Radio interview – Nova 97.3 FM Breakfast
Host: We do have the PM in the studio. It’s great having Tracy here because you can see her nightly on Channel 9, PM, but she’s also got a run down of your schedule. And she was reading it to us earlier on.
Host: Well, I’ve got the timings of your schedule today.
Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister: It’s a busy day.
Host: They really jam pack it in, Prime Minister, for you and it’s been busy for you ever since you took on the role really. Or being in politics in general.
Prime Minister: It certainly has.
Host: Last time we we sort of met up was I think it was Mardi Gras in Sydney in 2011.
Host: You were on the Kylie float.
Prime Minister: 2011?
Host: You were spinning around, move out of your way.
Prime Minister: Long-time supporter.
Host: He’s great on the walk there along Oxford Street. It’s a long walk.
Prime Minister: It’s good fun, where else can a politician walk for kilometres and be cheered the whole time? Why wouldn’t you do it? I can’t believe I’m the first PM to do it. What were they thinking?
Host: Imagine if you paired that walk with a mesh singlet? The cheers would have been amazing.
Prime Minister: No one wants to see that.
Host: Were you a Transport Minister?
Prime Minister: I would have been in 2011, I would have been the Infrastructure and Transport Minister. Walking is a very important form of transport. Stay healthy, folks. Walk.
Host: Now, we gave you a gift when we had dinner at the Lodge. A photo of us that was framed and we put it on the mantle. Now Shaun, Natalie and myself had a theory that as soon as that was to happen, one of your Downton Abbey staff would have come out and just with white gloves, pushed it into a bin.
Host: We thought that by the time we got to the Uber, out the side gate that would be in the bin.
Host: Yeah, where is it Albo?
Prime Minister: It’s on the mantelpiece. It’s a great talking point. I had members of the US Congress there recently, about 25 of them. And along with everyone at the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, we had drinks and I could see people looking at all the photos. There’s the King, there is the PM’s family. There’s these three people. I wonder who they are. The mystery. They would have gotten back to Washington DC, today they are asking themselves, ‘We wonder who those three people are? What Ministry do they have?’
Host: I believe the CIA is looking into it.
Host: They open up a case file and just stuff like that to find out who we are, if we have your ear, whether we can be turned into spies.
Prime Minister: The CIA undoubtedly would have been there because they participate, as do our security agencies.
Host: How’s our Jodie going?
Prime Minister: Jodie is going very, very well. She’s away a fair bit this week.
Host: Well, you’re with a professional woman.
Host: We did get to see both of you at the Women’s World Cup, which is fantastic. You were out and about. I mean, you would have been so proud of that whole setup.
Prime Minister: It was so good to see packed stadiums cheering women’s team sport. It was transformative. You wouldn’t have thought that would have happened 20 years ago. And to see blokes wearing Matildas shirts, it was great. Really, really good. And that penalty shoot out – I’ve been to a lot of sporting fixtures, but nothing quite like that. When every one of the Matildas’ ten shots, the stadium in Brisbane, you could feel people stop breathing for the few seconds beforehand. They just held their breath. And when they went in, there was a cheer. It just kept going. It was incredibly tense, it seemed like hours, it was only minutes. But it was just awesome. And then the Sam Kerr goal.
Host: What a screamer.
Host: We were waiting for that, weren’t we?
Prime Minister: Our flagbearer at Coronation. One of one of my best ever picks. That was foresight.
Host: There’s certain pinch yourself moments from being the Prime Minister. Was that one of them? Because we’re watching it from TV and we’re going ‘Oh my god, this is something historic that we’re watching right now for for women’s sport and the Matildas’. And then you’re down there with them after the game. Is that one of your pinch-yourself moments?
Prime Minister: It was just great. I got to know Sam by her being the flagbearer at the Coronation.
Host: Shaun’s cousin.
Prime Minister: Really?
Host: Yeah, she’s my second cousin. My dad and Sam’s mum are first cousins, we lived down the street from each other.
Prime Minister: She is just such a great ambassador for our country. And they were just so wrapped when they had that big win. They’re just fantastic ambassadors. They’re so humble. They don’t roll around like the blokes do either, with injuries.
Host: Actually, if you watch their games there were hardly any – when they take a tumble, when they got hit in the head but they’re holding their ankle.
Host: But think about it. When a man gets a cold and a woman gets a cold, the man’s way more dramatic.
Host: It’s the worst cold, though. I agree with that comment, though, PM. So does that mean find some more funding for them?
Prime Minister: Well, we announced $200 million for women’s and girls sport. There was a program of the former Government, but unfortunately it didn’t go to women and girls sport. We will make sure that it does. And we’ve got an amazing group of women, former stars like Lauren Jackson who are giving advice on the program as well to make sure that we maximise the input,
Host: Kind of like a voice.
Prime Minister: Exactly.
Host: We’ve got the Prime Minister in our studio with us right now. PM, so great to have you back.
Prime Minister: Great to be here
Host: It really is great.
Prime Minister: I was in Karratha yesterday. That was awesome. Lots of big things in Karratha, looking at big trains, two and a half kilometres long.
Host: Imagine if you stuck at the boom gates. You’d be losing your mind.
Host: My dad was a train driver. He used to drive the Indian Pacific.
Host: That’s a big one.
Prime Minister: It was awesome. And then having a look at, they were loading iron ore onto a ship, and we went up high so you see all over Karratha and Port Dampier there. And just watching the scale of what they do up there is incredible.
Host: I’d imagine it’s way bigger than you’d imagine it be and deeper the ships, all that kind of stuff.
Prime Minister: Oh, absolutely. I’ve been there many times before. But every time you see it, it’s still extraordinary what they can do. And, of course, the iron ore going in means revenue coming to Australia.
Host: Let’s get stuck into it because you’re here for another reason, too. And of course, getting the Voice and getting the campaign up and running in WA because there’s been a few knock backs. In particular, when the Aboriginal cultural and heritage law was put in in WA, there was a lot of backlash. And it’s not only here, but it was reverberating.
Host: It was terrible timing for the Voice.
Prime Minister: The Voice is just about three things. It’s about recognising Indigenous people in our founding document, our Constitution. And then it’s just about listening to them so you get better results. And when you listen to people you’ll get better outcomes. That’s all it’s about. An advisory body that won’t change the way Parliament works. It’s a really gracious request from Indigenous Australians. And we’re the only country in the world that’s a former colony that doesn’t recognise the first peoples who were there
Host: They should be in the Constitution.
Host: 100 per cent. But at the moment, people are frightened because they’re getting stories from the other side, saying that we’re going to be going towards the treaty.
Host: But it didn’t work here. I know you’re talking about the fact that there’s a lot of misinformation but there was something that happened here just recently, and all the farmers and a lot of people freaked out. There’s a lot of confusion.
Prime Minister: Well that’s got nothing to do with the Voice, of course. And if you want to look at agreements between Indigenous Australia and non-Indigenous Australia, Perth, the Barnett Government in 2015 had an agreement with the Noongar people here in Perth. It’s functioned incredibly well. It’s an example of people sitting down and having discussions.
Host: How do you think the campaign is going? Because as Shaun mentioned, there’s been setback after setback, confusion, questions of detail, How do you truly think the campaign is, especially with this week, an announcement is set to be made for the date?
Prime Minister: Yeah, we’re making the announcement on Wednesday of the date. But it obviously is imminent. It’ll be after the footy finals are over and before the wet season in the North. So, there’s a limited window. I think when people focus on what the question is, as opposed to all the noise that’s out there, they’ll focus and they’ll vote Yes. And the people out there doorknocking, there’s 20,000 homes have been door knocked already in WA. When people have a look at what the question is, have a look at what’s before them, they will take up this invite to say Yes. And we’ll be a better country for it. We need to do things in a better way. We have an eight-year life expectancy gap. You’re twice as likely to commit suicide. Indigenous young men are more likely to go to jail than to go to university. So, we need to do things better. And this is an opportunity to do things better.
Host: Some people are saying that there’s a massive concentration on this and are you forgetting the cost of living at the moment that people are going through, are you forgetting about Australian businesses and the other sectors that generates money for our economy?
Prime Minister: You can chew gum and walk at the same time. Yesteday, I was at Karratha looking at the resources sector. After this interview, I’ll be heading out to a TAFE to talk about how the numbers of fee-free TAFE, which were supposed to be 19,000, have been well exceeded. So, we’re skilling up young people and retraining people for jobs here in the West. So, we’re continuing to do all of those measures. Cheaper medicines comes in on the first of September. We’ve had cheaper child care came in on July 1 for 1.2 million Australian families. We’re doing all of that. But at the same time, we’re giving people the opportunity to vote in a referendum.
Host: I think the thing about cost of living right now is they’re all fantastic points that your Government have come up with, and that’s going to be giving people relief. But if the price of something goes down, ten other things go up. And that’s where people can’t catch themselves. And I’ve never heard it so much before of people living pay packet to pay packet. And these are people that are actually quite well off. It’s actually scary, because it doesn’t seem like there’s going to be an end to it. It felt like it started with COVID. And then suddenly now we’re like, ‘Wait, is this just what we have to live with?’ Younger generations are giving up the dream of owning a home. It is insane.
Prime Minister: The good news is that inflation appears to have peaked. And it’s heading in the right direction, continuing to moderate. That’s a good thing. And on housing, we have an agreement that WA signed up to for an additional 1.2 million homes to be built this decade. We’ve got our Housing Australia Future Fund for more social housing funding that stuck in the Senate. We want the Senate to vote for it in a couple of weeks. So, we’re doing all of those measures as well. The largest increase in rent assistance for 30 years. But the key is increasing supply. And we’re working really closely with the WA Government on that as well as building infrastructure to where the new homes will be.
Host: PM, I just want to come back to the point, because this is the main thing. So the Voice that we’re hearing about, when people are getting nervous because of misinformation that a Voice can then make calls on land and the like, which is what we’ve kind of seen – that’s not going to take place?
Prime Minister: No, not at all. All the Voice is is an advisory group, like business have groups and a lot of people give advice to government. What it will be is a structured advice group. It will then be up to government to decide whether they agree with it or not on any issue. None of that will change. Remember in the lead-up to the Apology to Stolen Generations, people said ‘Oh, you can’t do that.’
Host: Because then we would be culpable.
Prime Minister: Because there would be all of these issues. Guess what? Australia woke up the day after and we were a better country because we were more inclusive as a result of that. Marriage equality, the world was going to end, straight marriages were going to be ruined overnight. Guess what? It’s very similar.
Host: The only problem is you can’t get a rental Swan now because there’s so many gay weddings. It’s actually really hard work. So, that was sort of on you.
Prime Minister: Increasing the size of the market
Host: And glitter has gone up. I cannot tell you how much glitter is.
Prime Minister: That’s an example of something that just was giving something to one group of people at no cost to everyone else. At no cost. And this is similar. It will give a voice to Indigenous Australians, three per cent of the population, at no cost to anyone else. Just upside, no downside.
Host: It’s a seat at the table.
Host: Hey mate, we know you’re super busy. Thanks so much for your time.
Prime Minister: Great to see you.
Host: All right, remember, you gotta bring Jodie next time.
Host: Yeah, we’re having dinner.
Prime Minister: Dinner. We have a date.
Host: Another photo opportunity. Another photo to put on the mantle.
Prime Minister: That was good fun.
Host: Thank you. I had the best time there. And right now, I want to formally apologise to your house staff for what happened.
Host: No one will ever know. Thank you, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Prime Minister: What goes on tour stays on tour.