Subjects: Sydney Opera House; population policy.
HOST: Two Tribes. Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese. Without Chris Pyne – a late scratching. It’s like the conquest of Mexico, we’ve lost a tribe.
HOST: Tell you what it was very late too. We’re going to have to start broadcasting the line-up for Two Tribes on the side of the Opera House, give people a chance to understand who the hell’s coming on.
HOST: Wouldn’t that be good?
HOST: Anthony Albanese is here though. Albo, good morning to you.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day. What do you call – can you have: ‘One Tribe’? I guess you can.
HOST: ‘A Tribe’.
HOST: Well we’re about to do it.
HOST: ‘The Tribe’.
ALBANESE: What if we just call it: ‘One Bloke’.
HOST: ‘One Bloke goes to war’.
HOST: I do like the idea of projecting Chris and Albo’s heads onto the Opera House though. It’s got real merit.
HOST: You’ve copped a bit of flack this week, Albo, from some of your pinko mates over your endorsement of The Everest being beamed onto the Opera House. Why has this become such a huge issue in Sydney?
ALBANESE: Well, I think it’s a combination of interests. One is, I think, a whole lot of people were unaware of how many times the Opera House has been used to promote events in Sydney. Everything from the Ashes, St Patrick’s Day, Chinese New Year, rugby tests, World AIDS Day, Mardi Gras, across the board it is used regularly, and indeed on the other side of the Opera House there are projections onto the sails twice every single night. And I think people were unaware of that.
People have also had some legitimate issues with the issue of gambling. From my perspective, as the Tourism Shadow Minister responsible for promoting tourism, I think that it is reasonable that events which are major for Sydney, that the events be promoted. What I’ve said is that when people see the Sydney Opera House they immediately know that a major event is in Sydney. It is an iconic piece of architecture, it’s very important.
The dispute here, of course, was that Louise Herron and the Opera House board supported the colours and agreed to the numbers being projected for what the barrier draw was. The only dispute was over whether the trophy be shown and I think the Berejiklian Government should have not overridden Louise Herron and the Opera House board, but they chose to do so. But then I think the Alan Jones interview with Louise Herron, in which I think he behaved very rudely and it was an offensive interview – he threatened her job – fed into a view that he has too much influence in Sydney.
HOST: Have you ever got the treatment from Alan on air?
ALBANESE: Absolutely. When I was about 20 years old I was running a campaign to unionise McDonald’s about youth wages.
HOST: He would have loved that.
ALBANESE: I went on his program and pointed out – at the time I think youth wages were $1.03 and he said that was reasonable. I had the temerity to ask him how much he earned. He didn’t respond terribly well to this on live radio. So that was my first experience with Alan Jones.
But I, as you know, am always willing to talk to people who don’t necessarily agree with me and to argue my case. I think that I’m never worried about that. I called out his behaviour very clearly, but I’m still getting messages from people if you look at social media that suggested that I didn’t. The comments that I made as well were before the Alan Jones-Louise Herron interview. So people were saying to me: ‘Why didn’t you condemn Alan Jones’. Well I’m not Nostradamus. The interview hadn’t happened at the time that I supported a minimal projection on the Opera House.
But of course, as well the truth is some people object to racing and see racing just being gambling. I see this event as being about more than gambling. I mean, I’m not a gambler. People enjoy the Melbourne Cup and various major racing events without necessarily being gamblers. It’s also about something that will bring a lot of tourists to Sydney. But there’s no doubt that people are legitimately expressing a very strong view. I think they need to express it on the basis of the facts, which are important. But clearly there needs to be a review of what the guidelines are so that people are all aware of them, so that this dispute – which has been very divisive for our city of Sydney, I think I’ve even had contact from non-Sydney people, it would be good if that was avoided in the future.
HOST: Albo, there’s been something of a development. The Lazarus of Two Tribes Christopher Pyne is now on the line. Christopher, good morning to you.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning. I’m not Nostradamus, but I’m apparently Lazarus.
HOST: Yes, you’re Lazarus.
ALBANESE: Mate, we’ve changed the program to calling it just: ‘One Bloke’, instead of Two Tribes in your absence.
HOST: One good bloke.
HOST: Christopher we’re glad you’re able to come along too, because we’ve spent a bit of time over the course of the last couple of days talking in depth about the Alan Tudge speech last night, (inaudible) anticipation of it. He spoke about it ahead of time when he was in Adelaide last week, and joined us to talk about the prospect of redirecting migrants in Australia away from the major city centres in Sydney and Melbourne to Adelaide. It’s received a pretty mixed reception, I have got to say, by way of our listeners on the text line and calling in. Can you shed any more light on the detail of how this might happen? How many we’re talking about? How infrastructure might be adapted to better equip Adelaide to handle an influx of people?
PYNE: Well, I would very much welcome an influx of people into Adelaide and South Australia. Because a growing population means a growing economy. It means more jobs, it means more spending on construction and infrastructure and everything that goes with that. We don’t have a population problem in Australia we have a population distribution problem. So sure, the people of Sydney and Melbourne, they might have real issues when it comes to congestion, the ride to work in the morning, infrastructure development which their governments are working on. Adelaide, when I was elected about 25 years ago, we had the same number of seats as Western Australia. Now we have 10 and Western Australia has 16. We’ve lost three in the same time that Western Australia has gained three. Nothing tells us more that our population in Adelaide has been declining relative to other states. (Inaudible) it can’t be disagreed with, it’s based entirely on population.
So I don’t want to be living right up in a state which is declining and getting older. I want a state that is vibrant, that’s bringing new people to our city and that’s growing. The cranes over Adelaide at the moment are inspiring. I think I counted them flying into (inaudible) 18 cranes over Adelaide. I’ve known Adelaide when there’s been no cranes (inaudible). A Sydneysider who is travelling an hour and a half to work in the morning would be shocked here, at an Adelaide resident complaining about congestion. We don’t have anything like the problem that they have in Sydney with congestion – or Melbourne for that matter. And what we need is more people, and I think Adelaide is the perfect city to grow. I very much welcome the Government’s intention to drive new migrants away from the three large eastern state cities, and towards cities like Adelaide, or Hobart, or Darwin, or Perth, wherever it might be.
HOST: Well, we’re looking forward to a detailed plan. Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese …
ALBANESE: When it comes to Adelaide, we’re two people but one tribe. I absolutely agree with Christopher’s comments there. We’re as one on some of these issues.
HOST: You guys can work every alternate week at this rate. One can do one Wednesday, one the next.
ALBANESE: That’s actually not a bad idea.
HOST: Good on you guys. Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, Two Tribes on this Wednesday morning – very glad to get two tribes in the end.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.