Subjects: 5AA Underpants Drive, Barnaby Joyce, Emma Husar.
HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, good morning to you.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from Melbourne.
HOST: Now Chris we’ve got to say we are glad to have you back. Things got pretty loose last week. Albo accused your stand-in Alan Tudge of being drunk.
ALBANESE: That was the best thing you could put on it. At least that would be an excuse for his ridiculous statements.
PYNE: I’m more worried about the fact that Anthony thinks that the Undies Drive is for second-hand undies, not new ones.
ALBANESE: I’m deeply disturbed about the whole thing.
HOST: We can’t stress enough, we only want brand new underpants guys.
PYNE: Anthony is going to come up to Canberra with a handful of used undies to take to Adelaide next week.
ALBANESE: Christopher’s already made more jokes in the last 30 seconds that Alan Tudge has made in his life.
PYNE: Don’t be unkind. Don’t be unkind.
HOST: Now Chris, you will be thrilled to hear that we have got one of your colleagues – Barnaby Joyce – coming on our show at 7.05am tomorrow morning to talk about his new book. Do you have any questions in mind that we could ask the former Deputy Prime Minister?
PYNE: Look, I wish Barnaby well. I have seen excerpts of his book and it is confronting and obviously he has a story to tell and I’m glad that he has found a voice to tell it through his book and I wish him very much the best with the rest of his political career and in his non-political life. I hope that things turn out well for him.
HOST: Can I ask a serious question, and I will ask it to you first Albo, but I’d like to get Chris’s thoughts on this as well. Over the last fortnight we’ve seen a string of leaks going to the conduct of Emma Husar and I’m not trying to provide her with any alibis, save for the fact to note how intense the focus has been on her. In his own book too, Barnaby Joyce talks about how things got so bad for him that he felt like he basically didn’t want to be alive anymore. Do you think that public life comes with too high a cost at times?
ALBANESE: I think to be honest, yes. I feel for what Emma Husar is going through at the moment – the intense scrutiny; the people being asked to comment, and indeed commenting, who don’t know any of the facts. I certainly don’t. And yet when you get asked to comment on the specifics of events of which you have no information it is almost like journos think you are obfuscating if you say, for example: I haven’t met any of Emma Husar’s staff, for example so I don’t know. There an investigation. Let it take its course. But the intense media focus I think has changed in recent times. It used to be that people filed at 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock for the next day’s papers. Now people file for the next hour so there is intense pressure on people in the media to, you know, get the next issue relating to a particular frenzy that is on and I think that can have quite a devastating consequence for the people who are the focus of that intensity.
HOST: What do you think Chris?
PYNE: Well I do think if you look back through history there is always moments of great intensity surrounding issues that engulf Members of Parliament and ministers, cabinet ministers, even prime ministers, and there is a great deal of scrutiny on politicians. How everybody deals with that, each individual is different and I’ve been in Parliament 25 years, Anthony about 20 years. We’ve both been through difficult times over that period because that is just the normal course of life. But the way to deal with that of course I think is to shut down the shop, focus on what matters and remember that we are doing a job and the job doesn’t define us, we define ourselves.
HOST: Yes. Good stuff. We are going to leave it there today guys. We are freezing our butts off here and we need to get back to the more important business of …
ALBANESE: Have you got undies on the outside?
HOST: We’ve got undies everywhere. You would not believe it.
ALBANESE: Is this the whole Superman thing? Maybe you’ve got them on your head.
HOST: It is a very Adelaide thing Albo. It’s actually a noble charity-oriented gesture but it also doubles as a cheap vehicle for a bit of casual cross dressing as well. So we are having a lot of fun.
ALBANESE: See, on the east coast they have drives for clothes in general, not just undies.
HOST: Yes. That’s too easy. That’s just obvious. Good on you guys.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.