Subjects: Mackay, tax, Labor Party, High Speed Rail.
RICHARD PERNO: Anthony, good afternoon.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good afternoon Richard. Greetings from Mackay.
PERNO: Oh beautiful Mackay – cane fields. Beautiful. Lovely.
ALBANESE: I am ringing you from the council chambers at Mackay. I have been up here with Belinda Hassan, who is our candidate up here for Dawson, and I have just had a meeting with the Mayor and all the councillors. So I am talking to you from the council chambers.
PERNO: Very good. You didn’t bump into my mate Graeme Connors, the singer, up there did you? That is where he lives.
ALBANESE: I haven’t as yet but who knows? I might bump into him tonight.
PERNO: You never know. Do you like polls Anthony?
ALBANESE: Which ones? Icy poles?
PERNO: Paddle Pop poles or poles that you dance around or flag poles. They are good and telegraph poles or power poles are pretty good. But Bill Shorten has slipped to the lowest he has been for a little while. Hey did you stuff up last week or did your party stuff up or did he stuff up? Who is to blame for the flip-flop, backflip, somersault thing?
ALBANESE: Oh look, what it important is that we got it right.
PERNO: In the end, yes. In the end.
ALBANESE: Well the Shadow Cabinet met on Friday. Bill and the economic team made the announcement. I think it is a good announcement. It provides for certainty moving forward for businesses with a turnover between $10 million and $50 million and that’s a good thing. We can now get on with the other issues and the concerns that we have about, for example the big banks getting a $17 billion bonus with a reduction in their tax rates. Certainly the good people of Mackay and other people in regional Australia who are looking out for infrastructure and looking out for education investment, who can’t get a doctor who bulk bills and want more support for Medicare – they are the issues that people are focused on and our priorities are very clear, which is not to give support to the big end of town but to give support to education investment, health investment, infrastructure investment.
PERNO: So there are no more challenges for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party, Anthony?
ALBANESE: The fact is that what we are concerned about is policy issues. Our whole team is committed to ensuring that a Labor Government is elected at the next election, Bill Shorten becomes Prime Minister and I become the Infrastructure Minister. The worst thing about my title – it’s the word shadow. That is what we all want to get rid of.
PERNO: Yes you can get rid of that. While we are on shadow stuff – infrastructure Anthony Albanese: big chatter it’s raised again, I have been talking about it and we have been talking about in on 2CC – what about this tilt train? We want the tilt train. Forget about the very-slow-train or the almost-very-fast-train or the not-so-fast or the not-so-slow train. We want the tilt one mate.
ALBANESE: Well I think there has been a great deal of technological breakthrough. I met with the Japan Railway Company head in Canberra just last week and there is no doubt that a regional city; our largest inland city; the great capital city of Canberra; if it was well under an hour from Sydney’s CBD, it would transform it as an economic powerhouse.
PERNO: All right. So you become Infrastructure Minister when Bill Shorten becomes Prime Minister. So we are looking at, you know, sort of something sort of hypothetical perhaps, will you give us the money to do this train?
ALBANESE: I can’t make announcements on 2CC.
PERNO: Oh come on Anthony, why not?
ALBANESE: Because as you are aware from our previous discussions, we have proper processes and make sure that …
PERNO: But you will look at it for us won’t you? All right?
ALBANESE: Look I did the study into High Speed Rail for Brisbane right through to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra. I am an unabashed big supporter of it. I have a bill before the Parliament now to create a High Speed Rail Authority and we put money in the 2013 Budget to do that. Unfortunately, the current Coalition Government, when Tony Abbott became Prime Minister, cut that money out.
ALBANESE: But I remain a big supporter and advocate …
PERNO: Train fan.
ALBANESE: … of High Speed Rail.
PERNO: Can I suggest if it happens can we get Tim Fischer to cut the ribbon?
ALBANESE: Well, Tim Fischer was one of my appointments to the High Speed Rail Authority. He’s a true advocate of it.
PERNO: He is.
ALBANESE: And Tim and I are absolutely on the one page on this issue.
PERNO: All right, well that’s good. We’ve got Anthony Albanese. He’s going to pay for our fast train. You’re going to get Tim Fischer to flag it off with a toot and a whistle and a nice little cap. Couple of quickies Anthony Albanese: Longman, can you win?
ALBANESE: Of course we can win, we’ve got a very good candidate in Susan Lamb and she’s campaigning very hard and Labor’s got a good story to tell and we’ll continue to tell it each and every day.
PERNO: Okay, all right. Braddon – a little tighter, one per cent. Can you win that?
ALBANESE: Of course we can win that too. Justine Keay has been a very effective member since she took over. The bloke that they rejected last time is running again, just a couple of years later and I think they know that they were neglected when he was the member in spite of the fact he was a member of the Government. Justine Keay has actually been delivering for the electorate down there and she deserves to be re-elected in a few weeks’ time. I’m very hopeful that she will be.
PERNO: Anthony Albanese, enjoy the cane fields of Mackay, beautiful place, nice beaches and you got away from the chilly old minuses in Canberra. Anthony Albanese, Federal Member for Grayndler, Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure (inaudible). Good to catch up with you Anthony, enjoy Mackay.
ALBANESE: Thanks mate, we’ll catch up again soon.
PERNO: And listen, don’t get too messy, I don’t want to see ugly Anthony on Facebook doing strange things all right?
ALBANESE: (laughs) I’m working too hard, I’ve been from meeting to meeting to meeting …
PERNO: Yeah, whatever.
ALBANESE: … and I’ve got an event tonight too.
PERNO: All right, enjoy it, don’t disgrace us.
ALBANESE: See you.
PERNO: Thank you Anthony.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.