ANDREW BOLT: Today at last that changes thanks to Anthony Albanese, the infrastructure and transport minister.
Anthony what’s been this media strategy? Is it to avoid a conflict with a potentially hostile person, conservative, or to deny a show like this some oxygen?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I don’t think there’s a strategy Andrew. I think it’s fair to say you’re seen as a bit of a right wing ideologue.
ANDREW BOLT: Not right wing, conservative.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, you know, I think you’re seen as a right wing ideologue and maybe that might have put some people off.
ANDREW BOLT: And so you’re here though.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: But I’m here.
ANDREW BOLT: What’s that about? What’s your thinking about Labor engaging with people who aren’t of the left in the media?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think we’ve got to engage with our critics directly and we’ve got to be prepared to front up and put our arguments. I’ve certainly said that publicly that we should do that. I’m here now, and I’m always prepared to put the case.
ANDREW BOLT: Has Labor done enough of that?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think sometimes we haven’t done enough of getting on the front foot, and we certainly need to do that. I think we’ve got a good story to tell.
ANDREW BOLT: Because I know that your style is obviously is very different. I was most struck, and I thought it was really effective, when you went out in – to confront the demonstrations outside your own electorate. It was very hostile. Let’s have a look at some of that.
[Start pre-recorded segment]
VOX POP: The comments that you made…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: That’s not very sensible.
VOX POP: …your mother would be ashamed of you. And I am ashamed of you. vANTHONY ALBANESE: No, my late mother is certainly not ashamed of me.
VOX POP: You’re a loser, Albanese.
[End pre-recorded segment]
ANDREW BOLT: Now I thought that was really effective in that by confronting your critics you made them look more extreme.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think that demo said a lot more about them than it did about me. It had – to have a banner in Marrickville Road, Marrickville, saying ‘tolerance is our demise’ was just extraordinary, and I think their behaviour, their shouting, their anger said a lot about what they were about and that. One of the things I’m concerned about is that the debate has gone a bit off the rails and that people are yelling rather than discussing issues.
ANDREW BOLT: I think it goes on both sides, having been called a Nazi and all that in the papers this week. Let me tell you, it goes both sides. But look, one of the reasons I think – before this turns into a love fest – I’m going to ask you one of the questions that I think have stopped people like Greg Combet, Tim Flannery, who is not a minister but your Climate Commissioner, and people like that arguing the global warming case in interviews with me. I’m really concerned about the carbon dioxide tax and your plan to cut our emissions by five per cent by 2020, because it won’t actually reduce the world’s temperature by almost anything anyone can measure.
Do you know how much it will reduce the world’s temperature by?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: You know, Andrew, that Tony Abbott has the same five per cent target. The difference between…
ANDREW BOLT: I agree.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: …the difference between us is that we think that we should tax the big polluters and then give compensation to ordinary people. He’s going to tax ordinary people in order to pay for his plan. I think that we do need to act on climate change. We’re the highest per capita…
ANDREW BOLT: I agree with that…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: We’re the highest per capita emitter in the world and if we say, oh well what can we do to make a difference then why should anyone else act? And no one would do anything.
ANDREW BOLT: But Anthony, Anthony, this is the argument. I know that, but my question’s really specific and that’s what I want to come back to. By how much will your tax change the world’s temperature?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well what it comes down to, Andrew, is that the whole world does have to act …
ANDREW BOLT: I know that but by how much will your tax reduce the world’s temperature?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: …but you have to start somewhere and we’ve got a responsibility to act. We think we’ve got it right. We think it’s a reasonable target. Tony Abbott clearly agrees with us. It’s achievable. We’ve got a method to do it…
ANDREW BOLT: It’s not achievable. I don’t think it’s achievable.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s achievable and we’ve got a method to do it through using the market.
ANDREW BOLT: Let’s end on a much friendlier note because I think there’s a rubbish target and it won’t be achieved and it won’t make a difference but let’s not…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: But you’re a sceptic, Andrew.
ANDREW BOLT: Yes, I am.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: What’s really weird is Tony Abbott being a sceptic but still having the same target.
ANDREW BOLT: True. True. Now, Dolly Parton is going to give you a hug.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: She is.
ANDREW BOLT: Now, why is Dolly Parton going to give you a hug and is there some sort of message we can talk about here that justifies us running pictures of Dolly Parton?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well there’s a serious side to this. Dolly Parton’s bus for her tour was going to be excluded from Australia and she was threatening to cancel her tour because it was too long, too wide and too heavy. This is a case of bureaucracy gone mad. I intervened. I think commonsense must take place with regard to regulations and what it also showed is that we had to get approval from each state regulator, because we have eight transport regulators in heavy vehicles. We’re moving to three national transport regulators – down from 23. It’s going to contribute $30 billion to the national economy over 20 years. It’s a good example of where we’re getting our micro-economic reform right. And this is a commonsense approach.
ANDREW BOLT: Who would have thought that Dolly Parton had a lesson for Australian regulators. I think it’s fantastic.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: She does indeed.
ANDREW BOLT: Anthony, thank you so much for joining us.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you Andrew.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.