Subject: One Nation.
HOST: It’s a big welcome back to Two Tribes – Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese, good morning to you.
PYNE: Good morning. It is nice to be back.
ALBANESE: Good morning.
HOST: Good to have you both back together guys. Now we want to kick off – we’ve been laughing all morning about this – one of the most extraordinary press conferences Australia has ever seen yesterday: Steve Dickson and James Ashby from One Nation. Starting with you Chris, have you ever heard a more bizarre excuse to get out of a political scandal than this one?
JAMES ASHBY: I will be the first to admit we had arrived in America. We’d got on the sauce. We’d had a few drinks and that is where those discussions took place.
PYNE: One Nation never ceases to entertain, that’s for sure. They are like Keystone Cops really. But it is a serious business being in the Senate and at the last election it was a double dissolution election and so three out of the four One Nation senators only got elected because they needed to get half the quota you would normally have in a general election and I don’t think that will be repeated come May this year. So I don’t think we will have as many One Nation senators down the track. Obviously it is a reprehensible conversation to have had about sourcing funds from the NRA or wherever else from the United States. But this is possibly the truth. Possibly they did get on the sauce and have a conversation that had no meaning, but it’s not exactly how you run politics in first world country.
HOST: What was your take on it Albo? I mean, we saw on the Labor side Sam Dastyari was forced to quit when it emerged that he had been receiving funds from people in China. It does raise some serious questions about the potential for foreign interference in Australian politics.
ALBANESE: Well I am surprised that Christopher is letting One Nation off the hook here. This is a farce, suggesting that what happened here was because they were drunk. This went on for a whole series of meetings, discussions with different people over a considerable period of time in Australia and in the United States and this is very serious. People can laugh a bit about James Ashby and his various behaviour in helping to bring down a Speaker by stealing his diary and engaging in all sorts of activities. He’s been banned of course from Parliament House for his behaviour by the President of the Senate. But the serious point here is that this should be the end of One Nation because it’s a matter now of which nation? They have been prepared to sell the policy determinations of the Australian Parliament to a foreign entity over gun control, asking for $20 million. You know, these people need to be taken seriously because we know what an end to gun laws means. It means the ultimate serious consequences which we have just witnessed in New Zealand. The gun laws in this country have bipartisan support. There should also be bipartisan support to put One Nation last on how-to-vote …
PYNE: Anthony, all these things are good reasons for why people should not vote for One Nation. They should give their primary vote to the Coalition and keep us in power to keep doing the good work we are doing.
ALBANESE: I will give you the big tip. One way that you will help your primary vote, and John Howard understood this, is to marginalise these nut bags.
PYNE: The best is way to marginalise One Nation is to beat them. So you are going to put One Nation behind Fraser Anning’s party? Is that what you are going to do?
ALBANESE: One Nation and other extremists parties where they run …
PYNE: And you keep saying put One Nation last, but what about Fraser Anning? What about the Greens that have abused …
HOST: Can we simplify the question then Christopher? In the absence of Fraser Anning or his ilk, would you personally put One Nation last?
PYNE: The most sensible thing to do with your preferences is to wait for everyone to nominate who wants to run and then decide who the worst candidate is and put them last.
HOST: Do you foresee a circumstance in which that is One Nation?
PYNE: Well there is quite a lot of competition for who should go last in Australia right now. But I can tell you one thing, and that is that Labor is not as bad as Fraser Anning’s Party, One Nation or the Greens, so you can rule them out. But this is a job that you do when you have all of the candidates in front of you and you make a sensible decision. We for example don’t support the Australian Communist Party. Now we don’t know which seats they are going to run in. You don’t make a decision about your preferences until you know who you are choosing from. But the competition for who should go last is pretty fierce at the moment.
ALBANESE: John Howard knew what to do in these circumstances and he did it and it is a pity that the modern Liberal Party of this century doesn’t have the same ticker that John Howard did.
PYNE: That’s just rubbish. The most important thing to do is beat One Nation by people who want to vote One Nation voting for the Coalition. That is the best way to make sure that One Nation people don’t get elected – give your first preference to the Liberal Party.
ALBANESE: Good try Christopher, in order to distract from the fact that you are not prepared to isolate One Nation.
PYNE: No, I’m just not prepared to get into the Canberra bubble with you and talk about preferences before we actually know who is running in every state and every seat. That is when you decide your preferences.
HOST: All right, we are going to have to leave it there.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.