Australian Prime Minister Radio interview – Nova 93.7 Perth

Prime Minister

Time to catch up with our favourite dinner host of all time, the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. Albo, hello.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, good to be with you. Great to be back in Perth.

NATHAN MORRIS, HOST: Thank you so much.

SHAUN MCMANUS, HOST: Yeah, you keep coming over our way, it’s good news.

MORRIS: Why aren’t you in the studio with us if you’re in Perth, sir?

PRIME MINISTER: Oh gee, I’m in trouble.

MORRIS: Yeah, you are.

PRIME MINISTER: I’m in trouble.

MORRIS: You are, Anthony.

PRIME MINISTER: I’ve got a meeting in about half an hour here, so I’m doing a couple of interviews quickly. But you’re the first one for the day.

MCMANUS: That is good news. Hey, but if you had have come in here, Albo. There is a couple of crayfish in our fridge that Amy, our producer, left behind.


MCMANUS: Now, you could have given them to-

LOCKE: Your Chinese friend.

MCMANUS: Yes, absolutely.

LOCKE: The Chinese Premier

MCMANUS: The Premier.

PRIME MINISTER: I could have given them to Premier Li. Well, what we’re hoping is that very soon those crayfish will be being exported to China.

LOCKE: Fingers crossed.

PRIME MINISTER: Along with everything else that’s now going there. Our barley and our wine, importantly, is a very big product –

MORRIS: He could have put them into his suitcase and just been on Border Security.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, he’s got a 747, so I’m sure there’s a freezer on it.

MCMANUS: I bet there is.

LOCKE: Albo, on that, can you tell him from us that we would like some pandas at our zoo too, please?

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah well, everyone would like pandas –

LOCKE: Can we have pandas for everyone?

PRIME MINISTER: Who doesn’t like pandas?

MORRIS: Peter Dutton’s not giving away pandas.

PRIME MINISTER: I wouldn’t mind a panda at The Lodge to play with Toto. That’d be pretty cool, just chilling out, we’d plant some bamboo for it, fresh food. It would be awesome.

MORRIS: No, there was a zoo in China and they said everyone come see the pandas, and there were dogs that were dyed black and white.

LOCKE: Chows.

MCMANUS: That’s right.

LOCKE: That’s what we’ll get here. Adelaide gets the real ones.

PRIME MINISTER: In all seriousness, the pandas is good news for Adelaide Zoo. Of course, pandas are, they’re extraordinary animals. I’m a bit fixated by panda videos, I’ve got to say. I must have followed too many sites, because it keeps popping up, these pandas, and it’s amazing they’re not extinct because they keep falling on their head and rolling around.

LOCKE: Their behaviour is, they are ridiculous but they are adorable.

MCMANUS: I didn’t know until last week, Nathan informed me that a bunch of pandas is an embarrassment of pandas.

MORRIS: It’s an embarrassment of pandas.

MCMANUS: Were you aware of that?

PRIME MINISTER: Is it really?

MORRIS: Yes. Yes, it is.

PRIME MINISTER: As opposed to an embarrassment of Nova people at The Lodge.

MCMANUS: Well, that’s top level obviously.

MORRIS: I sometimes wonder, the staff in the kitchen, what they were thinking. They would have been going, oh, my God, why hasn’t he called the police?

PRIME MINISTER: No, they were very happy, and the photo is still on the mantelpiece, don’t worry.

MCMANUS: Hey Albo, on a more of a serious note. The diplomacy of dealing with China, right? We know that they are our biggest trading partner, and they’re very important to the economics of Australia, but at the same time you’ve got this balancing act where, you know, a lot of people want to go against them for, you know, them trying to take over the world, so to speak. And we believe that, you know, they’ve got a lot of espionage perhaps happening on. How do you have a relationship with them that –

LOCKE: The power imbalance is massive.

MCMANUS: How do you have a really strong relationship with them, but also keep them honest?

PRIME MINISTER: By being straightforward. By raising the issues that we have with China in a deliberate, but a clear way as well. There’s no point shaking your fist. It’s important that what you do is to indicate the differences that we have. We have different values and different political systems, and we saw some of that yesterday, I’ve got to say, with the attempt that was pretty ham-fisted to block Cheng Lei, the Australian journalist who we were able to get brought home, at the press conference. And there was a clumsy attempt, really, to just stand in between where the cameras were and Cheng Lei. And the Australian officials did the right thing and intervened. But, you know, that showed I think, that the different systems that are there. Yesterday we had, outside Parliament House, we had a lot of pro-Chinese people who were demonstrating their support for the visit of the Premier. They were very proud. They’re proud of the rise of China and the extraordinary economic development, of which WA of course, has made an enormous contribution with our iron ore in particular, going over there to build the great cities of Beijing and Shanghai and Tianjin and Guangzhou and all these places have been built with WA resources. But at the same time, there was a demonstration about human rights in China. That’s what we do as a democracy, people can have their say.

MORRIS: Yeah, it’s hard isn’t it?

LOCKE: It’s a balancing act.

MORRIS: Being straight up with someone that you know should be straight up, but you don’t know if they are, so you can just put your best foot forward, really. Hey, I want to talk –

PRIME MINISTER: I’ve got to say that the discussions I had with Premier Li yesterday, once again, were direct, they were constructive, and they have produced, I think, an improvement in our relationships. We’re now exporting $20 billion of goods to China that were the subject of impediments. Cheng Lei was able to attend the press conference there yesterday, that’s a very positive thing. And it’s important that you have dialogue. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have differences, but you can’t solve differences by having no talking. And that’s why it’s important to have that mature approach. And yesterday we had myself, we had, the Leader of the Opposition gave a constructive discussion as well at the lunch that we had at the Great Hall. We had business leaders, diplomats, all there and it was a really positive event –

LOCKE: And we got pandas.

PRIME MINISTER: And we got pandas.

MCMANUS: The other thing is everyone had to download the TikTok app on their phone. So, that was the main reason.

MORRIS: But I want to take TikTok videos of the pandas we don’t have in WA. We’ll get back to that later. Hey Albo, let’s talk about what everyone’s talking about in the news, and that is that Peter Dutton is apparently pipping you in the polls. Now, do you think…


LOCKE: As preferred Prime Minister.

MORRIS: As preferred Prime Minister. So, here’s the deal. Do you think that it’s going to be a really tough job for you and your government because the cost of living situation, which, you know, was amplified from COVID basically –

LOCKE: And from, you know, conflict in other places –

MORRIS: And the conflict. So, that’s always going to be associated with your Prime Ministership. And do you think that you’re being unfairly pinned with that?

PRIME MINISTER: No, look, I understand that cost of living pressures are out there on people, but the good news is that in thirteen days’ time every one of your listeners will get a tax cut. Everyone who’s on a minimum wage or an award wage will get a wage increase.

MORRIS: Everyone will get a panda.

PRIME MINISTER: Everyone will earn more, and keep more of what they earn. We’ll have $300 energy relief off every household. We have cheaper medicines. So we understand that. We have cut inflation in half of what we inherited. The Liberals left us with inflation out of control, with an economy that was stalling, with real pressures on. No plan to deal with energy and climate change, no plan to deal with future growth in the economy, a relationship with China and other partners, including France and the Pacific, that was really damaged. And we’ve been setting about repairing all of that. So I’m very confident that by the time of the next election when we go to the polls, people will look at what the alternatives are and see a government that’s done its best to deal with inflation, to lift employment, 880,000 new jobs. That is dealing with cost of living pressures with practical measures, all of which have been opposed by Peter Dutton. And Peter Dutton, he just says no to everything and doesn’t have any solutions. Left us with an enormous debt, the former government. We’ve produced two budget surfaces in a row to put that downward pressure on inflation as well.

MCMANUS: It’s gonna be the proof’s in the pudding at the end of the day. Because whilst it’s easy to say then when the Opposition were in Government last time, then they were saying the opposite to what you’re saying and everyone has their point of view, but at the end of the day, it’s what you leave us with. And currently, even though some people are getting paid more, which is good to hear –

LOCKE: Perceptually, like the housing crisis and builders going under and –

MORRIS: Oh the housing crisis –

MCMANUS: People are saying all these things the fact is the money doesn’t go as far, regardless at the moment. So, if you got paid $100,000, it’s certainly probably worth about $80,000.

LOCKE: People just feel worse off, don’t they?

MCMANUS: Well they are. That’s it.

LOCKE: Potentially they could have been much worse off. We don’t know.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we get that. But inflation had a six in front of it when we were elected and it now has a three in front of it. We have halved it whilst not doing what a whole lot of economists say, that what you should do, essentially is trash the economy, drive it into the ground in order to get down inflation, like get unemployment up and make people hurt even more. We haven’t done that. What we’ve done is cost of living measures that have made a difference whilst putting that downward pressure on inflation while we’ve been creating jobs and while we’ve been setting Australia up for the economy of the future, including of course, our trading relationships with countries like China are so important. It’s about Australian jobs, and that’s why you can’t just ignore those international relationships.

MORRIS: Yeah, but you know what it is? People like, all the stuff that you’re saying that, you know, relationships and planning for the future, that’s great and that’s what a Prime Minister and a Government should be doing. But when it comes to the time of voting, I’m frightened that people will just look in their own backyard and go, I can’t afford to keep the lights on. I maybe can’t get a house. I can’t rent. Like, Perth has got the worst rental market in Australia.

LOCKE: Yeah the tightest rental market.

MORRIS: And people can’t get their houses built, they can’t buy a house. So like, people, like that’s, your plans and all this extra stuff that you’re doing which is so important.

LOCKE: And you’re right, all that stuff is important.

MORRIS: People won’t even, I don’t think people give that even a look, they’ll just look at where we are.

LOCKE: And if we’re exporting our lobsters to China it’s no more cheap back of the boat lobsters than we had at Christmas time

MORRIS: And they’ll pin it on the Government. So it’s going to be a tough one.

PRIME MINISTER: What they’ll look at as well, on issues like housing is who has a plan. Yeah, we’ve got a $32 billion investment in housing. The last time I was in Perth after I spoke to you, I went to a site with Roger Cook, a major development in inner Perth that’s making a difference re housing supply. Later today I’ll be going to a childcare centre, and that childcare centre, like others, we’ve seen an 11 per cent drop in the cost of childcare for families. And we’re looking at how we can extend that even further with universal childcare.

MORRIS: Can’t we make the kids build the houses? Oh, my God, it just dawned on me. Someone’s looking after them. Okay, everyone, grab your hammers.

PRIME MINISTER: Instead of building blocks you reckon they should build houses.

LOCKE: Yes exactly, I mean it’s all there.

MORRIS: It’s better than nothing.


LOCKE: Yes, that’s right.

MCMANUS: We’ll get everything prefabricated. It’ll be fine.

MORRIS: This is lovely. It’s two by one. It’s made from play-doh. Come on through.

LOCKE: Prime Minister, we love you. Thank you so much for chatting to us this morning. Enjoy your visit to Perth.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you so much.

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