Subjects: Moreton Bay Rail Link; Mal Brough, Labor policies; Malcolm Turnbull; Healthy Welfare card.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I am pleased to be here today with Jacqui Pedersen, Labor’s candidate for the electorate of Petrie at the next election. I was very proud when, in 2010, I was here with Julia Gillard, the then Prime Minister, the then Premier Anna Bligh and the Mayor of Moreton Bay Council, Allan Sutherland, to announce three-way funding for the Moreton Bay Rail Link. This is a project that was first promised in the Parliament back in 1895 – in the Queensland Parliament – and was talked about for many decades before then. It took federal Labor working with State Labor to make this project a reality and at the time of the announcement in 2010 the Liberal candidate for Petrie opposed the project and said it wasn’t the right time. Well, it is the right time. It was too long waiting, but now this project is becoming a reality and it’s thanks to the fact that when we were in office we were prepared to fund federally public transport.
The project here received $742 million – about half of the $1.5 billion that was required. What this will do is provide that direct rail access for the people of Redcliffe and the people around Petrie. New stations have meant that jobs have been created in construction on this vital project, which began construction in 2012. And the only reason why this project didn’t get cancelled like the Cross River Rail project was cancelled by the Abbott Government was because it was already under construction.
Labor believes that we need to deal with urban congestion. We can’t deal with our cities without dealing with public transport. Now, Malcolm Turnbull likes to catch trains. The problem is he’s part of a government that has cut funding for trains and for public transport. That’s why this project symbolises the reality of Labor funding public transport and that’s why Jacqui Pedersen is someone who will stand up and make sure she delivers for the people of Petrie, unlike the local candidate and member at the moment, who hasn’t done anything in terms of supporting major projects of infrastructure in this electorate.
JACQUI PEDERSEN, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR PETRIE: I’d just like to say that this is so exciting for our area to get the rail to Redcliffe after all these years. It’s really awesome and for such a big growth area through the North Lakes, Mango Hill and Griffin area. It’s a boom town and we really need this transport infrastructure ASAP and it’s coming fast.
REPORTER: Are you confident with the election coming up that this may be one of the areas that you can win (inaudible) and do you think you will be able to pull this off and do you think people will sheet home something like this to Labor?
ALBANESE: Oh absolutely, because people will know also, of course, that Yvette D’Ath, when she was the Member for Petrie, did more than anyone else to deliver this project. She is now the local State MP and a Minister in the Palaszczuk Government. So it’s a very stark reminder, I think, that they will draw between her performance as a local member and the performance of the current LNP member and they will know the Jacqui Pedersen will fulfil the sort of legacy that Yvette D’Ath did when she was the member for Petrie.
REPORTER: Mal Brough: Is he a goner?
ALBANESE: Look, Mal Brough should resign. The fact is he misled Parliament repeatedly over the last fortnight. When you are in a hole, you should stop digging. Mal Brough should stop digging and should just resign.
REPORTER: Do you think Bill Shorten squandered the opportunity yesterday to do some real damage to him?
ALBANESE: Not at all. The fact is that Mal Brough’s own colleagues – own colleagues – failed to defend him. Now I’ve seen governments from time to time gag oppositions and stop them speaking on issues. What we have seen in the last fortnight is Mal Brough’s colleagues gag themselves and refuse to defend Mal Brough. Not a single minister in any of the motions that were moved by Labor over the last fortnight has been prepared to stand up and associate themselves with Mal Brough. It’s pretty clear that his own colleagues know and that is why we have seen the extraordinary positioning of Ian Macfarlane in leaving the Liberal Party, joining the National Party, so he can be a candidate, which he declared yesterday, for the upcoming vacancy which will be filled when Mal Brough eventually falls on his sword.
But I’ll say this to Malcolm Turnbull, just to give him a bit of advice. He should think about what happened when Tony Abbott held on to Bronwyn Bishop for too long, even though her position was untenable. He knows that Mal Brough’s position is untenable. He shouldn’t make the same mistake that Tony Abbott made with Bronwyn Bishop.
REPORTER: It has been a pretty good week for Labor but are you concerned that you’re not making the most of it given that you are still behind in the polls with the election fast coming up. Is there a bit of pressure on Bill Shorten there and if he were to not succeed in the next election, would you be putting your hand up?
ALBANESE: No, what we are about is succeeding. I want to be a minister in a Labor Government, not the Leader of the Opposition. And that’s why I am working each and every day to that end and with projects like this; plus our plan to fund the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane; to fund public transport; to fund roads; to fund infrastructure; our plan for multi-national taxation where yesterday, in a deal between the Coalition and the Greens Party they actually wound back the transparency of big multinational companies and excluded a whole lot of companies from having to go through that process that Labor had put in place; through our plan for superannuation;, our plan for higher education; our plan to revitalise the TAFE system nationally. Labor has in place a range of policies. Of course our infrastructure policy was announced by Bill Shorten at the Brisbane Media Club just a month ago and its stands in stark contrast to the Coalition which is at war with itself. The problem isn’t just that the Coalition is at war with itself, it’s that Malcolm Turnbull is at war with himself – at war with his own position on climate change, his own position on marriage equality, his own position on a republic for Australia, his own position on so many issues which he doesn’t have the courage to advance because he doesn’t have the strength of support in his own Coalition and we have seen that writ large with people actually defecting – one yesterday, but more to come.
REPORTER: Who are you thinking?
ALBANESE: Well I think quite clearly Scott Buchholz is considering his position and I think that there may well be many others. Malcolm Turnbull was a failure the last time that he led the Liberal Party. He was a failure because of his own hubris and arrogance and that hubris and arrogance that led him to put his entire leadership staked on Godwin Grech and a fake email is the sort of judgement that we’ve seen that would lead someone to appoint Mal Brough to, of all positions, to be the minister in charge of integrity when it comes to the government and the minister who is in charge of what happens in parliamentary offices and the parliamentary and ministerial staff legislation. Mal Brough’s responsible for that which, given his role in the Ashby affair, is quite an extraordinary lack of judgement for Malcolm Turnbull. That’s why he should go. That’s why the longer this goes on the more it’s an issue for Malcolm Turnbull rather than Mal Brough because Mal Brough is done. That’s over. Everyone knows that he misled Parliament and he simply should just go. It’s a matter of when.
REPORTER: Can I just ask you about … Labor supported the government to put in place a trial of the Healthy Welfare Card. Aboriginal Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda says it’s essentially experimenting on Aboriginal people. Do you regret supporting that legislation?
ALBANESE: Well, this of course is a government trial and one of the things about a trial is that people make comment and judge the outcomes. That’s why it’s a trial and not a final position. So we will, along with the rest of the Parliament, give consideration and Mr Gooda is certainly well respected and his views should be taken into account. But we will await proper processes and I’m sure that Shayne Neumann, as the responsible shadow minister, will respond in detail on Labor’s behalf.