ABC – 7.30 PROGRAM
THURSDAY, 23 AUGUST, 2018
Subject: Liberal Party leadership crisis, Labor Party.
LEIGH SALES: A short time ago senior Labor MP Anthony Albanese joined me from Canberra Airport. Anthony Albanese, it’s self-evident in straight political terms that this is good for Labor, but what do you think it means for the country?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well it’s certainly bad for the country, the fact that for the fourth term in a row we’ve seen an elected prime minister deposed by their own party. I think that is adding to the disillusion that much of the Australian population has with mainstream politics.
SALES: We saw how it played out initially for Julia Gillard and the transactional costs associated with that. Why does this keep happening in the major parties?
ALBANESE: Well it’s quite extraordinary that the events of this week, I mean this week we’ve seen today the Government literally put its hand up and say governing is just too hard. They’ve got a majority on the floor of the House of Representatives. But today they abandoned the Parliament. What we’re seeing here is a collapse in the dynamics of the Liberal Party so that the hard right of the Liberal Party are just saying if we can’t run it will destroy it.
SALES: Well you mentioned before the numbers on the floor of the House of Representatives. It is obviously a very precarious situation and they could easily lose control of their numbers there depending how things play out. Is there any way for Labor to test that beyond a no-confidence motion? Is that what likely lies ahead?
ALBANESE: Well we’ll see what happens if Parliament comes back. I think that it’s untenable for whoever leads what is now a rabble of a Government. They’re going to inherit a rubble of what’s left of their own Coalition and it’s untenable for them to do anything, I think, other than to call an election and let the Australian people have a say. If Parliament is brought back, then Labor will consider all of our options. But given that they’ve been incapable of governing, even though they have an absolute majority on the floor of the House of Representatives, it’s pretty hard to see after this conflict this week how they will survive a day, let alone a week.
SALES: So does that mean Labor is preparing for an election within the next couple of months?
ALBANESE: Well, Labor has been preparing for some time. We’re ready Leigh. We’ve got candidates in the field. We’ve got our policies we’ve been announcing essentially for five years. We’ve done the detailed work in Opposition to prepare for Government.
SALES: Is it a foregone conclusion that we’re looking at Prime Minister Shorten?
ALBANESE: No, you can never take these things for granted. But we believe that people will walk away from a Coalition that is in disarray, that has said today – we don’t have to say it – they’ve said today that they’re not capable of governing the nation and therefore, as the alternative government, I think we enter into a campaign, whenever it’s called, in a strong position.
SALES: Anthony Albanese, thanks for joining us this evening.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
THURSDAY, 23 AUGUST, 2018