Topics: Labor leadership, legislating tax cuts.
Deb Knight: Good morning. Now look we are going to have to start calling you Mr Albanese, Albo hey?
Anthony Albanese: No, I will always just be Albo. But I’m not getting ahead of myself, nominations close on Monday. It’s important to respect the process.
Deb Knight: It’s yours though, there aren’t going to be any surprises.
Anthony Albanese: Well well there’s been a few surprises this week, so a few people have tested their level of support. I’m very confident but not complacent about the level of support that I received from caucus members, and from party members and affiliates. So I’ve been quite humbled by the level of support which is there.
Deb Knight: Who’s likely to be your deputy, because obviously Labor champions itself as gender diversity is Clare O’Neil likely to be the deputy? She’s from the right she’s from Victoria?
Anthony Albanese: Well we’ll wait and see. That’s a matter for the caucus, of course the leadership of the party is a matter for the caucus and the entire membership. We had those democratic reforms that have been so important in attracting people to the party and many people indeed have joined the Labor Party this week.
Deb Knight: But who would you like as deputy?
Anthony Albanese: I’m going to respect the caucus process…
Deb Knight: Look at you, you are all leadership material and diplomatic now.
Anthony Albanese: Penny Wong will be the leader of the Labor Party in the Senate and I really look forward to working with Penny. The thing about our team is that it has so much talent and capacity and I want to harness all of that talent and capacity in order to hold the Government to account which I acknowledge and congratulate them on their victory last Saturday. But we need to do that but they haven’t got a blank cheque, they need to be held to account by a strong opposition and we also need to be resetting our policy framework over the next three years so that next Saturday night, or the Saturday night in 2022 is a hell of a lot better than last Saturday.
Deb Knight: You’ve got three years, it’s not next Saturday night.
Anthony Albanese: Indeed, indeed. No that’s right, I wish it was next week but it’s not. But it was a tough night here on the panel of Channel 9 on Saturday night, that’s the truth of the matter.
Deb Knight: Now Simon, it looks like it is going to be Scomo v Albo, both appeal to everyday Aussies, both like a beer, both support their NRL. Is Albo going to be a stronger opponent for you than Bill Shorten was?
Simon Birmingham: Well Deb, I’ll wave the AFL flag when required but I wish Albo well, it’s important for Australia, for our democracy that all of our leaders do well and so I do wish Albo all the best if it is to be him. I mean we’ve seen that Bill Shorten this week is I think quietly been ringing just about everybody in the country almost everyone but me, asking if they will run against Albo. But it looks like it will be Albo, and so we wish him well. He of course has, as the Labor Party do, some lessons to learn from the election last weekend and really to make sure that they get back in touch with aspirational hard-working Australians. They were the people who we feel, the silent, hardworking Australians that Scott Morrison said on Election Night, who put us back in and if they want to see us deliver the tax relief that we’ve promised them, and they want to see us of course get on and deliver as well on our plans for greater support in mental health, support for families, our extra home care places for older Australians, all of those things that we promised in the election. And I hope that Albo will not lead an obstructionist opposition but instead will let us put those plans in place while he deals with Labor’s plans for the next election in three years’ time.
Deb Knight: And Albo, is that what you need to do? Do you need to bring the party back to the centre, do you need to drop policies like the franking credits, like the changes to negative gearing, do you need to have a complete re-shift here?
Anthony Albanese: Well I’ll make this point about aspiration, my whole life is an example of how in this country of opportunity, you can go from very humble beginning, with a a single mum growing up in council housing in Camperdown to be the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. People do aspire for a better life and government has a role in encouraging and facilitating that, but people aspire to more than things for themselves. They want a better life for their family, for their community and indeed for the country and it’s not just a matter of individualism and I very much will be in that frame. That’s what I’ve tried to do my entire political life and of course we need to reset policies after a defeat. We’ll do that, we’ll go through it in a constructive, a methodical way.
Deb Knight: So will franking credits stay?
Anthony Albanese: Well we’ll go through it, one of the things that I won’t do if I’m elected as opposition leader is just make policy determinations on the run, even here on the Today Show.
Deb Knight: Oh come on.
Anthony Albanese: I’ll consult with colleagues, I’ll appear here regularly, always available to the media but we’ll work these things through. Clearly we didn’t do well enough, if we do the same we’ll get the same result, I want a better result.
Deb Knight: But in terms of the aspirational side of things, obviously so many people within the middle, the quiet Australians as the Prime Minister referred to who were aspirational, we want to encourage that.
Anthony Albanese: Of course we do, of course we do and you know as I said, my own life, my own experience. I mean my mum was born and died in the same house, she lived for 65 years in public housing. She, day after day, from the time I was a kid I can remember was buy your own home. And one of the things we need to address in this country is housing affordability. Now the government doesn’t have a plan for that, the one thing that they came out with during the election campaign we immediately backed in. And that’s my view, if the government has good ideas I will back them in and I have that record. I mean western Sydney airport is only occurring, not because the Government’s made a decision, because the Government and the Opposition made a decision, that’s what made it happen and enabled it to go forward. So I will be constructive.
Simon Birmingham: So Albo, will you take off the table then at least the tax hit on first home super saver accounts? You know that was going to be nearly $400 million of extra tax on…
Anthony Albanese: We will look at our policies, I’ve said that we’ll look at them in a methodical and clear and concise way. It’s a long time before…
Deb Knight: Three long years.
Simon Birmingham: Well then let’s just deal with the short term.
Anthony Albanese: We’ll have our policies out there very clearly.
Simon Birmingham: Will you at least support the Government’s legislation on tax relief for Australians?
Deb Knight: It’s a question I want to ask.
Anthony Albanese: Let me tell you, we will support any proposal for this term, for this term.
Deb Knight: So you won’t back out of the second and third tax cuts?
Anthony Albanese: We will consider that, but let me tell you it is a triumph of hope over experience and reality.
Deb Knight: But isn’t that…
Anthony Albanese: The government knows, the government knows what the economic circumstances are in 2025, or 2023, in the middle of the next decade. Ask Ross Greenwood, what’s going on in the economy and whether he knows for sure what the economy will look like in three years’ time.
Deb Knight: But doesn’t this point to the whole class warfare thing? I mean it’s coming back down to that but you want to move on.
Anthony Albanese: No not at all. It’s a matter of, it’s a matter of we’ll give consideration to it, that’s a matter for our proper processes. But I’ve said very clearly, we could in my view, the government should return parliament which it said it would do. It said it would pass the tax cuts by July 1, that come in, we’ll back them in. Hand out there to you Simon, get onboard, get the House of Reps and the Senate back, only needs to happen for a couple hours, we’ll do a deal.
Deb Knight: There you go.
Anthony Albanese: I can do that, one speaker a side and Bob’s your uncle. Tax cuts delivered July 1, that’s what the government said it would do.
Deb Knight: So Birmo, is that something that you would accept? But obviously you want to move for more than that don’t you?
Simon Birmingham: Well we do want to implement everything that we’ve promised to the Australian people and when it comes to tax relief, we put out a long term plan. Australians often criticise their politicians for not looking long term enough or far enough into the future, our plan sees Australians have the certainty to know that over time if they work harder, they are not going to face bracket creep, that 9 million Australians will pay no more than 30 cents in the dollar under our plans. That the top income bracket will actually see that they pay a higher share over time of income tax, but for those who want to work an extra shift, get a promotion, they’re going to have a chance to get ahead. Now, we’ll bring the Parliament back as quickly as we can to legislate our tax relief, but really you’ve got to question if the…
Anthony Albanese: Why won’t you stick to your commitment?
Simon Birmingham: As soon as the writs are, we have clarity on when the writs will be returned, we’ll get the parliament back. But Albo, it will be remarkable if your first act as leader of the opposition was to oppose a package of tax relief, to impose a long-term package of tax relief.
Anthony Albanese: Your first act as a government is to breach the clear commitment which you made to the people before last Saturday.
Simon Birmingham: We will legislate every cent and all we need you to do is vote for it.
Deb Knight: Alright fellas thank you very much for joining us and Albo we’ll talk to you next time as Opposition Leader I’m sure.
Anthony Albanese: Well we’ll see what happens.