Subjects; SA election; National Energy Guarantee; Di Natale bushfire comments; Greens Political Party.
HOST: We’ve got a brand new government in South Australia but no change to the line up on Two Tribes. Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese, good morning to you both.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day. What’s Christopher going to do now he can’t whinge about the South Australian Government?
PYNE: I can whinge about you instead.
ALBANESE: He’ll be devastated.
PYNE: I’ll be devo.
HOST: Totes devo, as the young people say. So Chris, you’re probably still basking in the happy afterglow of Saturday night. How’s it going to change the relationship between South Australia and Canberra, particularly on the question of energy?
PYNE: Well, Jay Weatherill’s schtick of course was to fight with Canberra because that was basically a politically motivated modus operandi. I actually used to work quite well with Jay Weatherill and Tom Koutsantonis on all the Defence industry side of things. I let them do their political thing which was to attack Canberra but now that the election is over I’m sure that things will return to a more balanced state. Of course Steven Marshall is a very good friend of mine and a very good friend of the Prime Minister’s. He’ll have an excellent relationship with Canberra and for a state like South Australia having a good relationship with Canberra is really important because we need federal investment in our state whether it’s in shipbuilding and submarine building, whether it’s roads and transport and ports and infrastructure. Not having a good relationship with the Federal Government really hurt South Australians. So I think we’ll see a whole different approach, which would be very refreshing.
HOST: We’ll get Albo’s take on this is a moment, but specifically on the question of the National Energy Guarantee, Steven Marshall’s signalled his willingness to sign up to the federal energy policy; it means it’ll likely go ahead. What is that going to mean for South Australia?
PYNE: Well every Labor state has agreed to the National Energy Guarantee being considered except for Jay Weatherill’s former government. The way the National Energy Guarantee works through the Council of Australian Government is that one parliament passes a bill and then all the other parliaments copy that bill, if you like; they say they pass the SA bill. So this will be quite important from the point of view of getting lower electricity prices and more reliable energy. Everyone has supported the idea of going ahead with the National Energy Guarantee ; even the ACTU and the Australian Conservation Foundation. The only hold-out state was South Australian Labor and now we can get on with it. It was a real travesty for the upper house in South Australia to try and block that. I don’t think Labor in South Australia would do that because it would be the first time since 1996 that an upper house in a state parliament had blocked a Council of Australian Governments submission.
HOST: What’s your take from Saturday, Albo? Is there a lesson for Federal Labor in what happened here? Because in hindsight you can probably…
ALBANESE: Yes. That after that after 16 years we probably won’t be re-elected.
HOST: So you reckon it was purely an ‘it’s time’ election?
ALBANESE: That was the big factor if you look at the outcome. Quite extraordinary that South Australian Labor after 16 years got a swing. I hope Biggles [Leon Bignell] is still hanging in there.
HOST: Yeah, he’s still a few votes in front.
ALBANESE: I’d rather be that than behind. I mean, that’s a remarkable result. Some people were tipping that he’d run third in that seat; that was very difficult. He needed a swing to win. The fact that people like Stephen Mulligan who are I think, outstanding; the fact that he’s still there. The fact that you’ve got a range of other people; Malinauskas, Koutsantonis, you’ve got a range of people, Susan Close, who will form the basis of the next South Australian Labor Government is pretty good. It’s a pretty good outcome under the circumstances.
HOST: Hey, just on another matter; Richard Di Natale made these remarkable comments yesterday morning where the fires are actually still underway in NSW and he came out and gave everyone a lecture about climate change and then doubled down and said that his critics were akin to the National Rifle Association and saying there’s never a good time to talk about climate issues. Can I get your thoughts from both of you about what’s going on with the Greens right now, particularly after what happened to them on Saturday in Victoria in the Batman by-election?
HOST: We just lost Albo, his line dropped out.
HOST: Oh, bummer. Over to you Chris.
PYNE: We’ll I’ll keep it going. I’ll do twice as good a job now, actually. Well obviously Richard Di Natale is under a bit of pressure. The Greens vote has come off in Tasmania, ACT, last Senate election, South Australia, the Batman by-election and his comment about the bushfires are quite frankly sick. The idea that these bushfires are occuring because of Australia’s response to climate change is embarrassingly anti-intellectual.
HOST: He was blaming the Adani mine for the bushfires yesterday, I heard.
PYNE: The Adani mine hasn’t even begun. It’s just…
PYNE: It shows a very under-pressure leader of the Greens. The truth is that we’re 1.3 percent of the world’s emissions. We have halved our emissions per capita in the last few years. That’s the policies of previous governments and the current government. We are not responsible for bushfires in New South Wales or Victoria and the Greens really need to get their act together. I almost think they’re on the way out and the reason is because of ridiculous remarks like that from Richard Di Natale.
HOST: What do you reckon, Albo? With the Greens are we seeing a sort of internal battle to the death between the treehuggers and the Occupy Wall Street camp?
ALBANESE: I do think this as an example whereby the Greens Political Party’s sloganeering and juvenile approach to politics is actually a threat to serious consideration of environmental issues. We know a couple of things. We know climate change is real. The scientists tell us that. We know also that as a result of climate change there are more extreme weather events including bushfires and cyclones. What we also know though is that bushfires and cyclones and extreme weather events have existed for a very, very long time and that you can’t say that any specific event is solely the cause of climate change. That’s just an anti-intellectual, juvenile response from Richard Di Natale.
At a time where, to their credit, whether it be Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten or Mike Kelly, the local Federal Member for Eden-Monaro, were quite rightly concentrating on the impact that this fire has had on the people of the south coast of NSW around Tathra or the people in Victoria. That was the appropriate response of political leaders. Not this juvenile response, let alone the doubling down of drawing an analogy with the NRA, when everyone in mainstream politics in Australia supports strong gun control. I mean it’s one of the things, thank goodness, that we’ve kept politics away from in this country.
PYNE: I noticed, by the way, that Anthony and I both used the phrase ‘anti-intellectual’. There might be something in the suggestion that he and I were separated at birth.
HOST: Is it Canberra speak for ‘dumb’ or is it that you both got the same phrase-of-the-day calendar?
ALBANESE: Only our wives can tell us apart.
HOST: Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese, on that note, Two Tribes for this Wednesday morning.
HOST: You couldn’t accuse Albo of plagiarism because he wasn’t even on the line.
HOST: They’ve been spending far too much time together. Like you and I Will, they’re going to end up finishing each other’s sentences.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.