SUBJECTS: Return to Parliament
MARIUS BENSON: Anthony Albanese, 31 weeks to the election, I think there are nine sitting weeks scheduled in that time. What significant new legislation will the Government be introducing?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, we of course will be dealing with the legislation relating to Gonski, the legislation relating to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, both of those are critical pieces of legislation. They’ve been introduced before the Parliament, but the debate hasn’t commenced on them yet.
But, of course, across the political spectrum of portfolios, there’ll be legislation introduced. Six or seven bills tomorrow are introduced into the House of Representatives.
MARIUS BENSON: Is there anything as eye catching as – the bills that you mentioned are already introduced, NDIS and Gonski.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, I’m not here to announce Cabinet decisions on your program Marius, but there will be legislation over the next nine weeks of significance right across the portfolios.
MARIUS BENSON: The Prime Minister yesterday was addressing the troops, and one of the things she did was to make an appeal for unity and an appeal for members to stop leaking to the press, stop expressing grievances to the press, and that was promptly leaked to the press, is that a bad thing?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: It is a normal process that there’s a briefing out of caucus meetings by the caucus spokesperson, and it is normal process that the Prime Minister’s comments would be reported to the press.
MARIUS BENSON: But it’s clearly not a happy party if the Prime Minister has to ask people not to express their grievances to journalists, a losing part is not a happy party.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: It is the case that throughout the entire time I’ve been a member of the caucus there’s been, from time to time, leaders repeating the message, just as it’s repeated in the Coalition party room, that unity is very important for the interests of the Australian Labor Party.
MARIUS BENSON: How disunited is the party on the issue of leadership? Mark Kenny in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age today, reporting there are 45 potential Rudd backers.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, it was resolved in February last year, and not only was it resolved in a way that was clear cut, Mr Rudd has made it very clear that there will be no further challenge.
MARIUS BENSON: Is Kevin Rudd acting as a team player now? Because it was noticeable yesterday when caucus met, caucus is meant to be all Members of Parliament, he was tweeting from Queensland pictures of himself playing with his granddaughter.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think it is understandable that when you have a new granddaughter, who is living overseas, and he wouldn’t be the first grandfather to be a doting one that he wants to spend time with his family. Today a number of members – I know I’ve been asked to provide pairs to assist with the process, have asked for pairs to be given to Coalition members so that they can be with their kids at school. That’s a good thing. We are human beings, politicians, and such moments are very important.
MARIUS BENSON: Anthony Albanese, thank you very much.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks Marius.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.