Subjects: Newspoll; election date; Melbourne Cup
KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the show, it’s good to have your company. Well, another pretty bad week for Bill Shorten. Things have gone from bad to worse for him in the polls with the Labor leader plummeting to his lowest ever rating but will the axe fall on him before the next election? When will that election be? Joining me now is Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer and Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Nice to see you all.
KELLY O’DWYER: Nice to see you all.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Nice to be here in Melbourne.
STEFANOVIC: What’s going on?
ALBANESE: With what in particular? The racing carnival?
STEFANOVIC: Anything to get away from it.
O’DWYER: Nice try. Nice try.
ALBANESE: You’ve got flowers and all.
STEFANOVIC: I know, I know. When are you going to move on Bill Shorten?
ALBANESE: That’s not going to happen. We went through a process of electing Bill as the Leader. We’re going through what you would expect to happen after a leadership change on the other side. Malcolm Turnbull is having a strong period and it’s not surprising because the whole country, including Kelly and others, are breathing a sigh of relief that Tony Abbott’s gone and is across the other side of the world.
STEFANOVIC: The thing is if they go to an election, you won’t win at the moment. You’ll get smashed.
ALBANESE: Well, we’re not going to an election this week. What Malcolm Turnbull has to do, the big challenge is twofold. One is to unite his team, and it’s clear that the Tony Abbott supporters are still very raw about what happened to him, knocking off a first term elected Prime Minister. Secondly, he’s got to match his rhetoric with policy. Here in Melbourne, where a billion and a half dollars has been sitting in a bank account, not being able to be used for infrastructure, finally this week the Government has acceded to Labor’s call to put that into projects. Build the Melbourne Metro, get that money creating jobs and building infrastructure.
STEFANOVIC: Kelly, when are you going to an election? You may as well go sooner rather than later.
O’DWYER: Well, it’s interesting. Just picking up on what Anthony said. I didn’t hear him say he’s not going to be running for the leadership of the Labor Party and I think it’s pretty clear –
STEFANOVIC: Well, he’s more popular.
O’DWYER: He is the choice of the Labor members.
ALBANESE: I did in fact say that. I say it every week on this show, Kelly. You should tune in.
O’DWYER: No, no, no, you haven’t. So you’re ruling it out forever and a day? You’re never running for the Labor leadership?
ALBANESE: Bill Shorten will lead us to the next election.
O’DWYER: See? So you’re not ruling it out.
ALBANESE: Well, in 2050 maybe when I’m sitting there as an experienced…
O’DWYER: You can be tricky about it. The truth is that the Labor Party is divided as it has been for many, many years. We know that Anthony is the person that most Labor members would like to see as leader.
STEFANOVIC: That’s true.
O’DWYER: You’re the people’s choice. That’s probably why you’re going to be backing Preferment at the Melbourne Cup.
STEFANOVIC: Now Kelly, you can’t back him so publicly. It’s humiliating for him to be so popular.
ALBANESE: You can’t do that and also speak about us being divided.
O’DWYER: I don’t say he’s that popular. I just say he’s more popular than Bill Shorten.
STEFANOVIC: He’s very, very popular. When are you going to an election?
O’DWYER: We’ve got a lot of work to do before we go to an election. We’re in no rush to go to an election. We are going to serve our term.
O’DWYER: We are going to serve our term. We have another 12 months to run.
STEFANOVIC: So you’re going to confirm on the Today Show you’re going to go another 12 months?
O’DWYER: Well, it’s not my decision. It’s a decision of the Prime Minister. But I know that he is absolutely focused not on the election, not on whether or not the Liberal Party wins but on doing the job we need to do for the Australian people.
STEFANOVIC: He’ll go before a tough Budget though, won’t he?
O’DWYER: Well, no. No. We are working very hard to deliver a sound and sensible Budget…
STEFANOVIC: It’s got to be tough love.
O’DWYER: You’ve only need to go back to the Budget we delivered only a number of months ago…
STEFANOVIC: You’ve wound back almost everything on it.
O’DWYER: Let me finish, Karl. A $5.5 billion jobs and growth package, which is with my industry for small business, the biggest boost, the most historic boost that we’ve ever seen. A 1.5% tax cut for small business, a $20,000 instant asset write off for those businesses that are setting up, an immediate deduction of all of the professional expenses that go into setting up a small business. A huge boost for small business and for those who are unincorporated, a 5% deduction for those people who are in unincorporated businesses.
STEFANOVIC: And when are you lifting GST?
O’DWYER: You know, we have – I love the scare campaign that Labor is running on this.
STEFANOVIC: No, I’m just asking personally.
O’DWYER: We are talking about serious tax reform. We are not talking about raising taxes. A lot of people, when we talk about changing taxes think that we’re simply talking about raising taxes.
That’s not what the government is looking at. We are looking at whether our taxes are currently fit for purpose. Whether it’s harming our competitiveness as a nation. Whether it’s actually rewarding people for their effort that they put in or whether it’s actually penalising them. We’re looking at the full tax mix.
STEFANOVIC: When do you think they’re going to go to an election?
ALBANESE: Well, I think March 19 is a possible date.
O’DWYER: Is that what you’re campaigning for?
ALBANESE: It’s possible that they’ll go before the redistribution in New South Wales, which has been bad for the Liberal Party, is finalised. That would be a double dissolution. The problem they’ve got is having a Budget.
At the moment, Malcolm is going around and promising all things to all people. Their small business package was so good they sacked the small business minister a few weeks ago.
This is a government every time it’s brought down a Budget, it’s dived in the polls. They might well want to avoid that scrutiny.
STEFANOVIC: What’s your best guess for when they will go to an election?
ALBANESE: I think March 19.
STEFANOVIC: Anything to say?
O’DWYER: All I’d say is that I’m not so sure that he’s tuned into the Prime Minister’s thinking.
STEFANOVIC: You’re not ruling it out though?
O’DWYER: We’re going to be having a full term. We’ve got lots to do.
ALBANESE: Malcolm might have to make a tough decision if they go a full term.
STEFANOVIC: He’s got to make one at some point, you would have to think.
Let’s have a look at the Melbourne Cup, the race that stops the nation.
There are a couple of horses that we need to look at here. What do you think, who’s going to win?
O’DWYER: I’m a sentimentalist, so I’m going to be backing High Midnight, which is a Cummings horse – Bart Cummings’s son, it’s his horse. It will pay out big if it wins.
STEFANOVIC: You might be able to pay off the debt!
O’DWYER: I’m a sentimentalist. But I imagine Christopher Pyne, he would be backing Fame Game if he was here.
STEFANOVIC: I’m not sure Pyney is across the horses.
ALBANESE: No, I don’t think he is. Sport and Pyne don’t mix.
STEFANOVIC: Who do you like?
ALBANESE: I’m a mug punter. I’m one of those Melbourne Cup, once a year punters. I actually have to look and see the colour of the horses. A gray horse, I have no idea why. Sentiment, that’s all, there’s no logic to it.
O’DWYER: How’s that gone for you?
ALBANESE: It’s gone okay, actually. They grays have won a couple of times in the last decade.
STEFANOVIC: You’ve forgotten the name of the horse you’re tipping, haven’t you?
ALBANESE: Bondi Beach. Because I reckon, an Irish horse called Bondi Beach has got to have something going for it.
O’DWYER: This is Labor logic.
STEFANOVIC: I think Lloyd Williams is involved in that, which is always good. Great stuff. Nice to see you all, and have a great Derby Day.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.