Jun 19, 2020





FRIDAY, 19 JUNE 2020


SUBJECT: 100 days until JobKeeper stops; snapback; Eden-Monaro; Victorian Labor.


SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE, HOST: Federal Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese, joins us now from Jindabyne. Anthony, good morning to you. Welcome.


ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning, Sam. Kristy McBain tells me this is your hood.


ARMYTAGE: It is my hood. I grew up just down the road. Good hood to be in.


ALBANESE: It is indeed. A bit chilly.


ARMYTAGE: Yes, Eden-Monaro. Go Eden-Monaro. Now, there are reports this morning the Government will overhaul JobKeeper and JobSeeker in response to the jobless rate. The real unemployment rate by September could be 20 per cent. What changes would you want to see?


ALBANESE: The real unemployment rate is already about 11.3 per cent if you take those people who simply have given up looking for work and this is having a devastating impact. We need sectional packages to support industries like the arts and entertainment sector. We need to make sure that those workers who have missed out completely from JobKeeper, like the dnata workers, they used to be called Qantas Catering, it is not their fault that the company got taken over, but they have missed out on support here. We can’t leave people behind. The truth is, today is exactly 100 days until JobKeeper stops and people literally will fall off a cliff. The idea that you can just withdraw all that support at one point in time, childcare workers have already been thrown off JobKeeper from next week, and it is going to have a real impact. The Government needs to put in place an economic strategy that has jobs, jobs and jobs as its three priorities.


ARMYTAGE: Opening up the borders, getting businesses going again, do they leave JobKeeper in place for certain industries like hospitality and tourism? How do we navigate our way through this?


ALBANESE: They can’t just withdraw it on one day. It is very clear that such a brutal change to the economy, a withdrawal of support would be devastating for jobs and economy. The problem here is it can spiral. If people are unemployed, they don’t have money to spend, then more people get unemployed. That is the danger here. That we are entering into a period whereby the recession will be deeper and longer than it needs to be.


ARMYTAGE: You have some other issues at the moment that we want to get to. The Victorian ALP branch stacking scandal. The Victorian politician at the centre of this, Adem Somyurek is now threatening legal action against those who secretly recorded him. Are you confident that you and Federal MP, Anthony Byrne, will not be implicated in this if it all airs in court?


ALBANESE: I am certainly confident that I knew nothing about any of this until Sunday night when it was shown.


ARMYTAGE: You knew nothing about any of this?


ALBANESE: I knew nothing about it. I was told there was going to be something on 60 Minutes, I watched the show. I met Adem Somyurek I think once in my life, I have probably been in the same room as him a few times. I’m not familiar with him.


ARMYTAGE: What about Anthony Byrne? These text messages today in the paper where he is talking in really bad terms about women and ethnic minorities. What you make of his dealings?


ALBANESE: I have counselled him about the nature of those text messages, they are inappropriate. But when I am at the childcare centre here in Jindabyne this morning, or when I am meeting with small business in Thredbo with Kristy McBain, guess what? They will be talking about jobs, talking about the economy and talking about the withdrawal of support. They’re not really interest in text messages between two individuals, provide for some headlines. Australians are focused on what is happening to them and that is my focus as well. I am not going through the details of the text messages between individuals.


ARMYTAGE: I too care about Eden-Monaro. Unfortunately for you guys, the media is talking about branch stacking in the ALP right now. If you want to be Prime Minister, have you not got to sort out your ranks? What is going on with Anthony Byrne? He is the Department Head of the Parliament Intelligence Committee?


ALBANESE: No, he is the Deputy Chair. And the Chair, Andrew Hastie, the Liberal Party Chair, gave him a glowing character reference just this week and said that he was serving the national interest on that committee, which is a committee that operates on a bipartisan basis. We dealt with these things when we intervened into the branch on Tuesday night. Daniel Andrews took swift action. He showed real leadership about what was happening in the Victorian branch. And the National Executive responded appropriately. Steve Bracks and Jenny Macklin, I cannot think of two people who have been involved in political life who have more integrity than Steve and Jenny. They have been put in charge of making recommendations. They will do that. They are now in charge of the branch as the administrators and that is a good thing. We have acted swiftly. And what I am doing is getting on with the job of issues that are of concern to Australians.


ARMYTAGE: You enjoy Eden-Monaro. Anthony Albanese, good to chat.


ALBANESE: Thanks very much, Sam. It is a great part of the world.


ARMYTAGE: It sure is. You got that right.