Transcript of AM – Focus turns to upcoming federal election
Sunday, 25 March 2007, 08:25:00
Reporter: Chris Uhlmann
TONY EASTLEY: With New South Wales out of the way, all eyes now turn to the federal election, expected to be called late this year.
So, what does this result portend for the national poll? Labor campaigned hard against the Howard Government’s workplace relations laws and says this result is a slap in the face for the Prime Minister.
The Coalition’s key message out of New South Wales is that the Federal Government is now the only thing standing between voters and Labor domination.
Chief Political Correspondent Chris Uhlmann has been testing the federal reaction to the poll, with Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, and Labor Infrastructure and Water Spokesman, Labor’s Anthony Albanese.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Anthony Albanese – roads, rail, health, water. Is there any aspect of state governance that the Labor Party hasn’t failed at over the last 12 years?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, the voters sent a message which is they want better services, but they also sent a message which is that only Morris Iemma and Labor can deliver that and they rejected the, what is now, an extreme right-wing division of the Liberal Party in John Howard’s home base.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Don’t the people of New South Wales have a right to expect better government after 12 years of the Labor Party?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: This is an extraordinary result where after 12 years, the Liberal Party, it would appear, have failed to win a single seat off the Labor Government.
CHRIS UHLMANN: How big a role do you believe that the campaign that the New South Wales Labor Party waged against the federal workplace laws played in this campaign?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: People out there know that the WorkChoices legislation has resulted in a change in the balance of power in the workplace, a change away from ordinary workers towards employers.
And they want that balance reset and WorkChoices was a major issue. Australian people don’t want extremist policies and what we have from the Howard Government is an extreme right-wing WorkChoices agenda.
They have an extreme right-wing parliamentary party in New South Wales and their organisational wing is pathetic, is perhaps the best thing that you can say about the Peter Debnam campaign.
CHRIS UHLMANN: But surely, the major lesson out of this federally is that you can’t win government unless you meet the minimum standard of running an opposition?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: That’s why Labor is not just holding the Government to account in Canberra, we’re putting forward our positive agenda, our positive agenda to restore fairness in the workplace, our positive agenda on broadband, our positive agenda to tackle climate change and the water crisis.
Labor federally is putting forward a positive agenda whilst holding the Government to account.
TONY EASTLEY: Labor’s Anthony Albanese.