Subjects: Save Our Albo campaign; Mark Latham; election funding; minor parties; election campaign; negative gearing; Bill Shorten
KARL STEFANOVIC: Albo, good morning to you first of all.
ALBANESE: G’day, good to be with you.
STEFANOVIC: Even in the studio here at Channel Nine the guys saw the front page of the Tele the other day and well, they are backing you. There they are, the Today Show Crew, showing absolutely no bias. Cuts to shot of floor crew wearing Save our Albo t-shirts.
ALBANESE: It looks magnificent. There’s no Save our Pyne T-shirts in here.
PYNE: Hang on. Hang on. Here we go. (Holding up shirt with message Pyne Delivers.) There’s the real one.
STEFANOVIC: Just hold the other one up for us again.
PYNE: Hang on. I’ve lost it. Gone. Here we go. (Holds up Save our Albo t-shirt) Save our Albo.
STEFANOVIC: A round of applause for Pyney. One in, all in. One in, all in.
PYNE: (Holding up Pyne Delivers shirt). This is the real one though – Pyne delivers baby, Pyne delivers.
STEFANOVIC: I tell you what, I think Albo’s shirt is a bit nicer.
PYNE: No, it’s not. I’ve got a collar.
STEFANOVIC: What for?
PYNE: Yes because it’s more expensive.
ALBANESE: I’m the working class version, the working class version.
PYNE: That’s the Daily Telegraph version, that’s The Australian version.
STEFANOVIC: As Sylvia points out, it’s a white collar. Here, Albo, Mark Latham says this morning that front page of the Tele cost you 25 per cent of your primary vote because of the bourgeois Left that you are up against in your seat. Are you in trouble there?
ALBANESE: I’m not taking advice off Mark Latham about anything.
STEFANOVIC: He makes some sense though this morning, doesn’t he to an extent?
ALABNESE He very rarely does Karl. He very rarely does. That’s something Christopher and I would agree on. Look, if people think they can afford the luxury of voting one Green and two me and that I will get the vote, then yes there could be difficulty. That’s why I’m not taking it for granted. I’m out there campaigning, campaigning hard every day.
STEFANOVIC: You know that you are up against it within the Greens. He’s almost splitting your vote isn’t he, and splitting the union vote. Are you splitting the union funding as well?
ALBANESE: Well, l raise my own money. I am not funded by anyone but my supporters.
STEFANOVIC: No union help?
ALBANESE: No, no dollars. I had a big dinner with Bob Hawke for my 20th anniversary. I’ve got other functions coming up, small donations from the local community and I have got to say I’ve got a few donations this week from people who’ve seen the campaign, seen what Jim Casey is saying, which is that he would prefer, my opponent would prefer, an Abbott Government because you get better protests. He’s into people being oppressed so they rise up. I am into lifting people up in my electorate and around the country.
STEFANOVIC: Christopher, is the Prime Minister going to start his engine in this electoral campaign, because it doesn’t look like he has started it at all yet?
PYNE: Well, just quickly on the Albanese and the Greens issue, the serious point to make of course is that only the major parties can deliver. Only the Liberal Party and the Labor Party can form government, so people who want to vote for independents or minor parties have got to understand that those minor parties and independents can knock from the sidelines, they can whinge about issues, but they can’t actually make things happen and that’s why…
STEFANOVIC: So you won’t do a deal with the Greens in Albo’s seat? You’ll do whatever you can to help him win? Are you serious?
PYNE: We’ve never preferenced the Greens ahead of Labor and we are not about to start now.
STEFANOVIC: Ok, good. In terms of the other question that I was asking you, Malcolm Turnbull, is he going to get started in this campaign, because he has been off to a really sluggish start.
PYNE: Karl, that is ridiculous.
STEFANOVIC: It’s not ridiculous. It’s true.
PYNE: The person who has had a shocking week this week is Bill Shorten. He’s got the Greens saying he is going to be in government with them. He is saying there is going to be a second election after this election if there is a hung Parliament. He’s got 12 candidates saying they don’t support the Labor Party’s border protection policies. He’s lost his candidate for Fremantle, who is fighting back, and the new candidate for Fremantle doesn’t support the Opposition’s border protection policies. Labor has had a chaotic week and if they win the election that is the kind of chaos that we can look forward to, just like we did in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd period. It’s same old Labor.
STEFANOVIC: Albo, the real estate industry is this morning saying that they are going to come out really hard against you on negative gearing. They are rallying the troops. It’s going to be an anti-mining-tax-style attack. It will be effective and it will be well funded. How are you going to counter it?
ALBANESE: Well, we are countering it by the fact that people out there are concerned about housing affordability. They want their kids and grandkids to get an opportunity to get into the housing market.
STEFANOVIC: But how are you going to combat that campaign? It will be effective.
ALBANESE: Well we expect vested interests to get out there and campaign in their own interests. They’ll be seen for what it is if they do that. The fact is that our policy, out there, dealing with the issue of housing affordability, is critical and I find that it has been particularly well received in my electorate where people in Sydney know that house prices are freezing people out of the market and that if someone goes to an auction they don’t want to be competing with investors, they actually want to own their own home. That’s what we want to see.
PYNE: Karl, two weeks ago Anthony Albanese said that the negative gearing policy had nothing to do with housing affordability.
ALBANESE: That’s not right.
PYNE: When we put that very question to him about pushing down house prices and pushing up new prices and increasing rents he said, “oh it won’t do any of those things, it’s got nothing to do with housing affordability,” and then we had a day or two when Anthony had to come back from that positon. Today he is saying precisely the opposite.
ALBANESE: Well that’s not right, housing prices won’t go down.
PYNE: Then how is it useful for housing affordability?
ALBANESE: What will occur, what all of the stats show and the Grattan Institute shows, they won’t increase by as much.
STEFANOVIC: Just on Chris’s point then, what he is saying is true. If you are saying that housing prices won’t go down, what does that do for affordability?
ALBANESE: Because what it will do over a period of time, what we have seen is these extraordinary increases and the Grattan Institute modelling and other modelling shows they won’t go up by as much.
PYNE: You are all over the shop.
ALBANESE: You can’t just fix it with one measure but what we know from the Reserve Bank itself, the Reserve Bank of Australia, in their memo this week, effectively endorsed our policy.
PYNE: It’s about supply Anthony.
ALBANESE And how do you increase supply? By concentrating on new construction, not old construction.
STEFANOVIC: Christopher, The Daily Telegraph has pointed out something that no-one noticed I think during the week. They have taken a stab at Bill Shorten’s quote man boobs. They even got an image consultant in to say how much voters don’t like it. You are first up on that Christopher. Do you like man boobs?
PYNE: Well Karl, that’s a very leading question.
STEFANOVIC: What do you mean? It’s not leading.
PYNE: It’s a very hard one to answer. My view is that people should not take personal pot shots at people’s appearance.
PYNE: I am no oil painting and as much as I love Anthony Albanese, I don’t think he should be taking pot shots at people’s appearance either.
STEFANOVIC: I agree. Bill Shorten is doing his best to get fit and that’s what you want in a leader of any party don’t you?
ALBANESE: That’s a good thing.
PYNE: Good on him. Good on him.
STEFANOVIC: This is the paper that backed you. What are you going to say against the paper?
ALBANESE: Well, I am doing my bit to get fit too.
PYNE: How are your man boobs going Anthony?
ALBANESE: Well my new puppy, she’s keeping me very fit.
PYNE: That’s a bit too much information, I think.
ALBANESE: Well walking the puppy around the park, meeting the voters. Get yourself a dog, mate.
STEFANOVIC: We’ve got to go. See you next week. Talk to you soon.
SUBJECTS: Election 2016; $5 million for extra commuter parking at Schofields train station
MICHELLE ROWLAND, MEMBER FOR GREENWAY: Welcome to Schofields and a special welcome to Anthony Albanese, our Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, and Cities. We’re in one of the fastest growing areas of Sydney, new suburbs around Schofields such as The Ponds are coming up every day.
We have a situation where we have so many new residents moving in and one of the biggest issues impacting on their quality of life is their ability to use public transport, in this case to access Schofields train station. There are around 200 car parks here at Schofields station and every time I come here the single biggest issue that commuters raise with me is the lack of parking. You can see down this road, and even down this road here on Railway Terrace, there are scores of cars parked on the roads because that’s the only place you’re able to find a park at any time after around 6.30 in the morning. This makes it very difficult for commuters to access this public transport. It means that if they are parking 10 or 15 minutes away, that’s half an hour that they’re walking just to and from the station each day, let alone catching the train to where they need to go.
So considering this is such an important issue, this is such a big growth area, so many residents have raised this with me. I approached Anthony Albanese to see what a Shorten Labor Government could do to help alleviate this burden on local residents’ quality of life. As this area grows even more it’s going to be an even bigger issue if we don’t address it. So I’m very pleased that Anthony has listened to these concerns of local residents and I’m very pleased to have him here to make an announcement.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND CITIES: Thanks very much, Michelle. It’s fantastic to be back in your electorate of Greenway once again. Public transport is the key to dealing with urban congestion and under the last Labor Government we funded roads, but we also funded public transport.
We looked at the issue of urban congestion which if not tackled will result in a $50 billion cost to the economy by 2031. This rail station here provides an opportunity for locals to travel to work, to travel to recreational activities, but if it’s not accessible public transport, it won’t be used. Michelle told me that this is the most successful petition that she’s ever raised. And I’m not surprised seeing first hand here today the queues down Railway Terrace and the queues behind us. Queues that mean a very long walk to the train station.
Public transport must be accessible. That’s why a future Shorten Labor Government will contribute $5 million for commuter car parking here at Schofields station. In the interests of the residents of Schofields and new areas such as The Ponds, we need to make sure that people’s commute, to and from work, is as short as possible. It is a tragedy that many working parents spend more time travelling to and from work than they do at home with their kids. That’s why issues of accessibility to public transport are so important. This comes on the back of Bill Shorten’s Budget Reply, where he committed to public transport being funded by a future Labor Government, just as we have in the past and have committed to Western Sydney rail.
This announcement today is an important local announcement and it’s a tribute to the tenacity of Michelle Rowland. Michelle Rowland is as strong as any local member right across the Parliament. She stands up each and every day on behalf of her local community. She badgers Shadow Ministers, she badgers Ministers to make sure that her local community, which is such a growth sector, gets the infrastructure and support that it needs and I thank Michelle very much for the invitation to come along today. Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: How many spaces will the new car park have?
ALBANESE: What we’ll do is make this available to the State Government. Indeed the State Government, it’s a tragedy, they’ve been there now for almost… they’re into their sixth year, and nothing to solve this problem. Nothing in terms of the three years from the Federal Coalition Government. So what we will do is say ‘here you go, here’s a start. We expect you to make a contribution as well.’ There are a range of designs of course that would have to happen, but you can see the area behind us where a multi-storey car park would provide access to an increased substantial number of cars and it needs to be done. The planning, we’re not in a position as a Federal Opposition to do that. What we are in a position to do, is not just talk but actually do the walk. And we’re doing the walk by putting that $5 million on the table today.
JOURNALIST: Would that have to be matched dollar for dollar by the State Government?
ALBANESE: We would expect that the estimate that we had is the entire project for a substantial commuter car park here would be in the order of $7.5 million. So we’re not even saying that we demand dollar for dollar funding. What we do expect is a contribution, what we do expect is a State Government to actually do something more than just dismiss this concern.
The people of Western Sydney deserve first class infrastructure. They deserve the same infrastructure that occurs in other parts of the community. Indeed, when I was last the Infrastructure Minister, we funded commuter car parks in Penrith, in Cabramatta, in Bankstown, and other places in Western Sydney. This is an area that in recent years is growing. It will continue to grow into the future which is why it’s worthy of this support and the State Government we will write to, we will sit down with after the election if we are successful. We’d also call upon all levels of government to support this project. Obviously the more funds that are there, the more that can be done in terms of the size of the project. But quite clearly you can see today, all around us, what the need is.
JOURNALIST: Do you think Western Sydney will be where this election will be won or lost?
ALBANESE: Western Sydney is always important. Western Sydney is the engine room of Sydney. It has more than 2 million people right now. What we need to make sure is that we have a plan for jobs in Western Sydney, that we have a plan for public transport, that we have a plan for roads, that we have a plan for education facilities, the second Sydney airport, Badgerys Creek is Western Sydney’s first airport, it will be a driver of jobs just like Westmead Hospital was, just like the Western Sydney university is. We need to make sure that as much job creation occurs as is possible and I think people in Western Sydney will be very disappointed by Malcolm Turnbull. He came to office and said he understood cities and urban policy and we’ve seen frankly nothing. What we’ve seen is him downgrade the position from having a Minister for Cities, to having a Parliamentary Secretary who doesn’t actually live in a city, and have an announcement with a t otal funding envelope of $50 million to do with our cities around our nation.
We’ve seen nothing except for platitudes when it comes to Western Sydney rail through to the Badgerys Creek airport, but importantly through to those Western Sydney employment lands and the exciting proposals frankly that are there for a science park and other facilities that will create jobs closer to where people live. We need to do better than just have drive-in, drive-out suburbs. We need to make sure that Western Sydney has jobs created right here, that we have cities policy that doesn’t just speak about where houses will be but speaks about where the education facilities will be, where the health facilities will be, where the transport infrastructure will be. We need to look at the productivity, sustainability and liveability of our cities. And Western Sydney as a growth region is a key. Bill Shorten will be in Western Sydney just to the west of here, in the Blue Mountains, on Friday night. He is a regular visitor to Western Sydney as I am. We have stro ng advocates, people like Michelle Rowland, Chris Bowen who will be the Treasurer in a Labor Government, Ed Husic will be a Minister in a Labor Government. We will have people sitting around the Cabinet table like Michelle being strong advocates. Not just for this rail station but for the whole gamut of issues of concern to the heartland of Sydney which is right here in Sydney’s west.
JOURNALIST: You mentioned that the people of Western Sydney would be disappointed by The Greens as well?
ALBANESE: Well the Greens don’t seem to be interested in moving any further west than my electorate, frankly. And when you talk about the need to have an economy and the need to have jobs, the people of the Greens, for example, oppose Kingsford Smith Airport, which is right on the border of my electorate. They want to shut it. That’s saying no to jobs. But they also don’t want an airport at Badgery’s Creek, they don’t want an airport anywhere. Now in a modern city there are issues and we announced a plan for mitigating aircraft noise with Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen and Susan Templeman, our candidate for Macquarie, just a few weeks ago. With no fly zones. And that was dismissed by the Government, and then a couple of weeks later they came out and said “Guess what? We need a plan to mitigate noise around Western Sydney.”
And that’s the approach that we would take. The people of Western Sydney deserve nothing less than the people of the Eastern Suburbs or the North Shore of Sydney. We’d be a government that would be concerned with that. I am a very proud Sydneysider. I believe that this city is critical. It’s Australia’s global city. We need to make sure that it functions effectively.
JOURNALIST: Have they thrown a spanner into the works of your campaign in Grayndler then?
ALBANESE: Well I expect competition. But when people actually look at the policies, they look at who is interested in actually delivering something other than just slogans, then I’m very confident that we will have a good result in Grayndler. I’ll put myself forward on the basis of my record. The fact that my values putting forward practical solutions, trying to deliver actual outcomes. The Greens want to protest after outcomes are made. I’m interested in making decisions and changing outcomes.
That’s the difference between us, and the people of my electorate, between someone who potentially is sitting around the cabinet table as a senior minister, making decisions, or at the least as a senior member of the opposition if we’re not successful. But someone who has been, I think, able to achieve outcomes, whether in government or in opposition. Because I understand the political process. I understand the cares and needs of my electorate. And I’m prepared to stand up for my values in a consistent way.
JOURNALIST: You’ve said you’re unhappy that the Greens are targeting Labor seats instead of Liberal seats. What’s your message to the Greens?
ALBANESE: Well I think it says a lot about Richard Di Natale that he is out there spending, not just Sunday, talking about Grayndler being the number one target, but spent the first day of the campaign in Grayndler. That says a lot about his priorities. I’m in Western Sydney today, at a seat very capably held by Michelle Rowland. I’ll be in Western Sydney tomorrow at a seat held by the Coalition. One that we’re hopeful of being successful in, making a very significant announcement yet again.
During this campaign, I’ll be out trying to defeat the Coalition, while the Greens are trying to defeat me. I’ll leave it to the voters of Grayndler to decide who is trying to do their best to ensure there’s a progressive government for Australia. And that’s the difference. And it is disappointing that the Greens who say they want a progressive Australia are targeting progressives rather than conservatives in this election.
JOURNALIST: And speaking of, how did you make of the endorsement in the Telegraph this morning, seeing as it is a traditionally conservative paper and they’re endorsing a Labor candidate?
ALBANESE: Well I think the Telegraph in their editorial said that I was, whatever other views people might have, I stand up for Sydney and I stand up for New South Wales. And I indeed do, and that’s what I’m doing here now. Standing up for Sydney, standing up for New South Wales, and in particular standing up here with my friend Michelle Rowland, for the people of Schofields and the people of The Ponds.
That’s what I do, each and every day. I stand up as a Sydneysider, as a senior member of the Labor Party from Sydney. I’m very proud of that. They pointed out that I’d done that consistently, particularly, I stood up for jobs. And my support for the airport is an issue that’s a difficult one. But politics is about difficult issues. It’s not about just pretending that things can be solved with three word slogans. And I’ll continue to stand up for the interests of Sydney, New South Wales, and Australia. And I believe that the national interest will be served if Bill Shorten is elected Prime Minister on July 2.
JOURNALIST: Do you think the Greens are confusing voters by suggesting that in the case of a hung parliament there could be an alliance with Labor?
ALBANESE: Well I think that’s deliberately a strategy from them, obviously, to try to get some relevance. But we’ve made our position very clear. We’ll stand on our own. After there was a change of Prime Minister and I became the Deputy Prime Minister, we went on the floor of the Parliament. There were no arrangements, nor anything else. We went on the floor of the Parliament and I well recall saying “you can vote for Tony Abbott if you like but that’s up to you.” But there were no arrangements entered into.
The Greens, at this election, are seeking to do arrangements to receive preferences from the Liberals in electorates such as mine. And in return, offering to issue open tickets that will increase the chances of the Turnbull government being re-elected, either in held seats or seats that they are targeting like Bruce and Chisholm in Melbourne, where we have retiring sitting members.
Now by doing that, it increases the possibility the return of a Malcolm Turnbull government, but it also increases the possibility of Peter Dutton staying as Immigration Minister, of a hundred thousand dollar degrees, a privatisation of Medicare, of the sort of pathetic climate change policies that we’ve seen from the Coalition. The continued attacks on the renewable energy industry. On marriage equality, instead of getting the Parliament to do its job, spending half a billion dollars on a divisive, non-binding vote.
All of these things are increased by the Greens issuing open tickets. It’s up to them to explain why they’re prepared to increase the chances of the election of a Turnbull government.
Subjects: Grayndler; Greens political party; Daily Telegraph; education funding.
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: The front page reports that the MP and Today Show favourite Anthony Albanese is in the fight of his life to prevent far-left union boss Jim Casey from stealing his inner Sydney seat. Albo, good morning to you.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER: Good to be with you.
STEFANOVIC: Are you in trouble?
ALBANESE: Well it’s a tight campaign. The redistribution has made it much more difficult. I had the option of running for the seat where I now live, Barton, where a lot of the safe Labor booths are. I’ve chosen to do the right thing by the party and I think by the country by running for Grayndler. On the state figures, Labor doesn’t win the seat. There’s two Greens Party state MPs. But I am confident I will get there as long as people know that they have actually – if they want me to stay as their member they’ve got to vote for me number 1. They can’t afford to say: Oh, it’s ok we will give him a number 2.
LISA WILKINSON, HOST: Well, this front page of the Daily Telegraph, this is just about unprecedented. The Daily Telegraph, being a conservative paper, wanting to save a Labor man. It’s an indication of how much you are loved, but the problem is the more attention this guy gets, the more the possibility there is that an upset will happen.
ALBANESE: I think people need to know that their vote counts, that they can’t afford to vote 1 Green Party and 2 me if they want me to stay in the Parliament. It’s as simple as that. And I think that the Telegraph have indicated in their editorial that my support for issues like the Badgerys Creek Airport … I mean the people in my electorate do suffer from aircraft noise, but they also understand that the Airport brings jobs. The Greens position is to close Kingsford Smith Airport and to oppose Badgerys Creek Airport. Now, I know how you can get into Sydney under that scenario – in a parachute, jumping out of a plane. But I’m not sure how you get out.
ALBANESE: And when you look at the actual policies that they are putting forward, whether it be for my electorate or for the country, I think that’s what I will be doing for the next seven weeks and pointing that out., that you can’t be serious if you want a representative in Canberra who says I don’t want any Airport for Sydney, I think is a good example. And these aren’t the Bob Brown Greens. These are people who don’t put principle first. They put playing politics first. They are running on a range of issues that are essentially state government issues as well and trying to say that I am responsible for them.
STEFANOVIC: The PM and the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have vowed to never let a Greens-Labor alliance happen again. Can you guarantee that?
ALBANESE: Absolutely. Look we are running to form a majority government, to win every seat that we can and I think what happened between 2010 and 2013 is that I believe we were a very good government. We did get things done. But we suffered from a view out there that next week could be our last week. So that undermined, I think, confidence in the system. People do want a majority to govern, whether it be Labor or the Coalition and we have said that we won’t enter into any agreement to form government.
WILKINSON: You know, your problem is that, you know, while they might be guaranteeing, we all heard Julia Gillard say “there will be no carbon tax under a government that I lead”. So pollies’ promises don’t really mean a lot to the electorate these days.
ALBANESE: Well, I think we’ve been very clear about our commitment. It’s not us either, who are negotiating with the Greens over preferences. And that’s one of the issues in my seat, of course, is potentially the Liberals giving preferences to the Greens’ candidate in return for the Greens issuing open tickets in other seats, other marginal seats where the Liberals hope to win. Now that will increase the chance of a Turnbull Government – of Peter Dutton staying as the Immigration Minister, of Simon Birmingham staying as the Education Minister – of all the policies that they represent that are the opposite of what the Greens say they represent. So they shouldn’t be trying to assist the election of a Turnbull Government.
STEFANOVIC: You are promising a better economic dividend, is the terminology, from your $40 billion spend on schools. When will the full gain of that splurge be realised?
ALBANESE: Well there’s two factors there. There’s the gain for every individual. Every kid is getting the benefit of our increased education funding right now, particularly children in disadvantaged schools who are being lifted up by the fact that it is needs-based funding.
STEFANOVIC: But the economic dividend means that on a more macro level – in The Australian today it is saying today 2095 before those gains are realised.
ALBANESE: Well, that is nonsense of course. The fact is that I am a product of the Whitlam Government education reforms. I am the first kid in my family to finish high school, let alone get to university. Education makes a difference. It makes a difference to every individual who benefits from it, but also to the national economy. If we are going to compete in this century, we have to compete on the basis of how smart we are. We can’t dumb down. And that is why not just school education, but TAFE as well is critical in this election campaign. We need to give people the skills that they need for the workforce of tomorrow.
WILKINSON: So if you do get into government and you do get that money into education, how long until the parents who are watching this see school results that make a difference?
ALBANESE: It’s making a difference now. It’s making a difference now and it will continue to make a difference each and every year and that will end the age-old debate. Remember Malcolm Turnbull just a few weeks ago made a suggestion to end all funding of public schools and just fund private schools, going back into that debate. The beauty of the Gonski reforms, of having needs-based funding, was that it ended that old public verses private debate. It’s tired old debate. Let’s just fund all schools on the basis of need. That’s what the reforms do.
STEFANOVIC: OK. Look the Today Show is not in the habit of endorsing people who are running for any kind office. [Holds up the front page of The Daily Telegraph]
WILKINSON: No. No, just quietly. We need a transfer to put on our t- shirts.
STEFANOVIC: It’s all we are saying.
STEFANOVIC AND WILKINSON (singing): All we are saying is give Albo a chance.
ALBANESE: That’s going to look good on social media.
STEFANOVIC: Seriously, on your feed.
ALBANESE: It’s just a pity that Christopher Pyne isn’t sitting on the end while you were doing it.
WILKINSON: He does love a show tune so I am sure he will join you down the track.
Subjects: Election 2016; Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange.
JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, shouldn’t you be sandbagging in Grayndler?
ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT, CITIES AND TOURISM: No, what I’m about is making sure that there is a Federal Labor Government. And the way that will happen is ensuring that good local members such as Sharon Clayton, Pat Conroy and Joel Fitzgibbon are returned to their respective electorates, and that Meryl Swanson is elected as the Labor Member for Paterson.
I’m about ensuring a majority Labor Government because it’s only a majority Labor Government that’s concerned with jobs and economic activity in regional centres such as the Hunter. This project – Labor’s commitment of $13 million to the second stage of this project – will ensure in terms of economic developments that are happening around the Glendale area, more than $1 billion in economic activity with 5,000 construction jobs.
This is an extraordinary project that has a benefit-to-cost ratio higher than any infrastructure project in the nation. And it’s a tragedy that it’s been ignored by the Coalition Government, that indeed, not just have they not backed up Labor’s commitment, where previously as the Minister, we committed $30 million to the activity that we’re seeing around here right now. They actually cut funding that had been granted under the Regional Development Australia Fund when they came to office.
Economic activity, jobs and housing supply are all benefited by this activity here. It will make an enormous difference in terms of reducing traffic congestion. It will make an enormous difference in terms of construction jobs in the short term, but the long term economic sustainability of this region will benefit so much with this project. And I’m very proud to be back here today. I was here a month ago and I’ve been a regular visitor here – because this is an exciting project for the Hunter. We take our responsibility for cities seriously. That’s why, in terms of the commitment that we’ve made here, backs up the other commitments that we’ve made and will make to this great Newcastle region. We have a fantastic set of members here now, and Meryl will join that to be part of our team in Canberra – delivering jobs and economic activity for Newcastle.
JOURNALIST: Specifically, what will this $13 million be going towards?
ALBANESE: Well, what it will go to is the second stage of this project. The first section, the second section of the first stage, was broken up into two. It’s a joint project – Commonwealth, State, and local funding. $13 million from the Commonwealth is our commitment, $5 million has already been put aside by Lake Macquarie Council. We expect the State Government to support this project.
This is absolutely essential for the region and it will make such an enormous difference. What we have here is industrial activity, we have a shopping centre, we have housing, we have an entire region being opened up and this will be a turbo boost for jobs and economic activity here in Newcastle.
JOURNALIST: What would you be calling on the local member or the Coalition to be doing? Would you like to see them match the commitment?
ALBANESE: The Coalition should match this commitment. They shouldn’t have cut funding for the project in the first place and there’s been three years of the project not being advanced after the former Federal Labor Government put in $13 million into the first stage. This is an important project that is in the national interest.
The benefit-cost-ratio of this project is around about $100 of economic activity for every dollar of Federal Government investment. And that’s why it is so important, so important, that the Federal Government match our commitment and that the State Government come to the party.
It’s not good enough that the Coalition Government, upon coming to office in 2013, abandoned the Hunter. People of the Hunter know that it is Federal Labor that contributed something like $1.5 billion to the Hunter Expressway. It’s Federal Labor that put the funding there for the Tourle Street Bridge and for other activity in this region, and its Federal Labor of course that put the $13 million into the Glendale Interchange to get this project going. But this is a project that needs to have a seamless transition, that is important, that’s why we would make the funding immediately available upon us coming to office if we’re successful on the second of July.
JOURNALIST: What does immediately available mean? Does it mean on the third?
ALBANESE: It means as soon as the documents can be signed and the contracts sorted out, the funding would be available.
Now what we’ve had for this project, with Pat, Sharon and Joel, and now Meryl, is strong advocacy for the region. Might I say also, Lake Macquarie Council. Jodie Harrison is the Mayor. The contribution of substantial funding from a local government commitment to this project deserves full credit for Lake Macquarie Council. It is a project supported by all the councils. It’s about time it was supported by all of the Federal Government and all of the State Government as well.
JOURNALIST: In extension to that, obviously the State Government has to get on board and kick in the same amount that your government is offering here. Do you have a message for the state members here?
ALBANESE: Well the State Government need to make sure that they’re delivering for this project. And this is an investment. This isn’t an outgoing that won’t produce a return. What this will produce is dollars to the State Government because of various tax regimes. It will produce, of course, an increase in rates paid to the local council. It will produce a benefit to the national economy through a surge in economic growth coming from this region. And that’s why it makes sense to make this investment.
We’re seeing substantial private sector investment being facilitated by a relatively small government commitment. And that’s why the government talks a lot, Malcolm Turnbull, about value capture. That’s a vague term that he uses to pretend that you can get something for nothing. Well I’ve got news for him when it comes to cities. Cities are not just Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Cities are the great city of Newcastle. And the great city of Newcastle, the centre of the Hunter Region, should be given this support. It’s through growth in our regional cities that the pressure will be taken off those capital cities. The pressure in terms of housing development, the pressure in terms of local job creation. All of that will occur here through this project. It’s a very exciting project. It’s one that’s worthy of support. It’s one where Federal Labor have supported it in the past, and we look forward to supporti ng it in the future after July 2 and I would call upon the State Government to get on board, and not just sit back as participants.
The state Coalition were quite happy to sit back as participants and not talk to their federal colleagues about why this is important. The Council has made previous submission to the Federal Government under their regional funding. It appears that in terms of regional funding, unless you’re in a National Party seat, you don’t get a look in. The fact is that our great regions of Australia have at their centre, great regional cities such as Newcastle. Which is why we need support for this project.
JOURNALIST: Mr Conroy, a question for you. Today, the Liberal candidate was announced, Jenny Barrie. She believes that Shortland has been neglected since its creation. It’s been in the Labor Party’s hands and it’s time for the Liberal Party to get a shot. A response?
PAT CONROY, MEMBER FOR CHARLTON: Well that’s absolute rubbish. Today we’re announcing $13 million worth of investment in the bordering seat of Hunter right next to Shortland. That will deliver 10,000 jobs for our region, unlocking $1.2 billion of construction activity. That’s a Labor Party announcement that benefits the electors of Shortland. On top of that we announced yesterday that our “Your Child, Our Future” package would deliver $33 million for Shortland schools. As Anthony Albanese said, only Labor can deliver for the Hunter, only Labor will continue to deliver for the Hunter. I welcome the fact that the Liberal Party has finally preselected a candidate to run in Shortland. They’ve known about this election for quite some time. But the main fact is that we’re announcing today’s great news – 10,000 jobs, $1.2 billion of construction activit y. All because of a Labor commitment today.
JOURNALIST: The candidate also said that she’s sort of well-known in the business community, Jenny, she said that she would support funding for this project. Of course, she’s got some of her federal counterparts on board.
CONROY: Well she’s got to get a Coalition Minister to come up here and say that. It’s easy for a new candidate to say she’s supportive but I’m yet to see a media release from the Liberal Party saying, “I’ll match our funding”. We need the final $13 million to unlock 10,000 jobs for this region, so this project should be bipartisan and unfortunately as Anthony has said, when the Liberals came to power in 2013 they cut $1 million from this project. They’ve had three Budgets to deliver for the Glendale Transport Interchange and they’ve delivered zero.
In fact, they’ve cut funding. So look at the runs on the board and their record is woeful.
JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese is it true, would you be having this discussion today if there were more marginal seats in the Hunter. Would there be a guarantee we would receive this funding?
ALBANESE: Well this is a guarantee. This is a guarantee from Labor that we will deliver this as we have in the past.
It does say something about the contempt that the coalition has for the Hunter that they have decided just today to select a candidate for Shortland.
That says it all about them, ignoring this region. This is a vital region for the country. They have had, I must say, that after we visited here all of us who are standing here before you and Joel Fitzgibbon, just a month ago, the big hint was there for the Coalition Government to put it in the Budget and we called for it then.
And last Tuesday they had an opportunity to put it in the Budget and they didn’t. Three Budgets in a row where there wasn’t a single dollar for infrastructure in Newcastle. Not a dollar. Not a dollar for rail. Not for a dollar for roads. Not a dollar for any infrastructure project.
I can tell you when I was Infrastructure Minister there wasn’t a Budget without commitments for Newcastle and the Hunter region. Every single Budget. Money for rail. Money for roads. Money for projects such as this.
We delivered for the Hunter and if we’re in government we’ll be back delivering again, starting with this vital project.
JOURNALIST: If it was less of a Labor stronghold does that mean the Coalition would deliver more funding for the region?
ALBANESE: Well, the Coalition had every seat at one stage, in the State Government, from the time you cross the Harbour Bridge to the time you hit the Tweed River. And they had every seat in terms of the North Coast of New South Wales including the marginals.
Have a look at what happened on the Pacific Highway. Have a look at what happened on the F3. It took a Labor Government to deliver the more than $300 million of upgrades that have taken place now in terms of the F3, all put in the 2013 Budget.
It took a Federal Labor Government to deliver $7.6 billion for the Pacific Highway including projects like the Bulahdelah Bypass, the Kempsey Bypass, the Ballina Bypass, the Glenugie Upgrade, the Arrawarra section of the Highway. It took a Labor Government.
They put in $1.3 billion over 12 years, we put in $7.6 billion over half that time. Four times the funding in half the time, in spite of the fact that they held all of those seats.
It is Labor that is the party of nation building. Labor is the party of infrastructure development and it is Labor that is the party of jobs.
This Coalition think that if Government just gets out of the way and leaves it to the market the trickle-down effect will look after everyone. That’s their vision of the national economy. Our vision is the government supporting jobs, supporting the private sector and we’re doing that right here. $13 million leading to the creation of thousands of jobs and over a billion dollars of economic activity. That’s our vision. It’s right here, right now. In concrete form, literally.
JOURNALIST: Is it true that workers could just pack up? And have you ever seen that happen before if new funding is not delivered?
ALBANESE: Well, if funding isn’t delivered, of course that’s what happens. There’s a range of projects we can see that has happened around New South Wales and around Australia because you haven’t had a continuation of the funding. Now the problem there, I’ll give you an example. The new south-west rail line, the State Labor Government funded to Leppington should have continued on to Badgery’s Creek on the main western line and beyond. It stopped. It will now be more expensive to get that started again.
There’ll be a tragedy if the work stops here and at some stage in the future work commences again. That does not make sense. What makes economic sense is continuing the work. We have a skilled workforce here. They deserve the certainty of their jobs into the future and business that wants to invest, that’s waiting for this contribution, deserves that certainty as well. It would be cheaper for the government, cheaper for the private sector and cheaper therefore for the national economy as a whole if there is a smooth transition of this project to the next stage. That’s why this announcement is being made today, that’s why I say that this funding will be available on July 3 because we want to make sure that a smooth transition occurs, that we keep the workforce here. Who have the skills, who have the local knowledge built up, rather than bringing people in, going through all the costs of retraining and reorientation with the site that will occur if work does grind to a halt in the future.
JOURNALIST: So with funding on July 3, boots on the ground, do we have any ballpark timeline on when we’ll see them here?
ALBANESE: The boots are on the ground right now. They’re standing over there. They’re driving that tractor, they’re driving that crane. That’s the tragedy here. That’s why this project makes absolute sense and that’s why this should have been included, frankly, not in this year’s Budget, not in last year’s Budget, but the one before. That’s when the project should have received the certainty. Not for the funding to commence immediately, but that certainty. That’s certainly something that would have occurred had Labor been successful. That’s what we do.
JOURNALIST: What’s the cost of restarting a project like this for instance?
ALBANESE: Look I don’t believe in making up figures, I leave that to the Coalition and to Scott Morrison. What I deal with is fact. We know there is a big economic cost. But let me say this, more importantly than a financial cost or a number, it’s the cost to the workers and their families. The cost of being told on a project that you know is so worthwhile, that you’ve invested in, that you’re proud of, having to stop that work, having your families have to look perhaps for work outside of the region and having to start up again. That is the real tragedy here and that’s why this funding is so critical. It’s why it has to happen now and why Joel, Pat, Sharon and Meryl are so committed to making sure that happens.
Thanks very much.
Subjects: Grayndler electorate, Liberal-Greens preference deal, Greens strategy, asylum seeker policy, Malcolm Turnbull
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for joining me. This morning many of the journalists here have been at Richard Di Natale’s first press conference of the election campaign as the Greens political party leader. We’ve seen him today visit the electorate of Grayndler and of course everyone’s always welcome to come to the inner west of Sydney to see the vibrant and dynamic community that we have here and that I’m committed to keeping.
But it says a lot about Richard Di Natale and the Greens political party during this campaign that they’re targeting the electorate of Grayndler rather than targeting a Coalition seat. This is consistent with a political party that has prioritised getting Adam Bandt someone to talk to during Question Time over defeating the Malcolm Turnbull led Coalition Government.
You can’t say that you’re opposed to the cuts to the NBN, the cuts to education, the cuts to health, you’re opposed to Peter Dutton as the Immigration Minister, you’re opposed to the right-wing conservative agenda that has continued under Malcolm Turnbull after he has replaced Tony Abbott, but then issue split tickets in marginal seats which the Coalition seeks to hold or to win in return for getting Liberal preferences against progressive Labor members in electorates like Grayndler, Sydney and Richmond on the NSW North Coast.
This morning Richard Di Natale questioned my voting record and said that he would be consistent in putting a progressive view and that they’d vote every time. Well, the Greens political party are those that are responsible for there not being a price on carbon right now.
Had the Greens voted for the price on carbon in 2009 in the Senate it would have been entrenched, we would have had a different debate about climate change in this country. But they chose not to. He used the example about renewable energy.
Well, under Labor the number of solar panels on our roofs went from just a few thousand to over one million. The Renewable Energy Target of 20 per cent by 2020 that was started and the policy written by myself as Labor’s environment and climate change spokesperson was in place until the Coalition sought to tear it down. The renewable energy sector wanted Labor to vote for the position that we did.
Labor has been consistent and courageous about our position on renewable energy and action on climate change. That’s why we have a target that’s consistent with that of the Climate Change Authority. That’s why when it comes to renewable energy we’re seeking a fifty per cent target in the coming decade and a half.
It’s Labor in government that can change the country. That’s why during this election whilst the Greens political party will be spending all their time trying to defeat me, I will be out there trying to defeat the Coalition Government.
REPORTER: Where do you think their priorities should be lying if it’s not in your seat, not in this type of marginal seat?
ALBANESE: Well, if they say that they’re committed to opposing the Coalition Government’s conservative agenda, then they might like to try campaigning against Coalition members. To actually try campaigning to make a difference to the balance in the House of Representatives by supporting Labor members where they can’t be elected, fair enough to go hard, to try to win seats.
But don’t do a deal with the Coalition which increases the chances of a return of the Coalition Government by issuing split tickets. Now Richard Di Natale said just this morning that at the end of the day, the Greens would have to make a choice over whether they put Labor or Liberal first after the Greens, but he also said that nowhere would he put Liberals above the Labor Party.
Well, if he’s serious about that, and he has to make a choice, he should do it. That means in every seat putting Labor above the Coalition. Richard Di Natale can end the debate about preferences by simply saying he will put Labor, progressive candidates, above Coalition candidates in every seat in the country.
If he’s fair dinkum about stopping the Coalition Government he would do that.
REPORTER: Albo, Sophie Ismail the Labor Candidate for the seat of Melbourne has spoken out against turnback policies and a whole other range of issues that Labor supports on asylum seekers including mandatory detention. Would you sort of condemn her for speaking out against the Party’s policy on the first day of the campaign?
ALBANESE: This is such an old fashioned question. I got asked just ten days ago about other people’s candidates – other people’s comments who were Members of Parliament, not candidates and I’ll say there what I say now which is that I’m not about condemning people for putting forward their views. They’re entitled to do so. The Labor Party has positions on these things. I argue my position within the Labor Party. The difference is that when the Labor Party makes a decision there’s potentially a decision of government rather than of just a couple of people.
It must be difficult for Adam Bandt. He sits there with his imaginary friend in the House of Representatives. It would be nice if he had someone real to talk to. But why target specifically progressive Labor candidates if you’re serious about a progressive Australia?
I’m standing on this election campaign as someone who’s progressive, as someone who’s effective and gets things done but also someone who is ours. That is, I’m a part of this local community. I was born here, I went to primary school here, I’ve represented here. I’ve lived here my whole life. I’m engaged with the local community. I’m prepared to stand up for my values and I’ve done that pretty consistently.
REPORTER: Peter Dutton has just given a press conference on Operation Sovereign Borders. Given it’s a caretaker period, do you think Labor should be briefed on the operation?
ALBANESE: Of course. Caretaker conventions kick in from the day the election was called and this morning at 9am it’s my understanding that the Parliament was dissolved. If there are any matters which relate to national security or indeed any policy issue, then the government has an obligation to brief the respective Shadow Minister, and that’s something I would expect in my portfolio, and I think it is something that’s required and made very clear. This is a government that has shown contempt for normal processes.
Indeed, why we’re in an election today is beyond the comprehension of most Australians. I don’t think there are many people out there in voter land saying “I’m glad there’s an eight week campaign”. I think what they need to do though, is understand that that is a direct result of the fact that Malcolm Turnbull has run out of ideas, has run out of steam, and has run out of an agenda, after just six months in the job.
He had a plan to get rid of Tony Abbott. He doesn’t have a plan to govern and for someone who coveted the Prime Ministership for so long to have so little idea of what to do once he has gained that Prime Ministership is quite extraordinary. That’s one of the reasons why Australians are so disappointed with Malcolm Turnbull.
Subjects: Federal Election, Public Transport, Greens/Liberal Preference Deal
FRAN KELLY: Senior Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese joins me in the breakfast studio. Anthony Albanese, welcome to breakfast.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you, Fran.
KELLY: Bill Shorten says Labor’s the underdog but the polls today, the two major polls have you around 50-50. This election is yours for the taking, isn’t it?
ALBANESE: No. We do go into the election as the underdogs. Historically what’s tended to happen in election campaigns is that governments have an enormous advantage. They have an advantage in, of course, picking the timing though it would appear that Malcolm Turnbull, for reasons beyond my comprehension, gave that up earlier this year, but they have increased resources.
You’ve seen in terms of, even yesterday afternoon, for every Liberal Party ad, there were three ads paid for by the taxpayer still rolling out on TV.
KELLY: Which is not illegal, is it?
ALBANESE: It’s pushing their agenda in a pretty crude way. What we didn’t do Fran is what they’ve done in my area, which is to actually cut the infrastructure construction budget by $18 million to pay for ads.
It was money that was supposed to go into building roads and railway lines. They’ve taken it out to spend on ads to advertise and hide the fact that they really haven’t done anything when it comes to infrastructure this election.
KELLY: I’ll come back to infrastructure but perhaps the real story in the polls for Labor when I said it’s yours for the taking, perhaps the reason it’s not is because although it’s 50-50 on the two party preferred vote, Labor’s primary vote in the Ipsos poll, in the Fairfax papers is still only 33 per cent, which is where it was when you lost heavily to Tony Abbott three years ago.
No one can win with a primary vote of 33 per cent.
ALBANESE: If our primary vote is 33, not only will we not win, we will have a very bad outcome. That’s one of the things you have to do when you look at the polls is look at –
KELLY: So why haven’t you been able to lift that primary vote given all the difficulties that the government’s had?
ALBANESE: Well, this is a government in its first term. It’s a government that changed leaders and had a popular leader come in, Malcolm Turnbull. It was a great sense of relief, I think, when Tony Abbott was deposed. He was going to end the three word slogans. He was going to talk to the Australian people like adults. I listened to Julie Bishop’s interview before. She obviously wasn’t in the studio but it was as if, like the rest of senior members, they’re just reading off the cue cards. They’ve got the three word slogans, just over and over and over, and I reckon over eight weeks if they continue to act like automatons, I mean selecting Mathias Cormann is a very brave move, he’s on message, sure, but will anyone listen to him repeating slogans for eight weeks?
KELLY: Are the messages perhaps not so much the issue when it comes to the crunch in 8 weeks’ time for the electorate? We’ve had four Prime Ministers in less than three years. Are voters going to want to stick with stability? Is that your biggest challenge?
ALBANESE: Well, I think what our task is to put up our alternative and we’ve been doing that, Fran. I think the voters are rewarding Labor for the fact that we’ve been brave. We’ve been prepared to put out fully costed policies, much more so than any other opposition in the 20 years that I’ve been in politics. Out there on issues like addressing housing affordability, that’s a brave move what we’ve done and I think the voters are rewarding us. This is a government that’s run out of steam. Why are we having this early election, Fran? Because the government doesn’t have an agenda, it doesn’t have a sense of purpose.
Malcolm Turnbull’s not only at war with Tony Abbott, he’s at war with himself.
KELLY: Well the government would say we’re having an early election because you wouldn’t work with the government to get anything through the Senate.
ALBANESE: That’s nonsense, of course, Fran. I was Leader of the House with 70 votes in a House of Representatives out of 150. We got our legislation through. We treated people like adults. This is a government that has been incapable of explaining its agenda, that the Senate quite rightly rejected its unfair Budget measures. That’s what the Senate is supposed to do, provide that scrutiny.
KELLY: Bill Shorten says the election is “most definitely about what I stand for and what my opponent stands for,” which sounds like it’s going to get pretty personal. How much is he going to play the man in this election?
ALBANESE: We are playing the policies. Our alternative on education policy. The Gonski reforms that were supposed to be bipartisan. To end that divisive silly debate about public versus private schools. Valuing every child. Giving them every opportunity. Medicare being at the heart of our health system. Not being undermined. Infrastructure. Not just riding on trains. Malcolm Turnbull –
KELLY: He wants to build trains. He has a train building policy in his cities policy.
ALBANESE: No he doesn’t. Where is it Fran? Where is it?
KELLY: The Badgerys Creek train. The Melbourne Metro.
ALBANESE: There’s no money. There’s no plans there, Fran. His cities policy consisted of $50 million for plans. That will plan a couple of major infrastructure projects. That’s it. It’s been a great disappointment. Nothing for the Cross River Rail. The Melbourne Metro money is the money from the Asset Recycling Fund that was put in there by Tony Abbott in 2014. Not a dollar of actual grant money. Nothing for Adelaide Light Rail. Nothing for the Metronet project in Western Australia. Nothing for the Gawler project. Nothing for Cross River Rail in Brisbane.
KELLY: So you’d say that it’s not going to get personal, it’s all about the policies, and yet Bill Shorten’s first media comment in the election this morning, he’s going to put one out every morning I guess; ‘this election will be a contest between Labor putting people first and the Liberal Party looking after vested interests and the top end of town”. Now, how can you paint it like that when in the Budget this government did go after the top end of town on superannuation, on multinational tax? You know that’s, that’s an unfair picture of what the government did in that economic plan, isn’t it?
ALBANESE: No, Fran. They adopted some of our policies in those areas, in multinationals, and some of our policies in terms of superannuation. They put back the low income superannuation contribution that they took away just a couple of years ago. So what you don’t do, Fran, is say ‘we’re going to cut things in 2014, put them back in 2016 and pretend they’re new, and pretend that we’re doing something that’s positive.’ They still have the $80 billion of cuts to education and health. They still have the cuts to pensions. They still have the cuts to welfare payments. They still have –
KELLY: And you still have higher taxes and higher spending.
ALBANESE: They still have a position – well, we don’t actually Fran. If you look at $71 billion of savings in last week’s Budget Reply on top of the savings that we have already, they plan a tax cut for people like you and I, if I can be so presumptuous, in terms of our incomes. The bottom 75% of Australians got absolutely nothing out of the Budget except for cuts.
Cuts to the dental scheme. Cuts to health. Cuts to education. That’s why we say this election is about putting people first rather than helping out Malcolm Turnbull’s mates at the top end of town.
KELLY: It’s fourteen past eight. Our guest is Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese. Today’s front page of your hometown paper, the Daily Telegraph, ‘land of hope and fear – PM’s passionate pitch of optimism as Shorten champions fair and scare campaign’. So that’s the front page of the Tele –
ALBANESE: That’s bold, isn’t it Fran? You’ve got to give them credit for chutzpah, the Daily Telegraph worrying about fear.
KELLY: But I want to talk about trust, because Bill Shorten was all about trust, who do you trust with schools, hospitals, Medicare, on it went. The truth is there’s plenty of research to show trust is in very short supply in the electorate when it comes to our politicians. The Scanlon Foundation survey has seen trust in politicians nosedive since 2009. It’s around 30 per cent now. So when Bill Shorten or Malcolm Turnbull ask the voters who do you trust, the answer for many people is none of you.
ALBANESE: That’s certainly the case, Fran. And that’s acknowledged.
KELLY: What should we do about that?
ALBANESE: Well, I think that one of the things that you do about it is what we have been. Putting forward our policies well in advance of an election. See, Tony Abbott prior to 2013 had that three years of the minority parliament where he expected the government to fall over the next day. So it was just all negative. He was very good at it. Very good at the scare campaigns, but he didn’t have a plan when he got into government.
Malcolm Turnbull had a plan to get rid of Tony Abbott, but it’s very obvious that he just didn’t have a plan to govern, and I think the trust factor when it comes to Malcolm Turnbull, I mean how can you actually know that climate change is such a challenge for this and future generations, and not do anything about it?
Not even talk about it yesterday. I think that’s one of the things that is breaking down trust is Malcolm Turnbull on climate change, on marriage equality, on the republic, essentially walking away from a lifetime of positions that he’s taken.
KELLY: Can I just ask you finally, you’re one of Labor’s strongest retail politicians. You’re going to be pretty busy in your own seat of Grayndler though I would imagine because Greens leader Richard Di Natale, he’s going to be campaigning with the Greens candidate in Grayndler today, firefighter Jim Casey.
A redistribution means your seat’s changed, you’ve lost some traditional Labor suburbs, there are two state Green MPs within Grayndler boundaries now. You still hold your seat by more than 18% but if preferences go to Jim Casey – if Liberal preferences go to Jim Casey you could lose your seat, couldn’t you?
ALBANESE: Of course I could.
KELLY: How worried are you about this?
ALBANESE: I’m not taking it for granted, but I’ll say this Fran. It says a lot about Richard Di Natale that his priority today on day one of the election campaign, and he flagged it yesterday, is removing me from the Federal Parliament. If you think that Parliament will be a more progressive place without me in it, without me within the Labor Party, and within the Parliament, then by all means –
KELLY: Yeah, but –
ALBANESE: That’s his priority.
KELLY: That’s not how parties decide who to campaign against, is it? They want to win seats.
ALBANESE: No. Richard Di Natale could choose to target Liberal party members. What’s gone on here is that the Greens have an arrangement with the Liberals, where the Liberals will preference the Greens in seats the Greens are trying to win and in return the Greens will issue open tickets in seats like Chisholm and Bruce and other marginal seats, which will increase the chances of Malcolm Turnbull remaining as Prime Minister.
Increase the chances of Peter Dutton remaining as the Immigration Minister. That is very deliberately the conscious strategy that they have and I think progressives will have a backlash. I stand on my record. What you see is what you get with me. I’m prepared to stand up for my values in a consistent way. I’ve been doing it for years and that’s why I’ll be returned as the Member for Grayndler.
KELLY: Anthony Albanese, thank you very much for joining us on this day one of the election campaign.
ALBANESE: Thanks Fran.
Subjects: Asylum seeker policy, Sarah Hanson-Young advocating for offshore processing, Gonski reforms, infrastructure cuts, company tax rate, Budget.
EMMA ALBERICI: The Greens chose the inner-city Sydney seat of Grayndler for their campaign launch today. It’s always been held by Labor. Since 1996, the ALP’s Anthony Albanese has been the local member.
But the boundaries were changed last year, making his hold on Grayndler less assured, as the Greens target progressive inner-city voters.
Today, the Opposition frontbencher told the Greens to back off Labor seats and target Liberal-held seats. Anthony Albanese joins me now in the studio.
Thank you for being here.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good evening, Emma.
ALBERICI: Did someone in the party – first of all, before we get to your seat in particular, did someone in the party forget to tell Labor’s candidate for Melbourne Sophie Ismail about your asylum seeker policies?
ALBANESE: No, not at all, Emma. What’s happened is that Sophie’s put forward a personal view. That doesn’t change the Labor Party’s view. She’s a candidate. From time to time, candidates will put views during election campaigns.
ALBERICI: Just to clarify, you are on a unity ticket with the Coalition on border protection, on boat turnbacks and offshore processing.
ALBANESE: But we have a very different position, Emma. We want to double the intake to 27,000. We want to give support to the UNHCR.
ALBERICI: But on those two particular policies, which are the ones Sophie Ismail was railing against –
ALBANESE: We want to give the UNHCR real support. $450 million will make us the fifth biggest donor in the world, given we’re the 12th biggest economy.
ALBERICI: That unfortunately won’t solve the problem of the countless millions who are seeking asylum around the world.
ALBANESE: No, there are 10 million people seeking asylum. We can’t solve all of that, Emma, but what we can do is be –
ALBERICI: – and in the meantime, I just want you to clarify you’re on a unity ticket with the Government.
ALBANESE: We have a different position that was adopted at our platform –
ALBERICI: On boat turnbacks and processing offshore?
ALBANESE: No. But we have a different position on asylum seeker treatment. We regard the fact that people have been left on Nauru and Manus without being resettled as being outrageous and an abrogation of the Government’s responsibility to solve –
ALBERICI: Doesn’t that indicate they haven’t been able to find anywhere?
ALBANESE: – to solve those issues. Well it might indicate they haven’t been trying too hard, Emma. But we’ve been very critical of that.
We would establish independent oversight of everyone in detention. We would support all children being out of detention.
And by working with regional solutions, particularly because we’re funding the UNCHR –
ALBERICI: Sorry, you’d support all children being out of detention and go where?
ALBANESE: That’s our position in terms of –
ALBERICI: Back here in Australia?
ALBANESE: No, our position is children should not be in detention.
ALBERICI: Well where should they be? If you took government tomorrow, where would they go?
ALBANESE: Our position is, Emma, that we do support offshore processing, but we also want to have a policy that’s humane. I think you can be tough on people smugglers without being weak on humanity.
And one of the things that we don’t want to start is the trade to start up again. We’re very clear about that. But we also think that people can be treated humanely.
And it’s not that different, Emma, from a position that Sarah Hanson-Young, the Greens spokesperson, wrote in Mamamia just the other week. She said this –
ALBERICI: Well, let me show you something else she said today.
ALBANESE: She said this –
ALBERICI: You’re talking about a few weeks ago. Today she said –
ALBANESE: Well – well you haven’t heard what she said yet.
ALBERICI: Today she said, “I’m really glad the Australian Labor Party are coming to their senses. Sophie Ismail confirmed MPs will not adhere to boat turnbacks.”
ALBANESE: Well what she said earlier on, just in the last six months in a written, considered article was this: “We could be processing people’s claims for asylum in the region before they are forced onto boats in the first place.”
She went on to say, “We need to work with the UN to set up processing centres in Indonesia and Malaysia and then when we know who needs protection and who doesn’t – ”
ALBERICI: With respect, Anthony Albanese, the Greens are not in government.
ALBANESE: ” – we take those in need and send the others home.”
ALBERICI: But with respect, she’s not in government.
ALBANESE: That’s correct, but that is when you have to –
ALBERICI: Isn’t it a – let’s just go back to the issue we started with.
ALBANESE: Well, when you have to actually have a considered position beyond just a slogan, then it’s not simple, the solutions, and that’s why –
ALBERICI: I just wanted to ask you, on the issue of the Melbourne seat, which will be hotly contested now between Sophie Ismail and Adam Bandt, isn’t it a little –
ALBANESE: It’s a very safe Greens seat, actually, Emma.
ALBERICI: Well, she’s trying to prise it away.
ALBANESE: She is, as she’s entitled to do.
ALBERICI: And isn’t it a little disingenuous for a Labor MP to express a different point of view to her electorate to that which she would be then forced to take in the Parliament.
ALBANESE: Emma, we’ve had sitting Labor MPs saying very similar things – sitting Labor MPs, during the last term.
ALBERICI: But when you’re seeking election –
ALBANESE: And we’ve had sitting Labor MPs and under John Howard’s government, you had Petro Georgiou, you had Judi Moylan, you had Bruce Baird, you had a range of MPs putting views. We’re in a democracy. We don’t all speak with one voice.
Sophie Ismail has put forward her view. The Labor Party’s view is clear though. It’s not the same as the Coalition when it comes to working through solutions because we believe, yes, we agree that we need to stop people smugglers, but we also believe that people are entitled to be treated with respect.
ALBERICI: On economics, do you accept that it’s a clear choice now for voters this time around: higher taxes from Labor or lower taxes and economic growth from the Coalition?
ALBANESE: No, I don’t at all. What we’ve had from the Government is a doubling of the deficit. What we’ve had is a slowing of economic growth. We hear them talking about difficult, turbulent international economic environment.
We dealt with the Global Financial Crisis as well as of course bushfires in Victoria and floods in Queensland. We dealt with all that and we came through with the economy stronger than it was at the beginning of that process because of our economic management.
ALBERICI: But also what you did at the end of that process, having dealt with all those issues, was plant some debt bombs in the Budget, things like the NDIS and Gonski and hospital funding, things that would be recurrent and increasing …
ALBANESE: No, what –
ALBERICI: – in the Budget rather than having to deal with them and cost them in your own plan.
ALBANESE: Well what we did, Emma, wasn’t middle class warfare, with respect. What we did was things that were necessary economic reforms. Take the Gonski reforms –
ALBERICI: But they increased the deficit of the debt going forward.
ALBANESE: Take the Gonski reforms. If you invest in education and training of our young people, what you do is you increase the future economic capacity of the nation. It benefits the individual by allowing them to achieve their opportunity, but it benefits the nation as well.
If we’re going to compete in this century, we have to compete on the basis of how smart we are. That’s why it’s not just a giveaway, it’s an investment – it’s an investment in people.
We invested in people and we invested in capital through infrastructure. Now this government has seen infrastructure investment decline by 20 per cent on its watch.
ALBERICI: You talk about being internationally competitive on the education side, but Labor has opposed a cut to 27.5 per cent in the company tax rate for medium and larger businesses, yet your own policy, had you remained in government, would’ve seen company tax for all companies big and small by now at 28 per cent.
ALBANESE: Well what we’ve said, Emma, pretty clearly is – I was in the Budget lockup and when the people were examining it and we were being given our brief when we walked in after Question Time, that the definition of small business had grown into a turnover of a billion dollars. So, it included –
ALBERICI: Can I draw you back to the question, only because we’ll run out of time.
ALBANESE: It included just about every company.
ALBERICI: Whether the definition is this or not –
ALBANESE: It included just about every company.
ALBERICI: But your cut in the company tax rate when you were in government, which would have seen it implemented in full last year, applied to all companies, whether you were Coles, Woolworths or the local shop.
ALBANESE: But what we’re about here is the specific policy which we’ve been asked to support that was in the Budget was about small business. Now we support a reduction in tax for small business. We just don’t …
ALBERICI: But only the tiniest businesses.
ALBANESE: It’s not only the tiniest businesses. Overwhelmingly, small business have a turnover under $2 million. That’s overwhelmingly what the vast majority of small businesses do.
ALBERICI: But on the issue – I started the question on international competitiveness and you would know that on average, it’s about 20 per cent for the corporate tax rate around the OECD. So we’re quite well ahead of that.
ALBANESE: Well in terms of international comparisons, we think we are competitive. We think there’s a case to put reductions for small businesses, which is why we didn’t just reject the change overall. But we did say that given the circumstances and competing priorities, this government’s got it wrong.
Tax cuts for big business, in particular that multinationals would benefit; tax cuts for people above $180,000 by removing the deficit levy from when it was imposed by the current Coalition government when the deficit was less than half what it is today.
We think that when average earners got nothing out of the Budget – 75 per cent of Australians didn’t get a zac. That’s our priority. You know, and funding education and health and not cutting pensions and funding infrastructure – that’s our vision for the nation’s economy.
ALBERICI: Anthony Albanese, we’re out of time. Thanks very much.
ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
Subjects: Mothers Day, Labor’s paid parental leave announcement, Botox
DEB KNIGHT: Labor’s Anthony Albanese joins us here in the studio along with the Government’s Mathias Cormann. Good morning to you both.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Good morning.
KNIGHT: I hope that you got your priorities right both of you and spoilt the mums in your life before you came on here talking politics. Are you in trouble Albo with your wife for coming here?
ALBANESE: It probably wasn’t a terrific decision to come here on Mother’s Day. This is not the first time and I must say when I appeared on another program.
KNIGHT: Yes, don’t mention that.
ALBANESE: Another program which I won’t mention, one Mothers Day they sent flowers to my wife.
KNIGHT: Oh! We’ll get onto that.
ALBANESE: Hint, hint.
KNIGHT: We’ll get onto that. Mathias, have you done something special? Please say yes.
CORMANN: Best wishes for Mothers Day to my wife in Geraldton on the other side of the country.
KNIGHT: Very good, very good.
ALBANESE: Happy Mothers Day to you Deb!
KNIGHT: Thank you very much. I’ll take it and run with it.
ALBANESE: Three times.
KNIGHT: I know. Sucker for punishment. Now, the policy announcements we know are going to come thick and fast as of this afternoon once the election is underway. Labor is going to be talking paid parental leave. What are you revealing today?
ALBANESE: Today we are revealing that we will reverse the cuts that have been made. Paid parental leave before the last election was supposed to be bipartisan, everyone supporting it, but of course the government brought in a change which meant a cut effectively to 80,000 parents of up to $11,800 as a result of those cuts. That makes a huge difference. Paid parental leave of course was already in a number of awards, as a result of negotiations that take place.
So people have given up other things to get paid parental leave in the award system as part of their salary package, and of course the government attempted to take away the fact that that would remain and people could still get the government based scheme, which is a very modest scheme, but one that has made a big difference to working parents.
KNIGHT: Okay, so what taxes are you going to raise, what spend will you cut to pay for it?
ALBANESE: Well, in the Budget Reply we announced $71 billion of additional savings on top of the savings that we’ve already announced.
KNIGHT: So no new taxes required for this one?
ALBANESE: No, absolutely not. We are committed to paid parental leave. We’re very proud of the fact that we did it in government. It’s part of our legacy. It’s part of Labor’s reform agenda and we think particularly that the cuts that were announced last Mothers Day were particularly mean spirited, frankly. This Mothers Day, we’re helping out mums and dads.
KNIGHT: Ok, well Mathias that is a point because a year on a big difference that we know that Joe Hockey announced that he called this double dipping, it was even alluded to as fraud, we know that the government did soften its stance on this but why wind it back at all, it seems like a good policy, $11,500 would go a long way to helping working families?
CORMANN: Well, we want all working women across Australia to have access to paid parental leave on the same terms and of course there’s only a very small number of women that have access to a second scheme. But the point – I’ve got to make a couple of points here though. Labor did not announce $71 billion worth of savings.
They announced $61 billion of higher taxes over the next decade and right now over the current Budget forward estimates period Labor has a $65 billion budget black hole that is $65 billion worth of unfunded spending promises which will lead to higher taxes which will hurt jobs and growth.
The Government’s plan, which we delivered on Monday is a plan for jobs and growth, which is a plan for all families across Australia to give them the best possible opportunity to get ahead.
KNIGHT: We’re just seeing pictures coming through to the newsroom too of Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull leaving their home in Sydney in Point Piper, preparing for the big day of course. The election trigger will officially be pulled later this afternoon when the Turnbulls head to Canberra and the Prime Minister visits the Governor General at Yarralumla to officially call the election.
Those shots coming through from our newsroom. The issue though Mathias of helping families is one that Labor is really criticising the government on. Why delay fixing childcare until after 2018? It really is a big issue for families and the impression is given that the government is more helping big business than families.
CORMANN: Well, that’s not right. We want to help families and what families across Australia ware looking for is of course job security and they’re looking for continuing successful transition in our economy to ensure their jobs are secure.
KNIGHT: Childcare is a big point, though.
CORMANN: Indeed. It’s a very important point and we do want to help families get better and more flexible, more affordable access to childcare.
KNIGHT: So why wait until 2018?
CORMANN: Because we need to be able to ensure that we can pay for it. Because the worst thing that we can do for families across Australia i stop pay for more promises with debt and higher taxes, because more debt and higher taxes will hurt jobs and growth and we are committed to ensuring that people across Australia, that families across Australia have the best possible opportunity to get ahead and in order to ensure that happens, right at this time and we are continuing to face some global economic headwinds, we need to ensure that we implant our plan for jobs and growth, that we continue to transition our economy to a more diversified, stronger economy of the future.
ALBANESE: Well, I give Mathias credit for sticking to the script and the three word slogan there over and over again.
KNIGHT: Jobs and growth?
ALBANESE: You’ve picked it up. Well done Deb. We’ve got the message, Mathias.
KNIGHT: But it’s an important message to make though.
ALBANESE: It’s about priorities.
CORMANN: Jobs and growth is our priority indeed.
ALBANESE: You got another one in Mathias. It’s relentless. There’s nothing behind it. The fact is –
CORMANN: There’s a whole plan behind it.
ALBANESE: I let you go, Mathias. Budgets are about priorities. Our priority is assisting parents through paid parental leave. It is assisting parents through childcare. It is assisting young people though education, through the Gonski reforms. It is supporting health care. That’s our priority. Their priority is the top end of town. Their priority is helping out – they speak about fiscal responsibility. They’ve doubled the deficit. They’ve increased debt. They’ve increased government spending as a proportion of GDP.
KNIGHT: We’ve got 8 weeks of this.
ALBANESE: It’s a fact that they have doubled the deficit.
CORMANN: Not true.
KNIGHT: Alright listen, before we go, I know it’s a bit of fun but still, Christopher Pyne alluded to the fact that one of his colleagues might have been using Botox. I notice that you’ve both got fairly strong brows, any hints on who it might be?
ALBANESE: I’m not prepared to comment!
CORMANN: Not me.
KNIGHT: I can’t see any expression changing. It may well be either of you.
ALBANESE: I’m very flattered that you think it might be me.
KNIGHT: It’s Albo!
ALBANESE: I’m very flattered. I wish!
KNIGHT: Gentleman, happy election day to you, I’m glad that mothers are being put first but it’ll be an interesting campaign, we look forward to it.
ALBANESE: We’ve got a soccer game at lunchtime today for my son, so it’s a Mothers Day dinner. They better call the election because if they don’t, Parliament i supposed to be sitting tomorrow.
KNIGHT: They will, they will. Good on you. Thanks so much guys.
ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
Subjects: Budget Reply, election, costings, ASC job losses, Cross River Rail, public transport
LISA WILKINSON: Now, all eyes are on Malcolm Turnbull who is expected to call an election this weekend.
So it’s a very good morning to our pollies, to the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne in Adelaide and Shadow Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese who is in Canberra for us.
Good morning to both of you but I’m going to go to you first Anthony. That was Bill Shorten we just saw. He’s promised savings of $71 billion.
But the problem is how can we trust any of your figures when there are huge question marks over many of your costings as exposed by Laurie Oakes this week?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think the real costing issue this week, Lisa, is that the government was so busy trying to cost our policies and adopt them, they forgot to cost their own. The centrepiece of the Budget –
WILKINSON: OK, we will get to that in a moment. We need to talk about your costings here.
ALBANESE: It has a huge hole in it. There’s no problems with our costings.
WILKINSON: Yeah, but let’s talk about that in a moment. Well, there was. There was definitely a $20 billion hole in your costings.
ALBANESE: No there wasn’t, Lisa. It depends what assumptions you put into costings in terms of what comes out. Our costings were done by the Parliamentary Budget Office. It’s as simple as that.
WILKINSON: So you’re saying that there’s two separate offices and they are coming up with different costings. So that means that no voter can trust any of the costings that are out there?
ALBANESE: We will have a look at, and and Senate Estimates is sitting today, at what the assumptions were that were included, in the request from Treasury.
Of course, the real issue is that the government adopted our policy – like, they adopted our policy on superannuation in some measures.
In some areas they have gone even further than we said we would go, because we didn’t say we would have retrospectivity.
We have a plan out there for Medicare, for education, for infrastructure.
This is a government that has run out of ideas. That’s why they are running to the Governor-General to call an election.
WILKINSON: Well, let’s talk to Christopher now. You’ve got problems with your numbers as Anthony was just mentioning.
Yesterday Mr Turnbull was unable to confirm the cost of his 10 year corporate tax plan.
Have you managed to confirm those numbers overnight Christopher and can you now tell us what that 10 year tax plan is going to cost?
PYNE: Well, Lisa, I’m happy to answer that question but quite quickly you put onto Anthony Albanese to clear up Labor’s costings debacle over the tobacco tax and Chris Bowen is saying they rely on the figures in the Budget.
Anthony Albanese is still saying they are going to rely on the Parliamentary Budget Office figures.
So there’s a $19.5 billion discrepancy in Labor’s costings and Anthony Albanese’s still pretending it’s the old number, Chris Bowen’s saying it’s the new number.
WILKINSON: Okay but this is now your turn to talk about the costings that the Prime Minister couldn’t put – Christopher, we’ve got to talk about your problem with the numbers.
PYNE: We don’t do 10 year costings as Penny Wong, the Finance Minister under the Labor Party in 2012 said, when she asked exactly the same question, she said ‘we don’t in the Budget do 10 year costings. We do four year forecasts, and the four year forecasts…’
WILKINSON: But the trouble is you’ve been insisting that the Opposition come up with those ten year numbers.
PYNE: No, we haven’t. Labor’s said they have ten year plans. We have never said they need to have a ten year costing.
That’s their problem. We have four year forecasts because that is what the Budget requires.
WILKINSON: But the Prime Minister wanted to legislate over 10 years. If you are going to want to legislate over 10 years, you have you to have the numbers and you have to put them out there to voters.
PYNE: The number is $5.3 billion because that is what is in the forward estimates, that is what is in the Budget, that is the definitive document.
On the other side, Labor still thinks that new taxes are savings measures.
So last night we saw Bill Shorten pretending that $71 billion of new taxes are savings measures.
Well, a savings measure is when you spend less at the shop last week than you spend this week.
You save 20 bucks or you saved 10 bucks.
Labor thinks that a savings measure is putting more taxes on the Australian public. Now, how much more can they take?
Labor thinks they want to tax more, they want to spend more.
On our side of the ledger, we want to reduce income tax, reduce company tax, reduce the capital gains tax, and live within our means because we are trying to drive jobs and more growth.
Labor just wants to get the more revenue in.
WILKINSON: That’s right. Well, is the PM is saying that this election is all about jobs and growth. But the problem is that what’s happening with submarines means that more than 600 jobs are going to be cut.
How is that about jobs and growth?
PYNE: Well, that is a very, very misleading story that was put out by the ASC yesterday.
Because it completely ignores the fact that we have announced the offshore patrol vessels begin in 2018.
So yes, over the course of the next two years or 18 months, the air warfare destroyers are slowed down because they will be delivered to the government.
They will probably run over time which means those workers won’t be losing their jobs in 2017 and then in 2018, that is why we brought forward the offshore patrol vessels to start in Adelaide and in 2020, the future frigates and $50 billion of submarines in the 2020s.
So I think the ASC made a off big mistake yesterday. They left off the second half of the sentence which is that it doesn’t matter because those jobs will be coming just back and those people will probably just continue on with the offshore patrol vessels.
WILKINSON: OK. Christopher, you’ve had most of the time this morning. So I’m going to give Anthony the last word, but you’ve only got 10 seconds.
PYNE: Well, I’m better quality.
WILKINSON: By July 3, will we have Prime Minister Shorten? You’ve got 10 seconds.
ALBANESE: I certainly hope that we do because we stand for Medicare, we stand for stand education, we stand for jobs.
We stand for growth, we stand for infrastructure investment.
You’re there in Brisbane. We will get the Cross River Rail done. We will get public transport funded.
The difference between Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull is that both of them want to ride on trains. Only Bill Shorten will fund trains.
WILKINSON: OK. Just goes to show Anthony you’re as rubbery on figures as the government are.
We are going to have to leave it there. Thanks very much. Hope you both have a great weekend. It’s going to be a big one.
PYNE: Pleasure. Thank you.
ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s $32 million commitment to upgrade Hobart Airport roundabout; Three Amigos failure to stand up for Tasmania; Labor’s $100 million commitment to Midland Highway; Malcolm Turnbull’s broken NBN promise to Tasmania
JULIE COLLINS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Well it’s great to be here with my colleague, the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, for Cities and for Tourism, Anthony Albanese and to have with us our Lyons’ candidate Brian Mitchell for this big announcement today here at the Hobart Airport roundabout. It’s also fabulous to have with us the Sorrell Mayor, Kerry Vincent. This issue has been raised with us for some time. What we’ve seen of course, from our opponents, from the Liberals – the Liberal Members of Parliament representing Tasmania in the Federal Parliament – is months and months of big talk, and we’ve heard a lot about their election wish-list, but this week’s Budget delivered absolutely nothing for Tasmania. They’ve delivered nothing for Tasmania. So it’s great to be here with Anthony Albanese, because of course Federal Labor continues to deliver for Tasmania, just like we did in Government. We’ve seen in recent weeks announcements from Labor in relation to the University of Tasmania and the $150 million that we will be committing in response to the move to the campus at Newnham and of course to Burnie. So that $150 million for UTAS has been warmly welcomed around the state. We’ve also made announcements in relation to NBN on the West Coast of Tasmania, so it’s great to have Anthony with us here today to make another announcement to show Labor’s further commitment to Tasmania in contrast to the Liberals who’ve done nothing and who did not stand up for Tasmania in the Budget again this week.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE: Well thanks very much Julie and it’s great to be back here in Tasmania with Julie Collins, my parliamentary colleague, and Brian Mitchell who I hope after July 2, in the as yet unannounced election, becomes a colleague in Canberra because then there will be yet another Member who will stand up for the interests of Tasmanians. It’s also great to be joined by Kerry Vincent the Mayor of Sorell, a community that will benefit from this announcement. This announcement, of $32 million, to fix this roundabout, a federal contribution to be added to with $8 million from the State Government, would ensure that this is fixed once and for all. This is a vital project for a number of reasons. Firstly, because the communities including Sorrell are currently hindered by this being a congestion point every morning and every afternoon. It’s also critical because it’s an entry point for many people when they first visit Tasmania and first impressions are important. We know when you cross over that Bridge and see Mount Wellington and see the fabulous Hobart city that will be made even better by the $50 million we put aside for the Macquarie Point Development and Revitalisation, we know also though that if your first impression is being stuck in traffic then that is not a good one. That’s why, with airport traffic expected to double over coming years this project needs to be done and needs to be done now. A flyover will ensure that that occurs. I’m very disappointed that Tuesday night’s Budget didn’t have this in, I thought this was an absolute no-brainer to get fixed. But then again Tuesday night’s Budget also confirmed the $100 million cut to the Midland Highway funding that was put in the 2013 Budget by the former Labor Government. It confirmed the cut in half of the rail revitalisation project – $60 million cut from that project. And it confirmed that over the life of Turnbull and Abbott Governments there hasn’t been a single major infrastructure announcement for Tasmania or a single major tourism announcement for Tasmania. They are running out of projects to be opened that were funded by the former Labor Government, be it Three Capes, or be it other important projects like the Brighton bypass, the Kingston bypass, the upgrades to the Midland Highway that we committed to and funded when we were in Government. It’s about time that Canberra had a Government that actually stood up for Tasmanians. Brian Mitchell will do just that.
BRIAN MITCHELL, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR LYONS: I’m thrilled by this announcement , thanks for coming down Albo, this will make a real difference in peoples’ lives. Being a resident of Sorrell myself, I see the congestion here every day and I’ve worked very hard with Kerry Vincent and Julie Collins to get this announcement up. This will make a real difference in people lives in the Sorrell Municipality, people from Dodges Ferry to Primrose Sands, they’re going to have a great quality of life from this and it’s going to drive economic growth in Sorrell. Sorrell has the capacity to be a great satellite city of Hobart, with great facilities, great amenity and really drive the population growth in this part of Tasmania. This is a great announcement from Labor and only Labor will get this done. I’m absolutely thrilled by it, thank you.
JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, how soon will see the funds flow if a Labor Government is elected and when will see it built?
ALBANESE: We’ll put it straight in the Budget, we’ll have negotiations with Tasmania, the Federal Government doesn’t build roads, we’re prepared to fund it and we would want it done as an urgent priority. So if we’re elected we would want the funding to commence from the coming financial year. We want to get this done because what you’ve got to do, the longer it’s delayed, the worse we can see the banking up here now well past peak hour, the worse it will become. So we want to get this done, we also note that with the drop off in infrastructure investment from the Commonwealth to Tasmania that’s having an immediate impact on jobs, so we want to if we’re elected I’ll be flying to Tasmania to talk to the State Government working out a timetable to make sure this project get done.
JOURNALIST: How far advanced are the plans for what you actually build here, you would’ve just driven past of the Tasman Bridge, the new slip lanes, and I think I stood there in 2010 when we were talking about that. How quickly can you get these plans and get these things to fruition.
ALBANESE: Well we can get this done. As you yourself have witnessed the benefit of the Albanese/Collins combination, the Albanese/Collins/Mitchell combination gives us another prop forward, to use rugby league terminology, here as well. Three people standing up for this region. I never make commitments that don’t happen. Every single time I’ve made a commitment in Tasmania it has been delivered, either on time or ahead of time and this is a vital project. We can get it done, there is not a pipeline of projects for Tasmania, so it’s not like you’re taking away activity from other areas that are funded by the Federal Government. So this is an absolute priority, we’re convinced it can be done. A lot of the preparatory work is already done and the planning, we know what’s needed here, which is a flyover, a grade separation and we want to see this project come to fruition. And we want to see the people of Sorrell and other communities benefit, as well as those people like myself who have the privilege of visiting Tasmania.
JOURNALIST: You have the Midland Highway in some state of being repaired, is that something Labor would seek to focus on again if it were back in Government, putting more money into that project.
ALBANESE: Well we haven’t seen a dollar, not a dollar, from the Abbott/Turnbull Governments for the Midland Highway. We put $500 million in, they took, remember Tony Abbott came in Opposition and on the back of light beer shandy coaster said that you could duplicate fully the Midland Highway for $400 million, we said that was nonsense. What you can do is get the priorities done for $500 million. We did the costings, we did the work, we delivered the funding. He cut it. And so we would again prioritise the Midland Highway. Of course the Midland Highway is Tasmania’s most important road, connecting the North to the South, so it’s an absolutely priority in terms of for a national Government because Tasmania is such a vital state for our nation, in terms of creating jobs and boosting the Tasmania economy the Midland is critical. Of course it’s also important for road safety and I will work with, as I have already, with Brian for example including on the Bass Highway as well. All of these projects are important, I want to see them done and I think people, if they have a look and compare what happened during my six years as the Infrastructure Minister compared with the complete inactivity, where not a single new announcement has been made by the incoming Government. It’s quite extraordinary now, three budgets, no announcements in terms of new infrastructure for Tasmania.
JOURNALIST: Reinstate the $100 million [for Midland Highway]?
ALBANESE: Of course we will. We would get it done. We had a plan to make sure that Tasmania benefitted. It’s short-sighted for a cut such as that. And so we would certainly commit, as I have before, because all of the Tasmanians are prepared to stand up for their state. What I find extraordinary is that the State Liberal Government here have just copped these cuts, cuts to the Midland Highway, cuts to rail revitalisation, no major projects, the sort upgrades that occurred to Bellerive to the Aurora Stadium, the works that we did at Glenorchy. All of those vital projects that we did that have been ignore by the incoming Government haven’t had any commitments and the State Government have seemed to meekly accept that that’s the case and the Federal Members who were elected last time essentially are just seat warmers – they sit there but they’re not vocal in standing up for Tasmania or being advocates for Tasmania.
JOURNALIST: It’s Budget-In-Reply day today, can we expect you yourself to advocating for Tasmania in Canberra today?
ALBANESE: I certainly am and I think the fact that I am here says that you know I am very proud of the work that I have done in Tasmania. I think I’ve got, as someone who’s from Sydney, a track record. I sat this morning in the ABC radio studios there and I’ve almost got a permanent seat having visited here. I think one year, as a Minister I visited here thirteen times in a year and that is critical. Because Tasmania, the southern island, can be left out by those on the northern island, unless it has strong advocates. Strong advocated who are representing Tasmania, but also strong advocates who understand that this beautiful state has a critical role to play in our national economy, particularly in the areas of infrastructure and tourism that I have responsibility for. There’s always, always strong advocacy from the Tasmanians, can I say with regard to the Tasmanian tourism industry they’ve really got their act together. I’ve had now, a couple of roundtables here, one here in Hobart, one at Cradle Mountain with the Tasmanian tourism industry. They’re coordinated, with had the sort of work that’s occurred on the West Coast as well where Jason Clare, my colleague, was announcing important focus for the National Broadband Network as a result of the advocacy of Brian Mitchell once again. I remember during the last campaign standing in Launceston, standing in Hobart as the Communications Minister and saying that Tasmanians would miss out under Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull promised, he’s now the Prime Minister , he was the Communications Minister, he promised that each and every Tasmanian home and business would be connected to the National Broadband Network with fibre in 2016. Right now. That was his promise. So it’s 2016, I say to every Tasmanian who doesn’t have access to the National Broadband Network, you have a strong opportunity to send a superfast message to Malcolm Turnbull on July 2 that you don’t like being misled. Misled directly by Malcolm Turnbull at the last election, they can repay Malcolm Turnbull by not voting for him to remain as Prime Minister because simply he doesn’t deserve it. Thank you.