Radio Interview - 4BC Brisbane, Breakfast with Laurel, Troy and Mark

17 Aug 2022
Prime Minister
Music; Bluesfest; Newtown Jets, Scott Morrison’s Ministerial Appointments

HOST: We are a little bit excited because we have our Prime Minister on the phone.

HOSTS: (in unison) Mr. Albanese, Mr. Anthony Albanese. Mr. Albanese Mr. Anthony Albanese.

HOST: Good morning.

PRIME MINISTER ANTHONY ALBANESE: That is a very impressive welcome. Have you been practising that?

HOST: No, not at all.

HOST: Mark is a lot younger than us, Mr. Albanese, and he knows some songs.

HOST: ‘Mistadobalina’ by Del tha Funkee Homosapien. I never thought I'd say those words to the Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER: Anything goes.

HOST: We did just play there Ted Mulry Gang. Do you have any Ted Mulry Gang in your vinyl collection? Because I know you like your records.

PRIME MINISTER: I actually don't have any Ted Mulry Gang but I did see the Ted Mulry Gang. There used to be free concerts when I was very young, too young to go to concerts in licenced venues, 2SM used to have these – I’m showing my age here – free concerts with Ted Mulry Gang and Hush and Skyhooks and Ol’ 55. They were just good fun, outdoors on the roof of a swimming pool near where I grew up in in Sydney, the Victoria Park Swimming Pool. So I saw Ted Mulry Gang a number of times. And they were good fun.

HOST: They certainly were. Now I am loosely blaming you for myself getting COVID back at Easter when you visited the Bluesfest and I was there with my wandering minstrel husband who happened to just have a Rabbitohs shirt on and you came careering –

PRIME MINISTER: You’ve chosen well.

HOST: Now you came across and gave him a big hug. Now obviously it was before you found out that you had COVID - or you might have got it there at Bluesfest. I got COVID and I was only standing next to you guys and Troy didn't even get COVID. What's going on there?

PRIME MINISTER: There's a causation gap there. So you're blaming me. Quite clearly I didn't give your hubby COVID and he didn't give it to me either.

HOST: Show me a little Richard Nixon here: ‘I am not a crook’. ‘I did not give COVID’.

PRIME MINISTER: It was certainly not my intention to get COVID during an election campaign. It was not ideal, let me tell you that.

HOST: Now I know you've impressed Troy and Laurel with the South Sydney stuff. But you've impressed me because I've seen photos of you with a Newtown Jets jersey on. What's going on?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, Newtown play in the New South Wales Cup, of course. Henson Park in Marrickville in my electorate and it's a fantastic day of old school footy; they have beers on the hill, you have the kids go on the field and kick the footy round at halftime as well as full time. It's just a fantastic day. So the Newtown Jets, they've been a feeder club for various different clubs over the years. I'm trying to get them as the feeder club for Souths. But we'll wait and see. That would be my ideal.

HOST: Now, Prime Minister, that sounds like another job that you'd have to take on. You're not taking on too many jobs at the moment, are you? Only one, we're talking to just the Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER: Well I can confirm that being Prime Minister is a pretty big job. It is pretty bizarre, I've got to say, that Scott Morrison chose to be not just the Prime Minister, but the Treasurer, the Finance Minister, the Home Affairs Minister, the Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Minister, as well as the Health Minister. It's just quite extraordinary.

HOST: Prime Minister, for those that don't understand, why would he do that? He doesn't get any extra money, does he? What was the reason behind doing all that?

PRIME MINISTER: It is beyond my comprehension why he would seek to centralise so much power. We know that he did exercise his power as Resources Minister on one occasion for a particular project, now the subject of legal action and a challenge in the courts as a result of these processes. I just find it bizarre, this sort of centralization of all power for one person. It’s a trashing of the checks and balances that keep our democracy strong.

HOST: We've only got about 45 seconds left. In summing that up, wouldn't we have known at the time that he took on all these portfolios?

PRIME MINISTER: Well he kept it all secret. He didn't tell anyone. The Governor General took the advice of the Prime Minister of the day and took this action. What's remarkable is that it would appear that he didn't even tell the Treasurer, for example, that he was also the Treasurer. Josh Frydenberg was kept in the dark. It's a really strange episode. But then again, I think it follows from something that we did know: that Scott Morrison appointed himself to a cabinet committee of just one so that any meetings he had with other people, he could say they were co-opted on and keep it away from Freedom of Information. Democracy relies upon people being honest and transparent about what's going on and people being accountable. And that's why this is such a shocking series of revelations.

HOST: Prime Minister, we have to leave it there. But thank you very much for joining us this morning.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much. Go the Bunnies.