Subjects: Geebung Park and Ride, High Speed Rail, Andrew Broad, Government dysfunction, environment, Angus Taylor, gender balance, Craig Kelly.
ANIKA WELLS: Welcome to the electorate of Lilley. I am so pleased to have Anthony Albanese here with me today to announce another part of Labor’s National Park and Ride Fund. I love Labor’s National Park and Ride Fund and I will tell you why. I have door-knocked or phone called more than 15,000 people now in the electorate of Lilley since I was pre-selected earlier this year, and when you ask people generally what they want to see from politics or what would actually help them on a day-to-day basis, what they say is they want more time. Everybody is feeling more and more busy. Everybody feels they have less and less time to do both the essential things that they need to get done and also to spend some time with their loved ones. And so what this fund actually does is give some time back. Because the last thing you want is having to trawl side streets two times a day every work day to get a park to be doing the right thing – to be taking public transport to find your way in and out of work. So what our Park and Ride Fund does is give money to extend our Park and Ride services and in Lilley this is the second one we are doing now. Our first one was $7 million for the Northgate Park and Ride, which is a magnificent announcement that has gone down very, very well here.
And today we are announcing Geebung, which is where we are, and we are announcing that we are giving $4 million to expand Park and Ride here. At the moment there are between 30 and 35 parks here at the Geebung Park and Ride. The State Labor Government announced in November that they would expand the services here to include 70 more parks and today Federal Labor is coming to the party with another $4 million so we can expand those parks even more and we can double our capacity again. So I am really pleased to be here. I am really pleased that Albo understands what people want here in Lilley and what is actually going to make our lives easier on a day-to-day basis and I think it draws a very sharp contrast between us, who are looking into those things, who are concerned about these things and are trying to make tangible differences for the people of our community, and the other side who are focused on themselves, who are fighting amongst themselves and really have nothing to say for us or our community’s future. So with that I will hand you over to Albo.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: It is terrific to be here once again with Anika Wells for what is a very exciting announcement. It’s good to be back at a railway station here in Brisbane, here in Geebung, for this announcement which would see a doubling of the increase that the State Government have already said they would commit to earlier this year. The provision of an additional 70 parking space from our Park and Ride Fund is just the latest announcement. It follows announcements at Northgate, at Narangba and at Mango Hill here in Brisbane because what we want is to support public transport.
Now there are two ways you can do it. Firstly you’ve got to invest in the infrastructure and Federal Labor will put back the funds that were ripped out by the Abbott Government and that cut maintained through Malcolm Turnbull and through Scott Morrison to Brisbane’s Cross River Rail Project. This was identified way back in 2012 as the number one infrastructure project for our nation and yet the Federal Government has failed to provide a single dollar for that project. What Federal Labor will do is partner with the Queensland Labor Government to deliver the Cross River Rail Project. But we will also increase the accessibility to these railways stations, particularly on the Northside of Brisbane. This comes from the feedback to our candidates like Anika Wells campaigning here to replace Wayne Swan as the member for Lilley and other candidates up and down this rail corridor.
Public transport is the key to dealing with urban congestion. Federal Labor has a plan for public transport. It is a plan that is about infrastructure, but it is also about increasing Park and Ride facilities, which is why we created the $300 million fund which, when matched with state and territory governments, will produce well over half a billion dollars of additional infrastructure to improve the accessibility for commuters who want to use public transport. Happy to take questions.
REPORTER: On another subject …
ALBANESE: Have we got any on this? Or do you all believe that it is a great project?
REPORTER: I’m not sure we do.
ALBANESE: Away you go.
REPORTER: On another subject, there has been a submission put to the Federal Government from a Los Angeles-based company about another Hyperloop proposal. Do you support that?
ALBANESE: Well the Hyperloop is hypothetical of course at this stage. What I support is proven technology. We have proven technology available for High Speed Rail here in Australia, particularly down the east coast, from Brisbane through Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. What that will do is reduce the commute time to under three hours between Sydney and Brisbane. Now I flew up from Sydney to Brisbane this morning. It took me more than three hours door-to-door even though I live virtually under the runway at Kingsford Smith Airport. The fact is High Speed Rail is competitive. My view is that we need to advance that project, which is why I have a Private Member’s Bill to advance that priority
REPORTER: A Hyperloop would cut that down by a third. You are looking at an hour or so to get to Sydney, nine minutes to the Gold Coast. (inaudible).
ALBANESE: Well we want to see it operating anywhere in the world and at the moment it is a hypothetical technology. Certainly new technologies can be very exciting. But they need to be proven. Early in January I will be travelling to the United States, to San Francisco and Seattle, looking at some of the new technologies in transport that are available that have been developed on the West Coast of the United States. So I look forward to receiving briefings while I am there in the United States during January, but we need to be cognisant of the fact that technologies are available right now that would reduce times for travel not just between Sydney and Brisbane, but importantly from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and to regional areas like Lismore and really open up that regional economic development along that corridor which would take pressure off our capital cities.
REPORTER: Why do the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister need to say what they knew about the Andrew Broad scandal and when they knew about it?
ALBANESE: Well the problem here of course is that every day there appears to be contradictory stories from the day before about what the Prime Minister’s office knew, what the Deputy Prime Minister’s office knew. Today we have revelations that the Prime Minister’s office was aware of the Andrew Broad issues a fortnight before apparently, they say, they bothered to tell the Prime Minister. Now this goes to dysfunction in the Government.
Now Andrew Broad’s personal issues I have no comment on, but what I do have comment on is the fact that this Government is dysfunctional. This Government is too concerned about itself, about its internal issues, to be concerned about the needs of the Australian people. Here I am today with Anika Wells announcing a really practical project that will make a difference to people’s lives in the electorate of Lilley. That is what we are doing. The Government has stopped governing some time ago and they are behaving more like an Opposition in exile on the Government benches. It seems they would be more comfortable with being in Opposition, and I think frankly that the sooner they call the election the better because the Australian people want a say in who their Prime Minister is because at the moment of course Scott Morrison is an unelected Prime Minister and it appears from today even his own office don’t tell him what is going in the Government.
REPORTER: On that scandal, what do you think that matter is of public interest and what do you think has happened?
ALBANESE: I make no comment about what happened because I don’t know. What I do think should occur through is that the Government should just put it all out here about who knew what and when they were informed of it. And I think frankly the Australian public could have done without ever knowing what the term “Sugar Babies’’ meant and I think they would much prefer to go back to watching the cricket and being engaged in their summer holidays. But what they continue to get is issues – and you have raised it with me today so I would suggest that you are interested in it – so we need to, I think, just be clear and clear this issue up once and for all.
REPORTER: Do you believe that the Prime Minister’s staff would have known about it without alerting the Prime Minister?
ALBANESE: Well it’s a long stretch to say that that is the case. Certainly my office wouldn’t have behaved that way when I was a minister because something that is clearly of interest – even when I was the Government Leader of the House of Representatives, I would have thought that I would have been informed of these issues, given that they had been referred to the Australian Federal Police. But that is a matter for Mr Morrison to explain the internal workings of his office. But really I think it comes down to the fact that this Government is so divided and dysfunctional they are incapable of just carrying out normal activity on a day-to-day basis.
REPORTER: Mr Albanese, the seats of Brisbane and Ryan were recently added to a Labor watch list for next year’s election. How confident are you of a strong election campaign here in South East Queensland next year?
ALBANESE: What we are doing is campaigning for every vote in every seat in the country. And Queensland is always important when it comes to Federal elections. I am a regular visitor here in Queensland, whether it be South East Queensland or up and down the Queensland coast or indeed into Western Queensland. Obviously Brisbane historically was held by Arch Bevis as a very good Member for a long period of time and Ryan of course was won famously by Labor in a by-election.
What is very clear as I travel around this great city of Brisbane and South East Queensland is that people are very frustrated. They are frustrated because they have a Government that is more concerned about their internal issues – about bickering and fighting and who is arguing with who than they are about concerns of people here in Brisbane. This is a city under pressure with the growth. That is why they want practical answers. They want funding for the Cross River Rail project. They want funding for commuter carparks. They want funding for their kids’ schools to be done properly. They want their youngsters to be able to have access to early childhood education at ages three and four. They want proper health care with Medicare at the centre of the health system. They want all of those things. They want a Government that is concerned about improving their day-to-day lives and at the moment they haven’t got that and that is why Labor is campaigning in every seat right around the state of Queensland but indeed right around the country.
REPORTER: There is a split though between the South East and central and northern Queensland over things like Adani and other mining projects. Is that going to be difficult for Labor to balance?
ALBANESE: Well Labor is only talking about the issues that people are concerned about, whether it be infrastructure, education, health or the environment. And we continue to put our case. We have just had a very successful ALP National conference whereby what we were concerned about was what a future Labor Government, if we are successful in receiving the confidence of the Australian people at an election, would be able to put forward. We have put forward a comprehensive policy plan for government and that contrasts I think very markedly with a Government with all the bureaucracy and assistance they have, with the overwhelming advantage of staff and advice that they have, who don’t seem to have a plan for anything. When you ask a Government minister a question, the response usually begins with: “Well what Labor are going to do …’’. I find it quite remarkable that two terms into office they simply have run out of puff. After two terms, three prime ministers, three deputy prime ministers, nine infrastructure spokespeople, they don’t know what they are doing and I think the Australian people are increasingly coming to realise that.
REPORTER: But back to the question, how do you balance Adani and the Galilee Basin and the needs of those communities with the environmental concerns of the South East?
ALBANESE: What we do is put out comprehensive policy plans and we do that. We have a plan to deal with climate change. We have a plan that is not about picking winners and losers. It is a comprehensive plan to deliver the sort of changes that we need to reduce our emissions, to actually meet our Paris targets. This Government has gone out there and said that they are on track to meet their targets. We know from their own reports that they dumped out on the eve of Christmas that that simply isn’t true; that they are going to miss it by a very long way. It’s just another example of a Government that simply isn’t up to the job.
And when it comes to Angus Taylor, I mean, he was a failure as the cities spokesperson when I shadowed him. People would go along to conferences and they would hear him speak about value capture and all this voodoo economics – a project could be built for free – and after a while they came to realise that there was no substance there. Now that was a problem when he was in charge of cities. But it is a disaster when he is in charge of energy. This Government has no energy policy and they are nearing the end of their second term. It is quite remarkable.
WELLS: Lilley shares a border with the seat of Brisbane and we have doorknocked all along that border now and I can tell you when it comes to talking with people on the doors and at mobile offices, they are interested in the environment. But what they want to know is which major party has that as a priority and which party has a plan to save the environment, to do more for the environment, to do more for our energy policy and to make things more efficient. And they are so far very pleased with the emphasis that Labor has placed on that to date, whereas by comparison the Prime Minister and the local LNP have nothing to say on that subject.
And the other point I wanted to pick up about the seats of Brisbane and Ryan from earlier on is Ryan is yet another example of where the LNP have knocked off a sitting woman MP to put in another bloke, whereas here on the Northside for Labor we are running four women across four our seats. I am here in Lilley, Corinne Mulholland is in Petrie, Ali France is in Dickson and Susuan Lamb is the current sitting MP for Longman. We are running four women in a diamond of four seats, whereas just next door in Ryan yet another woman, Jane Prentice, is being knocked off for the LNP to put in another bloke.
ALBANESE: And they saved Craig Kelly it might be noted and did nothing, did not lift a finger, to save Jane Prentice. And when you look at the contribution that Jane Prentice has made, my view is she should be sitting on the frontbench of the Coalition. She is someone who does know something about cities and urban policy. Craig Kelly only knows about going on Sky late at night, during the day. Whenever you turn it on, there he is spouting his rubbish on behalf of Tony Abbott and the people who have wrecked the Liberal Party from within. And he was rewarded for that wrecking and rewarded for saying he would be sitting on the crossbenches by being rescued.
I was asked before about the South China Sea. Can I say that when it comes to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the International Treaty on the Law of the Sea applies. It allows for freedom of navigation and that is important. But it is also important that we recognise that the United States has an important role to play in our region but also that Australia stands prepared to work with our regional partners and that we encourage a cooperative relationship between the big two superpowers in the United States and China. That is in Australia’s interests. It’s in the globe’s interests as well. Thank you very much.