ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
TUESDAY, 16 JUNE 2020
SUBJECTS: Victorian Labor.
NATARSHA BELLING, HOST: Good morning, Mr Albanese. How are you?
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning. Chilly morning here, but greetings.
BELLING: Some may say these allegations or appalling behaviour would not have come to light, unless it was taped, what do you say to that?
ALBANESE: Well, these allegations or details are out there. And they are there for all to see. And I condemn them. Daniel Andrews showed strong leadership as the Premier of Victoria by immediately removing Mr Somyurek as the minister. And by lunchtime he was out of the Party because the National Executive was due to act. These are unacceptable. The real tragedy here is most people join political parties for all the right reasons, in order to improve their kids’ education or improve health outcomes, make climate change action happen, or other issues of concern. They don’t join just to try to secure power for its own sake. And that is what we saw on display on Sunday night. It was inappropriate. He has been removed from the Party and that is a good thing. The Party will be better for it.
JOE HILDEBRAND, HOST: Albo, good on you and Dan Andrews for wiping the guy out of the Party. Isn’t the problem, if his claims he controls two-thirds of the state of Victoria, he controls all these branches, that they are filled with fake members, will the national Labor Party effectively have to wipe out the Victorian branch and take over?
ALBANESE: Well, there will be a need for some national involvement. And Daniel Andrews is asking for that. Daniel Andrews is determined to clean out any areas that are required. And he’ll have the support of the national Party to do that. This is unacceptable. And, of course, if you have members who aren’t really committed, then that dilutes the influence of those who are, the people who knock on doors, who put things in letterboxes, hand out how-to-votes and the people who buy a raffle ticket and really campaign for the cause of Labor. And that is why these elements need to be removed. I am sure that will happen. There was an audit of the New South Wales branch that fixed these matters. We brought in Michael Lavarch, the former Commonwealth Attorney-General. The branch has been restructured. And there are new Party officers in place. And the New South Wales’ branch is better and stronger for it. Jodi McKay and myself showed strong leadership during those issues. And Daniel Andrews has taken the lead here. And good on him. He is a good Premier. The Victorian Government has presided over the fastest-growing state in Australia in terms of population, the fastest economic growth, major infrastructure projects, major improvements in schools, public transport, healthcare and social and environment policy. And they shouldn’t be distracted by this sort of nonsense.
ANGELA BISHOP, HOST: Look, it’s been so upsetting to my colleague, Joe here, he is in Young Liberal blue today.
ALBANESE: I’m sure he’s looking dazzling.
HILDEBRAND: I am working deep undercover.
BISHOP: What was interesting among those tapes was a clear threat to you, and the implication that he had the numbers to do harm to you, if you didn’t play ball. Is there any truth to that?
ALBANESE: No. None whatsoever. This guy, his activities are really confined to Victoria. He was a member for the National Executive for a short period of time but never made a contribution to that body. I’m concerned about the issues of concern to your viewers, which are, how do we get through this pandemic, how do we lift living standards? How do we get people back to work? How do we deal with coming out of the current crisis stronger, rather than just the way things were? Getting more security at work. Those are the issues that I am concerned about. This is a distraction. It’s been dealt with and we’ll continue to deal with it, in terms of any measures that are needed, that will be taken. And we will get back to the business that really concerns Australians. And the way to do that, of course, is by ensuring that the business model that this gentleman was clearly involved with is broken. Daniel Andrews is determined to do that.
BELLING: Mr Albanese, if I can come back to my original question, if these conversations were never filmed, this information would never have come to light. You said today the Labor Party is a better party today because he has gone. So, was it a bad party beforehand?
ALBANESE: No. This person should not be reflecting on the entire Party membership. People join the Labor Party and don’t ask anything for it for themselves. I must say the majority of people who join the Liberal Party or the National Party or the Greens or whatever else party, it is the same thing. They join because they want things for their neighbourhood, their community, for their country. It is a good thing that people join political parties, but, though occasionally, there is these activities. A few years ago, in New South Wales, there were young Nazis stacking the Young Nationals and that had to be dealt with. From time to time, these things happen. What is important is that when people become aware of it, they are prepared to take action. And I have always been prepared to take action when I see wrong-doing. I have done it consistently. I removed John Setka from the Labor Party. I have taken action here along with Daniel Andrews. I took action to restructure the New South Wales’ branch. And, so, you know, I have been prepared to do that wherever I have seen it. The Labor Party today is a stronger party than it was on Monday morning.
BELLING: Mr Albanese, thank you so much for joining us this morning on Studio 10.
HILDEBRAND: Thanks, Albo.
ALBANESE: Thanks a lot.