflation and people’s living standards are going down.

They don’t have a policy on housing affordability. They said they look at issues like capital gains tax and negative gearing. Then when we came out with the policy they’ve gone into retreat mode. This is a Government that is acting like an opposition in exile and it is in Australia’s interests for it to be an opposition, in fact, as soon as possible.

That’s why the easiest thing for Malcolm Turnbull to do would be to call an election sooner rather than later and put what is a floundering Government out of its misery.

REPORTER: Do you think Mr Joyce should have gone further and stepped down from his seat?

ALBANESE: That’s a matter for him. He has been elected as the Member for New England. But clearly, it was appropriate that he stepped down as Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister. Everyone knew that was the case.

Malcolm Turnbull showed what a weak leader he is by giving a press conference indicating very clearly that he’d lost faith in Barnaby Joyce, but failing to call for him to step aside.

We’ve seen issues in the past, where there’s been conflict, where the National Party has been prepared to stand up to the Liberal Party. Of course most notably, Earle Page essentially pulled the rug out from under Robert Menzies the first time that Robert Menzies was the Prime Minister of Australia.

We saw Black Jack McEwen in the 60s veto, effectively, Billy McMahon becoming Prime Minister which is why then-Senator John Gorton got sworn in as Liberal Leader and as Prime Minister; and we saw Barnaby Joyce himself not be shy about taking out Malcolm Turnbull during his first disastrous term as Liberal Leader.

This goes back to Turnbull and the fact that he’s not able to control his own Party. He’s not able to govern with policies that he himself supports; whether it be on marriage equality, when he had to go through the $120 million public survey when he could have just looked at Newspoll to get the outcome that everyone knew would arise from that; whether it be the republic; whether it be support for public transport, Malcolm Turnbull isn’t able to actually govern and provide that leadership.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2018

Feb 23, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – The Today Show

Subjects; Barnaby Joyce; Coalition history; PMO staffer; DJ Albo

KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the show. Well, Barnaby’s week off has done nothing to stop the headlines and this morning the astonishing new development the Nationals Party Leader is facing an allegation of sexual harassment, an allegation he denies. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Good morning guys.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from Marrickville.

STEFANOVIC: Nice to see you, my friend. Well Christopher, Barnaby is calling this allegation spurious and defamatory, but it is another nightmare, isn’t it?

PYNE: Well, this allegation is something of course that the Government is not aware of, we’re not engaged with or involved in. It’s a matter for the National Party and for Barnaby Joyce and the leadership of our Coalition partner is a matter for our Coalition partner. They’re not part of the Liberal Party, so I’m sure they’ll go through the necessary processes to ensure that all the right things are done.

STEFANOVIC: Of course, it is still damaging to the Coalition and your relationship with the public.

PYNE: Well obviously, it’s a significant distraction. There’s no doubt about that but how it’s resolved is not a matter for the Liberal Party. We are two separate parties and we don’t always agree and we don’t always go exactly the same direction. So that’s why we’re not in the same party. We’ve been separate for 95 years but in Coalition for 95 years.

STEFANOVIC: Does he have your support?

PYNE: Barnaby is a good friend. He’s obviously going through a very difficult time, as are his entire family, and I’m sure that all of these stories being played out in public must be incredibly upsetting for everyone associated with the Joyce family as well as their friends and I’m sure when it’s over everyone will be absolutely delighted to move on.

STEFANOVIC: Does he have your support?

PYNE: Well, I haven’t got a vote in the National Party party room .

ALBANESE: I think that’s a no.

PYNE: I support him as a Cabinet minister.

STEFANOVIC: But you know what, Christopher? You’re not one to mince your words. You either support Barnaby being leader or not. Just say it.

PYNE: Well I don’t tell the National Party…

STEFANOVIC: No, but you can have an opinion about it. You have every right to have an opinion. You have an opinion about everything else, why not that?

PYNE: Well, I support him as a Cabinet colleague, of course I do, and as a friend…

STEFANOVIC: …and as Leader?

PYNE: … but it’s not my job to tell the National Party who their leaders should be.

STEFANOVIC: But do you support him as Leader or not?

PYNE: They wouldn’t welcome me telling them…

STEFANOVIC: You’re not telling them. You’re just saying whether or not you support him. It’s very simple.

PYNE: Well if you asked a National Party person whether they supported Malcolm Turnbull being Leader of the Liberal Party, they would say exactly the same thing, ‘that’s a matter for the Liberal Party’.

STEFANOVIC: Albo, you said in the initial days of this crisis it was a private matter. You are now very, very public. Do you support Barnaby Joyce?

ALBANESE: I certainly don’t support Barnaby Joyce. What’s more, Christopher is exposing the weakness of the current leadership of his Party, the Liberal Party. It was Earle Page who helped get rid of Robert Menzies as Prime Minister the first time. It was Black Jack McEwen, when Leader of the National Party who vetoed, effectively, Billy McMahon and instead supported John Gorton becoming Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Party. And of course the National Party, not the least of which was Barnaby Joyce, skewered Malcolm Turnbull on his disastrous first time as Liberal Party Leader.

The fact is that Barnaby Joyce allegedly is on leave; I said last week he should just leave; and while he’s been on leave he’s been giving media interviews and someone else has been Acting as the Prime Minister. The Deputy Prime Minister’s first job is to deputise for the Prime Minister. He himself has admitted this week he can’t do that job. He just should go.

STEFANOVIC: Well it’s free-hit city for you Anthony so I am going to cut you off there on just that one but there is another story emerging this morning and it is grubby. But nonetheless for the Coalition, it’s difficult. A staffer in the Prime Minister’s Office is at the center of an alleged love triangle this morning after posting private text messages online. Christopher, you’d be aware of the story but does the Prime Minister’s Office really need to be dragged into this?

PYNE: Well look, I know the people involved. They’re both friends of mine and it’s obviously very upsetting for them all to be involved in this story and it’s on the front page of The Daily Telegraph today. I hope that both parties can move on from it. I’ve known both of them for a very long time and so for me personally it’s a very sad story.

STEFANOVIC: But to have it played out on the front page of The Daily Telegraph?

PYNE: Not much fun for anybody involved.

STEFANOVIC: And especially for the Prime Minister’s Office at the moment, right?

PYNE: Well it’s got nothing to do with the Prime Minister’s Office but it’s obviously a personal matter and it’s very sad that it’s being played.

STEFANOVIC: Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s one of his staffers?

PYNE: It is, but that doesn’t mean it’s the Prime Minister’s Office’s responsibility to take care of the personal matters of either their staff or their staff’s former boyfriends – or former girlfriends for that matter.

STEFANOVIC: Doesn’t the responsibility of someone’s office fall upon that person who is running that office?

PYNE: I think that’s rather a stretch. The Prime Minister has about 70 staff or 60 staff. I don’t think he’s responsible for the social lives or the private lives of all of his staff.

STEFANOVIC: What will happen to that staffer then?

PYNE: I don’t know. It’s not a matter for me.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, Albo, we’ll finish on a lighter note today if we can, and again Christopher, thank you for your candour. DJ Albo was mixing it up last week at the Labor Party function. I’m not saying anything about his abilities, but you did spin the decks, got it out there again Albo. It’s good. Really letting go there.

ALBANESE: It was good. I was visiting Christopher’s hometown of Adelaide.

PYNE: They couldn’t wait for him to go.

STEFANOVIC: Are you building momentum?

ALBANESE: That’s right, because I do the Liberal Party so much damage when I’m there.

PYNE: Rubbish. People were taking him down to the Greyhound bus and trying to put him off, from the Labor Party. You should see the pictures on Instagram. He’s at the bus station. They’re trying to push him under the bus!

ALBANESE: They love me in South Australia.

PYNE: Get back to Marrickville.

ALBANESE: I was in your seat, Christopher.

PYNE: I love being lectured by the Labor Party on leadership. The Rudd- Gillard-Rudd Labor Party.

STEFANOVIC: That’s fair enough too.

PYNE: Bill Shorten stabbed two leaders in the back.

ALBANESE: We look pretty good stable compared with you lot.

STEFANOVIC: You guys. We love you guys. Have a great weekend.

PYNE: That was the worst experience we’ve ever been through.

STEFANOVIC: Have a great weekend.

PYNE: Get on the bus! Back on your bus!

RICHARD WILKINS: They should go on tour, those two.

ALBANESE: I’m heading to Perth!

STEFANOVIC: Get a room, you two.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2018

 

Feb 21, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes segment

Subjects: Nick Xenophon advertisement, Tony Abbott, immigration, Barnaby Joyce.

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

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from Melbourne.

HOST: Good to have you back Albo. We missed you on Monday Chris. He snuck into town under the radar and did a solo performance here on the show.

ALBANESE: In the studio.

PYNE: There were some shocking Instagram photographs of him looking like he would rather be anywhere else but South Australia.

HOST: Hey look, speaking of South Australia …

ALBANESE: I love South Australia.

HOST We have made national headlines for a fairly questionable reason. The Nick Xenophon ad, you will have both seen it by now. The same question to both of you – work of genius or worst political ad of all time?

PYNE: Well I actually think it is quite serious because Nick Xenophon is claiming to be able to form a government in South Australia or at least have the balance of power and what this ad shows is that the Xenophon team has no policies, no solutions for any of the State’s quite serious problems and he thinks that slapstick and stunts will get him across the line. And if that happens and South Australians are fooled by this joker then it will be very, very bad for our state. So while we are laughing about how bad the ad is, there is actually a serious side to it, which is he doesn’t have any policies and if we want government that is actually going to be able to make decisions and change our state, you actually have to vote for a major party.

HOST: Let’s take all that as read. What does this say then about the performance of the major parties in this state if what you said is 100 per cent accurate that this vacuous, lacking substance and policy entity is going to shake things up as dramatically as we all expect?

PYNE: Well I actually have great faith in South Australian voters and I don’t believe that they will vote overwhelmingly for Nick Xenophon or his team on March the 17th. I think by the election it will be very obvious to people that he doesn’t have any policies, doesn’t have any solutions, that slapstick and stunts don’t count and I don’t think the Xenophon Team will do that well on election day to be frank.

HOST: What’s your read of it Albo?

ALBANESE: Unaccustomed as I am to agreeing with Christopher about anything, I think on this he is pretty right. You know it is one thing to have a bit of fun. The problem here is this is during a state election campaign where potentially Nick Xenophon is presenting himself as a serious alternative to the major parties. I think it is the case that Steven Marshall and the Coalition haven’t been able to present themselves as an alternative so Nick Xenophon’s stepping into that vacuum that has been created in opposition to Jay Weatherill’s Government. But one of the things that people think about isn’t just Nick, it’s the other candidates as well. They need to be clear about who they are voting for and minor parties keep changing in the Senate and in South Australia’s Parliament itself some of Nick Xenophon’s team haven’t stayed there for long after they have been elected.

HOST: Are you getting sucked in? I mean uncharacteristically agreeing with each other? Isn’t that exactly the sort of agreement between the major parties that Nick Xenophon is talking about?

ALBANESE: Well, his objective is to get us talking about him and to that extent I think he probably thinks it’s successful. The issue here is though that running a state is a serious business and delivering on jobs and particularly state governments deliver services – education and health. Who is Nick Xenophon’s Team?  I don’t mind Nick personally. I get on OK with him, but wouldn’t have a clue who his team were and I suspect he doesn’t know some of them very well either.

PYNE: He’s just lost his most recent senator Tim Storer who has now gone to become and Independent who was a member of the Nick Xenophon Team. This is the pattern. You can’t rely on the Xenophon Team to hold together and that is no way to run a state with the highest unemployment in the country, the worst economic performance, a state that needs jobs, that needs a vision and a future. And what we are getting from Nick Xenophon is slapstick comedy and I don’t think the public will vote for it in the end.

HOST: Chris we saw, changing tack now, the former Prime Minister, your former leader and boss Tony Abbott out and about in the past 24 hours. He gave that speech at the Sydney Institute talking about the so-called talking class verses the working class. He has called for the halving of the immigration rate. He looks like he is positioning himself for the leadership again doesn’t he?

PYNE:  No I don’t think so. I think Jimmy Barnes is the working class man. I’m not sure that Tony Abbott can wear that mantle.

ALBANESE: Good sledge.

PYNE: The truth is his views on immigration are not new. He has had that view since he was no longer the Prime Minister and that wasn’t a policy that he implemented when he was the Prime Minister, I might add. I am very pro-immigration. I’m pro higher population. Coming from a state like South Australia, we need more people. We need more people helping to drive our economy. For every new migrant that comes to our state they have an uplift factor of four jobs. For every job for themselves they create four more because they start businesses, they raise their children here and we are not going to go back to some dismal, dark place where we are anti-immigration, anti-migration. We need more people in South Australia and we have got less 18 to 21 year olds in our state today than we did in the early 1980s.

HOST: Just finally too Chris, and I will get your thoughts on the Barnaby Joyce situation as well to wrap things up Albo, but the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is obviously leaving the country, going over to Washington when Parliament resumes on Monday. Is it the belief of the Liberal Party and indeed the hope of the Liberal Party that Barnaby Joyce is still there as leader of the Nats?

PYNE: Is that a question to me or to Anthony?

HOST: That’s to you Chris. Do you want Barnaby Joyce?

ALBANESE: You are the Liberal representative Chris. The hint was there in the question. I am not getting a turn today.

PYNE: I thought it was Anthony’s turn.

HOST: He had a big turn on Monday.

PYNE: He does. He always gets a big fair slice of the cake. Well obviously the leadership of the National Party is a matter for the National Party. It’s not a matter for me or the Liberal Party. How they manage their affairs is a matter for them. We are in Coalition with them. We need their 16 seats to form Government. We have 60 and the reality is Barnaby Joyce is the Leader of the National Party and they will make their own decisions about that in the future, not me.

HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese …

ALBANESE: Hang on, give me a crack at the end.

HOST: Go on, one little statement to wrap it up Albo.

ALBANESE: He’s on leave. He should just leave. Get out of here.

HOST: Good on you Albo and Chris Pyne. We’ve got to let you guys get out of here too. Thanks for that.

Feb 20, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop – Northcote, Victoria

Subjects: Batman by-election; Victorian infrastructure funding; public transport; Mark Butler comments about coal; renewable energy;  emissions trading scheme; Barnaby Joyce; Malcolm Turnbull, Greens Political Party. 

GED KEARNEY: Good morning everyone. I’m Ged Kearney, the candidate for the Batman by-election that’s coming up on March 17. And I am really honored to have with me today a man who needs no introduction whatsoever, Anthony Albanese. We’ve had a lovely walk up and down High Street, Northcote, this morning. We’ve stopped in at shops. We’ve had some great chats to locals and it’s always a great pleasure to be here particularly on a day like today, which is a gorgeous sunny morning. With no further ado, I’m going to hand over to Albo who is here to make some very important announcements about infrastructure funding for this area and more broadly across the nation.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much, Ged. It is great to be here in Northcote supporting the campaign of my friend, Ged Kearney. I want Ged Kearney in a Labor Government because Ged Kearney is someone who has spent a lifetime standing up for working people; standing up for the community first as a nurse, and then as a representative of nurses making sure that they get a better deal in their workplaces. Rising from a rank-and-file nurse through to the presidency of the ACTU. Ged Kearney is effective. She gets things done and she is progressive. I want that progressive voice in the Caucus, having the arguments, putting forward the ideas, getting things done in government.

That’s a choice that people here in Batman have; an effective representative who can have a real say and deliver real change for the people of Batman; or someone who can wait until decisions are made and then decide whether they’re going to protest against them or not. One of the areas where change occurs is in the area of transport and infrastructure. We invested more in public transport from 2007 through to 2013 than all previous governments combined in the previous 107 years, or since.

It’s a great example that when you change the government, you do indeed change the country. We understand that the key to tackling urban congestion is investment in public transport. That’s why we delivered, here in this great state of Victoria, the largest single investment in a public transport project in our history, the Regional Rail Link project. We allocated $3.225 billion. That’s why we allocated $3 billion to the Melbourne Metro project, which was scrapped by the Abbott Government when they came to office; that funding, or lack of funding, confirmed by Malcolm Turnbull when he took over the Prime Ministership.

Malcolm Turnbull likes coming to Melbourne and taking selfies on trams. We want a government that funds trams; that funds trains; that fund buses, and doesn’t just take selfies on them. That’s how you make a real difference. Funding for Victorian infrastructure as a proportion of the national Budget has fallen from $201 dollars for every Victorian under Labor, to $46 per Victorian over the life of this Government. That’s simply not good enough. Victoria represents one in every four Australians. Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing city. And yet what we have is Victoria receiving under 10 per cent of the national infrastructure budget.

Malcolm Turnbull was asked about that yesterday and he said it was all okay; Victorians were getting their share. The fact is that they’re not. We want to work with the Andrews Labor Government to make a difference here in Melbourne, and particularly here in Batman and we’ll be making further announcements during the campaign about the support for transport infrastructure that we would deliver here in Victoria. But you can’t deliver it sitting in the back corner. You can only deliver it if you’re a part of a government. Ged Kearney will be an effective member of the next Labor Government when Bill Shorten is elected Prime Minister at the next election. That’s why I think it’s so important, this by-election. Batman has a great opportunity to send such an effective local member to Canberra to represent their interests, to be that progressive voice for the people of Batman.

REPORTER: Mark Butler yesterday said that Labor would continue to support existing coal mines. How does that sort of announcement go down in an electorate like this?

ALBANESE: The fact is that we are going to continue to need, as Mark Butler said in his speech, coking coal for example. That’s how steel is made. That’s how we continue to see very much a future for it. In Mark Butler’s speech. He outlined I think very eloquently what is happening with the thermal coal market globally; how it is in decline; how we are in a position of having a transition to a clean energy future. But what you can’t do is just do that overnight. One of the things that Ged’s campaigning on is real change and real change means analysing things as they are and working out how to get them to where you want to be. We want a renewables future.

When Labor was elected to office there were a few thousand solar panels on roofs – not too many. When we left there were well over a million. We made a substantial difference. When I was the Climate Change and Environment spokesperson, the Renewable Energy Target in Australia was 2 per cent. I made the commitment as the Shadow Minister, with Kim Beazley, the-then Leader, of 20 per cent by 2020. When we did that we were told it was going to ruin the economy; that it couldn’t be done. Guess what? We got it done. And Labor in office ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

We tried to introduce an Emissions Trading Scheme. The Greens Political Party voted against it twice. If they had of just stood up, five of those Senators, and walked across and voted for a price on carbon, it would be in place today. It would be in place today and that would have an enormous impact in driving that change through the economy. As it is, in terms of energy policy, the current Government can’t seem to settle on a policy. They have asked the Chief Scientist for a document and then they ruled out that policy. They haven’t been able to put in that certainty that investors require, to drive that change through the economy.

But I am very proud of Labor’s record on climate change, on the environment. It is Labor that has made a difference, a real difference, and one of the ways that we did it is by changing the nature of the Renewable Energy Target to that 20 per cent by 2020 as part of our raft of comprehensive policies right across the board. Not slogans – policies. Policies like investing in public transport, which reduces the emissions that motor vehicles make; policies such as cleaning up the way that transport operates in terms of motor vehicle standards, heavy vehicle standards; policies like the Renewable Energy Target.

REPORTER: But they got rid of Labor in Northcote because that change to renewable energy wasn’t happening fast enough. You are up against the Greens who have a Renewable Energy Target of 100 per cent by 2030.

ALBANESE: Well why 2030? Why not tomorrow?

REPORTER: But you guys aren’t chasing that target yourselves.

ALBANESE: Why not tomorrow? What you have to do is have change that sends a signal to the market that’s ambitions and achievable. That is what Labor has. That is what Labor has. What the Greens have is slogans and no idea of now to get there. I feel sorry for Adam Bandt. I mean, it must be lonely sitting in the corner of the Parliament there next to Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie and the Nick Xenophon Team. It would be good if he had someone to talk to. But that won’t make a difference.

What makes a difference is government and government making decisions. Ged Kearney will be in a position as a progressive voice to fight for the strongest possible initiatives and she has a record of doing that, being prepared to stand up and fight for her beliefs and values. She’s done it every day of her working life. And we have an opportunity to have Ged as part of the Labor team, as part of the next Labor Government.

REPORTER: So the Australian Conservatives have announced they’re running a candidate in Batman. Is this a threat to Labor?

ALBANESE: There’s always going to be some minor party candidates in the election. But the truth is, there’s only one political party that can form government, that’s running a candidate in this election – and that’s the Australian Labor Party with Ged Kearney. We’re focused on our agenda; our agenda preparing for government. It’s very clear that what we’re seeing right now is a Government that’s melting down before our eyes. I mean today, we have Mathias Cormann doing a photo opportunity as the Acting Prime Minister. I’ve been the Deputy Prime Minister of this country. It’s a great honour. The one job – and the hint is ‘Deputy’ – the first task of the Deputy Prime Minister is to deputise when the Prime Minister is not available. The Prime Minister is away; the Deputy Prime Minister can’t do his job and hence has gone on leave. He should just leave. And Mathias Cormann is the personification of not just the fact that Barnaby Joyce can’t do his job; he’s the personification of the weakness of the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who wants Barnaby Joyce to go but doesn’t have the capacity or the intestinal fortitude to make sure that that happens.

REPORTER: But considering the Liberals aren’t running a candidate, do you think that they’ll get some supporters, the Conservatives?

ALBANESE: There’s no doubt that in a by-election, votes will spray around and minor party candidates will get votes. But the decision that people are going to have to make on March 17 is – on top of whether they have a Guinness or a Kilkenny later in the day – the decision they’ve got to make is; do they want a representative who can be a part of the next Labor Government? This is a seat that is, was always going to be very unlikely to be won by the Liberals. It’s a tough campaign. The Liberals in not running have shown their hand, I guess. They’ve given up on being a government at the moment, so I guess it’s consistent with that.

People have a decision to make in this tough campaign of whether Ged Kearney gets to sit as a member of the Labor Government when it’s formed –  I sincerely hope – after the next election. Because we want to have the best team possible in government, and there is no doubt that Ged Kearney would be a huge asset for this local community; in being able to stand up; in being able to take all that experience; in knowing how to actually get change done. It doesn’t just happen, and it doesn’t happen by putting a poster on a wall. It happens by being able to argue your case. By being committed; by being genuine.

Ged Kearney represents all of that. She has enormous support, can I say, not just inside the Labor Party, more broadly. Progressives support Ged Kearney. Not just here in Batman and Melbourne; she’s a serious national figure who has stood up for working people; stood up for the interests of the environment; stood up for the interests of women; stood up for the interests of those people who need assistance. Campaigns like domestic violence leave that has now been adopted as Labor policy – ten days is our policy that we would introduce. Ged Kearney has led the campaign on that,. She has made a difference from outside the Parliament; she’d make an enormous difference inside.

REPORTER: Yesterday Brendan O’Connor flagged that Labor could dump an original plan to legislate an increase to the minimum wage in favour of sort of changing the objective of the Fair Work Commision? What do you think about that? Isn’t that turning its back on workers and the lowest paid?

ALBANESE: It’s a very big call for you to suggest that in your loaded question. Brendan O’Connor has stood up for working people; will continue to stand up for working people, as will the Labor Party. The Labor Party makes no secret …

REPORTER: What do you think of the actual plan?

ALBANESE: …and makes no secret – well, you verballed Brendan O’Connor. That’s not what he said. We’re developing our policies and they will all be out there for everyone to see in detail. The fact is that Labor has identified and has campaigned on the issue that working people’s wages have not kept up with inflation and have certainly not caught up with the big end of town. The fact is that Labor has been brave in going out there, in opposing, saying ‘we can’t afford at the moment the company tax cuts. That is not our priority, helping out the big end of town’.

We stood up on issues like the tax cut, effectively, when the Government removed the levy on those earning above $180,000 a year because of course that was there to deal with the deficit. Since then, the deficit has increased. The debt has doubled under this Government. We have stood up for working people. And we would continue to do so and with Ged Kearney there we’d have someone of principle; of great experience in doing so.

REPORTER: How will you go about ensuring that minimum wages keep pace with cost of living?

ALBANESE: One of the things that we’ll do, for a start, is not resort to the sort of attacks that have been constant from this Government on the rights of working people through the trade union movement. We will release our full industrial relations policy well before the election campaign, but it will be consistent with Labor values. We’re out there consulting. At this stage in the cycle, we’re halfway through this term. We have comprehensive policies out there; on the environment; on infrastructure; on taxation; on housing affordability; on things like domestic violence leave. We have more policy released than any Opposition in history since Federation at this stage in the cycle.

So we’ll continue to work in the lead up to our ALP National Conference. Here’s a tip for you; it’ll be in Adelaide in July. One of the differences between Labor and the Greens Political Party is transparency. Our National Conference will have 400 people in a hall, broadcast live in all its glory; with disagreements, with votes on the floor of the Conference. It goes for days. Up there for all to see, the development of the Platform that we will take to the next election.

That contrasts with the Greens Political Party who had a leadership challenge and vote and no one bothered to find out until almost a year after it had taken place. They don’t allow the media into their state conferences or national conferences. They have a candidate here in Batman who has been challenged over issues; we don’t know what. We don’t know what they are within the Greens Political Party. And she is unable to say what that was about, what the outcome was. There’s no transparency in the Greens Political Party.

It’s about time that they were held to account. If the Labor Party said we’re holding a secret national conference that goes for days and we’ll tell you what happens after the event with a media release, the media would quite rightly be outraged. The Labor Party is the only political party that engages with the people who are members of the Party in an open, transparent way like that.

The Liberal Party just essentially have fundraisers. They don’t worry about pretending that they’re interested in policy. They get their policy written somewhere else. The top end of town write their policies. We develop ours; we do it openly and transparently. It’s about time that the Greens Political Party, including the candidate here in Batman were a bit more open about what is going on with the disputes within that Party here in Batman. Thanks very much.

Feb 20, 2018

Transcript of radio interview – Drive with Rafael Epstein, ABC Melbourne

Subjects: Tony Abbott, infrastructure, Batman by-election, Greens Political Party, Adani, coal, asylum seekers, Barnaby Joyce, Nick Xenophon.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Anthony Albanese joins me in the studio. He is the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development. Good afternoon.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Raf. Good to be with you.

EPSTEIN: Can we start with someone you now well – Tony Abbott? He’s making a speech in Sydney tonight so we will start national then go local. He wants to halve Australia’s immigration. So people know, it is roughly 190,000. Last year it was 183,000. He wants to halve that. This is what Tony Abbott said on Sydney radio.

TONY ABBOTT: Every five years we are adding via immigration alone a city the size of Adelaide to our population. Now this is a very, very high rate of immigration and it is absolutely unprecedented.

EPSTEIN: Is it a good idea Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: Well, Tony Abbott has seen weakness in Malcolm Turnbull in failing to deal with Barnaby Joyce and the fiasco of having a Deputy Prime Minister who can’t deputise for the Prime Minister which is, the hint is there in the title, and he has just decided to ramp up again the destabilisation campaign. Let’s be clear. The migration levels that Tony Abbott just said were unprecedented are ones that were set by him. He was the Prime Minister who increased migration.

EPSTEIN: Inconsistencies aside, actually there’s already a text: “I as a Left-leaning Batman voter I would love to see migration reduced back to 70,000 per annum to reduce environmental pressure, urban sprawl.’’ It is a popular idea in some sections.

ALBANESE: Sure, and what Tony Abbott said, went on to say, with breathtaking hypocrisy it must be said, is to speak about urban congestion and those issues which is no doubt a big issue here in Melbourne as it is in the other major capitals around Australia and he actually had the hide to talk about public transport. This is the bloke who cut the funding for the Melbourne Metro, cut the funding from every public transport project that wasn’t under construction anywhere in Australia. And then wrote of course in his book Battlelines, said that, to quote him, or almost quote him, I won’t say it is word for word but pretty close: In the car a man is king. There is no need for anything bigger than a motor car to get people around.

EPSTEIN: Just before I get on to Batman, the Australian Conservatives are actually going to run a candidate in the seat of Batman, Kevin Bailey, who declined our invitation to be with us today. But halving the immigration intake is Australian Conservatives’ policy, now led by Cory Bernardi. Are you surprised about that? Or would you expect that from Tony Abbott?

ALBANESE: I expect ongoing destabilisation from Tony Abbott and if he can get a headline, no matter how inconsistent it is with the views that he has put in the past, then he will be out there doing it.

EPSTEIN: Who do you think is going to win Batman?

ALBANESE: Well I certainly hope that Ged Kearney wins. It is a seat that Labor has held. I think that she has a great contribution to make to the Labor caucus.

EPSTEIN: She would have to reverse the trend wouldn’t she? Labor’s vote has dropped, dropped, dropped.

ALBANESE: It has. Look, it’s a tough battle. There’s no doubt about that and the trend has been toward the Greens Political Party over election after election. We are seeing an electorate a bit like mine in Sydney that is changing. It is gentrifying and newer residents are coming in. It’s a matter, though of, I guess, getting the message out there which is the message I use in Grayndler and I was doing today with Ged when we were talking with people in Northcote, that Ged Kearney will actually be a voice in hopefully the party of government that we seek to form after the next election – a Labor Government.

All the Greens Party can do is to wait for a decision to be made and then protest or endorse it. But they are not actually decision makers. Ged Kearney will be a major contributor if we can get her in the Caucus.

EPSTEIN: A couple of the issues that I think have Bill Shorten at least metaphorically straddling a barbed wire fence – he is in marginal Queensland at the moment, the Opposition Leader. He is under pressure from the environmentalists within Labor to block the Adani mine. He is under pressure from the CFMEU to not block the mine. Is Labor going to be formally go: You know what, no? Or is the position going to be, as the union wants it to be, it’s just another mine?

ALBANESE: Well of course the project has been through its environmental approvals both federal and state. And Labor has been consistent about saying there are problems with this project and the problems are that it can’t get financing. The economics of it simply don’t stack up.

EPSTEIN: But that’s nothing to do with potential Federal Government policy. So if you were in power, because there has clearly been a discussion in Shadow Cabinet to do something more to block the mine. Is Labor going to do anything else to block the mine?

ALBANESE: The environmental approvals were done by the Coalition Government. They’ve been through the EPBC Act not once, but twice actually because they started again based upon what the impact would be on the Great Barrier Reef. And again it got approval and of course those decisions have been challenged in the courts and the courts haven’t blocked that project.

EPSTEIN: But that’s commentary. That is not a policy position.

ALBANESE: Well the policy position is we support the environmental laws which are there being undertaken with rigour. Where the Commonwealth could play a role is in should there be any public subsidy for this project to make it viable and indeed …

EPSTEIN: Labor has already said you won’t publicly subsidise it. That’s pretty clear.

ALBANESE: But that’s the key point.

EPSTEIN: Can I put to you what the CFMEU’s Tony Maher said: If you block Adani, what do you do with the next coal mine and the next one and the one after that? So is there going to be any extra legislative step from Labor if you were to win the election to block the Adani project?

ALBANESE: Well I think what Tony is pointing towards is that when you have a policy framework it is never a great policy framework to just look at projects in isolation. That is why we wanted a price on carbon. We would have one if the Greens had voted for it.

EPSTEIN: Do we need more coal mines? Do we need to develop the Galilee Basin?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that, as Mark Butler outlined last night, there is no market for it. There’s no market for thermal coal. What we are seeing globally is a shift to renewables. What we are seeing in India is a government that says that they will rule out importing coal in the next few years. That’s the policy of the Government.

EPSTEIN: Can I get a statement from you though?  Do you think we need more, do we need to new coal mines in this country or not?

ALBANESE: Well in terms of thermal coal, I mean that is not a matter for me. That is a matter for the market. What it’s a role for Government to do is to set a framework for that market and that framework should give support to the future and the future is renewables. The future is not …

EPSTEIN: So no, you don’t want more coal mines?

ALBANESE: I don’t want to see new coal-fired power stations in this country because it doesn’t work.

EPSTEIN: Not stations. Mines. Do you want coal mines?

ALBANESE: There’s not a market for it. Well, the fact is that that is not up to government to determine on a case-by-case basis. What it’s up to government to do is to set the policy framework through the environmental legislation that we have. That is how you get good outcomes. That is how you get investor certainty. That is how you benefit both the economy and the environment – getting the right settings in place so that we drive that change to a clean energy future.

EPSTEIN: Anthony Albanese is Shadow Infrastructure Minister. I will get to your texts as well. I will read this one actually: “I am a latte-swilling inner-city living recycling leftie and even I think the current level of immigration isn’t sustainable. I also think Tony Abbott is a boorish fool. We should be able to have a mature debate about immigration and sustainability.” That’s from Brian in South Melbourne. We are going to hear another view on the migration debate. I think Anthony Albanese has said all he wants to say about immigration. Can I ask you about asylum seekers though?

ALBANESE: Sure.

EPSTEIN:  There was a tweet that came out from the Clifton Hill Labor branch. You might have seen this. Bill Shorten promises Nauru and Manus Island detention centres will be closed under a Labor Government. Is that going to happen?

ALBANESE: Well in terms of our policy on asylum seekers, we have a policy of having regional processing. What we want is for people to not get on boats and if people aren’t getting on boats then you don’t need offshore processing. If you have a regional system by giving support to the UNHCR, then you can have people processed in Jakarta, in Malaysia, in Africa, in Pakistan, in Iraq, in places where they are seeking to come.

EPSTEIN: Forgive me. That’s policy explanation, that’s not an answer to the question.

ALBANESE: Well life isn’t always simple with glib answers. What we need to do is to set up a framework so that Australia fulfils our international obligations so that we stop people smugglers. I am all in favour of that and I don’t want to see anything …

EPSTEIN: Bill Shorten appears to have pretty clearly told people in the Clifton Hill Labor branch that Manus and Nauru would close.

ALBANESE: Well, I don’t know. I wasn’t at the Clifton Hill Labor Party branch meeting it must be said.

EPSTEIN: But is that Labor Party policy? If you shut down whatever government facilities are being funded by the Australian Government in Nauru and Manus, you can only do that if those people come to Australia. Are those people going to come to Australia?

ALBANESE: No those people are going to be settled in third countries. That is Labor’s clear position and that is why we have supported for example people being settled in New Zealand and accordance with what Prime Minister Ardern has offered, as former Nationals Prime Minister John Key offered as well. This Government has absolved itself of its responsibility. They are in their fifth year in office.

EPSTEIN: But if Bill Shorten’s promising to shut Nauru and Manus …

ALBANESE: Well you haven’t quoted Bill Shorten, you have quoted someone at Clifton Hill ALP branch.

EPSTEIN: Well I am just trying to work out what Labor’s policy would be in government.

ALBANESE: Well our platform is there for all to see. See, unlike the Greens, we determine our policy – the last one here in Melbourne – live on national TV. It goes for about three days and there we thrashed out our policy including on asylum seekers and that was a comprehensive plan of engagement with the UN, of regional settlement, of not supporting people smugglers but also treating people humanely and with some respect.

EPSTEIN: Marks’s got a question. You will need to put your headphones on. Mark, go for it. What is your query?

CALLER: I would just like to ask the Leader of the Opposition, sorry the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

EPSTEIN: He’s not the deputy either.

ALBANESE: I’m not either. I am a humble frontbencher.

CALLER: Well that’s OK. I would like to ask the humble frontbencher a pretty straight forward question. If they were elected will they close, will they block the Adani coal mine?

ALBANESE: Well the Adani coal mine has been approved. It has been approved under state and federal approvals. The question is what can Labor do? What Labor can do is what we were asked to do frankly, which is that the environmental movement that I met with over a long period of time said you have got to make sure that there is no subsidy of the rail line or other infrastructure for what is a private project.

If that doesn’t occur, and the company has said it themselves, the project will fall over and be unable to get finance. Well Labor has made sure, not just federally but in Queensland as well, that it won’t give any subsidy and guess what? The project doesn’t have finance to proceed.

EPSTEIN: Mark, is that an answer to your query?

CALLER: Looks like it going to (inaudible).

ALBANESE: Well at the moment it just doesn’t have finance. So without finance they can’t proceed with the project. Finance, they have tried to get it in Australia. They have tried to get it in China. They have tried to get it everywhere and it just hasn’t stacked up, the economics of it.

EPSTEIN: Twenty past five, I want to play you something Anthony Albanese. I know you still DJ for charity. Nick Xenophon is now in the state arena in South Australia. Have you seen his advert?

ALBANESE: Unfortunately I have.

EPSTEIN: I just want to play it. This is Nick Xenophon shopping for voters in South Australia.

ALBANESE: Thank goodness this is radio and not TV because once seen, it can’t be unseen.

Plays part of the Xenophon election advertisement.

EPSTEIN: It kind of goes downhill from there. Would you play that at a charity DJ set?

ALBANESE: I have too much respect for whoever is at a charity event.

EPSTEIN: Oh come on, you would do it to raise money for charity though, wouldn’t you?

ALBANESE: They would pay more money for you not to play it. That is what I would do and therefore the charity would benefit substantially.

EPSTEIN: Quickly if you can make a non-partisan observation, I know that is hard.

ALBANESE: That is a big call Raf. But I will try.

EPSTEIN: Is Barnaby Joyce going to remain as Nationals Leader?

ALBANESE: No.

EPSTEIN: How long do you think it might take?

ALBANESE: The longer it takes the more difficult it will be for his own party. I think he is being pretty selfish frankly. He is on leave. He should just leave. There is no way that his position is tenable. Malcolm Turnbull knows that he should go, his own side, the majority of them, know that he should go. The only person …

EPSTEIN: He’s got majority support. That was one thing he has said, that he’s got majority party room support.

ALBANESE: I don’t think he does and I think he will find that out. I think they have tried to give him the space to get out with a bit of dignity and I hope for his own sake frankly that that happen, he steps aside and gets his own house in order.

EPSTEIN: Thanks for coming in.

ALBANESE: Thanks Raf.

 

Feb 19, 2018

Transcript from radio interview – FIVEaa Breakfast

Subjects: Corflutes; Greens Political Party, Batman by-election, Adani, jobs, infrastructure, Barnaby Joyce, ministerial code, George Christensen, Labor leadership, Christopher Pyne.

HOST: As one of those things that drives people completely berserk at election time, (phone in) if you would like to call in any corflute-related atrocities. I’m sure our next guest has never been guilty of that kind of misdemeanour. Anthony Albanese, good morning to you and welcome to 5AA Breakfast.

ALBANESE: Guilty as charged.

HOST: Oh yeah? Serial offender?

ALBANESE: It’s a free-for-all in my electorate. There’s no waiting for the writs. If you stand still long enough you might get a corflute put on your back. It’s good for mobility in the electorate.

HOST: It is hand-to-hand combat in your seat isn’t it, because it’s sort of the people’s republic.

ALBANESE: You used to live there for a while.

HOST:  You were my local member for a while.

ALBANESE: You have never been better represented David.

HOST: I don’t know about that. I preferred you to John Murphy when I moved to Drummoyne. This is interesting though; the rise of the Greens as an inner city force and we are going to see this in Victoria with the Batman by-election. Do you fight them or you accommodate them?

ALBANESE: I think you have to argue the case against them and for electing politicians who can actually be around a Cabinet table making decisions rather than waiting for them to be made and then protesting.

HOST: But what about the culture of the ALP? I reckon the Adani thing at the moment, where you guys have decided that you are going to oppose it; that to me looks like Labor turning its back on the old, blue-collar blokes digging holes – you know, the party of the AWU, the CFMEU. You look like you have thrown in your lot with the latte set with that decision I think.

ALBANESE: Well, that’s not the decision that we have made. We have certainly been very questioning about the project, about its financial viability, whether it will go ahead. We’ve been quite rightly questioning about the impact on water and some of the environmental consequences of the project.

But Labor has to stand up for Labor values and one of the things about Labor values is about jobs and making sure the economy can function. I was at Jay Weatherill’s launch yesterday. The centrepiece of his pitch for voters here in South Australia is all about jobs. And that’s a Labor agenda. You need that strong economy so that you can you can fund schools and hospitals and do the social justice things that you want to do.

HOST: I was thinking about your role in the context of Jay Weatherill’s announcement yesterday. Obviously you are the shadow spokesman, so it is not directly your remit at the moment, but as the Opposition spokesperson for infrastructure, the State Government commits $2 billion to building something in South Australia, that;affects our GST receipts, does it not?

ALBANESE: It does but depending upon what is happening in every other state in terms of the formula. So, one would expect that other states would be spending money on infrastructure as well. The problem here in South Australia is that the Commonwealth funding falls off a cliff. It falls to $95 million in the out years – in 2020 – and that represents 2 per cent of the national infrastructure budget in that year. So it’s real problem.

The Commonwealth hasn’t stepped up beyond the projects that were already committed to funding like Torrens to Torrens on South Road and other projects. They haven’t stepped up with funding for the expansion of Light Rail here in Adelaide, the new sections of the South Road that are required in between that Torrens to Torrens section and up to the Superway and the Commonwealth really needs to lift its game. That’s one of the questions that we asked of Barnaby Joyce last week in the Parliament when we were questioning his portfolio.

HOST: Just with Barnaby Joyce, Albo, obviously it has been a shambles for the Government and today’s Newspoll shows them unsurprisingly taking a hit. But look, setting aside the politics of it all and the manner in which the PM has handled it and this weird Mexican standoff that we have got now, what was it actually like physically in the chamber last week where you are sitting like 10 feet away from this bloke and seeing those photos where he was as red as a beetroot and, you know, perspiration on his brow? Politics really is a bloodsport from at times isn’t it?

ALBANESE: Well it is a brutal business and Barnaby was going through an incredibly hard time last week and has for some period. He of course has got to take responsibility for what are his own decisions and his decisions have had an impact on others as well, including his family. But last week was pretty tough. We asked questions about the portfolio and …

HOST: But that seemed to be designed to make him crack. Like, the tactic seemed to be and Phil Coorey when he was on this show last week and said days like that you just reflect on politics as a filthy business at times. It looked like you guys wanted Barnaby to just lose the plot at the dispatch box and just collapse.

ALBANESE: No, that wasn’t the objective. The reason why we were asking questions about his portfolio was that quite clearly, as exhibited by his answers, he doesn’t know anything about it.

HOST: He’s had a bit of other stuff on the go I guess.

ALBANESE: No matter what question we ask he just goes back to Inland Rail. Even when we asked questions about Tasmanian infrastructure he went back to Inland Rail. When we asked about Northern Australia and the fact that the Northern Australia Roads program hasn’t been spent, he spoke about the Nullarbor Plain.

HOST: He had shocker. Can I ask you and I know that you guys keep saying that this is a distraction from the main game or a side issue, but as a matter of principle, why don’t Labor just say yea or nay on the sex ban? It makes sense having a ban on ministers doing the business with their staff, doesn’t it?

ALBANESE: What makes sense is that no employer should sleep with their employees. That is what makes sense.

HOST: But that is what Malcolm Turnbull is proposing.

ALBANESE: That’s across the board. I think the point that we have made is that that is a distraction from the fundamental issue here –  Barnaby Joyce’s abuse of taxpayer funds over a whole range of issues, over the staffing issues, over the fact he is living rent-free at the same time as he is telling people the solution to housing affordability is to move to Armidale. Yes well …

HOST: It worked for him.

ALBANESE: It’s good if it’s free. The conflicts of interest that are there with Mr Maguire who owns the property that he is living in getting the benefit of government functions being held at establishments that he owns; the fact that Barnaby Joyce clearly just hasn’t been on top of his old portfolio of Agriculture and Water. And here in South Australia this isn’t an academic thing. Here in South Australia his mismanagement has meant that as an end state of the Murray-Darling Basin it has suffered because of what has gone on with the rip-offs that have occurred in New South Wales and Queensland in the Upper Basin and that has caused consequences for South Australians and the access to water to the point whereby the Government tried to change the rules to rip South Australia off.

HOST: Speaking of Nationals behaving badly, what did you make of George Christensen’s Facebook Post over the weekend that showed him brandishing a gun and the text that he originally had written underneath it: “You’ve got to ask yourselves, do I feel lucky Greenie punks”?

ALBANESE: I had met Jo Cox, the British MP who was murdered in Britain. People making jokes about guns and politics isn’t funny, I don’t think. Last week 17 students and teachers died in the United States and we have all got a responsibility. I am sure the George Christensen would say that, you know, it was only meant as a joke; it wasn’t meant as a serious threat. But people who saw that might be, you know, not as together as George is, which isn’t a huge bar.

HOST: Sarah Hanson Young posted some interesting hate mail that she received in light of what he said – a bloke saying he was going to shoot her, just sent her a message on Twitter saying I am coming after you. So you create that environment and that is the kind of behaviour you expect.

ALBANESE: You can imagine them sitting around going, you know: what is a distraction from all the Barnaby stuff? George, you know, thinking I’ve got an idea. It could have been worse, he could have done a nudie run down Mackay or something.

HOST: Hey Albo, before I let you go we love having you and Christopher Pyne on every Wednesday for Two Tribes. It’s always a rollicking segment. Can I just ask you, you clearly ran in the past for the Labor leadership. To use a line from Paul Keating, do you still have the leadership baton in your knapsack?

ALBANESE: I am quite happy with the job that I have got.

HOST: For now, or …?

ALBANESE: No, I am happy with the job I have got. And what I think in politics you’ve got to do, and this is what Barnaby has got to deal with things as they are, you’ve got to do the job that you have at any time to the best of your capacity. And I love this job. Last night here in Adelaide the Queen’s Baton Relay, that’s an important tourism event, the Commonwealth Games. I was here with the Lord Mayor and the Governor at that event. The infrastructure I love doing too and working with South Australians I have met and I had a chat again yesterday with Stephen Mullighan. He’s doing a great job here as Infrastructure Minister. And getting to see the product, like the North South Road upgrades. I look forward to coming back here and looking at the Light Rail upgrades.

HOST: It’s good having you here in Adelaide and we will chat to you again on Wednesday with your partner in hilarity, Christopher Pyne.

ALBANESE: It won’t be as good when Christopher is here as well.

HOST: He’s probably going to text us saying when he is going to get a seven- minutes free run without Albo interrupting?

ALBANESE: He interrupts all the time.

HOST: I think you both do a bit of that.

ALBANESE:  Although I think last week he was quite happy for me to talk and take up much of the time. He didn’t have much to say.

HOST: I don’t think he loved coming on to stick up for Barnaby. Anthony Albanese, great to have you here in Adelaide mate. Thanks for coming in.

ALBANESE: Great to be with you.

 

Feb 16, 2018

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subject: Barnaby Joyce

KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the show. What a week in politics. Barnaby Joyce surviving, but just. A new man about to take temporary charge of the country and this extraordinary announcement from a clearly rattled PM about his ministers having sexual relations with their staff. Take a look.

MALCOLM TURNBULL [CLIP] : Barnaby made a shocking error of judgment in having an affair with a young woman working in his office. In doing so, he has set off a world of woe for those women and appalled all of us.

STEFANOVIC: Wow. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Morning, gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher to you, first of all. What took the PM so long?

PYNE: I don’t think that’s fair. The Prime Minister made a very, very clear statement yesterday of leadership where he indicated to the women of Australia in particular, and the women who work for us in Parliament – because sadly still the majority of people in Parliament are still blokes – that we respect them, that they should be treated with respect in the workplace and that people who are their bosses effectively in the Cabinet etcetera should not have sexual relations with them in the office.

STEFANOVIC: The Prime Minister knew about this affair last year. He knew about it before the by-election and he chose to turn a blind eye. Why was he moralising yesterday and not then?

PYNE: Look, Karl, I wouldn’t categorise it that way.

STEFANOVIC: How would you categorise it? He knew about it last year and said nothing. He turned a blind eye. What happened yesterday?

PYNE: No, I don’t think that’s true. I think the truth is that nobody wants to interfere in the private relationships of anyone.

STEFANOVIC: He did yesterday. What’s the difference?

PYNE: Yesterday he made it very, very clear that he is not going to tolerate people having sex within the office.

STEFANOVIC: He knew about it last year. There’s no difference. You either believed it last year or you moved forward and you said no. But he knew about it last year did nothing about it. And yesterday he got on his pulpit and moralised.

PYNE: So you think he did the wrong thing yesterday, do you Karl?

STEFANOVIC: It’s not up to me to judge what the Prime Minister does. But you have to be consistent. And if he believed that was wrong, he should have said something last year.

PYNE: Well I think he’s done the right thing yesterday. I think he’s shown the leadership that is required of the Prime Minister. It’s one of the reasons we respect Malcolm Turnbull. What Barnaby Joyce…

STEFANOVIC: It was a PR stunt yesterday.

PYNE: No, it wasn’t, and what Barnaby Joyce has been doing in his private life nobody wants to pry into, but sadly…

STEFANOVIC: But he just did. The Prime Minister just did that yesterday and judged.

PYNE: No, but – what happened this last week is that the private became the public. And of course that has not been good for the Government, good for the Joyce family, good for Barnaby or good for his new partner and the Prime Minister made that very clear. The Ministerial Code of Conduct will be changed and I assume Bill Shorten will apply the same rules to the frontbench of the Labor Party.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, will you apply the same rules, Anthony?

ALBANESE: The Ministerial Code of Conduct is now in shreds. The fact is that it’s been ignored by Barnaby Joyce. The fact is that taxpayers funds have been misused. The fact is that Parliament has been misled. I’ve been the Deputy Prime Minister. The first job that you have to do is to deputise for the Prime Minister when the Prime Minister is away. Barnaby Joyce can’t do that job. Next week Barnaby Joyce goes on leave. He should just leave.

STEFANOVIC: This time last week you thought this was all going to blow over, Chris under the cover of privacy. You got that wrong. How will this on a practical sense be enforced? How would it prosecuted in the corridors of power?

PYNE: Well I’m not the policemen of the Ministerial Code of Conduct, Karl. I think what the Prime Minister has indicated for Ministers in the future is a modern workplace requirement which is that sex in the workplace is not good practice, will be have to be spelled out in the Code and I think that’s very sad.

STEFANOVIC: Isn’t that already spelled out?

ALBANESE: Common sense tells you that employers should not sleep with their employees. That’s common sense. What we’ve got here is a huge distraction.

STEFANOVIC: So why does he need to do that? Why does he need to do it then? Why does he need to alter it? He doesn’t trust Ministers.

PYNE: Well clearly, it did need to be spelt out in the Code which is of course incredibly disappointing.

STEFANOVIC: But you knew it.

PYNE: It is very disappointing for all of us that this has had to be spelled out in the Code but obviously, in the last week it’s become more and apparent that what was common sense has been breached. In the modern workplace, sex within the workplace is verboten. Sadly, that has to be spelled out.

ALBANESE: The Code has been breached, and the Prime Minister yesterday gave an extraordinarily strong statement against his own Deputy and he put his hand up and said ‘I’m the Prime Minister. I think the Deputy Prime Minister is hopeless. He should reconsider his position. He’s breached the Standards, but I can’t do anything about it’. This is a weak Prime Minister who is not in charge of his own show, let alone the country.
 
STEFANOVIC: So you don’t support a sex ban in Parliament?

ALBANESE: No employer, whether in Parliament or anywhere else, Channel Nine, anywhere else, should be sleeping with their employees. Common sense tells you that.

STEFANOVIC: So no change to the laws as far as you’re concerned?

ALBANESE: These aren’t changes to laws. These are changes to Ministerial Standards.

STEFANOVIC: So you’re saying no change needed?

ALBANESE: I’ve got no problem with any any change here. But the issue is that this is a distraction. The Ministerial Code has been breached by the Deputy Prime Minister. Everyone knows it, and the Prime Minister has been unable to act against him and remove him from his position because what we see is that the National Party are incapable of exercising any authority over themselves and the Prime Minister is incapable of acting here.

STEFANOVIC: It was odd behavior from the Prime Minister Yesterday, given that he knew about the affair last year, given what he knew about it before the by-election. How can you even justify that?

PYNE: Karl, It’s completely the opposite and I’m quite surprised that you would have taken the tact that you have. What Malcolm did yesterday was show real Prime Ministerial leadership and that’s what most of the media have taken.

STEFANOVIC: Why didn’t he do it last year? He knew about it last year. Why wouldn’t you do it last year?

PYNE: It was a private matter last year, Karl, but it has spilled out into the public, humiliating Natalie Joyce and their daughters; humiliating Barnaby and Ms Campion; we are in a completely different situation this week than we were three or four months ago and everyone can see that. What Malcolm has done yesterday is show the leadership that you would expect of someone of Malcolm Turnbull’s calibre.

STEFANOVIC: Late.

PYNE: And I assume Bill Shorten will apply the same rules to his own frontbench.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, tough to put that all on you, but we appreciate you showing up as always.

PYNE: It’s always a pleasure.

ALBANESE: I thought he might take leave.

STEFANOVIC: That’s a cheap shot.

ALBANESE: That would have been very sensible.

PYNE: Another cheap shot. I’m so used to them these days.

STEFANOVIC: But thank you guys, have a good weekend.

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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