SUBJECTS: Leadership of the Australian Labor Party; violence against women; Adani.
DAVID KOCH: A new man in the top job, Anthony Albanese has been elected unopposed as the Party’s Leader, nine days after the Party lost the unlosable election. Mr Albanese is vowing to hold the Morrison Government to account, strongly and forcefully. He has listed climate change and Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians as his top priorities. The new Labor Leader will be confirmed at a caucus meeting Thursday with Victorian Richard Marles expected to be his Deputy. Anthony Albanese joins me now. Good morning to you. Congratulations. How will …
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION ELECT: Good morning, Kochie. Thank you.
KOCH: How will an Albanese Opposition be different to a Shorten Opposition?
ALBANESE: One of the things that you can find out about that, is by looking at my record. My first priority is actually the economy and jobs. I’m an economist by training. My main focus over the last decade has been on building infrastructure. What I want to do now is to build relationships. Quite clearly people have conflict fatigue. Where the Government gets it right, I will give them support. One of the things we should be working on, in a bipartisan way, is combating violence against women. Your last report was spot on.
ALBANESE: It’s just an outrage that women don’t feel safe at night and we must do much better as a society, that has a role to lead, but we all have a roll.
KOCH: How? What are you proposing in this, then?
ALBANESE: I think the idea of having a national summit is a constructive one, and a good one. It’s one in which we can bring together experts to just talk about a way forward. To listen to, not just to women but also to men, about how this is occurring. And quite clearly one of the things we need to do is, not just the incredible tragedies that we were talking about before, but the rate of domestic violence in the home is just catastrophic.
KOCH: You’re off to Queensland today. You lost Queensland in the election, a big swing against you mainly from coal miners, your heart and soul, the workers up there. Yesterday at your press conference, you refused to support Adani, it’s got to be a big issue? You’re going to have to take a stance on it.
ALBANESE: No, what I said yesterday, Kochie, to be very clear, is that we live in a market economy. The Government’s role is to do environmental approvals, the environmental approvals at the federal level for Adani have been done. It’s a matter for the State Government to finalise their approvals and then it’s up to markets to determine what occurs.
KOCH: So you’ll back it though, whatever the market decides you’ll back it?
ALBANESE: As long as the environmental approvals are there, then it’s up to the markets to determine where investment occurs. And one of the issues that I pointed out yesterday, that’s just a fact, is that there’s been an issue with financing of the Adani project that’s gone on as you know, Kochie, for many years.
KOCH: Yeah, and that’s largely because of the political uncertainty as well. So now you’ll say, well you’ll support political certainty and let them get on with it if they can raise the cash?
ALBANESE: The political certainty has happened. It’s been through the EPBC Act. Not once, but twice, as I said. Then it’s up to the Queensland Government to finalise its approvals. We live in a market economy, and the truth is that this is a market that is in transition. We’re seeing, increasingly, a use of renewables around the world, but coal is continuing to have a role. We didn’t go to an election saying zero emissions by 2030, or 100 per cent renewables by tomorrow. That’s the Green’s position. We need to be practical and have common sense about this.
KOCH: Okay. You weren’t that supportive, though, of coal which got a lot of the miners offside. Anthony Albanese, appreciate your time.
ALBANESE: Thanks for having me on.