Radio interview – Triple M Hobart
ANDY TAYLOR, HOST: Good morning, Prime Minister.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Good morning to you from Brisbane.
ESTHER NICOLS, HOST: Thank you so much for calling into the show, Prime Minister. We’ve got a few things we want to cover off on and we’ve had a lot of text messages from Tassie. But first of all, the Tillies tonight.
PRIME MINISTER: It’s going to be absolutely wonderful. The quarterfinal was amazing, that tension. I was there at Brisbane and I’ve never been before in a place where you could literally feel people stop breathing. There were fifty thousand people for those ten Australian spot kicks where it just stopped.
NICOLS: I saw you there, Prime Minister, and even through the TV watching it, I was getting goosebumps and I was feeling sick. And then it was the most incredible sporting event I’ve even seen, and I’ve been to a lot of live ones. And this was through a TV, so I can only imagine.
PRIME MINISTER: It was incredible. I’ve been to a lot of sport too, over the years. But nothing I don’t think compares with the tension of the penalty shootout. And when it went to ten kicks each, apparently it’s the longest ever penalty shootout in a World Cup ever held.
NICOLS: Huge for female sport as well, because I looked at the kids in the crowd and this is normal. That female sport at an elite level, sold out crowds and that energy, this is going to be normal for them growing up.
PRIME MINISTER: Absolutely, and you couldn’t have imagined it 30 years ago. But it is fantastic to see young girls in particular, but young boys as well, wearing their Matildas shirts, being inspired with the face paint and the full bit of really cheering and just getting behind it. Whether it’s at the games or at the live sites or sitting at home with Mum and Dad. What this will do is revolutionise sport in this country.
NICOLS: National Cabinet are meeting today, speaking of the Tillies. They’re going to talk about the potential of a public holiday should they win. We’ve had a lot of calls into the show, Prime Minister. Here’s some of them.
LISTENER: It’s a massive cost on businesses. Like a lot of short term rostering alterations, all that type of stuff. Really short planned ones are a lot of mucking around.
LISTENER: Is the Federal Government going to foot the bill for a public holiday if they put it through? I’m all for a holiday, but it’s the businesses that’s going to suffer.
NICOLS: What are your thoughts on that, Prime Minister?
PRIME MINISTER: Look, we won’t actually be discussing it today, we’re discussing housing and other issues. It’s up to the states and territories what they do. But when the public holiday was held for the Memorial Day for the Queen, what happened was that a whole range of small businesses went gangbusters on that day with the economic activity. And certainly the contribution to the economy of this World Cup has been extraordinary. And tonight, right around clubs and pubs, right around Australia, they’ll be full. As well as live sites being full, and the contribution should not be underestimated that has been made.
TAYLOR: Prime Minister, we have the Voice to Parliament referendum a little later in the year. I want to touch on this, as I’m relatively passionate about voting Yes for this, and I’m encouraging our listeners to go out and educate themselves at thevoice.gov.au. There is a bit of talk around how this potentially will racially divide our nation. Will this Voice to Parliament do exactly that? Will it racially divide our nation?
PRIME MINISTER: It will unite the nation. It will be a moment of reconciliation and it is a very simple and clear proposition. And I join you with telling people that they should get informed, make your own decision, but have a look at what the question is, because it’s a very simple proposition. It does three things. One, recognise, first peoples in our constitution and secondly, then it just says they should be listened to, they should have an advisory body so that they can say to government on matters that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people be consulted. That’s common sense and good manners, frankly. And the reason why is the third point, so we can get better results. If we keep doing the same thing, we should expect the same outcomes. And the truth is, the outcomes aren’t good enough. There’s an eight-year life expectancy gap, if you’re a young Indigenous male, you’re more likely to go to jail than to university. There are differences in health, housing, education, and we need to do better. And we know that when we have listened to Indigenous Australians about matters that affect them, we’ve got better outcomes. So, that’s what this is about.
TAYLOR: Prime Minister, why specifically do Aboriginal Australians require a Voice in Parliament?
PRIME MINISTER: Because they are the most disadvantaged group in our society. And we know as well that every single country that was a former colony has recognised their first peoples in their constitution or their nation’s founding document. So, in New Zealand, that was done in the 19th century and Canada in the last century. What this will do is to recognise first peoples, and secondly, it will recognise it in a form in which they have asked for, which is they’re just saying, we just want a voice, we want to be heard. And lots of other groups, of course, lobby the government. It won’t stop other groups, business and unions and radio announcers, for that matter, whoever being able to lobby a government to have a voice. It will simply mean that, in the words of Noel Pearson, it will mean that Indigenous people also have responsibility for issues, being able to make that representation. So, I think it is a clear and simple change, it won’t change the way that Parliament operates, Parliament will still be the decision maker, but it will enable First Nations people’s voice to be heard.
TAYLOR: I think it is our greatest opportunity to embrace our Indigenous culture and 60,000 years of culture at that, Prime Minister. And I think this is the first step in a long journey to embracing our Aboriginal heritage across Australia. Prime Minister, we’ve had a lot of texts coming in about the cost of living crisis, rental crisis, medical crisis. What are you doing for Tasmanians to ease the cost of living? For instance, some people that have texted in on our text line are specifically mentioning rental increases and the cost of living around pharmaceuticals, such as prescriptions that are essential for every day.
PRIME MINISTER: Well, two things there. Firstly, on pharmaceuticals, we were the first government to reduce the costs of pharmaceuticals from $42.50 to $30, that took place in January. But secondly, from September, with a phase in, we’re having 60 day scripts allowed. What that means is that literally the costs of getting a script will be cut in half for people who have those regular conditions, be it diabetes or their heart or whatever condition it is that they have, where they have to get those regular medicines. And that will be a significant difference because it will also mean less trips to the doctor, which can also cost money. On housing, we’re meeting today, Premier Rockliff will be there as part of the National Cabinet. And the big focus that we have is on housing supply. We earlier, just in June added another $50 million for Tasmania as part of the $2 billion package to have a Social Housing Accelerator for more money for public housing. We have support for a Build to Rent Scheme that has been quite effective for the private sector. In addition to that, we have $2 billion for additional community housing. But we also want to pass our Housing Australia Future Fund that’s stuck in the Senate because the Greens and the Liberals and the Nationals and One Nation are blocking it at this point. And we’re really hoping that that goes through. That the Greens in particular have a rethink and break away from the contradiction which is there. You can’t say you want more public housing and then vote against it. So, that’s a $10 billion fund which will make a difference as well. And in addition to people in private rental, we had the largest increase in private rental assistance in 30 years in our budget in May.
NICOLS: Okay, so that’s all things that will be addressed today as well in the National Cabinet, I’m assuming. I think we’ve said this before, I think we have to work across party lines to resolve issues that affect the majority of Tasmanians and Australians.
PRIME MINISTER: I agree, and I’m working closely with Premier Rockcliffe. We’ve worked on a range of issues and we’re working with all the Premiers today, and I’m very confident of a very positive outcome.
NICOLS: Prime Minister, thank you so much for calling into the show, we appreciate it every time you do. And where will you be watching the Tillies tonight?
PRIME MINISTER: I’ll be there at the game in Sydney and am really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a very exciting event and the whole of Australia will be behind The Tillies.
TAYLOR: You haven’t got a spare ticket have you, PM?
NICOLS: Oh god I knew you were going to do that. He would chew your ear off for an hour. Thank you, Prime Minister.
PRIME MINISTER: Thanks, guys.