ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
ANIKA WELLS MP
MEMBER FOR LILLEY
SATURDAY, 5 DECEMBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Visiting Queensland; aviation job cuts; Government deliberately excluding workers form support; Labor’s baby boom; A Future Made in Australia; no money spent from ERF; natural disasters; rejecting Royal Commission recommendations; climate change; Labor policy ideas; cheaper childcare for 97% of families.
ANIKA WELLS, MEMBER FOR LILLEY: Good morning everybody. I’m Anika Wells, the Federal Member for Lilley and I am so pleased today to be welcoming the Federal Labor Leader, Anthony Albanese, to the magnificent electorate of Lilley, probably the top electorate in the country, though I know it’s controversial when any of us are to say this in front of the leader. You know that Queensland and the north side of Brisbane is particularly important for Labor when the Federal Labor Leader comes between sitting weeks, in the last sitting fortnight of the year, to the electorate to spend the morning with us and see how things are going on the ground. On the north side, it’s been a tough year like many other communities, but for us we have 6,600 aviation workers. So they are some of the most affected people in the country with the changes and reductions in aviation jobs by Qantas, by Virgin and then exclusions made specifically, and pointedly and hurtfully, by the Federal Government, like the decision to exclude 5,500 dnata workers from things like JobKeeper. People on JobKeeper are propping up local businesses like Fox Coffee here at Geebung where we are this morning, because our local economies depend upon families and their households having money to spend locally. We’re here this morning to talk to Peter, the owner, about how things are going and also just for me to catch up with what’s been happening in Parliament last week, because the other thing that’s happened in the past six weeks is that I gave birth to the twins. And I’m so pleased that we have a modern Labor Leader who’s happy to help me babysit as I go about my electorate duties in the morning. So, without further ado, let me hand over to Anthony Albanese.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Thanks very much Anika, it’s great to be here with you and with Oshy here, and Dash, helping us this morning to talk to locals about small business and about jobs. And it’s jobs that will be Labor’s priority. We have a plan for A Future Made in Australia. That’s about us being more resilient, making sure that we build manufacturing industry here, making sure also that we protect our jobs. This week, we heard from Qantas workers in Canberra who visited us to talk about the tragedy that they’re going through of losing their jobs at the end of a pandemic, having served Qantas loyally for such a long period of time. But we also know that small business is the engine room of our economy. And that’s why we’re very grateful that Peter has welcomed us here at this wonderful coffee shop in Geebung. I look forward to many returning visits to Queensland. I was on the first plane that was available on Thursday night up here and it’s been great to spend a couple of days here talking about childcare, talking about jobs, meeting with the Premier and the Deputy Premier yesterday in Parliament House, and this morning, catching up with Anika. There’s a bit of a baby boom going on on the Labor side with Senator Marielle Smith giving birth just a week ago. A week ago, I think it was, pretty soon, and then Patrick Gorman, congratulations to him on the birth of the second child over in WA. But we do have, this is an example of long-term planning by Labor. Because in 18 years’ time it appears there’ll be this mass gathering of children of Labor MPs and I hope Anika is still there in 18 years’ time because she has a long career ahead of her and she’s doing a great job continuing to represent this local community. And I’ll continue to come back here to spend time with Anika while she’s on leave from parliament, because while she’s on leave from parliament, she’s still continuing to do a great job as a member for Lilley. Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: Not on this, but on something different. Obviously, very hot, heading into summer, do you think enough has been done since the Black Summer Bushfires to ensure we don’t encounter a similar catastrophe?
ALBANESE: No, not enough has been done. We have established, the Federal Government a $4 billion Emergency Response Fund. What that did was allocate $200 million each financial year. So, available in 2020 was $400 million. Not $1 of that has been spent. And that’s not just about bushfires, of course, Queensland’s expecting a potential cyclone season, that is very dangerous in Australia’s north. And, so, we need to make sure that we don’t just have announcements, we have delivery. We don’t just have photo ops, we have follow up. What we’re getting from this Government is not enough when it comes to preparation for the bushfire season. And we’re very disappointed that the Government has rejected the Royal Commission recommendation for a national aerial firefighting capacity. That was an important recommendation, that was done after considering all of the evidence. And the Government needs to explain why it is that they’ve rejected that recommendation.
JOURNALIST: You’ve touched on it a bit there, but with the Royal Commission findings released do you think the Government’s doing enough?
ALBANESE: Well the Government’s rejecting some of the findings of the Royal Commission. And that’s not good enough. We do suffer from natural disasters in Australia. We’ve just been through the hottest November on record. The Government isn’t doing enough in the short term. And it’s certainly not doing enough in the long term to tackle climate change. The rather pathetic announcement by Scott Morrison that he won’t pull an accounting trick over Kyoto credits, as if that’s a positive, when it is a fact that the rest of the world rejected that as an accounting trick. That’s not a plus for the Government. What we need is a plan to reduce emissions, not a plan for accounting tricks.
JOURNALIST: Just on climate change, will Labor be narrowing its policy? Will it be narrowing its policy on climate change?
ALBANESE: We have a very clear policy on climate change. It’s net zero emissions by 2050. We believe that Australia can be renewable energy superpower. Here we are, early in the morning in Brisbane, and it’s a reminder that we have the greatest solar resources of any country on the planet. That provides an opportunity for us to use those resources to create jobs and to become a renewable energy superpower.
JOURNALIST: Wayne Swan has said that the direction to reduce emissions is counterproductive.
ALBANESE: Well he hasn’t said that at all. He has not said that.
JOURNALIST: In his essay he said it was a direction that was counterproductive. Do you feel pressure from the leadership team?
ALBANESE: He has not said that. His essay is completely consistent with the recommendations, which were adopted unanimously by the National Executive, of the review that was undertaken by Craig Emerson and by Jay Weatherill. Labor’s prioritising bread and butter issues. That’s why we’ve been, in the Budget Reply, concentrating on childcare, cheaper childcare for 97% of families. That’s an important economic reform to improve women’s participation in the workforce. It’s why we concentrated on, the second theme was A Future Made in Australia, making sure that we’re a country that value-adds. Making sure that we improve our employment prospects in high-value manufacturing. That will be particularly important in regional Queensland, and it’s an important part of the Queensland economy and it’s one of the things that I discussed with Premier Palaszczuk just yesterday, here in Queensland.
JOURNALIST: So you don’t feel pressure on your leadership from the release of this selection of essays?
ALBANESE: Look, Labor has policies and has thoughtful processes. The Liberal Party have slogans and marketing. I think it’s a good thing that people in the Labor Party are interested in ideas and the future of our country. And perhaps if we had a government that was less concerned about slogans and marketing, we’d be better off. Thanks very much.