May 8, 2016

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects: Mothers Day, Labor’s paid parental leave announcement, Botox

DEB KNIGHT: Labor’s Anthony Albanese joins us here in the studio along with the Government’s Mathias Cormann. Good morning to you both.


MATHIAS CORMANN: Good morning.

KNIGHT: I hope that you got your priorities right both of you and spoilt the mums in your life before you came on here talking politics. Are you in trouble Albo with your wife for coming here?

ALBANESE: It probably wasn’t a terrific decision to come here on Mother’s Day. This is not the first time and I must say when I appeared on another program.

KNIGHT: Yes, don’t mention that.

ALBANESE: Another program which I won’t mention, one Mothers Day they sent flowers to my wife.

KNIGHT: Oh! We’ll get onto that.

ALBANESE: Hint, hint.

KNIGHT: We’ll get onto that. Mathias, have you done something special? Please say yes.

CORMANN: Best wishes for Mothers Day to my wife in Geraldton on the other side of the country.

KNIGHT: Very good, very good.

ALBANESE: Happy Mothers Day to you Deb!

KNIGHT: Thank you very much. I’ll take it and run with it.

ALBANESE: Three times.

KNIGHT: I know. Sucker for punishment. Now, the policy announcements we know are going to come thick and fast as of this afternoon once the election is underway. Labor is going to be talking paid parental leave. What are you revealing today?

ALBANESE: Today we are revealing that we will reverse the cuts that have been made. Paid parental leave before the last election was supposed to be bipartisan, everyone supporting it, but of course the government brought in a change which meant a cut effectively to 80,000 parents of up to $11,800 as a result of those cuts. That makes a huge difference. Paid parental leave of course was already in a number of awards, as a result of negotiations that take place.

So people have given up other things to get paid parental leave in the award system as part of their salary package, and of course the government attempted to take away the fact that that would remain and people could still get the government based scheme, which is a very modest scheme, but one that has made a big difference to working parents.

KNIGHT: Okay, so what taxes are you going to raise, what spend will you cut to pay for it?

ALBANESE: Well, in the Budget Reply we announced $71 billion of additional savings on top of the savings that we’ve already announced.

KNIGHT: So no new taxes required for this one?

ALBANESE: No, absolutely not. We are committed to paid parental leave. We’re very proud of the fact that we did it in government. It’s part of our legacy. It’s part of Labor’s reform agenda and we think particularly that the cuts that were announced last Mothers Day were particularly mean spirited, frankly. This Mothers Day, we’re helping out mums and dads.

KNIGHT: Ok, well Mathias that is a point because a year on a big difference that we know that Joe Hockey announced that he called this double dipping, it was even alluded to as fraud, we know that the government did soften its stance on this but why wind it back at all, it seems like a good policy, $11,500 would go a long way to helping working families?

CORMANN: Well, we want all working women across Australia to have access to paid parental leave on the same terms and of course there’s only a very small number of women that have access to a second scheme. But the point – I’ve got to make a couple of points here though. Labor did not announce $71 billion worth of savings.

They announced $61 billion of higher taxes over the next decade and right now over the current Budget forward estimates period Labor has a $65 billion budget black hole that is $65 billion worth of unfunded spending promises which will lead to higher taxes which will hurt jobs and growth.

The Government’s plan, which we delivered on Monday is a plan for jobs and growth, which is a plan for all families across Australia to give them the best possible opportunity to get ahead.

KNIGHT: We’re just seeing pictures coming through to the newsroom too of Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull leaving their home in Sydney in Point Piper, preparing for the big day of course. The election trigger will officially be pulled later this afternoon when the Turnbulls head to Canberra and the Prime Minister visits the Governor General at Yarralumla to officially call the election.

Those shots coming through from our newsroom. The issue though Mathias of helping families is one that Labor is really criticising the government on. Why delay fixing childcare until after 2018? It really is a big issue for families and the impression is given that the government is more helping big business than families.

CORMANN: Well, that’s not right. We want to help families and what families across Australia ware looking for is of course job security and they’re looking for continuing successful transition in our economy to ensure their jobs are secure.

KNIGHT: Childcare is a big point, though.

CORMANN: Indeed. It’s a very important point and we do want to help families get better and more flexible, more affordable access to childcare.

KNIGHT: So why wait until 2018?

CORMANN: Because we need to be able to ensure that we can pay for it. Because the worst thing that we can do for families across Australia i stop pay for more promises with debt and higher taxes, because more debt and higher taxes will hurt jobs and growth and we are committed to ensuring that people across Australia, that families across Australia have the best possible opportunity to get ahead and in order to ensure that happens, right at this time and we are continuing to face some global economic headwinds, we need to ensure that we implant our plan for jobs and growth, that we continue to transition our economy to a more diversified, stronger economy of the future.

ALBANESE: Well, I give Mathias credit for sticking to the script and the three word slogan there over and over again.

KNIGHT: Jobs and growth?

ALBANESE: You’ve picked it up. Well done Deb. We’ve got the message, Mathias.

KNIGHT: But it’s an important message to make though.

ALBANESE: It’s about priorities.

CORMANN: Jobs and growth is our priority indeed.

ALBANESE: You got another one in Mathias. It’s relentless. There’s nothing behind it. The fact is –

CORMANN: There’s a whole plan behind it.

ALBANESE: I let you go, Mathias. Budgets are about priorities. Our priority is assisting parents through paid parental leave. It is assisting parents through childcare. It is assisting young people though education, through the Gonski reforms. It is supporting health care. That’s our priority. Their priority is the top end of town. Their priority is helping out – they speak about fiscal responsibility. They’ve doubled the deficit. They’ve increased debt. They’ve increased government spending as a proportion of GDP.

KNIGHT: We’ve got 8 weeks of this.

ALBANESE: It’s a fact that they have doubled the deficit.

CORMANN: Not true.

KNIGHT: Alright listen, before we go, I know it’s a bit of fun but still, Christopher Pyne alluded to the fact that one of his colleagues might have been using Botox. I notice that you’ve both got fairly strong brows, any hints on who it might be?

ALBANESE: I’m not prepared to comment!

CORMANN: Not me.

KNIGHT: I can’t see any expression changing. It may well be either of you.

ALBANESE: I’m very flattered that you think it might be me.

KNIGHT: It’s Albo!

ALBANESE: I’m very flattered. I wish!

KNIGHT: Gentleman, happy election day to you, I’m glad that mothers are being put first but it’ll be an interesting campaign, we look forward to it.

ALBANESE: We’ve got a soccer game at lunchtime today for my son, so it’s a Mothers Day dinner. They better call the election because if they don’t, Parliament i supposed to be sitting tomorrow.

KNIGHT: They will, they will. Good on you. Thanks so much guys.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.