Sep 1, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; Malcolm Turnbull’s travel claims; statues; Constitutional recognition of the First Australians 

KARL STEFANOVIC: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Good morning, guys.



STEFANOVIC: Christopher, I’m starting with you. What was the PM doing claiming $500 a night for a hotel in South Australia he didn’t even pay for?

PYNE: Well, he was perfectly entitled to make the claim. The problem was that he wasn’t issued with an invoice. They’ve now asked for the invoice. He’ll pay the invoice quite correctly. It’s one of those administrative issues. It really is not a big story.

STEFANOVIC: Why do you claim for something that you haven’t been invoiced with?

PYNE: Well I doubt very much that the Prime Minister sitting down doing his travel allowance claims on a daily basis. That would be being done in his office. Obviously they’ve just gone through the normal processes and nobody pointed out that there was no invoice yet. As soon as it was pointed out to them they requested one. The invoice will be received, it will be paid. It’s no different to any other claim that MPs make for travel allowance.

STEFANOVIC: I’m not personally blaming the Prime Minister but this is the sort of thing that does rattle people’s nerves a little bit in the electorate.

PYNE: No, I think it’s a pretty minor issue. I don’t think anybody pays much attention to small administrative issues like that. There are bigger issues facing the country.

STEFANOVIC: Albo, you travel more than the Leyland Brothers. There anything you want to declare?

ALBANESE: No. Look, clearly here the Prime Minister or his office has made a mistake. They need to fix it up.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. You criticised Bill Shorten very publicly this week. Can I ask you this question this morning? When are you going to man up and take his job?

ALBANESE: I didn’t in fact criticise Bill Shorten. One of the things I said is that Bill Shorten is absolutely committed to reconciliation.

PYNE: He did attack him.

ALBANESE: Reconciliation requires the First Australians to work together who’ve come since and that’s the nature of reconciliation. One of the things that I think we should consider is more recognition of our Indigenous heritage.

Why aren’t there statues of Bennelong and other Aboriginal figures around Australia? That would be good for Aboriginal people in terms of their esteem and important recognition, but also it is important for people for who visit Australia who want to know more about our long history.

STEFANOVIC: Fair call. Would you add plaques?

PYNE: I agree with the last part of what Anthony said about statues of Aboriginal Australians like Pemulwuy but the truth is that Bill has an overactive political correctness gland and Anthony slam dunked him because Bill was trying to as usual appeal to the audience he was talking to. He wants his job; he should get on with it.

STEFANOVIC: Would you add plaques to the statues or keep them the way they are?

ALBANESE: I think there are far greater issues.

STEFANOVIC: Come on, you’re squibbing it.

ALBANESE: There are far greater issues facing First Australians in closing the gap on education, on health. They’re the issues that we need to concentrate on and we also need to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in our Constitution.

PYNE: Bill says new plaques. Anthony says no plaques.

STEFANOVIC: Who would you build statues for?

ALBANESE: Christopher has suggested Pemulwuy. There’s also Bennelong. There are a range of Aboriginal historical figures as well as current leaders. I think over a period of time they need that recognition.

STEFANOVIC: I think it’s a good idea.

ALBANESE: We need to understand that Australia’s history is the longest continuous civilisation on earth and be proud of it.

STEFANOVIC: See, there you go again, being a great opposition leader.

PYNE: He’s much better than Bill.

STEFANOVIC: He’s much better than Bill, isn’t he Chris? Do you agree?

PYNE: He’s much better than Bill. Bill wants plaques, new plaques. Anthony’s saying no new plaques. He’s done it again.

STEFANOVIC: Just do it! Just do it.

PYNE: He did it on Wednesday, now he’s doing it on Friday on The Today Show.

STEFANOVIC: Exactly, Christopher.

ALBANESE: I’m very happy with the job that I have. Very happy with the job that I’ve got.

STEFANOVIC: Come on, man up and take his job. Take his job. He’s doing no good in the ratings.

PYNE: Stop shadow boxing, Anthony. Stop shadow boxing.

ALBANESE: I’m very happy with the job that I’ve got.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, Christopher.

ALBANESE: I’m part of the team. See, Christopher doesn’t recognise the concept of teamwork.

PYNE: Rubbish. I’ve been in the team for 25 years.

ALBANESE: Abbott’s putting out Turnbull’s travel claims. Turnbull’s office is responding with Abbott’s travel claims.

STEFANOVIC: Now you’ve woken up. Christopher, just before we go. Your seat of Sturt could be under threat from a reallocation of seats in the lower house. Is this your last hurrah? Is this your swansong? Is the fat bloke singing?

PYNE: Karl, I’ve been through three redistributions that I can remember. There’s no more or greater reason or less reason why my seat would be abolished. Eventually there will be a twelve month process. I’ll be living in the seat somewhere in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide.

I’ll be standing for that seat. That’s where my party membership is. That’s where my electors are. I will definitely have a seat. The reality is what it will end up looking like is a matter for the electoral commission but there’s no reason to believe that I won’t be running for a seat in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide.

ALBANESE: Channel Nine have got Chris Uhlmann; they could have had Chris Pyne replacing Laurie.

STEFANOVIC: We’re very happy with Chris Uhlmann, thank you very much.

ALBANESE: It’s a very wise decision.

STEFANOVIC: And you should all be very afraid, you people in Canberra.

PYNE: I want to get paid as much as Chris Uhlmann’s gonna get paid.

STEFANOVIC: Come work in the private sector. It might be harder than what you’re doing.

PYNE: Oh, I don’t think so. I don’t get Iced Vovos every morning when I ask for them like you do, Karl.

STEFANOVIC: They’re not like they used to be, the Iced Vovos.

ALBANESE: You have to come into the studio mate; you should see it here today. Full on.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, there’s pies and everything.

ALBANESE: Breakfast, coffee, pies, everything.

PYNE: Banana lounges behind the scenes.

ALBANESE: It’s all good.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, that’s enough. Over to you Lisa.