Australian Prime Minister Radio interview – 4BC Brisbane Breakfast

Prime Minister

: Remember before the news, I said, you know, we’ve got the Green in the Hands, First Time Friday and we’ve also got the Prime Minister coming up. And then we said, you know what? He could actually ring up for the quiz.


GARY: Because he’s never been on before. And there’s nothing in the rules that says a Prime Minister can’t play. First Time Friday, Grand in the Hand, win a $1,000. Good morning, Prime Minister.


MARK: You can’t play. All right. You can’t win the $1,000.

PRIME MINISTER: Fair enough. I’m sure that there are many worthy listeners out there who would love to play for $1,000.

GARY: So, you are, although technically able to, giving up your opportunity to play Grand in the Hand.

PRIME MINISTER: I am indeed. I’m handballing it away.

MARK: Prime Minister, you are in Brisbane today and you were here yesterday. What’s this about batteries? Tell us. Run us through. What are you doing here in Queensland?

PRIME MINISTER: It is the launch of our National Battery Strategy. We know that Queensland in particular, but Australia has everything that goes into a battery. We know that demand is going to quadruple between now and the end of the decade. And when we’re talking batteries, it’s about powering homes, powering businesses and factories and manufacturing, as well as, obviously, batteries in electric vehicles. And we need to make them here. We can make them here, we do on a small scale, but we want to really power up, excuse the pun, and to make a lot more here, because what we need to do as part of our Future Made in Australia plan is to make more things here. We’ve always exported a whole lot of our resources and that’s a good thing. But where possible, we should be value adding here, creating jobs here rather than exporting the resources overseas, waiting for someone else to create jobs and value and then importing it back. And there’s a real opportunity in so many areas, and batteries is one of them.

MARK: Now, look, there’s a lot of talk about power at the moment. The Coalition announced plans for nuclear power plants, or will be announcing plans in early June. How do you feel about the nuclear power plant debate? And they are talking about one, maybe, here in Queensland.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, there’ll be a lot in Queensland because they’re talking about them in Central Queensland, North Queensland, Southeast Queensland. They won’t tell your listeners where they’ll be at this point in time. The truth is that it doesn’t stack up, it would cost an enormous amount of many billions of dollars. But in addition to that, it will be more than a decade off before they can be built. The estimations are that it will be six times more expensive than renewables. And Peter Dutton just needs to say what his plan is. He told people he’d tell them in March and then it was going to be before the Budget, then in Budget Reply, and now we’re still waiting. Now it’s June. He needs to say where they’re going to be, who’s going to pay for them and how much they’ll cost.

LAUREL EDWARDS, HOST: Yeah, there’s a lot of confusion with people wanting to know some more answers to that. I suppose if you don’t know, vote no.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, exactly. It’s a very risky proposition. And the problem is that the Coalition had 22 energy plans during the time they were in government, almost ten years, and they didn’t land one of them. We were told that coal fired power stations would be built, new ones at Collinsville here in Queensland. They paid the proponents to do the studies and it just didn’t stack up. And nuclear is a bit the same. My concern is that this process will go on for year after year before they concede it’s not going to happen. And in the meantime, we’re not getting on with what we need to do, which is to build new renewable energy, to build new power, firming capacity of gas will play an important role as we go forward and make sure we have the energy security that we need to build things here as well. Green hydrogen has an enormous prospect. There’s a great deal of work taking place in Gladstone, in Central Queensland here, and that’s an exciting prospect. We need to seize those opportunities rather than go down the nuclear road, which is expensive and risky.

MARK: Well, while you talk about gas, can we also get your opinion on saying no to pumping CO2 into the Great Artesian Basin? I mean, that’s a proposition by Glencore. Do we really want to be doing that in our country where you’re very much about the environment and leaving things for our children? If you poison that water source, it’s going to poison it forever.

PRIME MINISTER: There’s legitimate concerns about that. There’s legal processes going through there with environmental assessments. But I think that we need to be very cautious about proposals like that, need to get proper consideration because there is concern from farmers. I was up at Beef Week there at Rocky a couple of weeks ago and many people there were raising this issue with me and they’re concerned about their livelihoods. But importantly, of course, the Great Artesian Basin is a source of water, not just for agriculture, but for communities as well. So, we need to adopt there the precautionary principle, I think needs to be applied. Those environmental assessments will take place and I await those outcomes.

LAUREL: Look, it just ticked over two years since you were elected Prime Minister. I remember you campaigning on bringing respect back to Parliament. And look, given what’s happened this week in Parliament, that’s gone out the window. The verbal stoush between LNP frontbencher Ros Bates and Health Minister Shannon Fentiman, and it’s spilled out of Parliament onto social media and the disrespect has continued. What would you say to both parties when it comes to respect in Parliament?

PRIME MINISTER: I think everyone in Parliament has a responsibility to engage respectfully with each other. I think that’s what the electorate expect and that’s what should happen. I think political discourse in this country has become more fractured and I do think that’s an ongoing problem. People want to see people showing respect to each other and I certainly hope that occurs in all of our parliaments, but particularly the one that I have a role in, our national Parliament.

GARY: I always thought Parliament was a bit like Las Vegas. What happens in Parliament stays in Parliament.

LAUREL: Not anymore.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it can be a robust place and there’s a place for robust debate and I think none of us are pure on these issues. From time to time they’ve been issues and we just need to, though, I think, remember that it’s the people that we represent and what they want is for us to engage in respectful debate where there are differences. By all means, argue your case strongly.

GARY: Well, at the end of this interview, I’ve just counted it up. Sorry, Prime Minister, I’ve just counted it up. We have asked you ten questions and depending on what side of the fence you’re on, you got all ten correct or you got none correct, but we still can’t give you $1,000.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, fair enough. There are a lot of people out there who need it more than politicians, let me say that. So, I think that’s a very fair decision.

GARY: That’s eleven correct.

LAUREL: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Thanks for your time this morning.

PRIME MINISTER: Awesome. Have a great day. It’s a beautiful day here in Brisbane, again, I’ve got to say it’s a very jealous weather here. I think it’ll be a little bit colder in Canberra.

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