Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
Jan 8, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – RN Breakfast with Hamish Macdonald

Subjects; Road safety, citizenship, negative gearing, Donald Trump

HAMISH MACDONALD: Labor’s infrastructure spokesperson, Anthony Albanese, is calling for urgent action to address the problem. He is in the studio with me this morning. Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Hamish.

MACDONALD: And Happy New Year. Welcome back. First day back at work for you is it?

ALBANESE: No, I’ve been working the whole way through unfortunately but I go on leave in two days’ time.

MACDONALD:  Great. Well I hope you’re doing something nice. Let’s start with this very sad news about the death toll. You want the Transport Infrastructure Council to meet urgently on the issue of road safety. Why? Why is that step necessary to take?

ALBANESE: Because what we need is a national response. We’ve got a national road safety strategy. This is the decade of road safety from 2011-2020. Clearly we’re not going to meet the targets that have been set if the current trends continue. We had a declining road toll in this country from 1970 right through to the last few years. Suddenly we’ve seen that reverse. What we need is the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council, all the state and territory jurisdictions to get together to talk about best practice, to hear from the experts, the police, the motoring organisations such as the NRMA, the RACV, about what we can do as a community as well to reduce the toll in the coming year. We need to reverse the trend and get back on that downward (inaudible).

MACDONALD:  But there were times when you were the relevant Minister that the figures went up as well…

ALBANESE: That’s not right.

MACDONALD:  2012, was there not a spike?

ALBANESE: That’s not right. The fact is that the toll continued to go down all the way through.

MACDONALD:  What happened in 2012 then?

ALBANESE: The national toll went down in 2012. The fact is that this isn’t a political issue and that’s why we should have all the jurisdictions, Labor should be represented there…

MACDONALD:  Can I just clarify – you’re talking about the annual road toll, or the Christmas road toll?

ALBANESE: The annual road toll went down year on year, every year, from the 1970s, essentially, right through until recent times. The real concern is that the increase we’ve seen year on year, in some jurisdictions in particular; New South Wales has gone up in the last year. It’s a matter of all of us, as a community, deciding what we can do. One of the things…

MACDONALD:  I’m just wondering though, what convening this national council would do given that all the states and territories have policies in place, there’s lots of money committed to this. Why would that kind of meeting help and improve this situation?

ALBANESE: Well it would help in two ways. One is that the national government has responsibility for regulation, so use of new technology for example, mandating all of those issues, which is the responsibility of the national government. One of the things we need to address is national uniformity of rules. We need to move towards, in my view, national licenses. We’ve done that in the heavy vehicle area. We did that while I was the Minister. We need to do that across the board so we don’t have licence shopping. Also, in itself, the fact that the national leaders in transport are coming together to discuss this, will, in itself, send a message to the community that this is a priority because one of the things that we have to do is to change behaviour.

This isn’t the responsibility of just government, or any political party, or just law enforcement, it’s the responsibility of all of us and at the end of the day you can’t legislate for common sense. One of things we need to do, for example, is look at the way that the use of new devices, iPhones, etc., the impact that that’s having and get that message through, particularly to young people who are disproportionately appearing in the figures and there’s no doubt that use of new technology while driving is one of the factors.

MACDONALD:  The former director at Monash University’s Accident and Research Centre, Rod McClure, told us last week that he has concerns about the focus on individual actions in regard to road safety.

I just want you to listen to what he had to say:

MCCLURE: I do think the review needs to not look for the plug in and play quick fix solution, which tends to focus on individual behaviour and individual behaviour, as you know, in obesity and a whole lot of other areas, in health, is something that is very difficult to change in isolation from the context in which that behaviour exists.

So if it’s not about individual action, how do you resolve an issue like this?

ALBANESE: Well I think, in part, it is about individual action. That’s the truth. Someone behind the wheel of a car has to understand that that can be a wonderful thing getting you from A to B, but it can also be a danger to yourself, to other people in the vehicle and other people who are sharing the road. But one of the things that governments are responsible for, for example, is delivery of infrastructure. There’s no doubt that dual carriageway on major highways has made a major difference.

There’s the issue of heavy vehicles, which the Federal Government also has responsibility for. Parliament abolished, a couple of years ago, the Heavy Vehicle Remuneration Tribunal. One of the things that it was looking at was safe rates and the pressure that’s placed on heavy vehicles drivers. It would appear that since its abolition there’s been a real spike in accidents involving heavy vehicles, particularly in New South Wales. And it wasn’t replaced with anything. So what are we going to replace it with? Hopefully in a way that is by consensus, so that you don’t have regulation changing when the Government changes as well. That’s why I think a roundtable discussion, with people with the power to make decisions around that table, is a way forward.

MACDONALD:  You would have heard in the news this morning quite a bit about the previously undisclosed Treasury advice to the Government about negative gearing policies. Your Party has copped a fair bit of flak for its position on this matter. I suppose you’ll be crowing about what we’ve learned today but it doesn’t mean that we’re any closer to having any of those policy changes in place.

ALBANESE: Well no wonder the Government fought for two years to stop the ABC from having this advice because what it shows is that, from the Prime Minister through to the Treasurer, through to the assistant Treasurer and other senior Ministers, they’ve all been lying about what the advice was. This is advice from Treasury that says that it might have a minor impact on prices. But also, importantly, it indicates that there will be a change, if you like, so more owner-occupiers, less domestic investors, which is precisely what the policy was aimed at achieving.

MACDONALD:  So you would go as far as to say lying?

ALBANESE: Absolutely.

MACDONALD:  Who? Who was lying?

ALBANESE: The Prime Minister, the Treasurer, Peter Dutton, others who have gone out there and said very clearly that this was going to destroy the economy, destroy house prices. They know that that’s not the case and the sort of exaggeration that we’ve seen from them gives them no credit. The fact that they had this advice and hid it. Kelly O’Dwyer, I notice, the assistant Treasurer, who they sent out, they threw her under the bus. The Treasurer hasn’t been out there defending this and this morning she was doubling down and attempting to say that somehow this advice was not the full story but wouldn’t say whether there was any other Treasury advice that contradicted this.

MACDONALD:  How then do you explain the fact that there is such reluctance to deal with negative gearing as an issue?

ALBANESE: It’s a product unfortunately of the nature of politics at the moment, which is that if Labor came up with the policy, the Government’s immediate response was to say no. This is a Government that is acting like an Opposition in exile. They said no to everything, they were in that negative mindset while they were in Opposition. Part of their problem with the lack of narrative or sense of purpose from the Abbott and then the Turnbull Governments, is that they’re not able to move forward in a positive way and they reacted immediately to our policy announcement. They, themselves, were considering policy measures about negative gearing and about capital gains, the discount, when we came out with our policy. It was a brave policy to come out with from Opposition, but it’s the right policy. We never said it would fix everything in itself, and it’s a modest measure, but it’s one that should be implemented.

MACDONALD:  The dual citizenship question is back in the news again today, very early in the New Year. Some advice regarding Susan Lamb, one of Labor’s MPs, and her citizenship status. She’s a British citizen; she’s a joint British citizen, isn’t she?

ALBANESE: No, Susan Lamb did what was required…

MACDONALD:  Hold on, let’s just answer that question. Is she, or is she not a dual British citizen?

ALBANESE: I don’t know. Susan Lamb did what was necessary, which was…

MACDONALD:  Hold on, you must know. It’s all over the newspapers. You must have spoken to her. You must know what the advice is.

ALBANESE: Her advice is that she has done what is necessary, which is to take all reasonable steps. She applied for the renunciation and she got told she wasn’t a British citizen. That there wasn’t any evidence…

MACDONALD:  Her renunciation was rejected because there was not enough evidence provided.

ALBANESE: Because there was no evidence that she was a British citizen. That’s what happened.

MACDONALD:  Hold on. It was the absence of a marriage certificate of her parents, right, which she could have tried to obtain but didn’t.

ALBANESE: Well I’m not sure the circumstances of why that couldn’t be obtained.

MACDONALD:  It’s not what couldn’t be, it’s that it wasn’t. She didn’t apply for it in Queensland, where they were married.

ALBANESE: What she did was, she applied for a renunciation of what she thought might be her British citizenship and she was told that there was no evidence that she was a British citizen, by the British Government. That is, and she has legal advice…

MACDONALD:  She was told there wasn’t enough evidence for them to confirm her renunciation, that she hadn’t provided enough documentation. That’s what she was told.

ALBANESE: That’s not right and I’m sorry but a media report doesn’t confirm that that’s the case.

MACDONALD:  But she wrote to them, ticking a box, in 2016, this is the British Home Office, ticking a box saying I am a British citizen…

ALBANESE: And wanting to renunciate and she received advice back from the British Government that she couldn’t. That they couldn’t process her renunciation and her fee returned, because there was no evidence that she was a British citizen.

MACDONALD:  Sure. But the evidence that she was required to submit was a marriage certificate for her parents, which she hadn’t even applied to get from the state of Queensland.

ALBANESE: Well it’s not quite that simple and in terms of…

MACDONALD:  Well tell us what more there is to it then.

ALBANESE: I’m not Susan Lamb.

MACDONALD:  Come on, you’re here. You’re the man in the studio.

ALBANESE: Well I’m not Susan Lamb and I’m telling you that she has legal advice, very clear legal advice, that she has fulfilled the requirements, which are reasonable steps.

MACDONALD:  You’re mounting the defence for her.

ALBANESE: I am indeed.

MACDONALD:  What did she do to get the marriage certificate of her parents in Queensland?

ALBANESE: That’s not the test. The test is, has she taken reasonable steps to renunciate….

MACDONALD:  All reasonable steps…

ALBANESE: Her British citizenship.

MACDONALD:  All reasonable steps.

ALBANESE: Now you’re trying to, with due respect Justice Macdonald, what you’re trying to do now is to reinterpret the High Court’s rulings. The High Court have said that you have to take reasonable steps. Now someone, before they nominate, fills out a form, pays a fee and sends it off to the UK. That is reasonable steps. That’s the legal advice that Susan Lamb has.

MACDONALD:  Are we saying that there’s a difference between reasonable steps and all reasonable steps?

ALBANESE: I don’t know, that’s a matter for lawyers.

MACDONALD:  I can hear your phone is going; clearly you’re getting some messages.

ALBANESE: No. That’s Siri, trying to interpret our conversation.

MACDONALD:  I want to put to you some of the tweets from Donald Trump, one of the tweets from Donald Trump, the leader of the United States, our closest ally. He’s responded to this book that’s come out and he’s said, ‘actually throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being like, really smart. I went from very successful businessman, to top TV star, to President of the United States on my first try. I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius and a very stable genius at that.’ What do you think when you hear that from the leader of our closest ally?

ALBANESE: Well they’re interesting, his comments, and I would be more comfortable I think, as would many American citizens, if there were less tweets from the President and perhaps if they had less things in capital letters and with exclamation marks.

MACDONALD:  Does it sound stable to you?

ALBANESE: I think that we would all be better off, and the President would be better off, if he got some advice to maybe not communicate as much through tweets with grand statements. I think that the high office of President of the United States requires very much considered responses. He is elected, I have respect for the office of the President of the United States, they are friends of ours and they remain friends. I think that the debate that’s going on at the moment is most unfortunate.

MACDONALD:  We’ll have to leave it there. Anthony Albanese, thank you very much.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.



Jan 4, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Melbourne

Subjects; Victorian infrastructure, Barnaby Joyce, medicinal cannabis exports, Peter Dutton comments

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for joining me. Today I want to call upon the incoming Infrastructure Minister, Barnaby Joyce, to address the fact that Victoria is receiving just 9.7 per cent of the federal infrastructure budget, in spite of the fact that it’s Australia’s fastest growing state, comprising more than 25 percent of the population.

Since the change of Government, we’ve seen a massive decline in support for infrastructure projects here in Victoria. Indeed, a decline from $201 per Victorian from the Federal Government down to $92. And, indeed, they haven’t even delivered what they said they would do. In their first four Budgets, the Federal Government said it would invest $3.3 billion in Victorian infrastructure; that investment was only $2.3 billion.

What we have here is a Federal Government that is giving more than 45 percent of the national infrastructure budget to New South Wales and, of course, primarily to Sydney. That’s not fair and that’s not a Government that is representing the needs of all Australians.

The Andrews Government has had to go it alone on the Melbourne Metro project because the cuts that were made by Tony Abbott have been reinforced by Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull likes coming to Melbourne occasionally and likes travelling on trams and taking selfies on them.

It’s about time he funded public transport in this growing city of Melbourne and indeed throughout Victoria as the former Federal Labor Government did when we funded the Regional Rail Link project – the largest ever infrastructure investment by a Commonwealth Government in a public transport project in Australia’s history. Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] …Victorian and South Australian Governments as well?

ALBANESE: Look they have made their submissions. Melbourne Metro was approved by Infrastructure Australia years ago in 2012. What we have is a Government that came in in 2013 and cut $3 billion from the Melbourne Metro, cut $500 million from the M80 project, has refused to give the appropriate level of support either here in Victoria or in South Australia. This will see, in South Australia, the share of funding decline to just two percent in the year 2020-21. This isn’t just a smaller share of a growing pie; this is a smaller share of a smaller infrastructure budget.

Over the next decade, the Parliamentary Budget Office has found that infrastructure investment will decline from 0.4 percent of the economy, of GDP, to 0.2 percent; or half. This Government doesn’t have a plan for growth and for jobs and for infrastructure investment. It’s seeing it decline from the $9.2 billion infrastructure budget that it was supposed to spend in 2016-17. That falls off to $4.2 billion over the forward estimates by more than half.

The fact is that this is a Government that is particularly punishing Victorians and also South Australians, it must be said, into the future. But Victorians have been punished from day one because Victoria, particularly, suffered from the massive cuts that occurred in the 2014 Budget by Tony Abbott’s Government. The fact is that Malcolm Turnbull has different rhetoric on public transport and cities, but not different substance.

JOURNALIST: How big should the infrastructure budget be?

ALBANESE: Well what we need to do is invest in good infrastructure projects because over a period of time they pay back that investment to Government and to the national economy by growing the economy, by increasing revenue. So projects like the Melbourne Metro are absolutely vital projects for Melbourne, but also as a great global city, for the national economy as well. That’s why the Commonwealth Government needs to invest in Melbourne Metro, but needs to invest in other important projects here in Victoria as well.

JOURNALIST: How much more should the Federal Government in your opinion be giving the state of Victoria?

ALBANESE: Well what should be happening is that it should be giving round about the proportion to the population. You’d expect if you’ve got 25 percent of the population, you’d be receiving one in four of the Commonwealth infrastructure dollars.

Now, from time to time there will be variation in that because there will be particular projects that have an impact on the national economy, but you’d expect in particular that Victoria if anything would be getting potentially more than 25 per cent, because it is a growing state and Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing city.

So it’s certainly not getting its share. They could start by contributing those dollars that have been cut over the Government Budgets. They’re not even contributing the money that they themselves said they would.

See, if you look at the Budget figures in the first four Budgets of the Abbott and Turnbull Governments, it adds up to $3.3 billion for Victoria, but the actual investment is only $2.3 billion, or a $1 billion cut. That’s a cut to Black Spots. A cut to the Heavy Vehicle Safety Program. Cuts to major infrastructure funding here in Victoria and it’s simply not good enough.

Barnaby Joyce, as the incoming Minister, who’s the Deputy Prime Minister  is a guy of course who represents a New South Wales seat, goes for Queensland in State of Origin. He needs to actually visit Victoria and Melbourne and convince the Australian public that he will be an Infrastructure Minister for the whole country, not just for the National Party seats in New South Wales and Queensland. That means he needs to fund infrastructure here in Victoria.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

ALBANESE: We’ve been supportive of medicinal use of marijuana and cannabis products and it appears to me that Greg Hunt’s move is a sensible move forward. These issues are bipartisan across the Parliament. We know the medicinal use of cannabis can alleviate people’s health issues and therefore if Australia is in a position to provide support, it should do so.

JOURNALIST: What do you make of Peter Dutton’s comments that people are too scared to go out to restaurants in Melbourne?

ALBANESE: Well, I was in Melbourne last night. I didn’t notice any reluctance of people on the streets of Melbourne to go out and this morning I haven’t seen any reluctance when I’ve been travelling to and from meetings here in the CBD as well.

I think Peter Dutton has a serious office as the Minister for Home Affairs. He needs to treat that great honour with the dignity and with the respect and with the gravitas that it deserves. Playing to the crowd on Sydney radio about Melbourne doesn’t make much sense, doesn’t actually do anything to address the real issues of crime that need to be addressed.

But we also need to put these things in perspective. What we’ve seen on the latest figures is actually a drop for the first time in the 12 month figures of crime here in Victoria. We’ve also seen year on year, a continuous decline in youth crime here in Victoria and people like Peter Dutton need to stop playing politics with what are serious issues and require serious responses.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

ALBANESE: What matters here is the police’s view of these issues. There’s no doubt that a disproportionate number of African youth as a percentage of the population have been engaged in committing crime. That needs to be addressed.

The Commonwealth Government could make a contribution by actually not cutting the AFP funds as they have. The Commonwealth Government could make a contribution by not cutting new migrant services as they have, and support for people to get into employment, and by addressing those issues.

And the police should be given every support that they require and I know that the Andrews Government is employing 3000 additional police here in Victoria. It deserves better than having a Queensland Minister on Sydney radio talking about Melbourne from a distance just in order to score a political point.

I think Peter Dutton’s comments should be seen for what they are – all about politics, in conjunction with the Liberal Party here in Victoria which is obviously desperate for an issue against the Andrews Government that is governing effectively here in Victoria.

The Federal Government could do worse than look at the Andrews Government, that actually has an agenda to govern. It has an agenda for building infrastructure, for supporting schools, for supporting hospitals. For supporting major reform such as the reform that went through last year about domestic violence.

The Commonwealth Government doesn’t have an agenda. All they have is politics and that’s why the Turnbull Government is flailing around looking for an issue. Peter Dutton needs to be a part of solutions, not just yelling about issues from a far distance.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

ALBANESE: We have a robust, and positive, and constructive relationship with the United States. That is particularly Defence related and I’m confident in our Defence arrangements. These issues are bipartisan. They’re worked on in the national interest.

Labor will continue to be a part of a positive, constructive dialogue about our Defence capabilities and our Defence needs. Thank you.



Jan 4, 2018

Time to end anti-Victorian funding cuts

Newly installed Infrastructure and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce must end the politics, reverse his Government’s savage cuts and provide Victoria with its fair share of Federal infrastructure funding.

According to the Government’s own figures, as revealed in last month’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), Victoria will receive a paltry 9.7 per cent of the Federal infrastructure budget this financial year (2017-18) – and that’s despite the State being home to 25 per cent of Australians.

But not satisfied with denying Victoria its fair share, they have also failed to
deliver what limited funding they did promise.

Indeed, in their first four budgets the Government said it would invest $3.3 billion in Victoria’s rail and road infrastructure.

The actual figure ended up being $2.3 billion, which represents an actual cut of $1 billion.

They have cut funding for major road and rail projects.

They have cut funding for fixing dangerous blackspots on local roads.

They have even cut funding for building new roadside facilities such as rest stops for truck drivers.

Put simply, the Turnbull Government has walked away from Victorians and left it to the Andrews Labor Government to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to delivering the infrastructure vital to Victoria’s future such as the Melbourne Metro.  The fact is without transformative projects like the Metro the cost of Melbourne’s traffic congestion will more than triple to $9 billion a year by 2031.

All up, Federal infrastructure investment per Victorian has more than halved from $201 under the former Federal Labor Government to $92 under the current Turnbull Government.

As Australia’s fastest growing state, Victoria deserves better.

Jan 4, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 2GB Chris Kenny

Subjects; Peter Dutton comments; road safety.

CHRIS KENNY: Anthony Albanese has had a bit of a spray at Peter Dutton for what he said on this program yesterday about African youth crime gangs in Melbourne. He joins me on the line now. Happy New Year to you Albo.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: And to you Chris, all the best.

KENNY: Yes, all the best to you too. I’d be interested to get your thoughts on all of this. Let’s start at the pointy end though and say, what do you think it is that Peter Dutton has said yesterday that was over the top?

ALBANESE: The idea that Melbourne is Mogadishu with better coffee is quite frankly over the top.

KENNY: I don’t think he called it Mogadishu.

ALBANESE: The idea that Victorians are not going out to restaurants, as the Shadow Tourism Minister, that’s a very damaging thing to say about Melbourne. I was in Melbourne last night and this morning and I got asked and I made the point that people were going about their business pretty freely and that the restaurants at a time like January are busy and it’s an important time for the tourism sector and for jobs. Peter Dutton, I think has just gone a bit over the top.

KENNY: I don’t think anyone would be suggesting that the CBD restaurants would be empty and that no one is going out at all in Melbourne, but isn’t it the case that in some of the affected areas…

ALBANESE: He did say that.

KENNY: He said Victorians are worried about going out to dinner, not going out to dinner because of that. Is that not the case in some of the affected suburbs that people are worried about going out and about because the gangs have been rampant?

ALBANESE: I think you need to identify problems as they are and as you know Chris, I’m not someone who shies away from straight talking about issues where there are problems. My concern is that Peter Dutton’s comments will be a distraction from actually what’s needed to deal with what is a very real issue. Crime is an issue. The fact is that people from different African communities are overrepresented when it comes to offences from young people. But at the same time, it needs to be acknowledged that overall crime rates have actually fallen in the last year in Melbourne for the first time in a long while. Youth crime rates have fallen year on year for a number of years now.

So we need to identify what the issues are and deal with them as they are. There’s a range of measures obviously required; law enforcement is one of them. But the sort of work that someone like Chris Riley has done with Youth Off the Streets in my community in the Inner West, in Western Sydney, in Logan, which has a high African youth population in the outskirts of Brisbane there and in Melbourne where Lindsay Fox has actually pitched in, as he tends to do, as a great Australian citizen, and has bought a truck for Chris Riley’s operation. Now they’re dealing directly, in particular, with the Sudanese community. I’ve seen the work first hand that Chris Riley has done engaging them, trying to assist them with getting into jobs and feeling a part of the community. We need to work with the leaders of those communities. They are very keen obviously.

KENNY: Yes, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel here, Anthony Albanese. As you say we’ve had youth gang problems in various parts of the country at various times and we know that you need to intervene to try to fix them. So you do concede though that there is an African young gang crime problem in Melbourne at the moment?

ALBANESE: Of course there’s an issue. There’s no question that there’s an issue.

KENNY: And does it frighten some people? Have you spoken to Victorians who are frightened about the public safety here?

ALBANESE: I have no doubt that there are real issues. I read the paper and there was a gentleman who was in a community in the western suburbs of Melbourne where there was a party that got out of control and people were engaged in anti-social behaviour and the police had to come in. Obviously they are circumstances that should not happen. They need to be dealt with.

But they need to be dealt with in a proper and frank way, in a way that isn’t seeking, in this quiet period of the political news cycle, try and run in what is a state election year in Victoria. It would appear that there’s a coordinated response from the Federal Coalition with the State Coalition. Ironically the State Liberal Leader doesn’t mind going out to dinner in Melbourne. Indeed, he’s been pinged for going out with one of the leaders of the Italian crime…

KENNY: That’s your gang, the Italian gang.

ALBANESE: He didn’t mind going out and having a lobster with a mobster down there. But he’s out there arguing the case here pretty stridently.

KENNY: There’s no doubt it’s a big political issue, but I mean that is obviously feeding off public concern as well. I wonder whether you’re concerned, Anthony Albanese, about the judiciary, about the message we’re getting from the courts, particularly in Victoria with this revelation today that a 17 year old youth who is facing allegations or charges that he kicked a police officer in the head. And this is a young man, a 17 year old who has already been on probation, who has already had a history of serious offences.

And the Police Minister in Victoria has criticised the fact that this 17 year old is out on bail even though facing a charge of kicking a police officer in the head. The Police Minister Lisa Neville calls this court decision, the Children’s Court decision as incomprehensible. I think most people in this country would agree with her.

ALBANESE: That’s right. I mean, our police put their bodies on the line and they do it for all of us, so that we can feel more comfortable and secure and any threat to a police officer, let alone actual physical violence should receive a strong response from the judicial system. There’s no question about that. I’m not talking specifically about the case because I don’t know all of the details. But as a general principle, we need to send a very clear message to the community that it’s hands off our police officers who do such a fantastic job.

I mean, the police in this area, there was a crime problem in Marrickville, something I am very conscious about. But when I was first elected at the end of the 1990s, what happened when the drug trade got shut down in Cabramatta, some of it moved here to Marrickville. We had to deal with syringes at the back of the office and a whole lot of issues that come with drug related crime, you know, break and enters increased, all of that.

The police did an amazing job of really connecting up with community leaders as well as connecting up with the various communities. You know, there were a few bad eggs but fundamentally most people I think in society are good people.

KENNY: We sometimes forget that, that most people are on the good side of any particular issue, any particular debate. I don’t want to hold you up too long, Anthony Albanese, but while I’ve got you on the line, given your background…

ALBANESE: We can chat for a long time. Most my colleagues are on leave across the Parliament, I think.

KENNY: Fair enough. We will expand upon your agenda for the nation. Look, I want to go back, you’ve had a longstanding expertise and experience in transport both as a minister and in opposition. We’ve been talking a lot about road safety over the past couple of days and one of the things we’ve been focusing on is the increased number of heavy vehicle crashes and speaking to truckies and people involved in the trucking industry about the hours that truck drivers have to spend behind the wheel in order to meet the demands of customers and employers and in order to make ends meet. They are legally able to as you would know, with fatigue management training, to drive for 14 hours a day, days on end. Now, this surely is not the best thing for safety on our roads. We have to find a way to limit the hours that truck drivers drive to something more sensible, such as eight hours a day.

ALBANESE: That’s exactly right, Chris. What we need is safe rates and this has been an issue which produced a bipartisan report called Burning the Midnight Oil a few years ago and that led to the support for the creation of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal which occurred when I was the Transport Minister. Now, it made a decision as a Tribunal that was a problem, I acknowledge that, in 2016, but the government responded by removing the whole thing and hasn’t put anything in its place.

I’m very sympathetic with truck drivers, a lot of whom of course are owner operators. They’re struggling. Their wives will often do the bookwork for them. If they get on okay they might have a couple of trucks and have someone working for them, but these are hard working Australians who are put under enormous pressure when told ‘here you go, this is basically a 10 hour trip common sense tells you with proper stops, but we’ll pay you for eight’ and that’s the sort of thing that goes on.

We need to have the full chain of responsibility to make sure that people can’t put undue pressure on truck drivers. There was a case recently out there very publicly about Tip-Top and the pressures that the drivers of the bread trucks who we rely upon to get bread in the morning were being put under. And I think you know, this really does need a response. It should be a bipartisan issue and it should be something that we as a community back in.

KENNY: It’s got to involve the trucking companies and the big customers as well as government.

ALBANESE: And by and large you, know the big companies, the Lindsay Foxes, the Tolls, they’re people who tend to do the right thing. But there are a lot of people out there who don’t do the right thing and that places pressure on the truck drivers, but of course that places an issue on all of us who are on the roads. All of us have had the experience of having a truck up the back of us a bit too close.

The pressure that they’re under means that in the last few years there of course has been an increase after decades of decline in the number of fatalities on our roads, but in the last few in particular, since the abolition the Tribunal we have seen a trend back towards more accidents involving heavy vehicles and that’s why I’ve said that Barnaby Joyce as the new Minister should convene a meeting of the Ministerial Council, the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council, all the State and Territory ministers who by and large control the road rules etc.

But we should also make sure that we involve the motoring organisations, police and law enforcement, and make sure that we can sit down and try and get to the nub of why it is after decades of decline it’s going in reverse direction.

KENNY: Absolutely.

ALBANESE: At this time of the year, for those people who have family, friends or members of their community who have suffered tragedy over the Christmas period, it’s a tragedy that will return to them every year.

KENNY: Exactly. It requires a renewed effort nationwide, there’s no doubt about that. Thanks so much for joining us Anthony.

ALBANESE: Good on you Chris, always good to talk to you.



Jan 3, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Adelaide

Subjects; South Australian infrastructure cuts, Barnaby Joyce, Tony Abbott, US Ambassador

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The incoming Infrastructure Minister Barnaby Joyce has a real challenge on his hands and he must deliver for South Australia.

At the moment, the way that the Budget is configured, in this year South Australia will receive $921 million dollars of federal infrastructure funding. In four years’ time at the end of the forward estimates in 2020-21, South Australia will receive just $95 million, or a cut of some 90 per cent compared with this year.

On top of that, in their first four Budgets, the Federal Government hasn’t spent the money that they themselves said they would spend. Some $400 million has been cut from the funds that the Federal Government said they would invest when they brought down their budgets on Budget nights. What that could have done is do the next extension of the North-South corridor in between the Torrens to Torrens section that’s under construction and the South Road Superway. We could also, of course, have support for AdeLINK, South Australia’s extension of the light rail network.

It’s very clear that Barnaby Joyce has a challenge as the Deputy Prime Minister and as Infrastructure Minister to deliver for South Australia and he needs to do that. And he needs to make it clear what the Federal Government’s priorities are before the South Australian state election is held in March.

JOURNALIST: Does at least some of the responsibility for this though lie with the South Australian Government being more proactive and working harder to get that Federal funding?

ALBANESE: No it’s absolute nonsense. The fact is that the South Australian Government has put forward the submissions for light rail, the Adelaide AdeLINK project. We committed to the project as the Labor Party prior to the Federal Election in 2016.

So this is a light rail extension into the suburbs of Adelaide that is ready to go. We also know in terms of the North South road corridor that the section between Torrens to Torrens, which is under construction now and the Superway is also ready to go and that it would save money by getting that project underway as soon as possible – a swift flow.

What we know for example with Torrens to Torrens is that it was fully funded by the former Federal Labor Government. The current Federal Government stopped that project for two years while they prevaricated and said that their first priority was Darlington, whereas it was Torrens to Torrens that was ready to go in construction.

So it’s very clear that what we have is a massive bias. We have something like 45 per cent of this year’s Federal infrastructure budget going to New South Wales. We have South Australia missing out on those funds and over the coming years up to 2020-21, the Federal Government currently has no money whatsoever for that section of the North South corridor even though they themselves have said that they’re committed to its full duplication. Malcolm Turnbull says he is committed to public transport funding but he won’t put a dollar into Adelaide’s light rail extension.

JOURNALIST: There’s been some suggestion from the State Opposition and Nick Xenophon that this state needs a state-based independent infrastructure body. Do you think something like that might help this kind of situation?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that this state has got its infrastructure priorities right. The extension of the North South corridor is South Australia’s most important road network.

We know what has to be done there; the full duplication of that corridor. When we were in Government we more than doubled infrastructure investment in South Australia. South Australia has been the best state when it comes to getting the planning right. Adelaide’s light rail extension; we know that that is a priority for Adelaide. We know that it took a former Federal Labor Government to turn the Noarlunga to Seaford rail extension into a reality, to fund the Northern Expressway, to fund the South Road Superway, to fund Torrens to Torrens. All of these projects.

But what we’ve seen from a Federal Coalition Government is a failure to actually invest. Over the coming decade, infrastructure investment as a proportion of the economy will fall from 0.4 percent to 0.2; or half. That’s what the Parliamentary Budget Office says. Now that will have a real impact on our national economy and on growth and on jobs. But what we have is a particular impact on South Australia due to this 90 per cent fall in funding when it comes to Federal infrastructure funds.

Barnaby Joyce, the new Minister, has to get on top of this issue and has to explain either why that’s legitimate or secondly fix it. And as Deputy Prime Minister you now have someone as Infrastructure Minister who has the capacity to make a difference. My concern is that Barnaby Joyce historically has said that any investment in our cities including Adelaide is a waste. And he has indeed ridiculed investment in public transport and in our cities in the past.

He needs to provide that assurance to the Australian public, 80 percent of whom live in our major cities, that indeed he as Infrastructure and Transport Minister will take this responsibility seriously.

JOURNALIST: Just on another topic we’re three days into the New Year and Tony Abbott’s already causing trouble for the Coalition. What do you make of that and what do you think is going to happen in 2018?

ALBANESE: Well the drama goes on in the Coalition. Tony Abbott’s out there on page one of his favourite newspaper today once again causing trouble for the Coalition. Causing trouble on the basis of something that, when he was in Government, and signed up to the Paris Accords as the Prime Minister of Australia that envisaged, of course, the issue in terms of international carbon credits being a part of the international regime. He wasn’t critical then. He is critical now. He is going out of his way to look for issues in which he can complain and contradict and campaign against Malcolm Turnbull in such a relentless fashion.

Yesterday it was, of course, on the issue of the Republic. Today it’s on the issue of climate change. Tomorrow it will be something else, I have no doubt. So a lot of politicians have had a bit of a break over Christmas. Tony Abbott has been relentlessly working day after day to undermine Turnbull and I expect that that will continue. Because Malcolm Turnbull’s Government doesn’t have an agenda. He came out and said that there should be some advance on the Republic and couldn’t hold that position for 24 hours before he backed off and said well maybe not this term, sometime in the future.

Well, Malcolm Turnbull is unlikely to be there sometime in the future so commitments into the never never from him, of all people, aren’t worth anything at all. What we’re seeing is that Tony Abbott is stepping into the vacuum that Malcolm Turnbull is creating because he doesn’t have an agenda for Government.

JOURNALIST: What’s Labor’s position on the idea raised by a Liberal MP that tourists should face more stringent checks before driving in Australia?

ALBANESE: Well what we’d need to do is properly examine any proposals. The concern there would be of course, that if Australia did that then you could expect it to be reciprocated. Australians when they travel to Europe or in the United States drive cars. That’s why we would need to be very cautious about measures such as that. But that’s why that could be one of the options for discussion at an emergency meeting of the Infrastructure and Transport Ministerial Council. I’ve called for that to happen when it comes to road safety. What we saw from the 1970s right through to the last few years is substantial falls in the number of fatalities on our roads. In the last three years we’ve seen that reverse.

Barnaby Joyce should convene a meeting of State and Territory Transport Ministers. He should invite the Opposition, certainly Labor would want to participate in a constructive way. All of these ideas shouldn’t be party political. What they should be is about how can we, as not just Government, but as a society involving the motoring organisations in the respective states, involving law enforcement and the police in respective states, get together to do all that we can as a community to reduce the road toll because the toll over the festive period was quite frankly horrific. For all of those people who suffered over that period, they all have family, they have friends and they are a part of communities. And those communities, and those family members will remember the Christmas period of 2017-18 with a great deal of trauma in future years as well.

JOURNALIST: Tim Fischer’s comments. Do you think that it’s dragged on too long to get a US Ambassador here in Australia?

ALBANESE: I think that’s really a matter for the US, but we of course would welcome the United States appointing an Ambassador here. We are friends of the United States and we would expect that the United States would regard the appointment of an Ambassador to Australia as being an important post. Certainly in the past it’s been filled by people with a great deal of dignity, who have worked very hard to build that relationship. So we would want to see that appointment made as soon as possible. But that of course is a matter for the Trump administration.

JOURNALIST: Do you think it’s a sign of further dysfunction in the Trump administration?

ALBANESE: It’s a matter for the U.S. administration. I caught up with our Ambassador to the United States in Washington Joe Hockey, over December. I had a chat with him. He certainly is in my view doing a good job as the Australian Ambassador. Representatives of nations who are friends have an important role to play in fostering that friendship and certainly notwithstanding the fact that the United States have not made that appointment, there are a number of U.S. representatives here, of course, in Australia who are working hard on fostering that relationship and I’m sure they’ll continue to do so.

JOURNALIST: Just finally on GST, the Government’s pushed back the date for the report on the inquiry. Do you think, or does the ALP think, that GST needs fundamental reform?

ALBANESE: Well I do think that South Australians are entitled to know what the Federal Coalition Government has in mind before the South Australian election in March. I’m somewhat cynical about the fact that you have state elections in South Australia and Tasmania in March and you have this GST review pushed out beyond that date. The Government really needs to explain prior to those March elections what it has in store for South Australians.

JOURNALIST: Just on that question of the 90 percent fall in infrastructure funding, would you expect the Coalition Government to sort of rejig the figures or look again if the Liberals win the state election here? I mean is the bias just against South Australia or is the bias against the Labor Government in South Australia.

ALBANESE: (Inaudible) What we want to see is those figures fixed immediately. What we’re seeing is a general drop off in infrastructure investment. What there is though on top of that is a particular bias against South Australia and against Victoria. Victoria is serving nine percent of the national funds. South Australia in 2020-21 is receiving two per cent of the national infrastructure budget. Quite clearly that’s not good enough.

And let me tell you if the Coalition does do something about that, then I think the chances of South Australians voting for them in March are diminished because it will be a sign that the Federal Coalition can’t do anything and isn’t concerned about the interests of South Australia. In general there is concern that this Government, and I say this as someone from Sydney, this Coalition Government is too Sydney focused, that they need to address the issues of the entire nation not just the east and state capitals and not just Sydney. Thank you.



Jan 3, 2018

Infrastructure Funding for SA to Plummet to Just 2 Per Cent

Newly installed Infrastructure and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce must reverse his Government’s savage cuts to Federal investment in South Australia’s rail, road and public transport infrastructure.

According to the Turnbull Government’s own Budget Papers, Federal investment in the State will plummet by 90 per cent from $921 million this financial year (2017-18) to $95 million in 2020-21 – see graph below.

Such massive cuts will lead to worsening traffic congestion in Adelaide and much slower economic and jobs growth from one end of the State to the other.  And this comes at a time when South Australia is coping with the fallout from other Federal policies, most notably their shameful decision to force the closure of our domestic car manufacturing industry.

Put simply, investment in infrastructure matters.

What’s more, if Mr Joyce does not act, then by 2020-21 only 2 per cent of the Federal infrastructure budget will be going to South Australia – and that’s despite the State being home to more than 7 per cent of Australians.

That would be a grossly unfair outcome.

And worse still, the cuts over the next four years would be on top of the cuts the Turnbull Government has already inflicted on South Australia.  Indeed, in their first four budgets they promised to invest $2.4 billion in the State’s rail, road and public transport infrastructure.

The actual figure ended up being $2 billion, which represents a cut of $400 million.

The fact is the money they cut could have been used to accelerate the roll out of the new AdeLINK tram network or help complete the remaining stages of the North South road corridor upgrade.

By contrast, the former Federal Labor Government (2007-2013) almost tripled annual Federal infrastructure investment in the State from $109 to $272 per South Australian.


Jan 3, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – 1395 FiveAA

Subjects; South Australian infrastructure cuts; Barnaby Joyce

TONY PILKINGTON: Albo, good morning and a Happy New Year.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Tony. Good to be with you again.

PILKINGTON: Yeah, that story very quickly. That’s true? You didn’t meet your dad until you were what, 20s or 30s?

ALBANESE: No, it was much later than that indeed, in my 40s. I met him in 2009 and he passed away in 2014, but at least we got to meet up and that was a good thing.

PILKINGTON: Amazing story.

ALBANESE: If they want all the detail, Karen Middleton wrote about it in her book, a biography.

PILKINGTON: So you were raised by single mum in Sydney all of those years ago. That wouldn’t have been easy, but you knew your dad was alive or you didn’t know that he was living overseas, living in Italy?

ALBANESE: No, I was told that he died before I was born.

PILKINGTON: Really? I’d forgotten that.

ALBANESE: It was, I guess, very difficult for women to have children out of wedlock in the 1960s.

PILKINGTON: So Albo, how did you find out your dad was still alive? Did your mum tell you?

ALBANESE: She told me when I was a teenager, when she thought I was old enough to know the real story and then much later in life, she passed away in 2002. My son had been born in 2000 and I thought about trying to find him and I was successful.

PILKINGTON: It’s a great story, but we’ve got to get onto politics now. That story’s a bloody sight more interesting than politics. Okay. You wanted to talk about an initiative from Barnaby Joyce that will affect the economy of South Australia, what’s it all about?

ALBANESE: Well, that’s right. I’m visiting Adelaide today to talk about the savage cuts in the Budget for South Australian infrastructure when it comes to a federal contribution over the next four years. The Budget figures show that it will go from getting $921 million this current financial year, dropping off to $95 million dollars in 2020-21.

PILKINGTON: What’s the reasoning Barnaby Joyce is giving?

ALBANESE: It’s just a part of the cuts that are there in the Budget that are substantial. That would represent just 2 per cent of the federal infrastructure budget going to South Australia and that’s just not fair. As you would be aware, South Australia is home to more than 7 percent of Australians and that’s why it’s absolutely critical that Barnaby Joyce as the incoming minister say ‘this isn’t fair, I’m going to fix it, and I’m going to give South Australia its share’ and of course there are projects that are ready to go. The AdeLINK light rail project is important. The ongoing issue of the North-South corridor. What you could do is Torrens to Torrens that are well under under construction now of course. When that finishes, just choose a section in between there and the Superway.

PILKINGTON: Albo, are other states copping a cut too? It’s not just South Australia?

ALBANESE: They are. The Budget figures drop off to a total of $4.2 billion in 2021. Now, the expected expenditure last year was $9.2 billion. So that is a significant drop off, but it’s South Australia that’s really being hit. No state is being treated as badly as South Australia. I mean $97 million.

PILKINGTON: That’s a lot of money.

ALBANESE: It’s essentially small change when it comes to the federal infrastructure budget for a state or territory. And what that means is that there is a virtual withdrawal of the Commonwealth from any assistance for construction in South Australia and of course that means less jobs to be created and less economic activity. It comes on top of course of the message that we hear today of the Federal Treasurer putting off the review of GST payments that particularly might hurt South Australia until after the state election.

The Commonwealth Government really must come clean with the people of South Australia well prior to the state election so that they know exactly what the federal attitude is. Barnaby Joyce could actually, you know, turn this around. He’s the Deputy Prime Minister. He’s in a position of influence and he should use it.

PILKINGTON: Alright, Albo. He’ll be in town today.



Jan 3, 2018

Infrastructure funding for SA to plummet to just 2 per cent

Newly installed Infrastructure and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce must reverse his Government’s savage cuts to Federal investment in South Australia’s rail, road and public transport infrastructure.

According to the Turnbull Government’s own Budget Papers, Federal investment in the State will plummet by 90 per cent from $921 million this financial year (2017-18) to $95 million in 2020-21 – see graph below.

Such massive cuts will lead to worsening traffic congestion in Adelaide and much slower economic and jobs growth from one end of the State to the other.  And this comes at a time when South Australia is coping with the fallout from other Federal policies, most notably their shameful decision to force the closure of our domestic car manufacturing industry.

Put simply, investment in infrastructure matters.

What’s more, if Mr Joyce does not act, then by 2020-21 only 2 per cent of the Federal infrastructure budget will be going to South Australia – and that’s despite the State being home to more than 7 per cent of Australians.

That would be a grossly unfair outcome.

And worse still, the cuts over the next four years would be on top of the cuts the Turnbull Government has already inflicted on South Australia.  Indeed, in their first four budgets they promised to invest $2.4 billion in the State’s rail, road and public transport infrastructure.

The actual figure ended up being $2 billion, which represents a cut of $400 million.

The fact is the money they cut could have been used to accelerate the roll out of the new AdeLINK tram network or help complete the remaining stages of the North South road corridor upgrade.

By contrast, the former Federal Labor Government (2007-2013) almost tripled annual Federal infrastructure investment in the State from $109 to $272 per South Australian.

Dec 29, 2017

Barnaby Joyce must fund Cross River Rail

New Infrastructure and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce must ensure there is no further delay and commit to investing in Brisbane’s Cross River Rail.

The fact is that the people of Queensland voted for Cross River Rail at the November election when they re-elected the Palaszczuk Labor Government.

The project will not only provide a second rail crossing of the Brisbane River in the city’s CBD to add to the Merivale Bridge, which is approaching full capacity, but it will also increase the capacity of the rail network throughout south-east Queensland, including the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

Cross River Rail is a no-brainer.

Approved by the independent Infrastructure Australia in 2012, a joint commitment to deliver the project was then reached with Federal Labor and the Campbell Newman LNP Government in 2013.

Since then it has been subject to the whims of the Federal Coalition Government.

First, Tony Abbott cancelled all funding for public transport projects around the nation, and then Malcolm Turnbull refused to reinstate Commonwealth funding for the Cross River Rail.

Now is the time for Barnaby Joyce to draw a line in the sand and quit playing politics with this vital project.

By funding Cross River Rail now, Barnaby Joyce can show that he is concerned with urban congestion as well as regional roads.

As Deputy Prime Minister he is in a position to show leadership and reverse the drastic decline in infrastructure investment foreshadowed in the Government’s Budget.

According to the independent Parliamentary Budget Office, Commonwealth infrastructure investment, as measured as a percentage of GDP, will halve from 0.4 to 0.2 percent by 2020-21.

The Government is not only slashing funding over the next four years, but has also failed to deliver on the promises made in their first three budgets.

And this year’s Budget will be no different.

Indeed, at Budget time just seven months ago, the Government said it would invest $8 billion in the nation’s road and rail infrastructure in 2017-18.

However, the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) revealed that they will actually invest $7 billion, which represents a $1 billion cut.

That takes the total infrastructure cuts over their first four budgets to $4.8 billion.

If Barnaby Joyce wants to be taken seriously, he must reverse these cuts now and he should start by investing in Cross River Rail

Dec 19, 2017

Barnaby’s infrastructure challenge

Incoming Infrastructure and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce must use his appointment to reverse the Coalition’s cuts to investment in nation building infrastructure.

Since taking office the Coalition has slashed investment in rail, road, public transport and other infrastructure at the very time it should have been increasing it to drive economic activity and jobs growth.

According to the independent Parliamentary Budget Office, Commonwealth infrastructure investment, as measured as a percentage of GDP, will halve from 0.4 to 0.2 percent by 2020-21.

The Government is not only slashing funding over the next four years, but has also failed to deliver on the promises made in their first three budgets.

And this year’s Budget will be no different.

Indeed, at Budget time just seven months ago, the Government said it would invest $8 billion in the nation’s road and rail infrastructure in 2017-18.  However, yesterday’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) revealed that they will actually invest $7 billion, which represents a $1 billion cut.

That takes the total infrastructure cuts over their first four budgets to $4.8 billion.

Properly targeted infrastructure investment boosts economic activity in the short term while lifting productivity in the longer term.

Mr Joyce must boost investment, not just in rural and regional roads, but also in public transport within our cities in order to tackle worsening traffic congestion, which is eroding people’s quality of life and acting as a handbrake on productivity and economic growth.

I wish outgoing Minister Darren Chester all the best on what must be a difficult day following his shabby and appalling treatment by his own side.

He retains my respect as a man of integrity.


Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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