Nov 24, 2020







SUBJECTS: Climate change; net zero emissions by 2050; Labor national conference; Labor always standing up for the interests of working people; superannuation.


PAUL KENNEDY, HOST: Let’s stay with politics now and Opposition Leader federally, Anthony Albanese, has flagged a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle before the end of the year as Labor struggles with its climate change policy.


LISA MILLAR, HOST: At the heart of the problem is balancing a shift to lower emissions while not alienating traditional supporters. Labor Leader Anthony Albanese joins us now from Sydney. Good morning and welcome to Breakfast.




MILLAR: Have you made any headway as Leader in trying to find a way to manage these arguments within your party over this issue?


ALBANESE: Well, the arguments have been managed. We have a position of having zero net emissions by 2050. We have a very clear policy that sees that renewables are the cheapest form of new energy and that’s what the market is saying as well. This really is a debate taking place by some in the media and taking place by some who refuse to acknowledge the reality, which is the market is speaking and the market is heading towards renewables. It’s a matter of the role of government playing in that transition.


MILLAR: It’s only in an argument in the media because it’s an argument within your own party. We’ve got various members speaking, whether it is Murray Watt or Joel Fitzgibbon suggesting that Labor has one message up in Queensland and another message in the southern states?


ALBANESE: Well, it’s just not true. It’s just not true. Murray Watt’s position was precisely the same thing that I’ve been saying, which is, he spoke about climate change being good for job creation. That doesn’t mean that our export industries are about to close. We’ll continue to export our resources. That will continue to provide an income for the country that helps to fund education and health. I say the same thing, as does Murray Watt, whether he’s in Canberra or in Queensland or in Melbourne or anywhere else. The fact is that climate change is real. We’re acting on that. We need to act on that. We need to drive down our emissions and good action on climate change is good for jobs, it’s good for lowering emissions and good for lowering prices.


MILLAR: Is part of the problem that you weren’t able to wrestle all of this out at a national conference as you normally would? It was supposed to be happening in December. It got put off. Any idea when it might happen given you’re heading into what could be a Federal Election year?


ALBANESE: Well, we’ll be taking a proposition to the National Executive this week, this Friday, which will be for a virtual online national conference to be held before Easter next year. It will enable the participation of the more than 400 delegates to participate in the conference. It will be a two-day conference. We’ve worked through all the legalities of how you get around doing that within the rules. So, it will be a special national conference to consider the platform. And we’ll bear on the experience of the Democratic Convention that was held in the United States. In New South Wales, we held a party convention here for one day about six weeks ago. So, we have that experience. We’re able to do it. And I think it will be a success and will enable us to finalise the platform going forward of the Labor Party. We are a democratic party. We’re an inclusive party and that will enable people to contribute. We finalised the draft platform and that was the subject of a lot of consideration this year, largely by Zoom meetings and by these processes.


MILLAR: So, that makes you feel confident that you could then go ahead with it? So, you’re basically announcing that there will be an ALP national conference before Easter held virtually?


ALBANESE: That’s right. The ALP national conference will go ahead. It will be online. It will be two days and it will be held before Easter. And it will enable us to finalise the platform. We’ll finalise the dates once this Government gets around to telling us when Parliament will sit in 2021. But we’ve put in place those mechanisms. I’m sure it will be a success and it will be a constructive way in which party members can have that input. People will be able to observe the conference but, of course, the participants will be the delegates.


MILLAR: One last question, Anthony Albanese. The former Reserve Bank Governor, Bernie Fraser, is saying that low-income workers should be allowed to withdraw some of their superannuation early to buy a first home. Why do you disagree with that?


ALBANESE: I do disagree with Bernie Fraser on this issue for two reasons. One, it would drive up home prices and that wouldn’t be a good thing. Secondly, once you undermine the compulsory elements of superannuation and the whole basis of it being for an income during retirement, once you go down that track, then you end up opening it up for this. We’ve seen this Government trying to undermine superannuation, our universal system, at every opportunity. We’ve seen 600,000 Australians now left with zero dollars in their superannuation accounts. That will have a devastating impact on their retirement and will also hurt the fiscal position of future governments down the track because people will be more reliant upon government rather than their superannuation balances.


MILLAR: We’ll have to leave it there but thank you very much for your time this morning, Anthony Albanese.


ALBANESE: Thank you very much.