Jun 27, 2013

Transcript of interview with Samantha Armytage and David Koch – Seven Sunrise

Subjects: Leadership; Election date; Federal Labor’s positive agenda

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Welcome to Sunrise.

DAVID KOCH: Now, do we call you Deputy Prime Minister-elect or deputy PM…

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I get called lots of things, David.  I’ll settle for Anthony.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Well, the Prime Minister-elect last night calling you Albo, he’s – are we seeing the same Kevin Rudd, or has the last three years changed Kevin Rudd as a leader?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think there’s no doubt that when you go through an experience like Kevin Rudd did it’s got to change you.  You learn lessons from it.  I learn something every day.

DAVID KOCH: What have you noticed in him, though?  Because you’ve always been a great mate of his…

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I have.

DAVID KOCH: So how has he changed, in your eyes?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I don’t think you can go through what he went through without it being a pretty humbling experience, without learning lessons, as we do in life every day.  And he certainly is, in terms of the approach, for example, he’s making sure proper processes are in place.  We’ve got discussions last night late into the evening, briefing from departments.  I think that Kevin also has had an opportunity to engage with pundits out there in the community.  He’s been out there talking.

When you’re a Cabinet minister it can be pretty busy, and it can be a different experience.  I spent last Friday morning, which was even colder than it is here, on Summer Hill and Ashfield stations.  Those sorts of activities I love.  I love doing it, but it’s hard when you’ve got the diaries that we have.  Kevin’s had that opportunity to really engage with the community.

DAVID KOCH: When did you know Bill Shorten was going to get in behind you?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: When I saw him on the TV.

DAVID KOCH: He didn’t contact you or Kevin before then, a deal wasn’t done?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, when I saw him on the TV, and he indicated that he told the Prime Minister first, which is entirely appropriate.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: What was the mood in that room last night?  The words bittersweet revenge is being thrown around today.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: By no one who was in the room.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Okay, describe it to us.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, it was a difficult meeting.  These experiences – we spend a lot of time with each other.  You know, I spend more time with this bloke and other members of the Cabinet than you do with your family.  It’s very difficult, and this was a difficult experience.  People knew that it had to come to a head.  The Prime Minister brought it to a head last night.  Prime Minister Gillard yesterday afternoon and Kevin both announced in their statements yesterday afternoon that they would leave politics.  That, I think, was a positive announcement.  It made it clear to everyone that this is it, line under the sand, we will unite behind whoever’s successful in the ballot, and Kevin Rudd was successful and the party will now unite behind his leadership.

DAVID KOCH: Okay, have there been any assurances given to Kevin Rudd by the powerbrokers, by the Bill Shortens of the world that if he gets up at this next election that he’ll see out a full term?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: There’s no need to because, in terms of Kevin Rudd, one of the things that we saw in yesterday’s ballot, we’re going to talk about…

DAVID KOCH: There is a big need to, because he got politically assassinated before a full term last time.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  Well, you want to talk about those issues.  What was very clear is that people made up their own minds in the room yesterday, and people have the idea of people bowing to people outside the parliamentary party.  None of that happened.  People made their own calls.  The ballot for deputy leadership was a very different mix of people from the ballot that occurred for the leadership in the party as well.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: What about in Opposition? You and Mr Rudd, if in September or before then, you end up in Opposition, do you both have the energy and the drive to get through that?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We intend to win.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Do you think Tony Abbott could be a one term government?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We intend to win.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: And if you don’t?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We intend to win.

MARK BUTLER:  And I think…

ANTHONY ALBANESE: And put forward a really positive agenda.  We’ve got positive policies out there.  The Opposition don’t.  I noticed last night, what was Kevin Rudd’s first statement?  A positive vision for the future, talking about re-engaging young people in the political process.  Putting aside the bitter politics that has often characterised this parliament due to the nature of it.  What as the Coalition’s response?  To put out a negative personal attack ad on Kevin Rudd.

DAVID KOCH: So when will we go to the election? You were working late last night with Kevin Rudd until about two o’clock this morning.  Have you come up with a decision?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Not about to announce it on Sunrise, David.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Oh, come on.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Sorry to disappoint you.

DAVID KOCH: But you have come up with a decision.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, no.  We’ll have proper consultation.  The truth is there aren’t many dates.

DAVID KOCH: Didn’t sound like it then.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  There aren’t many dates that you can have.  I set the parliamentary schedule and when I did that, by the time you work in international meetings and you work in public holidays and you work in footy grand finals.

DAVID KOCH:  So what dates…

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  There aren’t many options.

DAVID KOCH:  So what dates are available?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  There aren’t many options.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:  August 24 we understand is available.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  There aren’t many options.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: What’s the one word you’d use to describe how you feel today?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  I think it’s a challenge that I’ve been given and it’s really humbling.  When I stood next to Kevin Rudd last night and he said the Deputy Prime Minister, I sort of almost looked around for who it was.  It is a great country when you can grow up in a single parent household in council housing in inner Sydney and get to be the Deputy Prime Minister.  What makes this country great is that opportunity.

DAVID KOCH: The first of the Opposition attack ads went viral last night and basically just comments from Labor politicians attacking Kevin.  How do you get over that? Just having a look at it now.  You know, these are words – they didn’t have to put words in people’s mouths.  How do you get over – how do you say to the public hey, this bloke is who he is?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: You know what, David? It’s not a matter of how I get over it, the people are over it.  The people are over the personal attacks, the negative politics.  People want to see our vision for the future versus the alternative.

DAVID KOCH:  Okay.  Alright.  Anthony Albanese…

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: You got that right.  They’re over it.

DAVID KOCH: Exactly right.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:  Good luck.

[ENDS]