Subjects: Election campaign; Nick Xenophon; Richard Di Natale’s au pair, Grayndler electorate; Coalition Budget black hole.
PRESENTER: We are going to catch up with the stars of stage and screen and they happen to be politicians in their spare time. Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese – good morning to you gentlemen.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT: Good morning to you, Will.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE, MINISTER FOR INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND SCIENCE: Good morning David and Anthony.
ALBANESE: Good morning to you all. I think that on behalf of Christopher and myself, I think we are going to have to double our appearance fee now.
PRESENTER: I actually wanted to ask you both, if Nick Xenophon wins Sturt and the Greens win Grayndler – have you had a private discussion about whether you are going to embark upon your own late night TV show or maybe a lifestyle program?
ALBANESE: All I can say is, David and Will, you could be in trouble. We’ve had a couple of calls from your producers.
PRESENTER: Breakfasts with Albo and Pyne.
PYNE: I was thinking more of a variety show. I could sing a song, you see, in a variety show. A microphone would descend from the ceiling.
ALBANESE: I can’t sing.
PYNE: I know you can’t sing –
ALBANESE: I could be Don Lane –
PYNE: But you could learn how to dance.
ALBANESE: I’m happy with that.
PRESENTER: As opposed to dancing around the issues.
PYNE: You could do your DJing and I could have a microphone descend from a ceiling a sing a couple of numbers.
PRESENTER: Chris Pyne, can I ask you about the aforementioned Nick Xenophon. There has been a revelation in The Australian this morning about relationships he has with particular donors. There is a particular comment of his that I think will resonate with our listeners. He has suggested in the past that $1,000 is a donation and $10,000 means you’re owned. Within that article, it has been revealed that he has hundreds and thousands of dollars of donations that have come in from some wealthy benefactors here in South Australia. Is Nick Xenophon a hypocrite?
PYNE: I am very cautious to comment on any of this kind of story because Nick always accuses everybody then of picking on him and scrutinising him. But let’s just recap the facts. The first fact is that Nick has criticised people who have taken large donations in the past exactly like this. He’s said, if you give someone $1,000 you support them, if you give them $100,000 you own them. There are revelations that he has received $175,000 from one particular businessman. When he was first questioned about this he said that they were loans and he was going to pay it back. But he has been further questioned on it and today he has said it is not a loan. So, if your listeners can imagine, if this was a major party, Nick would be calling for a judicial inquiry, he’d be calling for a Royal Commission, he’d be saying it was the greatest scandal since the Fine Cotton Affair. But I am very cautious to criticise him because I know that he has got a bit of a glass jaw.
PRESENTER: I’ll switch over to you, Albo. You’ve got the Greens breathing down your neck in your seat in the inner-west of Sydney as I alluded to at the start. The Greens are running this aggressive campaign about workers’ rights. What do you make of this story that won’t go away about Richard Di Natale seeking a nanny for the grand sum of $150 a week? That almost sounds like slave labour, doesn’t it?
ALBANESE: I think people will draw their own conclusions. There is a little bit more detail there. He has said if it’s two, that is if it’s a couple, they’ll have to share it. So that would be $75 a week. The problem with whether it is the Greens or Nick Xenophon, is when you look at the detail of who their candidates are and scrutinise them and their actions as opposed to their rhetoric – their rhetoric often is all that cuts through. People don’t take them as a serious government or alternative government. When you look at the details I think you find major problems. People should be very cautious about voting for non-major parties that don’t have the structure, the history, the accountability around them. Richard Di Natale is quite happy to go out there and be extraordinarily critical of everyone else and pretend that he is pure, but there is nothing pure about these revelations.
PRESENTER: Election time is obviously a time for stunts. In the past, we have seen debt trucks being driven around Australia, we’ve got Bill Shorten at the moment on the Bill Bus. I wanted to ask you, Chris Pyne, about the ‘spend-o-meter’ that the Libs have dusted off for the campaign. Every time Bill Shorten announces anything you’re saying that he is about to put Australia on the path to penury. Well, he mentioned the ‘spend-o-meter’ himself, of course.
SHORTEN (AUDIO CLIP): And through the national media you can put that on the ‘spend-o-meter’, that’s another million.
PRESENTER: Chris, I wanted to ask you though: is it the case that Scott Morrison has actually messed up some of his own estimates, of what some of Labor’s promises are going to cost?
PYNE: Well David, it was Bill Shorten who brought the ‘spend-o-meter’ into the election campaign because he thinks it’s hilariously funny to be spending billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money and putting it on the ‘spend-o-meter’, as he called it. He doesn’t think there is any accountability. What he is going to find out between now and Election Day is that the public initially like big spending promises, but eventually they want to know where the money is coming from. They know that Bill doesn’t have it, so that is going to have to come from them as the taxpayers. Sure, he’s got $165 billion of spending promises, he’s got $100 billion of new taxes – so he has got a big gap. The public are going to want to know how that is going to be paid for because we’ve seen this movie and it doesn’t end well. The Rudd-Gillard-Rudd period took us from a period of a surplus budget under John Howard with money in the bank and no deficit, to massive debt, massive deficit. Anthony will say we have the Global Financial Crisis. You can’t keep relying on that. Lots of countries didn’t go into massive hock and still came out of –
ALBANESE: Name them!
PYNE: Israel. Israel didn’t spend one extra dollar on the Global Financial Crisis.
ALBANESE: We have the third lowest debt of any advanced economy in the world –
PYNE: So you thought you’d blow it.
ALBANESE: No, that was at the end of the process. The third lowest debt, we saved 200,000 jobs. It was the most effective economic stimulus plan of any advanced economy and is widely regarded as that.
PRESENTER: Does Labor have a problem, though, Albo? It doesn’t take you long to trawl back through some of Wayne Swan’s more theatrical hand-on-heart promises about, ‘this time definitely we will be back in surplus’ and those surpluses didn’t eventuate.
ALBANESE: I’ll tell you what, it’s the Government that have a problem. Joe Hockey promised a surplus first year and every single year. Now there is no surplus in sight. The deficit has tripled, spending is higher as a proportionate of GDP today than it was under the Global Financial Crisis. Higher today. Taxes are higher today than they were under the Global Financial Crisis. We finished with a AAA credit rating, with an unemployment rate with a 4 in front, with low inflation, with low interest rates and strong economic growth. That was our economic record.
PYNE: Bill’s antidote to this is to whack another $100 billion of taxes onto the poor, struggling Australian taxpayer.
ALBANESE: That’s nonsense.
PYNE: You’ve admitted you want $100 billion of taxes.
ALBANESE: What our policy is not to do is to give someone earning a million dollars a year a $17,000 a year tax break.
What our policy is not to do is to have a small business company tax cut that increases up to businesses producing a turnover of $1 billion.
PYNE: What, in 2028? The company tax cut is for businesses up to $10 million turnover – which does not include Coles, I can tell you.
PRESENTER: We are going to have to leave it there. But I am sure you can resume the argy-bargy on whichever TV program you are appearing on this evening.
PYNE: We like a whole hour now.
ALBANESE: We’re coming for you David and Will.
PRESENTER: You can’t confine the niggle to a ten-minute slot anymore, you’re used to a sixty-minute program.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.