Australian Prime Minister Radio Interview – Fox FM

Prime Minister

: It’s one of the busiest days of the year, I imagine, for our Prime Minister, but he joins us now. Anthony Albanese, welcome back to the show.

PRIME MINISTER: Good to be here. It is a very busy day, but you’re always a priority.

FIFI: Thank you, Prime Minister. And can we just quickly apologise while you’re on hold, our senior producer, James Blake, who is a bit of a pest, was having a chat to you and we could see he was chewing your ear off, so just apologies for that. He’s a bit of a fan.

BRENDAN “FEV” FEVOLA, HOST: He’s a nerdburger.

PRIME MINISTER: He was good. It’s all good. I’ve met him in the studio there.

FIFI: He’s blushing, he’s so excited. Prime Minister, thank you for finding the time to talk to us and to Melbourne, because all our listeners, I guess, would just like, what are the headlines? What can we take out of this? The good stuff particularly.

PRIME MINISTER: Every one of your listeners, will get a tax cut. Every household listening to this program will get energy bill relief of $300. There’ll be stronger Medicare in every community and we’ll be building more homes in every part of the country, including the great city of Melbourne.

FEV: I’m glad you just said $300 for only the people that listen to the Fox, Fifi, Fev and Nick. If you listen to another station, you don’t get it. So, well done.

PRIME MINISTER: No, no. Well, you could well argue that, but we are giving it to every single household, like we’re giving it to every single taxpayer is getting a tax cut. So, we had a difficult task of having cost of living relief whilst continuing to put downward pressure on inflation. And we’ve done that. But we also wanted to think about the future as well. A future made in Australia. So, we want more manufacturing to make more things in Australia as well. And that’s a big part of the longer term vision that’s there in the Budget.

FEV: Now, Albo, I am not much of a budgeter. I get money and it burns a hole in my pocket. So, I don’t understand this, but when we say, hey, in a couple of years, we might surpass a trillion dollars in debt, right, we’re in debt a trillion bucks. That money’s not really real, is it? Can’t you just wipe it and everyone just start again?

PRIME MINISTER: No, no, you can’t. But what you can do is make a difference by having responsible Budgets, just like you need to in your household. So, we’re producing a projected $9 billion surplus this year. That means we can pay off some debt rather than add to it. That’s made a positive difference. Last year we had a $22 billion surplus. So, we’re providing this support, but we are producing, the first time we’ve had consecutive Budget surpluses in almost two decades. So, that is making a difference as well.

FEV: Yeah, I get all that. But back to what I said.

PRIME MINISTER: Just to get rid of it all?

FEV: Yeah, but the money is not like it’s, where did you, who do you borrow it off? Like the Commonwealth Bank? Like where is it?

PRIME MINISTER: No, no, it is borrowed and you do have to pay interest on it.

FEV: Can’t the Government just wipe it? Hey, let’s just go start fresh.

PRIME MINISTER: It doesn’t quite work that way. But as a result of what we’re doing, we’re paying something like $80 billion less in interest, which makes a big difference as well. So, we did need to get the Budget under control. We’ve done that. It was $78 billion deficit is what we inherited when we came to office. So, if you think about that in household terms, if you were spending more money by a large amount than was coming in and you turn that into actually having savings, producing more income than you’re spending, that’s what we’re doing and that’s a good thing.

FIFI: And when you say it like that, Prime Minister, it sounds sensible.

PRIME MINISTER: It is sensible, we’re a sensible Government.

FIFI: And you know what’s going on. Fev is asking, can you just wipe it? We’ve also got a member of the team you might be familiar with, Josiah. He asked you –

PRIME MINISTER: I’ve interviewed with him. When you haven’t been there. He looked pretty comfortable in the chair.

FIFI: He’s got his own conspiracy theories. He leans into that area. And he came up with a conspiracy theory this morning. Would you like to share it with the Prime Minister, Josiah?

JOSIAH SHALA, PRODUCER: Yeah, like what Fev said, Prime Minister, that debt isn’t necessarily real. It’s a number. And that I think most governments, not just the Australian Government, governments around the world, they know that the world’s going to be ending at some point in the future. So, you guys are just going to continue spending because who cares? The debt won’t exist when the world’s done anyway.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we are not planning for the end of the world. What we are doing is trying to make a better future rather than no future, which is what the end of the world would represent. But thank you for the contribution.

FIFI: Thank you, Josiah.

FEV: Thank you, Josiah.

PRIME MINISTER: I don’t think we’ll put you on the Expenditure Review Committee next year.

SHALA: That’s alright.

FEV: Hey, Mr Albanese, I’ve got one more for you. Now, it is hard to live the cost of living, and we’re seeing it everywhere. All around Australia people are finding it hard to, you know, buy groceries, pay rent, pay for their mortgages. Can you just, just for, you know, a couple of years, say to all your little people underneath you, “hey, interest rates, let’s just keep them the same?”

PRIME MINISTER: Well the Reserve Bank make those decisions independently.

FEV: Don’t worry about the bank, you want to get it lower.

PRIME MINISTER: Well they make the decisions.

FEV: You’re the big dog.

PRIME MINISTER: And they do it independently of the Government. And what we can do though is do our part to make a difference. And we’ve done that by producing these two Budget surpluses in a row. But as well, there’s measures in the Budget like increased rent assistance, a 10 per cent increase following a 15 per cent increase last year.

FEV: That’s good.

PRIME MINISTER: So, we want to make sure that we do what we can to provide that support for people who are in need.

FEV: It’s bloody hard out there.

PRIME MINISTER: We get that, but we need to provide relief without adding to inflation, which is why we’ve done it in the way that we have. So, for example, the energy bill relief, rather than give people cash payments, what we’re doing is reducing the power bills, working with the companies to make sure that happens. So, that rebate, if you pay your energy bill quarterly, then you’ll get $75 off four times over the coming financial year.

FEV: Now something that did make me sick over the weekend, Mr Prime Minister, you ventured into the footy change rooms and you sung the Hawthorn song with the team.

PRIME MINISTER: We’re a happy team at Hawthorn. We certainly were on Saturday.

FEV: You were up and about.

PRIME MINISTER: It was, it was a cracking game versus Saints, and two weeks in a row they’ve defended, for a young side, they have essentially shut down with very slender leads, the last five minutes, I was sitting next to Andy Gowers, he was very nervous, understandably, in those last minutes, but I think Sam Mitchell was very pleased at the end of the game with a young side showing real maturity.

FEV: They’re still on the bottom, so that’s okay.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, you know, we had quite a few years at the top.

FEV: You did, you did. You don’t have to gloat.

PRIME MINISTER: 89 and 91, I was there at the only ever Grand Final at Waverley. And 89 was a cracker game. Of course, the great Gary Ablett kicked nine and won the Norm Smith, but in a losing side. You think if you kick nine, mate, Fev, you would have been pretty happy to kick nine.

FEV: I kicked nine and didn’t get three votes in the Brownlow. That’s what set me off, so don’t worry about that.

PRIME MINISTER: I did see something on video recently of you kicking from the boundary, though. I think it was for charity. You nailed it. You still got it, mate.

FEV: I’ve still got it. Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. How good’s your Budget?

FIFI: I love the Budget chat, but your footy knowledge is excellent, Albo. Well done and thank you. I know it’s a very busy day for you. Thank you for joining us on the show. And sorry about Josiah’s conspiracy, apologies.

PRIME MINISTER: That’s okay. There’s crazier stuff on the Internet.

SHALA: We know. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Thanks for your time this morning.

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