Subjects: Liberal Party chaos; Malcolm Turnbull; Labor Party; Nauru; Melbourne Cup.
KARL STEFANOVIC: Good morning guys.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl. It’s nice to be back.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.
STEFANOVIC: Christopher, first of all, Malcolm took to Twitter saying this: “Scott Morrison asked me to discuss trade and the Embassy issue in Bali and we had a call before I left to confirm his messages, which I duly relayed”. It’s PMs at five paces. Who’s got the biggest gun though Chris?
PYNE: Well Karl, nice try, but we are focused as a Government on the economy and jobs.
STEFANOVIC: You weren’t yesterday.
PYNE: That is what we are focused on. We are not going to become distracted with these kinds of peripheral issues. Malcolm went to Bali for the Oceans Conference. I am sure he represented us there very well. I was in Singapore just a week before. I met with 17 different defence ministers from our region. Not one of them raised the issue about the Jerusalem Embassy. But quite frankly we are considering whether we should put our Embassy in West Jerusalem in Israel, the only country in the world where our embassy is not in the capital. And it is perfectly even-handed. If there is a Palestinian state, and we support a two-state solution, we will have an embassy in East Jerusalem for the Palestinian state. So there is not an issue here.
STEFANOVIC: I understand what you are trying to do here. But the reality is this – that you have a sitting prime minister and a former prime minister butting heads and it is just the worst possible look when you should be just getting on with the job. It’s a complete rabble your party.
PYNE: No it’s not.
STEFANOVIC: You are going to get towelled up at the next election because you are letting the Australian public down.
PYNE: Karl the economy is very strong. We have created over a million jobs in the last five years. The public knows that. We are heading to a Budget surplus. We are getting on with the job and the public realise it. They are tuning out of the soap opera of politics and they are focused on the choice at the next election which is between a high-taxing, high spending risk in the Labor Party in an untrustworthy Bill Shorten or a trustworthy Scott Morrison who is getting on with the economy, the jobs and getting the Budget back to surplus.
STEFANOVIC: You are exactly like the Australian cricket administration at the moment. You need to get rid of yourself.
PYNE: Well I am not planning of getting rid of myself any time soon Karl, I can assure you.
STEFANOVIC: Kevin Rudd, by the way, has been very active this week as well. What is it with ex-prime ministers? Can’t they all just shut up?
ALBANESE: What is going on here is that the Australian public are tuning out from the Government. They are an absolute rabble. They are a mess. My son used to play junior AFL and they had a mercy rule, which was when it got so bad they called the scoring off and it is at this point for the Government. It is time that they actually went to an election and put themselves out of their misery.
STEFANOVIC: They are not going to do that though. And despite all this still Bill Shorten is behind. That’s got to be the greatest worry for the Labor Party.
ALBANESE: Well the Labor Party is out there advancing policy. We’ve done more this week. Each and every week – rolling out policies. We have now the specific commitments for schools and how much each school will be advanced by and we have been out there advancing an agenda – leading from Opposition because the Government isn’t governing.
STEFANOVIC: OK Christopher, I want to go back to Nauru. It has been a hot topic all week, in fact for the last couple of weeks. Can you confirm this morning how many kids and families have been moved off Nauru?
PYNE: Well we are trying to get everybody of Nauru Karl and we have done a very good job. I mean the last five years we have closed 17 …
STEFANOVIC: How many in the last couple of weeks have been moved off and have any more kids been moved off?
PYNE: Well I know that there are now only about 40 children on Nauru and I didn’t know what the total number was before that because I’m not the Home Affairs Minister. But in the last five years we have closed 17 of the detention centres that the Labor Party opened.
STEFANOVIC: So no one from your Government is going to confirm how many have come off Nauru in the last couple of weeks and whether or not the parents of these children came with these kids. What are you trying to hide?
PYNE: Well why don’t you ask the Minister for Home Affairs that question? I am not the Minister for Home Affairs. I can tell you ….
STEFANOVIC: Do you know where they have been moved? To Adelaide.
PYNE: Well if I could just finish my sentence, I am told that there are about 40 children still on Nauru. Our policy is to get everybody off Nauru. That’s our policy. Labor put them on Nauru and on Manus Island. Labor opened 17 detention centres and there were tens of thousands of people in detention. So we are not going to be lectured to by Labor. We have repaired the mess that they created and eventually all of the children and hopefully everyone who is in detention will be off Nauru and that’s why we have the agreement with the United States.
STEFANOVIC: And to use your argument against you now, that is just a green light for people smugglers
PYNE: No. We have stopped the people smuggling trade and let’s hope it never starts again.
STEFANOVIC: No, you’ve just moved families and kids off Nauru on to mainland Australia and that is a green light to people smugglers.
PYNE: No, we have a very carefully managed program and that is why in the last five years we have repaired the damage that Labor left in terms of border protection. So no, you are not right Karl. We have a carefully managed program to ensure that everyone is eventually out of detention and we have done very well at doing so.
STEFANOVIC: Finally and quickly, how many have moved into your electorate?
PYNE: Karl I am not tracing the people in detention on Nauru and where they are ending up in Australia or overseas. There have been a lot of people moved from Nauru in the last year or so. Many have gone to the United States. Some have gone home to the countries from which they came.
STEFANOVIC: They are now saying they don’t want to go to the United States because they don’t have welfare in the United States. What is your take on that?
PYNE: Well Karl we have now closed the Manus Detention Centre because we got everybody out of Manus Island, which Labor opened let’s not forget. We have done a very good job in terms of getting people out of detention who were in there because of Labor’s policies.
STEFANOVIC: That is the report from the Minister this morning – that people don’t want to go to the United States because they don’t want to have to work for welfare.
ALBANESE: The minister’s rhetoric and the hollowness of it has been exposed by the difference between what they say and what they do. They are finally responding to what the health experts say is necessary, which is to get the kids off Nauru. That’s a good thing that that is happening. But they need to be a little bit more transparent about it.
STEFANOVIC: OK. Just finally, really quickly, what is your tip for the Melbourne Cup? Chris?
PYNE: Look I have to say I have just not been focused on the Melbourne Cup Karl at all. I have been focusing on a few of my jobs in defence at the moment, I will have a look at it on Monday and Tuesday
ALBANESE: I can confidently say that a horse will win. I always back a grey horse. It’s very scientific my analysis.
PYNE: We’ll have a look at all those. Thanks guys.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.