Transcript of doorstop interview – Parliament House, Canberra
Monday, 18 June 2007
E & OE – PROOF ONLY
Subject: Extremists in the Liberal Party; Polls
ALBANESE: The preselection of an extremist in the safest Liberal seat in NSW shows just how far to the right the Liberal Party has come under John Howard.
In 1996 the Prime Minister intervened to change the preselection results in five NSW seats – Parramatta, Macquarie, Macarthur, Gilmore and Paterson. Last year he intervened over the preselection of the extremist Ken Aldred in the seat of Holt in Victoria. He intervened to save the man who wants to save the world with a giant shade cloth in outer space to avoid climate change, the Member for Tangney Dennis Jensen.
The Prime Minster has sat back and watched this extreme protégé of David Clark, a divisive figure in the Liberal Party, the person who John Brogden regards as being responsible for his demise as leader of the NSW Liberal Party, be preselected for this safe seat. Branch stacking has of course occurred before from time to time. It hasn’t occurred across the State in a way in which Mr Hawke and others have been responsible.
If you look through Mr Hawke’s career, whether it be the violent episodes around Punchbowl and the formation of a Liberal Party Branch there, whether it be Mr Brogden’s demise, whether it be the activity of the Young Liberal’s in denying global warming exists and adopting extreme right wing policies. It certainly isn’t the case that Alex Hawke in any way represents the views of mainstream Australian families.
REPORTER: What about Kevin Harkins preselection for Labor in Franklin, isn’t he just an extremist at the other end of the spectrum?
ALBANESE: No, Kevin Harkins is actually a community activist in the electorate of Franklin. He’s involved with local sporting associations, he’s a member of a trade union and his views are very much in touch with mainstream families in that electorate. I believe he is a very good candidate.
REPORTER: What about Doug Cameron, he’s been critical of your IR policy, critical of property investment schemes, negative gearing, etc. Does that reflect on Kevin Rudd?
ALBANESE: The idea that people rule themselves out as candidates because they are members of trade unions is of course absurd.
You don’t have to take my word for it, go and ask John Brogden what his thinking and what his supporters think of the election of Alex Hawke. If you think it’s just Labor Party members complaining about this have a look at yesterday’s papers, where Liberal Party members people of standing such as John Brogden and Nick Griener have made their views clear. Nick Greiner is a decent Australian who, whilst I disagree with some of his political views, there’s no doubt that he fits within the mainstream of Australian politics.
There’s no doubt that Alex Hawke doesn’t, and the tactics he has employed, the determination to destroy the lives of individuals in his own party is extraordinary. It’s little wonder that John Howard is under pressure from within his own party to act on this issue.
REPORTER: What message do you take out of the opinion polls?
ALBANESE: Well I think the opinion polls quite clearly show that we expect the election to be very tight.
REPORTER: You’re still well ahead?
ALBANESE: We are well ahead at this stage in the cycle. That’s because I think that on the future issues of climate change, broadband, education and skills crisis, dealing with our water and infrastructure issues. On all these issues Labor has an agenda and I think the Liberal Party under John Howard are increasingly out of ideas, out of touch and out of time.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.