SUBJECTS: PM’s Rooty Hill visit; Asylum Seekers in the community; British comedy
Karl Stefanovic: This is it people, it is time for In the House for our weekly chat with the two sides of politics. This morning we welcome the Federal Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese and the Shadow Education Minister, Christopher Pyne. These two hate each other. They go like dogs at each other in Parliament but here on our couch they’re very settled this morning.
Hon Anthony Albanese MP: That is why you’ve separated us.
Stefanovic: Well we needed to separate you it’s going to be full on, now just be nice to each other, just setting the ground rules here. You are the attack dogs in Parliament but not here right?
Hon Christopher Pyne MP: We’ll start nice.
Stefanovic: Well no, no you can go at each other.
Albanese: No, no, no…
Lisa Wilkinson: Just finish strong…
Pyne: No we’ll start nice. I’ve got to be nice to him because his cause is dying slowly, so we have to be nice to poor Albo …
Albanese: It’s too early not to be nice…
Wilkinson: Oh early punch there Albo…
Albanese: See he’s like that, he’s like that.
Pyne: We’re starting to feel sorry for poor Albo.
Albanese: That’s fine, that’s fine. I’m nice. We’re going for the nice vote. Vote Labor: we’re nice.
Pyne: That’ll be the day. Vote Labor: we’re not that bad. That’s going to be your slogan…
Wilkinson: Shoosh now, shoosh now.
Stefanovic: No let them go Lisa.
Wilkinson: Well we have to go to the politics of the day and we do have to start with Rooty Hill. The Government must be a bit shocked by the level of vitriol that exists over this whole, what many are calling a stunt?
Albanese: Look if she’s going out there the Prime Minister, we’ve got a Cabinet Meeting on Monday at Blacktown and after this show I’m up in Newcastle. We’re out and about. What we’re seeing here though that’s a bit different from the Prime Minister is a Prime Minister concentrating on one area for the week and I think that’s a good thing.
Stefanovic: PR stunt though, yeah?
Albanese: Not at all, the Prime minister gets western Sydney; she comes from western Melbourne. Werribee is very similar in terms of its demographics, in terms of its a manufacturing centre, it’s very similar to western Sydney.
Stefanovic: A good PR stunt then?
Albanese: No it’s about connecting with people. I mean you can’t say if you sit in Parliament House and don’t talk to people that’s a bad thing and then when you get out there and amongst the people it’s a bad thing. I think it’s good.
Wilkinson: When the Prime Minister announced so far in advance the election was going to be held on September 14 she said there are days of governing and days of campaigning. Is five days in Rooty Hill and handing out $50 million to Warragamba Dam for its issues, is that campaigning or is that governing?
Albanese: Well I reckon having a Cabinet meeting is governing and I reckon talking to people and engaging with the community is governing as well.
Wilkinson: But you’re handing out lollies as well.
Wilkinson: That’s what you do when you’re campaigning.
Albanese: What we’re doing is investing in infrastructure which is what this Government has done I must say as Infrastructure Minister.
Stefanovic: Chris Pyne, a PR stunt, a good one though?
Pyne: Look March is the time when the Government should be settling the Budget and instead they’re out campaigning in western Sydney because they know they’re losing votes all across blue collar Australia, particularly in western Sydney. But everyone knows that March is when the Budget gets settled and Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard are worrying about Kevin Rudd. They’re not worrying about the people of western Sydney, they’re all inwardly focussed and people in western Sydney like the people across Australia want a government that is focussed on job security, cost of living, good economic management and border protection. Instead they’ve got a government that is real Julia, fake Julia, governing days, campaigning days, moving forward, modern families. There’s always slogans, not much governing.
Stefanovic: So you’re saying that it is a PR stunt?
Pyne: Of course it’s a PR stunt.
Stefanovic: Why is Tony Abbott going out on Monday?
Pyne: Well Tony Abbott has been to western Sydney for 47 days since the last election. He basically lives in western Sydney. He’s out there all the time.
Albanese: He lives in Mosman Chris
Pyne: He’s out there all the time.
Albanese: He lives in Mosman.
Pyne: He doesn’t live in Mosman.
Wilkinson: He lives in Manly though.
Pyne: The point is he’s been out there 47 times without any fanfare; he didn’t need a green light police escort to get out to western Sydney. He’s happy to go out there all the time. He’s going there next week as part of his plan to continue to campaign and listen to what people have to say in western Sydney like he does all across Australia.
Wilkinson: But he obviously wants to piggy back on all of this. Let’s move on. This is how Labor’s Federal Mental Health Minister, Mark Butler wants to connect with voters. Let’s take a look.
Plays audio from ABC 891 Adelaide on 27/02/13:
Presenter: Is this a sign of a Party that thinks it’s rooted?
Mark Butler: I stay at the Penrith Panthers when I’m in western Sydney ‘cause I’m not sure I could check into the Rooty Hill RSL with a straight face. It just conjures up all these sort of Carry On films and Benny Hill episodes and Carry On Governing filmed at the Rooty Hill RSL.
Stefanovic: You see you guys are all over the shop aren’t you?
Albanese: No that was an interview indeed with Christopher I understand in Adelaide.
Pyne: I was on the other side of the phone that’s true.
Albanese: And he made some comments as well confusing western Sydney with Western Australia I believe.
Stefanovic: That’s not funny though when you’ve got massive battles ahead.
Albanese: Nor is confusing western Sydney with Western Australia.
Pyne: A slip of the tongue is nothing like saying the Prime Minister’s trip is like ‘Carry on Governing’ or a Benny Hill episode. That’s what Mark Butler did and put a big hole under the waterline of the Prime Minister’s PR strategy.
Albanese: No. Mark’s a good mate of mine. He has admitted that it’s a stuff-up. It happens.
Pyne: You go to admit there’s a lot of money in this campaign.
Stefanovic: It doesn’t help you though does it? I mean, look at the battle you’ve got ahead of you.
Albanese: Obviously that’s not helpful and he’s conceded that.
Wilkinson: Alright well speaking of stuff ups, Liberal backbencher Russell Broadbent accused colleague Immigration Spokesperson Scott Morrison of vilifying asylum seekers and you guys are accusing the Government of disunity going on at the moment?
Pyne: Well I don’t think Russell really knew exactly what Scott Morrison was actually saying. All Scott Morrison was saying was that the people who are now out in the community, these asylum seekers, they would otherwise be in detention if not for the fact that the Government’s detention centres are overflowing.
Stefanovic: The point is you would hope all of your party are on the same page.
Pyne: Well I think Russell perhaps didn’t find out was that what Scott Morrison said was there had been 33,000 boat people arrive since the Government changed the policies. There is no room for them in detention so they are out in the suburbs.
Stefanovic: But you guys communicating is the point.
Pyne: Well Russell Broadbent perhaps should have read the talking points of Scott Morrison’s statement and he would have actually known that Scott Morrison was talking about people who otherwise would be in detention if not for the fact that the Government’s detention centres are overflowing with people from their failed policies.
Albanese: Christopher, with respect, you’re reading the Opposition’s talking points now.
Pyne: I read what Scott Morrison said and I thought well I know exactly what he is talking about.
Albanese: What Russell Broadbent heard was the dog-whistle from Scott Morrison. Scott Morrison was playing dog-whistle politics. He heard it and he called it out, he called it out and that’s a good thing.
Pyne: Well why do you think these people are out in the community who would otherwise be in detention? Why aren’t they in the detention centres where they are supposed to be?
Albanese: What’s the difference between what you did with TPVs. You supported TPVs.
Pyne: They haven’t got TPVs!
Albanese: You supported TPVs and people were out there in the community just like those people.
Pyne: But these people haven’t been given TPVs. You don’t even know what their identification is.
Albanese: That’s not right.
Pyne: Over 90 per cent don’t have papers and they are out in the community.
Albanese: That’s not right Christopher and you know that’s not the case.
Pyne: It is right.
Albanese: They have to have some identity. They have security checks.
Pyne: ASIO checks now?
Stefanovic: Alright you guys are showing your true colours now. It took seven minutes to get to the heart of it – it took way too long!
Pyne: He’s a bit grumpy in the mornings.
Stefanovic: Hang on, hang on. Before we go we ask a question to find out a bit more about who you two really are. This week’s question is inspired by Labor MP Mark Butler likening Rooty Hill to an episode of Benny Hill. Now what is your favourite British comedy? You have a choice.
The choices are Benny Hill, Carry On, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, Are You Being Served? and Fawlty Towers. Mr Pyne?
Pyne: Well actually I don’t choose any of those I have to say.
Stefanovic: Oh come on.
Pyne: My favourite was The Young Ones. I used to love The Young Ones because it was my era. The ‘80s was my era you see.
Wilkinson: Oh yes. Good call.
Pyne: There they are! There’s Vyvyan. You see Anthony bears an uncanny resemblance to Vyvyan doesn’t he?
Wilkinson: Now you’re being nasty!
Pyne: I’m not!
Albanese: Actually, Tony Abbott’s behaviour in Parliament is a bit like Vyvyan’s, walking around smashing things up.
Pyne: I could see you in those yellow overalls Anthony.
Wilkinson: You should be nice to Anthony Albanese. He is turning 50 tomorrow.
Pyne: I am being nice.
Wilkinson: He’s moving into a whole different era.
Pyne: A whole different generation.
Stefanovic: Before we go you need to choose quickly what your favourite is.
Albanese: Fawlty Towers.
Stefanovic: Fawlty Towers. That goes for Parliament doesn’t it? And just before we go would you mind just singing Anthony, Happy Birthday?
Pyne: I can sing it in Italian but I think my family would never forgive me if I sing on national television.
Wilkinson: No. Come on!
Pyne: No my children are watching this programme and they know that I want to deep inside but I can’t.
Albanese: Good enough for Emmo.
Pyne: Craig Emerson. Well I don’t think he will ever recover from that. Buon compleanno!
Stefanovic: Oh that’s nice.
Wilkinson: Beautiful accent.
Pyne: Grazie. I have 8,000 Italian voters.
Albanese: I understand there is a parade in Sydney in my honour tomorrow.
Wilkinson: And we are expecting to see you on a float.
Stefanovic: In sequins.
Pyne: In cerise.
Stefanovic: And we should say also that the Today Show will be live from the Rooty Hill RSL on Monday. Looking forward to it.
Albanese: See – you’re getting on board!
Stefanovic: We love it, we love it.
Albanese: Is that a stunt?
Stefanovic: We will do anything.
Wilkinson: Thanks to both of you.