Radio Interview - The Kyle and Jackie O Show

15 Sep 2022
Prime Minister
Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

KYLE SANDILANDS, HOST: Good Morning Prime Minister, how are you?

JACKIE O, HOST: Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINSITER: Good morning to you both. Good to be on the program. Sorry I'm not in the studio this time, next time

HOST: You've been busy. Since you won you had to run around the world and fix up everything that was broken, meet everyone. Then the Queen died, then you've got to go to the funeral. Very sad watching I was in tears last time watching the hearse pull into Buckingham Palace I was by myself on the couch, I love the Queen. You've got to go and you're taking 10 random Aussies with you it. Was that an invite from the Palace or is that a protocol that was already set out?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, these protocols were set out by the Palace over a long period of time. One that well exceeded my Prime Ministership was that ten everyday Australians would be invited. And so the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet worked with the Palace to work through the list. The Australian of the Year, Dylan Alcott is going. There needed to be one person from each state and territory at least. Eight of the spots of the ten have been taken up there. We wanted someone from regional Australia. We wanted a cross section of the community because one of the thing about Queen Elizabeth is that, regardless of people’s views and they vary about our Constitution and form of government, people respected her extraordinary life, which was a life of service over 70 years. This is an extraordinary historic moment, and one that I'm very cognisant of. And it will be an incredible honour for me to represent Australia at the funeral on Monday.

HOST: I know, how incredible that you can go to that and pay your respects. It is such a historic moment that you're a part of.

PRIME MINISTER: It is, and I think it's dawned on Australians over recent days. The Queen reigned over the fastest changing period of world history. 70 years ago, the world was a very different place. And we know that things move fast now with new technology. We're less distant from the world than we used to be. The Queen's first visit in 1954, she was here for almost two months. That was part of a six month world tour. Imagine that, going overseas for six months.

HOST: She came by boat, right?

PRIME MINISTER: Just incredible. She visited 58 towns over a similar number of days, towns and cities, large and small. And over the years – she was a visitor to Australia on 16 occasions. She opened new Parliament House, she opened the Sydney Opera House. Going back all those years during her reign, I was the 16th Prime Minister to serve during her reign, there were 16 Governors-General as well. So it's quite an extraordinary period in which there was all this change but there was a constant reassuring presence of Queen Elizabeth during that period.

HOST: I noticed that that some people have got their nose at a joint that you're flying in your own plane there, but there's a security issue involved. You can't just jump on a QANTAS and sail across the ocean like the rest of us. There is there is a protection level that you must ensure the Prime Minister is under at all stages. So it doesn't really matter if the climate changes or like ‘oh, we should all get on the one plane’. I think you're doing the right thing. Are you taking all these guests with you on that Prime Minister plane are they all Jetstaring it?

PRIME MINISTER: They're coming with us: the 10 official guests. But then there are separate people have been invited by the Palace including Gai and Robbie Waterhouse

HOST: Oh Gai is going.

PRIME MINISTER: She is. She trained some of the Queen's horses

HOST: That's right.

PRIME MINISTER: She sat down and had quite a few afternoon teas at Royal Ascot with the Queen. The Queen Mother as well was known to Gai. The fact is,she couldn't get on a commercial flight so they contacted us. And so her and Robbie will be on the plane as well. And of course we have departmental people as well. It will be a pretty full plane going across.

HOST: Is it going to be a logistical nightmare in London with all the world leaders and all these big dignitaries – there must be the security teams in London must be like, they've never done anything like this before, on this giant level.

PRIME MINSITER: No, I doubt whether there has been an occasion like this before in history. I attended the G20 meeting, the world's twenty largest economies during the Global Financial Crisis, which is where I met the Queen, and then Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace during that visit. That was a logistical challenge to say the least. But this will be just extraordinary, which is why there are security arrangements in place, which is why we're not travelling into Heathrow, we're going to one of the other airports. On Saturday morning. I'll travel down to Kent to one of the new UK Prime Minister, Liz Truss's residences.

HOST: She seems alright. Have you chatted to her yet? Some people said she's a bit snooty. But I think she's grown up. I've watched her history because she wasn't a fan of the monarchy at the beginning. Now she has changed the tune a bit and she's wearing the big shoes now. So she seems okay, have you chatted with her?

PRIME MINISTER: I spoke with her on the phone on Friday. And that, of course, was a sombre call. It was one that we had scheduled prior to the Queen's passing. I had text messages with her congratulating her on her rise to the Prime Ministership. I spoke with her on the same platform at the NATO Summit in Madrid, about six weeks ago. I had breakfast with Boris Johnson and, at that time, it wasn't expected that he would depart the job within a couple of weeks. But I spoke on a platform about global politics and the challenge which is there with the Russian invasion of Ukraine with the strategic competition in the region surrounding China.

HOST: There's a lot going on there isn't there, Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER: There’s a lot.

HOST: You've got this job, you've always wanted it, I think you're doing a great job by the way. I even told ScoMo the other day. I said, listen, you got to admit Albo's doing alright. And he said ‘well I wish him luck.' He couldn't bring himself to say yes. But he wishes you luck anyways.

PRIME MINISTER: That's a good thing. I'm very cognisant of the responsibilities that I have. And at a time like this, my job is to represent the nation, and to represent the views that we have, to follow the protocols which I've done. I think there is really something to be said for following the traditions, which are there. I know I've been asked a few times about the debate about the Monarchy and those issues. This isn't the time for that. This is the time to pay respect to Queen Elizabeth, to give thanks for the extraordinary service for 70 years – it has been a remarkable life. We celebrate Britain's longest serving monarch and the second longest reign of any monarch in any sovereign state in human history. Quite remarkable.

HOST: I have no idea how you keep you’re – like, you're a better man than me because I could never be Prime Minister. I got all bent out of shape when I saw these young female influencers bringing up colonialism and I thought, oh my god girls read the room, feel the mood of the world. You might feel these things, but put a cap on it sometimes, let a bit of time pass have a bit of respect’.

PRIME MINISTER: I think this is a time for respect. And it's not about our system of government. This is about respect for Queen Elizabeth and her contribution and you can have respect for individuals and for their contribution without being drawn into those debates, I think.

HOST: I would have to agree with you Prime Minister.

HOST: Thanks for representing us.

HOST: Thank you so much for talking to us this morning.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much, have a great day.