SUBJECTS: Federal Election.
JON FAIRSY: It’s great that Labor Leader, Anthony Albanese who is visiting Tassie and in particular the Bass and Braddon electorates has taken some time out to have a chat with me. Albo thank you very much. Where are you this morning?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’m in Launnie, I’m just next to the town hall and I’ve got a meeting with the mayor at 8:30 but before then I’ve got a bit of a TV cross from outside the town hall here.
FAIRSY: So you’re a busy man and I said this earlier on the show, I think it’s wonderful that you have wasted no time in coming on down here to try and explore what went wrong for Labor. In your opinion, what went wrong because you saw backlash from your traditional core voting group, your blue collar workers and stuff in Braddon and Bass here in Tasmania and other parts of the country, well what went wrong?
ALBANESE: Well what I’m doing is listening to people here yesterday and then again today in various meetings I have today with the council and public meetings where people can come along and have a chat. Quite clearly, the dividend imputation issue hurt us here. From people both who were affected but importantly also from people who weren’t who thought they might be. And that had an impact here. I think frankly we got some of our messaging wrong and we have to concede that, there’s no point looking at the score board after the match and blaming the umpire or blaming the conditions on the ground. You have to actually accept the outcome and talk with people and ensure that we can do better. We certainly have great candidates in Ross Hart and Justine Keay, they have worked their butt off to represent Northern Tasmania in the national parliament. So I certainly can’t fault their effort and their diligence in representing their local community. So I think we got some of the central messaging wrong and for that I was a key part of Labor’s team so I have to accept my share of the responsibility.
FAIRSY: Albo could I ask you about some of the policies that you went to the election under Bill Shorten’s leadership there. For example, climate change, is that dead and buried now? Your stance and policy you put forward on negative gearing changes, is that, are they two off the top of my head, are they dead in the water now
ALBANESE: Well look specific policies are up for debate but values aren’t. And one of the values is that we do have to listen to science on climate change. We can’t just pretend that it’s not happening and we can’t pretend that we don’t have a responsibility to act. But what’s more, if we act it should create jobs and create economic activity and we can see that right around the country with the jobs that they’ve created in renewables. One of the concerns I have is that we used to of course produce wind turbines in large numbers in Northern Tasmania. We’ve dropped off, we haven’t taken advantage of making sure we value add and one of the things that I’m concerned about as a nation is that quite often Australians are brilliant, we invited Wi-Fi, we invented so much of the technology that has gone onto PV solar panels, we are brilliant at inventions so what we’re not always good at is maximising the value right here in our own country to make sure that jobs are created here off the back of it.
FAIRSY: Albo, can I ask you, what sort of leader do you hope to be? Now that you are well and truly, the pressure is on you and your party to bounce back in three years’ time at the next one, so what sort of leader do you hope to be?
ALBANESE: Well what I say is what you see is what you get. This is my fourth visit here this year. No leader from the north island has visited the south island here in Tasmania more than me over the last decade and more. I’m a regular visitor here, I think, I love Tasmania, I love the straight talking that Tasmanians will engage in with you, you’re very welcoming and I want to be inclusive, I want to be consultative, I want to make a difference to this country and my concern is that we got some things wrong which means that I’m not sure what this Government’s third term agenda is. I did want to be in a position to fix dental health for pensioners, I did want to be in a position to have increased funding of schools and hospitals and indeed of infrastructure. Many of the infrastructure upgrades, I’m most proudest of are here in Tasmania. So unfortunately we’re in opposition, that means three more years of hard work and hard yakka. I’m up for it and I hope to bring Tasmanians with me and to secure both seats back at the next election.
FAIRSY: And Albo one thing I think is great and well done to you on supporting Senator Carol Brown to basically be your eyes and ears in Tassie with a Shadow Assistant Minister for Tassie role which is a good thing and hopefully, hopefully, that move pays off because you know, you need Tasmania at the next election to get you there. Fingers crossed that does happen for you as far as you’re concerned obviously being the Labor Leader.
ALBANESE: Well I have great confidence in Carol. She has been a friend of mine for a very long time. We met each other when we were much younger in the 1980s and I can’t think of anyone better to really be my eyes and ears here in Tasmania when I’m not here to make sure that across the entire state she is able to put forward what is happening here, what needs to be done along with of course Julie Collins in the Cabinet. I think that, in spite of the result on May 18 when the Coalition picked up two seats of Bass and Braddon, they still haven’t got any Tasmanian representation in the Cabinet. Well Julie Collins will be a strong voice in my Shadow Cabinet for Tasmania.
FAIRSY: Well Anthony Albanese, Albo, the Leader of the Labor Party, congratulations on being elected and good luck with the role. It’s a big challenge for you and I sincerely thank you for your time this morning.
ALBANESE: Thanks very much Fairsy, look forward to talking to you more over the next few years and beyond.
FAIRSY: For sure.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.