Radio interview with David Penberthy and Will Goodings - 5AA Breakfast

Transcript
29 Sep 2017
Prime Minister
AFL Grand Final; energy; Australian Space Agency; Macklemore
E&OE

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Take a seat Prime Minister!

PRIME MINISTER:

Good, I’m ready to go.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Now we have to admit, Mr Turnbull, that today our minds are somewhat elsewhere. If you’re here to announce an increase in the GST to 15 per cent, you’ll get no probing from us. Any bad news you want to clear – if you’re about to send Tony Abbott to Nauru, anything like that – we have no questions about anything other than football.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I’ve got a few questions for you. You drove here, didn’t you?

DAVID PENBERTHY:

We did, we drove yesterday.

PRIME MINISTER:

How long did it take?

WILL GOODINGS:

What’s the longest you could imagine it’s possible to do it in? We did it in slightly longer. 12.5 hours I think it took.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

It’s meant to be an eight hour drive, but we stopped in a lot of the little towns along the way.

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh, that’s great. You broadcast from there?

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Yeah, well on the road we were just doing interviews in all the different towns. But it’s a good sort of regional story.

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh, yeah sure.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

I know as a Sydney guy, you probably have similar things around State of Origin where people drive up and down and so forth. But for a lot of the little towns in SA and Victoria, you know, they’ve got the flags out and the banners and the balloons. It’s a terrific time.

But look, you are going for the Tigers aren’t you?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am. Yeah, well the Swans, as you know, I was hoping like many people were – in fact, expecting – them to be in the Grand Final. But they got bundled out by Geelong which was very disappointing. You know…

WILL GOODINGS:

Why switch to Richmond after that, as a Swans man?

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Yeah, we avenged you guys.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I mean you’ve got to be barracking for somebody. It’s a two horse race!

Look, the Crows, I think there is a very romantic side to this Grand Final, because both teams have had very rough, have had a struggle. I know Richmond obviously is very much the underdog. The Crows, as you guys from Adelaide know better than anyone, have had a very tough time over recent years and I think there’s a lot of passion, a lot of heart in both teams and in their supporters. So it’s going to be a wonderful match tomorrow.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Now you would know as well as the rest of us how up themselves Victorians can be at times, Prime Minister. You know, the Victorian Liberal Division has always regarded itself as the custodian of conservative politics in Australia.

Think back to the Peacocks and so forth. Now, why should they…

PRIME MINISTER:

This is called leading this witness. Leading the witness into a trap.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

This is an important question.

PRIME MINISTER:

But the problem is, Pembo, I can see you’re leading me there and there is a large hole filled with barbed wire and a sign that says: 'Heffalump trap'.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

No, no, no. This is a chance for you to claw back the marginal seats in SA that you’ve put at risk by barracking for Richmond.

Why should the Grand Final always be held in Melbourne? We’ve got ANZ Stadium in Sydney. There’s a new stadium that’s been built in Western Australia. Do you think down the track, we should look at a Super-Bowl-style rotation? I mean Adelaide has been the minor premiers…

PRIME MINISTER:

It’d have to be a day time match in Adelaide, wouldn’t it?

DAVID PENBERTHY:

No, we’ve got lights. We’ve got electricity.

PRIME MINISTER:

Jay hasn’t got any electricity. I mean…

DAVID PENBERTHY:

No, we’ve got generators.

But seriously, should they look at moving -

PRIME MINISTER:

So what, you could have a percentage of the fans on bicycles, keeping the lights on in Adelaide?

DAVID PENBERTHY:

We’ll put a few wind farms up behind the cathedral.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

But should the Vics have a monopoly on staging the Grand Final forevermore?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’ll leave that for you to arm-wrestle over with the Victorians.

I think, I’ve got to say, this is an amazing sporting city, Melbourne. You’ve got to hand it to them.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Yeah, well it’s alright.

PRIME MINISTER:

I know, I know, you’re from Adelaide and you want to criticise Melbourne. I’m from Sydney and I love Melbourne and Adelaide, I think they’re both fantastic cities, but one of the remarkable things about Melbourne is these big sporting venues are right in the heart of the city. The city is…

WILL GOODINGS:

We’ve got one of them too, you do realise…

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, I know you do – that’s true, I’ve walked there, walked around it. It’s good.

WILL GOODINGS:

You have contemplated interventions into other markets of late with gas and others. We just figured, that maybe could we appeal to you to maybe step in, maybe nationalise the AFL? Then we could have this…  

PRIME MINISTER:

I think they’re doing a great job. Look, it’s a great code.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

We should ask you a couple of serious questions.

PRIME MINISTER:

Should you? Really?

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Well, interesting that you raise respect for the office and all that.

PRIME MINISTER:

The people will start switching off.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Well they might, that’s right.

PRIME MINISTER:

I can hear them switching off right now.

WILL GOODINGS:

There is one issue that people in SA are switched on to, it’s the fact that we are 12 months and a day removed from the event when the power went out.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Correct.

WILL GOODINGS:

Are you any more confident today, with all the announcements of things that have been discussed – you mentioned battery power and wind farms before…

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, sure.

WILL GOODINGS:

…Are you any more confident that South Australia’s energy infrastructure is secure?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, South Australia’s energy, electricity network is under much, much closer supervision from the Australian Energy Market Operator. The reality is – and look, this is a day of football but I’ll just give you the facts. The big mistake that was made was to have such a huge introduction of wind power without providing the backup for it. So there’s nothing wrong with wind or with solar – they’re fantastic – but the wind doesn’t blow all the time and the sun doesn’t shine all the time. So what the state government allowed to happen, was for gas power generators to be closed off, or turned off like Pelican Point which is now back up again, and for coal-fired power stations to be literally decommissioned.

What that made the state, is it made the state so much more dependent on those interconnectors to Victoria and so it made the state’s electricity network much less reliable.

Now what AEMO is doing now, is intervening much more. They’ve got South Australia on really, very, very close watch.

So Pelican Point is back on, that’s good. There’s more gas available. We’ve secured a gas supply guarantee for the summer – critically important to South Australia.  The battery, there’s been a battery acquired. You’ve seen the big - longer term - you’ve seen the pumped hydro program that we’re funding the feasibility work on at Cultana and the Spencer Gulf. So they will literally be pumping water up the hill, when the wind is blowing in the middle of the night and electricity is cheap and then running it downhill, that’s a battery. That’s a really big battery.

So there’s a lot of work going on but the moral of the story is – and this is my approach to energy policy – you’ve got to be focused on engineering and economics. All of the green left ideology and all of the complacency and stupidity that we’ve seen in the past, that has created the mess that we’re in, has got to end. So I’m taking a very hard-headed, business-like approach.

WILL GOODINGS:

The Astronautical Congress is on in South Australia at the moment as well.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes it is.

WILL GOODINGS:

Elon Musk is in, all sorts of rumors swirling about. Could a battery contract be signed today? Could he be announcing that, you know, a South Australian will be the first person on Mars? We don’t know at this point in time.

But there’s a lot of excitement about space.

PRIME MINISTER:

You’ll need a big battery to get you to Mars.

WILL GOODINGS:

Well, that’s right, yeah it’s a lot of wind.

The Australian Space Agency was one of the announcements that was made over the course of the week.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, that’s right.

WILL GOODINGS:

Whilst we’re being entirely parochial, what are the chances that we’ll see that headquartered in Adelaide? We’ve got Woomera just up to the road…

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, look Will – as I think we’ve announced – we’re going to look at where it’s going to be located, but the truth is, it’s a big country. Like with all of these agencies, it will have a role and a presence everywhere.

The Australian space industry, which is already substantial, and what we’re going to do is provide a national agency which will provide coordination and leadership and support, so that we can secure more jobs and more investment from those, you know, that high tech field.  Adelaide of course, with the big investment we’re making in shipbuilding in South Australia… as I always say, people ask in Adelaide: 'Where is the future?' The future is in South Australia, literally – the cutting-edge high-tech industries of the future are going to be driven by that massive investment we’re making in our 21st century navy in South Australia.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Just finally Prime Minister, a football-ish question, although one related to the NRL rather than the AFL. Can you understand the furore, particularly by your predecessor, about the fact that the American rapper Macklemore, who is famous for ‘Thrift Shop’ and so on, he’s got this song ‘One Love’ that’s regarded as a bit of a gay anthem, singing that at the NRL Grand Final this weekend?

PRIME MINISTER:

Talk about gay anthems Pembo, they had the Village People did YMCA at the 1991 NRL Grand Final, I don’t know anyone complaining about that.

Look, I tell you, he should play whatever he likes. He should play his hits – that’s what people expect and I don’t believe in censoring playlists at Grand Finals, or anywhere else for that matter.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

It’s not preachy, it’s not party political?

PRIME MINISTER:

No. Listen, there’s plenty of songs with political context and you know, often the lyrics are controversial. Most people don’t really listen to the lyrics that closely. But the fact is he is a big star, he’s got some big hits and he will play his big hits, as every star before him has done in the Grand Final entertainment. I think, let him play his songs.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

PM we always love our catchups. You’re a great bloke. You’ve made a shocking decision in relation to tomorrow’s Grand Final...

PRIME MINISTER:

Nobody is perfect. No one is perfect, least of all me.

But, anyway, there you go, I’m glad you’ve allowed me to join you today, notwithstanding my numerous imperfections.

WILL GOODINGS:

Good on you Malcolm Turnbull, thanks so much for coming in.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks a lot, thank you.

[ENDS]