Subjects: Superannuation; Labor frontbench; terrorism
SYLVIA JEFFREYS: Well Bill Shorten faces a heated and divided party room today as the Labor Leader finalises his frontbench line up. The Coalition meantime is dealing with its own factional divisions and infighting over its superannuation policy. The super debate has been dominating the headlines this week and joining us now is Christopher Pyne in Adelaide and Anthony Albanese in Canberra . Good morning to you both.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Sylvia, good morning Anthony.
JEFFREYS: Christopher, first to you. Last week on this show right here you conceded there would be quote “tinkering around the edges’’ on your super policy, Yesterday your colleague Kelly O’Dwyer declared there will not be any changes to your super policy. What is the message from the Coalition on super?
PYNE: Well Sylvia, we are very much at the beginning of the process with respect to superannuation reform because the Treasurer is yet to take a Bill through the Cabinet. That then has to go to the party room, it has to go to the backbench committee and then it gets presented to the Parliament. So we are at the start of the process. We have a policy that we took to the election that we obviously want to maintain and strongly support. But in terms of the final look of the superannuation reform, that has to go through a process. That’s how Parliament works. It’s a good process because it means by the time you finally get to voting on a piece of legislation you have ironed out some of the things along the way that, you know, have worried people or that they think can be improved. It’s a good process.
JEFFREYS: Well, do you truly believe in that process and the fact that you can pass this policy – this current super policy – in its current form through that process?
PYNE: Well, we have a long way to go as I said Sylvia. We’ve only just begun. The Cabinet is yet to sign off on the final piece of legislation and then it has to go to the backbench committee and the party room. I’m very confident though, that we will come up with a superannuation reform that is fair, that is good for the Budget bottom line and for the country and represents a positive step forward and that that will then be passed by the Parliament.
JEFFREYS: If you can’t get your backbenchers to support it, how can you get the independents to support it?
PYNE: Because our backbenchers are supporting it, as are our frontbenchers.
JEFFREYS: Not George Christensen.
PYNE: Well George is probably jumping the gun somewhat because we’ve got a significant process to go through and, you know, I don’t think people should be making hard and fast announcements about their decisions about crossing the floor when the process hasn’t even begun.
ALBANESE: Well, what Christopher has just said is nonsense of course. This was the centrepiece of their Budget. The Budget goes through the Cabinet process and that happened way back, two months ago. But since then the Government had a different position every week depending upon which minister was talking about superannuation policy. Most of them didn’t understand their own policy. They’ve booked the savings in terms of their Budget processes and we still haven’t seen the legislation and we’ve already got backbenchers threatening …
PYNE: So you admit that we haven’t seen the legislation?
ALBANESE: But it was in the Budget.
PYNE: So how could it be nonsense when you admit my central point?
ALBANESE: The measures were in the Budget my friend. And you booked the savings, you confirmed them during the election campaign and now you are saying you are at point one. Well, I don’t know what the Budget process was then.
JEFFREYS: Anthony, I want to I want to talk to you about your day, It’s going to be a big one for you in Canberra as you head into that caucus meeting today and Bill Shorten faces a very divided party. Your left faction – you’ve got problems in the Right as well – but let’s talk about your faction the Left. That’s divided now. You’ve got another left action within the Left faction courtesy of your friend Kim Carr. Is he in or out to of the shadow ministry, Kim Carr?
ALBANESE: Well we’ll have our processes today but those processes normally take place after an election. We’ll have a shadow ministry that will be elected today. Those internal processes will take place. Some people will be elected, some people won’t. That’s what happens. I’m hoping to be elected to the shadow ministry today. And looking forward …
JEFFREYS: Would you like to see Kim Carr on the backbench?
ALBANESE: I’m looking forward to serving. I’m putting myself forward. I’m not going to comment on colleagues. That will be a judgement that their colleagues make. But I will be putting myself forward. I’m looking forward to serving if I am successful as part of Bill Shorten’s team.
JEFFREYS: You must be worried about your own power base though, with Mr Carr creating his own faction.
ALBANESE: I’m very pleased with our processes and how they are going. They are going through in the normal way. That’s what happens after an election and we’ll be appointing the frontbench in the usual fashion.
JEFFREYS: I want to raise some terror-related news this morning in light of what’s happened at Merrylands especially. The PM has asked counter-terror agencies to look more closely at these lone wolf style attacks particularly in the wake of the Nice attack – these people who have no links to terror organisations, who are mentally ill and who radicalise rapidly. Christopher, this is a mission impossible surely? This is a tough task and a complicated task for the government.
PYNE: Well Sylvia, I understand that the Merrylands situation is not terror-related or about the radicalisation of a person through Islam, so I think it’s really important that we deal with crimes that are crimes and terror-related crimes quite separately and quite sensibly.
JEFFREYS: But there were fears of course that this was that initially. We know now that it is not, but that is a reflection of the state of fear I suppose that this country is in in the wake of the Nice attack. How do you address that?
PYNE: Well we keep supporting our law enforcement agencies whether they are state police based agencies or the Australian Federal Police, the various organisations like ASIO and ASIS and the Defence Signals Directorate. Any of these law enforcement agencies that are working to stop terror-related crime need our 100 per cent support and they get it on a bi-partisan way from both the Coalition and the Labor Party and that has to continue. But you know if the question is how do you stop crime, well that has been eluding people for thousands of years.
JEFFREYS: Christopher and Anthony Albanese, we have to leave it there. We appreciate your time this morning. Anthony, we look forward to seeing what comes out of your meeting this morning – a little later today.
PYNE: A ding dong brawl.
ALBANESE: And congratulations Sylvia.
JEFFREYS: Thank you.
ALBANESE: Congratulations on your big announcement
JEFFREYS: Well, look out for the invitations in the post for both of you.
ALBANESE: Christopher and I could sing or do something at the wedding I am sure.
JEFFREYS: I’ll put you down for a duet.
ALBANESE: I could DJ.
JEFFREYS: Well yeah DJ Albo. And maybe Christopher can lead the conga line.
PYNE: A conga line
KARL STEFANOVIC: I’ll do that with Christopher for sure.
JEFFREYS: I now you would Karl.