May 5, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show, Nine network

Subjects: Turnbull meeting with Trump, Gonski

KARL STEFANOVIC: I never get sick of it.  In a few hours’ time, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and President Donald Trump will hold their first historic meeting in New York. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Good morning, gentlemen.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl, good morning Anthony.


STEFANOVIC: Is it true the Prime Minister was overheard saying, “Doesn’t he know who I am?”

PYNE: Hahahahahaha. Karl. I doubt that very much. Obviously President Trump has had a big win in the Congress overnight our time with the Obamacare Health Act being repealed, whether you think that’s a good thing or not. And he wants to make the most of that, as you would expect. These things happen in Canberra and in Washington, so the meeting has been delayed a little bit. It will still go ahead. Obviously it is a big occasion for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, and I’m looking forward to President Trump and Malcolm Turnbull getting together.

STEFANOVIC: Well, it will be like a two minute meeting. He’s been royally snubbed by Trump here. Come on.

PYNE: Not at all. Not at all.


ALBANESE: Look, these things happen. These things happen. I’m not going to politicise a meeting between the Australian PM and the US President.

STEFANOVIC: That’s soft of you.

PYNE: You’re such a statesman.

ALBANESE: I am. Friday morning, just after six o’clock. If he asks me after eight, I’ll go hard.

STEFANOVIC: DJ Albo. He’s probably going to go and ask for our help with North Korea. Are we going to climb in there, Christopher, or not?

PYNE: Well look, obviously we are working closely with the United States on the issues surrounding North Korea. We want North Korea to dismantle any program to build an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach Australia or the continental US, that’s a serious threat to us so we are definitely strongly supporting the United States in the pressure they’re putting on North Korea, but also China because China is the country with the most influence in North Korea and I note that China and North Korea are having their own issues right now and I think China will push back quite heavily.

STEFANOVIC: Yep, Turnbull’s weighed in. Albo, would you support our involvement?

ALBANESE: I don’t think anyone’s suggesting military action. What they’re doing is discussing the ways in which we can cooperate to ensure that there’s a peaceful resolution. I think that is what the whole world wants, but we have a direct interest in it too.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. Christopher, the education reforms. Catholics still aren’t happy. Tony Abbott says it would be on a loser if it looked like disadvantaging Catholic schools. Do you agree with Tony?

PYNE: Well of course, Catholic schools are getting a billion dollar increase in spending and the 3.7 per cent rise in spending over the next ten years so how anybody could feel that they’re losing when they’re getting a billion dollars extra is beyond me. I think the reforms are great. I noticed yesterday Labor trying to run a scare campaign in the morning and Tanya Plibersek saying they wouldn’t put any extra money in, in the afternoon so Labor is all at sea and we’re just getting on with the job whether it’s higher education reform, school reform, child care reform, company tax cuts, savings measures, we are actually getting the job done.

STEFANOVIC: But Tony Abbott is not alone in saying that the Catholic schools are very concerned about this. It’s a fair chunk of the electorate.

PYNE: I’m not going to comment on Tony Abbott’s remarks. I’m not a commentator on my colleagues. It’s a good reform. We’ve resolved the warfare between the sectors, between the states. Labor left us with a dog’s breakfast. Twenty-seven different agreements and they didn’t really implement the Gonski reform at all.

ALBANESE: How did you go as the Education Minister, mate?

PYNE: Very well, actually. I was one of the more successful ones in recent decades as you always used to say, in fact.

ALBANESE: The fact is that you’ve got Tony Abbott out there, you speak about ending the warfare, and you’ve got Tony Abbott out there. You speak about the warfare; the warfare is ongoing in the Liberal Party. Tony Abbott and Andrew Hastie visiting schools to campaign against the Turnbull Government. This is extraordinary in the lead up to a Budget next Tuesday. Tony Abbott has said that there will be a showdown in the Party room next week about this issue but I’m sure about other issues as well. This ongoing dog fight is unbelievable.

STEFANOVIC: Gentlemen, we are out of time. Gonski. Thank you for your time. Have a great weekend.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.