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Television Interview - Flashpoint WA

Radio interview – The Christian O’Connel Show GOLDFM

Christian O’Connell, Host: Do you need a coffee or anything?

Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister: Coffee, now we’re talking.

O’Connell: Yes. What would you like? What do you have?

Prime Minister: A flat whitey sort of thing, yeah that would be great.

O’Connell: Are we your first chat of the day?

Prime Minister: You are.

O’Connell: You look startled, you look like we’ve just dragged you out of bed.

Prime Minister: I’ve got a bit of a head cold.

O’Connell: Well don’t go near the Matildas tomorrow. You’re not going in a changing room with that.

Prime Minister: No, no, no. They’re good, they’re good.

O’Connell: So, listen, thank you very much for coming in on the show and we’ve got lots of questions to get through. And the thing I firstly want to talk about, how amazing it so you’ve been on the journey with the Matildas, like millions of us all over the country. How does it work? Do you go and have a chat with the girls before the game to give them a little pump up talk, or do you go and see them afterwards?

Prime Minister: No, afterwards, no one gets in to talk to them beforehand. They’re in the zone and it’s showing. I mean, it’s extraordinary. Those two goals against Canada were just as good a goals as you’ll ever see. That pass from Mary Fowler.

O’Connell: That was incredible.

Prime Minister: It was just beautiful. And then, of course, that tension of 20 spot kicks the other night.

O’Connell: I’ve never seen anything like it. Honestly, it’s the longest penalty shootout ever.

Prime Minister: It was incredible at Brisbane. You could, one, when the French were taking their kicks, there was this massive noise in the stadium and then it had just quieten down when the Matildas were coming up to kick. And then you could almost feel the stadium, 50,000 people, stop breathing for a few seconds.

O’Connell: That was for all of us, collectively, millions of Australians

Prime Minister: In the ground it was extraordinary, the feeling.

O’Connell: So, what did it go just eerily silent? Because you’re not used to that at a major sporting event.

Prime Minister: It was silent and you could feel everyone literally stop breathing, hold their breath while the couple of seconds passed, while they took the kicks. And then the reaction, of course, when a goal went in, the massive cheer and the whole crowd jumping up and down when Mackenzie hit the post, the sort of ‘ohhh’  and feeling for the ones who missed, feeling for the French too, for the ones that missed.

O’Connell: Don’t worry about them, they wouldn’t have wasted any time worrying about the Australians.

Prime Minister: The pressure which was on was unbelievable. And then after the game, they were just so happy. And the way that they’ve carried themselves on and off the field. I think that gesture of Sam Kerr to give her jumper to the young girl in the crowd, just unbelievable.

O’Connell: It says a lot about the kindness, compassion that the Matildas and in fact, all the countries who have been here in Australia and New Zealand through the whole tournament, I think they show, and not just Australia but the world, that the girls are rewriting history on a global stage and the popularity of all the games, obviously biggest sport event in ten years on Saturday night, it feels like something very special is happening.

Prime Minister: It is. And the spirit has been quite extraordinary. I, a couple of weeks ago, was over in New Zealand and, in Wellington, and the American team were there, and the spirit over there as well. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins was just saying to me the whole country had got enthused and of course, New Zealand didn’t make it through to the next round, but that hasn’t mattered. You look at the crowds as well that have been attending. You’ve had sold out games where the Matildas weren’t playing. And the idea 20 years ago, of course, the Matildas played two games against Brazil in Brisbane. The first game, 2,000 people turned up.

O’Connell: It’s amazing.

Prime Minister: The second game, they shut the gate, they didn’t have a crowd because it wasn’t worth them opening up. Because it cost more money than if 2,000 people turn up to a game.

O’Connell: Yep.

Prime Minister: And this was Brazil in football. So, the transformation is incredible. I chose Sam Kerr to be our flag bearer at the King’s Coronation earlier this year.

O’Connell: She didn’t damage her calf there did she? Carrying that? Because it looked heavy.

Prime Minister: No, it wasn’t that heavy, the flag. But the way that she carried herself representing her nation was extraordinary. She’s a West Australian, of course, and she just was honoured to represent her country on the field as well as off the field.

O’Connell: And tell me this, then. So, tomorrow night, you’re obviously going to be there. Can we do it? Can we go through to the World Cup final?

Prime Minister: Of course we can. Of course we can. And I think we will. I think there’s such enormous momentum behind the Tillies. And they certainly showed the other night, it was like, pressure? What pressure?

O’Connell: Yeah, look at Mackenzie Arnold stopping four goals, which is I’ve never seen that before, a penalty shootout.

Prime Minister: Unbelievable. And it wasn’t like they kicked it to her. They were great saves.

O’Connell: Yeah she kept Australia in it.

Prime Minister: And during the game as well, during the 90 plus 30 –

O’Connell: Yes.

Prime Minister: Some of the goals that she saved there, there was one headed, you know headed for the top corner there that she just turned around, was a phenomenal performance. But all of them, they’ve had the big focus, of course, on Sam Kerr prior to the tournament, but they’ve shown that the team is bigger than any individual.

O’Connell: It’s amazing, because a lot of us didn’t know a lot of the other players. Sam obviously stood above them all as the biggest star. But now these players like Mackenzie, like Mary Fowler as well, have become house and Cortnee Vine, have become household names the last couple of days, as people have sort of are jumping on the bandwagon, which I think is a great thing.

Prime Minister: Hayley Raso has played a blinder every single game. Her energy in defence and attack, she’s just everywhere. And of course, has also got three goals, I think, to her name as well, during the tournament. So, it has been fantastic. But the thing about this, more so than any other event, I think, that I’ve seen, you look at the great Australian sporting events, Cathy Freeman winning the 400 metres. It might be that some people went out there and decided they’d be runners in 400 metres, but not on a mass scale. I have no doubt that as a result of the Matildas, clubs will be swamped next year with young girls and young boys wanting to play team sport.

O’Connell: It’s now possible, isn’t it? For girls.

Prime Minister: And probably as well, not just in, I think there’s a spin off, not just in what we tend to call soccer in this country, but probably for AFL and Rugby League and the other codes as well, where you’ve seen the rise of the AFLWs being a huge success. Rugby League has just gone a different level every year in the women’s game, with additional clubs added every year. And I think you’ll see across the board a real rise.

O’Connell: What a legacy for the girls.

Prime Minister: It is phenomenal, because the great thing about team sport is and my son played cricket, played soccer, played AFL, and you learn how to win, you learn how to lose, you learn teamwork and solidarity, you learn about sticking together, you learn about cooperation. All of those things which are life skills as well off the field. So, I’ve been a big fan of kids playing team sport. I encourage my son to do so. He’s now 22 and I can’t really tell him what to do these days.

O’Connell: No.

Prime Minister: But he goes on. He certainly has loved it. Him and all of his friends have been at the live sites watching.

O’Connell: Well, tomorrow here in Melbourne, Fed Square and AAMI Park are going to be huge.

Prime Minister: It will be enormous. And around the country the other night, I think one of the best scenes that I’ve seen is Dylan Alcott saying that it’s the closest he came to standing up. Our great Australian of the year was very funny. I think he was at the footy here, I think he was watching an AFL match here.

O’Connell: Yeah, I think he was at the game, the Dees and the Blues at the MCG. Now, you have also backed the girls to lift the World Cup and actually win by offering a public holiday. Now, this obviously upset all the State Premiers. Where is this talked about, public holiday? Because obviously here in Victoria, we love a public holiday we have more than anybody else. Have you made yourself very unpopular in the WhatsApp group that I’m presuming you’re in with all the various State Premieres?

Prime Minister: Not at all. Well, Chris Minns, the NSW Premier, has said that there will be one in NSW with, he’s talking about a ticker tape parade. It’s up to the Premiers of course. I got asked on a station like this before. I think it was before, certainly before the round of 16, before we’d made it through. What if we win the whole thing? Would you support it? And I was like, yeah, of course I would. But this is something that is beyond sport, I think. This has been a real celebration.

O’Connell: It’s brought the country together and.

Prime Minister: And it’s also about, it’son a range of levels. Yes, it’s about sport and kicking a ball in the net, but it’s also about gender. It’s about cheering on women and girls and that opportunity. And people going, ‘yeah, it’s pretty good going along to watch’ and all the blokes in their Matilda shirts as well. Like, the idea that that was going to happen 30 years ago, if a bloke walked into a pub with a women’s soccer jersey, they probably would have been ribbed. No one’s doing that now.

O’Connell: No, it’s amazing.

Prime Minister: And isn’t that a good thing?

O’Connell: Yeah, it’s incredible. So, we have some questions now, over the last hour our listeners have been sending, these are random questions.

Prime Minister: What could go wrong?

O’Connell: Don’t know what they asked you on the ABC, but whatever the opposite is, you’re about to experience it now.  

Prime Minister: This is it.

O’Connell: All right, so first of all, this comes from Dave. What career did you see yourself doing when you were a kid? Are you doing now what you dreamt of as being when you were a kid? What were your dreams then?

Prime Minister: No, when I was a kid, I certainly didn’t. My grandfather was a printer, so my mother used to encourage me into thinking about being a printer. And she would have liked me to have been a priest, I reckon. Believe it or not.

O’Connell: A printing priest?

Prime Minister: No, no, two different jobs, different tasks. But I was interested in politics pretty young, but I didn’t think I’d be an MP.

O’Connell: So did you someone on TV do a speech? What fires it up in a young person?

Prime Minister: No, I lived in a council house in Sydney in Camperdown and there was a change in government at the Sydney City Council and they tried to sell my house, basically where me and my mum lived. So I got involved in that campaign to stop privatisation.

O’Connell: How old would you have been?

Prime Minister: I was pretty young, so early teens.

O’Connell: Wow.

Prime Minister: I was still very much at school and then my mum was in the Labor Party. That’s kind of what you did in that part of the world. You went to church on Sunday, the branch meeting on the second Wednesday and followed Souths on Saturday, and so I went along to the branch. But I never joined the Labor Party to be a politician. And then I went to work for the Commonwealth Bank when I finished uni and I saw myself maybe doing that, I did an economics degree. But then after I graduated, I then got a job with a politician and I got involved in young Labor while I was in at university and that sort of one thing led to another. And I didn’t go into Parliament expecting to be Prime Minister, it was to be a local Member and to try and do things for the community I grew up in.

O’Connell: And tell me this now, right, now you’ve got the job, is it everything you thought it would be? Is it harder, is it more tiring? Because we were just asking you what you’re doing for the rest of the day. And Jack and I were exhausted. I thought that was the rest of the year.

Prime Minister: No, no, that’s the day. I just regard it as an incredible privilege and I am really enjoying it. It’s a great honour and I’ve spent a lot of time in opposition, where you can have the best idea in the world, but you can’t do things. I’m in a position to make a difference to individuals, to communities. We’re going to, after this interview this morning, I’ll be at a new social housing development with Daniel Andrews. We’re out there making a difference, supporting increased public housing as something that you’re able to do.

O’Connell: Your upbringing makes such a difference, because in the UK, sadly, too many politicians have come from money. They’ve got no idea, they’ve got no empathy. So, when they talk about people who need that, they haven’t really got any understanding of what that’s like to have in your life, that changed you and you can tell that’s why you’re still very passionate, what drives you, I guess.

Prime Minister: Well, it’s important. You can make a difference. We’re doing, I talked to someone yesterday who is here doing fee-free TAFE. That was a decision that we made as a government and it’s changing this young man’s life as a result, he felt he could go into TAFE and get a qualification and he’s well on his way now to what will be a good career and a fulfilling life. And it’s a great privilege. Every morning, there’s a spot your listeners might have seen a few press conferences where the Prime Minister is in a courtyard outside my office, and every morning when I go up to Parliament House, the car goes through the building inside to the courtyard. It’s the only car that goes inside the building, C1. And every morning when I go through the arches, I just smile and I just think, ‘what a privilege, what an honour to be in this position’. I love this country, but I think we can be even greater in the future if we get decisions right in the next few years.

O’Connell: Well said. All right, some more tough questions. You go to the zoo, which animal do you go and see first?

Prime Minister: I love meerkats. I love meerkats. I love them. They are so cool.

JACK Post, Host: Do you think it was The Lion King that put the Meerkat on the map?

Prime Minister: I think that was a big part of it, a big part of it. But they’re cool.

Post: Yes, they are. I totally agree.

O’Connell: It’s official. The PM says so.

Prime Minister: Have you ever patted them?

Post: No, I’ve never been in the enclosure. The regular man doesn’t get to go behind the gate.

Prime Minister: Up in the Territory, there’s a place where you basically are visiting crocodiles in the Territory and they also have this, I got to feed meerkats.

Post: I thought you were going to say feed the meerkat to the crocodile.

Prime Minister: No, no, no, they’re too cute.

Post: Just as well.

Prime Minister: And they’re amazing little critters.

Post: I agree 100%.

O’Connell: They’re great. What are you currently watching on Netflix?

Prime Minister: Oh, gee. What am I watching on Netflix? Well, I’m watching Ted Lasso, that’s on Apple.

O’Connell: Are you on the third season? Last couple of episodes?

Prime Minister: I am. Don’t tell me what happens.

O’Connell: I won’t. He runs over a meerkat.

Prime Minister: He would not do that. They’re doing very well. The last show I watched on Netflix. Well I’m catching up on some old ones, I think, what’s it called? It’s about the lawyer in LA.

O’Connell: Oh, the Lincoln Lawyer.  

Prime Minister: Lincoln lawyer.

O’Connell: Yeah. It’s very good.

Prime Minister: And I missed the first season, so we watched Lincoln Lawyer and then we’re up through, into the second season now. But I’ve got to say, I’m usually behind.

O’Connell: Yeah I was going to say, where to do you find the time to watch any TV?

Prime Minister: I’m usually way behind because I don’t get much time.

O’Connell: Another big question here. Are you a sock, sock, shoe, shoe or sock, shoe, sock, shoe when you’re getting ready in the morning?

Prime Minister: You’ve got to put both socks on first.

O’Connell: I agree 100%.

Prime Minister: It’s wrong otherwise. I might have to legislate that.

O’Connell: That and safety for meerkats. Toilet paper, over or under?

Prime Minister: This will sound weird that I have a preference I reckon, but I have to concede, over, it’s got to be over.

O’Connell: If you go to Bunnings are you’re having a snag are you having the onions on the top or the bottom?

Prime Minister: Well, that should be illegal, to put them on the bottom. It absolutely should be. It’s like fruit in beer. You know, illegal.

O’Connell: Only beer in beer.

Prime Minister: Stamp it out.

O’Connell: What about pineapple on a pizza? Hard line on that?

Prime Minister: No, I’m pro that. That gives it a bit of zing. But the onions have got to be on top and it’s got to be barbecue sauce.  

O’Connell: Yeah.

Prime Minister: To pre-empt the next question.

O’Connell: I’ve asked about a Macca’s drive through, I can’t imagine you’re somebody who goes through a Maccas’ drive through in that prime ministerial car?

Prime Minister: I have been joking with, I might be in trouble here, I’m looking for my security people. They’re shaking their heads out there. We have had a debate for ages about, I want to take C1 with the flag on the front of the car –

O’Connell: So a different kind of arches, not the one you go through in the morning.

Prime Minister: I want to go through the golden arches, but we’ve been trying to address this because the windows don’t go down of my car.

O’Connell: Don’t they?

Prime Minister: Because it’s a security car.

Post: You don’t even have the option?

Prime Minister: No. So, we’ve been trying to work out how do you go through, here’s one for you, how do you go through a Maccas’ drive through in a car where the windows don’t go down?

O’Connell: Surely, can’t one of the, the bald looking guy, is he your bodyguard?

Prime Minister: There’s a few out there.

Post: Well, park in the parking lot and he runs inside?

Prime Minister: Well, you could, but then it’s not going through the drive through is it?

O’Connell: You’re quite right.

Prime Minister: That’s the point!

Post: What about a sunroof?

Prime Minister: That’s the point. They don’t have a sunroof.

O’Connell: You need to get the car, that prime ministerial car blinged out then. You’ve got to get a sunroof.

Prime Minister: It’s an armoured car, they don’t have a sunroof!

O’Connell: I love the fact this has been a serious talking point amongst you and the security team.

Prime Minister: It has been.

O’Connell: How do you go through a Macca’s drive through?

Prime Minister: It has been.

Post: Because we think it’s all perks being Prime Minister, but it’s actually very much about –

O’Connell: You’ve told us you’ve got no pool as well, which straight away, most of Australians would be like ‘I don’t want that job if I can’t have a pool.’ And now you struggle to go through a drive through. You should be made aware of this at the job interview.

Prime Minister: First world problems.

Post: Yes they are!

O’Connell: All right, listen, we’ve loved having you on. Thank you very much your time and answering all the very, very tough questions. Do you know what? We’ll get back to you. We’ll have a think about what to do about the Maccas’ drive through and the Prime Minister, if we have any answers we’ll let you know.

Prime Minister: The only solution is for someone to run in and I’ve done that. I’ve done that, but it’s not the same.

O’Connell: What, you’ve gone in the Prime Minister to a Maccas?

Prime Minister: Yeah, I have.

O’Connell: What did you have?

Prime Minister: I put up a post about it, we went there for brekkie on the coast a little while ago and ended up, of course, doing selfies with a whole team of bike riders and others.

O’Connell: I bet they couldn’t believe their eyes, ‘is that the Prime Minister over there having a Maccas’ breakfast?’

Prime Minister: Well, I worked at Maccas as one of the jobs I did as a kid.

O’Connell: Did you?

Prime Minister: Yeah, I worked at Broadway Maccas for quite a while.

Post: Were you on the till or on the chips?

Prime Minister: No, I was on the back in those days, one person had to do I mean, Maccas has changed a bit over the years, this is time ago. But I was essentially the fry guy, so I was on chips, hot apple pies. I don’t even know if they exist anymore. Hot apple pies and chicken. The fried chicken they used to do, they don’t do that anymore either, I don’t think. That was before chicken nuggets came along then, but this was before that.

O’Connell: I’m glad we cleared time to talk about the history of chicken nuggets and that with the Prime Minister. We’ve used our time very well. Learn, this is how to do it ABC.

Prime Minister: They used to have hot apple pies at Maccas.

Post: Bring them back!

O’Connell: You need to legislate on this. You’ve got the power there.

Prime Minister: No, they weren’t very good.

O’Connell: All right, your team are giving us the wrap up sign now. Prime Minister, thank you very much for coming on the show. We really enjoyed it.

Prime Minister: Thanks guys.

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