ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
2GB BEN FORDHAM LIVE
MONDAY, 26 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Labor’s childcare policy; AusPost spending $20,000 on Cartier watches; state borders; calls for a Royal Commission into NewsCorp; NRL Grand Final.
BEN FORDHAM, HOST: Now, you never know who’s listening. Anthony Albanese, good morning.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning, Ben. How are you?
FORDHAM: I’m doing well. Where are you?
ALBANESE: I’m on my way to Yass. I’m on the highway headed south on the way to Canberra, of course. Parliament is sitting this week. I’m heading to a childcare centre at Yass this morning with Kristy McBain, our newly elected member for Eden-Monaro, to talk about our childcare policy boost.
FORDHAM: Okay, very good. Well it will be a busy week in Canberra. I know that Scott Morrison was ripping into the boss of Australia Post last week over Cartier watches. It was a bit over the top, wasn’t it? Spending all that money on watches?
ALBANESE: $20,000 on four watches. I misled Parliament last week, Ben, because I talked about $12,000 which is what the evidence was. And 20K on four watches is over the top. There were also revelations on Friday about over $100,000 spent on legal bills for an executive at ASIC that is supposed to oversee the way that companies are functioning. And I think that, on top of Sports Rorts, on top of a range of scandals, we really do need a National Integrity Commission. And I’m sure that will be a focus of the Parliament this week.
FORDHAM: The Labor Premier in Victoria, Daniel Andrews, is copping it even from some of his strongest supporters because he’s extended the lockdown. We don’t know when he’s going to lift it. Surely, it’s time to get things started again.
ALBANESE: Well, I don’t think anyone wants any restrictions there for a day longer than necessary. What he did yesterday was to pause the freeing up for 24 to 48 hours. Let’s hope that happens today.
FORDHAM: I know that there’s a petition at the moment started by a former Labor Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to have a Royal Commission into NewsCorp and their power in the media. And Malcolm Turnbull, the former Liberal Prime Minister, has now signed on. But you’ve got an interesting take on this. You say there’s no point complaining about the referee or the umpire?
ALBANESE: Well, I just think that yes, there is some element of unfairness in some media coverage, as Labor Leader, I cop that all the time. When it happens, I think you call it out. The Eden-Monaro by-election was an example of that whereby if you picked up your Sunday papers, you would have thought that the Liberal Party won instead of losing that by-election at a time when they should have been favourites, when all the conditions were going their way with the retirement of a long-serving, loved member in Mike Kelly. It is a bit like picking up the paper this morning and hearing of a Penrith victory, it just wasn’t the case. But you just get on with life, basically, and deal with it. I’m just not sure how a petition would advance. The Government is unlikely to respond and say, ‘We’re going to have a Royal Commission into News Limited’ because they get a petition. So, I think that is quite right and within his rights. Kevin Rudd, certainly in 2013, copped a very hard time from the media, the tabloids in particular had front pages day after day that were hostile to Labor. I remember, I was the Deputy Prime Minister at the time, but I’m not sure that the petition will achieve its objective. But we’re in a democracy. So, it’s a good thing that people talk about these issues.
FORDHAM: Always good to chat. And I’m glad to know you’re listening to 2GB. Good luck this week in Parliament.
ALBANESE: One final thing, I think that the Storm being away from home for five months, I’m a Rabbitoh, as you know, and I would have liked to have seen Penrith win last night to be truthful, but I think it is an amazing effort by Melbourne Storm.
FORDHAM: They deserve some credit, even if it’s not the result we wanted. You drive safely and look after yourself in the rain. We’ll talk soon.
ALBANESE: Thanks, Ben.
FORDHAM: Anthony Albanese, the Labor Leader, tuning in this morning.