Australian Prime Minister Radio interview – Triple M Newcastle

Prime Minister

Our Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese is with us. Congratulations, Albo, to you and Jodie.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Thank you so much. People have been very kind. I assure you that Steve’s marital status did not enter into calculation.

STEVE GRAHAM, HOST: Yeah, thank you, mate. I appreciate that. Although I do find you being very Australian, it’s like: “will you marry me”? “Yes”. “And by the way, I’m going away for the weekend”.

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah well, it’s a bit like that.

GRAHAM: Welcome to Newcastle, Albo.

PRIME MINISTER: I always love coming to Newcastle, and I’m actually then going on Sunday I’ll be in Nowra and then in Perth. So, it’s a busy weekend, this weekend.

WILKS: Well, I reckon the marriage will last as long, as you stay away that much.

GRAHAM: Yeah, true.


WILKS: Now, listen, we got to talk about the ring, because that’s what people, even the girls in the kitchen, I was making a tea then, they just said “are you going to ask Albo about the ring?” Of course I am, because I believe you’ve had a hand in designing it.

PRIME MINISTER: I did. There’s this amazing jewellery store – it’s not really a store, they’re artists – in my electorate in Leichardt, Cerrone. And I’ve known Nick for a long period of time.

GRAHAM: A bit of mate’s rates?

PRIME MINISTER: No, well, he’s an amazing employer of apprentices. It’s a family business. They do Australia proud right around the world. They export their amazing craftsmanship and, over the years, I’ve done a number of media events there because, when we think about apprenticeships and we think about trades, people often think about blue collar work, but jewellery is an example of a trade that is massively in demand, and where Australia has particular expertise and wonderful, of course, resources, including Argyle diamonds. And Nick is just a lovely, proud fellow, also, of course, of Italian heritage.

WILKS: But did you go in with a piece of paper, with a drawing that you did away from Jodie and go, “this is what I want Nick”.

PRIME MINISTER: No, we sat down with – a family business – Nick and his daughter and staff members, and there was a whole range of rings, engagement rings, that they had, and I was like, “I like that”, and “I like this little aspect” of another one, and the sort of thickness of the band, and went through all of the details. Toto was with me at the time.

GRAHAM: I can absolutely see what’s going on here. It’s like, they did everything and you went, I like it, good!

PRIME MINISTER: Took a long. No no, they made it. It’s bespoke. It’s one off. They took different aspects, and then came back to us with text messages, with photos, “what do you think?” And put it together, and Nick was just amazing artistry that he has got.

WILKS: Do you know what the three C’s are, Albo? Now that you’ve been through this process, the three C’s of designing a ring are?

PRIME MINISTER: No, I wouldn’t have a clue.

GRAHAM: Neither would I, don’t feel bad. I don’t either.

PRIME MINISTER: It’s sort of like, I know what I like, but I don’t know what any of it’s called.

WILKS: Colour, clarity and carat – that’s what everyone wants to know.

GRAHAM: It’s why I’m single Albo, mine is “cost, cost and cost”. Now, what brings you to town, mate? Of course we have, that’s why you give us a call to say, hey, I’m in town, by the way, guys – what are you in town for?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, on the way up there, I’m stopping in at Lake Haven, at the Urgent Care Clinic there with Emma McBride and Pat Conroy. Urgent Care Clinics have been so successful at providing somewhere for people to go where they don’t want to end up in the Emergency Department, clogging up emergency departments, to something that’s a bit more than just going to a GP, so they’ve got a broken bone or a cut, they’ve fallen off, their kids have fallen off the skateboard or the bike. It’s somewhere for them to go, that makes an enormous difference. And it’s free, of course, Medicare Urgent Care Clinics. So, making an enormous difference. And then I’ll be there tonight, I’m speaking at an event in Newcastle, talking about the way that Newcastle transformed in the late 90s when steel moved out of what was known as the Steel City, of course, and people had dire predictions for Newcastle. But Newcastle, of course, has thrived, continues to thrive and grow by transforming. And the new transformation will be just as important with clean energy being able to power advanced manufacturing. So, we want to bring rail manufacturing, we want to bring the things that can occur with cheaper, cleaner energy to make things, back to Newcastle. So, I’ll be speaking about manufacturing, the renewable energy future that Australia has, and the benefit for jobs and for regional economies in particular. So, Sharon Claydon’s hosting this event with Newcastle University and businesses later today, and it’s always great to be in Newy.

WILKS: PM, I was talking earlier about the fact that I opened my electricity bill this week and it’s gone up 40%, and I was away for nearly a month over summer so I didn’t use any electricity. And this is not a criticism of you, absolutely not, you’re the PM, but I’m just curious – it’d be a while since you opened your own bills, because of where you live, you live in The Lodge and all the rest of it. So, how do you – and I know your background, I know that bills would have been a struggle at one point in your life – but how do you relate to the rest of us when we’re going, “well, we can’t go to the movies this weekend because we’ve actually got to put food on the table”. How do you stay in touch with how people are struggling right now?

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, you know, one of the things that I do that I’m so pleased that I do, is that the people I grew up with, I grew up in council housing that became State Government public housing, and I’m still mates with all of them. And we get together, we got together around New Year’s this year, they turned up on the first day I got sworn in, eight of the people I grew up with, travelled to say g’day. Some of them still live in the community where I grew up, some of them have moved away. Clayton, our mate, has become a wharfie in Fremantle. But connecting up with the people who I grew up with and with that community, keeping those connections there, and just going around and just having a quiet chat, no media, none of that, sitting down with them, is so important. It’s one of the reasons why I keep playing tennis at my local tennis club.

GRAHAM: It’s such an Aussie thing, though, PM, isn’t it, that your older mates, they keep you grounded, don’t they?

PRIME MINISTER: They do. Going to the hill at Henson Park, sitting down, how are you going? What’s going on? Is really important to me. The truth is that I live a life of privilege now, like any Prime Minister would, and I’m really conscious of that. And that’s why things like cheaper medicines – I know the difference that it makes to people’s lives because my Mum was an invalid pensioner, and relied upon drugs, basically for pain relief, and everything else that came with it.

GRAHAM: And all of that stuff, certainly the stuff that you don’t forget, do you? People accuse you of privilege, but you don’t forget all of that gear. But look, we know you got to go, because we were going to ask you how do you feel about your team Souths going to Vegas? But quite frankly, there’s no answer, because what could go wrong?

PRIME MINISTER: I’ll give you the big tip off here, the Bunnies – I was speaking to the administration, Blake Solly, a good Central Coast man who’s the CEO there, they’re basing themselves in San Diego, which is a little bit safer than Vegas.

GRAHAM: What could go wrong?

PRIME MINISTER: It’s a little bit safer than Vegas, let me tell you.

WILKS: Well, look good to talk, enjoy your time in Newcastle. As always, thanks for your time PM.

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, Souths v Newcastle Grand Final this year.

GRAHAM: We’d be happy with that. Thank you, Anthony Albanese, our Prime Minister joining Tanya and Steve.

/Public Release. View in full here.