Australian Prime Minister Radio interview – Triple M Sydney

Prime Minister

This is a great announcement and I’m so pleased to have the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese on the program this morning to talk us through his plans for Leichhardt Oval. These ovals, they’re more than just blades of grass, MG. They’re meeting places. It’s fields of drama for local people at a local level, and this is a breakthrough. Thank you for joining us this morning, Prime Minister. Talk us through and congratulations on your plans for Leichhardt Oval.

MARK GEYER, HOST: Morning, Albo.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, this is a cracker of an announcement. $40 million, all three levels of government. $20 million from the Federal Government and $10 from the local council and from the Minns Government to upgrade Leichhardt Oval and to implement the masterplan that’s needed there. There’s nowhere better to be on an afternoon than sitting on the Wayne Pearce Hill there at Leichhardt Oval. It is just fabulous, the atmosphere. Even if you’re at a Bunnies-Tigers game and you’re wearing Bunnies gear, everyone gets into you, but it’s good fun and it’s the centre of the community. And it’s not just for rugby league, it is for the Sydney FC women’s team are going to be playing there as well. You have kids sport, I mean, one of the highlights of my pretty ordinary rugby league career was getting to play as a school kid at Leichhardt Oval. And it’s a place that cherishes the memories of how you’re growing up and belonging. And for school sport, for women’s sport, it’s going to be, the centre part of the upgrade will be women’s change rooms, a new grandstand. It’ll keep the character. The hill will still be there, just 3000 seats, but such a fantastic upgrade and it’s really needed. If it wasn’t upgraded, the truth is the Tigers were going to leave and not play there.

MOLLOY: 120 sporting fixtures to be played there in 2024. We’ve got the Olympics coming up. We’re a sports mad country. All these people you see at the Olympics have to start somewhere, and it’s a local oval, it’s an oval in the Inner West, it’s an oval in an urban landscape. You cannot put a price on the value of these. What does it mean to you, MG, when you think of Leichhardt Oval?

GEYER: Well, the first thing I think about is the Amco Cup back in the 70s when I fell in love with rugby league. It used to be a Wednesday night cup which all rugby league teams would play against the country boys. And then in 1989, I was part of the biggest crowd ever at Leichhardt Oval when I was playing for Penrith against the Tigers. And then I played with the Tigers for a season in 1993, and so much history, so much tradition. It’s called the eighth wonder of the world for a reason, and I’m so glad, Albo, this $40 million investment is going to see us still play it at Leichhardt Oval. It’s a great day for sport.

PRIME MINISTER: I can show my age here, MG and remember Penrith versus Western Division.

GEYER: Yes, 1974.

PRIME MINISTER: In the Amco Cup, I think it was the first one. And I used to catch the bus on a Wednesday, you got in if you were a rugby league junior, you got in for free, in to watch heroes on a Wednesday night. And you’d go, sometimes you wouldn’t even know who was playing. You’d go along regardless, because it was a night out, it was free, you could connect up with your mates, and it’s a part of that identity. And these grounds whether it’s, you know, Brookie Oval, the old Henson Park to see the Jets on a Saturday afternoon. They are just fantastic places for people to gather and feel that sense of belonging.

MOLLOY: Well, you’re to be applauded and your government is to be applauded for focusing on grassroots, inner city, life changing events for the community out there. So we thank you for taking the time and the effort to give Leichhardt Oval a cuddle, a much deserved cuddle. Can’t let you go without asking a couple of questions. Peter Costello, who should he shirtfront next?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I was actually the guest speaker at the event there that Channel Nine had at Parliament House. It changed the mood a little bit, I’ve got to say. But it’s a pretty spectacular way to go out, I’ve got to say.

MOLLOY: Was it a sendoff or a ten minute send bin? You tell me.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think quite clearly he’s been sent off hasn’t he? It was a red card for sure.

MOLLOY: All right. $8.50 for a sausage sizzle at Vivid. Can you do something about that?

PRIME MINISTER: No, that’s just rubbish, isn’t it?

MOLLOY: It’s un-Australian, I tell you.

PRIME MINISTER: It is un-Australian. Absolutely. You can, you know, save your money and get it off the local sports club, whether it’s rugby league or soccer or, they all make money out of the sausage sizzle. I think we’ve all done our share of duty when our kids are doing junior sport. It used to be $2 at Marrickville.

GEYER: It’s unbelievable.

MOLLOY: Democracy sausages are cheaper. Now, before we go, I have to hit you up for a dad joke, please. Have you got one? Have you got a favourite, a go to?

PRIME MINISTER: Oh, gee. Why did the egg leave?

COLLOY: Why did the egg leave? Because there was a massive egg shortage and Coles refused to distribute them. I don’t know, why?

PRIME MINISTER: Because it was Fry-day.

MOLLOY: That will get you reelected, that joke. Good on you, Prime Minister. We thank you again. It’s a great announcement and it’s great for the people of the Inner West and you’re to be applauded. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much, guys. Have a wonderful day.

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