Jun 12, 2020




FRIDAY, 12 JUNE 2020


SUBJECTS: Government cuts to Australia Post; disallowance motion regarding Australia Post; Robodebt; cancel culture; questions about erasing history.


LEON BYNER, HOST: Now let’s talk to, I caught up with him a few minutes ago, Leader of Labor, Anthony Albanese. Anthony Albanese, thanks for joining us today. For the last three days we have had lots of callers and emailers telling us; one, that they are very upset about the fact that letters are not being delivered properly. And by the way, it’s not every second day. It’s much worse than that. And it is extraordinary that Australia Post are telling the Australian public, ‘Bugger our social obligation, we will sacrifice letters in favour of parcels’. And let me tell you, there’s a lot of people out there that haven’t had good parcel service either.


ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Well, that’s exactly right. What this is about is cuts to services and cuts to jobs. What they’re talking about is halving the number of Australia Post letter deliveries. Simple as that. And it will push back delivery timeframes in our capital cities like Adelaide, but also in all the regional cities and between the cities and regional areas. And the truth is that we live in a changing world. Lots of people use emails and use different forms of technology. But a whole lot of people don’t. And there’s nothing that replaces, getting an email for your birthday is not the same as getting a birthday card.


BYNER: Of course.


ALBANESE: That’s why they still exist. People who want to pay their bills. There’s a lot of examples of people already who have received their bill just a day or two before they are due. They haven’t budgeted for it. They haven’t put money aside. And so, they’ve got to make a decision about what they’ll go without because of the delays in deliveries. And this is a poorly thought-out policy. It has snuck in while the coronavirus crisis was there, and there’s no doubt if these regulations are brought in, they will become permanent because that’s what they have wanted to do.


BYNER: Yes. In fact, Australia Post have made no secret of this. So, just explain to the people of SA, Anthony, what your amendment or disallowance will mean.


ALBANESE: What the disallowance will do is to cut out these changes to the regulations so that already we can’t do anything about writing new regulations, what we can do is stop them from becoming worse. And so, these regulations will cancel out the changes that are there that are changes to the obligations that Australia Post currently have under the Act. And the only way that we can do that is to move a disallowance motion. We’ll be doing that this morning in the Parliament. And I just hope that we have a few people in the Coalition, and it only needs a few who recognise that this is a bad thing, and that their constituents are deserving of representation, because South Australia will be hit hard as well. This is about a slashing of jobs as well as a cheap shot at a difficult time.


BYNER: Now, I want to ask you about this cancel culture that’s happening where we’re cancelling Netflix slashing old shows from their platform because they might represent a racist view, this absurdity of, ‘Oh, we want to be culturally sensitive. So, let’s get rid of Gone with the Wind. Let’s get rid of statues’. What’s your take on this?


ALBANESE: I think we need a little bit of common sense here. Look, it’s fine to have a debate about our history, but it’s not fun to try and erase it. And it gets to the point whereby I have heard that the Fawlty Towers is also being challenged. I mean, for goodness sake, what hope has Ricky Gervais got. He will have none. But Gone with the Wind is an award-winning movie. It’s a depiction of a time in history that actually happened. And yes, it’s unfortunate that those things happen, and they depict tragedy and they depict relationships on race that are completely unacceptable today, but they happened. And you can’t change history. What you can do is learn from it. And that’s why I think just a little bit of common sense is required here.


BYNER: Before I let you go, a couple of things. If Labor was to win the next election, would you dump the Robodebt system?


ALBANESE: Absolutely.


BYNER: Completely?


ALBANESE: Completely. It’s completely unacceptable. The Government’s now having to shell-out $721 million plus, because there’ll be more. To people who were affected by an illegal scheme. More than 350,000 Australians. And I tell you what, every single person who came into my electorate office and asked for assistance got their debt reduced to zero, or at least substantially reduced, because it was wrong.




ALBANESE: But the thing is that a whole lot of people out there will never go into their local members electorate office. And they are the most vulnerable people. A whole lot of cultures out there would have gotten a letter from the Government, it would have scared the life out of them. They would have paid it without even thinking about it. And, you know, one of the things that we’ll do is we’ll put humans back into Human Services. This has happened because of automation. Because people press a button and forget about the fact that there are real human beings. If someone gets money inappropriately, then of course, that should be repaid. But the way it used to happen was that it would be examined by an actual human being based upon the actual circumstances and dealt with properly, not just sending out the bills and scaring literally the life out of some people. There are tragedies arising from this plan that was brought in by Scott Morrison when he was the Treasurer.


BYNER: Anthony, thanks for joining us today.


ALBANESE: Thanks very much, Leon.