ABC Brisbane Mornings with Rebecca Levingston

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Wednesday, 16th March 2022

ABC Brisbane Mornings with Rebecca Levingston

Discussing electric cars, North Queensland and more.

SUBJECTS: Visit to Brisbane; electric cars; petrol excise; electorates of Ryan and Dickson; North Queensland; Budget; Election; climate change; Kevin Rudd; Federal election; Labor's policy agenda.

REBECCA LEVINGSTON, HOST: Well, over the course of the next couple of weeks, you're going to get to know the current PM and the wannabe PM a lot better, because it's two weeks out from the Budget and it's two months out from the Election. That is why Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese keep popping up in Brisbane. Anthony Albanese, good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning. This is my third trip to Queensland this week.

LEVINGSTON: Why are you in Brisbane today?

ALBANESE: Today, I'll be in Dickson talking at a solar manufacturing plant, talking about the need for innovation and advanced manufacturing here. And then I'll be catching up with Peter Cossar as well, our candidate for Ryan. We will be doing a bit of a street walking and talking with locals there. And then tonight, I have the pre-St Patrick's Day function, which should be a good bit of fun.

LEVINGSTON: Well, you can have a beer or two, as you said on 60 Minutes. Interesting to see you won the ratings in terms of you and the Prime Minister on that. It remains to be seen whether you win the rating on Election Day, Anthony Albanese. You mentioned Dickson and Ryan. They're the two seats that I think Graham in Ferny Hills lives in one of them. Do you think Labor can win against Peter Dutton and Julian Simmonds?

ALBANESE: Well, we're having a crack. We have a great candidate in Ali France, in Dickson. Ali ran last time. And what we know is that the second time you run as a candidate, you have an advantage because you have much better name recognition. And Peter Cossar’s is a very strong candidate in Ryan as well. So, we'll be putting forward strong campaigns in both of those seats. But indeed, right throughout Queensland.

LEVINGSTON: What other seats do you think Labor can win?

ALBANESE: Well, I was in Kennedy on Monday. That's not a target seat. But next door, of course.

LEVINGSTON: Kennedy? You think you can take on Bob Katter?

ALBANESE: No, I was making the point that I'll be throughout Queensland. I want to represent the whole of Queensland, whether we win every electorate, obviously it’s not what we're going to do. But I want to represent all Australians. And that's why we committed to an industrial hub there in the electorate of Kennedy that will benefit the whole of North Queensland, but I do think in Townsville, we have a shot in the electorate of Herbert. In Leichhardt, a bit further north, our candidate there is someone who's running for a second time. And I think in the electorate of Brisbane, I took a walk around the Powerhouse in Brisbane with Madonna Jarrett early on Saturday morning, we were joined by Grace Grace, and the feedback there, I must say, was very positive as well. But it's really tough for Labor to win from Opposition. That's the truth. We've only done it three times since the Second World War. But what we're doing is holding the Government to account, but also putting forward positive alternatives.

LEVINGSTON: You're listening to Anthony Albanese in Brisbane again today. You will see the Opposition Leader and the Prime Minister popping up regularly over the course of the next two months. When do you think the Election is going to be, Anthony Albanese?

ALBANESE: Well, it's likely to be on May 14. The Government's clearly holding out for as long as possible. That's why it's changed the whole timetable and just brought forward a Budget earlier this year in March. The Budget, of course, should be held in May. And my view is they should have held an election and then allow either themselves, as a fourth term Government into the second decade, to hand down a budget, or allowed a new Government to put forward a Budget for this year. It really will be just an election commitment rather than an actual Budget that they're putting forward in a couple of weeks' time.

LEVINGSTON: Well people are looking for commitments and clarity from you, Anthony Albanese. And I'll read out a few more impressions of you. I don't know if you heard the callers before you came to here this morning. Someone described you as a slightly warmer version of Kevin Rudd. What do you think of that description?

ALBANESE: That's not bad. Kevin Rudd's a friend of mine. It's an interesting description. But people will have their own views. One of the things that I say is what you see is what you get. I've been up in public life a long time, I was Deputy Prime Minister, of course, to Kevin Rudd in 2013. I have a record of achievement here in Queensland, in Southeast Queensland, projects like the Ipswich Motorway, the Redcliffe Rail Link, first promised in 1895, but it took a Federal Labor Government working with State Government and also Moreton Bay Council to make that project a reality. Gold Coast Light Rail, the upgrades to the Gateway Motorway as well. Projects we funded. The Cross River Rail would have been completed by now and opened, had we been successful in 2013 and had Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott not stifled the very necessary project.

LEVINGSTON: Are you meeting with Annastacia Palaszczuk when you're in town today?

ALBANESE: Yes. I'll be seeing her this evening at the St Patrick's Day function. And I caught up with Annastacia on Sunday. She, of course, was the Infrastructure Minister when I was the Infrastructure Minister in Government. So, we work closely together. And I would look forward to working closely with the Queensland State Government. And indeed, with all state governments around the country. I think people have seen too much conflict. And that's part of Scott Morrison's problem. I think that he's always looking for an argument rather than a solution.

LEVINGSTON: Well, it's been clear there'll be no argument from the State Labor Government, they will want you to win. But there's another group of young people who are making their mind up about the future leader of this country. Anthony Albanese, yesterday, a group of teenagers lost a class action against the Federal Environment Minister, I spoke to Tom Webster, who was one of the original litigants. And we'll play you 20 seconds of Tom because he has a message for you to.

TOM WEBSTER: My message for Mr Albanese will be to listen and to look after the young Australians. They are the future Australians, the future voters of Australia. And so, we need him, and we need his Government, if elected, to take strong climate action and not be scared to be ambitious, and to have science-based policies and science-based targets.

LEVINGSTON: So, that's Tom Webster. Would an Albanese Government show a duty of care to protect young people from climate change when assessing fossil fuel projects?

ALBANESE: Well, we have a very clear policy out there, our Power the Nation Plan will reduce emissions by 43 per cent by 2030. That will mean that 82 per cent of our energy grid is powered by renewables that will create 600,000 new jobs, it will allow the powering of high-value manufacturing, it will result in $52 billion of private sector investment in areas relating to renewables and in the benefit that clean energy can bring.

LEVINGSTON: Okay, let me just jump in there because those numbers get confusing, essentially, Anthony Albanese, those kids don't want any new coal-fired power stations approved. Can you commit to that?

ALBANESE: But the market is saying that coal-fired power stations haven't been approved in a long period of time.

LEVINGSTON: But what they're looking for is for you to commit to it.

ALBANESE: The big farce is, well, the point is they're not going ahead.

LEVINGSTON: Okay. That's alright. I was looking for a short straight answer, not coming yet. Maybe in the next two months' time, Anthony Albanese.

ALBANESE: No, it won't be coming. Because it's not up to Government to stipulate everything that markets should do. What it is up to Government to do, though, is not to subsidse new coal fired-power stations, which is what this Government has done with its $4 million for a feasibility study into a powerplant at Collinsville that will never go ahead.

LEVINGSTON: So, does that mean you will commit to not subsidising the coal-fired power?

ALBANESE: Absolutely. And I won't, and the market is indicating that they simply won't go ahead. And it's absurd that, at the last election, Scott Morrison, at the same time, he was saying electric vehicles would end the weekend, was saying that there would be, or implying, that this station would go ahead with the public paying for the feasibility study for what is a private project, when they know full well that there is no chance of it going ahead.

LEVINGSTON: Anthony Albanese, we only have two minutes before ABC Newsroom barges in. A few quick questions to finish up. Can you either make petrol cheaper or make electric vehicles cheaper?

ALBANESE: We can make electric vehicles cheaper. And we will do so by reducing the taxation that applies to electric vehicles, including the fringe benefits tax. We announced that last year. It's a good policy to make electric vehicles cheaper, which would make an enormous difference. People want to take up the opportunity to save, they're likely to reach price parity in just a few short years. And so, a reduction of taxation will further incentivise that.

LEVINGSTON: The Budget is in two weeks. What's the biggest difference between your economic policy and the Morison Government?

ALBANESE: We have a plan. We have a plan for new industries for Building Back Better through our National Reconstruction Fund of $15 billion. And we have a plan to improve living standards by lifting wages, making child care cheaper. We also have a plan to address the aged care crisis so that people aren't left in the vulnerable situation, which they are at the moment.

LEVINGSTON: There'll be plenty of conversations in the weeks to come, Anthony Albanese. I'd love for you to come into the studio at some point and answer the questions of my listeners, because they are flooding through this morning. Would you commit to that?

ALBANESE: Absolutely. I look forward to it.

LEVINGSTON: Thanks so much. Anthony Albanese in Brisbane today.
 
ENDS

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Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Road
MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Office

PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8562

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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