Subjects: David Leyonhjelm; Federation; Melbourne attack; extremism; GST distribution; South Australia.
HOST: Two Tribes on a Wednesday morning. Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese, broadcasting live with a free state of South Australia. We haven’t let you guys in on this yet, but we’ve leaned totally into David Leyonhjelm’s suggestion we should be exited from the Federation. And we think, but we’re not sure yet because the Constitution is in its infancy, but Christopher Pyne, you may be the President of South Australia. So, good morning to you.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning, gentlemen.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, not only are you seceding, you’re seceding also from democracy for Christopher to get to be President.
HOST: I don’t know if you’re aware, Albo, he was voted in the top 50 power list by the Adelaide Advertiser, number one most powerful man in South Australia.
ALBANESE: What in Sturt? Who voted? His family? Caroline voted, there was one voter.
PYNE: A legend in my own lifetime, exactly right.
HOST: Setting the fun aside, obviously the big story this week in Australia has been this latest terror atrocity in Melbourne. Scott Morrison has been very forthright. He said yesterday when he visited Pellegrini’s cafe that it’s incumbent on Australia’s Islamic leaders and Islamic communities to call out the wolves from the sheep within their number. What did you think of his call, Chris?
PYNE: Well, look at the statement of the obvious, quite frankly. The truth is that the terrorist who killed Sisto Malaspina, who I met many times as a devotee of Pellegrini’s bar in Bourke Street, so it’s a very sad occurrence for us all, was a radicalised, extremist, Islamic terrorist, and the reality is all of us have a responsibility, whether we’re Muslim clerics or Members of Parliament, or journalists, or members of the public, to encourage everybody in our midst not to become radicalised, to respect our rule of law in this country, to understand that if you get to come to Australia, or if you’re born here, you’ve won the lottery of life and you have a responsibility to not take the life of another. So I think the Prime Minister is stating the obvious and I think the Hume Centre where this terrorist emanated from, in terms of where he practised his religion, others have also come out of this Hume Centre who’ve been radicalised and therefore the Muslim clerics associated with the Hume Centre and all Muslim Clerics, have a responsibility to look after their flock and, as the Prime Minister said, make sure those amongst them who might become radicalised, don’t become radicalised.
HOST: What’s your assessment of it, Albo? There’s been a couple of voices on the Labor side that have been critical of the PM. Where do you stand?
ALBANESE: I think that all communities are, regardless of their faith, or their ethnicity, where they come from, have a role to play in safeguarding our security. That includes leaders of the Islamic community. The fact is that this person was radicalised, did commit an act of terror and that has had tragic consequences for a very prominent member of the Melbourne community, Sisto, who like Christopher, I knew as well because Pellegrini’s is very close to the top of Bourke Street, near Spring Street. It’s frequented by a number of politicians and I used to meet Lindsay Fox there a few times. He’s a great friend, you didn’t meet him in the front bar, he was always out the back with the cooking and the sort of family atmosphere that came from there. So, Melbournians are feeling it very acutely. I think it’s a good thing that the Prime Minister was there yesterday having a cup of coffee at the time of its opening. And it’s a good thing that there will be a State Funeral next week. We all have a responsibility to act. The Prime Minster has a responsibility, as do we all, to promote harmony in the community and to not cause further division. But I don’t have any problem with the comments that he’s made.
PYNE: And let’s put it this way, too: If this was the 1970s and these were IRA terrorists operating in Australia and there was a particular church about from which they were emanating, while no one would hold the Catholic priests responsible for the actions of their flock, the question would be asked what role are we all playing and what role are you playing to ensure that your flock does not become radicalised to become IRA terrorists? It’s nothing to do with being Islamic or Catholic; it’s to do with the taking of people’s lives under the auspices of extremist radicalism.
ALBANESE: That is a very fair point. The truth is, unfortunately, around the world if you look at extremist actions taken in the name of various religions, not just people who claim to be Muslims, every single one of those actions is a distortion of the professed religion. And every one of those acts is an abomination against the fundamental principles of the great monotheistic religions whether it be Christianity, Islam or Judaism. They all have at their heart a respect for each other.
HOST: Guys, we are having a bit of fun with the David Leyonhjelm comments that he made yesterday. But they come against the backdrop of serious policy discussion regarding the GST and when you’re in South Australia, particularly sensitive to any changes therein. What drew his ire was the idea that if you put the GST floor at 75 cents on the dollar, per person, for every state. And then to make sure everyone has signed up to it, you pump $10 billion extra into the whole thing from federal coffers to make sure that nobody is worse off. But you know you get these leaner states like South Australia and Tasmania, he calls us beggars, and says we’re effectively contributing nothing. What do you say to David Leyonhjelm, Christopher Pyne?
PYNE: Crossbench Senators – or Members of the House of Representatives for that matter – often say amazingly bizarre things in order to get attention, otherwise they fade into obscurity. And the reality is we’re in a Federation, and part of that Federation is every state and territory being supported. There have been times when states are donor states to others. There have been times when they have been receiving more money than others, and that’s the reality of the last 118 years of Federation. And what the Morrison Government has managed to do, I think very successfully, is ensure that while no state is losing out of the (inaudible) changes to the GST formula, which are fair, particularly to Western Australia. We are all much better off as a consequence of those fair distributions of GST and that is the way the Federation is going to work into the future.
HOST: What would you say to one of your constituents, Albo, that came up to you and said: ‘Look I’ve got some work done, I paid 10 per cent GST’, because, I don’t know, bought a coffee – put a fence up, whatever. Why does the majority of that go to a place like South Australia? Why is that fair?
ALBANESE: I’d say to them, not only is it in the national interest for that to occur, but it’s also in the interest of Sydneysiders and people in New South Wales to actually make sure that states that don’t have the same level of growth such as South Australia receive appropriate support because otherwise there will just be more and more pressure on Sydney and Melbourne and South East Queensland, which is where you have the growth at the moment in the cycle that’s there. We are a Federation. There is such thing as a national interest, but that also is, I believe, consistent in the long term with relieving some of the pressures. I want to see growth in population and growth in economic activity and jobs in South Australia. It’s a good thing for South Australians, but it’s also good for people in Sydney and Melbourne and South East Queensland for that to occur.
HOST: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a good answer, Albo. And it means that – well if we do get kicked out Christopher Pyne becomes President and I think you now can be the Ambassador to South Australia.
ALBANESE: Ambassador at Large, perhaps?
HOST: Yeah, exactly right.
PYNE: He would want a new uniform, though.
ALBANESE: Because, I quite like living in Marrickville, so …
PYNE: And pomp and ceremony, he loves all that.
ALBANESE: From Christopher Pyne, that is a breathtaking statement.
HOST: I reckon being the good socialist that you are, Albo, you’d like sort of Castro-style military fatigues, wouldn’t you?
PYNE: That’s right, from North Korea.
HOST: We can arrange it.
ALBANESE: There we had all that love …
PYNE: Now we are piling in.
ALBANESE: To South Australia from Sydney, and this is what I get in return.
HOST: It’s always going to be tense.
ALBANESE: I’ll put David Leyonhjelm on to you.
PYNE: The Democratic Republic of Marrickville.
ALBANESE: They’re all happy here, I assure you.
PYNE: They’re not allowed not to be.
ALBANESE: In the top 50 powerful people, I almost make the list of Marrickville.
HOST: Good on you guys. Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, singing in unison for some of those rounds.