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Television Interview - Flashpoint WA

Television interview – Sunrise | Prime Minister of Australia

Matt Shirvington, Host: We’re joined by Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you PM.

Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister: Good Morning, Shirvo.

Shirvington: You’ve written a beautiful tribute calling Simon Crean, ‘a great servant of the labour movement and a wonderful human being’.

Prime Minister:He was a giant of the labour movement. To rise from being a union official right through to the ACTU Presidency. And then to take the skills that he had into Federal Parliament, and to serve Australia in such a wide range of portfolios. In every one of them he made a difference. In the arts made a difference, right through to employment, through to agriculture and regional development. And importantly as well as Trade Minister, he made a significant contribution across four different governments – under Hawke, Keating, Rudd and Gillard. He, of course, then went on to lead the Labor Party and after his parliamentary career, he continued to serve Australia. He was there in Germany working in our national interest trying to boost our industry support and to support our trade. I met with him in Europe last year, he was there as head of the European-Australian Business Council. He was tireless, he was someone who was just taken from us far too young.

Monique Wright, Host: We’re thinking of his family today, Sarah and Emma and his wife Carole, who he was married to for more than 50 years. All right Prime Minister, we’ll move on now and the US government says that the Wagner uprising is a direct challenge to Vladimir Putin’s authority, with the country pushed to the brink of civil war. What sort of impact will that situation in Russia have on us here in Australia?

Prime Minister: We are monitoring these development very closely. Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine has been a disaster. Russia thought it could just steam roll through and that the Ukrainian people would be defeated very quickly. Of course, we know that isn’t the case. The people of Ukraine are showing extraordinary courage fighting for their national sovereignty and that’s creating, inevitably, internal tension within Russia. We are continuing to monitor these developments. I was briefed three times over the weekend as the circumstances change – but it’s a very volatile situation. I’d say this again, repeat my call for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine. It is in the interests of international law, it’s certainly in the interest of the Ukrainian people, but I think also it’s in the interest of Russia which has had devastating losses during this war which has gone on for far too long.

Shirvington: Just finally Prime Minister, Newspoll data out today has revealed support for a Voice to Parliament has fallen. If the referendum to enshrine the Voice was held next weekend, for example, it would fail with more Australians set to vote No. You said that you can’t win the Ashes if you stay in the sheds, in regards to a delay in the referendum, are you still feeling that way? You also can’t win the Ashes if you’re nine wickets down and one hundred to chase.

Prime Minister: I certainly am, Shirvo. I’d be wary of making predictions, given if it was Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins out there. They may well get the runs as we all discovered last week. But look, this is an opportunity for Australians to change our Constitution, to recognise Indigenous Australians in it. I think it is unfinished business, it’s incomplete whilst we don’t acknowledge the great privilege we have of sharing this continent with e the oldest continuous culture on earth. That is what this is about, as well as listening to Indigenous Australians on matters that affect them. People will really focus on this when the campaign is actually on. They will focus, they will have a look at what the words are being put forward, they will recognise the great benefit that will come from this and that there really isn’t a downside. I’m very hopeful that Australians will take this opportunity.

Shirvington: These poll numbers must be a stark reality though, they are not looking good.

Prime Minister: It’s always easier in a referendum to put a no argument out there. That’s why the success rate is something like eight out of forty-eight. But this is an important change. This has been promised for a long period of time. Since the last century we’ve been saying that there was a need to recognise Indigenous Australians in our constitution – the Howard government was saying that. If not now, when? This with a first referendum that’s held this century. And so every Australian will have the opportunity, and I’m very confident that Australians will embrace that opportunity, say yes in the referendum in the last quarter of this year.

Wright: Anthony Albanese, we really appreciate your time. What a gorgeous spot you’re at, that’s a beautiful picture there behind you. We really appreciate your time, thank you.

Prime Minister: I’m just in my office at Parliament House. I assure you, outside about ten feet that way, it’s not quite beautiful here in Canberra this morning, it’s very cold and wet.

Wright: That’s why we put you there in front of the wattle, thank you very much Prime Minister.

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