Subjects; David Feeney; Batman; citizenship; Labor Party; tax cuts.
KARL STEFANOVIC: And Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now for the first time this year. Good morning guys. Nice to see you all.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl. It’s nice to be back. I’m just sorry we’re not being interviewed by the lovely Georgie Gardner, but hopefully next week she can put us on the griller.
STEFANOVIC: She’ll put you on the grill, don’t you worry about that.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’ll give you the tip, Christopher. Don’t begin by sledging the person who is interviewing us.
PYNE: Karl knows I love him more than life itself. I love him more than my lugagge.
STEFANOVIC: Even though you are sucking up, I’m going straight to you, Albo. David Feeney exiting stage left. They’re calling it ‘Fexit’. Well, they’re not really, I just made it up. Good start to the year for you, Albo.
ALBANESE: Well, it’s business that’s an overhang from last year. People are sick of the citizenship debacle.
STEFANOVIC: But that being said, you must’ve said to me on at least, I reckon a dozen occasions you had no dramas in your party.
ALBANESE: That was my view. I wasn’t aware of David Feeney’s circumstances. Remember this, Karl. We voted to refer anyone with any doubt last year in the House of Representatives and the government opposed that resolution.
STEFANOVIC: Anyone else going?
ALBANESE: I would certainly hope not. One is one too many.
STEFANOVIC: Now you’re going to have dramas with that by-election with the Greens?
ALBANESE: It’s certainly one that we should win. We’ll put up a strong candidate. We’re in a position as the alternative government, that the Greens will never be. They can say whatever they like, but they can’t achieve things because they’ll never be sitting on the government benches.
STEFANOVIC: And Bill Shorten’s got massive factional problems according to The Australian this morning. Is it going to tear the Party apart?
ALBANESE: Not at all. We’ve been a very united Party for a number of years now – unlike the Government that has been a mess with the ongoing, rolling maul that is Abbott v. Turnbull.
STEFANOVIC: It is dramas, though, for the Party.
ALBANESE: Not at all. This is something that we’ll just deal with. From time to time there are by-elections. We’ve got one in Batman. It’s a challenge for us. It’s one we can win. It’s one we should win.
STEFANOVIC: Okay Christopher, you can come in there if you want. Any comments?
PYNE: Well, Bill Shorten’s totally mishandled the citizenship issue. On the 14th of August last year, Malcolm Turnbull wrote to him saying ‘we’ll give you the chance to refer any of you members about whom you have doubts’. Bill Shorten wrote back the same day, full of braggadocio, saying that he had nothing to be concerned about and that we should get on with it.
Well, he’s allowed the David Feeney issue to drag over from 2017 to 2018, and now he has problems with Susan Lamb, the Member for Longman. She’s still a UK citizen. Her barrister even admits it. She shouldn’t be sitting in the Parliament and if Bill Shorten wasn’t so weak he would ask her to resign and there’d be a by-election in Longman, just like there was in Bennelong with John Alexander. He did the right thing. Bill Shorten won’t do it.
STEFANOVIC: Why doesn’t he do it?
ALBANESE: Susan Lamb’s circumstances are very different. Susan Lamb does have evidence and it’s agreed that she wrote to the appropriate authorities to renounce her UK citizenship.
STEFANOVIC: Let’s move on. I note with interest the Prime Minister yesterday. Is he going to do a Trump here? Is he going to reduce taxes?
PYNE: Well Karl, it’s in our DNA in the Coalition to reduce taxes.
STEFANOVIC: Are you going to do it?
PYNE: That’s why we’re trying to reduce company tax, but Labor keeps stopping us doing so. The Budget of course, we are ahead of schedule in terms of repairing Labor’s deficit that they left us with, which is good news as well. The economy is certainly recovering.
STEFANOVIC: Are you going to cut taxes?
PYNE: Well if we can of course, we’d always like to cut taxes.
STEFANOVIC: How are you going to get it through the Senate?
PYNE: Well, the Senate should respect the mandate of the Coalition who won the last election. I think Bill Shorten’s chaos theory, which is if we create an absolute mess, somehow that means we’ll win the next election is coming unstuck. The wheels are falling off the Shorten jalopy. We’re seeing that with the citizenship issue. Susan Lamb is still a UK citizen. She’s the Member for Longman. She will go at some point. It’s just a question of how long Bill Shorten takes to cut her loose. He did this with Sam Dastyari as well. So his leadership is being questioned. And Anthony Albanese, you asked him how his year had got off to a good start. Actually, Anthony’s got off to a very good start. A very good start indeed.
STEFANOVIC: I see what you’re implying there. That Anthony will be taking over from Bill Shorten as Leader of the Opposition. When is that going to happen?
ALBANESE: It’s not happening.
STEFANOVIC: Well, as you just heard the wheels are falling of Bill Shorten’s jalopy.
ALBANESE: I will be a Minister in a Shorten Labor Government. The fact is that Christopher is struggling as Leader of the House to paper over the cracks on his side. Every time they come up with even a thought bubble on policy, you have Craig Kelly and Tony Abbott out there shooting it down and then they back off.
STEFANOVIC: Have you missed each other?
PYNE: I have actually.
ALBANESE: We ran into each the other day.
PYNE: Quite by accident. He was promoting himself at the ABC.
ALBANESE: And what were you doing, Christopher?
STEFANOVIC: He was having a look at the cabinets.
PYNE: I was defending the government’s position, of course.
ALBANESE: Which is always very hard.
PYNE: It was nice to see him. He’s lost bit of weight, actually, which is another reason Bill Shorten should be worried.
STEFANOVIC: You are peculiar.
ALBANESE: That’s just one of the words to describe Christopher.
PYNE: He’s had his suits dry cleaned, he’s lost a bit of weight. Looking dangerous.
ALBANESE: I’ve got a new tie today.
PYNE: Danger man. Danger man.
STEFANOVIC: There you go.
GEORGIE GARDNER: Karl, I think they need to go for a ride in Bill Shorten’s jalopy, just quietly.
STEFANOVIC: The wheels have fallen off, though.
GARDNER: That’s true.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.