Apr 22, 2016

Transcript of television interview – The Today Show, Nine Network

Subjects: Budget spending, banking Royal Commission, Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: Joining us now is Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you both.


CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Sylvia.

JEFFREYS: Christopher, $10 billion. It’s a lot of money in seven months. Anyone would think that maybe the PM is trying to buy some votes.

PYNE: Well personally, happy birthday for tomorrow ‘cos I won’t see you tomorrow.

JEFFREYS: Thank you, that’s a nice way to start.

PYNE: That story’s an unusual kind of story. Because they’ve extrapolated out decisions that have been made and pushed them out a couple of years and said that looks like how much money will be spent.

For example in my portfolio of Innovation, they’ve said that it’s a $1.7 billion commitment when the announcement was actually $1.1 billion, but they’ve just kept extrapolating it out beyond the forward estimates.

JEFFREYS: But it still flies in the face of what Scott Morrison is promising of spending less and saving more. How’s he going to do it?

PYNE: We’ll certainly spend a lot less than the Labor Party because they’re promising $100 billion of new taxes. $100 billion dollars of new spending, and more borrowing if they haven’t got the money.

JEFFREYS: It’s your Budget. It’s your Budget on May 3.

PYNE: And it’ll be good.

JEFFREYS: How is Scott Morrison going to balance the books when his PM keeps spending?

PYNE: Well we are going to come back to surplus over a sensible period of time.

We’ll certainly get back to surplus. The last surplus Labor delivered was in 1989 and they’ll never deliver a surplus if they get elected.

JEFFREYS: What is the period of time?

PYNE: Well, we’re not going to put a handbrake on the economy. We’re not going to slam the handbrakes on and say – because – by just stopping government spending.

We will have a measured track back to surplus and you will see that in the Budget in a weeks’ time, a couple of weeks’ time.

But under Labor, a $100 billion of new taxes over ten years, all apparently are going to be spent. A tax and spend election from Labor versus – you know – living within our means, Malcolm Turnbull versus Bill Shorten on election day.

JEFFREYS: Alright now of course we’re off and running, 74 days a very long, very crucial election campaign, Anthony.

It was perhaps a slow start out of the blocks for Bill Shorten here on Tuesday morning, when asked about his time as Finance Minister. He went on to say that any government should only have one Royal Commission in it. Do you agree with that? There’s only one Royal Commission in each government?

ALBANESE: Well I tell you what, what we won’t be doing is having Royal Commissions into the current Government like they’ve done.

I think if you look at what we did, in office where Julia Gillard made the courageous decision to have the Royal Commission into abuse by our institutions of young people. That has had an impact on people’s lives.

In a very different way I think the banking Royal Commission that we’ve announced will have an impact on people.

There are so many families watching this show right now who’ve been impacted by bad advice from banks or financial institutions. We need to get to the bottom of it.

JEFFREYS: I think you both agree on that. That the banks need to be more accountable.

But why didn’t Labor introduce a Royal Commission when you had the chance? Bill Shorten couldn’t answer that on Tuesday.

ALBANESE: What we’ve seen Sylvia, in the last three years while the Coalition’s been in Government is issue after issue come up with the banks and financial institutions.

So that it’s moved beyond there being an issue with one particular institution. It now looks as though the sector has a problem, it has a cultural problem.

We’ve seen that acknowledged by the extraordinary response this week where the banks have agreed to pay more money, $120 million dollars to ensure that they’re made to be accountable in terms of the Government.

Now if you can get that sort of response straight away from the announcement of a Royal Commission then imagine what response in terms of better services for consumers you’ll get from an actual Royal Commission.

JEFFREYS: But the fact is you had the chance to do it when you had government, when you were in power. Bill Shorten accepted when he was here on Tuesday that the problems go back as far as a Labor Government.

ALBANESE: Of course there were issues when we were in Government. But what you have in order to have a case for a Royal Commission is you’ve got to have systemic issues and what’s clear is that you do have systemic issues and you have to go back to the previous point.

PYNE: It’s just rank populism. It’s rank populism and you know it.

ALBANESE: I notice that Christopher acknowledged before that all our promises were paid for; a key concession by Christopher this morning.

PYNE: Yesterday Bill Shorten said he had a little list of things that he’d like for the Royal Commission, and it’s completely blown up in his face because he’d put no thinking in to it he just wanted to say ‘banks’ and ‘Royal Commissions’ in the same sentence but actually, had no plans for a Royal Commission.

ALBANESE: That’s why you’ve responded to it this week, Christopher.

PYNE: We fixed it, you just talked about it.

JEFFREYS: I want to ask about the truckies. Albo, what are you doing about the truckies?

ALBANESE: We have a view that there’s a relationship between the rates at which people are paid in terms of Safe Rates and accidents.

What we will do is have a response in terms of Safe Rates, making sure that our roads are kept safe by consulting not just with the unions but with the Australian Trucking Association and the Livestock Transport Association that’s what we did when we were in government that is what we will do.

JEFFREYS: So you will bring back the Bill?

ALBANESE: We will have a response in terms of safety on our roads because there is a direct link. 330 people died last year in accidents involving heavy vehicles.

JEFFREYS: I want to play some audio that came through earlier in the week from a spokesperson from the Transport Workers Union. Let’s have a listen to that.

TWU SPOKESPERSON: We’ve had a commitment from the Labor Party.

We need legislation to assist that and we had the legislation, The Labor Party is committed. If they win government they will bring back legislation.

JEFFREYS: So that sounds like a pretty firm commitment from you.

ALBANESE: We will have legislation of some sort. We will take action.

JEFFREYS: Have you made a promise to the Union?

ALBANESE: We have made a promise, that we’re committed to safety on our roads, absolutely.

JEFFREYS: Alright, we’ve got to leave it there for now unfortunately. We have run out of time, but gentleman thank you so much for joining us this morning.

PYNE: Thank you.

ALBANESE: Happy Birthday for tomorrow!

JEFFREYS: Thank you so much, it will be a wonderful day.

ALBANESE: I left it ‘til the end so I didn’t try and get easier questions.

JEFFREYS: Well, you know it’s good to score points early, Anthony.

PYNE: Remember when you turned 30, Anthony?

ALBANESE: It was a long time ago, Christopher.

JEFFREYS: Alright, we don’t have time for memory lane. Karl. Have a great weekend both of you.