SUBJECTS: Speech to the National Press Club; Election Review Results.
LISA WILKINSON: Anthony Albanese is the current Labor Leader and the man who is hoping to turn this ship around, and he joins with us now. Albo, was all of this news to you, or did you actually know at the time that Bill Shorten was getting it all wrong?
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Oh, look well when the campaign was happening, we were getting feedback that was critical about some of the policies and it was obvious, I think, that when government changes in this country, there tends to be 20 seats change hands, not one or two. So I was concerned in the lead-up to the election campaign, and in the lead up to May 18, that we wouldn’t fall across the line. But I thought we would, like everyone else, you look at the opinion polls and they were telling us we were winning.
MONTY DIMOND: Now the report says that there was no strong message. If you had to go to the polls tomorrow, what would be the one message that you would say to voters?
ALBANESE: That Labor will have a plan for the economy and for jobs. And that we’ll engage with the future whether it’s about jobs or whether it be about climate change and dealing with the challenges that Australia has.
WALEED ALI: I’m interested in what you said about jobs and the economy, but also responding to climate change. It kind of echoes what the report saying – continued focus on climate change, support for renewable energy. Oh, but also support for Adani and coal mining. It feels like you’re kind of punching yourself in the face there. Like you’re trying to have it both ways.
ALBANESE: Now Waleed, what you’ve got to look at, a majority of the coal exports from Queensland are metallurgical coal. How do you build a wind turbine without that? How to use the mobile phone, the equipment that were recording this interview with? Steel, and you can’t have steel without metallurgical coal. The fact is…
ALI: Is that your argument on Adani?
ALBANESE: No. Adani has been approved. My argument about Adani is that it has been approved. The financing of the project, will wait and see what happens there. But you can’t have a circumstance whereby, you don’t identify where future opportunities are. And I gave to speech last week in Perth that outlines the job opportunities that are there. From areas like hydrogen as well as renewable energy and the fact is, we can be the manufacturing powerhouse of the world. And Ross Garnaut has produced a very good book called ‘Superpower’, just this week, outlining the opportunities that are there, from the transition to a clean energy economy.
ALI: Um, the idea of having it both ways though, it’s not just on climate, it seems to pervade the report. Um you want to stay progressive, but you want to win over the suburbs, you want to continue to be socially liberal, but then you…
ALBANESE: Why? Because you can’t live in the suburbs and be progressive, Waleed?
ALI: Well, no, no..
ALABNESE: Is that what you’re suggesting?
ALI: Let me flesh this out more. So, there was that element, then there also, you want to be socially liberal, but you also want to win back the Christian vote, which tends to be more a socially conservative vote. It seems like the strategy is “just convince everybody to like us” and I am not sure who your people are, at this point.
ALBANESE: That’s not, well that’s just not right at all, Waleed. And I suggest any fair reading of the report suggests that’s is not the case. But it’s no accident that Labor does want a broad constituency. Now, you can have, in terms of religious organisations, it’s about having respect for people of faith. That doesn’t mean you just agree with all of their views. I was the strong supporter of marriage equality, for example, and campaigned strongly for it for a long period of time, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t respect others’ rights to disagree with you. When it comes to climate change and jobs, good climate change policy will create jobs. Not cost jobs. I make no apologies for saying that and we have to have regard for people wherever they live. I’m not into this snobbish view, that somehow, if you live in the suburbs, you don’t care about climate change, you don’t care about the education of your kids or childcare, you don’t care about those issues. Of course, you do. It’s a matter of being prepared to put forward coherent arguments that seek to bring people with you in the argument, not yelling at people. And one of the concerns that’s happening, I think is a too much of politics at the moment, does consist of people shouting at people who disagree with you. That’s not the way to convince people of your argument.
JOEL CREASY: Albo, I want to move onto something a little bit more saucier. You said something earlier, that really took my attention at the Press Club, let’s have a look.
ALBANESE: (Cut to clip of Press Club speech) We didn’t create the review to tell us what we wanted to hear. Now unlike CLEO magazine, there’s no sealed section.
CREASY: I mean, Albo, I’m so intrigued! What would Labor’s sealed section look like?
ALBANESE: Who knows? But that’s why we’d keep it sealed.
CREASY: Well, I thought it might look a bit like this, let’s have a look. (Cuts to shot of “The Hot Albo” picture) I mean Va-va-voom! Check that out! Looking good Albo!
ALBANESE: Yeah, politics hasn’t aged me well.
CREASY: You look great!
WILKINSON: Just fine. Thanks a lot for your time this Friday evening, Albo.
ALBANESE: Good on you, have a great weekend folks.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.