Nov 4, 2020







SUBJECTS: Labor in state politics compared to federal politics; Queensland state election; Australian values during the coronavirus pandemic; US election; Australia’s relationship with the United States; values of democracy; State of Origin.


MURRAY JONES, HOST: As we do know, federally, Labor is still struggling to a degree. But maybe they’re a little bit joyed about what’s happened in the last couple of days and the last couple of weeks of course, the Australian Capital Territory, New Zealand and Queensland elections in the last fortnight. And really big wins. Big wins for Labor and also for the Greens. How is that going to play out, of course, on the Federal level? Joining me this morning to talk a little bit more and maybe about some of the things that are changing, Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese, good morning.


ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning, Murray. Good to be with you again.


JONES: You as well. And look, we hear the old adage that state politics, federal politics, there’s really quite a division, things are quite separate. But look, with the trends that we’ve been seeing, as we’ve just mentioned in our intro there, is something changing in the electorate that you can see, Mr Albanese?


ALBANESE: Well, the promising thing for Federal Labor from the Queensland result was that it says that the Labor brand is strong in Queensland. And if you look at the results there, whether it be Craig Crawford there in Barron River, or Michael Healy, who I’ve known for a long time, and I have known Curtis Pitt for a long time too, and of course, knew his dad and worked with his dad as Infrastructure Minister, actually. And Cynthia Lui also had a great result there in the very far north. They were all outstanding results. They are good local members. If you get good local candidates who do the work, I think one of the things that is emerging is that people want the politics, basically, to go beyond the 24-hour media cycle. And I do think that Scott Morrison’s visit and him saying to open up the borders and his lack of actually delivery, coming up there and sort of making half promises, there was the sort of promise from the Queensland LNP to fully duplicate the Bruce Highway tomorrow but with no money attached to it.


JONES: Sure.


ALBANESE: I think people are onto that now. And I think the Labor brand of having consistent leadership, which Annastacia Palaszczuk certainly showed, in spite of the pressure and the bullying, frankly, that occurred from the Federal Government, not just from Scott Morrison, but people like Peter Dutton, that backfired badly. Queenslanders don’t like people from outside telling them what to do. And I think they responded really positively to Annastacia Palaszczuk, but also to the good local candidates on the ground and to the work that’s happening in Queensland, whether it be social policy and social reform that’s happened, economic policy, prioritising jobs, which Annastacia did, or whether it be environment policy on issues like land clearing.


JONES: Sure, I can understand certainly that mix of things is certainly going to, I guess, have a lot of appeal here in Queensland. Without going into anything specific with respect to the US election, if you look at the results and what’s happened, do you think that this lurch to the right in some ways has actually scared a lot of the electorate and it’s actually a bit of a reversal, there’s a knee-jerk reaction and a bit of a swing back to the left again, as well.


ALBANESE: I think to some extent we’re seeing that. I think the pandemic has shown how important considered leadership is. It’s also reminded us of the importance of our society, our interdependencies, that we all need to look after each other. And they are the sort of values that the Labor Party stands for. And I believe very strongly that one of the ways in which Australia is getting through this pandemic is by having those values of just looking after the neighbours. You have all sorts of stories of people delivering food to people that they’ve never met, finding out if their neighbours are okay. Really looking out for each other. And they’ve been positive stories. JobKeeper was opposed originally the Morrison Government, it was only when the queues formed outside Centrelink that they changed their view on that. But those principles are important, and I believe they are consistent with the sort of values that I would bring to the Prime Ministership if we are successful in the next election.


JONES: And certainly, those community values are something that I guess people have bought into very, very sharp relief after this pandemic period. As we wrap up this morning, we don’t know what’s going to happen, the US has been a long-term ally and, of course, a very important strategic partner in a lot of ways. But obviously, there’s been an implosion in recent months, things are really, really serious in the United States. Regardless of the outcome, what do you think is the future with our relationship with the United States? Things, I guess, might change quite dramatically regardless of the result of the election over there.


ALBANESE: Our alliance is between two peoples, not between two leaders. And Scott Morrison, of course, has been close to President Trump. And I was critical when he appeared at what was virtually a rally for President Trump in Ohio during his last visit. I think it’s important that Australians respect the outcome of the result. But it’s also important that leaders in America respect the democratic processes as well, because that’s the basis of our alliance. It’s based upon our democratic values and common views of the world. And I am somewhat concerned at the questioning that occurred of democratic processes. And I just hope that people accept the result regardless of the outcome. I think that is very important. We saw in Queensland good speeches from not just from Annastacia, but I thought Deb Frecklington’s concession speech was a good speech, she immediately accepted the outcome. That’s what we do in a democracy. We all have our say, we put forward our views. And if you’re a candidate, you obviously have skin in the game, and you really hope that your view prevails. But we accept the outcome. And that’s the strength of our system. People being able to put forward different views and being assessed by the public and them making up their mind about what way to go. So, I hope there’s a clear outcome today. I think it is an important election as well, for issues like climate change. I want to see the US return to being a global leader to provide the leadership that they historically have since the Second World War for the Western world.


JONES: And certainly, their division, and hopefully we don’t follow suit here in Australia, because it’s so polarised and so separated in so many ways. That’s a concoction for some serious trouble ahead. And I just realised too, in news you have seen this morning, Melania, Trump, she actually went and casted her vote at the West Palm Beach. There was actually a venue there. But she was the only person not wearing a mask and the US media has just gone off about that once. So, I’m sure you will hear a little bit more about that one as well, Anthony.


ALBANESE: I think it’s going to be a big day in the US. But the US, when the US election happens, it has implications for the world. So, we will be looking very, very closely at the outcome. I think they’ll start to come in about lunchtime. But of course, with so many pre-polls and postal votes, it may well be a range of days before we get an outcome. And I think that’s concerning, there’s nervousness that is there in the US, given the propensity for a more divisive society than we’ve seen for a long period of time. It is a good thing that here in Australia, people have really worked together. And we’ve tried to minimise any political divisions over the response to the pandemic, which is why I think the criticism of the Queensland Premier jagged with people when they heard it.


JONES: That’s right. And I guess the results certainly backs it up as well. We’ve got to get to news. Good catch-up with so many things happening in the world. We won’t talk about football and State of Origin. But Anthony Albanese, Leader the Opposition here in Australia, wonderful to talk to you. Have a great day. Remember, Maroon, okay?


ALBANESE: Good on you, Murray. I love Queensland 365 days but 362 nights a year.


JONES: Good on you. Have a great day. Thanks for your time. Cheers.