Subjects: Leadership Spill.
TOM ELLIOTT: Well I’ve seen a number of times, all this instability in the Liberal party pretty much guarantees Bill Shorten a victory at the next election. Joining us on the line now, a man often touted as a future leader of the Labor Party, he’s the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Transport Cities and Tourism. Anthony Albanese, good afternoon.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good afternoon, Tom.
ELLIOTT: What did you think about this week?
ALBANESE: Look it was a debacle, I think, for the people of Australia who think that they should get to decide who the Prime Minister is. We’ve seen a real ruction between the Conservatives and the Moderates in the Liberal Party. It is very hard to see how it can be put back together. We have already seen because of that ideological war that’s going on, a government that’s incapable of having an energy policy, which is pretty important if we want to drive down prices and reduce emissions. And yesterday in the Parliament I saw something I thought I’d never see, which is a government say: ‘it’s too hard this governing business, we’ll just stop’. And that’s what they did.
ELLIOTT: That’s what they did. Now, could I ask you – several years ago of course Labor had the same problem, there was a lot of leadership instability. The Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years and you – post all that had a good long hard look at yourselves and decided to change the rules by which the Labor Leader is elected. So, you know that pretty much means there can’t be, you know, coups in the middle of the night anymore, in the Labor Party. Do you think for the good of the country the Liberals should do the same thing? Like remove this ability to just get rid of a sitting Prime Minister, just like that?
ALBANESE: Yes I do. They do need to look at their rules. But secondly they need to look at their culture. This week you had a group of people, and Malcolm Turnbull identified them in his press conference. Who essentially were saying: ‘if we can’t run the show we will wreck the show’. And saying it pretty overtly. It was quite an extraordinary effort, they had of course the leadership ballot on Tuesday and you would have thought that would have put it to bed for at least a little while. But it just – from that point on they just ramped it up including putting information out there that clearly just wasn’t true. I mean they didn’t get their 43 signatures today, until just before the meeting was held. And it’s pretty obvious why they didn’t, because a majority didn’t want to have Peter Dutton replace Malcolm Turnbull.
ELLIOTT: Well speaking of that, you were quoted in The Courier Mail this week – in fact it was today, sorry. You described Mr Dutton as being a cold character and having no heart and soul.
ALBANESE: Well, I think I’m yet to see the bloke smile.
ELLIOTT: Actually, I’ve never seen him smile either.
ALBANESE: You know, in dealing with the challenges of this country – one of the things I said is that you need a strong head. You need a good brain and you need to be able to work those things through. But you also need empathy with people. People who are less fortunate than you are. People who are disadvantaged, people who have been left behind and a capacity to have that empathy and to reach out and try and lift them up, not leave them behind. You need to not divide the country, and I was pleased that one of the things that Scott Morrison said, was he spoke about the need to unite the country and that is the job of political leaders to try to do that.
ELLIOTT: Okay, very quickly. I mean, how long do you reckon Scott Morrison has got? How long until the next
ALBANESE: I think he should call an election very soon. It’s very clear, he doesn’t have a mandate and the instability, I think, will continue and the Australian people should get to determine whether they want him to continue to serve as the Prime Minister, they should be given a say.
ELLIOTT: Just quickly, we’ve asked your leader Bill Shorten to come on so many times in the past two years and you have come on several times. Chris Brown comes on, but Bill Shorten always says no. Can you have a chat to him about that?
ALBANESE: Neil Mitchell suggested the same thing to me when I was in the studio there, just a little while ago. Look Bill’s very busy with media commitments but I will pass it on.
ELLIOTT: I appreciate your time.
ALBANESE: Thanks Tom.
ELLIOTT: Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Tourism and in a few months he’ll be the Minister for all those things.
FRIDAY, 24 AUGUST, 2018