SUBJECTS: Christopher Pyne whereabouts; election prospects in Victoria; election prospects in NSW; Palmer United preferences; Palmer unpaid workers; Palmer United advertising; Albanese Can-paign
HOST: It’s a big good morning to Anthony Albanese, and stepping in for Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge. Good morning to you both.
ALAN TUDGE: Good morning.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning. This must be a bit of a letdown, talking to us after talking to Eddie Betts this morning.
HOST: Well I didn’t want to say that Albo, but yeah…
ALBANESE: It is what it is. No Pyne…
HOST: We’ll try and turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse as we do every week though mate.
ALBANESE: Oh well, Tudgey will be better than Pyne probably…
TUDGE: I know you’re going to miss Christopher, Albo. You’ll miss him.
ALBANESE: I will miss him on a personal level, but you know he’s already checked out – gone!
HOST: It was only a matter of time. Given that he’s not actually running, he’s probably sitting on a beach somewhere, having a pina colada.
HOST: We even checked out his alibi to be honest, so he could be doing anything.
TUDGE: I don’t know where he is these days actually, but he was in Parliament for a very long time and I wish him well in the next stage of his career.
HOST: I just hope he hasn’t had to endure the horror of getting himself an ice cube for his gin and tonic again.
TUDGE: No, it’s a lemon I think it was.
HOST: Oh that’s right, it was a lemon.
ALBANESE: Had to get his own lemon – poor bloke. The hardship of a Tory.
TUDGE: Ah yeah yeah.
HOST: Given that you’re the new guest Alan, we might kick things off with you. Can I ask you a question about your home state of Victoria, because there seems to be a consensus among all of the sort of political chin scratchers who analyse elections for a living that Victoria is going to be some sort of wasteland for the Liberal Party, and that you’re going to struggle to hold onto seats, and that the election is going to be won and lost in your home state. What’s the mood like on the ground in Victoria? You’re in a suburban seat there in Aston. What’s your reading of how things are panning out in Victoria?
TUDGE: Well Victoria is an important state for the election. I mean we’re a quarter of the population here and therefore have a quarter of the seats. And just like in every state, it’s fiercely contested. But we’re still very confident here on the ground, because we’ve got fantastic Members of Parliament who have been working hard and been delivering good things to their local community. The difficulty of course is that whereas South Australia lost a seat, Victoria has gained a seat. And that seat is in very deep red areas, and so effectively Labor will gain that seat, and be one up to start with, and we’ve had some difficult redistributions on a couple of others.
HOST: So Labor’s already got a bit of a headstart there as a result of that?
TUDGE: They have in that one seat, that’s for sure. But every other seat, we are absolutely vigorously contesting, and we are still very confident about holding those. And we’ve got great candidates, people like Sarah Henderson – she’s on a very thin margin, but she is an absolute fighter, and I think she’ll get over the line as well as our other Members.
HOST: There was a poll in the Geelong Advertiser on the weekend saying she’s going to hold onto Corangamite. What’s it like in Sydney Albo? We sort of roll our eyes here in Adelaide, where everything is about key marginals in western Sydney and you know, Lindsay seems to be showered with riches that even put our submarine program to shame. What’s happening there?
ALBANESE: Oh look, I visited Adelaide as you know. I visit everywhere – I’m talking to you from Newcastle this morning. Sydney is a key battleground. Seats like Reid and Banks are in play I think for Labor. But outside in the regions in NSW, seats like Gilmore – I can’t see how the Government will hold onto Gilmore. The local sitting Liberal Member was rolled. She’s not actually supporting the Liberal candidate. She’s out there campaigning for the National Party candidate. I mean it’s a shemozzle. In Page also, up on the North Coast, you’ve got the sitting National Party Member sits on the crossbench, but still goes to the National Party Room, but not the Coalition Party Room as a protest over Malcolm Turnbull’s treatment last year. And people like Alan here will I think regret being a part of the Dutton-attempted coup and the successful Morrison coup at the end of last year in Melbourne. I think they’re in big strife, and you can tell when a Party is in strife by where the leaders are going, and when the leader is going to seat in Scott Morrison like Casey, which should be a safe Liberal seat, you know that they’re in real trouble in Melbourne, and I think they’ve written off seats they hold like Casey.
TUDGE: Casey is 3.5% mate. It’s not a safe Liberal seat. It never has been. You should come down to Victoria a bit more often Albo.
ALBANESE: I’m there all the time. Who was the last Labor Member for Casey mate?
TUDGE: It was some time ago, but the redistribution means it is 3.5%, which in no one’s book is a safe seat.
HOST: Speaking of polling done in marginal seats right around the country, the surprise story was the relevance of Clive Palmer’s party. Suddenly those preferences look pretty juicy. Are you confident of securing a deal Alan Tudge?
TUDGE: Well we want to get everybody’s first preference, not their second preference. And that’s our message: vote number one for the Liberal Party.
HOST: So you’re not interested in Palmer United Party preferences then?
TUDGE: If they’re not going to vote number one for the Liberal Party or the National Party, please put number two the Liberal or National Party.
HOST: So you’re not going to bother talking with them?
TUDGE: Well I mean there’s discussions going on. Of course there is. Because the voting starts next Monday as you probably know. And therefore, how to vote cards need to be developed before then. Nominations just closed, I think it was yesterday. And so those discussions of course are ongoing.
ALBANESE: The draw is today.
TUDGE: The draw is today, and then obviously the how to vote cards and all the preferences will need to be thought about over the next few days before… [inaudible]
HOST: I’d like to get a picture as to where you guys are both at. Albo, what about you guys with Labor – are you in this race for Palmer United preferences?
ALBANESE: Mate, if I was talking to Clive Palmer, you know what I’d be saying to him? Not talking about preferences. I’d be saying “pay your workers. Pay your workers.”
HOST: That sounds like a no.
ALBANESE: The people who have been ripped off. And this bloke, like a whole lot of other people who’ve been elected from fringe parties – there’s one thing hopefully Alan and I can agree on today, which is that when you vote for fringe parties, you don’t have a clue what you’re going to get. And they change what side they’re on, they swap over. The Palmer United Party had people, Jacqui Lambie went one way, other people went other ways, and it fell apart just like One Nation. And I’d be very wary of voting for these people, particularly I mean the hypocrisy of Clive Palmer’s advertising campaign speaking about putting Australian interests first. He can’t even get his corflutes printed in Australia. They’re printed in China, which is where of course the money comes from, in terms of his royalties, aren’t coming from Australian companies. You know this bloke – I don’t know how he can actually, you know, stand up straight.
HOST: Big night tonight Albo too. The launch of your not campaign, but your Can-paign. Albo-ale, currently available in longneck form, now appearing in a tinnie.
ALBANESE: We’re going from old school to older school. Albo-ale in a tinnie available at all good outlets. It’s on tap in many pubs in my electorate. I think, if no other reason to vote for me, I think the fact that I’ve got a tinnie named after me says I’m not too bad.
HOST: What about you Alan? You going to move into a side interest in brewing as part of your re-election campaign? I reckon in your seat it’ll be more of a crisp Pinot Grigio wouldn’t it?
TUDGE: No, my seat is in the outer suburbs, not in the inner suburbs. It’s a multicultural seat, but there’s a few little bars opening up. They’re actually local breweries, which are quite nice. But no, I don’t have one quite named after myself yet. I’m not in Albo’s esteemed stature, which is going to get him across the line in his desperately marginal seat of Grayndler in Sydney.
HOST: I suppose years of enthusiastic consumption eventually paid off for him. Good on you. Anthony Albanese, and doing a fine job as stand-in for Chris Pyne, Alan Tudge. Good on you both, and we’ll chat again next week.
TUDGE: Thanks very much.
ALBANESE: I’ll send down a couple of tinnies boys.
TUDGE: Send one to me as well Albo.
ALBANESE: Done mate. You’ll have to declare it.
TUDGE: I don’t think it’s worth that much mate.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.