Transcript of doorstop interview – Parliament House, Canberra
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
E & OE – PROOF ONLY
Subject: Liberal Party fundraiser at Kirribilli House; Union marginal seat campaigns
ALBANESE: It’s a great privilege for the Prime Minister to live in the Lodge in Canberra. One could say that it’s extending that privilege for the Prime Minister to want to live in the Lodge in Canberra and in Kirribilli House. It certainly is abusing that privilege however, to use Kirribilli House for a Liberal Party Fundraiser. It’s quite clear that this was a Liberal Party Fundraiser, that’s why $5,100 is being repaid for the function.
$5,100 is an extraordinarily inadequate amount of money to pay for a function with the greatest view of Sydney Harbour with prawns and oysters, fine wine and the service that was present at that function for the 225 guests. The Prime Minster responded yesterday in Parliament by saying “I know that the Labor Party find the amount involved rather low but perhaps their lifestyle is a little more extravagant than mine.”
What that shows is that the Prime Minster is so out of touch after 11 long years in office. He’s out of touch with those Sydney families who, as we speak will be trying to organise venues to hold their sons and daughters 21st birthdays. He’s out of touch with people trying to organise a wedding in Sydney and with the costs that are involved in that.
The total of $5,100 when broken down by the Prime Minster in Parliament yesterday indicates a total drinks bill of $1, 476 or just $6.56 per head at the function. Now I doubt that these guests who paid $8,250 per head for the privilege were drinking cask wine at this function. The food bill was $2,128 or $9.46 per head. We know they weren’t eating party pies at this function; they were eating oysters, prawns and drinking fine wine.
This is an absolutely extraordinary abuse of taxpayers funds. The Prime Minister has also said that his regular staff at Kirribilli who worked at the event shouldn’t have to be paid for by the Liberal Party. Is the Prime Minster saying that the staff at Kirribilli, are there to serve at a Liberal Party Fundraiser?
This an absolute abuse from a Government that’s out of touch with working Australian families.
REPORTER: What is your view of the union campaign and calling around the nation to marginal electorates?
ALBANESE: I think unions, just like businesses, have a right to run their own campaigns and they’ll do so.
REPORTER: Does this just reinforce the Government’s view that Labor and the Unions are attached at the hip?
ALBANESE: What’s clear is that unions aren’t using taxpayers funds to run their campaign. They’ll run their campaign, and employers and business groups will make their own decisions as well. They’ll make those decisions and they’ll run whatever campaigns they see fit.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.