ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
MONDAY, 6 JULY 2020
SUBJECTS: Eden-Monaro by-election.
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Another big story we are following this morning. Labor has declared victory in the marginal seat of Eden-Monaro after securing a handful of votes in the tight by-election. Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese, joins me from Canberra. Good morning Albo, how are you?
ANTHONY ALBANESE, HOST: Good morning I’m very well mate. Souths had a win last night.
STEFANOVIC: It was an ugly victory, wasn’t it? Everyone’s a winner, everyone’s a loser.
ALBANESE: Not at all, mate. You have the odd punt, I understand. The bookies payout whether you win by a nose or the length of the straight. Kristy McBain will be joining us here in August in the national Parliament. She will be great for the people of Eden-Monaro. She will stand up for them. People who have been left behind after the bushfires and people who have been left behind by being left off JobKeeper. She will be a really strong voice in this Parliament.
STEFANOVIC: How do you know that I have a punt? Have you been talking to my wife again?
ALBANESE: Mate, I have my sources. Ally will give you up every time.
STEFANOVIC: Every time. Albo, just a slim majority of votes, in all seriousness, separated the two major parties.
ALBANESE: They always have in Eden-Monaro.
STEFANOVIC: It can be argued that your messages and your Party policies just don’t have enough cut through. How do you respond?
ALBANESE: Karl, this is an extraordinary result for Labor. We were against the odds. We had a sitting member, Mike Kelly, a hero who had worn our uniform in the Defence Forces that served in the Parliament. A very popular local member. We have got something called COVID-19 that made it very difficult for Labor to campaign in the traditional way we do, knocking on doors and holding Town Hall meeting, campaigning. We have circumstance whereby the entire country has come together and cheering on, essentially, trying to minimise the health impact and the economic impact. So, these were extraordinary circumstances. For Labor to win a seat that, by the way, we would never have held on the current boundaries during the Hawke Government and during previous periods. This is also a seat that’s always been held by the Government. The Government was able to say, ‘Our person will deliver things next week’. We couldn’t do that, obviously, the next election is 2022. We found a champion in Kristy McBain. She came through. It is a very good result for Labor.
STEFANOVIC: Look, there’s some talk there might be an early election as early as next year. If there was an election next year, you would probably get belted.
ALBANESE: Not at all. You look at us winning a seat like Eden-Monaro, it is one of the ones that normally sits with the Government. It did throughout the Howard years and the Hawke years and the Fraser years and the Whitlam and Rudd years and Gillard years. This is an extraordinary outcome, really. The fact is that if an election is held in the last half of next year, which is the earliest it can be held, we will be more than ready. This has been a pretty good exercise, I must say, we have got a new Leader, it is my first campaign as Leader. We have a new National Secretary and campaign director, it has been quite useful for us to have a bit of a test run and a win.
STEFANOVIC: It must have been good to have John Barilaro on side?
ALBANESE: The campaign ended the way it began with the other side all arguing and fighting against each other while Kristy McBain had one focus, which was the people of Eden-Monaro, who really have been doing it tough. They have had drought, then they had bushfires, then they have the coronavirus. It is not good enough, Karl, that in July people who lost their homes in January have still not had their property cleared.
ALBANESE: It is not good enough they don’t have anywhere safe and secure to live. We can do better than that as a country. Australians were incredibly generous during the bushfire crisis. They put their hands in their pocket and people really wanted to look after each other. We need to do much better. Kristy McBain will shine a light on that.
STEFANOVIC: Okay, Albo, the one thing that you can say about you and your team is that you worked incredibly hard for that victory. You do work hard, we appreciate your time today.
ALBANESE: Is that the only thing, Karl?
STEFANOVIC: I think that is about it. There is not much to write home about.
ALBANESE: Just because I raised you having a punt.
STEFANOVIC: I mean, why?
ALLISON LANGDON, HOST: I can confirm, Albo.
STEFANOVIC: Thanks, Albo. Take care.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.