Apr 29, 2016

Transcript of television interview – The Today Show

Subjects: Manus Island, Malcolm Turnbull’s cities “announcement”, Labor’s Climate Change Action Plan, South Sydney Rabbitohs

KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the show, joining us here in our studio Anthony Albanese and in Adelaide, Christopher Pyne.

Chris, to you first of all, The Age reports you are facing compensation claims of up to $1 billion by the people detained at Manus Island.

Manus is a mess. Are you a prepared to pay that?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Karl, there’s a lot of wild speculation about all sorts of things to do with Manus Island.

One thing is for sure, the Turnbull Government will not be changing our border protection policies to suit the people smugglers.

We stopped the boats after 50,000 boat arrivals under Labor.

The Manus Island detainees will not be coming to Australia, we’re not going to restart the people smuggler’s business.

On the other Labor yesterday were at sixes and sevens, they had half a dozen backbenchers coming out saying that the Manus Island detainees should be brought to Australia which is precisely the wrong message that we want the people smugglers to hear.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. Just on that point, will any of them be coming to Australia?



STEFANOVIC: For Anthony.

ALBANESE: That was my question, Christopher.

PYNE: Sorry Anthony.

ALBANESE: No. We support offshore processing. But I believe that you can be tough on people smugglers without being weak on humanity.

Quite clearly, the Government needs to have a plan for settlement of these people. They need a strategy.

What we saw yesterday right here on the Today Show was that Peter Dutton certainly doesn’t have a plan, even though he conceded that he knew this was coming for months.

STEFANOVIC: That is true. He was at sixes and sevens yesterday Christopher.

PYNE: Well, Karl, the truth is that the last time Labor had control of our borders we had 800 boat arrivals and 50,000 people.

The people who are on Manus Island are a legacy from the Labor Government. So it is lovely to hear the honeyed words of Anthony Albanese this morning.

The truth is that the Turnbull Government has the policies to protect our borders and Peter Dutton will have a solution. But those people will not be coming here.

But under Labor we had half a dozen Labor backbenchers yesterday saying that Labor should scrap the border protection policies and open the borders again.

STEFANOVIC: I counted four yesterday. Maybe there are two more. Melissa Parke, Jill Hall, Lisa Singh and Sue Lines.

That is a problem for you if you have dissent in your own ranks on this policy.

ALBANESE: Not at all. People speaking their mind is not a problem for any political party.

That just shows that they are people who have conviction and are prepared to put their views.

Christopher is a part of the Government. This is a problem for the Government.

They’re the three years into their term, towards the end and they’re still on every question responding with “oh, about Labor”.

Every question that you ask a government minister –

STEFANOVIC: To be fair you did get them in the mess with Manus Island.

ALBANESE: No. This Government is responsible for not settling these people.

We had an agreement with Papua New Guinea that was for 12 months for a reason – because we never ever intended to have indefinite detention.

The problem here is that the Government has no plan for resettlement of these people, because it’s alienated the UNHCR.

STEFANOVIC: Chris, if you are you down a billion and they sue you, that may or may not happen, but you might have to borrow from Malcolm Turnbull’s government-backed infrastructure bank designed to fund major projects.

That has been leaked today, shock horror, something from the Budget has been leaked across all the newspapers. Is that true? That infrastructure plan?

PYNE: We have a plan for better cities that means that people only have a half an hour maximum to commute to work or to commute to wherever they’re going.

Malcolm Turnbull being a smart man has worked out different ways to try and fund that infrastructure, with the state governments, with private partnerships, with Federal Government support, potentially with bonds, with loans.

Because there have to be lots of different ways to support this infrastructure.

Now, luckily we have Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister, because he has a plan for better cities, with Bill Shorten –

STEFANOVIC: It’s only a bit of froth.

PYNE: – return to the Rudd Gillard Rudd period which we don’t want to return to.

ALBANESE: See if you can stick to your policies.

STEFANOVIC: It is only a little bit of froth on the top of a milkshake. It’s not actually a milkshake.

PYNE: Ah, well, Karl, you will see the full Budget on Tuesday night and I think the public will be very pleased with the plan that we have, built around things like innovation, defence procurement, to drive jobs and growth. On the other hand, we have Bill Shorten and the Labor Party mired internally –

STEFANOVIC: Alright, alright.

ALBANESE: When it comes to infrastructure, it’s my portfolio. I finally get a question on my portfolio!

STEFANOVIC: Well hurry up, go on.

ALBANESE: The fact is that the current Government have cut funds for projects like Cross River Rail, the Melbourne Metro, Perth public transport, Tonsley Park in Adelaide, and now they are saying some time in the future we might have some borrowing and we can get all of this for free.

It’s a nonsense policy. When it comes to 30 minute cities that in my speech to the National Press Club a two years ago. In 2014.

STEFANOVIC: Chris, just a second. Albo, how are you possibly going to sell your emissions trading scheme to pensioners, when we know now that power is going to go up?

ALBANESE: We don’t know that at all.

In fact, Karl, what we know is that the electricity providers are saying that real energy prices will go down in terms of retail between now and 2020, with the policy or without our policy.

That’s what the actual service providers are saying. This is the same old scare campaign from the Coalition.

What we know is that if you increase the amount of renewable energy then you have, in terms of the old supply-demand kicks in, it puts downward pressure on prices, and that’s what we’re about.

STEFANOVIC: So prices won’t go up?

ALBANESE: That’s what the energy providers themselves are saying.

PYNE: For goodness sake Anthony, you can’t introduce a carbon tax which last time pushed up electricity prices by 15% and then claim that prices will come down. The last thing the steel industry needs right now is a carbon tax.

ALBANESE: Tell you what. All those people out there who were promised downwards prices on energy, how many people out there are saying thanks to the election of the Coalition Government my energy prices went down? That’s what they promised.

PYNE: [inaudible] 15% in the first quarter after they scrapped the carbon tax.

STEFANOVIC: You guys have been dancing around the big issues all year.

ALBANESE: He hasn’t talked about his Government’s policy at all.

STEFANOVIC: Budget next week, we can fire up again next week like South Sydney last night.

ALBANESE: That’s mean. That’s just mean.

PYNE: Poor old South Sydney. Anthony you’re a bad luck charm, that’s the problem.

STEFANOVIC: Aww. That’s uncharitable.

ALBANESE: Souths won the Premiership in 2014. When was the last Crows victory?

STEFANOVIC: Alright, we gotta go, we gotta go. Take it over, Sylvia.

PYNE: It was a while ago.

STEFANOVIC: You two need to sort yourselves out.

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: A highly uncivilised way to end that segment, gentlemen. Go and have a long, hard look at yourselves.