Subjects: Nick Xenophon advertisement, Tony Abbott, immigration, Barnaby Joyce.
HOST: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese for Two Tribes. Good morning to you.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from Melbourne.
HOST: Good to have you back Albo. We missed you on Monday Chris. He snuck into town under the radar and did a solo performance here on the show.
ALBANESE: In the studio.
PYNE: There were some shocking Instagram photographs of him looking like he would rather be anywhere else but South Australia.
HOST: Hey look, speaking of South Australia …
ALBANESE: I love South Australia.
HOST We have made national headlines for a fairly questionable reason. The Nick Xenophon ad, you will have both seen it by now. The same question to both of you – work of genius or worst political ad of all time?
PYNE: Well I actually think it is quite serious because Nick Xenophon is claiming to be able to form a government in South Australia or at least have the balance of power and what this ad shows is that the Xenophon team has no policies, no solutions for any of the State’s quite serious problems and he thinks that slapstick and stunts will get him across the line. And if that happens and South Australians are fooled by this joker then it will be very, very bad for our state. So while we are laughing about how bad the ad is, there is actually a serious side to it, which is he doesn’t have any policies and if we want government that is actually going to be able to make decisions and change our state, you actually have to vote for a major party.
HOST: Let’s take all that as read. What does this say then about the performance of the major parties in this state if what you said is 100 per cent accurate that this vacuous, lacking substance and policy entity is going to shake things up as dramatically as we all expect?
PYNE: Well I actually have great faith in South Australian voters and I don’t believe that they will vote overwhelmingly for Nick Xenophon or his team on March the 17th. I think by the election it will be very obvious to people that he doesn’t have any policies, doesn’t have any solutions, that slapstick and stunts don’t count and I don’t think the Xenophon Team will do that well on election day to be frank.
HOST: What’s your read of it Albo?
ALBANESE: Unaccustomed as I am to agreeing with Christopher about anything, I think on this he is pretty right. You know it is one thing to have a bit of fun. The problem here is this is during a state election campaign where potentially Nick Xenophon is presenting himself as a serious alternative to the major parties. I think it is the case that Steven Marshall and the Coalition haven’t been able to present themselves as an alternative so Nick Xenophon’s stepping into that vacuum that has been created in opposition to Jay Weatherill’s Government. But one of the things that people think about isn’t just Nick, it’s the other candidates as well. They need to be clear about who they are voting for and minor parties keep changing in the Senate and in South Australia’s Parliament itself some of Nick Xenophon’s team haven’t stayed there for long after they have been elected.
HOST: Are you getting sucked in? I mean uncharacteristically agreeing with each other? Isn’t that exactly the sort of agreement between the major parties that Nick Xenophon is talking about?
ALBANESE: Well, his objective is to get us talking about him and to that extent I think he probably thinks it’s successful. The issue here is though that running a state is a serious business and delivering on jobs and particularly state governments deliver services – education and health. Who is Nick Xenophon’s Team? I don’t mind Nick personally. I get on OK with him, but wouldn’t have a clue who his team were and I suspect he doesn’t know some of them very well either.
PYNE: He’s just lost his most recent senator Tim Storer who has now gone to become and Independent who was a member of the Nick Xenophon Team. This is the pattern. You can’t rely on the Xenophon Team to hold together and that is no way to run a state with the highest unemployment in the country, the worst economic performance, a state that needs jobs, that needs a vision and a future. And what we are getting from Nick Xenophon is slapstick comedy and I don’t think the public will vote for it in the end.
HOST: Chris we saw, changing tack now, the former Prime Minister, your former leader and boss Tony Abbott out and about in the past 24 hours. He gave that speech at the Sydney Institute talking about the so-called talking class verses the working class. He has called for the halving of the immigration rate. He looks like he is positioning himself for the leadership again doesn’t he?
PYNE: No I don’t think so. I think Jimmy Barnes is the working class man. I’m not sure that Tony Abbott can wear that mantle.
ALBANESE: Good sledge.
PYNE: The truth is his views on immigration are not new. He has had that view since he was no longer the Prime Minister and that wasn’t a policy that he implemented when he was the Prime Minister, I might add. I am very pro-immigration. I’m pro higher population. Coming from a state like South Australia, we need more people. We need more people helping to drive our economy. For every new migrant that comes to our state they have an uplift factor of four jobs. For every job for themselves they create four more because they start businesses, they raise their children here and we are not going to go back to some dismal, dark place where we are anti-immigration, anti-migration. We need more people in South Australia and we have got less 18 to 21 year olds in our state today than we did in the early 1980s.
HOST: Just finally too Chris, and I will get your thoughts on the Barnaby Joyce situation as well to wrap things up Albo, but the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is obviously leaving the country, going over to Washington when Parliament resumes on Monday. Is it the belief of the Liberal Party and indeed the hope of the Liberal Party that Barnaby Joyce is still there as leader of the Nats?
PYNE: Is that a question to me or to Anthony?
HOST: That’s to you Chris. Do you want Barnaby Joyce?
ALBANESE: You are the Liberal representative Chris. The hint was there in the question. I am not getting a turn today.
PYNE: I thought it was Anthony’s turn.
HOST: He had a big turn on Monday.
PYNE: He does. He always gets a big fair slice of the cake. Well obviously the leadership of the National Party is a matter for the National Party. It’s not a matter for me or the Liberal Party. How they manage their affairs is a matter for them. We are in Coalition with them. We need their 16 seats to form Government. We have 60 and the reality is Barnaby Joyce is the Leader of the National Party and they will make their own decisions about that in the future, not me.
HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese …
ALBANESE: Hang on, give me a crack at the end.
HOST: Go on, one little statement to wrap it up Albo.
ALBANESE: He’s on leave. He should just leave. Get out of here.
HOST: Good on you Albo and Chris Pyne. We’ve got to let you guys get out of here too. Thanks for that.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.