Oct 21, 2016

Transcript of TV interview – SKY News AM Agenda

Subjects: Guns for votes, Tony Abbott, ABCC, US election

GILBERT: We’re going to return to one of our earlier stories now. With me to discuss the guns for votes drama is Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese. Mr Albanese thanks for your time.

If you look at the detail here, isn’t it possible that you’ve got a situation (inaudible) didn’t believe a deal was being done, or wasn’t aware a deal was being done, but they basically were just hoodwinking the crossbencher David Leyonhjelm? Is that a possibility here that they might all be telling the truth?

ALBANESE: This mob in Government is so divided that they can’t even agree on how to rewrite history. Yesterday we saw a cage fight without the cage in the House of Representatives chamber, whereby you had Prime Minister Turnbull essentially call out Tony Abbott and say that his office knew of the deals that were being offered and the exchanges between Minister Keenan, Minister Dutton and Senator Leyonhjelm.

And then you had the former Prime Minister get up and call out the current Prime Minister for essentially misleading the position as to what he knew when he was the Prime Minister. I mean this has been reduced to farce and what is clear is that this is a Government that has been prepared to negotiate over guns for votes. It was this week Malcolm Turnbull was asked on multiple occasions whether he was prepared to have that on the table as part of the discussions with Senator Leyonhjelm. And of course today we have the COAG Ministerial meeting. If you know what the Government’s position is at that meeting you’re better than I am. But I sat in Parliament for three days; I still don’t know what position they’re taking as a Government to that meeting.

GILBERT: That’s a fair point because they haven’t said and it is hard to fathom exactly why that’s the case. But in terms of the politics here…

ALBANESE: It should be simple.

GILBERT: You would think so but, in terms of Labor’s politics here, you’ve used this as a massive distraction away from a weak spot for you and that is the Building and Construction Commission, which many would also argue Labor should be supporting.

ALBANESE: Well I think to give credit where credit is due; credit should be given to the Government because the train wreck of a week that they’ve had is all its own work. We just asked a few questions and couldn’t get answers.

They weren’t complex: What is the Government’s position on this gun that it’s taking to the Ministerial meeting today? What deals have been done between Government members and Senator Leyonhjelm, or any other Senators, regarding industrial relations legislation or anything else? Is the Government prepared to engage in guns for votes – or for that matter anything else for votes – trading off one issue against another?

They’ve pretty simple questions. We couldn’t get answers to them this week and that’s why you had it explode so spectacularly in the face of the Government yesterday on the floor of the House of Representatives.

I’ve been in Parliament for 20 years. I’ve never seen before a former Prime Minister stand up, or anyone in Government for that matter, stand up on the Government benches, do a personal explanation after Question Time and slap down the current Prime Minister. And of course you had the current Prime Minister, the current Shadow Treasurer, sorry Treasurer – he acts like the Shadow Treasurer – and the Foreign Minister sit down, like they were participants in a sort of school brawl, sit down and listen to Tony Abbott make that contribution to the Parliament. It’s quite extraordinary.

GILBERT: Alright I want to just ask you one final question before we go. We’re tight on time; I know you are as well. In terms of the Trump comments, he says he might not recognise the result of the election. That’s got to be a worry; you know from an ally’s perspective as well if one of the candidates doesn’t recognise the democratic process here.

ALBANESE: Look the United States is a great democracy and I think the world looks to it as a great democracy. One of the things about democratic processes is that people accept the outcomes. I think that people will judge those comments when they are casting their vote. It says a lot about character and this is an election in the United States. It’s a matter of course for the US people but of course one of the things that has come to the forefront as this campaign has gone on is character and I have faith in the American people to judge that in a way that decent people will.

GILBERT: Mr Albanese, appreciate your time. We’ll talk to you again soon.

ALBANESE: Great to be with you.