ANTHONY ALBANESE – TRANSCRIPT – RADIO INTERVIEW – TRIPLE M WITH MICK MOLLOY – WEDNESDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 2021
ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
TRIPLE M WITH MICK MOLLOY
WEDNESDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 2021
SUBJECTS: Craig Kelly; DJ Albo; car accident; Federal Election; Australia Day; Margaret Court.
HOST: How are you, Albo?
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: I am very well. Jane seems to have gone missing. What happened?
HOST: It is for the courts, Albo. DJ, what was your set? What was your go-to?
ALBANESE: I did stuff that you would expect someone of my vintage to do. So, Oils, Chisel.
HOST: Chisels? That’s great.
HOST: That is all Triple M.
ALBANESE: It is very consistent with Triple M, I have got to say.
HOST: I love your style. Which station do you listen to, just out of interest, on the radio?
ALBANESE: I listen to your banter in the afternoon. And I listen to the Moonman in the Morning quite often. When Parliament is on, I more listen to the national broadcast.
HOST: Let’s start by talking about the car crash. And I’m not referring to your tenure as Labor Leader. Albo, how serious was it? You got knocked off the road? Talk us through it.
ALBANESE: Pretty serious. A head on with a Range Rover, I do not recommend.
ALBANESE: It was on the wrong side of the road. And it scared the hell out of me, let me tell you. Something I won’t forget is the half a second of looking at it coming straight for us and then the bang. But the good news is that, whilst the car is a write-off, I’m not.
HOST: I have been involved in two accidents and so I just instinctively do a runner. Did you do that?
ALBANESE: I couldn’t get out of the car. It was all crumpled out and smashed. The paramedics said if it was a foot either way, it would have been badge to badge and that would have come straight through us or it would have been sort of through the door. So I was very lucky.
HOST: It’s great to have you here. And it’s great to have you fight another day and lead the proud Labor Party into what could well be an early election. What’s your tip? Are we going in September or October? Because he kind of feels like he’s got the momentum at the moment, this bloke. He’s got COVID on his side. And he’s good to go. And he would probably not like to give you as much time as you’d like to run up. Are we going to go to the polls this year?
ALBANESE: We only have three-year terms, federally. If he goes earlier, it is because he doesn’t think he can last the term, he thinks it will all go to rubbish down the track. So it will be him putting his hand up saying, ‘It’s going to be too hard next year’. And the lesson for prime ministers who go early thinking that it would be good for them is that it hasn’t always worked out all that well. But we will be ready whenever it is.
HOST: Well, I can’t wait to hear that. Can I ask you your thoughts on a couple of the big-ticket items? Two incidents to me that I’ve been disappointed in lately from our current Government. And that was this response to the Capitol Building insurgency where most Western leaders came out and, on the day, said that it just was not on and that it is a disgrace. Yet somehow, we still felt we didn’t want to poke the bear or upset Trump or align ourselves with Trump in the face of the bald facts, which were these guys were domestic terrorists attacking the seat of power in a democracy.
ALBANESE: Absolutely. And we raised in Parliament today the fact that Craig Kelly, who defended what happened in Washington at the Capitol Building, is actually Chair of the Parliament’s Joint Committee on Law Enforcement. That oversees the Australian Federal Police. Now, a police officer was one of the people who lost their lives. They were killed in the Capitol Building in the Parliament. And how he can continue in that position and how Scott Morrison can say, ‘Nothing to see here, he can just stay in that position’, is beyond me. I think the US alliance is so important for us. It is our most important relationship. But real mates and friends call each other out when they get it wrong. And that was wrong, what happened in Washington in that building, just like if people had an insurrection in the Parliament here and made the sort of threats, then you’ve got to call it out.
HOST: And the other one I might want to mention too was Australia Day, which we seem to be bogged down in now, and it seems to go to the heart of our identity as a country. I don’t think it was helped this year by comments made by Scott Morrison about first settlers having a tough time, or indeed going to Margaret Court and honouring her. Regardless of what she did on the tennis court, you know that’s divisive. And you know that’s not fair. How do you think our handling of Australian Day was? And where do we go with this so we can all enjoy this day together?
ALBANESE: The decision on Margaret Court was the worst since the one on Prince Philip, frankly. I don’t support rewriting history. I don’t support changing names of Margaret Court Arena, or the issue of statues or what have you. You can’t rewrite history. But the new award can’t be for Margaret Court playing tennis because she already had an AO. And she hasn’t struck a ball in anger in a very long time.
HOST: She hasn’t done much on the stage since, apart from offend people.
ALBANESE: Exactly. Look, I think we need a national discussion so that all Australians can celebrate our national day. And it’s not surprising that, if you’re an Aboriginal Australian, then you’ve got a problem with the date that is there. And I get that. And I reckon particularly younger people all really respond to it. I know my son and all of his mates, they are pretty clear about their view.
HOST: Well, I think we can find a date we all like that is uniquely Australian. The day Boonie broke the record on the flight.
ALBANESE: Well, it is a public holiday. So Australians wouldn’t mind one a month.
HOST: It’s all I care about. I get my holiday. I go to a barbecue. Thank you very much. And by the way, I’m okay with the renaming of Margaret Court Arena, as long as it’s named after Bernard Tomic. He stands for everything we love in this country. Sounds like premiers are all of a sudden, the only politicians we hear from. The bitching and moaning and the borders and the breakdown, I haven’t heard from Scott Morrison. In Melbourne, we were locked down for 12 weeks and I never heard from him once. Why are the premiers all of a sudden the rock stars of Australian politics?
ALBANESE: The bloke who is in charge of the nation has handed off all the responsibilities to the states.
ALBANESE: That is what happened. So, areas like quarantine, areas of borders, they’re all being flicked to the state premiers. And what’s more, I think that the big thing we’re seeing is Aussies just performing magnificently. You know, making sacrifices, doing the right thing by their mates and their communities and doing the right thing by people who they will never meet. And we should be really proud of the way our nation has performed. And compare it with the sort of disruption and disputes that you see in places like the US. Frankly, it’s the great Australian spirit of looking after each other.
HOST: I like it. Get back in there. Hold their feet to the fire. We hope to speak to you soon.
HOST: Albo, we’re about to go into a song. And since you are a DJ, we are thinking of Black Betty by Spiderbait. Is that cool with DJ Albo?
ALBANESE: Absolutely. It is a cover version, but that is okay.