Subjects: Christmas; defence; ALP National Conference; Leadership spill; Russell Crowe.
HOST: I think they promised Christmas carols, or carolling at least, last week. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese, good morning to you.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen and happy Christmas to your listeners.
HOST: That’s very kind of you, Chris. Happy Christmas to you as well. G’day Albo, how’re you going there mate?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning, I’m going very well. It’s the slow end of the year. I’ll be in Adelaide Friday, until next Tuesday.
PYNE: You sound like a three-toed sloth. Why are you speaking so slowly?
HOST: You’ve got to be careful coming to Adelaide at the moment, Albo. You guys were going to put the Space Centre in Canberra weren’t you?
PYNE: They were, that was their announcement. That was Kim Carr’s announcement. It was going to Canberra.
HOST: We’re space mad this morning – Kim Il-Carr.
PYNE: Kim Il-Carr.
ALBANESE: Space mad.
HOST: Have you got space fever, Chris?
PYNE: I’m very excited, there’s another hive in South Australia, the Australian Space Agency coming to Lot 14. We worked closely with Steven Marshall, of course, and the Federal Government to achieve that. Comes on top of a Centre for Defence Industry Capability based in Adelaide. Again, something that I delivered as the Minister for Defence Industry. Tomorrow we’ve got big announcements about the ships and the submarines, two of the biggest projects in Australia’s history. The offshore patrol vessel started its construction in Adelaide more than a month ago. First Pacific patrol boat delivered to Papua New Guinea and the two joint strike fighters landed on Monday, so I’m having a great week.
HOST: Christmas has come early.
PYNE: Christmas has come early. It’s going to keep coming if you re-elect the Liberal Party.
ALBANESE: Well, he’s certainly had jam for breakfast.
PYNE: What did you have? Did you have Valium? He’s just looking forward to the ALP National Conference on the weekend.
ALBANESE: It’s breakfast radio, so I’ll leave it there.
HOST: So Albo, are you coming over for what? This is the ALP Conference. My mail is apparently business observers are falling over themselves to see you guys in action.
ALBANESE: They are, actually.
HOST: Strange way to spend your money.
ALBANESE: It’s pretty full. People want to chat to us. Why wouldn’t you when there’s a rabble on the other side?
HOST: Are you going to be on your best behaviour?
ALBANESE: Well it makes a change to the interruption. I mean, yesterday we had news that Craig Kelly was actually going to join the National Party in order to avoid having to face a Liberal if he lost pre-selection and that’s why Scott Morrison intervened. I mean this is just bizarre stuff.
HOST: On a serious note though, for you guys, partly because they’re so open in their structure, Labor Party national conferences, and I would have gone to about five I reckon, they can become a bit unruly. There’s often an opportunity for the Leader to be embarrassed by members of the party not singing from the same song sheet. Is there a chance that might happen, particularly on the question of border protection? Are you lock-step with Bill Shorten on that issue?
ALBANESE: Look, the party, in three days, 400 delegates, will always be a little bit untidy. That’s the truth. That’s the benefit though of being transparent about the fact that we’re a party of ideas. People who’ve been elected are accountable to the people who voted for them. We now have direct elections so people will have run on a platform from their particular electorate that they’d raise an issue in a certain way, and they’re entitled to do so. But what will come out of the process is a platform that unites the Labor Party, that everyone then can get behind and – that’s not the policy, of course, but that’s the basis of the values that we take forward and the Parliamentary Party makes up the specific policies that we take to the election. And of course we already have more policies out there than any Opposition in living memory ever has.
HOST: Being our final Two Tribes for 2018, it’s time to get a little bit wistful. Christopher Pyne, what were your highs and lows of the year?
PYNE: One of the highs of the year was Steven Marshall getting elected in South Australia in March. That was definitely a high. Getting the biggest ship building and submarine building projects underway in Australia’s history has been a high, it’s going very well. And if the worst happens and Labor wins, it’s going to be hard for them to undo it, given that they did nothing in six years. I am very pleased to have locked that in. And the lows, well, I never see any lows. I only see happy sides.
HOST: That is a cop out.
PYNE: Silver linings to every cloud.
HOST: Would you like us to nominate a couple for you?
ALBANESE: The Government falling apart?
PYNE: I’m a glass half-full man. One of the lows, of course, was Labor ending the year dismantling the offshore processing. Which is going to let the people smugglers back in again.
HOST: What about that little period where the Prime Minister vanished again?
PYNE: When was that? when did that happen? I can’t remember that. I block out anything unhappy. I’ve got my happy face on like the mother in Strictly Ballroom.
HOST: What about you, Albo? Your low would probably be the excellent result Bill Shorten got in that by-election earlier in the year, wouldn’t it?
ALBANESE: Not at all, I always support the Labor team. I think it is the case, though, that one of my highs is having the benefit of listening to Christopher’s extraordinary optimism, as all around him goes to absolute rubbish.
PYNE: Absolute nonsense. We’ve got you right where we want you.
ALBANESE: It’s quite extraordinary, how you get on 55 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote.
PYNE: You’re not on the ropes, you’re on the canvas.
HOST: It’s only a flesh wound, Albo.
PYNE: They’re going to have to help you up at some point, I think.
HOST: It’s like a rumble in the jungle, a parallel universe. The Scott Morrison rope-a-dope. He’s just going to lunge any minute now.
PYNE: You’ll be surprised.
ALBANESE: It’s going so well.
PYNE: I wouldn’t get overconfident, Anthony. You’ve lost from here before, I’ve seen it.
ALBANESE: It’s gone so well.
HOST: Hey guys we’ll wrap it up. But can we just say, this is our last segment for the year, so to you, Chris, and to you, Albo. It’s not always the easiest segment to manage but we really do appreciate the candour that you bring in your discussion of national affairs, and the good humour. It’s a lot of fun catching up with you every week. You’re two of the genuine heavy hitters of politics and you know it’s great having you on. Our listeners appreciate it and we appreciate it too. So have a great Christmas.
ALBANESE: You know what I think a high was? When, after one of our segments, Russell Crowe Tweeted out: “That’s what politics should be, people having disagreements but being respectful’’.
HOST: That was pretty cool.
ALBANESE: A whole lot of retweets and coverage, and I think that’s what Christopher and I try to bring.