Subjects: Labor’s domestic violence policy; Clive Palmer; PM beer skol.
DEBORAH KNIGHT: Now two weeks down, three to go. The pitch for votes is back in overdrive today after the Anzac Day and Easter ceasefires in campaigning, with Labor today promising big spending to end violence against women. Joining me now is Labor’s Anthony Albanese from Melbourne, and the Coalition’s Simon Birmingham is in Canberra for us this morning. Good morning to you both.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Deb.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Good morning.
KNIGHT: Albo, we’ll go to you first. The number of women and children being killed, we know, is a national disgrace. Doubling federal spending is a big commitment, but isn’t the bigger issue changing the culture of violence against women in Australia?
ALBANESE: It is Deb, but you need to do both. You need to provide support for women and children fleeing domestic violence situations, and we’re doing just that with support for emergency accommodation, with support for refuges. But also, we’re providing advice in terms of financial advice, legal advice. And as well, we’re providing support for education campaigns, including promoting respect through age appropriate programs in schools. We need to really tackle this scourge. One woman dies every week in Australia at the hands of a partner or a former partner. It’s a disgrace, and government has got to show leadership on these issues.
KNIGHT: So Simon, will we see more from the Government? Will you match Labor’s announcement?
BIRMINGHAM: Well Deb, just in the Budget handed down a few weeks ago, we announced a new $328 million investment in support for domestic violence services that provide assistance in legal support and housing support, but also critically go to trying to change those cultural aspects that you spoke about. That’s so essential right across all aspects of our education system, of our cultural debate. We’ve also worked really hard as a Government, and our plans are focused on how we continue to drive economic empowerment of women as part of the 1.3 million jobs that we’ve created across Australia. We’ve got women’s workforce participation at the highest level ever…
KNIGHT: But Labor is doubling federal spending here with this announcement. Will you do more?
BIRMINGHAM: Well Deb, we’re not going to go through this election campaign and match every time Bill Shorten says he’s going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more or double spending, because that’s the reason Bill Shorten is also applying $387 billion of extra taxes on Australia. He will always spend more. But we have already taken leading steps in this space – a comprehensive package announced in the Budget already. In many ways, this is a catch up measure from the Labor Party given those Budget leadership styles that we’ve shown.
KNIGHT: Okay, now the latest polls show that Clive Palmer is very much on track to be kingmaker in this Election. The former Liberal Premier Colin Barnett has come out today warning that any deal done with Clive Palmer will damage our relations with China and risk voter backlash. Simon, why would the Government want to risk doing a deal with someone like Clive Palmer?
BIRMINGHAM: Well Deb, we have a compulsory preferential voting system in Australia. So everybody has to allocate preferences. We are urging and will urge right through until 6pm on Election Day, for people to vote one for the Liberal and National parties. That is our plain simple message, and they should do that.
KNIGHT: So you’re not going to do a deal with Clive Palmer?
BIRMINGHAM: Well we have to recommend on our how to vote cards where preferences go, just as the Labor Party does. The Labor Party has probably done a deal with the Greens. Who knows where they’ll put Clive Palmer on their how to vote cards? What we have said clearly…
KNIGHT: Well let’s go to Albo for that. Would you risk doing a deal with someone like Clive Palmer? We know that, Albo, Labor has been in talks with him too. He’s mercurial at best, we know that, and he hasn’t paid his workers entitlements. Why are either party talking to him in this way?
ALBANESE: Deb, we’re not talking to him.
KNIGHT: Labor hasn’t been…
BIRMINGHAM: You have been.
KNIGHT: You haven’t been talking at all?
ALBANESE: We are not talking to Clive Palmer about preferences. Not once. Not once.
BIRMINGHAM: Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm. The CFMEU.
ALBANESE: Not once have we been talking to Clive Palmer about preferences because we understand it’s a recipe for chaos…
BIRMINGHAM: That’s simply not true Albo.
ALBANESE: A recipe for chaos. That’s why we’re putting One Nation and Clive Palmer – we’re not in negotiations with them. We know what happened last time Clive Palmer was in Parliament. There was absolute chaos. People were swapping parties.
ALBANESE: Clive Palmer was falling asleep during Question Time. This is the recipe for chaos…
BIRMINGHAM: So Albo, one question…
ALBANESE: The Coalition should listen to Colin Barnett and not do deals with Clive Palmer or with One Nation.
BIRMINGHAM: So Albo, will the Labor Party be preferencing the Liberal Party ahead of Clive Palmer?
ALBANESE: Well the fact is we’re not negotiating with Clive Palmer or with One Nation…
BIRMINGHAM: If you don’t, it’s meaningless Albo.
ALBANESE: Or with One Nation…
BIRMINGHAM: It’s meaningless talk from you. Are you going to deal with the Greens?
ALBANESE: No we’re not. No we’re not.
BIRMINGHAM: Are you going to deal with the Greens again?
ALBANESE: What you are doing is providing a recipe for chaos with electing these people into Parliament, who’ll swap parties…
BIRMINGHAM: You’re doing deals…
ALBANESE: Who’ll engage in more chaos.
KNIGHT: We will see what voters have to say. Only three weeks to go on that matter. I wanted to…
BIRMINGHAM: No doubt there are deals with the Greens again from the Labor Party – the Greens, who vote against national security legislation, who vote for higher taxes every time. That’s who Labor’s happy to cuddle up to.
ALBANESE: Well Clive Palmer and One Nation – if you’re comfortable with that Simon, then good on you. I know, Simon Birmingham is a better person than this – a better person…
BIRMINGHAM: One Nation will be at the bottom of our how to vote cards in the Liberal Party. The PM’s already said that.
ALBANESE: No it’s not. You’ve got this One Nation extremist in the Hunter, who is going to get National Party preferences ahead of Joel Fitzgibbon. It’s already been announced, and in Queensland, you’re playing footsies with One Nation. This is just more chaos from a chaotic Government…
BIRMINGHAM: The PM’s been crystal clear – One Nation will be below the Labor Party on our how to vote cards.
KNIGHT: Simon, Albo. Now, we know Scott Morrison portrays himself as a real man of the people, but I wanted to end this on a lighter note. The PM – he disappointed the crowd yesterday when he refused to skol his beer in a Townsville pub. Simon, if it’s good enough for Bob Hawke, surely it’s good enough for Scott Morrison?
BIRMINGHAM: Well we have come a long way in 30 or 40 years, and you were just talking before Deb about the type of culture that we promote in Australia, and the type of messaging, and the PM obviously wanting to show that you can have a beer, but you can do it responsibly too.
KNIGHT: So Albo, is it a bad look? We know you’re no stranger to a skol – you put away a tinnie in pretty swift time in 2015 in front of a crowd. I think we’ve got pictures of that as well. Look at you go. Bad look Albo?
ALBANESE: Well that’s you know, that’s in a footy dressing room down here in Melbourne for the Rockdogs for the Community Cup. That’s coming up as well. We’ve got a function, it’s a charity actually that looks after people. So if I could do that for charity, that’s a good thing.
KNIGHT: I think I need a beer after our session this morning. Good on you fellas. Thank you so much for joining us.
ALBANESE: At least Scott Morrison didn’t have a light beer shandy, which is what Tony Abbott had on the campaign trail. Now that was a shocker.
KNIGHT: There is that, followed by an onion tracer. All right fellas. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. We’ll leave you to it. We’ll talk to you again soon.
ALBANESE: Thanks Deb.
BIRMINGHAM: Thanks Deb.
TOM STEINFORT: You needed an air horn to deal with that, just shut up.
KNIGHT: A gavel. It’s good to see them fired up. We welcome it.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.