Subjects: Local business, AFP raids, NBN
GEOFF RICHARDSON: Thank you Anthony for coming today to do the honours. Twenty-seven years ago when we thought of the idea of getting involved in the organic industry and starting to grow and supplying customers, it wasn’t about a business as such, it was about getting involved in something we passionately believed in. And 27 years later here we are selling organic fruit and veggies – minus the pesticides. What you see is what you get. No invisible layer that comes back to bite you later and, on a personal note, that’s what we like about you. What you see is what you get – Albo is always Albo. And that’s why we’re so pleased to have you here today doing the honours.
ALBANESE: Thanks very much Geoff for giving us the honour of doing the official opening here of the new premises of Doorstep Organics. This is a fantastic local business, here in the industrial heartland of Marrickville, employing 40 people as a result of the growth in this sector. The business here is growing; they tell me by 40 per cent a year. That’s extraordinary growth. They’re using new technology, through the Internet, with people ordering online, getting their fresh organic fruit and vegetables, meat and other products to their door delivered on the very same day – a fantastic innovative business. It’s a great example of small business, and it’s a great example of a family run business, with now the second generation coming along as a part of this local business. It’s good for jobs; it’s good for our local economy. It’s also good for the health of the people who are ordering through Doorstep Organics because of the quality of the product.
There’s a lot of concern out there in the community, I believe, about the Big Two controlling retail and, particularly, controlling supermarkets. I think there is a big movement towards independent and buying directly off people such as Doorstep Organics and their growth is an example of that. So I was very pleased to accept the invitation to do the official opening here today and to get a look at this important small business – a dynamic family based company, but one which also has a family feel about it. Talking to the workers here this morning, very clearly they regard it not as a chore coming to work. They regard it as a joy coming to work because of the nature of that work, and the fact that they can relate to this small business and feel that they’re a part of what’s a community here in terms of the workforce. Thank you very much to you and to Carolyn and to everyone here for the invite. And it’s now declared officially open.
REPORTER: Mr Albanese, I might just ask some questions – just on the AFP raids, does the Labor Party think there was any political interference in the raids?
ALBANESE: Well, what you’ve got to look at is whether a proper explanation has been given and to this point it hasn’t. We know that there have been leaks from the National Security Committee. We know there have been leaks from Cabinet, including the night before the Budget; Laurie Oakes on Channel 9 carried a serious leak of the Budget papers that was then backed in by Minister after Minister all throughout Budget day. Now that’s a breach of the Cabinet – that’s a very serious breach. Where was the proper investigation of those breaches, let alone the quite extraordinary breaches of leaks from the National Security Committee? I’ve had the honour and privilege of serving as a member of the National Security Committee. I know how seriously the NSC takes security issues. Whilst I was on that committee there were no leaks whatsoever. So it is of some concern – the Government of course in terms of the NBN and what it would appear that these documents that caused the raid by the AFP – an extraordinary raid on a staff member’s house that I’m advised took all night. That’s a pretty serious issue for that individual and his family. It would have been quite distressing for him and it appears to be quite an extraordinary occurrence during an election campaign.
Of course I was the Communications Minister before Malcolm Turnbull in charge of the National Broadband Network and what I know is that Malcolm Turnbull replaced the Board of the NBN; he replaced the Senior Executives at the National Broadband Network with handpicked people. So the idea that Malcolm Turnbull has nothing to do with this – he needs to explain what discussions he had with the National Broadband Network as well as what advice he received from the AFP. It clearly is in the public interest, for it to be known the fact that the NBN rollout has been delayed significantly from what Malcolm Turnbull as the Minister has said was happening. It also is the case that Malcolm Turnbull as the Shadow Minister for Communications received a range of leaks from the NBN board while he was the Shadow Minister. That didn’t result in raids on people’s homes, raids on Members of Parliament’s offices as a result. Even though if you go back and examine before 2013 the lead up to that Federal Election, the amount of information that Malcolm Turnbull was out there with which came from within the NBN. So these are quite extraordinary circumstances. It’s an intervention into an election campaign, which not surprisingly has been seen as a political act.
REPORTER: And so I guess with that timing, why do you think they’ve occurred now? Are you making a direct link there?
ALBANESE: Well, it’s up for the AFP and Malcolm Turnbull to explain the timing of this. At any time it would be quite extraordinary for a Member of Parliament to have their office searched and to have warrants issued into a staff member’s home – quite extraordinary for that to occur. The fact that it’s occurred during an election campaign where frankly the Government doesn’t have a narrative, isn’t putting forward a sense of purpose or a reason for it to be re-elected to office, where Malcolm Turnbull has struggled. I was in Perth earlier this week where Malcolm Turnbull flew across the country to have a 15-minute press conversation with a few journalists and didn’t meet anyone else before he flew out. Quite clearly this is a campaign that’s off the rails. This is a distraction in terms of the campaign and that’s why it requires a full explanation of why this extraordinary raid has happened overnight.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.