Subjects; Milo Yiannopoulos, Citizenship, Manus Island
LAURA JAYES: Let’s go back here to Parliament where Milo Yiannopoulos has been today. The Shadow Minister Anthony Albanese joins me here in the studio. Let’s not spend too much time on this guy…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good idea.
JAYES: Labor staffers turned up to this event. What do you make of that?
ALBANESE: Well you know, the bloke’s a tool and I wouldn’t have wasted a second on him myself.
JAYES: What do you say to some of those Labor staffers though, and the Greens protesters that turned up and made this into an event.
ALBANESE: That’s what he wants.
JAYES: Ok, well let’s move onto the High Court then. Katy Gallagher, she won’t refer herself. Labor says they won’t be doing that. Why not?
ALBANESE: Well what Katy did, of course, was to make the effort, put in best endeavours to renounce her citizenship and that’s what the precedent is, that you have to make that effort to do just that, to be just an Australian citizen. See, if the High Court was to rule that that wasn’t good enough, what they would be opening up is the opportunity for another country to determine who could sit here by simply sitting on an application for a period of time. And that’s why the High Court has made precedents when it has looked at this matter; have people tried to denounce their citizenship? And that’s why we think that, because Labor has those processes in place, that all of the Labor people will be eligible to be in the Parliament.
JAYES: That’s great your processes can be iron-clad, but your process is only as good as the information being fed into it and as you say the High Court needs to see that effort being put in. It is reasonable steps. But that’s not for you to decide, that’s for the High Court to decide isn’t it?
ALBANESE: But the reasonable steps have been made.
JAYES: You think they’re reasonable, the High Court might not.
ALBANESE: We certainly do think they’re reasonable and the High Court has precedent. I mean the people who got knocked out, Barnaby Joyce and others, argued essentially ignorance. They argued that they didn’t know and that therefore they weren’t responsible. The High Court clearly says …
JAYES: So you’re essentially saying the Sykes and Cleary precedent remains for this case for Katy Gallagher…
ALBANESE: Yes, absolutely.
JAYES: And that the Malcolm Roberts was such an outlier it doesn’t matter because he’s emailing the wrong person?
ALBANESE: Well Malcolm Roberts emailed nobody. He sent an email that didn’t go anywhere to an address that actually didn’t exist. He didn’t pay a fee, he didn’t do what was necessary to renounce and indeed pretended he’d made efforts that simply weren’t there. And, indeed, the High Court judges you might recall, got very cross with his legal representation for the way in which they tried to turn the High Court processes into a circus. Everything Malcolm Roberts touches turns to dust.
JAYES: Is Sam Dastyari becoming a problem?
ALBANESE: Sam Dastyari has paid a price for the mistakes he made.
JAYES: What price?
ALBANESE: Well he’s now a backbench Senator.
JAYES: He was Deputy Opposition Whip in the Senate. Is that really a punishment that fits the crime? Not a crime, but you know metaphorical crime.
ALBANESE: It’s not a crime. He was a Shadow Minister and he lost that Shadow Ministry. He’s now lost it, essentially over the same issue, he’s lost the Deputy Whip’s position.
JAYES: Sure, but he’s becoming a political problem for Labor is he not?
ALBANESE: Well he’s a backbench Senator. This has been an issue.
JAYES: A very influential one.
ALBANESE: It’s been an unfortunate issue, but it’s been dealt with strongly by the Leader in asking for Sam to step aside from his duties. He remains an elected Senator. I think Sam is a young man who has made mistakes. Other people have made mistakes in the past. He’s been punished for that. He has paid a price and I think people should really move on.
JAYES: To say this is unfortunate really undercuts how serious these allegations are though doesn’t it?
ALBANESE: There’s a range of issues here. The recent issue is; is it the case that Sam Dastyari, the allegation is that Sam Dastyari somehow used information, that he didn’t have by the way, in terms of national security, to relay that to this gentleman in Sydney. The fact is that the Government has been out there talking about national security issues – about that very issue – to the whole world. So the allegation is that Sam Dastyari might have told someone. The reality is that we do know the Government’s been out there talking about surveillance of people and national security issues for anyone who wanted to hear it.
JAYES: So are you concerned that Sam Dastyari might have been under surveillance or still is?
ALBANESE: Well we don’t know. That’s the point. The point is here that the Government and in particular the Attorney-General have been quite happy to be out there in an unprecedented way talking about surveillance of people and the results of surveillance. It’s quite extraordinary and the Government needs to, I think, explain how this information got out there. We asked about it in the Parliament yesterday and got no answers.
JAYES: OK. Well if I can move on to the Parliament, the Government lost another vote on the floor of the House yesterday. Now this is probably not such a huge deal because it happened six months ago, so, you know, it didn’t break a 50-year precedent. But this is a stunt from Labor isn’t it?
ALBANESE: No it wasn’t. It was a return of a motion from the Senate that had been adopted that the Government brought on for debate. And so the Government knew it was coming. It was carried in the Senate in the morning about calling for an important issue that Australians are discussing about what happens to the men on Manus and whether Australia should accept the offer of New Zealand to settle 150 people there. Now we had a debate. I spoke in the debate and made a contribution to the debate.
Then the vote was held. I thought that it was possible that maybe one or two of them had found their conscience and needed to actually act like the Government and provide a partial resolution to providing a future for these men.
It turned out that wasn’t the case and Steven Ciobo in particular, I think, used unfortunate language when talking about the indefinite detention of people on Manus when he said he was detained. We don’t know why he was detained, but he was detained from voting. I was the Leader of the House in a minority Parliament where towards the end we had 70 Labor members on the floor of the Parliament. We didn’t lose votes. This mob lose votes. They lost them within three days of the election and they’ve lost them earlier this year and now they lost a vote yesterday again on the floor of the Parliament. They simply aren’t capable of governing. They should just give up and go to an election.
JAYES: That goes a bit far doesn’t it? Incapable of governing.
ALBANESE: Well, they are not governing. They act like they are the Opposition. They cancelled Parliament last week because it was too hard for them. They lose votes on the floor of the Parliament. They still, with regard to the Manus issue, say: Oh well, Labor did, Labor was …
JAYES: Labor did.
ALBANESE: They are in their fifth year. They are an Opposition in exile on the Government benches and that is the way that they behave, rather than providing real solutions to issues. They have responsibilities to settle people who are on Manus and they are not doing it.
JAYES: OK, that’s a longer conversation we will have another time Anthony Albanese. We’ll leave it there. Thank you for your time.
ALBANESE: Happy to do so. Thanks Laura.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.