Interview – 5AA
Tuesday 20 April 2016
SUBJECTS: AFL Support, S Kidman & Co Sale, Naval Industry Build
JOURNALIST: Now, this segment has added dreson this week because Anthony Albanese is a Hawthorn supporter, and Christopher Pyne is an ambassador for the mighty Adelaide Crows.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Indeed.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: That’s true..
JOURNALIST: You might need to be separated at some point during today’s interview, you guys.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think we actually are, given I’m in Sydney.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: I don’t think Anthony knows anything about the Hawks.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Oh, he keeps trying this on…
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: He doesn’t know anything about it, this is rubbish.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I was there in the ’89 grand final where Ablett kicked 9, got the Norm Smith and they still lost, I was there in the bleachers, you were still in primary school.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: At least I don’t pretend to be interested in your rugby game.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: You were out playing croquet my friend, croquet, how a about a bit of polo.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: I’ve been an AFL true blue since the beginning, I was a Red Legs supporter before, of course, the AFL, but you should not be pretending to be interesting in our code.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: More like polo, you sound like, you know, people from Melbourne will tell you that people from Adelaide or Perth don’t know anything about AFL either you know.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Please, please.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: That’s what you sound like, you know.
JOURNALIST: I blame myself for starting this stink; I’ll never mention football again.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Swans are more recent premiers than the crows, just saying
JOURNALIST: Be careful Albo, we’ve got the dump button here; fifty five per cent of our audience will change stations if you keep that up.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’m just pointing out a fact.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Penbo, you were at the Crows game against Sydney.
JOURNALIST: I know, it was an absolute cracker..
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: How fantastic, unfortunately I was at a wedding…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: It was a great game.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: But you would’ve been, it would’ve been like the coliseum.
JOURNALIST: It was sensational, it was…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I watched it on TV and it was an awesome game.
JOURNALIST: Nah, it was an absolutely fantastic.
JOURNALIST: Everyone has AFL credentials have checked out, congratulations all, anyway, let’s talk about politics.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: What about Will Goodings, what’s your football team? I’ve never heard you say anything about football.
JOURNALIST: Are you kidding?
JOURNALIST: Don’t get him started Chris, now we’re going to change the subject to federal politics, we had the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull on the show an hour ago and in all seriousness we want to ask both of you what your in principal position is on the prospect, because we’ve had so many texts, a lot of calls about this this morning, the prospect of a Chinese company buying up Australia’s largest cattle station, 2% of our land mass, S Kidman and Co we’ll start with you Chris.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well, the Treasurer’s already knocked back one bid for the Kidman Empire from a Chinese consortium because it was seen to be against our national interest. It is a strategically important asset to our country and the only consideration from the federal Government will be what’s in the national interest for any bid, it doesn’t really matter where the bid comes from, and I think that politicians that are trying to whip up a storm about Chinese investment should talk about foreign investment. Now, foreign investment’s good for Australia, and it’s good for South Australia but it obviously has to be the right foreign investment and that’s why we have the Foreign Investment Review Board to go sensibly and calmly through any bids, as I said Scott Morrison’s already knocked back one bid and if the bids don’t stack up then he’ll knock back other bids.
JOURNALIST: How comfortable are you, though, Chris Pyne, with the fact that that decision is now being deferred until after the election, because if it had come down prior to the election you’d be armed with some ammunition on either side with which to tackle the Nick Xenophon Team who are going to clearly run strong on this and run strongly unabated in the absence of any decision.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well, I don’t think that populism should rule the day on absolutely every issue when it comes to Nick Xenophon, I mean, this week he was criticising the decision about the offshore patrol vessels, when on March the 8th, he admitted that what we did this week was exactly what we promised to do and this week he was trying to turn it around and move the goal posts, now you can’t have your cake and eat it too, the truth is Government, whether they’re Labor or Liberal, we can get elected and we can make decisions, and Labor and Liberal both support foreign investment, but it’s got to be the right foreign investment, and I’m still hoping that Lindsay Fox, and an Australian consortium will come forward for the Kidman Empire, the reason why the matter, it hasn’t been delayed it’s just the usual process that goes through with the Foreign Investment Review Board, but it’s got to be seen in a sensible way, no one should be playing politics or populism just because they think there’s an election on the horizon.
JOURNALIST: Also your position, your Party’s position on this would be reasonably similar to what Chris Pyne just outlined, but isn’t Labor just as vulnerable to the Xenophon ticket campaigning hard on this issue in seat like Kingston and in seats like Port Adelaide if it’s still floating around unresolved prior to July 2nd.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, I certainly agree with what Christopher said which is that it should be about the national interest not a particular politics party’s interest, and that’s what serious political parties who hope to form government have to do. Australia can’t isolate ourselves from the global economy, we do need foreign investment but we need to make sure at all times that the national interest is put front and centre, now I was very critical in an area of my portfolio of the sale of Darwin Port to, it happened to be Chinese interests but I think it would’ve been an equally bad decision were it sold to a company with the close association with any other foreign Government, that’s a strategic national asset, it’s our only major port to the north of Australia and to sell that off, I think, and to allow that to happen was, quite frankly, beyond belief for a peppercorn payment, a peppercorn payment, it just.. that to me I think when decisions like that are made then it opens the door for opportunism and for people to then run on opposition to all foreign investment, I certainly hope, also that Lindsay Fox’s consortium, I think seems to me to be a good proposition in terms of just the size of this property in terms of the percentage of Australia’s land mass I think we need to be very cautious about giving up land of that size to any outside interest, not particularly the Chinese, but any outside interest.
JOURNALIST: Christopher Pyne, does an announcement on subs naturally follow one on offshore patrol vessels, are we going to get an announcement about what’s happening with the future submarines project before the election.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well, Will we’ve had great news this week for South Australia because we’ve mitigated the valley of death that Labor left us after six years of making no decision about ships, the only two contracts they awarded for ship building they awarded to overseas builders and they awarded none in South Australia or Australia, and for six years put the process a long way behind the eight ball but we’ve had good news this week, we will build the offshore patrol vessels, which is a $3 billion contract, when the future frigates is ready to begin we will build them at Osborne as well, in 2020 and the offshore patrol vessels will then start in Henderson in Perth so we have secured ship building for decades into the future, obviously I and Marise Payne, the Defence Minister, and Malcolm Turnbull are working on the issue around making a subs decision and I am very hopeful that we’ll have a decision about that before the election, but obviously we need to go through the proper processes, that’s what sensible Governments do.
JOURNALIST: Anthony Albanese can I ask you on this matter, we are unashamedly pro-South Australia when we talk about the issues on this show.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’ve picked that up from last week…
JOURNALIST: Yeah, did you get that, very perceptive, so is Chris Pyne, of course when he’s speaking.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: It was the wearing of the Crows scarf last week when I was in the studio that gave it away.
JOURNALIST: Was it? Okay.
JOURNALIST: One of those tell-tale signs.
JOURNALIST: it was probably less than subtle.
JOURNALIST: Can I ask you then, how do you interpret a decision like the one to begin the build for the offshore patrol vehicles here in South Australia and then move the construction over to WA, because whilst it’s politically pragmatic I just wonder whether the case can be made talking through the lens of a federal election that it makes sense for the rest of Australia.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, look you have to make these decision based upon the best advice that in terms of ensuring the best outcome for all Australian taxpayers, and…
JOURNALIST: Has that been achieved here do you think?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, look I’m not an expert on it, I do know that, I’ve visited that particular plant in WA, it’s to the south of Perth and they do have a great deal of expertise in ship building, I do know that in terms of the luxury vessels that are privately owned, many of them, not just around the Australian coast, but around the world at built there and that’s a good thing so there is an area of expertise, we do need to make sure that we get the right outcomes and not be ruled just by politics here. Cleary South Australia has an expertise in shipbuilding, that’s a good thing, but so does the WA plant so I’m not going to be, I guess, pretending that I’m an expert on it, if I was the Minister, I’d be wanting the best possible advice and I’d make the right decision based upon that.
JOURNALIST: I promise I’ll never start the segment by asking either of you a question about football again, particularly if your two teams are playing. Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese, always great to catch up, thanks very much for joining us again on two tribes.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: It’s a pleasure, thank you very much
ANTHONY ALBANESE: We’re a happy team at Hawthorn.
JOURNALIST: I don’t think you will be after Friday, fingers crossed.