ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
FRIDAY, 29 JANUARY 2021
SUBJECTS: Labor’s Shadow Ministry reshuffle; COVID vaccine; JobKeeper; Queensland’s tourism sector.
NATALIE BARR, HOST: Labor Leader, Anthony Albanese, joins me now. Good morning to you.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning, Nat.
BARR: Are these changes a sign that Labor is backing down on climate change?
ALBANESE: Not at all. Any party that I lead will always be strong on climate change. We saw this time last year, what the devastating effects of climate change can be. We need to take action. The good news is that action on climate change is good for jobs, good for lowering emissions, but also good for lowering energy prices, which is why Australia I think has a great future as a renewable energy superpower.
BARR: But it’s interesting, you mentioned jobs because you’ve moved the portfolio to Chris Bowen. And it was one of the reasons you were really hurt in the last election. So, by moving it to Chris Bowen, are you making it a big job sell to get more of your Party’s base back?
ALBANESE: Well, Chris Bowen, of course, is a former Treasurer of our nation. And the fact is that he said he’s an economist of good standing. He’s widely respected. He understands the opportunity that’s there for job creation as we transition the economy, which we will need to do.
BARR: And are you getting rid of your rivals, Tanya Plibersek, who lost half her portfolio, are you cutting her out because she’s coming for you?
ALBANESE: Not at all. She was the Education Minister, or Shadow. She’s still the Education Shadow Minister. And indeed, I’ve added to her jobs with adding the Status of Women portfolio, which is something that she asked to receive, and I was pleased to allocate that job to her.
BARR: Let’s move on to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Germany’s announced it will only give the vaccine to under 65. Because there’s not enough data to show it being effective for older people. Do you have concerns about that?
ALBANESE: Well, we have faith in the TGA, the Therapeutic Goods Administration. It’s a world-class assessor of any medicine or pharmaceuticals, before they authorise for distribution to Australians. So, we had a briefing yesterday, indeed, from the Head of the Department of Health, and from the Chief Medical Officer or the Acting Chief Medical Officer, to ask a range of questions. We’ll keep ourselves briefed. We want to make sure that once the TGA approves a drug for distribution, that it actually is distributed, but we have confidence as long as we stick to, which we should, and I know that this isn’t a political issue, once it is approved by the TGA it should be distributed as soon as possible.
BARR: The Queensland Premier’s request for the Federal Government to extend JobKeeper for the state’s struggling tourism industry has drawn criticism from the New South Wales Treasurer take a listen.
DOMINIC PERROTTET, NSW TREASURER: Queensland is beautiful one day subsidised by New South Wales the next, or the Commonwealth, and this is the challenge that we’re going to have going forward. The decisions of the day that state governments make have significant economic impacts on their people.
BARR: What do you think of Annastacia Palaszczuk request to extend JobKeeper for Queensland?
ALBANESE: Well, I think that the tourism sector does need additional support. I’m a former Shadow Tourism Minister. And I think that the sector across the board needs more support. The fact is they’ve been hit very hard by the pandemic, the fact that we don’t have international visitors for particular areas, like Far North Queensland. It’s very reliant upon international visitors. That’s the lifeblood of their economy. And I think they’re deserving of support. And Annastacia Palaszczuk is showing once again, that she will stand up for Queenslanders that’s a good thing
BARR: And they’re happy about that. But there has been criticism that she shut the borders a lot when sometimes she didn’t have to.
ALBANESE: Look, Scott Morrison handed over a whole lot of responsibilities for the states. I have not been critical of any of the state premiers, whether they be Labor or Coalition, when they’ve made decisions given that Scott Morrison handed that responsibility to them.
BARR: Well, the Queenslanders are very happy.
ALBANESE: Indeed, they are. And they are happy with their Premier.
BARR: Yes. Thank you very much for your time this morning
ALBANESE: Thanks, Nat.