Subjects: Election timing, Malcolm Turnbull, Newspoll, Tony Windsor, Barnaby Joyce, Tourism; Queensland; Great Barrier Reef
LISA WILKINSON: Just when will we be going to the polls? For more we are joined now by Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy and Shadow Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you gentlemen.
WYATT ROY: G’day.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.
LISA WILKINSON: So, July 2, right?
ROY: Well, the only person who knows when it is, is obviously the Prime Minister.
WILKINSON: And maybe an advertising…
ROY: Maybe a couple of advertising agencies, but I don’t think we’re at that point yet. It’s due around August. July wouldn’t be that much before it, but obviously if we did have an early election, there would be the opportunity to deal with the Senate and I think a lot of Australians are very frustrated by that. I think there’s a lot of merit in that argument, but if not, it will be around August or September.
WILKINSON: Anthony, have you got sure your advertising agencies in line yet?
ALBANESE: I’m sure we’ve got everything in line. What the Government don’t have though is an announcement, but it’s everything but July 2. There’s a possibility of shifting the budget forward. I understand that the Great Hall has been booked for a week earlier for a budget night function for the Government parties.
But this is a Government that doesn’t have purpose, that doesn’t have a sense of purpose, it doesn’t have an agenda, it now doesn’t have a budget date, it doesn’t have any policies out there on the economy. It is quite extraordinary that it’s lost its way so quickly.
WILKINSON: Well, Graham Richardson agrees with you, because Wyatt, he writes this morning in The Australian, you have replaced a leader with no judgment, Tony Abbott, with a leader who has no ticker. Have you backed the wrong horse?
ROY: I completely disagree. I mean I think the Australian people have warmed to Malcolm Turnbull and they are not particularly…
WILKINSON: So why are the polls going backwards?
ROY: Well, if you look at the polls, particularly around the preferred leaders, if you look at Malcolm Turnbull compared to Bill Shorten, I think they see in Malcolm a statesmen, they see someone that has a vision.
WILKINSON: But that’s all well and good, but in the end it comes down to what people are going to tick in the poll room and that is the party they vote for and that’s at 50/50.
ROY: Well, we are a few months into the new leadership of Malcolm Turnbull. In that period in my own area, we’ve released over 24 new policies around innovation.
WILKINSON: So why isn’t it cutting 50/50 through?
ROY: I don’t know whether a 50/50 poll you would say is not cutting through. I don’t know whether if Malcolm’s preferred leader at over 50% and Bill is at around 20%, that’s not cutting through.
Modern politics is tough, you have got to get out there and the articulate the case, you’ve got to have the fight.
But I think Malcolm Turnbull has a very clear picture about what our country can be, how the economy is transitioning and ultimately how we hand over to the next generation of Australians a country that has more opportunity and not less and I’m looking forward to that discussion in the campaign.
WILKINSON: Anthony, independent MP Tony Windsor, he’s been out of politics for a little while. He is attempting to unseat Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce. Have you been calling him to shore up his situation when he eventually, if he does, get back in?
ALBANESE: No, I haven’t. But Tony Windsor is a man of integrity. I think he’s putting himself forward because he sees that the Government and the National Party haven’t stood up to the Liberal Party on interests like the Xinhua mine and he is a very committed individual, I think, who has a lot of respect in his electorate.
I of course will be advocating for the Labor candidate in New England but if they don’t get elected, and that’s pretty unlikely, then I hope Tony Windsor does well.
WILKINSON: Wyatt? I mean, you have got to be nervous that Barnaby Joyce could be unseated and he is Deputy Prime Minister.
ROY: Well, Barnaby would never take anything for granted, obviously, but he is a powerful force of nature. He is somebody, I think, in politics where we have lost so much authenticity in it and people keep jumping back to a sound byte. Barnaby is deeply authentic and I think people resonate with that.
It’s a good thing having the Deputy Prime Minister as your local member, he can actually get stuff done.
And I think with Tony Windsor, I mean he really has kind of had his time. I think it’s a rural conservative seat and he did a deal with Julia Gillard and Bob Brown and later Christine Milne to keep the Gillard Labor Government in power.
I don’t think that’s really popular in that rural conservative seat and I think Barnaby will do quite well in the election.
WILKINSON: Albo, even though the polls are sitting at 50/50, what it says is that you’ve got to win back 21 seats. That’s a massive mountain you have to climb and so far the only policy we have heard is about scrapping negative gearing.
That’s not right at all. We have a comprehensive plan out there for schools to fund $4.5 billion additionally in years 5 and 6 for a program that’s about making sure that no kids get left behind.
We have health policy, infrastructure policy. Last night I gave a speech to the Sydney Institute about cities policy.
We have a range of policies out there, fully costed unlike any opposition in my entire time that I can remember. Everything we have said we will do, we have said where the money is coming from.
It is comprehensive policy out there and in my local area, I mean, the Liberals now are relying upon, it would appear, preference arrangements between Liberals and the Greens, who are polar opposites. But that’s where they have got to.
WILKINSON: You’re sounding very confident. Just quickly, we are final day of our We Love Australia Tour. If you could name one place in Australia, that you love, but it can’t be your electorate, what’s your favourite spot Wyatt?
ROY: I love Moreton Island. I get out there in a boat with some mates and we go camping on the beach and have a bonfire most of the time and it’s great. It is the best part of the world and it’s better than anywhere you’d find in the South Pacific.
ALBANESE: Well, apart from Marrickville and the wonderful Cooks River…
WILKINSON: Stop, I said you couldn’t do that.
ALBANESE: It’s got to be the Great Barrier Reef and Far North Queensland. It is just an extraordinary asset for the country.
WILKINSON: It certainly is.
ROY: You’re like an honorary Queenslander.
ALBANESE: I love Queensland!
WILKINSON: And there are some beautiful pictures of it right now. Guys, thanks so much.
ROY: Thanks so much.
WILKINSON: You had better get out there and do some work in your electorates.
ALBANESE: There’s only three nights a year I don’t like Queensland. It’s called State of Origin.
ROY: I’ll get the tissues.
WILKINSON: Okay, thanks a lot.
ROY: Cheers for that.
WILKINSON: Thanks boys.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.