SUBJECTS: Leadership of the Australian Labor Party; bipartisanship; Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians; High Speed Rail; deejaying; Reclink.
ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION ELECT: : How are you?
HOST: We are good. Have you spoken to any other show that’s actually made a song about you?
ALBANESE: I haven’t actually. So thank you very much. I’m not sure it will be a hit.
HOST: Oh. He gives and he takes.
HOST: You never know. Now mate, great to have you on for the first time, we appreciate you calling our show. But I need to know, do you have photos, incriminating photos of all the other people in the Labor Party because no one wanted to put their hand up against you?
ALBANESE: No, well I was pretty stoked by that. Someone said to me yesterday: ‘Wouldn’t it have been better if you had some opposition and you went through a four- week process of a ballot’. I said: ‘Honestly no, not for me’. I think you take a win when you can have it and what it means is that we can just get on with the business of rebuilding Labor. We had a bad result in the election and we need to do much better next time.
HOST: We were saying that the Leader of the Opposition, you do have a tough job because you need to, I guess, get out there and, you know, make headlines and do your policies. But doesn’t it become a little bit of a negativity thing, you always seem to be complaining about who’s in charge?
ALBANESE: I think that’s a real danger in the job. And one of the things I’ve said is that I’ll be constructive. If the Government has a good idea, I’ll give it the tick. And some issues that we need to deal with you need bipartisanship for. Issues like recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution. Unless you have bipartisanship it won’t happen. So we need to work together. I think that your listeners are sick of seeing politicians yelling at each other as well, and a bit of constructive engagement would be a good thing.
HOST: It just sounds so weird coming from a politician. It’s freaking me out a little bit, Albo, I’ve got to say.
ALBANESE: Sorry about that, I am what I am, as I’ve said. What you see is what you get. And I think that a range of things, one of the things I’ve been interested in of course is nation building and infrastructure. And infrastructure by definition takes a really long time to happen. So quite often if people just say no. One of the issues is the second Sydney airport that was first floated at the end of the 1940s and could never get done because any time a government would try and advance a project, the Opposition would say no. And I took a view that that wasn’t the way forward, that we needed to get it done. And there’s a whole range of things that are long term where that fits the bill. High Speed Rail, from Brisbane down to Sydney, down to Melbourne, is one of them as well. Clearly that will take longer than any term of government to get done. But it’s a project that’s worthwhile.
HOST: I reckon it’s exciting, too, because I think you’ll be our first Leader of the Opposition, possible Prime Minister, who’s also a part time DJ. You still getting up on the decks? I’ve seen you on the news spinning the ones and twos?
ALBANESE: I am, I played at the Espy in St Kilda during the election campaign as a fundraiser for Reclink, for the Community Cup.
HOST: What’s your dancefloor filler? What’s your big hit you play to get everyone out there?
ALBANESE: My big – I like, ‘The Killers’ – Mr Brightside.
HOST: Good song.
ALBANESE: And I always end the set with a good sing along. I play ‘Iggy Pop’ – The Passenger. I get people up on stage. I even got Penny Wong once to get up on stage and do the: ‘la, la, la, la, la-la-la-la’. That’ll look weird on a transcript.
HOST: Albo here you go then, right, you would have heard every year we do R&B Fridays, it’s our huge concert, right. Thousands of people turn up to it and we have a DJ that plays in between the big acts, like Kelly Rowland and stuff like that. I’m giving you the opportunity right now for you to get in front of nearly 40,000 people, in Brisbane. And I’m sure we can convince the other states to take it on …
HOST: You can go on tour …
HOST: That you are the DJ at R&B Fridays, ‘DJ Albo’.
ALBANESE: I’m the guy. You’re on.
HOST: Oh really?
HOST: You’re accepting?
ALBANESE: You’re on, absolutely.
HOST: Don’t forget, it does have to be R&B so you are going to have to change your playlist, that’s the only thing.
ALBANESE: Yeah I’m a bit of an Indie sort of rock guy. But, hey, I can do it.
HOST: Things are changing.
ALBANESE: I do play, also, in recent times, as a great tribute to the great Aretha, I play Respect and that gets people going.
HOST: That’s a great song. I would love that at R&B Fridays.
HOST: It’s not normally until November, so you’ve got a bit of time to work on it.
ALBANESE: Here’s the deal though.
ALBANESE: I’ll come and play, but you guys have to get up and sing: ‘R.E.S.P.E.C.T.’
HOST: Yeah done, lock it in.
HOST: ‘DJ Albo’, we’ll see you there in the VIP area.
ALBANESE: Lovely, look forward to it.
HOST: Nice to talk to you mate, thanks for calling through this morning.
ALBANESE: See you, team.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.