Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Interview Transcripts"
Feb 25, 2019

Transcript of Doorstop – Mandurah, Western Australia – Monday, 25 February 2019

Subjects: Mandurah Train Station car park project, Christian Porter’s bus, public transport.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This is a very exciting announcement. I visited here during the Canning by-election – this station. I have been back to Mandurah three times in the last 12 months and what is very clear is that commuter car parking is at a point whereby it is broken. It needs new infrastructure and that is why our commitment of $16 million, to be supported by the State Government, is about us supporting people’s capacity to get on to public transport and it is so important.

This line is a great legacy of course of a previous State Labor Government. Labor Governments do public transport. The Coalition get dragged kicking and screaming to do anything on public transport and this is important here in Perth. The whole METRONET project is the centrepiece of infrastructure investment here in Perth, the capital of WA, and it is great to be back here again.

MELLISA TEEDE: It is so important. This train station is a major hub for a very large part of the Canning area. So people from Preston Beach, people from Waroona will be able to come here and know that they have a good chance of getting a car park. But I’d also like to say that this will be another major State Labor project and that I will make sure that, if we win government and we get this station built, that we have apprentices actually employed in the construction of this.

REPORTER: Why is it so important that you encourage people to use public transport?

TEEDE: We all see the congestion on this freeway and it is so important that we encourage people to take public transport to be able to move about (inaudible) … you know support our young people when they heading off to work and uni and as I said particularly the outer regions as well, knowing they can come in here to Mandurah and catch a train.

REPORTER: And just on transport in the Peel Region, have you identified any need up in Lakelands and will there be an announcement on the Lakelands train station?

ALBANESE: Well what we are doing is we are working our way through it one at a time and we will be making further announcements during the campaign across Perth and indeed across WA about infrastructure.

TEEDE: I am talking to people in Lakelands and definitely there is strong desire from sections of that community to have a station there. I have to say equally there are some people that say that as long as we have adequate parking here and Mandurah and I understand the State Government is going to be looking at Karnup that will take the pressure, to give them access. I am still listening to what the people are saying and take on board and have those conversations with David as my State counterpart.

ALBANESE: Can I also say that this is an example of Labor’s priorities. Labor’s priorities are practical. We are about putting more investment into schools, more investment into TAFE and universities, more investment into health care. When it comes to transport we are about improving the road network but we are also about boosting public transport and that stands in stark contrast to the current Federal Government.

We have Christian Porter today exposed as getting essentially a free bus from someone who just a week ago, a former state MP, was appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal as a part of a very politicised list just last Thursday. He calls it the Porter Transporter. I think we will be calling it the Porter Rorter because it just continues on and it follows on of course from the Mathias Cormann scandal, whereby he doesn’t seem to notice that someone else pays $3000 of airfares. It follows on from the fact that we have Tim Wilson here today chairing a Parliamentary Committee when one of his relatives is responsible for promoting these Parliamentary Committee meetings around the country. This really is a Government that is unravelling and isn’t focused on practical issues like the one that we’re dealing with here today.

REPORTER: Yep. And just back to the car park, what’s the consultation been to establish that need? How do you know that (inaudible) are needed?

DAVID TEMPLEMAN, LABOR MLA FOR MANDURAH: The sign says it all. The sign says it all: car park full. Look, let’s just be very clear. State Labor and Federal Labor are together on this. We recognise very, very clearly that we need to keep on investing in public transport. We’ve got a track record. I can remember very, very clearly when the Liberal Party argued against the railway line to Mandurah. It was outrageous, but the people of Mandurah saw through that pathetic argument and voted with their feet. Now we see that this railway line to Mandurah, allowing people to connect from other parts of the region here – they voted with their feet.

Now what we need to do is invest more money so that more people can have access to this very, very successful railway line, which of course is part of the State Government’s METRONET Program. The METRONET Program is a comprehensive program about linking people through the Perth Metropolitan area and down through to here, and of course through to Byford in the eastern part of Canning, so that they can get to good quality jobs, so that they can get to good quality education, so that they can actually go and visit their families and friends.

This line is very successful for seniors. A lot of people travel up and down this line to see their families, and also to seek appointments in Perth. That’s brilliant. We want more people on trains, less in cars. Go on the freeway up to Perth on a weekday, or any day, and people know about the congestion. But this is an absolutely magnificent commitment by Anthony, and Mellisa, who’s advocated so strongly for this, and now matching that commitment, a Shorten Labor Government is going to ensure that this happens.

REPORTER: And sorry Robyn, obviously your constituents can’t walk to the train – how good is this to have extra parking?

ROBYN CLARKE, LABOR MLA FOR MURRAY-WELLINGTON: It’s going to be great, because as you know in my electorate we’ve got one bus service from Pinjarra to Mandurah, but for the rest of the electorate they have to drive and this is their only car park really that they can come to, to have access to the train line and to get up to Perth. A lot of them are retirees, they need medical appointments at the hospitals, and when they arrive here at nine, ten o’clock in the morning to try and get parking there’s just nothing available. So this is a great announcement from Federal Labor. What David reiterated – it’s been a Labor Government that has been the forefront of rail infrastructure and I’m so proud because I can go back to my electorate and say that we are building a multi-storey car park and there’ll be extra parking now available to the constituents of Murray-Wellington.

REPORTER: I know this is early days and you don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like, but is there going to be some security elements in there?

TEMPLEMAN: Look, CCTV security is very important. We’ve got to make sure people get on and off their train system safely. This already has of course a fairly comprehensive CCTV but obviously with a new multi-storey car park those will be very active considerations. Let me just underpin this – only the Labor Party has a track record in delivery of quality public transport in this state. We were the party that electrified the system throughout Perth. We were the party that extended the rail both north and south. We’ve got the METRONET plan of course, which connects circular connectors east and west, and of course we have a commitment that is there to be seen – stark contrast to the Liberals which of course closed the Fremantle line in the past and never had their heart in actually delivering quality public transport. We have got a track record. With Mellisa as our member for Canning, and with Anthony as our Federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister, this project’s going to be delivered.

[ENDS]

Feb 25, 2019

Transcript of Radio Interview – 6PR, Perth Live with Oliver Peterson – Monday, 25 February 2019

Subjects: Park and Ride Scheme; infrastructure; WA politics; Christian Porter; Kevin Rudd; Joe Hockey; Mathias Cormann; pensioners; Uber; drought; Mitchell Freeway; Perth; wages; Safe Rates; road safety; Election 2019; travel; unions. 

OLIVER PETERSON: Anthony Albanese live in the studio. Good to see you, welcome back.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for having us on again, Ollie.

PETERSON: If you want to ask Albo, hit the phones right now – 9221 1882 – another edition of Talkback Democracy. What are you doing back in Perth?

ALBANESE: Well I was down in Canning earlier today at Mandurah Station with Mellisa Teede, our fantastic candidate. I went down there during the by-election that was held and quite clearly there’s a need for increased commuter parking there. So I did that. I then had some meetings with Kim Travers, our candidate for Pearce. We met with some business people. I then had a meeting at Woodside. I’ve got some things on tonight. I’ve got a sundowner on after this.

PETERSON: Oh okay, come have a beer with Albo.

ALBANESE: It’s a busy time. Beer with Albo. Even better than talkback with Albo is beer with Albo.

PETERSON: Ask Albo – 9221 1882.

ALBANESE: Maybe we could combine the two.

PETERSON: Yes beer and talkback.

ALBANESE: That’s vision!

PETERSON: What could possibly go wrong? The Mandurah train station, you were there promising the car park, that’s been on the cards though since Don Randall’s passing really; at any by-election either party has been promising to do it. So if you want the car park, vote Labor, is that your message?

ALBANESE: Absolutely.

PETERSON: There will be a car park in Mandurah at the Mandurah Train Station.

ALBANESE: Absolutely with $16 million from each level of government – a multi-storey car park. It is of course the end of the line. A line built by the former Labor Government here in WA and I’ve always loved going down the Kwinana Freeway when you see the trains go past the cars. It really is a great example of public transport that was – basically its patronage far exceeded what the forecasts were and I think that will be the same with the whole METRONET roll-out that Mark McGowan’s Government is doing it in partnership with us, I hope.

PETERSON: Would the Lakelands train station be on your radar?

ALBANESE: It is and Mellisa certainly has raised that with me. We’re in a process of consulting out there.

PETERSON: Does it depend on whether or not you beat Andrew Hastie?

ALBANESE: No, no we will, if we are in government, we will be fulfilling the commitments that we make. It’s as simple as that. But, I’ve got to say, that Andrew Hastie hasn’t delivered much since the by-election. He’s gone a bit missing and the WA Liberals are just too busy fighting over seats and arguing with each other and getting campaign buses for free and getting free international trips to worry about the people who actually vote for them.

PETERSON: So what do you make there of Christian Porter’s appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the buses and Joe Francis, the former Corrective Services Minister, getting one of those roles?

ALBANESE: Well it’s red hot to announce in the very last hour of the Parliament sitting last Thursday, after everything else that had happened over the Helloworld, hello conflict of interest scandal, over everything else that had happened, to make all of these appointments and multiple former MPs, former staffers, including one of his own staff, and then we find that Joe Francis, this former WA Liberal MP, has given him a bus for free and he seems to of…

PETERSON: He says he gave it to the party, not to Christian Porter directly.

ALBANESE: Well I’ve seen the bus and I’ve seen Christian Porter standing in front of it with a super-duper Christian Porter big sign.

PETERSON: Would you catch it?

ALBANESE: No, I think that that bus is stalled and it’s like the Government, it’s rusted and it’s just dealing with itself. It doesn’t go anywhere. That’s the problem; it doesn’t move forward.

PETERSON: But shoe on the other foot, don’t you scratch each other’s backs? When Labor is in government don’t you appoint and give special consideration to some of your old mates and give them jobs? Jobs for the boys or the girls, isn’t that what everybody does? If you’re a Liberal, you help your friends out. If you’re a Labor Government, you help your mates out.

ALBANESE: Have a look at what we did in government, the appointments that we made. People like Brendan Nelson, we appointed as an Ambassador, former Liberal Leader. I appointed Bruce Baird as head of the Heavy Vehicle Regulator. I appointed Mark Birrell, a former Kennett Government Minister. It should be on merit and far be it from me as a politician to say that former politicians don’t have merit, because they can, but you look at this Government’s appointments and it’s dozens and dozens and dozens of mates and no meritocracy here. They’ve been mean spirited. They refused to back Kevin Rudd for the UN Secretary General position.

PETERSON: Would Labor appoint Kevin Rudd to that role? Would you endorse him if you could?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s a UN position.

PETERSON: Sure.

ALBANESE: Of course we would. We would back any Aussie candidate.

PETERSON: But Kevin Rudd’s an old mate of yours?

ALBANESE: But we’d back any Aussie candidate. We supported Malcolm Fraser, in spite of the history, for playing an international role. We’ve said that people like Julie Bishop, if an appropriate position comes up for Julie, she’s obviously a distinguished former Foreign Minister and she would make a good appointment some time down the track.

PETERSON: Would she be a better appointment than Joe Hockey? Would you remove him from his post?

ALBANESE: Well I think that Joe has some questions to answer about the Helloworld issue, but we’ll see how that plays out. I think he does have questions to answer. I quite like Joe, personally, but I just find the whole Helloworld stuff quite extraordinary.

PETERSON: This is starting to tell a little bit of a tale, Albo, and you’ve been around for a very long time as well in politics and it’s one thing that many people ring us and say: ‘I’m just sick of this kind of sense of entitlement or the backscratching that goes on’. Does it worry that this really goes to the to the heart of all politicians and your integrity when you get labelled with this regardless of whether you’re Labor, Liberal, Green, One Nation, whatever you might be?

ALBANESE: Oh absolutely. Look there’s no doubt that people out there think about themselves and their lives and what it’s like. The idea that you get a $3,000 trip and you don’t notice that it’s not on your credit card and that you haven’t paid for it, which is basically what the excuse is…

PETERSON: From Mathias Cormann.

ALBANESE: Yeah, Mathias Cormann basically saying that it’s a stuff up. Helloworld is of course run by the Treasurer of the Liberal Party and Helloworld have benefited from significant government contracts. Now in politics I think you’ve got to be really, really careful about these issues. You have to declare things above three hundred dollars. I declare all sorts of things, you know if I get a pen or something simple,  someone gives me a footy scarf I declare it, because I think that we have a responsibility to be cautious and we are in a privileged position compared with the people, most of the people, that we represent. That’s not to say we don’t work hard. I mean I woke up this morning in Melbourne…

PETERSON: Here you are in Perth, going to a sundowner.

ALBANESE: Here I am in Perth, down to Mandurah and I’ll be going into the evening. It’s pretty tough sometimes, and people look at that and go: ‘Oh, he’s flying around isn’t that luxury?’. I’d be very glad to never get on a plane again, I’ve got to say, but then again – except to come here!

PETERSON: To come to Perth.

ALBANESE: Yes, to come to Perth.

PETERSON: For Ask Albo.

ALBANESE: But for a couple of weeks, not for a day.

PETERSON: For a flying visit. Let’s go to Paul who wants to put a question to you. Good afternoon.

CALLER: Good afternoon both Ollie and Mr Albanese, how are you both?

PETERSON: We’re fantastic, mate.

ALBANESE: I’m good thanks, Paul.

CALLER: Good to hear you’re in Perth. Listen though I’m just asking a question about pensioners. Does the Federal Liberal Party were in the pipeline, I heard it on 882 6PR was going to do with once of payment to pensioners. Now if they do that will Labor Party tick it or will they reject it?

ALBANESE: Well, I haven’t I haven’t seen that, Paul, that announcement here. I haven’t had the opportunity to be listening to 6PR today, I’ve been on the road and at meetings. Can I say this though, the last time we were in government we put through the largest ever increase in the pension in Australia’s history, and that’s something that I was very proud of. We also of course tripled the tax free threshold for those people on really low incomes, from $6,000 to up above $18,000, and Labor will always stand up for those people who are most in need.

PETERSON: Hello Gary. Gary, go ahead.

ALBANESE: G’day Gary.

PETERSON: I don’t think Gary’s there at the moment. Hello Clark.

CALLER: Yeah, hey Albo.

ALBANESE: Hey Clark.

CALLER: Yeah just had a query, I’ve just come back from Phuket actually on a holiday and they banned Uber in Phuket because it was affecting the taxi drivers and it’s been banned in other countries of the world. What’s Labor’s stance on Uber? They going to ban it if they get in?

ALBANESE: No we’re not about banning it. We think the emergence of the share economy is really important, it’s significant, whether it be Uber, Airbnb, there’s a range of companies in terms of – shared motor vehicles, there’s various schemes around the states. We do think there’s a need for proper regulation to make sure that people who are working for companies in the share economy aren’t ripped off, but we think that that is a legitimate way in which, for many people, they’re earning a few extra dollars that might help them pay for a holiday to Phuket. But there is a need, I think for, an appropriate regulatory oversight of all of these companies, plus one of the issues is food delivery companies as well have come under scrutiny and we just need to make sure that whilst we’re not limiting entrepreneurship, we’re making sure that people aren’t getting ripped off at the same time.

PETERSON: This is ‘Ask Albo’ – one from Facebook on the Oliver Peterson 6PR Facebook Page – comes from Wade. He says: ‘What is the Labor Government’s stance on helping out our struggling farmers all over Australia and also what are you going to do about the large amount of nations buying up large amounts of quality land in the north of Western Australia? Keep Australian farmers Australian.’ He writes.

ALBANESE: On the second point of course foreign investment has always played a role. We need to make sure, though, that the national interest is put first and there are various mechanisms to make sure that happens. Overwhelmingly land in this country is owned by Australians and it is important that we support our farmers. They’re doing it really tough. There was a debate in the Parliament last week for example, about establishing a drought fund. The Government, what it wants to do, and it’ll be debated in the Senate when we get back, it wants to take money from the Building Australia Fund – which is used for major infrastructure projects, that’s how we funded Perth City Link here, the upgrade for example – and give that into a drought fund. What we said is no, farmers are doing it tough they need their own fund but we won’t take it from somewhere else. We think it’s deserving in its own right. So that’s a position that we took, but our farmers you know they do it really tough at times like this. And one of the good things, I think, is that I represent an inner city seat …

PETERSON: Yeah.

ALBANESE: … is the way that people – regardless of where they live – have respect for our farmers and have dug deep to provide them with assistance. I know my electorate office in the Inner West of Sydney, we were collecting funds for the farmers and that’s a good thing.

PETERSON: Hello Gary.

ALBANESE: Hi Gary.

CALLER: (Inaudible) I spoke to the Premier in January on one of the shows on this radio station, about what’s going on with the third lane for the Mitchell Freeway, between Aussies Drive and Hepburn. Because it was supposed to be done a couple of years ago and now all of a sudden it’s paused because of the State’s financial worries. We need it back on the agenda, to get done, because traffic is an absolute nightmare. From 5:30 in the morning until 11:00 in the morning (inaudible).

ALBANESE: It is and I’m very conscious of that, and that’s another issue that our candidate for Pearce, Kim Travers, has very much raised with me and we’ve committed to the upgrade in terms of the Mitchell Freeway just extending the widening further up to the north. Of course, Perth is a city – in the time I’ve been coming here it’s grown. And it’s grown to the south and it’s grown to the north in particular. Obviously residents of this great city like living pretty close to the coast and it’s …

PETERSON: Why not, it’s so good.

ALBANESE: Absolutely. Your beaches – I reckon for people who aren’t from Perth – I always say to them go to Cottesloe or Scarborough, they are amazing beaches …

PETERSON: Better than Sydney beaches?

ALBANESE: They’re different. They’re different.

PETERSON: Come on, no one in Sydney is listening at the moment, you can say it, it’s all right.

ALBANESE: There’s this new thing called the ‘Interweb’, and they might be listening. But I think Australia has the best beaches in the world and many of the best ones are right here. I’m a big fan of Smiths Beach down the coast.

PETERSON: What, because Stephen Smith hangs out there, does he?

ALBANESE: Smithy was actually the person who told me about Smiths Beach. I think he was trying to claim it was named after him.

PETERSON: Sure he is.

ALBANESE: But it’s just extraordinary and right up and down the coast, of course, this is a great state. Let alone the beaches around Esperance as well, I’ve got to say,

PETERSON: Yeah, lovely. They’re outstanding. We’re going to take a couple more calls in a moment. It’s ‘Ask Albo’ – your opportunity to access one of Labor’s most senior politicians and soon he may be a minister if the polls are to be believed; they are on course to defeat the Government. So if you’ve got an issue for him …

(Break)

This is ‘Ask Albo’ with Anthony Albanese – Hello Daniel.

CALLER: G’day Anthony, g’day Ollie.

ALBANESE: G’day, Daniel.

CALLER: Number one, I’m a big fan of your work. I like the way you go about things.

ALBANESE: Thanks very much mate, very nice of you to say it.

CALLER: Just wanting to know, basically, I’m a truck driver sort of, you know, a blue collar worker. I haven’t really seen any sort of increase in my wage since about 2003. I know there has been increases in wages in some areas, but in real terms my rate hasn’t really gone up much since about 2003 and I was just wondering what your government – if you do form government – what you could do to put pressure on a bit of a wage rise?

ALBANESE: Not only do you think that it is a problem for you personally, the interesting thing about the low wage rises and not keeping pace with the increase in profits that we’ve seen, is that the Reserve Bank of Australia and every economist knows it is a problem for our national economy. Because if you lift your wage by a bit, guess what, you spend it. You don’t save it, you spend it. And that helps create more jobs for others. What we’ll do in the trucking industry in particular, is that we’re serious about Safe Rates. We don’t think the circumstance whereby truck drivers are put under pressure to lower their costs, or to drive too fast, or to drive for too long are acceptable. And we’ll work with industry to make sure that we do have Safe Rates so that we – not just lead to better living standards, but importantly keep not just you safe on the road, but everyone who shares the roads with you.

PETERSON: All right, I think Angela might be on a similar topic. Good afternoon.

CALLER: Hi, how are you going? What I wanted to know was, I’ve emailed Josh Wilson, I’ve had Glenn Sterle contact me, I’ve tried to contact the TWU both here in WA and federally, trying to get more detail on the Safe Rates. But everyone seems to be ducking for cover. So what we really want to know is a lot more detail and if there is a link or a release that can be sent out that has a lot more detail. I know Glenn Sterle did contact me and I left a message and called him back however he hasn’t called me back again. But everyone keeps talking about saving lives on the road, that’s what Safe Rates will do, but how the hell will it when – are you actually looking at improving road conditions and heavy haulage routes and keeping cyclists off heavy haulage routes? And with Roe Eight not being extended that would have helped keep our drivers safe as well. So what exactly is Safe Rates and when will we see more detail, a lot more detail, well before the election?

ALBANESE: There are three things you can do to improve road safety. One, better infrastructure, literally better roads. So we put in record funding, not just for roads around Perth like Gateway WA, but roads that are still underway that were funded by us when we were in Government like the Swan Valley Bypass. But we also did the Great Northern Highway, Muchea and (inaudible). We did a range of projects, the North West Coastal Highway, to make sure that roads were safe. The second thing is new technology which is important. The newer trucks have better technology and that can have an impact. The third is, of course, personal awareness; people being aware, drivers, when you’re behind the wheel, to drive safely. But the other thing is, what Safe Rates is about is pretty simple, it’s that you can’t have an unregulated area whereby drivers are put under pressure to drive without getting appropriate rest without getting appropriate conditions. And one of the things that we will do is to finalise that in consultation with industry. There was a two-day meeting in Parliament House during the last fortnight sitting. Glenn Sterle is hosting a Safe Rates forum with industry, with people from the sector as well as with the unions in Canberra during the break, because we have a part-time Parliament now. So they will be working on some of the detail and Glenn has carriage of it, as the Assistant Shadow Minister for Road Safety.

PETERSON: On that point of the part-time Parliament, you’ve got a couple of days before the Budget is handed down in April?

ALBANESE: We go back on Budget Day, April 2. And then we sit April 3 and then Bill will give the Budget Reply on April 4 and that’s it.

PETERSON: That’s it. Then Scott Morrison, you believe, will call an election?

ALBANESE: Absolutely. He said he will and there’s no doubt that they have to …

PETERSON: So what are you going to do between now and then?

ALBANESE: Come to Perth, here I am! I was in Melbourne yesterday; I’ll be in Perth obviously tomorrow morning. I’ll be in Melbourne at the Avalon Air Show as Shadow Transport Minister on Thursday. And on Friday I’ll be at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, which were held here at new stadium in Perth last year. This time it’s in Cataract Gorge in Launceston. They’re putting a huge marquee up, it is the biggest event for the tourism sector and WA did really well last year and I’m sure they’ll do well again.

PETERSON: All right, we’ll try and squeeze another one or two in. Paul, very quickly, how are you going?

CALLER: Good, how are you going?

PETERSON: We’re good, mate.

ALBANESE: Hi Paul.

CALLER: I know, Albo, you’re talking about the rail project – I was on that for two years. And one of the things that scares me about Labor coming back in, I sort of (inaudible) the unions run amok a bit there. There was many days where they’d go out and strike. Say it was 37.5 or 37.7 in Perth and they’d let everyone go all the way down to Mandurah, where the sea breeze might be – it was only 25 degrees there. It just was day after day there were many occasions, where you would go to work and it would end up being you’d go home half a day because we were short. And we ended up losing a lot of money.

ALBANESE: Which project was this, mate? Was this the Mandurah Extension or Perth City Link?

CALLER: It was, well basically the new rail line from Perth to Mandurah.

ALBANESE: The truth is, when we were in office, industrial disputation was down compared with during the Howard years. On average, in terms of number of strike days lost. We want to work with, we make no apology for saying we want to work with unions, but we want to work with employers as well. If you don’t have employers giving people jobs you won’t have trade union members. There’s a common interest and one of the things that I’ve done today, for example, is meet with many of the business sector and I’ll be doing that again in about an hour’s time.

PETERSON: All right, for the Sundowner. Anthony Albanese we are out of time. We’ll see you again here in the coming months, thank you very much.

ALBANESE: Thanks for having me on.

[ENDS]

Feb 22, 2019

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 22 February, 2019

Subjects: Julie Bishop, women in politics, Labor’s plan for compensation for banking victims, Helloworld scandal.

DEBORAH KNIGHT: Good morning to you both.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  Good morning.

KELLY O’DWYER, MINISTER FOR WOMEN: Good morning Deb.

KNIGHT: Now Kelly you were quite emotional yesterday when Julie Bishop made her announcement in Parliament. She really was a trailblazer.

O’DWYER: An incredible trail blazer, an amazing leader and an inspiration and role model to women not only here in Australia but right around the world. Julie Bishop can stand very proud on her record of achievement. She is someone that I think most Australians admire and respect. She has been someone who has taken us through very difficult times with MH17 and she has handled it always with extreme strength and poise. It was an emotional moment. She is a good friend of mine and she will be greatly missed.

KNIGHT: And Albo, Julie Bishop’s achievements were recognised of course by both sides of politics even though Julie herself didn’t stick around to hear them. Was she the best Liberal Leader that that Liberals never had?

ALBANESE: I think that is right Deb. I think it is unfortunate that they didn’t take the opportunity to elect Julie Bishop as Leader when she put herself forward. She is someone who has my respect. I regard her as a friend. I’ve always had a very good relationship with her. I think she was I think she was a very good Foreign Minister and represented Australia on the world stage and I wish her well in the next stage of her life.

KNIGHT: Now Kelly, Julie’s announcement of course came a day after you delivered your valedictory speech. Two senior women bowing out. The party, we know, has a problem attracting and keeping women and you both raise a lot of money for the party. You have cut through with voters. It’s going to hurt the party and the Government isn’t it? You need every vote you can get.

O’DWYER: Well obviously we are after every vote that we can get. But there are very personal reasons for my decision as many people know that relate to family. It has been almost ten years in the Parliament for me.

KNIGHT: But losing two women of your stature though is a blow.

O’DWYER: There are incredible people who will also take our place. No job is for ever. As Julie has said and as I have said, there are incredible women in the field running for both of our seats to get pre-selection and I suspect that one of those women in Curtin and in Higgins will be very successful and of course will make a wonderful contribution here in the Parliament.

KNIGHT: And Albo, you know the personal toll politics takes on relationships and families yourself. Is it harder do you think for women than men in politics?

ALBANESE: I think that politics is a hard life. We give up a lot to do what we do. Here we are in Canberra on a Friday morning having been here all week. I go from here to Brisbane. I’m in Melbourne on Sunday and Perth on Monday. The fact is that it does take a toll and particularly I think Kelly has been a really important role model. Women who have children in politics – it’s a particular challenge. Myself and Carmel raised our young son with both of us in political life.

O’DWYER: Very unusual.

ALBANESE: It’s difficult but the fact is that what we need is a Parliament that is representative of the community and that is why I am very proud that Labor will hit 50 per cent women’s representation after the next election and I do think it’s a problem for the Liberal Party that they are losing two very senior women in Kelly and Julie. I perfectly respect Kelly’s decision. People will make those decisions at particular times in their lives.

KNIGHT: Now Julie Bishop’s departing gift of course was stealing the headlines from what was a good week for Labor. But Albo, you are desperate to get the focus off border security and on to the banks and making the banks pay for ripping off customers. This compensation scheme you are unveiling today, how much is it going to cost?

ALBANESE: Well it depends how much the banks have ripped people off. That’s the question. But people need to be compensated. That’s why we are increasing it four times up to $2 million. It will of course be paid for by the banks paying. They need to be held to account for the fact that so many individuals and small businesses have been worse off. It’s had a material effect on their living standards of themselves and their families and that is why they deserve to be compensated.

KNIGHT: And Kelly will the Government match Labor’s compensation scheme? It’s much more generous than the one you have got in place.

O’DWYER: We actually established the Australian Financial Complaints Authority so Labor has actually come to this a bit late.  Of course we put on those big penalties to the banks and of course allowed small business to be able to access binding compensation. But of course Labor isn’t talking about the compensation that will be there for the retirees who are going to be hit to the tune of about $55 billion because of their retirees’ tax. They are not talking about compensation for all of those other Australians who will be directly affected by their more than $200 billion of new or increased taxes. So you know, it’s all very well to talk the talk, but you’ve actually got to walk the walk.

ALBANESE: Well the problem for the Government of course Deb is that when you raise issues of compensation and the banks they try to segue into something else, just as they did on the 26 occasions that they voted against the Royal Commission.

O’DWYER: It’s an uncomfortable truth.

ALBANESE: Twenty six times.

KNIGHT: Talk about uncomfortable. I’m loving the optics of seeing you two standing together and being very polite. This is kind of fun actually. We might try and replicate this again.

ALBANESE: We like each other. She’s nicer than Christopher.

O’DWYER: Well that’s not hard.

KNIGHT: The last time we saw Mathias Cormann and Joe Hockey get together they were sharing their love of cigars – that famous photo before the 2014 Budget ….

O’DWYER: We won’t be doing that.

KNIGHT: Well we will see about that, but at the moment their links to the travel company Hellowworld have them back in the spotlight. So Kelly, how do you think the average Australian who is struggling to pay the bills feels when they hear that Mathias Cormann didn’t realise his mate and the CEO Andrew Burnes had paid for these $3000 in flights because Gee, he didn’t notice his bank account was still flush with the cash?

O’DWYER: Well look clearly Australians are not impressed. Right? The point is there have been around this issue a lot of very big assertions made and there have been a lot of pretty vile smears. But of course the facts don’t match up with a lot of the allegations the Labor Party made in the House only this week. The truth is they are not prepared to repeat those allegations outside of the Parliament because they won’t stand up.

KNIGHT: How does it stand up though that Helloworld is given these lucrative government contracts when its CEO, Andrew Burnes is a Liberal Party Treasurer and your Washington ambassador, Joe Hockey, has a $1 million stake in the company? It’s on the nose. That’s all voters see isn’t it?

O’DWYER: I suppose there is a pretty fundamental point here and that is that the Ambassador and the Minister have no say in the procurement arrangements – no say at all. In fact these decisions are made by the department so it’s completely incorrect to actually link the two and that is what I think is pretty grubby actually about this exercise. I can understand people weren’t impressed by not paying for a flight. I can understand that. But to make these vile smears is actually not right and I think it is pretty much below the people in this place.

KNIGHT: Albo, will you remove him as Washington Ambassador if you win government?

ALBANESE: Helloworld, hello conflict of interest. Joe Hockey as the Ambassador was helping to organise – there’s a trail of emails here which indicate his direct involvement in organising meetings with a company Helloworld with Embassy officials when he had over $1 million of shares. They are shares that increased by the way in value at around 170 per cent once these Government contracts started flowing through. Mathias Cormann has questions to answer as well. This is all red hot. Helloworld have had these massive contracts from government.

O’DWYER: From Labor Governments, Labor Governments.

ALBANESE: They haven’t got a bit of it – they’ve got all of it, and the bloke who is running it is the Treasurer of the Liberal Party.

KNIGHT: Well, no doubt we will hear more on this topic and good on you for joining us in Canberra. Is there anyone else in the courtyard? Is it empty? Are there crickets?

ALBANESE: I just saw Bill in the corridor. Bill Shorten is out there working hard.

KNIGHT: All right, any opportunity Albo. Thanks for joining us.

O’DWYER: How shameless.

ALBANESE: Good on you.

ENDS

FRIDAY, 22 FEBRUARY, 2019

Feb 22, 2019

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Brisbane – Friday, 22 February, 2019

Subjects: Cross River Rail, Olympics bid.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s great to be back here in Queensland, in the great city of Brisbane, at this amazing project. When I was last here with Labor Leader Bill Shorten, we announced our commitment to $2.24 billion dollars of funding to deliver the Cross River Rail project in partnership with the Queensland State Government. This is a vital project. It was indeed identified by Infrastructure Australia back in 2012 as Australia’s number one infrastructure priority. That’s why we sat down and worked with – originally the Bligh Government – and then we worked with the Newman Government, as a Federal Government to get a commitment which we put into the 2013 Budget.

Of course we know what happened. Tony Abbott said that he would not fund any public transport projects that weren’t already underway. It was lucky that the Redcliffe project was under construction and couldn’t be stopped. But he withdrew funding from this project and then of course the Newman Government walked away as well.

Well this project is as vital today for jobs and dealing with urban congestion, dealing with improving productivity, sustainability and liveability here in Brisbane, as it was back in 2012. Indeed, it is more needed today because we’ve had lost years – because of the Coalition’s arrogance and their failure to support public transport.

We’re absolutely committed to this project. And I’d say to Scott Morrison and his Government that he has an opportunity over the coming weeks to ensure that this project receives Federal Government funding in the April 2 Budget. There’s no reason whatsoever why this project shouldn’t be bipartisan. But what we’ve seen from the Coalition Government in Canberra is that Malcolm Turnbull and his Queensland team were prepared to come and be at the opening of projects like the Gold Coast Light Rail, Redcliffe Rail, Gateway Motorway North and other projects, but they weren’t prepared to actually fund them. Well I say to them, this is a vital project, everyone knows it, it’s necessary to increase the capacity of the rail network here in Brisbane and they should put real money in the Budget in April.

JACKIE TRAD: Thanks, Albo. I want to start by thanking Anthony Albanese and the Shorten Labor Opposition for their steadfast commitment to the Cross River Rail project. Cross River Rail is critical to the South East Queensland area. It is critical to the Queensland economy and the national economy. There is nothing productive about having thousands of Queenslanders stuck on congested roads, or unable to get onto trains because they’re all full.

The Cross River Rail project will supercharge public transport in South East Queensland. It will double our rail capacity right across the South East Queensland region. That means more trains, more frequently, for Queenslanders to get into work and back home to their families in time. It means less cars on the road, less congestion on our roads. It is critical for South East Queensland but also for the state and national economy. We have had to make the decision to go it alone on this project, because we cannot wait.

Infrastructure Australia said when dealing with our business case that we had overestimated the patronage predictions on our public transport system – the patronage predictions that we’ve relied on to make the case for this project. They said here in South East Queensland we wouldn’t grow patronage on our public transport network by more than 6 per cent, per year. Well, this year, we are hitting a patronage growth figure of 6.5 per cent. There is no doubt that more people are turning to public transport because of congested roads.

Now we don’t want to wait until it becomes a crisis. We are just getting on and building this project in time for the growth that we’re seeing in our local community – in terms of population – but also in terms of public transport patronage. This is what good government is about – delivering infrastructure when it’s needed, not after it’s needed, after there is a crisis. This is what Cross River Rail is all about. And I’m so pleased to be standing here with Anthony Albanese. And the only way that Queensland will get its fair share, in terms of infrastructure spending in our state, is if Bill Shorten is elected with the Labor Party at this year’s Federal Election.

REPORTER: Albo, if you are elected would a Federal Shorten Government support whatever infrastructure is needed for the South East to host an Olympic Games?

ALBANESE: I’ve met with the South East Queensland Mayors just in the last fortnight. They were in Canberra. We’ll have a look at any bid and work cooperatively with Queensland. One of the differences, I think, between a Shorten Government and the Morrison Government is that we will work in the interests of Queenslanders, rather than in the interests of any parochial attitude. I mean, when I was last the Minister for Infrastructure, I worked cooperatively with the Queensland Government – both the Bligh Government, but I also enjoyed a constructive relationship with the Newman Government. When proposals were put forward we acted in a way that put the national interest first. And as Queensland is so important to our national economy as Australia’s most regional state as well, we worked cooperatively.

When we were last in Government we worked, for example, very closely with the Bligh Government on the infrastructure that was needed for the Commonwealth Games. And that Commonwealth Games was incredibly successful. That’s why we contributed $365 million to the Gold Coast Light Rail Project, a project that was opposed by Steven Ciobo, that was opposed by the Queensland LNP. We put $37 million into the stadium, which has had an ongoing benefit of course for the Gold Coast Suns and for sport and activity on the Gold Coast. We helped fund revitalisation along the beach front on the Gold Coast. We funded bike ways. We did our share. In spite of the fact, of course, that all of those seats were held by the LNP, that didn’t matter, we pitched in. What we have from the Morrison Government, frankly, is an attitude that says: ‘We’re going to keep Tony Abbott’s attitude of not funding public transport, we’re going to put all the money into Sydney toll roads’, money that should be going into the Cross River Rail project. That’s what happened when the Government changed in 2013. This project would have been well nearing completion now, frankly. (Inaudible)

REPORTER: (Inaudible)

ALBANESE: Well, we will have an upfront payment of $800 million as a cash injection. But we also recognise that this is an exciting project, and we’ve come up with financing of a long-term payment model that will be contributed over coming decades. Why do you do that? Because you recognise that the benefit of the project will be for decades to come. (Inaudible) That is absolutely necessary now for South East Queensland. But in many years and decades to come, people will still be reaping that benefit.

REPORTER: In terms of the Commonwealth contribution, how much would go towards the construction of Cross River Rail, how much towards operating costs?

ALBANESE: It’s not about operating costs. The Commonwealth doesn’t run trains and it doesn’t run roads. We have that delineation. What the Commonwealth can bring is, essentially, support for projects so that Queenslanders, who pay their taxes, work hard, get given something back in the form of infrastructure. And why should the Commonwealth do that? Because when you build something like Cross River Rail, you boost national productivity. The Commonwealth benefits from that through increased company taxes, through increased personal taxes, by improving the productivity and economic growth of the way that this vital part of Queensland . Because this doesn’t just benefit, this isn’t just about the local community – this is about the capacity of the entire network. This benefits the Sunshine Coast, it benefits the Gold Coast, it benefits Ipswich, it benefits the entire region.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 22 FEBRUARY, 2019

Feb 22, 2019

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 22 February, 2019

Subjects: Julie Bishop, women in politics, Labor’s plan for compensation for banking victims, Helloworld scandal.

DEBORAH KNIGHT: Good morning to you both.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  Good morning.

KELLY O’DWYER, MINISTER FOR WOMEN: Good morning Deb.

KNIGHT: Now Kelly you were quite emotional yesterday when Julie Bishop made her announcement in Parliament. She really was a trailblazer.

O’DWYER: An incredible trail blazer, an amazing leader and an inspiration and role model to women not only here in Australia but right around the world. Julie Bishop can stand very proud on her record of achievement. She is someone that I think most Australians admire and respect. She has been someone who has taken us through very difficult times with MH17 and she has handled it always with extreme strength and poise. It was an emotional moment. She is a good friend of mine and she will be greatly missed.

KNIGHT: And Albo, Julie Bishop’s achievements were recognised of course by both sides of politics even though Julie herself didn’t stick around to hear them. Was she the best Liberal Leader that that Liberals never had?

ALBANESE: I think that is right Deb. I think it is unfortunate that they didn’t take the opportunity to elect Julie Bishop as Leader when she put herself forward. She is someone who has my respect. I regard her as a friend. I’ve always had a very good relationship with her. I think she was I think she was a very good Foreign Minister and represented Australia on the world stage and I wish her well in the next stage of her life.

KNIGHT: Now Kelly, Julie’s announcement of course came a day after you delivered your valedictory speech. Two senior women bowing out. The party, we know, has a problem attracting and keeping women and you both raise a lot of money for the party. You have cut through with voters. It’s going to hurt the party and the Government isn’t it? You need every vote you can get.

O’DWYER: Well obviously we are after every vote that we can get. But there are very personal reasons for my decision as many people know that relate to family. It has been almost ten years in the Parliament for me.

KNIGHT: But losing two women of your stature though is a blow.

O’DWYER: There are incredible people who will also take our place. No job is for ever. As Julie has said and as I have said, there are incredible women in the field running for both of our seats to get pre-selection and I suspect that one of those women in Curtin and in Higgins will be very successful and of course will make a wonderful contribution here in the Parliament.

KNIGHT: And Albo, you know the personal toll politics takes on relationships and families yourself. Is it harder do you think for women than men in politics?

ALBANESE: I think that politics is a hard life. We give up a lot to do what we do. Here we are in Canberra on a Friday morning having been here all week. I go from here to Brisbane. I’m in Melbourne on Sunday and Perth on Monday. The fact is that it does take a toll and particularly I think Kelly has been a really important role model. Women who have children in politics – it’s a particular challenge. Myself and Carmel raised our young son with both of us in political life.

O’DWYER: Very unusual.

ALBANESE: It’s difficult but the fact is that what we need is a Parliament that is representative of the community and that is why I am very proud that Labor will hit 50 per cent women’s representation after the next election and I do think it’s a problem for the Liberal Party that they are losing two very senior women in Kelly and Julie. I perfectly respect Kelly’s decision. People will make those decisions at particular times in their lives.

KNIGHT: Now Julie Bishop’s departing gift of course was stealing the headlines from what was a good week for Labor. But Albo, you are desperate to get the focus off border security and on to the banks and making the banks pay for ripping off customers. This compensation scheme you are unveiling today, how much is it going to cost?

ALBANESE: Well it depends how much the banks have ripped people off. That’s the question. But people need to be compensated. That’s why we are increasing it four times up to $2 million. It will of course be paid for by the banks paying. They need to be held to account for the fact that so many individuals and small businesses have been worse off. It’s had a material effect on their living standards of themselves and their families and that is why they deserve to be compensated.

KNIGHT: And Kelly will the Government match Labor’s compensation scheme? It’s much more generous than the one you have got in place.

O’DWYER: We actually established the Australian Financial Complaints Authority so Labor has actually come to this a bit late.  Of course we put on those big penalties to the banks and of course allowed small business to be able to access binding compensation. But of course Labor isn’t talking about the compensation that will be there for the retirees who are going to be hit to the tune of about $55 billion because of their retirees’ tax. They are not talking about compensation for all of those other Australians who will be directly affected by their more than $200 billion of new or increased taxes. So you know, it’s all very well to talk the talk, but you’ve actually got to walk the walk.

ALBANESE: Well the problem for the Government of course Deb is that when you raise issues of compensation and the banks they try to segue into something else, just as they did on the 26 occasions that they voted against the Royal Commission.

O’DWYER: It’s an uncomfortable truth.

ALBANESE: Twenty six times.

KNIGHT: Talk about uncomfortable. I’m loving the optics of seeing you two standing together and being very polite. This is kind of fun actually. We might try and replicate this again.

ALBANESE: We like each other. She’s nicer than Christopher.

O’DWYER: Well that’s not hard.

KNIGHT: The last time we saw Mathias Cormann and Joe Hockey get together they were sharing their love of cigars – that famous photo before the 2014 Budget ….

O’DWYER: We won’t be doing that.

KNIGHT: Well we will see about that, but at the moment their links to the travel company Hellowworld have them back in the spotlight. So Kelly, how do you think the average Australian who is struggling to pay the bills feels when they hear that Mathias Cormann didn’t realise his mate and the CEO Andrew Burnes had paid for these $3000 in flights because Gee, he didn’t notice his bank account was still flush with the cash?

O’DWYER: Well look clearly Australians are not impressed. Right? The point is there have been around this issue a lot of very big assertions made and there have been a lot of pretty vile smears. But of course the facts don’t match up with a lot of the allegations the Labor Party made in the House only this week. The truth is they are not prepared to repeat those allegations outside of the Parliament because they won’t stand up.

KNIGHT: How does it stand up though that Helloworld is given these lucrative government contracts when its CEO, Andrew Burnes is a Liberal Party Treasurer and your Washington ambassador, Joe Hockey, has a $1 million stake in the company? It’s on the nose. That’s all voters see isn’t it?

O’DWYER: I suppose there is a pretty fundamental point here and that is that the Ambassador and the Minister have no say in the procurement arrangements – no say at all. In fact these decisions are made by the department so it’s completely incorrect to actually link the two and that is what I think is pretty grubby actually about this exercise. I can understand people weren’t impressed by not paying for a flight. I can understand that. But to make these vile smears is actually not right and I think it is pretty much below the people in this place.

KNIGHT: Albo, will you remove him as Washington Ambassador if you win government?

ALBANESE: Helloworld, hello conflict of interest. Joe Hockey as the Ambassador was helping to organise – there’s a trail of emails here which indicate his direct involvement in organising meetings with a company Helloworld with Embassy officials when he had over $1 million of shares. They are shares that increased by the way in value at around 170 per cent once these Government contracts started flowing through. Mathias Cormann has questions to answer as well. This is all red hot. Helloworld have had these massive contracts from government.

O’DWYER: From Labor Governments, Labor Governments.

ALBANESE: They haven’t got a bit of it – they’ve got all of it, and the bloke who is running it is the Treasurer of the Liberal Party.

KNIGHT: Well, no doubt we will hear more on this topic and good on you for joining us in Canberra. Is there anyone else in the courtyard? Is it empty? Are there crickets?

ALBANESE: I just saw Bill in the corridor. Bill Shorten is out there working hard.

KNIGHT: All right, any opportunity Albo. Thanks for joining us.

O’DWYER: How shameless.

ALBANESE: Good on you.

Feb 20, 2019

Transcript of Radio Interview – FIVEaa, Two Tribes – Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Subjects: Sturt poll, Banking Royal Commission.

HOST: It’s a big good morning to Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentleman.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning everyone from sunny Canberra.

PYNE: I hope this won’t be like ‘Behind Closed Doors’ last week, which took us off.

HOST: Yes.

HOST: It sounded like an actual transcript I thought, Chris.

HOST: You’ve been immortalised.

PYNE: It was very, very funny, I must say.

ALBANESE: Well I’m offended.

HOST: Why were you offended, Albo?

ALBANESE: Just because I can be … (inaudible).

PYNE: You were being parodied, whereas I was being promoted.

ALBANESE: Well you start from a lower base.

PYNE: You’re a curmudgeon. You’re a curmudgeonly old Member, that’s your problem.

HOST: Albo, have you caught up with the latest poll figures for Sturt? Christopher on a pretty good wicket based on what the Advertiser released this week – 59-41. You must feeling quite comfortable, Christopher?

PYNE: Well Anthony’s been in Adelaide campaigning against me and whenever he comes my vote goes up.

ALBANESE: I’ve got to say, I have only ever been to Sturt to do good things for the people of Sturt as a Minister, because someone had to do it, someone had to look after them.

PYNE: The only person who helps me more in Sturt is Bill Shorten. I’d like to get him into my seat a few times before the election.

HOST: So you’re not bracing yourself for a Frank Pangallo pitch or anything, Chris?

PYNE: Well I think the most interesting part – well two interesting things about that poll was the complete disappearance of the Xenophon factor. They got 22 per cent at the election and in that poll, and of course, it’s only a poll and the only poll that really matters is election day, they were down to one and half per cent. But the other thing I thought was interesting was that Bill Shorten has such an enormous unfavourability. Fifty per cent of people had an unfavourable impression of Bill Shorten, which always puts a smile on Anthony’s face of course, because he was the people’s choice. He should have been the Leader of the Labor Party.

ALBANESE: Now you’re just being mischievous.

PYNE: Me? Stop it.

ALBANESE: Far be it for you to be mischievous.

PYNE: I’m blushing. I’m blushing on the phone.

HOST: Hey guys, at eight o’clock…

ALBANESE: I don’t think Sturt’s on our target list.

HOST: No, I think you’d let that one go through to the keeper.

ALBANESE: But we will be having a very, very close look at Boothby I think.

HOST: With the help of GetUp! by the sounds of things, not that they have anything to do with the Labor Party or the Greens.

ALBANESE: No, with the help of Nicolle Flint being one of the first signatories which knocked off Malcolm Turnbull.

HOST: Here we go. We want to talk about banks. We revealed in ‘Breaking at 8’ that the ANZ has only now just become the very first bank to get out there on the front foot and say that they are not just deeply apologetic for what was revealed in the Royal Commission, but that they are actually going to start putting in some real reforms to prevent a repeat of that. This is the big hope for you guys, isn’t it Chris, that between now and the election you actually get the banks doing a bit of self-flagellation and saying they are going to make changes.

PYNE: Well there’s two important things about that. One is that, yes the banks do need to take responsibility for their own actions, and what was revealed in the Royal Commission was startling and shocking and I’m glad the banks, at least some of the banks, are starting to understand that they have to put a bit of effort into changing their reputation. The second thing about the Royal Commission is that we responded, the Government has responded to all 76 of the recommendations, and we are still waiting for Labor’s response. It’s quite remarkable that they made so much of it and they failed to respond to it.

HOST: What do you think, Albo, can the banks be trusted to do this themselves?

ALBANESE: Well we know that they can’t be. That’s why we had a Royal Commission in spite of Christopher and his mates voting against it 26 times. That’s why we need structural reform. That’s why the Parliament should sit next week and the week after and for as long as need be to put through legislation that puts in place the structural changes that are required. We put forward five issues yesterday that should be dealt with through legislation and the Government should be having the Parliament sit. That’s what we are elected to do, to legislate, and we should do it.

HOST: We’re going to wrap it up there guys. You know why Chris? We’ve got to play Two Tribes again and we know that apart from Two Tribes…

PYNE: When we’re featured…

HOST: Sorry we’re going to play Blakey again. We know you are big fan, so we don’t want to cut Blakey short.

ALBANESE: Well that makes one of us.

HOST: Playing with fire, Albo.

HOST: Good on you guys. Albo, Chris Pyne, we’ll do it all again next week. Thanks for that.

PYNE: Look forward to it.

[ENDS]

Feb 19, 2019

Transcript of Television Interview – ABC 24, Afternoon Briefing with Patricia Karvelas – Tuesday, 20 February 2019

Subjects: Asylum seekers, Christmas Island, response to Banking Royal Commission.

PATRICIA KARVELAS: Hello Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Hello Patricia.

KARVELAS: Now the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, says he is fine with asylum seekers transferred from Nauru and Manus Island being treated on Christmas Island. Are you fine with it?

ALBANESE: It’s a matter of just making sure that we get appropriate care. Some people have been able to get care on Christmas Island. If they require though, care in other destinations it should be a matter of listening to the doctors. That’s the key principle here that Labor has adopted and we must remember the political nature of the decision to reopen Christmas Island. I mean, the legislative changes from last week do not make a single change to border security measures which are there. They don’t apply to anyone who comes to Australia by boat …

KARVELAS: Yes.

ALBANESE: … any time now or into the future. There is no dismantling of any of the systems the Government says will stop people coming. So this is quite absurd really by the Government.

KARVELAS: Sure, but yesterday your Immigration spokesman, Shayne Neumann, described reopening Christmas Island as unhinged. But Bill Shorten says it is fine for medical transfers to go there. How can you argue both lines?

ALBANESE: Well the fact is that what Shayne Neumann is saying is that the Government doesn’t have a reason to justify re-opening Christmas Island …

KARVELAS: Then why do you think it’s OK for these people to go there?

ALBANESE: … and indeed in terms of Indonesia, the message from Indonesia is that the people smugglers paid no attention to the legislative changes last week, but they have paid attention to the Government signalling, through the re-opening of Christmas Island that somehow something has changed. This is a Government that is just playing politics with this. We will see what actually happens in practice. We know that more than 900 people, if you take into account those people directly needing medical assistance and their families, have been transferred to Australia by this Government and we know that 900 is more than the number of people who are on either Manus or Nauru. So this is a government really that is just all about politics. It is desperate. It is desperately looking for …

KARVELAS: Do you think it is unhinged to open Christmas Island?

ALBANESE: I think it is a very strange decision which the Government has not justified. It’s all about them trying to play politics and send signals and, you know, this is a government that is desperate. It’s very desperate.

KARVELAS: You say you don’t think it’s a good idea and yet Bill Shorten today, he is the Opposition Leader, he says he is fine with these people to be transferred there. So how can you argue both? That’s inconsistent.

ALBANESE: There is no inconsistency there. It’s not our decision to reopen Christmas Island.

KARVELAS: Wouldn’t you oppose the transfers as well then if you think it is a bad decision to reopen it?

ALBANESE: Well people will be transferred to places to get appropriate medical care.

KARVELAS: Christmas Island is where they are going.

ALBANESE: If you actually have look Patricia; forget about the headlines that the Government is looking for. Listen to what they said in Question Time today, which is that if people need medical assistance in other places then they will be sent there. This is a Government that is all about politics, all about signalling, not about substance. It has lost control of the Parliament. It is desperate to pretend that the legislation last week is something that it is not. In fact, what the legislation last week did was simply codify a practice that the Government itself says it has been doing by having 900 either people directly getting medical assistance or their families here in Australia.

KARVELAS: But the Department of Home Affairs recommended the reopening of Christmas Island.

ALBANESE: I mean well, you know, we’ll wait and see.

KARVELAS: No, but that was said in Senate Estimates. The head of the department, Pezzullo, has said that.

ALBANESE: I understand what bureaucrats say from time to time and I understand the consistency that’s there and I understand that they’re accountable to the ministers who appoint them, but the fact is…

KARVELAS: So you’re saying he was doing the Minister’s bidding?

ALBANESE: I’m not saying that at all. I’m simply pointing out a fact that in the Westminster system it’s ministers who are accountable for decisions that are made and they shouldn’t hide behind bureaucrats when they’re making such political decisions.

KARVELAS: Do you accept though that it was a recommendation of the Home Affairs Department?

ALBANESE: I don’t know whether that’s the case or not.

KARVELAS: But why would Pezzullo say it was if it wasn’t the case?

ALBANESE: Well this is a very political issue. I don’t know the circumstances. What I do know is that there hasn’t been a single change to our border security laws for any new arrivals. I do know that there is an enormous cost behind reopening Christmas Island and I know this – that the Government is quite prepared to spend taxpayers’ money in order to seek political advantage. And I do know this also, from Senate Estimates, that what we know is that in a range of areas of contracts, be it the whole Paladin issue, other issues with regard to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, this is a government that’s prepared to make decisions amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, and in some cases it has a billion dollar figure next to it, on the basis of very much decisions which aren’t transparent and which require further analysis and for us to find out exactly what the processes are for some of these decisions, including of course, the granting of a many hundreds of millions of dollars contract to a company that was registered in a beach shack on Kangaroo Island.

KARVELAS: Kerryn Phelps says it’s a subversion of democracy, as the intention of the Medevac legislation is to provide sick people in offshore detention treatment on the mainland. Is it a subversion of democracy to send people to Christmas Island?

ALBANESE: Well they should get the appropriate health care that they need and that should be the priority.

KARVELAS: Are you confident they can get that on Christmas Island?

ALBANESE: Patricia, I’m not a doctor. The whole point of this was that we should be listening to medical experts and I’m not the medical expert and that’s the whole point of the legislation. Let’s stop politicians making those decisions in isolation from proper medical advice…

KARVELAS: And should doctors be in charge …

ALBANESE: … whilst of course taking into account national security issues and the advice, which is there from the panel set up by Peter Dutton as the Minister.

KARVELAS: So should that panel be in charge of determining where they go, whether they should go to Christmas Island?

ALBANESE: I’m not about to second-guess medical advice here, Patricia. That’s not my not my job. I didn’t do medicine at Sydney Uni. I did economics. So I’ll stick to, when it comes to giving advice on those matters, what drove the Parliament last week to make a decision on – after getting proper and appropriate advice – was the need to respect the fact that we as Australians have a responsibility for people who are in our care, to listen to expert medical advice.

KARVELAS: Okay. Just on another issue of actually putting your economics degree hat on, Labor has released draft laws for five changes to the financial system in the wake of the Royal Commission. And they would see lots of changes. But Labor still hasn’t actually given a full response to the Royal Commission and whether you’re going to implement the recommendations in full. In fact, I spoke to the relevant Minister, Clare O’Neil, and she actually said she’d have a response within a week and it hasn’t been delivered.

ALBANESE: Patricia, this is Labor once again leading from Opposition. We’ve put forward five proposals. That’s five more than the Government that has thousands of public servants at its disposal to draft legislation and has access, not just to the bureaucracy, but of course to advice from tax experts as well. We have said we will adopt in-principle the recommendations of the Banking Royal Commission. We want the Parliament to sit, to deal with these issues. We finish in two days’ time and we’re not back here until April, where we will sit for three days. The Government is introducing literally …

KARVELAS: Okay. But how can Labor demand the Government legislate additional weeks of Parliament to allow more time when you haven’t released your full response?

ALBANESE: We’ve got five, Patricia. We’ve got five proposals.

KARVELAS: But your full response? She said it would be available in a week and I noticed Josh Frydenberg raised this.

ALBANESE: Five proposals. That’s five more than the Government have and we are leading from Opposition.

KARVELAS: So when will we get the full response?

ALBANESE: Well that’s the task of the respective Shadow Minister. We have put forward concrete proposals that will make a difference including when it comes to insurance, based upon the recommendations of the Royal Commission, in the context that right now there are people in Townsville and northern and north-west Queensland, who have been devastated by the events that have occurred there in those communities, that want to have the confidence in the insurance system, based upon the recommendations that the Royal Commission have made.

Now this is just a practical response. Parliament can meet next week. They can meet the week after. We can debate what changes should be made in both Chambers and I can’t understand – well I do understand why – because the Government is running away from parliamentary scrutiny. They’re sitting 10 days in eight months. That really isn’t good enough. And if they are that bad and that incapable of legislating, then they should just go to the Governor-General, call an election and then whoever wins the election will be in a position to move legislative responses to the Banking Royal Commission.

KARVELAS: Anthony Albanese, a pleasure to speak to you.

ALBANESE: Thank you. Congratulations on Bindy.

KARVELAS: Yes I do have a new puppy, thanks to you. And that was Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, who has been campaigning with – it’s a bipartisan campaign, Gemma, with Darren Chester who is a National, for me to buy a puppy, which I’ve done.

Feb 15, 2019

Transcript of Television Interview – Today Show – Friday, 15 February 2019

Subjects: One Nation, Medical evacuation legislation, election.

DEBORAH KNIGHT: Good morning to you both gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  Good morning Deb.

KNIGHT: Let’s start with the dramas first off surrounding Pauline Hanson, this fight in the halls of Parliament between her chief of staff James Ashby and One Nation defector Brian Burston. Christian, you wonder why politicians are on the nose. This sort of behaviour is just appalling.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL CHRISTIAN PORTER: Yes. It’s awful. No-one wants to see it. Thankfully I missed it. It’s just something that you don’t expect in the halls of Parliament and you don’t expect it in any workplace. It’s just terrible.

KNIGHT: So what can be done about it? Obviously we have seen the investigation under way and we have seen James Ashby’s pass being revoked. But do we need to actually take more action here, stronger action?

PORTER: It’s a matter for the President of the Senate. My personal view is he did exactly the right thing and acted swiftly and removed the pass that allows James to wander the halls, which was the right thing to do in my observation. Obviously it is matter for those sort of authorities to look into it. But look, ultimately you know this is something that requires some form of attention by authorities because you don’t expect people to be assaulting each other in any workplace and that is what has gone on. It’s just as simple as that.

KNIGHT: And blood Albo, smeared on the door of a Senator’s office. This is beyond the pale. We know things are getting personal. You guys do get fired up, but this is going too far.

ALBANESE: Well One Nation is a circus of course and one of the problems voting for some of these extreme minor parties is you never know what you will get. Brian Burston of course is one of the people who was elected who has changed their political party whilst they have been in their first term and I think the President of the Senate has acted completely appropriately in cancelling James Ashby’s pass and indeed the authorities do need to look at this. It is very clear form the videos that an assault has occurred here and if that occurs anywhere action should be taken, let alone within the Parliament House building.

KNIGHT: Absolutely. Well, we have consensus on one thing at least.

PORTER: Bipartisanship so early.

KNIGHT: Bipartisanship. Who’d have thunk it?

ALBANESE: It will be downhill from here Deb.

KNIGHT: Look out, here we go.

PORTER: Don’t be such a pessimist Anthony.

ALBANESE: Well Pyney has gone missing it has been such a  bad week.

PORTER: I am so much more convivial and easy going.

KNIGHT: He’s in the air. He’s flying. We won’t bag him while he is not here. Let’s not do that. Now the Government’s, Christian, tenuous hold on power was highlighted this week. You simply didn’t have the numbers to actually stop this law allowing the medical transfer of refugees from Manus and Nauru. And then you dragged out Question Time yesterday to avoid another potential defeat on a Royal Commission into the treatment of the disability care sector. If you can’t govern, surely you should call an election today?

PORTER: Well our view is that the law that was passed by Labor on Tuesday night in alliance with the Greens is a terrible law. I mean it is bad for the country. Obviously we are disappointed to lose a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives …

KNIGHT: And you nearly lost another vote yesterday so if you don’t have the numbers, surely the public should be having a say here?

PORTER: There was actually nothing that had come from the Senate to vote on yesterday with respect to that issue.

KNIGHT: But you dragged it out so they couldn’t.

PORTER: Well it was a long Question Time but the important issue here is what is in the best interest of the Australian people. The laws that Labor passed on Tuesday night are terrible. I mean it is now the case that a Swedish backpacker has a more stringent character test than someone coming from Manus or Nauru on a medevac that can be initiated and effectively finalised without the discretion of the Minister by two doctors. I mean, that is a bad law for Australia.

KNIGHT: The reality is that you are overplaying the reality of this law. The PM saying that it is going to open the floodgates is not the truth because it applies to the existing refugees on Nauru and Manus and saying that murderers and paedophiles will be let in is also not true because there is still ministerial discretion. Why are you scaremongering over this?

PORTER: I just think respectfully you are wrong on both points. So it was previously the case that the Minister had an overarching discretion, so if someone had been charged with or convicted prior to sentence or there was reasonable intelligence briefings to suggest that they had engaged in serious criminal conduct it was previously the case that the minister could exercise the discretion to prevent that person coming to Australia.

KNIGHT: And what, that doesn’t apply here?

PORTER:  That has now changed. The laws that Anthony and his party changed …

KNIGHT: There is still ministerial discretion?

PORTER: The ministerial discretion is very narrow. It relates to …

KNIGHT: But it still applies?

PORTER: It is a very different discretion and much narrower from the …

KNIGHT: But it is still ministerial discretion?

PORTER: There is ministerial discretion that looks like this right (indicates small gap with hands), which is what we’ve got now, and there is ministerial discretion that looks like that (indicates larger gap with hands), which is what it was previously. It is as simple as that. This is not hypothetical. There are people in these offshore processing facilities who have been charged with very serious offences including sexual offences against children.

KNIGHT: How many?

PORTER: Well we are going through that audit now and we will face 300 applications in the not-too-distant future.

KNIGHT: Which doctors are – they don’t agree with that number. We’ve got this sort of disagreement on the numbers.

PORTER: Well how would they know because they are individual doctors dealing with individual offshore processing transferees. Those applications will come in to us and we will see, but in the next several weeks there will be hundreds of these applications and we will be on a very tight time frame to try and work out the types of backgrounds, criminal history tests, that we are talking about now. But we are already aware of people who have been charged for assaulting doctors offshore. And we won’t have the discretion to stop them from coming.

KNIGHT: Albo, Labor, you guys, are ramping up the claims of scaremongering here. You are no innocents here. When it came to the whole Medicare privatisation you ramped that up at the last election, so no one is innocent when it comes to scaremongering. But is it true that Labor was given the advice that if this medevac transfer bill came in that we would see more asylum seekers and more boats coming to Australia?

ALBANESE: No, that is not right Deb,

KNIGHT: That’s not the official advice?

ALBANESE: And look the Attorney-General knows that he is talking nonsense, with respect. Let’s be clear about why this has happened. This has happened because of government incompetence that the people on Manus and Nauru, who are the only people this legislation applies to, have been there for more than five years and the Government has failed to settle them. This legislation makes no changes, zero, to any of the border protection measures which are in place. This is very simple principle though, which is that if someone who is in our care, after all, Australia has responsibility for, needs medical assistance they will be able to see it subject of course the ministerial discretion which you quite rightly have pointed out is absolutely still there.

KNIGHT: So why does it feels as though we are looking at completely different bills here, because the Australian public is being told totally different stories from both sides of politics. Who do we believe?

PORTER: Well don’t believe him, because he is totally mischaracterising the bill.

ALBANESE: Have a look at the law.

PORTER: The reality is this, the law used to be the case that the Minister had an overarching, very broad discretion on character grounds to refuse people who, for instance, had been charged with a serious criminal offence.

KNIGHT: So it is narrower, but it is still there?

PORTER: Well ministerial discretion exists but it is considerably narrower, radically narrower. So it’s the case now that a person charged with a serious criminal offence or where there is a reasonable grounds based on intelligence that they have committed a serious criminal offence, there is now power for the Minister to refuse that person, but they could refuse a Swedish backpacker on those grounds.

ALBANESE: Absolute nonsense. Absolute nonsense.

PORTER: You need to read the bill Anthony.

KNIGHT: Albo I’ve got to ask you why is Labor actually going down this path when it comes to boat people too, because it is Labor’s kryptonite. This is the strength of Scott Morrison on stopping the boats as immigration minister. It is almost as though you are allowing the Prime Minister to snatch victory form the jaws of defeat here.

ALBANESE:  What we did is what parliamentarians have a responsibility to do, which is vote for a bill based upon advice and based upon the merits that are in that legislation. Christian pretends that there is a short time frame. These are people who have been investigated. People know what they had for breakfast yesterday Deb. They have been in detention for more than five years and the fact is the Government has failed. The fact is we have seen fatalities of people here, not just serious injuries and people being critically ill. We have seen people die and we have a responsibility to act, just as we have a responsibility to make sure that we have strong borders. You can be tough on people smugglers without being weak on humanity.

PORTER: Sounds like you can have it all. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?

KNIGHT: Well we will see what voters think because election does loom ever closer.

ALBANESE: Just call it Christian.

PORTER: See you next week.

Feb 15, 2019

Transcript of Television Interview – SKY News AM Agenda – Friday, 15 February 2019

Subjects: Morrison Government chaos, medical evacuation legislation and border security, energy policy.

KIERAN GILBERT: Joining us now is Anthony Albanese, senior Labor frontbencher.  After what was quite an eventful week, a moment of history really in terms of the Government losing a vote in the House, but have they lost the short term battle but, in a political sense, they’re in a better position because they’re back on border security, which is their favoured turf?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well they’ve stopped governing, that’s the problem here Kieran and we had the Government lose the first vote on legislation on the floor of the Parliament since the 1920s. We had the same Government that last year cancelled Question Time and cancelled the Parliament so they could remove an elected Prime Minister in Malcolm Turnbull. Yesterday they had Question Time go for two and a half hours so they could avoid a vote on whether there should be a Royal Commission into disabilities, a vote that on Monday they’re now saying they’re going to vote for. This is a Government that has just lost control. It’s too obsessed with their internals to worry about governing for the nation and I think the Australian people will punish them accordingly.

LAURA JAYES: Speaking of internals, it’s well known that there are divisions within your party when it comes to border protection. Do you think it’s fair enough, Anthony Albanese, that voters know, we know, where Labor’s red line on border protection is? Can you guarantee that Labor will not seek to further dilute any of these three pillars?

ALBANESE: Well it’s important to note, Laura, that there hasn’t been one inch of movement when it comes to border protection policy. All that happened this week was an acknowledgement that you can be tough on people smugglers without being weak on humanity. You don’t have to go down the road that the Government’s gone and bear in mind, just take a step back, why is this still an issue? Because people have languished on Manus and Nauru for more than half a decade. It is the Government’s incompetence in finding…

JAYES: So will there be further changes?

ALBANESE: No. No. Our position’s very clear.

JAYES: That’s it? You can guarantee that?

ALBANESE: Absolutely. Our position’s very clear and what’s more these are positions that have been unanimously adopted by the ALP National Conference. It’s not just the Caucus. We’ve been through an extensive process of determining our policy and yes we’ll be more supportive of regional processing than the current Government is and we’ll work with the UNHCR, as we’ve said we would do. But in terms of the border protection framework, it will remain in place.

GILBERT: But what happens if there is a boat that arrives – one, two, a number of boats? I know it is a hypothetical but it’s possible and the Government reopening Christmas Island.

ALBANESE: Well that’s just embarrassing. What we know from Indonesia is that the so-called – the people smugglers and the Indonesian media paid no attention at all to the changes earlier this week. What they’ve paid attention to is the Government’s decision to reopen Christmas Island. What for? What for? This just shows they’re prepared to spend taxpayers’ money to promote, essentially, their fear campaign. It’s a fear campaign because they don’t have a positive agenda on the economy, on health, on education, on infrastructure.

GILBERT: But if a boat were to arrive would that be a negative for Labor now? Because we’re only a couple of months out from the election.

ALBANESE: What’s changed Kieran? It’s the Government that is still there, even though they’ve stopped governing. But the measures that were in place last week are still in place today.

JAYES: A fear campaign though, Anthony Albanese, based on your record when Labor was last in government. Don’t you think it would be more prudent to say: ‘Look our policy is as it stands at the moment but we will schedule in monthly security updates, conferences with the experts’, to see what effect your policy is having? Why is this now set and forget?

ALBANESE: Well Laura of course in Government you have regular meetings of the National Security Committee. You have regular meetings with appropriate authorities. I’ve been a member of course of the National Security Committee in the past as the Deputy Prime Minister. I get the way that Government works and one of the things about this Labor Opposition, can I say this, is that we will be one of the most experienced people coming into government if we are successful in the May Election or whenever the election comes along. I mean this really is a Government that should think about Scott Morrison going and visiting the Governor General on Sunday given how hopeless they have been this week.

GILBERT: Shouldn’t you, as a former Leader of the Government in the House and, as you say, you’ve got a lot of experience in this place – from my reckoning wasn’t it also Labor’s responsibility to have a vote of – you know, test the confidence of the Government, because the events of this week seem to shift this Westminster Parliament in a way because the legislation was driven not by the Government of the day, not by the Government on the Treasury Benches, but elsewhere. Every other time that’s happened in our history the Government has had its confidence tested. That didn’t happen this week.

ALBANESE: That was something for Scott Morrison and the Government to consider frankly, their responsibility, but the numbers weren’t there and I don’t think are there for a no-confidence vote. Some of the crossbenchers have given commitments to not vote for a no-confidence motion. What they have done though this week quite clearly…

GILBERT: It’s not because you didn’t want a fight on border protection? Because if you did test it and the Government fell you’d have to go to an election on this.

ALBANESE: The crossbenchers have made it very clear and public that they are not in a position to vote for a no-confidence motion. They are waiting, they’re waiting patiently and they are waiting for May. But the Government, I would have thought, has time to consider now over the next couple of days whether indeed we do come back to Parliament on Monday.

JAYES: What do you mean? Is there a suggestion that maybe you will not return to Parliament on Monday? What do you know that we don’t Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: Well if you’re that hopeless frankly, if you’re losing votes on the floor, if you’re filibustering Question Time so we’re having the longest Question Time since Federation, if you are in a position whereby you’ve cancelled the Parliament as they did last year – they have stopped governing, that is very, very clear.

GILBERT: Are you ready for an election if they were to call it on Saturday, Sunday?

ALBANESE: We’re ready whenever it’s called. We have the greatest range and depth of policy of any opposition that I can recall. We have people in place who’ve been in their portfolios for a considerable length of time. I mean Chris Bowen as the Shadow Treasurer was of course the Treasurer. We have people in key portfolios – health, education, infrastructure – who’ve been in positions in the past and we have our policies out there and we’re ready to put ourselves forward.

JAYES: Just quickly and finally, the Government pulled legislation yesterday after the Greens secured the support of Labor and six crossbenchers. It would have effectively prohibited the Government of underwriting new coal-fired power, so is that a strong signal from the Labor Party that you will move, if in government, to expedite the death of coal in this country and doesn’t that amount to a carbon tax?

ALBANESE: That’s a big call Laura. Not at all. What it is is stating very clearly that the idea that you would have taxpayer subsidy for what is a private sector decision to build a new coal-fired power station is quite frankly just rotten policy. The reason why – there’s nothing stopping anyone today building a new coal-fired power station, what stops it is economics…

JAYES: A $10 million fine would.

ALBANESE: It doesn’t add up and that’s why you’re not seeing that. But coal will play a role in the mix into the future but the future is really about renewables. The economics is what is driving that change because the cleanest as well as the cheapest form of new energy is renewables.

GILBERT: Anthony Albanese, thanks.

JAYES: Thanks.

GILBERT: We will see you next week maybe. Maybe next week.

ALBANESE: I think we will probably will. The Government’s sort of running scared but who knows maybe they will run to Yarralumla.

JAYES: Who knows? Perhaps. I don’t think so. I’m not cancelling my flight just yet.

[ENDS]

Feb 15, 2019

Transcript of Doorstop – Canberra – Friday, 15 February 2019

Subjects: Morrison Government’s inability to govern; One Nation.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This is a Government that is incapable of governing. They can’t run the Parliament, they don’t have a positive agenda and yesterday we saw the extraordinary circumstance whereby the Government had the longest Question Time since Federation in order to stop itself from having to vote on whether there should be a Royal Commission into the treatment of people with disabilities. The extraordinary circumstance is that this is a Government that extends Question Time, the same Government that last year was cancelling Question Time and the Parliament so they could remove an elected Prime Minister in Malcolm Turnbull.

Since Malcolm Turnbull’s removal Scott Morrison has been unable to answer the very simple question of why it is that he is the Prime Minister and not Malcolm Turnbull. And this week we have seen some insight into why it is that Scott Morrison isn’t the Liberal Party’s first choice as Prime Minister. He was indeed the fourth choice after Malcolm Turnbull, Peter Dutton, Julie Bishop – then Scott Morrison. So he is the accidental Prime Minister who keeps committing accidents every day.

JOURNALIST: You’ve got this Royal Commission into disabilities potentially coming into Parliament next week. Do you think that you are going to have the numbers to get that through?

ALBANESE: I think that it will go through unanimously. What is extraordinary is the Government essentially abused the normal processes of Parliament yesterday in order to avoid a vote in which straight afterward they Said that they will vote for the resolution of the Senate when it returns to the House of Representatives next week. This is a Government that is so dysfunctional and so divided that last night they were arguing that the reason why they kept Question Time going and wanted to avoid normal parliamentary processes was because they thought some other legislation might come across from the Senate that they wanted to avoid voting on. Why didn’t they just pick up the phone to Mathias Cormann and ask what it was that the Senate had carried?

This Government is dysfunctional, is divided and is incompetent and they are incapable of governing the nation. And that is why they have stopped governing. They have stopped governing on a day-to-day basis.  All they have got now is fights with each other and a scare campaign because they don’t have a positive agenda on the economy, on education, on health, on infrastructure, on the environment. They don’t have an energy policy. Yesterday we saw them abandon their own energy policy, another one. This is a Government that are just a rabble.

JOURNALIST: The behaviour this week from Pauline Hanson and Brian Burston – does that give all politicians a bad name?

ALBANESE: Well One Nation are not the only circus in town, but what we saw yesterday was yet again another example of why voting for some of these fringe parties, you never know what you will get. What we see is that a whole range of senators who have been elected to represent various fringe parties including One Nation have left and have joined other parties or become independents. Yesterday’s behaviour is completely unacceptable. The President of the Senate took appropriate action and I am sure that the appropriate authorities will have a good look at what occurred within this building. It’s a pretty obvious case from the footage I have seen that an assault occurred and the authorities should take appropriate action. Thanks very much.

ENDS

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