SUBJECTS: Shadow Ministry; climate change policy; tax cuts.
JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, will you accept Mr Shorten in Shadow Cabinet or should he be in the outer ministry?
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION ELECT: Well, that will be a matter for me and caucus processes will take place. Bill Shorten will be respected as a former leader of the Australian Labor Party and I will treat him with appropriate respect.
Can I say there’s some good news this morning for the Labor Party for people who are cheering Susan Templeman on in Macquarie. As people would be aware, she was behind on election night. She has now pulled ahead by 196 votes on the latest count. That’s very promising for Susan. Susan Templeman is someone who is a valued member of the Labor Caucus. She’s someone who ran not once, not twice, but three times before she got elected. She’s a fantastic advocate for the people of the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury and I very much hope that she’s able to join the caucus in coming days. Of course the caucus will meet tomorrow morning at noon to elect the frontbench. I’m making clear my views to caucus colleagues while respecting those processes. I expect to have a team that is much better, much better than the team on the other side.
Scott Morrison obviously has struggled to put together a team for his frontbench given all the resignations and people who’ve left the Parliament, and others who’ve been offered jobs to get them out of the Parliament by Scott Morrison in his first press conference. But I have no doubt that the team that we assemble will be balanced.
I’ve made it very clear as well that I expect balance in terms of gender, in terms of state representation and I expect that it will be good team who will hold the Government to account.
JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, what’s going to be your message to the caucus tomorrow – what do you clearly want them to do?
ALBANESE: My message to the caucus is that we are disappointed, but we’re determined going forward. The thing about the Labor Party is we’re resilient. We’ve been around since 1891. We have, I think the values that auger well, and fit with the Australian ethos of a fair go. We don’t want to abandon those values. What we do want to do is to have a proper assessment of the policies that we took forward.
I intend to convene a meeting of the Shadow Ministry next week. I’ll be announcing our portfolios on either Sunday or Monday of next week. And I intend to be consultative as a leader. I intend to talk issues through, as I have. I’ve made a number of my views very clear to the caucus. For example Kristina Keneally will be a part of my team as far as I’m concerned. I’ve made that clear and I’ll continue to talk…
JOURNALIST: (Inaudible questions)
ALBANESE: He’s first, because he’s been more polite and not yelling.
JOURNALIST: Have you spoken to the Victorian Right about Bill Shorten’s future and if this is about renewal doesn’t Bill Shorten need to sit in the back?
ALBANESE: Look, what I’m talking to people about is respectfully my views. I’m taking into account their views too. I’ve been elected Leader of the Labor Party. We’re a team. We’re not one person and I will be consultative. I respect party processes. We’ve had a process to elect the party Leader. That’s separate from our other processes but the caucus is supreme and I’m talking to caucus members – not with hats on – I’m talking to them about the Labor interests, not any factional interests, not any state interest – the Labor interests. Because what I want is after the next election when I first visit Parliament House, to drive up through another entrance – the ministerial wing – and we can only achieve that if we have the best team, if we’re united, if we’re coherent in the views that we put forward and I’m very confident that we can do just that.
JOURNALIST: Do you accept that the Coalition has a mandate for its full income tax cuts, its climate policies, the other policies that it took to the election until the election.
ALBANESE: Can you tell me what the climate policies are?
JOURNALIST: Its position on climate, its target, do you not accept they have a mandate that the Australian people voted for?
ALBANESE: It does not – they don’t have – you’ve been an observer here and so is everyone else and the truth is that they had 14 policies on energy and climate change and they adopted none of them. The truth is that they themselves have repudiated it, they’re all over the shop.We’ll wait and see what they come up with. I’m not aware of what their policy on climate change and energy is because it changes every day.
JOURNALIST: (Inaudible question)
ALBANESE: Well on tax, I see no reason why on tax they can’t recall the Parliament. It’ll take an hour. We’ll vote for the tax cuts that come in on July 1. We’ll consider the other measures but can I say this, that it really is a triumph of hope over economic analysis to suggest that we know now what the economy will look like in the mid 2020.
JOURNALIST: What about the big stick energy policy, would Labor support that?
ALBANESE: That’s a slogan, not a policy.
JOURNALIST: How should Kristina Keneally be – how should Kristina Keneally…
JOURNALIST: Will you vote against it?
ALBANESE: Of all of the matters on policy – look, I’ve said very clearly we’re going to hasten slowly. The first thing is to recognise that we’re in Opposition. I’ve said that. The media need to recognise that as well –
JOURNALIST: So you’ll consider voting in favour of it?
ALBANESE: …and stop pretending, and stop pretending that we are the government. We’re not. We were defeated on May 18 – we will have less seats in this Parliament than we had in the one before. We need to recognise that. We need to regroup. We need to have sober and considered analysis…
JOURNALIST: The one thing you’ve got going for you is time.
ALBANESE: …of all of the policies. And in terms of time, the next election isn’t next month, it’s not even this year, it’s not even next year. The next election is 2022.
JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese when you say Kristina Keneally will be a part of your team, would you like to see her as the Deputy Senate Leader?
ALBANESE: Look, Kristina Keneally is a valued contributor to the cause. She is someone who is the first woman Premier of NSW. She’s a very effective Senator and I’ve made it very clear that in my view she is certainly worthy of a Shadow Ministry position. With regard to all the other issues, we’ll just talk those issues through, but I’ve made it very clear and I make that comment because I’ve seen reports, erroneous reports that somehow she would be excluded from the position. What I’m saying is, that I’m making it very clear as the Leader of the Labor Party that I want the best team, the best team includes Kristina Keneally. Thanks very much.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.