Subjects: Company tax cuts, Coalition’s deals with One Nation
GEORGIE GARDNER: Welcome back. Well is Bill Shorten about to perform one of the biggest u-turns of his political career? He is facing a divided Shadow Cabinet this morning over his captain’s call to repeal company tax cuts. We are joined now by Labor’s Anthony Albanese and, in Adelaide, Christopher Pyne. Good morning and welcome to you both.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Georgie.
ALBANESE: On the front desk here in Melbourne.
GARDNER: Well you’re looking very comfortable.
ALBANESE: Karl better watch out.
PYNE: He might be looking for a new job.
GARDNER: Is he the only person who needs to look out?
GARDNER: You sure?
GARDNER: Tell me Anthony do you support Bill Shorten’s captain’s call to repeal company tax cuts?
ALBANESE: Well he has a right to exercise his judgement as the Leader. He’s done that in making that statement. We’ll have more discussion about what we do for the figure between $2 million and $10 million and we’ll make that announcement at some future time.
GARDNER: Did he consult with you?
ALBANESE: Well he made the decision and he has a right to do that as the Leader. I’m not part of the leadership group and my understanding is there was consultation, discussion over a long period of time. The Leader has the right from time to time to make policy announcements based upon his judgement. It’s consistent, it must be said, with exactly what Labor did, every Labor member in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. So it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise.
GARDNER: But you know it’s created tension. You know that there’s a ruckus over this. Is he going to back down?
ALBANESE: Well he’s made the announcement. Labor will have more discussions about what we do about the rest of the package.
GARDNER: Is he going to back down?
ALBANESE: That’s a matter for him. But I think what we’ve done is, he’s made the announcement about the figure between $10 million and $50 million. That’s consistent with what we did. Every Labor member of the House of Representatives and the Senate voted against these tax cuts because it is about priorities. Labor’s priority is investing in education, investing in health, investing in infrastructure and needing the funds to do that.
GARDNER: But there’s backlash and you can’t afford that in the lead up to the Super Saturday by-elections, can you?
ALBANESE: Well the fact is that we are well-positioned in these by-elections. We have very good candidates, we’re running a good campaign, we’re ahead in the polls. We’ve been ahead in the polls for some time, for more than 30 consecutive Newspolls.
GARDNER: That being said though, never has his leadership been under greater pressure. It’s your time, isn’t it, now for a tilt at the leadership?
ALBANESE: My time is do to my job as the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. I’m doing that. I’ll be doing that later today. I’ll be doing that over the weekend in New South Wales. I’ll be doing it on Monday in Mackay and Tuesday in Cairns.
GARDNER: But you made it pretty evident, didn’t you, last weekend with that manifesto? You want the job. Now’s the time. I mean apart from not having this weekly spot on the Today Show, what is stopping you from having a tilt at the leadership?
ALBANESE: Because I’ve always been loyal to leaders of the Labor Party. The Labor Party’s determined what our leadership position is. What I’ve been doing for the last five years is continuing to do the job I have to the best of my capacity. And I’ll continue to do that.
GARDNER: Christopher Pyne you have been trumpeting Albo’s leadership virtues for some time, for ages. What are your thoughts?
PYNE: Well Georgie, Bill Shorten’s bad decisions are catching up with him. He wants to put extra taxes on retirees. New housing tax. He wants to hit small businesses with a higher company tax. And hardworking Australian families with higher personal income taxes. And now these decisions are catching up with him. The public have worked him out. They’re in real trouble in these by-elections. And Anthony Albanese, of course, is a person of consistency of approach and policy. And a lot of people are looking to him and thinking maybe he’s going to be the answer because Bill Shorten has put us in a position where he wants to go to the next election giving 94,000 small businesses a motivation to campaign against Labor and $270 billion of new taxes to then be spent like confetti on whatever the Labor Party’s latest thing is. So I think Bill Shorten’s really boxed Labor into a bad position. There’s clearly rumblings in the Labor caucus that Anthony Albanese is the likely beneficiary of that should Bill Shorten’s leadership fall over. And I think that’s where we are. I’ve seen it before.
GARDNER: Well be careful what you wish for because he’ll be tougher to beat than Shorten.
PYNE: Oh we’ll see about that.
PYNE: We’ve got the best leader in Malcolm Turnbull. I think Anthony is a more consistent person in terms of policy than Bill Shorten, there’s no doubt about that. What you see with Anthony is what you get. People don’t trust Bill Shorten and they can’t afford Labor. But Malcolm Turnbull is the right guy to be the Prime Minister and we’ve got the right policies. We’re seeing that with growth, with jobs. Over a million new jobs created in the last four and a half years. Growth at 3.1%. People are a lot happier because the economy is growing and that’s the most important thing any Government can do along with national security. And today we’ve announced the $35 billion frigates project going to BAE and ASC Shipbuilding here in Osborne. That’s another big win for industry and the economy and capability.
GARDNER: The reality is though you’re pretty stymied with these company tax cuts. Have you done a deal with Pauline Hanson to get them through?
PYNE: Well one of the good things about the way we handle the crossbenchers is we don’t do it through the media. We talk to them individually. We’ve done very well in the last fortnight, passing major personal income tax cuts, $144 billion, which Bill Shorten wants to rip out of the hands of hardworking Australian families. With the company tax cuts, well Mathias Cormann announced yesterday that we won’t put them to a vote this week. We’ll see what happens over the winter break and we might try again when we come back in August.
ALBANESE: Australians have a right to know if there’s been a secret deal between Pauline Hanson and the Government to defer this decision until after the by-elections.
PYNE: Well it’s time Bill Shorten…
ALBANESE: The Government should to come clean about what the secret deal between Hanson and the Government is to pass these business tax cuts after the by-elections. They want to pretend before the by-elections that Pauline Hanson is against big business. The fact is she’s done another dirty deal with the Government. And Malcolm Turnbull wouldn’t answer the question yesterday in Parliament.
PYNE: It’s time that you asked Bill Shorten to reveal his secret deal with the CFMEU that he made for the Labor Party leadership, which stopped you becoming leader in the first place, when you first ran.
PYNE: There’s a secret CFMEU deal which Bill Shorten refuses to reveal. I think his caucus wants to know what it is as well and I’m sure you’d like to know what cost you leadership in first place when you were the peoples’ choice but not the caucus’ choice.
GARDNER: Christopher, if you do do a deal with Pauline will you take her preferences at the by-elections?
PYNE: Look that’s not a matter for me. There isn’t any kind of discussion around preferences or deals with One Nation.
ALBANESE: Come clean Christopher, now’s the time.
PYNE: The truth is that Labor are running scared in Longman and Braddon because they’ve got a leader that people don’t trust and they know that they can’t afford Labor to be in office. They can’t afford their increases in taxes. Just when the economy is growing, just when people are getting jobs, Bill Shorten wants to come along and mug them.
ALBANESE: Well if you’re confident of your policies, if you’re confident of the deal with Pauline Hanson just tell people what it is prior to the by-elections.
PYNE: Well I’m not aware of any deal with Pauline. I’m not aware of any such deal.
ALBANESE: Oh come on Christopher. You would have been in it mate.
PYNE: I’m not aware of any such deal.
ALBANESE: You’re talking yourself down here. You would have been in the room.
PYNE: That’s just rubbish.
ALBANESE: Nothing happens in the Government without this bloke.
PYNE: Not a leaf falls in the forest.
GARDNER: What he is aware of is that you would make a better leader than Bill Shorten.
ALBANESE: Well we have a leader. We have a team. I’m part of the team and I’m a team player. I’m halfback, five-eight, I run around the field, do my best.
PYNE: He’s campaigning all over Australia. Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Braddon. He’s running for Leader. He’s all over the country.
ALBANESE: I’m out there campaigning against you guys.
PYNE: In every local newspaper, telling his colleagues, ‘Look at me I’m popular, don’t have Bill in your electorate have Anthony Albanese’.
GARDNER: This is like being back at school.
ALBANESE: Something you’ve never been able to say Christopher.
PYNE: He’s like a grey nomad, he’s like a grey nomad, he’s on the road all the time.
GARDNER: That’s enough, that’s enough. You’ve got your winter school holidays now so you enjoy. You can go and put your feet up. Good to have you in, thank you Albo.
ALBANESE: Good to be at the desk.
GARDNER: Thank you Christopher.
PYNE: Thank you.
GARDNER: See you soon.
PYNE: See you.
KARL STEFANOVIC: Can we get him off the desk, he looks way too comfortable there.
ALBANESE: I’m staying.
STEFANOVIC: You’ve got to go to the Lodge and all that.
ALBANESE: I’m staying.
GARDNER: He’s in charge.
SYLVIA JEFFREYS: He is the whole team.
STEFANOVIC: Yeah, yeah nothing but the team.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.