Australian Prime Minister Radio interview – Star 104.5 Central Coast

Prime Minister

I’m very honoured to be joined on the phone this morning by the Prime Minister, Mr. Anthony Albanese. Mr. Prime Minister, are you there?

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: I am, indeed. Good morning to you, looking forward to being on the coast this morning.

BASELY: You are you are off to the Peninsula Urgent Care Clinic today?

PRIME MINISTER: I am, it’s one of the 58 we’ve put in place around the country. And today I’ll be with of course, the good doctor there. It’s fantastic that you’ve got a local member in Dr Reid who, of course, served and continues to do a bit of work, in medical support. He was there at Wyong Hospital for a long period of time. But he’s doing a fantastic job promoting healthcare, in particular. And today, the birthday of Medicare we have good news as well, which is our tripling of the bulk billing incentive for Medicare, means that more people are seeing the doctor for free, some 360,000 additional people in November and December alone. And bulk billing was in freefall, but we’ve not only arrested the decline, it’s increasing by 5% on the Central Coast alone, and that’s made a big difference.

BASELY: Well it was a big concern there, Prime Minister, with the cost of living and people not being able to afford to go to a doctor, maybe skipping, you know, appointments that they should be going to, not buying the medication because it’s so expensive. Does that help with this?

PRIME MINISTER: It certainly does. Australians have saved $250 million since we introduced our cheaper medicines plan that took place in January last year. So making an enormous difference, something actually dropping in price from $42.50 down to $30, making a difference. The tripling of the bulk billing incentive is making a difference. The 11% drop in childcare costs that has been found since July 1, that’s making a difference. But of course, our tax cut plan for every Australian taxpayer to get a tax cut will also make an enormous difference. Some 66,000 people in the Robertson electorate, 85% of people on the coast will make a difference, because they’ll get a bigger tax cut.

BASELY: With the tax cut, there’s a lot of buzz around about these stage three tax cuts, broken promises, that kind of thing. Do you think that there’s more smoke than fire when it comes to this broken promise? Because it’s to me, like, just a normal dude that doesn’t quite get everything right, Mr. Prime Minister, but I look at it as like, okay, it’s just politicians may be going back on their word. We’re used to that. That’s been something that’s been happening for years. But people going, okay, okay, he’s broken a promise, but they don’t understand that they’re actually going to be okay about it? Is that do you think what’s sort of missing in the clickbait headlines?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, this is something that happened two elections ago. And so, this was a Liberal Party plan for different stages of tax cuts. The economy has changed in the last five years. And you can’t run around, I’ve got a responsibility as Prime Minister, not to say “oh well this cost of living pressures out there, but I can’t do anything about it”. I can do something about it. And we are doing something about it. Making sure that every taxpayer, not just some, gets the tax cut is good policy. People on average incomes will get double the tax cut that they were going to get, and it will particularly benefit people on the coast, in our regions. This isn’t an area where there’s a whole lot of people earning my income, earning over $200,000 a year, and it will make an enormous difference. And guess what? Those people will shop in the local small businesses, they’ll contribute to the local economy. Because if you’re a lower middle income earner, you’re not saving any tax cut, you’ll spend it, and that will have benefits for businesses as well, there’ll be increased labour supply. This is good policy. And it’s not an easy decision. I get that, I get that it was going to be contentious, but it’s the right decision, which I am taking, and the Government is taking for all of the right reasons.

BASELY: For me, and like I try and put it in my terms, it’s kind of like – it would be a big call for you to do, because it’s like the parents that like promised their kids something and that, okay “we’re gonna go to the waterpark, we’re gonna go to the water park, we’re going to do that in a couple of years” and the kids are like “yes we’re gonna go to the waterpark”, then you have to get together and go “no, we can’t go to the waterpark”. Do you sit in a room and go “how are we going to break this to the Australian public knowing that we’ve promised them something? But then we’re gonna go back on our word about it. And how do you manage the expectation then?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, instead of going to the local water park with a few sprinklers, we’re going to a theme park, we’re going to a Wet’n’Wild.

BASELY: Look at that, FM analogies everywhere, Mr Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER: Where everyone’s going to get to go, not just some kids, everyone’s gonna get to go. The whole class if you like will get to go, and they’ll get to stay there for longer, they’ll get bigger benefits. So, you know, that is what this is about. Is it good policy or not? And if you do something, as I said, the world, the economy, has changed in five years. We’ve had a global pandemic. We’ve had a war in Ukraine. We’ve had a range of interest rate increases, and people know that that’s the case. People know that the Reserve Bank Governor, the former incumbent there, told people, that there would be no interest rate increases until this year, until 2024.

BASELY: And what do we have, eight or nine? What did we end up getting?


BASELY: Wow, okay.

PRIME MINISTER: So, it has placed pressure on cost of living. And my responsibility is to have the guts to make the right decision. And that is what we have done.

BASELY: You did mention like cost of living and shopping. Across the Central Coast like you’ve got like, the insurance companies and energy companies still hiking their prices, petrol through the roof, grocery shopping, is another thing that Gina and I have spoken about quite a lot on this show, is how expensive it is to go shopping at the moment. But then you hear that the farmers aren’t taking any extra money, they’re not getting any extra money out of it. So, if we’re paying more at the checkout, the farmers aren’t getting that coin, Prime Minister, is there something you can do there to have a look and go, well what’s happening?

PRIME MINISTER: We certainly are having a very strong look at it now and empowering the ACCC, which is the competition body basically, to have a look at what they can do because we want to make sure that if farmers are getting less for what they’re selling, then that should be passed through at the checkout to customers. And we want to make sure that that occurs. We had good news yesterday in the inflation has moderated now to 4.1% in the year to December. And that is very good news, it’s down from 5.4% in the September quarter. So it’s heading in the right direction.

BASELY: Could that mean interest rate cut?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, of course, that’s made independently by the Reserve Bank. It’s the key. So we have had a plan to provide cost of living relief, whilst putting that downward pressure on inflation. And that is why this plan as well, on tax, why it’s revenue neutral, because we want to make sure that that ongoing pressure that we’ve had to bring inflation down is having the right impact. And it certainly is. There’s more work to do. But the plan is working, and that is very positive views. The Reserve Bank will meet soon. They meet of course, next Tuesday. And what it means now is that the projections certainly are, without pre-empting that decision, that interest rates will stay where they are. But I want to see inflation brought back down to you know that 2-3% range is the objective. And we’re getting close, when we hit 4.1%.

BASELY: Our guest this morning is Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Something you wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of living as if you won the $200 million Powerball tonight. That’s for sure.

GINA JEFFREYS, HOST: Prime Minister, it’s Gina Jeffreys here. And this morning, we’ve been giving our listeners the chance to win a ticket in the Powerball for tonight for the $200 million. And the big heavy hitting question I have for you Prime Minister is: do you buy a ticket in the $200 million lotto? And if you if you win it, what do you do? Like a lot of people want to give up their job?

PRIME MINISTER: No, well I don’t buy a ticket. I think that it might be controversial if I won the $200 million. So, I don’t buy a ticket. But I sincerely hope, and I’m sure that Emma and Gordon there on the coast would be hoping, that one of their constituents win. And I just hope someone who’s a battler wins the big bucks tonight. Or you know, it, I know that…Who knows what you do with $200 million?

JEFFREYS: Fun to think about it though isn’t it.

BASELY: I know what I’d do. What I do is try my hardest to find some Taylor Swift tickets. Now I’ve heard I’ve heard a rumour, Mr Prime Minister that you are a huge Swifty? Am I barking up the right tree?

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, you’re right. I DJ’d a bit, as I think you know. I’ve spoken about that before. And if you want to get for charity, often I’ll do it for the local P&C at my local primary schools. Want to get little kids up dancing? Just play Shake It Off, and they do all that they do all the hand moves and everything and they know the rap bit, they know everything. And that got me listening to the lyrics of course. She’s actually a great songwriter, and then I really got into Folklore, and…

BASELY: Lockdown down albums.

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, they were awesome. And it’s really quite comforting, listening to it while travelling. I spend a lot of time on the move, of course. And that last album of course was just amazing.

BASELY: Does that mean as well that we’re gonna see you at either the Sydney or Melbourne concert, Mr Prime Minister, are you gonna be going along?

PRIME MINISTER: The plan is to try to see Tay Tay in Sydney. And Jodie, my partner, is very much, she’s a good Coastie the of course, Kincumber High School and Woy Woy public school, she of course, is a very loyal Coastie, and a loyal Swifty as well.

BASELY: So, there’s a lot of desperate parents out there, including me. So, it would be remiss of me, and my nine-year-old daughter would be a very shooting me, if I didn’t say, I know you are a tragic South Sydney Rabbitohs fan. I’m the ground announcer and unfilled presenter for the mighty Manly Sea Eagles. So, if you somewhere can’t go along to that Taylor Swift concert and you have those spare tickets, I would happily…

PRIME MINISTER: You expect me to give it to a Manly supporter?

BASELY: Well, I would, Round 16…

PRIME MINISTER: It could be worse, you could have said Roosters.

BASELY: Gosh, no not that bad! Round 16, the Rabbitohs playing the Sea Eagles, I’d be more than happy to wear to wear a Bunnies jersey while doing the announcing, if you can’t go along to that concert, and, you know, hooked an old made up on the radio. I’m just throwing it out there Prime Minister I’m just throwing it out there.

PRIME MINISTER: That’s a very big call you’re prepared to make. I used to go to with my cousin – Karen Jane who might be listening, she’s a Coastie, she lives there on the Central Coast, she’s older than me, she used to take me to Brookie. I used to catch the bus down to Manly v Souths games, and I’d sit there as a little boy, with my South Sydney jumper, with number one on the back for Eric Simms. And we would cheer at Brookie Oval and I’d sit in amongst the mass of Manly supporters, and I gotta say, they were always very nice to a little boy in a Bunnies jumper.

BASELY: Oh, that’s good to hear Prime Minister. We thank you so much for your time this morning. Have a great time on the coast today. I know Medicare’s 40th birthday and you are going to the Peninsula Urgent Care Clinic today. So, enjoy your time here. And I know you went to, because I worked with Sam Mac on Sydney Weekender, and I know you went to Hawkes Brewing Co with him on our anniversary special, but we got some great beers up here. Make sure you go to Hawkesbury Brewing Co or Six String Brewing, or the Central Coast Brewery way up here. Take a six-pack home because we make good beers here too.

PRIME MINISTER: It’s always good to be on the Coast, really looking forward to it.

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