Subjects; Coalition Government in chaos, NEG.
JOURNALIST: What do you make of what is happening within the Government?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: This is not a government. This is a rabble. And the problem is that that creates a problem for the nation. We’ve had now five years of energy uncertainty. We’ve had as a result of that, higher energy prices because this Government can’t get its act together. They’ve come up with a whole myriad of plans. They had the Emissions Intensity Scheme, then they had the Clean Energy Target, which the Chief Scientist recommended, then they’ve had various iterations of the national energy guarantee. And what we’ve had there is a government that is simply incapable of having its act together. They’re a government that’s at war with itself and they’re governing to survive to the end of the day, rather than governing in the national interest.
JOURNALIST: Has Labor deliberately stalled negotiations on the NEG to watch the Government implode?
ALBANESE: The Labor Party has been constructive. The Government stood up yesterday through Malcolm Turnbull, on the floor of the chamber of the House of Representatives, and conceded that he wasn’t worried that Labor might oppose it – he was worried that Labor might support it.
And he said, himself, he wouldn’t bring it forward unless he could guarantee that there was a majority of Government members, that is, every single one of them, would vote for the NEG. What that means is that there is a veto over the NEG from any single member. We know that Tony Abbott is completely out of control and isn’t concerned with anything except for vengeance.
JOURNALIST: Labor could end that uncertainty by coming forward and saying yes we will support the NEG?
ALBANESE: We haven’t seen the legislation and Malcolm Turnbull has made it clear that he’s not interested in Labor’s support. What he’s interested in is whether he has 76 votes on his side to support the NEG.
JOURNALIST: A little while ago it seemed the Labor Party was heading in this direction too. There was speculation that you would make a tilt at the leadership of the Labor Party. What’s it like to watch this happen?
ALBANESE: Well if you compare with the way that I conduct myself, and the way that we in the Labor Party conduct ourselves, we have always been interested, including at a time when various journalists were speculating, what we were concerned about is the national interest and getting out there and campaigning. And as I said we would, win those by-elections, as I made clear that that was my view that we would. I campaigned very strongly with the entire rest of the Labor team to ensure that we did.
JOURNALIST: Has Labor done any polling on whether Peter Dutton would be a popular leader?
ALBANESE: I’ve met Peter Dutton. I talk to people in the street.
JOURNALIST: What are they saying?
ALBANESE: I think that if you go out there and do a vox pop, I reckon if Peter Dutton stood we would be a real chance of winning seats that we’ve never dreamed of winning on the north shore of Sydney and in the suburbs of Melbourne. And, indeed, I think right around the country, Peter Dutton is a divisive character. And you’ve got to look at what happens in terms of how people rise. I think here we have a very small rump of people who are causing this chaos. We can name them: Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Craig Kelly. They’re there in the Sky News studio, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, causing chaos. A majority of the Coalition want to get on with the business of being in government. But a small group behaving badly are wrecking the Government, which is a problem for the Coalition, but it is a disaster for the nation.