Radio interview – 101.7 WSFM with Jonesy and Amanda
AMANDA KELLER, HOST: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, hello.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Good morning. Good to be with you again.
BRENDAN JONES, HOST: Great to talk to you again. But that’s kind of a big deal, isn’t it?
PRIME MINISTER: It was a very, very big deal. Well, someone said to me yesterday, ‘Why you lighting the Harbour Bridge in Indian colours?’ And I said ‘there are 1.4 billion reasons why we are doing that’. The whole world has been looking at Australia hosting Narendra Modi. He is a rock star, certainly with his community. And the event at Homebush the other night was quite extraordinary, more than 20,000 people packed in cheering his name and hanging off every word, and it was a remarkable speech that he gave. He’s very engaging, he’s very warm and he has a great love for Australia. It was it was terrific to show him around before he departed late last night after dinner at the Sydney Opera House. It was terrific to host him.
JONES: What did you eat at the Opera House?
PRIME MINISTER: We had a fantastic dinner there at Bennelong, hosting leaders of his delegation from India, including he brought with him the Foreign Minister and his National Security Advisor and a range of leaders from India. We had leaders of Australian business there, as well as a couple of handy cricketers, Pat Cummins was there, Steve Waugh, all to engage with the Prime Minister. This is such an important relationship for Australia.
KELLER: Why is that? You said there are 1.4 billion citizens in India. Why is it so important we have this relationship with them?
PRIME MINISTER: Because our economic relationship is so important. India will grow to be the third largest economy in the world in coming years. The opportunity that’s there for us to benefit mutually from increased economic relations and trade, our education transfers. There are at two universities opening up in India, Deakin Uni and Wollongong Uni, will be the first foreign universities having campuses in India. The relationship can go from strength to strength. That can mean jobs, literally, for Australians here as a result of that economic activity. But more than that, as well, we’re both democratic partners. It’s the largest democracy in the world, we share so many common values. And also, we’ve been enriched by the cultural exchange. Pretty soon there’ll be a million Australians of Indian origin. And we all benefit, in our multicultural society, particularly in areas like Harris Park, we’ve named a section of the area there Little India, which will be a major tourist attraction for Australia as well.
JONES: And also, because our relationship with China is warming a bit these days. So it’s good to have everyone onside, isn’t it?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, we need to diversify where our economic links are and our engagement. The truth is that China will continue to be an important economic partner. But at the moment our exports to China are more combined than our exports to our number two, three and four country: Japan, South Korea and the United States. We need to be much more diverse because we know that if you depend just on one relationship, then it can really hurt you if there’s any issues arising from it. So we want to make sure that our economy is strengthened. And India is, of course, an important relationship as is Indonesia just to our north as well. These are all, in today’s globalised world, there’s a lot for us to benefit from this engagement.
KELLER: Prime Minister I’m getting anxious about the Voice referendum. I so want it to be a yes but the discussion from other politicians and from members of the community has been so divisive. We risk we risked so much if it’s if it’s a no. Sometimes I think was it easier that was never put on the table?
PRIME MINISTER: Well the thing is if you don’t run on the field, you can’t ever win a game. And this does matter. I’m very confident that the Australian people will vote yes, that they’ll vote yes for recognition. But also, we know there’s a 10 year gap in life expectancy, there’s gaps in health and education, incarceration rates, housing. We can’t just keep doing the same thing and expect different outcomes. Now, if we listen to people and engage with Indigenous Australians, we will get better outcomes. And that’s what the Voice is about. I’m quite pleased that the National Rugby League and the AFL and the Football Federation, Cricket Australia are all saying yes to reconciliation and yes to the referendum that will be held later this year. It is vital that it succeed and I am hopeful. Some of the scare campaigns and misinformation that’s out there, of course we expect to deal with. But I think people when they look at the facts of what this is. It won’t make a direct difference to so many of your listeners lives but it will make a difference, a positive difference for Aboriginal Australians.
JONES: And it’s symbolic, because a lot of people are saying about reparations and things like that.
PRIME MINISTER: No, it’s not.
JONES: That’s what I mean, people are saying that. How do we stop that narrative where people say, ‘Oh, there’s a, we’re gonna have to pay all these reparations?’
PRIME MINISTER: I think we stop it through discussions like this, by looking at the facts, informing people. This isn’t a third chamber. It doesn’t mean reparations. It doesn’t mean a right of veto over any government decision-making. It just is a consultative body. And I think that it’s, indeed a gracious and generous request from Aboriginal Australians. And I do sincerely hope that that people look at the facts which are there, they’re available there on the website, the Uluru Statement from the Heart was a generous offer. And I sincerely hope that Australians vote yes.
JONES: On another note, Tina Turner has passed away. DJ Albo is in the house, what banging Tina Turner song would you have us play out of seven o’clock?
PRIME MINISTER: I’m so sad to hear of the passing of Tina Turner. She, she was a legend who overcame domestic violence and trauma. She provided a soundtrack to our lives. I think here in Australia ‘Simply the Best’ was such a soundtrack for those who loved rugby league as well. She had so many good songs, though that would be my pick but ‘Proud Mary’ was fantastic, ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It’, she had so many great hits. She was a great dancer of course as well and appeared in one of the Mad Max movies, Beyond Thunderdome.
JONES: One of Amanda’s favourite movies.
KELLER: It’s Jonesy’s favourite, not mine.
PRIME MINISTER: It’s a great movie. I love the Mad Max movies.
JONES: We’re gonna drop ‘Simply the Best’ on the deck, mate. That’s a bit of DJ speak, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
PRIME MINISTER: Fantastic.
JONES: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Thank you for joining us.
PRIME MINISTER: Thank you, have a great day.