Australian Prime Minister Radio interview – ABC Radio Melbourne

Prime Minister

: Good morning, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Welcome back to Breakfast.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Sammy. Good to be with you.

MCMILLAN: How are you feeling?

PRIME MINISTER: I’m feeling pretty good. But, here in Canberra, another day, another day of Parliament, but leading up to Saturday, of course, it is an important by-election. And I sincerely hope that Jodie Belyea, who’s our candidate, gets to replace the wonderful Peta Murphy, who, of course, left us far too soon, age just 50, to cancer.

MCMILLAN: Indeed. It is a really sad reason for a by-election. And yet, of course, politics marches on this weekend and it is a big, important by-election. I want to chat about that by way of an unauthorised biography, if I may, while I have you, Prime Minister, because – I don’t know if you watched Nemesis, but I’m trying to get ahead of the game so that when your term comes to an end, I’m already ready to go with my publication. Can I read you some excerpts and you can stop me when I get a fact wrong?


MCMILLAN: This is chapter seven. It’s called ‘midterm munchies.’ “2024 was a dramatic year for Anthony Albanese, kicking off with the Dunkley by-election held in March. Despite predictions of a Labor win, the Prime Minister had a challenging end to his campaign when he freaked out in the final week and ate a raw onion at Frankston train station.” Likely to happen?


MCMILLAN: No, wrong?

PRIME MINISTER: That’s Tony Abbott you’re thinking of there.

MCMILLAN: Oh, damn it. But I mean, you are feeling the pressure, aren’t you? Right now, look at the polls. Dutton’s got some swagger.

PRIME MINISTER: Look, what we’re doing is getting on with the job of addressing cost of living. We have, hopefully today or tomorrow, if the Senators stop filibustering, we’ll get the tax cuts through that’ll deliver a tax cut to every worker in, not just Dunkley, every one of your listeners – every single taxpayer will get a tax cut. And last week we had good news that wages have increased in real terms in 2023. And that’s much earlier for a return to real wages growth than Treasury was expecting.

MCMILLAN: Are people listening to your message though, Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we’ll continue to go and to argue our case, that we’ve been through a difficult period with global inflation but what we’ve done is maintain jobs growth with 650,000 jobs being created, that we’ve invested in things like Urgent Care Clinics, in cheaper childcare, in fee free TAFE, where 350,000 people have commenced last year – we only promised 180,000, so that has been successful beyond what we anticipated. And the decision to give everyone a tax cut and to change the old Liberal arrangements was a tough decision, wasn’t an easy one, but it was the right decision for the country.

MCMILLAN: That leads into my next chapter, because having successfully announced a change to the stage three tax cuts, Anthony Albanese developed a sudden thirst for economic fiddling and headed into Easter, pledging to cut the cost of living by giving all voters his Netflix login details. Care to share?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, maybe I might do that, because, you know, fair enough. There’s some good shows on Netflix.

MCMILLAN: You got one of those sweet family accounts?

PRIME MINISTER: It is actually my partner Jodie’s account.

MCMILLAN: Sorry, I’m going to fact check you. I’m checking – I think it’s your fiancée Jodie now, isn’t it?

PRIME MINISTER: Fiancée, indeed.

MCMILLAN: Indeed. We’ll get to that, but look, you’ve just mentioned a few things you’re working on. The Budget is coming up, we know that, that’ll be after the by-election. But have you got any aces up your sleeve? You don’t have to tell me what they are if so, but are you working on some sort of big shock and awe headline grabbing policy? Don’t tell me you can just sort of breathe three times or something if it’s true.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we certainly are working on everything that we can do to address cost of living pressures, particularly aimed at lower middle income earners, because we know that they’ve been under pressure from those rising costs of living. And that’s why we did the tax cuts, that’s why we’ve done all these other measures across childcare, across health, across education and TAFE. And we’ll continue to have a look.

MCMILLAN: If I can jump in, Prime Minister – Michael’s just texted to say, please ask the Prime Minister if there’ll be any relief for pensioners. There’s been lots of great releases provided by the government, but I think pensioners have missed out and it must be very hard for them to survive.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, pensioners have benefited greatly from our cheaper medicines policy that has cost $300 million just last year to the Budget. That’s been a big plus. On top of that, we have had increased welfare payments last year, included in the Budget, and measures like our rental increase, the largest rental assistance increase in 30 years, was included in the Budget as well. So, all of those measures, as well as the Energy Price Relief Plan, was targeted at people who are low income earners and of course, that included pensioners.

MCMILLAN: I’m chatting to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who is on the election hustings, really ahead of the Dunkley by-election this Saturday. Prime Minister, I appreciate people say they don’t pay attention to polls and everything’s normal and everything’s fine, but a bit of real talk. I mean, you’re on Breakfast, you’re out there, you’re across all the radio and media at the moment. You must be feeling, if not panicked, you must be feeling like it’s not necessarily the position you would have preferred to be in going into this election, this by-election.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think that we go into it with the right candidate. In Jodie Belyea, she was recruited to the Labor Party by Peta Murphy and encouraged to consider running as a candidate. She’s not a career politician. She’s someone who’s been involved in helping disadvantaged women there in the south-east, particularly around Dunkley, over a period of time. She’s someone whose son is doing year twelve there at Frankston High, and she’s someone who’s deeply embedded in the community. So, I think we’ve got the right candidate. By-elections are tough for Governments. The average swing since the Hawke Government has been 7 per cent away from the Government during a by-election and a Government held seat. So, we know it’s tough, but we’re out there putting the case. And we’re also saying that Peter Dutton’s got nothing to offer. Just saying no to everything, being negative about every single program that’s put up, including on the tax cuts.

MCMILLAN: Aren’t you just meant to say Peter Dutton’s got nothing to offer? Not, “we’re also saying that he’s got nothing to offer”. That sounds like you’re reading me your bullet points.

PRIME MINISTER: No, no, he certainly has nothing positive. And I think when people are listening to Peter Dutton, what they’ll see is just this wave of negativity and fear campaigns. And you can’t change a country for the better by just appealing to fear.

MCMILLAN: Well, the people will absolutely have their say on Saturday on that point. While I’ve got you, Prime Minister, one more little excerpt from my unauthorised biography: “2024 was also a time of great joy in Anthony’s personal life, with his engagement to partner Jodie. Sadly, when the wedding rolled around later that year, the guest list had to be trimmed and Anthony was forced to cull one person from the following list: Kyle Sandilands, Anthony Pratt, Peter Dutton or Sammy J.”

PRIME MINISTER: You’ll be there for sure.

MCMILLAN: Well, is Kyle going? You went to Kyle’s.

PRIME MINISTER: Who else is going to sing?

MCMILLAN: Anthony Pratt? Katy Perry? Can’t you afford Katy Perry?

PRIME MINISTER: I don’t think I can afford Katy Perry. We haven’t got around to all of that yet. I put a lot of thought into the big proposal on Valentine’s Day, and since then I’ve been concentrating on work and travelling around. So, we’ll sit down privately and we’ll work out a date and a venue and all of those arrangements.

MCMILLAN: Maybe that’s your ace up your sleeve on Budget night. You’ll announce Taylor Swift for your wedding.

PRIME MINISTER: We’ll announce Tay Tay. Well, that’d make people come, even if they didn’t like us.

MCMILLAN: Prime Minister, while I’ve got you a couple of final questions. Of course, Mardi Gras is very much in the news. Should the police be allowed to march in the Mardi Gras, in your opinion? They’ve already said that they’re not going to, on the request of the organisers.

PRIME MINISTER: Look, that, of course, is a matter for the police and Mardi Gras. But can I say that from my personal perspective, I think it’s been very good that the police have marched. It’s come a long way from the 1978 Mardi Gras where people were arrested for the crime of being who they were, and the events in Darlinghurst police cell have gone down in infamy since then. The police have apologised and the relationships have been turned around and have been positive. But I understand that the queer community in Sydney in particular, are grieving what is an enormous tragedy. I can’t comment in too much detail, of course, because the police investigation is still underway and the prosecution. But my heart goes out to those who are grieving, from the family and friends of these two men who’ve really suffered, Jesse and Luke. People will be doing it tough at the moment, and I understand that.

MCMILLAN: Absolutely. And just finally, Prime Minister, it is former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s final day today in Parliament. He’ll be making his final farewell speech. Anything nice to say to him via the radio this morning?

PRIME MINISTER: I think he had the great honour of being the 30th Prime Minister of Australia, and it’s a tough job and I certainly respect the office. I will attend Parliament for his final speech and on a personal level, I wish him and his family all the best.

MCMILLAN: Prime Minister, I’m happy to provide unedited manuscripts for the rest of your Prime Ministership, because the book does go for several more chapters into the future. But in the meantime, I appreciate your work editing my words this morning.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I reckon it’d be better to be a musical rather than a biography.

MCMILLAN: You’re putting yourself up there as a Keating, are you?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I’m putting yourself up there as someone who fits into that genre more so than a writer.

MCMILLAN: Well, challenge accepted, Anthony. I mean, depending on how things go, you might not like what I write, but I will take it on board. ‘Telling Stories, Fighting Tories’ – how’s that for a name?

PRIME MINISTER: Terrific, see you’re halfway there.

MCMILLAN: Yeah, the rhymes write themselves. Prime Minister, appreciate your time this morning. Thank you very much from us on Breakfast.

PRIME MINISTER: Have a great day.

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