Apr 21, 2017

Transcript of television interview – The Today Show

Subjects: Tony Abbott vs. Malcolm Turnbull, Labor’s housing affordability policy

KARL STEFANOVIC: Yeah, it is all that big build up. It’s been another big week in Australian politics. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join me now. Good morning guys.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you

PYNE: Good morning Anthony

STEFANOVIC: Christopher, your party seems to have a big problem. Malcolm and Tony, toxic with a capital T.

PYNE: Ha Karl, nice try but no we don’t. Malcolm Turnbull is doing a sterling job as the leader.


PYNE: We’ve had a terrific week on the front foot on things like the abolition of the 457 visa, the changes to the citizenship test, this weekend we have the visit from Vice-President Pence from the United States and Malcolm has been on the world stage and he does a great job when he does that. So Malcolm has had a terrific week and so has the Government.

STEFANOVIC: How’s he getting on with Tony Abbott?

PYNE: Well, people’s personal relationships are not really

STEFANOVIC: important

PYNE: critical to the Government.

STEFANOVIC: Haha, so not well?

PYNE: What’s important is that we are getting on with the job and we are getting on with the job. We are making a difference, things like the reform of childcare in Australia to make it more accessible and affordable, company tax cuts that we passed through the senate, the ABCC, the Register Organisations Commission. We’re just doing the job the people expect.

ALBANESE: Karl, what is actually going on here is Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull are stuck in this rolling maul and they are bring the Government down with them. Everything the Government tries to do, Tony Abbott intervenes and that is a huge distraction.

STEFANOVIC: Ok on that, who leaked the internal Liberal Party polling on Tony? It had to be senior.

PYNE: Karl, how would I know? I don’t get distracted with these things.

STEFANOVIC: Did you ask any questions about it?

PYNE: Not at all, I couldn’t care less quite frankly. I’m getting on with the business of being Minister for Defence Industry and that’s going terrifically well.

STEFANOVIC: How many people would have known about that poll information?

PYNE: I don’t know, I didn’t ask, I don’t care.

STEFANOVIC: Did Malcolm leak it?

PYNE: Haha, stop it Karl, no I don’t know.

ALBANESE: Well Tony Abbott says there were only three.

STEFANOVIC: So, you don’t know whether the Prime Minister leaked it or not?

PYNE: I don’t know anything about it Karl. I have no interest in it. I am much more focused on creating jobs and investment in the defence industry, which is showing up on the national accounts as actually working, opening new businesses, opening new offices, promoting jobs in the defence industry here in Australia. That’s what I’m doing and so is the Government focused on that.

STEFANOVIC: Internal Liberal polling is leaked to the public and you don’t care about that?

PYNE: No, I couldn’t care less, old news.

STEFANOVIC: You don’t care about leaks at all?

PYNE: Nine months, it was nine months ago Karl, I couldn’t care less.

STEFANOVIC: Why don’t you just put Tony Abbott in the Cabinet? That will solve all the problems.

PYNE: You’re very punchy today Karl. Haha, and that’s fine but I really just don’t care about all these internal things that you’re talking about. What I care about is the defence industry.

STEFANOVIC: Why don’t you just put Tony Abbott in the Cabinet?

PYNE: I have just returned from Washington and Ottawa, where I have been promoting Australian exports

STEFANOVIC:  Christopher

PYNE: the joint strike fighter program

STEFANOVIC:  Christopher

PYNE: $18b program

STEFANOVIC:  Christopher, that is very important stuff, I am not diminishing it, but why not put Tony Abbott in the Cabinet?

PYNE: This is insider gossip and it is not interesting to people.

STEFANOVIC:  Well it is fascinating to me and I am going to keep pursuing it.

Is it true that John Howard has been called in to try and resolve the issues between Malcolm and Tony?

PYNE: I don’t know and I don’t care.


ALBANESE: He says he doesn’t care but the Government has stopped governing. They are just completely dominated by this cage fight between Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

PYNE: How could that be when we have had a week of major announcements?

ALBANESE: They are in this downward spiral and what we are talking about today is the downward spiral of this government, and the conflict between Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, which doesn’t end. I’ve seen this movie, I do know who it ends, it doesn’t end well.

STEFANOVIC:  Just on that, the Labor party does fortunately have a clean skin so far as loyalty with leaders is concerned.

ALBANESE: Haha, we had a very bad record and it distracted the Government, that’s the truth of the matter, and the truth of the matter right now is that it is distracting this Government.

PYNE: But it’s not

ALBANESE: Everything they do is about politics and about trying to get away from this fight between Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. They are not actually governing for the nation.

PYNE: Rubbish

STEFANOVIC:  Ok, let’s move on. The Labor party is announcing today a crackdown on foreign buyers, vacancy properties and self-managed super funds to get ahead of the Budget. Are you predicting that is going to happen in the budget? Is that why you are getting ahead of it?

ALBANESE: No, we have a plan for housing affordability. We raised at the beginning of last year our plan on negative gearing and capital gains tax changes to try to even out the market, so that the couple going along to the auction aren’t having to compete unfairly with the taxpayer backed investor. Today’s announcement is building on that, a seven point plan for housing affordability. See, we are putting forward positive policies, we hope the Government adopts some of them, whether they do or not is a matter for them.

STEFANOVIC:  Will it make housing cheaper?

ALBANESE: Well, the fact is.

STEFANOVIC:  You don’t know?

ALBANESE:  Our overall policy will certainly make housing more affordable. A range of measures, there is not a single solution, you have to deal with supply, you also have to deal with what is happening in the market and we are dealing with it.

STEFANOVIC:  Are you going to announce that in the Budget? Or a counter to that today at all Christopher? Or are you going to wait for the Budget?

PYNE: Well Karl, Labor was in power for six years not that long ago. Housing affordability isn’t exactly a new issue and they did absolutely nothing about it whatsoever in the six years they were in Government. Absolutely nothing.

ALBANESE:  Come to Sydney Christopher, and let me tell you it has got worse and worse on your watch. You said there were excesses

PYNE: If Labor actually wanted to do something about housing affordability

ALBANESE: you said there were excesses in negative gearing and then we came out with a policy and you abandoned it

PYNE: I was asked the question, not you

ALBANESE:  I think you’ve had a fair crack today Christopher.

PYNE: Karl asked me the question and now you’re interrupting me

STEFANOVIC:  Christopher, you are very punchy today, very punchy.

PYNE: No, you’re punchy…

ALBANESE:  He’s had a bad week, again.

PYNE: but the point is that if Labor realty wanted to do something about housing affordability they would encourage Labor Governments and state Governments to open up more properties for new houses,


ALBANESE:  We are showing leadership from opposition

PYNE: that will bring down the price of houses for new home buyers.

ALBANESE: They are showing opposition from Government

STEFANOVIC: You guys keep arguing, go on, thank you lads, have a great weekend, nice to see you.

PYNE: Good to be with you

ALBANESE: Good on you