Jul 1, 2016

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects: Fairfax/Ipsos; AWU comments; Nick Xenophon; Sturt, Grayndler; Minor parties.

LISA WILKINSON, HOST: Welcome back to the show.  Well, tomorrow we finally go to the polls and it couldn’t be closer. A Fairfax/Ipsos poll out this morning puts the Coalition and Labor neck-and-neck at 50/50, while a Galaxy poll for News Corp has the Coalition two points ahead. Joining us now – possibly for the last time in their current roles – is Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese. Good morning. 

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

HOST: And from Adelaide, the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa, good morning Anthony.

HOST: Anthony, if I can start with you. The Daily Telegraph today says your leader is, quote, ‘Going Down’. Are they right?

ALBANESE: Well, 50/50 is what the poll says.

HOST: Yes, but 21 seats you’ve got to win back.

ALBANESE: We’re very competitive. I am here, live on Channel 9 tomorrow night, and one of the things that is going to happen with this poll is excitement, I think. When you have got a minor party vote around 25 per cent, if anyone can predict this result they are better than me. This is going down to the wire. I think it is very possible that we won’t even know tomorrow night. What we do know is that Labor has run a strong campaign not just during the last eight weeks, or however long this campaign’s been going for, but for the entire year. We have set the policy agenda and this is a Government that has run out of steam in its first term.

HOST: But Bill Shorten has kicked a few own goals in the last couple of weeks. If he does go down, will you challenge?

ALBANESE: We are about winning, Lisa. I want to be a Minister in a Shorten Labor Government. What I want is, on Sunday, to get the incoming brief as a Minister.

HOST: On Sunday – we are talking 48 hours away-

ALBANESE: We are not countenancing anything other than victory tomorrow. We are working very hard. Bill Shorten will be speaking at a pro-Medicare rally this morning in Sydney, and we are campaigning each and every hour. And this is our only focus.

HOST: If Bill Shorten does go down, do you guarantee not to challenge?

ALBANESE: That is our only focus; to win. That is what we are working on. I will be on the polling booths. I will be at Dulwich Hill station, at Hurlstone Park station this morning, then I will be at Balmain having a cup of coffee with a women’s group at a fantastic coffee shop in Balmain known as Bertonis.

HOST: The head of the AWU says this morning that if you do take the Labor leadership, Labor will be in opposition for many, many years. Your response?

ALBANESE: He’s got his name in the paper. What’s his name?

HOST: I can’t remember his name.

ALBANESE: Well, he’s got his name in the paper: so be it. What everyone should be concentrating on is a Labor victory tomorrow.

HOST: Well, he clearly is, and he is not a fan. We will find out on Sunday whether you are going to challenge. Christopher, meantime, the Ipsos poll this morning is saying that it is neck-and-neck. But the Nick Xenophon Team is creeping up on you and look like scoring big in South Australia. How confident are you of keeping your seat?

PYNE: Well, Lisa, we will just have to wait and see. I think the election is going to be very close, which means everybody’s vote does count. What has been very clear, especially over the last couple of weeks, is that there is a very clear choice between the chaos of a hung parliament – for people who vote for independents and minor parties and cast us back to the darkness that was the Julia Gillard-Kevin Rudd period in the 43rd Parliament – or a stable Turnbull Coalition Government that has an economic plan for jobs and growth into the future. Which is what the country needs as our economy transitions. That’s what the Government is promising and what we can deliver with a strong team. That’s the choice for tomorrow. And I hope people choose a strong Turnbull Government with a majority.

HOST: How confident are you of keeping your seat?

PYNE: This is my ninth election, Lisa. I have been through some very tight elections and I never take it for granted, especially the day before the election. That would not be a good time to be jinxing the result, I can assure you of that. I will fight ’til six o’clock tomorrow night to win my seat. I think the people of my seat know me well, they know that I fight hard for them, that I believe in them and this state, and I have delivered for them. And hopefully I get the chance to continue to deliver for them.

HOST: The minor parties are a real thorn in the Government’s side. In fact, that is part of the reason why the double dissolution was called. Malcolm Turnbull was sick of having to deal with those minor parties. How do you think you will go, if you do return to government, working with the likes of Nick Xenophon, Jacqui Lambie, Derryn Hinch and Pauline Hanson?

PYNE: I took five hours on the pre-poll yesterday at the Glynde pre-poll in my electorate, Lisa, and I can tell you that the stability message is really shining through. A lot of people said that they didn’t want to return to the chaos of a hung parliament with a crossbench full of independents and minor parties. So let’s wait and see how the results fall. The pollsters might well have got it wrong again. They are polling, they are not actually counting the votes. Anthony and I have been through many elections: the polls often show one result and the voters have a habit of going the other direction. Especially in Australia they can be a bit contrary and I am not sure, necessarily, that minor parties and independents will do as well as the polls are indicating.

ALBANESE: Can I take up that point, too? One of the things that people will often do in polls is send a message. It doesn’t mean that that is the way they vote. I think that when people get in the polling booth they know that they can have Bill Shorten or Malcolm Turnbull tomorrow night as Prime Minister. And that is the real decision that they have to make.

HOST: Alright.

PYNE: Exactly right.

HOST: Well, good luck to both of you. We may see you next week or we may not.

ALBANESE: Maybe we can get a job here – Christopher and me – on the panel, or something? I know a bit about sport: Timmy Gilbert’s not here today.

PYNE: You don’t know anything about sport. Hopefully next week I will be a continuing Cabinet Minister and Anthony will be the new Leader of the Opposition.

ALBANESE: Can I make this point today: I got mentions in about three places in my electorate, Christopher only got one.

PYNE: What does that mean?

ALBANESE: I just got in Balmain, Hurlstone Park, Dulwich Hill – I got them in there. Because the first thing I have got to do, of course, is win my seat.

PYNE: I will be out poster waving in Glenside today, in my electorate. That is the most demeaning job involved.

HOST: Okay, you need to call each other, because we’ve got to go to the break. Good luck to both of you.