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Transcript of interview: 5AA Adelaide - Two Tribes segment: 12 September 2018: representation in Parliament; Newspoll

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Subjects: Female representation in Parliament, Newspoll.

HOST: Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning team.

HOST: Chris Pyne, can I start with you? A big topic of conversation this week has

been the prospect of the Liberal Party introducing a quota system on account of

the fact that you just don’t seem to have too many women on your side of politics

at the moment. Labor did it. They are about 50-50 now. Is it something you need to


PYNE: We won’t introduce a quota system because it goes against the grain of the

Liberal Party that every selection should be based on merit. That doesn’t mean we

shouldn’t have a lot more women in the Parliamentary party. We’ve gone

backwards in terms of representation over the last couple of decades, whereas

Labor has gone forwards and they have done a good job at balancing their caucus.

It doesn’t mean that I think Labor should be in office by the way. Far from it. But on

our side of the House we need to do more and we need to encourage women to

run for pre-selection. We need to help to train the women about how to compete in

pre-selections and Kelly O’Dwyer has started a fund in Victoria which we can all

contribute to around the rest of the country to support women who get pre-selected

to win seats from the Labor Party. So there are other ways to do it. We just haven’t

been doing it effectively.

HOST: So you say the Labor position at the moment on the distribution of gender

is laudable. They achieved that by way of a quota system initially, didn’t they?

PYNE: Yes and the problem with a quota system is there is always that doubt

hanging over the heads of the people who have been chosen because of an

affirmative action policy that they weren’t as good as other people in that particular

race. Now I am not saying that all the women in the Labor Party aren’t as good as

the men who were running in the pre-selection, but that doubt lingers because of

the affirmative action policy.

HOST: How does it work on the Labor side, Albo? One Labor example of the

moment, because of the fact that a well-known politician of the female persuasion

is departing the local stage as the Member for Adelaide, we’ve now got a situation

where Steve Georganas and Mark Butler …

ALBANESE: She’s only got one thing wrong with her, that Kate Ellis.

HOST: Thank you mate.

PYNE: You have beautiful children.

ALBANESE: No, it’s certainly not the children, and it’s not the dogs, including


HOST: I’m being ganged up on by both of you. But you guys, to maintain your

affirmative action targets, you are going to have to knock off either Mark Butler or

Steve Georganas at the end of this term aren’t you.

ALBANESE: Well that’s not right, that’s not right.

HOST: But you are over the male quota now aren’t you?

ALBANESE: No, that’s not right. What we are doing is ensuring that the number

two person who will go in from the Senate will be a woman and we also have a

female candidate in Boothby. So what we have done is to ensure that there are

structures in place that have driven the change, that have made Labor, I think,

better, stronger and more representative of the community most importantly that

we seek to represent and half the community are female and that should be

reflected in the Parliament. One of the practical ways that we have done for

example, that has driven the actual outcomes in New South Wales where we have

100 per cent rank and file pre-selection - if there is a woman candidate she gets a

weighting of 1.2 for every vote for them. So guess what? The power brokers that

exist in parties, whether it be the Liberal Party or the Labor Party, have an

incentive to find and to support, where everything else is equal, a good woman

candidate above a good male candidate because they have a greater chance of

being elected and that has driven the change right through the party at both federal

and state levels.

PYNE: And at the next election there will be a lot more women running for the

Liberal Party and the Coalition than at the last election. For example, we have

Georgina Downer pre-selected for Mayo. We have Anne Ruston …

ALBANESE: Yes, but she won’t win.

PYNE: … heading our Senate ticket in South Australia. We have Nicole Flint in

Boothby. In Tasmania we have just elected two women on winnable positions on

the Tasmanian Senate ticket. In Queensland we replaced a male senator with

Susan McDonald for the Liberal Party at the next coming election. We have two

women running in the Northern Territory in the two winnable seat there.

ALBANESE: But you have replaced sitting Liberal Members ...

PYNE: Hang On.

ALBANESE: … who are in safe seats.

PYNE: Hang on, I let you talk and I didn’t interrupt you. We have had one woman

replaced in Brisbane. We have had many other women now being pre-selected

across Australia. The Nationals have pre-selected a woman for their number one

on the Senate ticket in New South Wales. So there is a lot of movement. For the

Liberal Party, by the way, we actually hold most of the firsts for women in

Australian politics - the first woman to get elected to Parliament in South Australia;

the first woman to be a cabinet minister in the national Parliament. We have had

most of the firsts when it comes to women. We have had more Cabinet ministers in

our governments over time who have been women than the Labor Party.

ALBANESE: That’s not true.

HOST: Hey just setting gender aside though, if Monday’s Newspoll is to be

believed, hardly any Liberals are going to be gaining seats at the next election

whenever that is held Chris. I wanted to get your thoughts though Albo. What does

it say about Bill Shorten that after the chaos that the Liberal Party subjected us to

and the fact that there was no widespread public clamour for Scott Morrison to

become Prime Minister, that he is now ahead already of Bill Shorten as preferred


ALBANESE: Well most people when they have taken over leadership positions,

particularly prime ministers, have had a bounce in the polls in terms of the people

are prepared to have a look at them and give them a go. What’s significant is that

the Liberal Party would lose 30 seats based upon that Newspoll. So we’d see 30

extra Labor members. So for all of Christopher’s talk about women candidates in

seats that are marginal but are held by Labor, they are not going forward.

HOST: But is Bill Shorten your Achilles heel? I mean, in the glare of an election

campaign, and campaigns these days are increasingly presidential when it comes

down to a choice between not just two parties but two individuals, if you have had

four years of apparent stability on the Labor side and policy development and all

that, and everyone has seen a lot of Bill Shorten in that time and, you know, four

out every five people haven’t really got any time for the bloke.

ALBANESE: Well, they are prepared to vote for, and are saying they will vote for,

the team that is led by Bill Shorten.

PYNE: He is deeply unpopular and he is very untrustworthy.

ALBANESE: That would give us 30 seats off the Liberal Party; would reduce them

to a little corner of the Parliament.

PYNE: And you expect that to happen on election day do you, that they are going

to have a 56 to 44 per cent result?

ALBANESE: No, I think things will tighten up as they inevitably do. But we have, I

think, a stark contrast between Labor putting forward policies concentrating on the

national interest and a Government that has become a rabble and that’s

concentrating on themselves.

PYNE: I don’t think that you will be able to keep saying that. But the truth is that

people have looked at Bill Shorten and they think he is a phoney. And they are

looking at Scott Morrison and they realise it is authentic and the reality is that, as

David said, there will be a large focus on leadership at the next election and of

course the economy is growing very well. There are huge numbers of jobs coming

into the system. We are funding the essential services that the Australian public

want, whether it is defence or health or education or aged care, and I think the next

election is more than competitive for the Coalition as long as we respond and listen

to what the Australian people are interested in.

HOST: Good on you guys, Chris Pyne, Anthony Albanese - Two Tribes. We’ll do it

again next week.