Subjects: Election, Newspoll, employment, education, infrastructure.
HOST: Good morning to you.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Will. Thank you for having us again.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning team.
HOST: Good morning guys. Happy new year. We hope you had a decent break.
PYNE: I did, I had a couple of weeks at Robe, which would be well known to our listeners, and then a couple of weeks on the road in fact in the Middle East and Asia.
HOST: Sensational. Christopher we are going to have a look ahead to the year in 2019 and between now and last time we spoke there has been a slew of resignations in the Liberal party and some have raised the spectre about what your plans are for 2019. Are you 100 per cent running in the election?
PYNE: Yes. It’s absolutely my intention to seek re-election. It will be my 10th election. I will be asking the people of Sturt to re-elect me because I think that I can best represent not only Sturt but also South Australia as a senior Cabinet Minister. I have got a record of delivery. Pyne Delivers was my slogan at the last election and not just the submarines and the Hunter Class frigates but road and local community infrastructure like Campbelltown Memorial Oval and I want to keep doing that job. But I think there has been very limited speculation, so probably a lot of people are exaggerating.
HOST: You don’t think some people want you gone Chris?
PYNE: Mostly on my own team I assume actually. Everybody likes a bit of movement.
ALBANESE: That is the smartest thing he said, and most accurate.
HOST: We did have a couple of calls from Cory Bernardi, but we will shift that to one side. We’ll shift over to you Albo. How do you see the year panning out? Because that Newspoll a couple of days ago suggested that despite this sort of overwhelming negativity about the way the Coalition is going that the Morrison Government still definitely has a pulse?
ALBANESE: I think we are entitled to be favourites. That’s the truth when consistently polls have shown that that is the case and when you are suggesting that it was a good poll when Labor was still ahead 53-47. I think the problem for the Government, and this is I guess the big question between now and May 11 and 18, is have they stopped governing? It just seems to me that they are in constant critical mode of Labor, rather than actually getting on with governing the country. We are still potentially almost four months out from an election and I think the Government needs to be able to put forward a position which is something other than: “Well, Labor will do X’’ and run scare campaigns. Otherwise I think they are in danger of really having a very bad result.
HOST: Is that part of what the thinking was Chris with the jobs announcement that Scott Morrison made yesterday; to show that you are focused on bread-and-butter issues, not yourselves.
PYNE: We are definitely focused on jobs and the economy and the Government is actually running pretty well in terms of the economy and jobs. We had a promise to create a million jobs in five years. We did it ahead of schedule and now we’ve got a promise to create 1.25 million over the next five years and I think we can do that. The economy is in good shape. We will deliver a surplus Budget, something Labor hasn’t delivered since 1989. This year’s Budget will deliver a surplus. When Labor lost in 2013 they were divided, but also the country economically was very badly off. So was the Budget, mired in debt and deficit. That’s not the case now. We have tested people’s patience in the last 12 months. There’s no doubt about that. But we have the runs on the board economically and on the jobs front, and we don’t have a $200 billion tax hit that Labor wants to deliver to the economy if they get elected. Now that will slow the economy right down. We will not do that. We are not a high-taxing party. We will deliver a surplus Budget without the high taxes.
ALBANESE: This is a government that doesn’t have an agenda though, and it is totally focused on fighting each other. It is quite extraordinary, the events here in New South Wales where Warren Mundine has been imposed on the Liberal Party in Gilmore just show what a rabble they are and people will know that they won’t know what they get if they vote for Scott Morrison because they know that he was the fourth choice to lead the Liberal Party. They know that in the National Party, Barnaby Joyce, bizarrely, is planning a comeback as Leader of the National Party and they know that this is a government that has lost its way. It really does need a period in opposition to get its act together.
PYNE: Well here is a classic example. I am focusing on jobs the economy, the Budget and tax. Anthony – Happy New Year to you Anthony – Anthony is focusing on the game. He is focusing again on the play of the game and I think this is why …
ALBANESE: You haven’t got a plan for jobs.
PYNE: We had a big speech yesterday where we outlined another plan for 1.25 million jobs.
ALBANESE: A speech isn’t a plan. You are not investing in infrastructure. You are not investing in education and training.
PYNE: Well we are.
ALBANESE: These are the two things you can do to grow the economy.
PYNE: We’ve got record spending on infrastructure.
HOST: Chris Pyne, was the jobs target announced yesterday particularly bold given it is just a repeat of what was delivered in the previous five years?
PYNE: No because we delivered one million new jobs in the last five years, which is a record, and now we are announcing we are going to deliver another record – 1.25 million new jobs – in the next five. So what we are saying is you can trust the Coalition to focus on the economy, the Budget, lowering taxes, reducing the burden on families and small businesses. But if you vote Labor you are going to get $200 billion of new taxes, capital gains tax increases, negative gearing tax increases, retirees’ incomes will be hit in the new retirees’ tax because Bill Shorten can only think through taking other people’s money.
HOST: On that point you are hearing the sharpening of the message from the Coalition now regarding the economics of the upcoming Federal election. It has happened to coincide with a bump in the polls for Scott Morrison and for the Government. Are you concerned that this is going to be a weak spot for you over the next four months and as the message sharpens you might not have it all your own way like you have had over much of the last 18 months?
ALBANESE: Not at all. We have a strong economic message. We have a plan for jobs and the economy. I have been going right around the country talking about infrastructure and the need to invest and our education spokespeople have been out there talking about education and training and skills. What we are talking about as well is do people feel better off today than they were a few years ago? The fact is that real wages are in decline. The casualisation of the workforce is out of control so that people with young people like my like my boy, just did his HSC last year, as did Christopher’s, they are worried, that generation, that they will never get into full-time employment because we are seeing it disappearing and many of the jobs that have been created ….
HOST: But can you fix that though? That’s just the nature of the modern economy isn’t it?
ALBANESE: You certainly can fix it, You cannot in terms of some people will choose to work causally and will choose to work part-time, but what you need to do is to make sure that there are quality jobs; make sure that the industrial relations system doesn’t see people working side by side being paid different wages with different conditions because everything is in favour under the current system of employers.
HOST: We are going to have to leave it there. Christopher Pyne, Anthony Albanese, welcome back. We will do it all again next week. Thanks for joining us.
PYNE: Thanks for having us.