Australian Prime Minister Television interview – Sunrise

Prime Minister

Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, joins me now. Good morning to you.


BARR: We know you’re saying that nothing has changed with your policy. Peter Dutton says this is the most reckless act of a Foreign Minister in 20 years. Jewish groups are furious. They say, ‘We’ve got a war. This will reward Hamas’. Was it ill-timed, these statements?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, this is just more nasty negativity from Peter Dutton. I’m, today, talking about jobs, the future of the Australian economy, but also, of course, with a focus on a conflict that has been there my entire lifetime. And the entire world knows that there needs to be a two-state solution in the Middle East. That’s something that’s been Australia’s long-standing policy, and it’s something I’ve been very consistent on for a long period of time. But Hamas can play no role in a future state. And we’ve made that very clear, as well, as has the rest of the Western world.

BARR: So, let’s talk about jobs, shall we? What you’re announcing today. We all want to buy Australian. We often buy the cheapest, though, don’t we? So, how much would you have to subsidise Australian companies to get us to buy their products?

PRIME MINISTER: Australia can compete, Nat. That’s the good news. And there is a global race for jobs and opportunities. And Australia wants to be in it to win it. That is what a future made in Australia is about. We can compete with the rest of the world and we can beat the rest of the world with the natural resources that we have under the ground and in the sky. We can be the world’s biggest producer of green hydrogen, powering a new generation of advanced manufacturing, having green metals, producing batteries here, making sure that we have a resilient economy. That’s what it’s about. This isn’t about the old protectionism. It’s about the new competition which is there right around the world. And Australia needs to compete and to be in this. Otherwise the world will just go past us.

BARR: So, what exactly are you announcing?

PRIME MINISTER: What we’re announcing is a bringing together of the various places that we have, including Hydrogen Headstart, Solar Sunshot, making sure that we use our National Reconstruction Fund, identifying new industries where Australia can be globally competitive, where we have that advantage, but also areas in which we need to protect our national sovereignty. We know during the pandemic, we learnt the risks of what happens if we’re cut off from trade. We can’t afford to not be able to stand on our own two feet. And we saw manufacturing leave this country in the 70s and 80s. We want to bring it back.

BARR: Okay, so if I’m a battery making company in Australia, are you going to subsidise me or give me money or help me so the people of Australia don’t buy batteries from China?

PRIME MINISTER: What we want is a private sector led activity, but where Government needs to provide some upfront funding through mechanisms like the National Reconstruction Fund, we are up for that, Nat. Because we need to make sure that we’re not cut off if there is disruptions to trade in the future, as occurred during the pandemic. And the good news is, when we speak about batteries, everything that goes into them, lithium, nickel, copper, we have right here as well. We need to do more than export our natural resources, see value added somewhere else and then import it back. We need to, wherever we can, identify opportunities to value add here, because that means jobs here. And in Gladstone, just a bit north of here, on Monday, we had the launch of electrolysers being used here and built here to convert into that green hydrogen. There’s great examples of where that is happening right now. We need to add to it.

BARR: Okay. We know you’ve got to go to another appointment. But before you go, today’s World Parkinson’s day, cricket and great Allan Border, who battles the condition, has called on you to do more about battling Parkinson’s. Here’s some of what he told us.

ALLAN BORDER: Now, to my family, I’m the only one that I know of that has actually been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The message is it is a disease that affects a lot of Australians and getting worse. We’ve got to do something about it.

BARR: More than 50 Aussies are diagnosed a day with Parkinson’s. Most people have no genetic link to developing it. It affects a lot of Aussies. This is a passionate plea from a great Australian. What more will you do?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, AB is indeed a great Australian. And everyone’s heart goes out to him. He’s showing the courage that he showed on the field versus those amazing West Indies fast bowlers they had at their peak. And AB was the best there was. And so our heart goes out to him. I’ll have a word with the Health Minister as well about what more we can do. We have contributed over $100 million into research into Parkinson’s. There’s also a pilot program about nurses for people suffering from Parkinson’s. At the moment, there’s some six and a half million dollars is being used for that pilot program. We want to wait and see what the assessment of that is, those designated nurse programs. But we know that this is a disease that impacts a lot of Australians. And that’s why we are putting so much money into research.

BARR: Okay. Can you get back to us on that when you’ve talked to the Health Minister? That would be great.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks very much, Nat. I certainly will do so.

BARR: Okay, Prime Minister, thanks for your time today.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks a lot.

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