Television Interview - Today show

02 Aug 2022
Prime Minister
RBA interest rate decision; cost of living; rugby; National Anti-corruption Commission

ALLISON LANGDON, HOST: We have some very exciting news for you here because we have a surprise guest. We have just found the Prime Minister playing rugby league outside Parliament House.

CHARLES CROUCHER, HOST: Naturally. Good morning, PM.

LANGDON: Yay. Look who is it.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: G'day, good to be with you.

CROUCHER: What is going on where you are there?

PRIME MINISTER: We have an annual State of Origin game here between NSW and Queensland. I can report the greatest scandal since GI playing for Queensland. David Pocock from the ACT pulling on a Queensland jumper. They will stop at nothing.

LANGDON: I say sin bin him. That is unfair. Are you doing the Rabbitohs proud? Do you reckon they will give you a call up?

We are doing okay. NSW are leading 3-1 at half time. We are into the second half now.

CROUCHER: You are the PM, you can call the game off now and claim the win.

PRIME MINISTER: It was a good first half. Well, I scored the try to put it 3-1 ahead and at that point I think the game should have been stopped at half time. Apparently these other referees, this fellow called Andrew Abdo from the NRL, he is sort of trying to run the show.

LANGDON: I don't know, I say send it to the bunker.

PRIME MINISTER: It is all a bit of fun.

LANGDON: Continue.

PRIME MINISTER: Sorry, go ahead.

LANGDON: No, I was just going to say while we have you, it is a pretty nervous day for mortgage holders with the Reserve Bank expected to hike interest rates. And there is growing calls for the boss to step down of the RBA. Does he have your support?

PRIME MINISTER; He does. And the RBA do have our support. They are an independent authority. Look, we recognise that people are doing it really tough and people are worried about increases in their mortgage. That was foreshadowed well before the Federal election that would occur. The RBA are in charge of monetary policy, of course, and the independent Reserve Bank will make their decision this morning. But we are very conscious of the feelings that are out there that people are doing it tough and every half a per cent or quarter of a per cent in interest rates means higher payments for people. And that means they are having to make choices about how they get by.

CROUCHER: PM, the RBA is in charge of rates. You are in charge of the Budget with Jim Chalmers. Is this a time to acknowledge that people are doing it tough and look at those cost of living measures, such as keeping the fuel excise off?

PRIME MINISTER: We acknowledge that people are doing it tough, we get that completely. But we also know that we inherited a trillion dollars of debt from the former Government. And unless that has got under control, then people will do it tough down the track because it will have an impact on the economy. So, we are very conscious about that. Jim Chalmers gave an economic statement last week to the Parliament. We will be bring bringing down our Budget in October.

LANGDON: I am just looking over your shoulder, you had Barnaby Joyce behind you.

CROUCHER: Another NSW MP playing for Queensland.

LANGDON: I feel like the Queenslanders are looking pretty wrecked.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, you know, they are doing it tough. I think it is still 3-1 out there. We are broadcasting live, who knew, State of Origin. But it is still 3-1. Barnaby has very short stints on the field. Even though he represents the NSW seat, he has a Maroons jersey on as well. Look, there should be an inquiry into some of these players and where they are playing for, I tell you.

LANGDON: It is a little bit like Karl. Karl was born in NSW but claims to be a Queenslander. There are all of these frauds. Just one other quick issue I wanted to talk to you about. Because the gas suppliers reckon they are being demonised, saying there is no risk to our domestic gas supply next year. Can you just explain to us what is going on?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I stand by the ACCC report. They had a look at it. They have warned about a potential gas shortfall next year. And that is why the Government announced yesterday, through our Resources Minister, Madeleine King, that we would be potentially pulling the trigger to ensure domestic supplies for households and businesses are assured going forward. We want to work the gas companies to make sure that happens. There is currently a portion of the gas that is extracted is uncontracted. That is what we are looking at. We are not looking at interfering with any existing contracts which are there. But we do want to make sure that businesses, manufactures, can keep going, and also that households have access to gas. We want to work with companies to do that.

LANGDON: And look, I mean, you are pushing for a national corruption watchdog. Do you think pork barrelling is corruption?

PRIME MINISTER: I think some of the extreme examples that we have seen are dodgy as all hell and that taxpayers’ money should be treated wisely. And what we have seen with a whole range of programs from the former Government, that is one of the things that we are looking at in the Budget in October. It is going through line-by-line, getting rid of the funding that was just about politics, not about making a difference. And it certainly is a con on the taxpayers. And that is one of the reasons why I think we saw a change of government in May.

LANGDON: So, you won't be doing it?

PRIME MINISTER: What we want to do is make sure that funding goes towards the most productive uses. And that you don't have funds that are established that people don't even know they exist. The only people who could apply for it were members of one political party. We need to do much better than that. That is the sort of activity that undermines confidence in our political system. And we need to build it up. This game here today is raising money for charity. That is what we do through the parliamentary sports club. I want to see the work of politics lifted up in status, not undermined by the sort of rorts that we saw under the former Government.

CROUCHER: PM, the full-time whistle has gone. Congratulations on beating David Pocock in a game of footy.

PRIME MINISTER: It is a NSW victory.

LANGDON: Go rub that in David's face.

PRIME MINISTER: I will go and join the chant.

LANGDON: Good to talk to you Prime Minister. It is about time NSW got a win, hey, in a footy game.

CROUCHER: To defend David Pocock as well, he did play his junior footy for Queensland. He was a Queenslander. I got beaten up a couple of times by him on the football field.

LANGDON: Did you? That is a claim to fame.

CROUCHER: Getting beaten up by him.

LANGDON: Good to see our pollies getting on well too this morning.