Subjects: Sydney weather; minority Government; Parliamentary Sitting Calendar 2019.
HOST: Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us. Hopefully, Albo, your electorate hasn’t entirely washed away this morning. Good morning to you both.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good Morning.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good Morning. I actually have to get to Sydney to give the eulogy at a funeral of the late Ann Symonds. And it does not look good at this stage and I may well be driving.
HOST: Yeah. And drive carefully on your way up there, Albo. We’ll kick off with you, Chris. Yesterday not really a great day for the Government was it?
PYNE: Well and if you think that continuing to be a minority is a bad day for the Government, well, we’ve been a minority since Malcolm Turnbull left as Prime Minister.
HOST: Yeah, but, sort of a bit more of a minority now though.
PYNE: Look, we need two votes from the crossbench to pass anything in the House of Representatives and yesterday we won every vote. Anthony and I have been through this before, in the 43rd Parliament Labor lost 76 votes in those three years. I’m sure that we will probably lose votes. The point is, will the Government continue? Yes, through to the next election at least and hopefully beyond because we’re delivering on the fundamentals for Australia. A strong economy, growing number of jobs, low interest rates, low inflation, almost full employment. And I think that we will get the support from the people to continue to do that rather than the big-taxing agenda of Bill Shorten, who wants to change everything.
HOST: How do you focus on that economic narrative? Because you have got, on the economic fundamentals, you’ve got a story there to work with, you’ve got a good story to tell. The problem is every time Scott Morrison stands up it’s like there’s an explosion going off in the background.
PYNE: Well look that’s right. Yesterday we announced that next year’s Budget will be in surplus. Which is a great achievement, it’s ahead of schedule. The last time Labor delivered a surplus was 1989. But we will deliver a surplus next year reminiscent of the Howard Government, unlike the Rudd-Gillard period. This morning in The Advertiser there’s another great story about how the Hunter Class Frigates are adding billions of dollars to the South Australian economy and thousands of jobs. So we’re getting on with it, I’m getting on with it in defence. That’s good for our state and good for the country. The actual business of government is going very well. The problem is the politics that gets in the way and that’s why we need to be focused on the public, focused on the people – what they want – as opposed to this inside the bubble obsession that we have here in Canberra sometimes.
HOST: Yeah. Anthony Albanese the numbers for the Government are more precarious on the floor of the Parliament, but are you going to allow them to get through to the election date that was set yesterday, or broadly pointed to yesterday? Or is your plan on your side of politics now, to try and wreck the joint, effectively?
ALBANESE: They’re doing a great job of wrecking the joint themselves, at the moment. For Christopher to say, that essentially it’s all going well, defies belief. The fact is that this is a Government that isn’t in control. And yesterday when Christopher tabled the sitting pattern for the Parliament next year, which we’ll see when Parliament gets up next week, on December 6, for the next eight months right through to August there will be ten sitting days of the National Parliament and only seven sitting days of the Senate. That’s it, over the next eight months. Having once abolished, of course, or got rid of a week’s sitting because it was all too hard because the banking Royal Commission was going to be carried they then, of course, when they had the coup against Malcolm Turnbull, shut-down the Parliament in the middle of the day.
HOST: Are you going to attempt to bring on an early election, or are you going to see it out until May?
ALBANESE: Well we’ll wait and see what happens on the floor of the Parliament. What’s clear is that the Government themselves are saying they’re incapable of governing. They don’t have an agenda. And if they had any self-respect they would put themselves and importantly the Australian people out of their misery and call an election.
PYNE: Well apart from the fact that Anthony’s math is all wrong as usual, the truth is the Budget has been brought forward a month to April 2nd. It’s usually in May. But obviously the election will probably be in May. So therefore the Budget has been brought forward a month, a surplus Budget, showing that we’re getting on with the job. And that means the extra couple of weeks we would normally have, we’re not going to have because of the Budget being brought forward a month …
ALBANESE: Christopher has had a good go …
PYNE: This is one of those classic cases. I’m happy for you to have a go, I thought it was my turn. I’d hate to talk over you, goodness gracious.
ALBANESE: Well, when you stop. The fact is that – I’ve done the sitting timetable on six occasions and what you do is you look for when Australia Day is, and Parliament comes back the week after Australia Day. That’s the normal process. The Parliament also sits in March. There is either five or six sitting weeks in the schedule prior to April, and there is no reason why you can’t have five or six sitting weeks prior to the April Budget. The only reason why there is not, is because they are running from democracy.
HOST: And the Budget has been brought forward.
PYNE: And the Budget has been brought forward a month. So it’s actually a completely different sitting schedule. There are 17 sitting weeks next year, which is the average, is the norm and everyone knows that – 17 sitting weeks next year.
ALBANESE: There’s ten days until August.
PYNE: Your maths is completely wrong.
HOST: Thank you, guys.
WEDNESDAY, 28 NOVEMBER, 2018
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.