Feb 8, 2019

Transcript of Television Interview – The Today Show – Friday, 8 February 2019

Subjects: Banking Royal Commission, border security, music.

DEBORAH KNIGHT: Good morning to you both fellows, good morning.


CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Deb.

KNIGHT: Now Commissioner Kenneth Hayne, Christopher, pulled absolutely no punches when he singled out these NAB bosses for criticism. Are you thinking it is welcome news that they have gone?

PYNE: I think most people will welcome the NAB taking that action and look, I have no particular inside knowledge of what might happen at other banks, but I doubt that will be the last of the departures from some of the big banks. Obviously, the evidence at the Royal Commission was damning and the NAB has been one of the first to move. It was particularly damning about the NAB actually, so that is probably why. But I think most people will welcome it and I think a lot of people are welcoming the Government’s response to the Royal Commission – the fact that we are putting consumers front and centre but also the fact that we are not trying to smash credit in Australia, which would cause a recession.

KNIGHT: Why won’t you bring on more sitting days to actually enforce the recommendations?

PYNE: Well you don’t want to rush a response to a Royal Commission. You don’t want to rush the legislation. It’s very complicated legislation and I think it is very important that the Parliament takes the appropriate amount of time to get legislation right. We’ve seen rushed legislation in past governments in the financial system which has had to be changed and there is legislation in the Senate right now that the Labor Party could vote for to reform the superannuation industry. But they simply won’t, because all they want to do is play politics rather than actually fix problems for consumers. And right now they could pass legislation next week to help reform superannuation.


ALBANESE: You’ve got to admire Christopher’s capacity to say black is white.  I mean, they resisted the Royal Commission on 26 separate occasions. What we have seen now is they are still defending the banks and the top end of town by not having the Parliament respond to the recommendation of the Royal Commission. Christopher is the Leader of the House. It’s a good position. I used to hold it. You get to decide when Parliament sits. We are sitting for two weeks. We should keep sitting until we deal with these recommendations.

KNIGHT: And Christopher, you are not going to escape this criticism from Labor that you did reject this call for the Royal Commission 26 times. Why can’t you as a government simply just admit it; say: “OK, we got it wrong here, we made a mistake”. Voters are screaming out for honesty from their politicians. Why can’t you guys just do that?

PYNE: Well we have already done it Deb. Malcolm Turnbull, when he was Prime Minister said …

KNIGHT: Well we haven’t heard Scott Morrison saying that publicly, outside the Parliament.

PYNE: Yes he has.

ALBANESE: He was the Treasurer who resisted it.

PYNE: Yes he has.

ALBANESE: He was the Treasurer who tried to stop the Royal Commission and now we have the part-time Parliament sitting for 10 days.

PYNE: The question was to me Albo. The facts are …

ALBANESE:  Well you went on for 10 minutes before defending the banks. The fact is your record on this is appalling, Christopher.

PYNE: The question was to me. The question was to me.

KNIGHT: So you admit you got it wrong?

ALBANESE: Did you get it wrong?

PYNE: They question was to me Deb. Both Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have both said they regretted not bringing on the Royal Commission earlier. They both said that, so it is not true that we haven’t admitted that we’d rather have done it earlier.

ALBANESE: They haven’t said sorry. Ken Henry said sorry last night. You should say sorry.

PYNE: He has obviously been told by the Shorten office to toughen up on the Today Show because he is not letting me answer the questions.

ALBANESE: Just say sorry Christopher.

PYNE: But the truth is we have said that we regretted it and we are responding to it and getting on with it. We are doing it sensibly, whereas Labor wants to smash mortgage brokers. I think that is the big story. Labor actually wants to put 16,000 mortgage brokers out of business which helps the banks by reducing competition.

ALBANESE: You are talking about the Royal Commission recommendations Christopher.

PYNE: That’s right.

KNIGHT: What’s your response though to the mortgage brokers issue, because a lot of them are saying we have thrown them under the bus here.

ALBANESE: The Royal Commission has come up with recommendations. We support all of the recommendations in principle. We will look at the detail and we will consult, including with mortgage brokers. But the fact the Royal Commission was established to make recommendations to government. It is extraordinary that the Government has walked away from the recommendations from day one.

PYNE: No we haven’t. Rubbish. That’s not true.

ALBANESE: You just criticised the Royal Commission’s recommendations then.

PYNE: We are responding sensibly to the recommendations. You want to give the banks a free kick.

ALBANESE: You just criticised them.

PYNE: A free kick by getting rid of all the competition.

KNIGHT: Listen to you lot. You are fired up this morning.

ALBANESE: It is Commissioner Hayne that he is criticising there, the Royal Commissioner.

KNIGHT: You guys must be fired up because Parliament is about to resume.

PYNE: He gets very excited when Parliament is resuming.

ALBANESE: Well it is such an infrequent thing Deb. That’s the thing. You’ve got to get excited.

PYNE: He can’t wait to see me. He can’t wait to see me on Monday.

ALBANESE: Ten days in eight months we are sitting. If this was any other workplace in the country you would get fired for it.

PYNE: I’ve missed you. I’ve missed you Albo. I can’t wait to see you.

ALBANESE: I wish I could say the same.

PYNE: You do. You know it.

KNIGHT: We will have issues being looked at when Parliament resumes next week, not least the humiliating defeat that the Government is facing on the issue of allowing medical transfers of refugees from Manus and Nauru. Albo, is Labor still going to support this bill being put forward by Kerryn Phelps?

ALBANESE: We are supporting the legislation. We will see what happens in Parliament next week.

KNIGHT: Will you be reviewing the idea of having an independent medical board?

ALBANESE: What we want to ensure is that legislation is carried so that people who need health care can get it. We have responsibility.

KNIGHT: So you will back this bill from Kerryn Phelps?

ALBANESE: We have responsibility. We will look at anything that is put forward.

KNIGHT: It sounds like you are backing away.

ALBANESE: No, we are not backing away at all. We have said in principle our position is that people on Manus and Nauru who need medical assistance should get it and we should listen to the medical experts. And as well though, we have supported and made it clear from day one that we also support, at the end of the day, ministerial discretion. It is very important that there be political responsibility for the outcomes.

KNIGHT: And Christopher, will you be investigating this leak of the very much confidential information that we saw your Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton really talking openly about what was leaked? Are you going to be opening up every single rock to try and find out who leaked the information?

PYNE: You mean the story in The Australian saying that the Kerryn Phelps bill would dismantle our border protection policies? Is that the one you are talking about?

ALBANESE: Yes, they one that is supposed to be secret and confidential, that one.

PYNE: Well I don’t know where that story came from but I can assure you that Labor and Kerryn Phelps’ Bill would dismantle our border protection policies and would give people like potentially the Greens Leader Richard Di Natale the say over whether people left Nauru. Of course there is no-one in detention in Manus Island. That detention centres closed some time ago. So that’s a red herring.

KNIGHT: Well there is no suggestion he would be the doctor, that the Greens Leader would be the doctor going in there.

PYNE: He could be. He could easily be.

KNIGHT: There’s no element of scaremongering going on here?

PYNE: What is important is we don’t give the green light to people smugglers to start their evil trade again. Labor wants to play politics with this because all they want to do is disrupt the Parliament and disrupt the country. But we have stopped the boats …

ALBANESE: You are putting national security advice on page one of the newspapers – national security advice. It’s a criminal act to leak national security advice.

PYNE: … like the Howard Government stopped the boats. The Howard Government stopped the boats. This Government has stopped the boats. If Labor is re-elected the boats will start again because people smugglers will be given the welcome mat by Labor just like they were under Rudd and Gillard.

ALBANESE: That’s all they have got is a scare campaign. They have given up governing.

KNIGHT: I can’t get a word in with you two.

ALBANESE: They have given up governing.

PYNE: Get him under control.

ALBANESE: Call an election.

KNIGHT: Let’s just end with a bit of a musical interlude shall we? Now we saw Clive Palmer copping all sorts of grief for ripping off Twisted Sister with his annoying ads. We thought we would ask you this morning. You are the DJ here Albo. If you could adopt a song for the other party, what would it be?

ALBANESE: Well I thought about having Help! by the Beatles but I am going to go with Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who.

KNIGHT: All right, a bit of theme there. And for you Christopher, what would you pick for Labor?

PYNE: Well given the election is about the $200 billion tax take by Labor, we have picked the have picked Taxman by the Beatles.

KNIGHT: All right, a musical theme and we thought just as a general thing for politicians we could perhaps adopt Would I Lie to You? by the Eurythmics.

PYNE: Well Albo and I wouldn’t.

ALBANESE: No no. We are the good guys.

PYNE: We are.

KNIGHT: You are fired up. We love it. Parliament will be back next week and is good to have you both with us this morning.