Feb 14, 2018

Transcript of television interview – Two Tribes segment, FIVEaa Adelaide

Subjects: Barnaby Joyce; Adelaide hosting 2020 State of Origin game.

PRESENTER: It’s time for Two Tribes on a Wednesday morning. Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne joining us, as always. Good morning to you, gentlemen.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning, Will.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning from Canberra.

PRESENTER: We’ll start with you if we can, Chris. Now Chris, I’ve known you for getting close to 30 years now. You’ve always been a proud member of the Liberal Party. I’ve going to ask you, how do you feel about your Government and indeed our nation being represented next week by Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce?

PYNE: Well David, the Government has got off to a good start for the year. There’s no doubt about that and the pressure is on Bill Shorten, and should stay on Bill Shorten in terms of the policies that he’s trying to impose on Australians, the higher taxes, increasing the cost of living [inaudible]. They’re the issues that people really care about.

ALBANESE: He’s got the talking points.

PRESENTER: But they haven’t been the issues at all for the last week, have they?

PYNE: I was getting to my answer. Anthony’s too excited to be able to sit quietly for even a moment and allow me to speak. So obviously, the issues surrounding Barnaby Joyce are quite serious and need to be taken seriously. The decision about whether Barnaby Joyce leads the National Party is one for the National Party. It’s not one for the Liberal Party. Your listeners probably know that we are in coalition. It’s a very longstanding coalition – 80 years of coalition between non-Labor parties and the National Party. But at the end of the day, there are 60 Liberals in the House Representative and 16 Nationals, 25 Liberals in the Senate and five Nationals.

PRESENTER: The masterclass on how Parliament works is great, but do you like the fact that he’s going to be leading the Government next week, or not?

PYNE: I would have thought your listeners would be into it.

ALBANESE: Run through the seats in alphabetical order.

PRESENTER: Question to you in a different way, Chris. Is it a moot point as to whether he will be Acting Prime Minister next week, because it probably won’t get to that?

PYNE: Look, as I said we have these two days today and tomorrow of the House sitting. The National Party appear to be – there’s a lot of speculation about what the National Party is or isn’t doing. At the end of the day it’s a matter for the National Party. Barnaby Joyce’s clear intention is to continue do the job that he’s doing as the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and the Deputy Prime Minister. The Liberal Party supports him in the roles that he that he holds. The impact on his family life of these revelations and the relationship which is now public knowledge is obviously extremely traumatic for everybody involved and I don’t want to add to the trauma for anyone who’s close to it, nor do I want to be a commentator on my colleagues relationships so, on a professional basis he is the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure. He’s continuing to do that job. He’s Deputy Prime Minister. He does that job and matters for the leadership of the National Party sit in the National Party very squarely. I doubt very much that they would be interested in Liberal Party interference or views about their leadership.

PRESENTER: Can I ask you, Albo; you’re a married bloke with a child. Chris, you’re obviously married, you’ve got kids as well. I’m married to a politician, we’ve got kids together. Now, Barnaby said this week this is one of those trials that all politicians will face. Sam Dastyari, to use his words, described Federal Parliament as a ‘root fest’ the other night. What planet are these guys on? Are you worried about the collective sort of, defamation that this is doing, this perception that Federal Parliament is sort of like the last days of Rome? Because it is not my experience of the overwhelming majority of the people I know, be they Labor, Liberal, Green or independent.

ALBANESE: It’s simply not the case. People in this building work very hard, they work long hours and they concentrate on that across the political spectrum. I don’t want to comment on Barnaby Joyce his personal situation, but what is being exposed here is the fact that we have a minority government in this country. We have a Prime Minister, Christopher’s Leader of the Government in the House of Representatives, and they’re impotent when it comes to being able to act against a circumstance where they know that Barnaby Joyce should go, where every one of your listeners knows that he’ll probably be gone in the next 24 hours. But they’re saying ‘oh well, it’s got nothing to do with us’. Staff allocations, what happens in the National Party, ‘nothing to do with us’. But for all of their nonsense during the period of the Gillard Government about minority government, they are a minority government and they’re putting their hand up and saying that. We have an Infrastructure Minister who, when I asked about the fact that South Australia’s share of infrastructure and transport investment falls to 2 per cent in the year 2021 from the federal government – 2 per cent – under $100 million is all that South Australia will get, Barnaby Joyce didn’t have a clue. He’s not on top of his portfolio. He wasn’t on top of the agriculture portfolio. He clearly isn’t up to the high office that he currently holds.

PRESENTER: Can I just revisit something you said earlier there, Albo, suggesting that the Liberal Party were able to act on its partner in the Coalition, would remove Barnaby Joyce because that’s what should be done. Is it standard fare in the Labor Party then, that if you’re guilty of the indiscretions that Barnaby Joyce has been guilty of, you’re gone? Is that just a fact now?

ALBANESE: It’s nothing to do with his personal relations. There are a whole range of issues with regard to the ministerial guidelines that are very clear that they have been breached. That’s the question here. Very clear breaches of ministerial guidelines. When people breach them, then they can’t stay as Ministers regardless of who it is. I don’t make any judgments about Barnaby’s personal life. That’s a matter for him and the individuals involved. But it’s very clear here that there have been breaches. And the Prime Minister, when asked about those issues in Parliament, has said simply even though he ultimately is responsible, has said all those issues are matters that are determined by the National Party.

PRESENTER: Guys before we let you go, this might just be one for you Albo, unless you Chris have a hitherto unknown passion for rugby league but, our breaking story this morning that NRL game two of State of Origin 2020 will be held at the home of international sport, the Adelaide Oval. You getting over for that?

ALBANESE: Mate, that will be a fantastic event and congrats to South Australia and the South Australian Government for securing it. Put out your Adelaide Rams shirts!

PRESENTER: That was an idea whose time had come. There’s still several people who meet in a phone booth to talk about the Rams.

ALBANESE: The largest ever rugby league crowd at a game was at the MCG for a State of Origin. It’s a great spectacle, it’s a great event of athletes and I’m sure that people will enjoy it. It’ll be a great success. Good for tourism in South Australia.

PRESENTER: Good on you Albo, good on you too Chris, unless you wanted us to ask any more Barnaby Joyce questions?

PYNE: I’m still here.

ALBANESE: Tell us how Parliament works! Tell us some more. We need some more detail.

PYNE: In 1901, we came together and formed the Parliament. There were 75 members, I think…

PRESENTER: Thank you, Christopher Pyne. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese joining us there.