Subjects: By-elections, polls.
HOST: Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese, good morning to you.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.
HOST: We will start with you Albo because the consensus, and we spoke to Phil Coorey yesterday and he is a dispassionate observer of Federal politics, the consensus does seems to be that the person who has the most to lose from the results on the weekend is your current boss, Bill Shorten. Do you think if Labor falls short in one or, God forbid for you guys, two of these seats, that the leadership will be a live issue?
ALBANESE: No. Look, what we are focused on is not our internals. We are focused on the needs of the Australian public. That’s what we are concerned about. We are worried that the people who have something to lose are those people who will suffer from health cuts, education cuts, cuts to infrastructure if this Government continues to sort of stumble its way through the show. What was interesting about your opening was that you said there were two seats in play. Well, there is Mayo in your great state of South Australia …
HOST: Not according to the most recent polls.
ALBANESE: …where the Liberals have written it off. It’s always been a safe Liberal seat forever.
HOST: But it’s not going to be a Labor gain though, is it?
ALBANESE: Certainly not.
HOST: We will get to that with Chris Pyne in a moment.
ALBANESE: We are contesting there, unlike in Perth and Fremantle, where I was over the last two days, where the Liberals aren’t even running candidates.
HOST: But if the Government, as you characterise, has been such a basket case of late Anthony Albanese, how can it be the case that you are in danger of losing two seats to a sitting government? It’s something that hasn’t happened once for 100 years.
ALBANESE: Well we are working very hard to make sure that that doesn’t happen. Bill Shorten is in Longman today. I will be in Longman tomorrow. We are campaigning very hard right up to Saturday. We think we’ve got very good candidates in Susan Lamb and Justine Keay. They have been good local members. They deserve to be re-elected.
HOST: Chris, just be patient mate. We will get to you in one second. We’ll just ask one more to Albo. Anthony, what did you make of the poll this week showing that if you were the Leader of the Labor Party none of these seats would be in play?
ALBANESE: Well, I mean polls, you know, come and go.
HOST: That’s a pollie answer mate.
ALBANESE: The interesting thing about all the polls that have been held is that they have consistently shown that Labor would win an election. Newspoll, I think it’s up to 37 in a row and I think that’s the key poll.
HOST: But the specific one I am talking about is the one involving you being the leader. You must have had some sort of reaction to it.
ALBANESE: Well of course it would be disingenuous to say that that wasn’t noticed. Obviously it was. It was splashed across the front pages of newspapers. But as I said, you know I am happy to be a part of the team that is led by Bill Shorten. He is the captain. I am happy to be a team player. I have always been that. I make a contribution, I think, to that team and it’s as simple as that.
PYNE: Anthony is like Where’s Wally. He is in every picture, every radio interview.
HOST: Well let’s talk seriously about Anthony Albanese for a minute. We’d have to find something else to talk about if he was the Leader of the Labor Party today on Two Tribes because he would wipe the floor with you guys in these by-elections. Does the prospect of Anthony Albanese as leader scare you?
PYNE: Obviously the Labor Party is riven by internal dissent about their leadership because Bill Shorten has not measured up. He is a person that nobody trusts and people have worked out that they can’t afford Labor. They have $270 billion worth of new taxes that they want to levy if they win the next election. The public are not stupid. They work out that that has got to come from them. And Bill Shorten is the guy that wants to do that. But Anthony is a part of that team. If Anthony is the Leader of the Labor Party, and he might well be by the next election, he would inherit a policy to increase taxes by $270 billion so nobody would be able to afford Anthony either. The extraordinary thing about the by-election this Saturday is that we are even talking about the Coalition being competitive. The Government has not won a by-election from the Opposition in 98 years. It would be a one-in-100-year event and that is where Bill Shorten has taken the Labor Party because he has boxed them in with high-taxing policies, out-of-date policies on energy and he is not keeping up with the current changes across the economy and the public know it.
HOST: Focusing on the local issue of Mayo, Chris Pyne, are you disappointed that with such a high-profile and cashed-up candidate that the Libs look like they are not a snowball’s chance in hell of winning that seat back?
PYNE: Well I wouldn’t say that we were a cashed-up campaign in Mayo. We are obviously spending what is required to make sure that we have a decent campaign in Mayo. Mayo is very different to the other by-elections because Bill Shorten is not running; he is not part of the contest. Labor is running dead in Mayo so Rebekha Sharkie is an Independent. It’s a completely different ball game. Georgina Downer has run a great campaign. She has returned from Melbourne and we want more people to return to South Australia. She is a good example of people who have come back to a great state that is growing again thanks to the Marshall Government.
ALBANESE: She’ll be leaving on Monday. She’ll be back over somewhere else on Monday.
PYNE: Her kids started school this morning.
HOST: She’s not the FIFO candidate then Chris?
PYNE: Her kids started school this morning in the Hills. She lives in Heathfield. I was campaigning with her this week up in Mount Barker. She is very well received. But Rebekha Sharkie is an Independent and I think it is a whole different ball game, whereas in Braddon and Longman it’s a much straighter contest between Labor and Liberal and the fact that Bill Shorten is in Longman is music to my ears. The more he campaigns the better.
HOST: What about the absence of Pauline Hanson in Longman, Chris Pyne? Is that hurting her chances, her holiday plans?
PYNE: Pauline Hanson has a candidate in Longman. She is not running for Longman. She’s not running for Longman but whatever they decide to do about their campaign style is really a matter from One Nation It’s not a matter for me. But they’ve got a candidate. He is working hard and good luck to him. It’s a democracy. Obviously, I don’t want him to win. I want Trevor – Big Trev to win – Trevor Ruthenberg and he’s doing a great job. I’m going to Longman tomorrow to make sure that we win.
ALBANESE: We’ll be there together.
PYNE: Well you are everywhere. You are everywhere man. You are the everywhere man.
HOST: Taking Two Tribes on the road. Watch out Queensland.
PYNE: You were in Perth yesterday. You dissed me on the radio there.
HOST: Is that right?
PYNE: He did. He threw me overboard. You threw me overboard. He said he was in the studio and it was great that Christopher Pyne wasn’t there.
ALBANESE: And guess what? Everyone agreed.
PYNE: I felt very unloved all of a sudden. The light went out of my world.
HOST: We will see what happens on Saturday. It could be a very different Two Tribes next week depending on how the results play out.
PYNE: Anthony might be the Leader next week.
HOST: Well who knows, watch this space.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.