May 8, 2015

Transcript of television interview – The Today Show, Nine Network

Subjects: Budget, Greens leadership, Scott Morrison, Mother’s Day

LISA WILKINSON: For more, we are joined by Education Minister Christopher Pyne and Shadow Transport Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you gentlemen.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa.


WIKINSON: Okay, which one of you is playing the role of Bart and which one is Homer this morning?

PYNE: I don’t think either of those would be good for us.

ALBANESE: I think he plays Bart in Parliament quite often in terms of being a bit naughty.

PYNE: You have been thrown out almost as many times as I have Anthony.

WILKINSON: The Prime Minister said yesterday that after last year’s perceived tough Budget, that and he has listened and he has learned so and he has already promised dull, so we know that, which is exactly Christopher Richardson is warning against. How much of next Tuesday is about fixing the Budget deficit and how much is about having your eye on next year’s election?

PYNE: Well, the Intergenerational Report showed we had halved the debt and deficit projection that would have occurred if Labor had stayed in office. So we have made enormous gains with just last year’s Budget. But there is a difference between being an armchair economist and armchair being an armchair economist and being an armchair commentator and actually being in the Cabinet as Anthony was and as I am now and having to make next decisions that affect people. So next Tuesday, we will be having a Budget that is about getting families back to work, supporting jobs, creating economic activity, and that is very important for the economy.

WILKINSON: To be fair, Chris Richardson is respected, highly respected.

PYNE: He’s very respected. Sure.

WILKINSON: By both sides of only politics and it sounds you’re only comparing yourself to Labor rather than the job that needs to be done.

PYNE: Well, we are getting on with the job; we have halved Labor’s debt and deficit. We are going to have a Budget next Tuesday that will restore confidence, support the economy, create jobs, support families, and help with childcare. We see in the papers this morning support for disadvantaged families with disabled children. That is what government should be after about. It should be about looking after our families and creating jobs. It shouldn’t just be about the Budget bottom line.

WILKINSON: Anthony, Chris Richardson was not kind to either side of politics saying no one is standing up and taking the initiative.

ALBANESE: What Chris Richardson has also done, is during our period of government, acknowledged the work that we did to get through the global financial crisis. It is no wonder, though, that he is confused by this government’s narrative. The only job that is of concern to Tony Abbott is his own. This Budget is all being driven by their internals over whether Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey survive and get through next week, after their shocker of a Budget in 2014. First, they doubled the Budget deficit when they came into government. Then they said there was a Budget emergency. Now they say they have fixed the Budget emergency, that never was, and now they are moving on with a whole new narrative and no wonder the Australian public are confused.

PYNE: That is just politics. I mean the truth is Budgets should be about jobs, they should be about families, and they should be about supporting Australians.

WILKINSON: So you are saying you just didn’t do that last time?

ALBANESE: You are just giving clichés. What the Budget next week should be about is creating jobs, given that the unemployment rate is at 6.3%. We have interest rates at 2%. What that says is that the Reserve Bank knows that there are real problems with a sluggish economy because the last Budget hit confidence because it was unfair to its core and it damaged the Australian economy. We Budget need a repair job on last year’s Budget next Tuesday.

PYNE: Well, we had a mess that we inherited from Labor, Lisa, and we are fixing it and next Tuesday, we will see the benefits of the good work we did last year, 300 out of our 400 measures passed the Senate. 100 didn’t. Labor voted savings against $5 billion of their own savings that they had proposed in government. Now, the electorate voted for us to fix Labor’s mess. We have been getting on with the job. Next Tuesday we what will confirm that we know exactly what we are doing and that is supporting families and supporting jobs.

WILKINSON: We saw a change in the leadership of the Greens this week. Christine Milne generally seen as fairly hard line. Anthony, does Labor have something to fear with that change from Christine Milne to a more moderate leader in Richard Di Natale? It sounds like they are going to side with the government a bit more.

ALBANESE: I don’t think there is anything more moderate about Richard Di Natale. The problem is that the Greens fundamentally don’t have an economic strategy at all for jobs and for economic growth. That’s the fundamental job of government. If you can’t do that, then you can’t fund the social policies that you want to put in place. When you examine the details of the Greens policies, for example, I had a piece this week about Sydney Airport, whereby there is agreement across the Parliament and the people who have looked at it for the last 40 years to get on with the job of a second Sydney Airport. The Greens say close Kingsford Smith Airport but they oppose Badgerys Creek also. I don’t know how you would get into Sydney. Perhaps parachute in. I don’t know how you would get out. That is the problem with the Greens. When you look at the detail, they simply don’t stack up as a credible political party or an alternative government.

WILKINSON: All right. We will wait ask and see. Just finally, Christopher, I have to ask you, Scott Morrison has been very visible, he has done 16 interviews in a week and Joe Hockey has only done four. What is going on there?

PYNE: Well, families and childcare and universal access in my own area, for example, are big parts of next week’s Budget. So Scott Morrison has had a lot to say about the reforms that we will be bringing in next Tuesday around pensions. He is the social services minister. You would expect him to be out there prosecuting that case and he is doing a very, very good job.

WILKINSON: Not jockeying for position in any way?

PYNE: He is just doing his job. The thing about politics in Australia is rather than worry about people jockeying, we should recognise when someone is doing a good job and Scott is out there, prosecuting the case around social services reform, around pensions and families and childcare. And I think he is a star of the government.

WILKINSON: OK. You both are doing the right thing on Mother’s Day?

ALBANESE: Oh, absolutely. I’m heading to Port Macquarie for my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary.

PYNE: Which is an amazing achievement.

ALBANESE: For Bede and Marcel Tebbutt, on Saturday night. So it will be a great occasion where the family have come from all over the world literally, a brother from London, and one from Perth to spend the time…

PYNE: Let’s hope we make it to 60 years with our respective spouses Anthony.

ALBANESE: If they put up with us. It’s a miracle that we have both lasted as long as we have.

PYNE: Both my mother and mother-in-law are alive so we will be catching up with all of them of Sunday.

WILKINSON: Fantastic.

ALBANESE: Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums.

WILKINSON: Absolutely. Well said.

PYNE: He is a charmer.

WILKINSON: Only just works on you. Thanks guys. We’ll see you next week.