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Television Interview - Flashpoint WA

Radio Interview – River FM Ipswich

PAUL CAMPION, HOST: The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese joins us this morning. Good morning, Prime Minister. How are you?

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Good morning. Good to be with you.

CAMPION: Now you’re in town for the Vietnam Veterans’ Day, the 50th anniversary of the cessation of hostilities. What are your plans today?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I’ll be going to the Ipswich RSL in order to pay tribute to Vietnam veterans in particular, but of course, all of our veterans deserve our thanks each and every day. But our Vietnam veterans – who I think when they came back, simply weren’t given the thanks and support that they needed because that was a controversial war – we need to always remember that those men and women who serve Australia in uniform deserve our respect each and every day and deserve our thanks for keeping us safe.

CAMPION: Yeah absolutely, Marnie’s father fought in the in the Vietnam War, so means a lot to her. Obviously, the veterans are having a day to day to commemorate this. I can’t believe it’s 50 years.

PRIME MINISTER: That’s right, history moves quickly. 50 years after the hostilities ended. It is a day to acknowledge our veterans, to reach out. By definition, our veterans who served are in their later years now, in at least their very late 60s. They deserve our thanks. They did it tough, so many of them, having gone through the hostility of war and the horror that can occur. So many fought a difficult war, to come home and not get the support that they needed is something that did occur. It’s something that we need to learn the lessons from and should never happen again. But we also need to continue to provide support to those Vietnam veterans. Today there’ll be a big event at the War Memorial in Canberra but there’ll be events at RSLs right around Australia. I’ll be there at Ipswich with Shayne Neumann, the local member there who’s passionate about these issues. And we will be there at the RSL paying tribute this morning.

CAMPION: Last time we spoke with you we were talking about my son who had your old phone. Now, you clarified with us that that was his phone. Would it be a security breach now that’s you’re the Prime Minister of Australia that he has your old phone?

MARNIE TITHERADGE, HOST: Well tell him why. Tell him what happens.

CAMPION: He still gets messages and people trying to call him. And he has to say, Look, I’m sorry, you have the wrong phone number.

TITHERADGE: He’s worried that someone’s going to come and take the phone away.

CAMPION: We’re going to have secret service on our doorstep at home because of that old phone number. My son could stop decisions.

PRIME MINISTER: I think your son can keep the phone number now. He’s had it for a number of years.

CAMPION: Yes, he has. Yeah.

PRIME MINISTER: Anyone ringing up, I know that that conversation we have with before we were in Government, so it’s a while ago now. And I certainly have had a new number, a couple of new numbers since then. So I apologise for any inconvenience that your son has had.

CAMPION: Yeah, that’s okay. Prime Minister. Do you remember the number?

TITHERADGE: Don’t give it out.

PRIME MINISTER: I do, but I’m not going to give it out.

TITHERADGE: That’s a security breach right there.

PRIME MINISTER: That will just encourage people to ring it.

TITHERADGE: And start saying things about making decisions and we don’t need any more of that drama.

CAMPION: Well it is a news story. When Marge is ringing Anthony to go up and get the butter and left a message. We do have a couple of questions for you today. Housing questions: government to help 40,000 Aussies buy a home after states and territories agreed to 329 million housing plan, it’s through the Help to Buy. You’re also in Queensland for the Labor State Conference. What’s Labor’s position to tackle housing?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we have a comprehensive plan. One is to help people to buy a home through a national shared equity scheme. The way that that would work, say you had a home that you wanted to buy for a million dollars. The Commonwealth, if it was a new home, then the shared equity could be up to 40 per cent. If it was an existing home up to 30 per cent, which means that the Commonwealth effectively picks up – it’ll be done through financial institutions – but picks up 40 per cent of the deposit and therefore 40 per cent of the loan. So instead of borrowing a million dollars, you’re borrowing $600,000, which means that it can get people into the market and the Commonwealth owns shared equity, shared ownership, owns the percentage of that home. That does enable people who are low and middle income earners, it is based on a scheme that has operated in Western Australia for decades. It’s operated in New Zealand and in many parts of the world. And it can be a way to get people into home ownership. In addition to that, we agreed this week to build 1.2 million new homes across the country between now and the end of the decade, with an incentive for states and territories for planning and approvals to make sure that it gets done. That will be important as well. In addition to that, in June we put forward $2 billion of additional money for social and public housing. We will be coming together with states and territories for a longer term agreement during the coming year to go forward. And we have, stuck in the Senate unfortunately, our Housing Australia Future Fund, a $10 billion program to build 30,000 additional social and community housing dwellings, 4000 of which would be reserved for women and children escaping domestic violence, funds to be reserved for veterans at risk of homelessness as well as for remote housing for Indigenous communities. So this is a comprehensive plan. That’s stuck in the Senate at the moment. We need the Greens or the Coalition to vote for it. We do need more housing supply across the country.

CAMPION: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese joining us. Good morning, Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER: Good morning.

CAMPION: Now we wanted to talk to you about the Voice. It’s on everyone’s minds at the moment. You were on Neil Mitchell’s show in Victoria recently. You stated it was one page. And then it’s come out that it’s more than one page and then you’re on record is saying you hadn’t read it. Are you going to read it? Or can you clarify that.

PRIME MINISTER: It is not more than one page.

CAMPION: It’s not more than one page? How many pages is it?

PRIME MINISTER: It is one. It is one A4 page. It’s a very clear position. And what some people have tried to talk about is all of the documentation, the records of meetings and everything else in the lead up to Uluru – which some people say is 18 pages, some people say is 120, in order to create misinformation. This was a lead up that occurred under the former government in 2017. This information has been on websites transparently since then. Nothing new in any of that. It is it is like drawing a distinction between what is on your program when you’re on air and the discussions that might take place in the whole lead up to you going to air.

CAMPION: What are the pages what are the pages that you haven’t read then?

PRIME MINISTER: Hundreds of meetings. I have had a look at them, but there’s hundreds of pages, records of meetings, information, minutes, a whole range of documentation, because there were literally hundreds of meetings in the lead up to the Uluru Statement from the Heart being determined in 2017. It has sat there for six years. And then at the last minute, in order to as part of the misinformation campaign that is out there about the Uluru Statement, to suggest somehow, that this secret is wrong, to suggest that the Uluru Statement is anything more than a single page is wrong. It’s something that has been spoken about for six years. This is a complete nonsense, the argument. The question that is being put to the Australian people is very clear. It will do just three things. It will recognise First Nations people in our Constitution. It will then allow people through an advisory body to be listened to, so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be able to make representations on matters that affect them. It won’t be a decision making body, but it’s aim is to get better results to get better results.

TITHERADGE: Will this follow a similar model to New Zealand and Canada?

PRIME MINISTER: No. It is an Australian model for Australian purposes. The question is very clear. The question will be: do you agree to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through a Voice? That will be the question that goes to the Australian people. Literally, it is word for word to be accurate. It’s a proposed law to alter the Constitution to recognise the first peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration? That’s the question. And then the provisions that will be mailed out to every Australian simply says: in recognition of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia, that’s the first point. Then there are three essentially dot points: one there shall be a body to be called the Voice. Second, is the Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the executive government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, that is what the Voice will do, and third, the important one, as well is the Parliament shall substitute this constitutional power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Voice including its composition functions, powers and procedures. That is the question before the Australian people.

CAMPION: All right, we’ll leave it there Prime Minister. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks very much.

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