ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
TRIPLE M DARLING DOWNS, LEE FAULKNER
FRIDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Groom by-election, inland rail, state borders
LEE FAULKNER, HOST: The Leader of the Opposition for Australia is Anthony Albanese. And he joins me to talk about that this morning. Good morning to you.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning.
FAULKNER: Now, I guess the most prominent question in this part of the world, given that Groom, when it was established in 1984, right through until now, it’s only ever been held by either National or Liberal or a combination of the two, why would people in this part of the world consider changing the vote to a Labor candidate and Chris Meibusch tomorrow?
ALBANESE: Because they’ve been taken for granted. Because their needs aren’t being listened to. Because the margin has been so big with the LNP getting over 70 per cent of the two party preferred vote at the last election. I think because of that, they have been taken for granted and in Chris Meibusch we have a very strong candidate. He’s a long-term Toowoomba resident. He’s a community activist. He spent 25 years as a lawyer in the local community. He ran the Save Mt Lofty campaign to oppose a plan that was there by the Federal Government to bulldoze 38 hectares of critical koala habitat. And he’s someone who will speak up for Groom. And if there is a reasonable vote against the LNP tomorrow I think it will be a wake-up call and the Government will take the needs of the local community more seriously.
FAULKNER: If we were to have a Labor candidate be successful in this area, would that have any impact on our biggest piece of infrastructure that we are so desperate to see get going for jobs and for so many reasons, our Inland Rail project?
ALBANESE: Well, Inland Rail is critical, but it’s also critical that they get the route right. I started the funding for the Inland Rail when I was the Infrastructure Minister. But the concern that’s been there from the local community has been the changes that were made to the route and it needs to be got right. I provided some $900 million of funding, which a lot of the Inland Rail is using existing rail line. soo upgrading that and making sure that the early works were done on the project. It is a vital project. But it needs to be done right the first time because the idea that you could go back and admit that some mistakes were made would end up costing a lot of money down the track.
FAULKNER: In the recent state election Queenslanders were emphatic in the victory for the Labor Party and to continue with Annastacia Palaszczuk. Many considering that it was due to the way she handled the coronavirus and, in particular, our border closures or lack of reopening. Would you agree with that?
ALBANESE: Well, Annastacia kept Queenslanders safe. And Queenslanders themselves responded magnificently by making sure that they kept their neighbours and their community safe. Sacrifices of course were made and no one wants to see any restrictions there. But now in the pre-Christmas period, Queenslanders will reap the benefits. I’ll be able to go up to Queensland from next Tuesday. And indeed I’ll be visiting Queensland next Thursday night. Soon as Parliament sits up, I’ll be on a plane up to Queensland to spend a couple of days there. Because I do want to reengage on a personal level, it’s been difficult not being able to travel just as it has been difficult for Queenslanders to not receive people from the south in particular. But the truth is that the outcome’s been exceptional for Queensland and that’s why Annastacia Palaszczuk received such an overwhelming support in the state election.
FAULKNER: Alright well our Labor candidate for the Federal seat of Groom tomorrow is Chris Meibusch. The Leader of the Opposition is Anthony Albanese. And we very much appreciate your time this morning. Thank you indeed.
ALBANESE: Thanks very much. Have a great day.