TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP, THE DOMAIN, SYDNEY
18 OCTOBER 2005
Subjects: Passing of William Allan; Danna Vale’s plan to recreate Anzac Cove; Barry Jones
ALBANESE: I would like to begin by paying respect to William Allan, the last Australian to actually fight in World War One. Mr Allan fought in both World Wars and passed away at age 106 and all Australians will mark this sad day as an important part in our history. Jack Ross, the one remaining WWI veteran, signed up but didn’t actually engage in the conflict.
I am here to talk about Danna Vale’s crazy plan for a replacement ANZAC Cove theme park to be put at Point Nepean. Having asked for the road works which have destroyed the integrity of ANZAC Cove at Gallipoli, Danna Vale is now asking for a theme park at Point Nepean so that we can have re-enactments of the ANZAC conflict.
This is a plan which would be seen as a sick joke were it not serious – were it not from someone who was a Minister in the Howard Government, who requested the road-works that have lead to the changing of the Anzac Cove site forever.
This comes just one week after the Senate Report found, and I quote, that “Australian authorities and the Australian Government were complacent in their response to allegations and evidence that this damage was occurring.”
This provides an insight into the mentality of the Howard Government when it comes to respecting our heritage, respecting what those great Australians did for our country in 1915. It comes from a government that thinks it is appropriate to play Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees as part of the warm up ceremony for the commemoration that occurred for 90th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings this year.
Danna Vale has put forward a proposal that is perhaps more in tune with Las Vegas.
In Las Vegas what they do is they recreate the Venice canals, they recreate the pyramids, but it is an environment that is about entertainment, it is about frivolous entertainment, it is about gambling. It is not about respect that is appropriate for the ANZAC Cove site.
What’s more Danna Vale has chosen a site in Point Nepean which itself is of significant heritage value and environmental sensitivity to make this proposition that it be turned into a theme park.
It is an absurd proposition from a former Government Minister who was part of Government that has no respect for Australian heritage.
JOURNALIST: Do you think that she is trying to atone for the shemozzle that was the road-works?
ALBANESE: Well, perhaps she is but what she has really done is provide an insight into the mentality that could ask for road-works without putting in place any mechanism to monitor the road-works so that the heritage of the site was protected.
JOURNALIST: How do you think the diggers and their families will feel about it?
ALBANESE: Well, the response that has come from diggers today is an immediate rejection of this absurd proposition. We have here in Australia the Australian War Memorial, an appropriate national site to give respect to our diggers. We also have war memorials, ANZAC statues and sites, not just in capital cities but in every regional town, in most suburbs which pay proper respect to the contribution that Australian generations that have come before us have made.
JOURNALIST: From your dealings with Danna Vale over the years, is she a complete idiot?
ALBANESE: Well, the Howard Government made her the Minister for Veterans Affairs. She has been followed by Deane Kelly as Minister for Veterans Affairs who thinks that it appropriate to play Stayin’ Alive during the ANZAC Day commemorations. So, I see this proposition as consistent with a Veterans Affairs Minister who would request road-works without putting in place any protection for the heritage at that site.
I see it as consistent with a new Minster who would play Stayin’ Alive at the commemorations, and it has got to be said that when Labor first raised this issue in question time, about the destruction that was occurring at ANZAC Cove, the Prime Minster’s response was that it was regrettable that the question had even been asked.
The Prime Minster, John Howard, has defended his Ministers consistently throughout this whole sorry saga.
JOURNALIST: Barry Jones, the current federal President of the ALP inaudible] no significant policy debate in the ALP since 1981 [inaudible].
ALBANESE: I think that says more about Barry than it does about anything. Since 1981 we have had 13 years of the Hawke/Keating Government at which we restructured the Australian economy, at which we protected significant environment sites such as the Franklin, Kakadu and Uluru, at which we reformed the welfare-to-work structures. We currently have policies out there on a range of issues, from national security to the need to have a skilled workforce and skill up Australia. We need Australia to go the high wage, high skill road rather than the low road that is put forward by these draconian industrial relations changes put forward by the Government.
JOURNALIST: He says that you are suffering from policy anorexia.
ALBANESE: Well, Barry Jones is entitled to make whatever comments that he likes, but if you look at the range of policy areas across the board. On this area today Labor has been out there arguing for the protection of our heritage. We want to see put in place a protection plan in accordance with the Senate inquiry that was put forward last week. On the area of the environment, the most important, significant issue is climate change. Labor has policies that state that we will ratify the Kyoto Protocol; that we will increase the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target; that we would engage in terms of a reduction in our emissions by establishing a national emissions trading scheme
JOURNALIST: This is the Federal President of the ALP [inaudible].
ALBANESE: Well, if Barry Jones can argue that Labor hasn’t put forward things since 1981 I think he will be judged poorly. The fact is that we have put forward significant policies this year alone and we are putting forward policies that are filling the gaps that the Howard Government has created.
JOURNALIST: What do you think of the description that the Party is being run by factional warlords now?
ALBANESE: Barry was a member of a faction like other people. He was elected as a Minister as a member of a faction. The Liberal Party has factions. What we are seeing at the moment is the Howard faction and the Costello faction fighting it out day by day, on every policy issue, in every debate that is occurring. John Howard and Peter Costello, the backdrop of which, whether it be tax, whether it is the industrial relations changes, it is all about whether Costello has the guts to challenge Howard or not, and what the response should be.
JOURNALIST: Should Barry Jones resign from his position?
ALBANESE: Barry Jones was elected to that position. He is entitled to hold it.
JOURNALIST: So, he is entitled to hold that job and hold the views that he holds?
ALBANESE: The Labor Party is a democratic party.
JOURNALIST: But you have no problem with him staying as Federal President and holding those views?
ALBANESE: The Labor Party is a democratic party.
JOURNALIST: He says it is not. He says it is run by factional warlords like yourself.
ALBANESE: That is interesting given that he is the National President democratically elected by the Party, who came second in the ballot which all ALP members had a vote in, to Carmen Lawrence.
ALBANESE: [inaudible] The real issue is Labor advancing our positive agenda and the Howard/Costello Government being in a state of internal warfare.