Nov 24, 2017

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show

Subjects; Cabinet leaks; Turnbull Government chaos; 10 Year Anniversary of the election of the Rudd Labor Government; John Howard religious freedoms comments

KARL STEFANOVIC: Gee, hasn’t it been a big week in politics and it only gets worse doesn’t it? Fresh Cabinet leaks, a call for tax cuts and more turmoil on Manus Island. There’s plenty to talk about. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join me now. Good morning guys.


CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl. Thanks for the new time.

KARL STEFANOVIC: It is a new time.

ALBANESE: We’re moving to prime time.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, you’re in prime time. You’re in prime time. Christopher, to you first of all. Have you been leaking again from Cabinet?

PYNE: Well, ‘again’ is a little bit defamatory Karl but I’ll let you go because I know you don’t mean it. No, I don’t discuss what goes on in Cabinet. It’s a confidential room and on the tenth anniversary of the election of Kevin Rudd we know what a chaotic government looks like. It was called the Rudd Government and it was followed by the Gillard Government and we’re certainly not in that state at the moment.

STEFANOVIC: Well you are, because you’re leaking like a sieve. Julie Bishop has called for an investigation. Do you support an investigation?

PYNE:  Well, I’m happy for there to be an investigation. If they want to have one that is absolutely fine with me. Often those investigations unfortunately don’t go anywhere because people who do this kind of thing you know usually cover their tracks pretty well. But I can tell you right now that I’m not going to discuss what goes on in Cabinet. I don’t discuss it. The Cabinet needs to be tight and united which it has been. We’ve been a good solid methodical government and we’re going to keep doing that right through to the next election.

STEFANOVIC: You’re not now though. I mean, as soon as Cabinet starts leaking then it’s the end.

PYNE:  Every now and then these these kinds of things happen and they’re certainly not the end of the world. What we are doing though is getting on with delivering income tax cuts, 371,000 jobs, keeping inflation and interest rates low, doing things around electricity and energy that mean that people’s prices can come down. That’s what the public care about, protecting the borders, not all of this static.

STEFANOVIC: I’ll come back to you because the static is consuming the government and it is eating away at you. Okay, Albo for you. You would know what leaking from Cabinet does to a government. Your thoughts on that first of all.

ALBANESE: This is a chaotic government. This is a government at war with itself. They’re so bad they have to stop Parliament meeting. I mean this is quite extraordinary, that next week Parliament should be meeting and discussing the future of the nation. It’s a government that’s put it’s hand up and said ‘we’ve got no legislation worth discussing, we’ll just wait for the Senate to deal with the marriage equality legislation and then we’ll reconvene as a Parliament’. They’re scared of themselves. They’re scared of getting the Liberal Party in a room because of what it might mean. And it is absolutely chaotic.

STEFANOVIC: They’re calling Anthony Albanese. Anthony Albanese, your plane is about to take off. Christopher, between us Christopher – we’re just going to wind that audio down just for a fraction. Christopher, you must know – you must know who it is. You don’t have to share who it is, but you must know who it is. Are you on to them?

PYNE:  Karl, I have not wasted one moment thinking about that issue.

STEFANOVIC:  Of course you have.

PYNE: I’m focused on what the public focused on. I know that Anthony and the media generally want to create this sense of crisis and chaos. It sells newspapers. It gets the ratings. You’re all competing with social media. But we are just getting on with it. Today, the Prime Minister and I will make an announcement with Marise Payne about another very significant defence investment in Australia. That’s good stuff. That’s what the public are interested in. They’re not just interested in the commentariat wondering about what’s happening at the end of another political year. I call this part of the year the silly season where all these kinds of comments get written, all these big columns about the end of the world. We’re just getting on with it.

STEFANOVIC:  Can I just break it to you.

ALBANESE:  Others call it the killing season.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. Okay. Anthony?

PYNE: Well you did.

ALBANESE:  And you did when you when Turnbull knocked off Abbott, before that when Abbott knocked off Turnbull.

PYNE: How did you go with that, Gillard and Rudd? Simon Crean. Kim Beazley.

ALBANESE:  The fact is that the Rudd Government we celebrate today, we celebrate today one decade since taking office and the fact is –

STEFANOVIC:  You are both as bad as each other.

ALBANESE:  In spite of the internals, we kept governing. We kept governing. We dealt with the global financial crisis.

STEFANOVIC:  Really quickly Christopher, John Howard says Malcolm Turnbull’s argument that religious freedoms will lead to Sharia law is a disgraceful fear campaign. John Howard has not been quiet about Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.

PYNE: Well, that’s not true. John Howard has been very supportive of Malcolm.

STEFANOVIC:  Not today.

PYNE:  Well, he’s not talking about Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. I haven’t seen those comments so it’s hard for me to actually comment on them Karl, but what I’m concerned about –

STEFANOVIC: It says Malcolm Turnbull’s argument that religious freedom will lead to Sharia law is a disgraceful fear campaign.

PYNE: Well I think we have to be very careful in trying to enshrine religious freedoms in say, a marriage act, that we don’t do something inadvertent which we didn’t mean to do. So that’s why we have to proceed with caution. Now, next week the Senate will debate the marriage equality bill, the following week the House of Representatives will do that., and it’s passed by Christmas, which we assume it will be. That will bring marriage equality. Then, in a separate process we have announced that Philip Ruddock will review religious freedoms in Australia to make sure that there are no inhibitions on religious freedom. We’ve got to be able to act. That’s a methodical process.

ALBANESE: You didn’t announce it, Christopher. Sharri Markson announced it on the front page of The Telegraph, that’s who announced it.

PYNE:  There he goes again.

STEFANOVIC:  We’ve got to go, gentlemen. Gentlemen. We have got to go. Thank you for your time today. That’s your plane leaving, Albo.

ALBANESE:  I’m coming to Adelaide, Christopher. Look out!

PYNE:  My vote will go up again. Every time you come it improves.

STEFANOVIC: We’ll see you guys soon.