Subjects: Pauline Hanson, Greens political party.
SMITH: Good afternoon.
ALBANESE: G’day Chris, good to be with you again.
SMITH: This is quite mammoth and we shouldn’t underestimate what he has done. Scott Morrison has finally succumbed to the pressure and has announced that the Liberals will preference Labor above One Nation. Here’s how it happened:
SCOTT MORRISON: I am disappointed and I find the response to the actions of those One Nation officials unsatisfactory. There have been further revelations overnight also, which have led me to the position this morning. I have consulted with the party organisation – I have been in touch directly with them today and overnight, because ultimately this is a decision for the party organisation but my recommendation to them, which they are accepting, is that One Nation will be put below the Labor Party at the next election by the Liberal Party.
SMITH: He was put under enormous pressure. What is your reaction to that?
ALBANESE: He was put under pressure by One Nation’s own actions. I listened to your callers and with respect, the gentleman who said almost this is just business as usual, all the parties do this; neither the Liberal Party nor the Labor Party have flown to the United States and solicited a $20 million donation in return for arguing that they would assist to dismantle Australia’s gun laws and the revelations overnight of course that Pauline Hanson has suggested, in a conspiratorial way, that the Port Arthur massacre was somehow a part of a conspiracy as well. There is bipartisan support in this country for our gun laws and if you want to have a look at why that is there just have a look at what occurred with the tragedy in Christchurch just weeks ago and I think Scott Morrison has done the right thing. Labor will of course be doing the same as we have done consistently and I make this point to your comment saying that people are loyal to Pauline Hanson: they were last time around until they got on to her and then she was dismissed of course and wasn’t able to be elected, ran in New South Wales elections, Queensland elections, federal elections, unsuccessfully for a long period of time until she got this second lease of life.
SMITH: How is that different, what they got up to in the United States, how is that different to all the major parties, including the ALP, taking money from pro-gun groups?
ALBANESE: Well the fact is that no one in the Labor Party or the Liberal Party – far be it for me to defend the Liberal Party here, but I will on this issue – no one in either of those major political parties, that seek to govern this country, has suggested whatsoever any dismantling of our gun laws. Now I am not aware of what the donations, the nature of them, are, whether it’s the Sporting Shooters Association or what it is, of course. We don’t outlaw the use of all guns in this country. We acknowledge that farmers need guns. The Sporting Shooters Association engage in legitimate activity. What we do in this country though, and successfully, we are a model for the world, where there are shootings every day in the United States and there appears to be a massacre at least once a month, because of the laws that they have in place there. This is a good thing that we don’t have those laws. The fact is that One Nation are a fringe political party and they should be put last and it is good that the Liberal Party are joining the Labor Party in doing this. It is unfortunate that the National Party have said that they won’t participate with their Coalition partners in this, but that again just shows the division that is there on the Coalition side of politics.
SMITH: My gut tells me that loyal Pauline Hanson fans will stick with her no matter what the Prime Minister said today. I’ve got Graham on the line. You have been loyal to Pauline Hanson, Graham?
CALLER: Chris, from day one I have been loyal to Pauline because she fights for Australia, Chris. She keeps the B’s honest mate and she has got my vote this time too. I am shocked that Scott Morrison coming out. I was stunned when I heard that this morning, you know?
SMITH: But if the One Nation Party poses a threat to our tough gun laws, didn’t he have to do what he did?
CALLER: Yes, that’s the little thing that I do question. Even though she’s still got my vote Chris, I was a bit stunned about that this morning with this Ashby thing and all that. I can’t get my head around that. But she has still got my vote.
SMITH: Anthony Albanese, a very familiar retort that I have received on email since about midday today saying exactly the same thing – ‘I am sticking with Pauline’. This will hurt the Liberal Party won‘t it?
ALBANESE: I don’t think it necessarily will because what it will do is send a message that this is a fringe political party. That is what the decision is that has been made and it is the right thing to do and in politics sometimes you’ve just got to do the right thing and that is what it is here. We’ve been doing it consistently – arguing the case. I understand people’s frustration and I am not critical of what way anyone votes in this country. We are a democracy and it is important that people have the right to express their views and undoubtedly many people, as we see, one in three are voting for neither of the major political forces in this country. But it’s up to the major political parties, as well, to speak about why it is that major parties are worthy of their votes. I’ve got to say I am someone who doesn’t argue for any of the non-mainstream political parties. I, of course, always advocate a vote for Labor. But I do argue that he big difference between a party that seeks to form government and after the next election either Bill Shorten or Scott Morrison will be the Prime Minister of this country. If Bill Shorten is successful, I will be sitting around a Cabinet table making decisions. Those people, whether it be One Nation or the Greens or the Shooters Party or the Animal Justice Party or others, what they get to do is to wait until decisions are made and then decide whether they are going to protest against them by voting against them or not.
ALBANESE: To me if you are serious about making real change in society, then you have to be a party of government. They are the ones that really make a difference.
SMITH: All right, let’s talk about preferences and extremists. The Greens today have released their policy plan. By 2030 – in ten and a half years’ time – they want 100 per cent renewable energy, a total ban on coal-generated power. We will have no baseload power. The whole country will fall on its knees. When is Bill Shorten going to disown the Greens like Scott Morrison has disowned One Nation today?
ALBANESE: Well we are opposed to the Greens. We seek people to vote Labor and of course. Why didn’t they put that forward until 2020? Why wait until 2030 if that is the sort of fantasy position that is put forward? But these fringe parties are able to do that, to put forward ideas that simply don’t stack up. They don’t have to pay for any of their promises.
SMITH: You’ve been having an affair with the Greens for years. You have been having an affair with the Greens for years.
ALBANESE: As you full well know, Chris, I am in an electorate whereby my main opposition is the Greens at every election and it will be the case this time around again. So you can’t accuse me of having a close relationship with the Greens.
SMITH: Well we can accuse the Labor Party of hopping into bed with the Greens and back out and hopping back in again. You formed government one time with the Greens support?
ALBANESE: No, we didn’t form government with the Greens at all, ever. What we did do was have an agreement over confidence and supply, which someone had to do because no one had the absolute majority in the Parliament just as the current Government has an agreement over confidence and supply with a range of the crossbenchers.
SMITH: Okay, so what’s your message to voters who think the Greens are on the right track in pushing for 100 per cent renewables in ten and a half years’ time?
ALBANESE: Well it’s simply not a real promise. It doesn’t stack up economically. It would damage the economy. What we need to do is to transition in a sensible way to a clean energy economy. We know that the future is renewables, but that future can’t be done overnight and we need practical policies. And what the Greens do all the time, is to come up with with policies that that sound good because they know they’ll never be in a position to actually have to implement them and this is the same Greens political party that of course voted against a carbon pollution reduction scheme under the Rudd Government twice. If that had occurred then the last decade of war over energy policy would have been put to rest at that time.
SMITH: True. Very true. Thank you very much for your time this afternoon. Good to catch up.
ALBANESE: Always good to talk to you.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.