Radio Interview - 2CC Canberra Breakfast - 29 March 2022

29 March 2022

29 MARCH 2022

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO, HOST: Political panel. Joining us, the member for Hume and Minister for energy reduction and emissions. Sorry, energy and emissions reduction, not energy reduction, Angus Taylor.


Dave Smith is with us, the member for Bean, morning Dave.

Morning, Steve. And look, Stephen, I can't just let that (introduction) pass. As you know, I'm someone who is in a pretty unique situation, not only having the good fortune to represent the people of Bean, but for a period of time served in the Senate. A friend of Kimberly Kitching and certainly share many of the views that Kimberly put forward, particularly in this last Parliament. And yesterday was a really tough day for our caucus. And the overwhelming feeling was that in a very difficult circumstance, things were done in an incredibly respectful way. Politics is a stressful business. One of my dad's favourite sayings, was that ‘at the end of the day, we're not playing for sheep stations'. The reality is that nearly every day we actually are, because we actually care about making Australia a better place.

I expect that it's a tough game, but when you call out the behaviour on one side and then say, but when it comes back on your own side, now, that's just the way things are. It's not good enough. Angus, the rocks that were thrown at your side of politics for similar allegations or just allegations in general. When it happens on the government side, somebody's got to be sacked immediately when it happens on Labor side. Nothing to see here.

TAYLOR: We're seeing the true character of Anthony Albanese and his team right now, and we've seen this vitriol from them. We've seen the way they behave towards us time and time and time again. But I tell you what, when it's dished out to Albanese, he can't take it. And this is the character of a bully. Bullies can dish it out, but they can't take it. And sadly, this is exactly what we're seeing right now. We're going to see more of this in the coming weeks, I'm sure, because we haven't seen the true character of Albanese and some of his team revealed, and we're starting to see it. And I think this is a very serious issue.

Dave, I'm angry on your behalf and let me explain that to you, because I've got a lot of time for you. And there are a number of members in the Labor caucus that I think do a great job, but there seems to be this. I don't know what it is, but the elevation of mediocrity in some cases at the expense of people like you.

I'll take the last part as a compliment, but what I know is I'm working with an incredibly talented team, people I've known often, Stephen, for decades. I know the calibre of the people I work with, and they're an incredibly impressive team. I'm not going to sit back and accept that there's some sort of moral equivalence between what's occurred over the last few weeks here and with what occurred in a couple of Ministers office. I think there is just no comparison. But that's not to say that we shouldn't have the capacity to reflect on how our workplaces run and think about how we do things better. But I just have to completely reject some of the commentary that's been made about the suggested bullying of a colleague who I held in very high regard. There is an issue, though, that we have a responsibility, to look out for the wellbeing of everyone who works in this building. And there are times where we fall short. That's the truth. It's about recognising the signs where that isn't working properly. That's something where the responsibility is borne by all of us. I'm not going to wear that broader suggestion that this is supposed to be about bullying because I can tell you, I was in that environment and we played hard, but there wasn't any bullying.


Well, Stephen, if I may respond, I don't know what allegations Stephen. David, sorry he's making there against Christian Porter or Allan Tudge. He’d better be careful with what he's saying.

But sorry, I didn't make any allegations against those two ministers.

TAYLOR: You were talking about Minister's offices there.

That is an outrageous thing to suggest, don’t verbal me.

TAYLOR: Well that's what you said.

That’s not what I said.

TAYLOR: But let's be very clear here, Kimberly's colleagues and family have made very clear points about this issue. In contrast to what David just said. Albanese is just sweeping them under the table. I mean, this is how it works. Complete hypocrisy.

Let's move on to the business of government. The budget gets handed down tonight. Angus, I know that the Treasurer is talking up a big game talking about budget repair, et cetera, but the government and look, I don't think anybody would suggest that the government had really any choice but to spend the money they did over the last couple of years. But how do you now come back from that?

TAYLOR: Well, we're seeing an economy that strengthened in a remarkable way. It means we've got record numbers of people coming off welfare. We've got unemployment heading down to well below 4%. And that means we can drive budget repair. I mean, the key to budget repair is a strong economy, and that gives us a dividend that will allow us to bring the deficit and debt down over time. But also importantly, it allows us to guarantee government services. And what you'll see in the budget, making sure people have access to the essential services and infrastructure they need. That's why we announced a major infrastructure package yesterday. We've been able to support people into buying a new home. And there's more of that which was announced yesterday. Childcare support, $3,000 for a typical family. So these are very significant things we can achieve if we have a strong economy and we do have a strong economy. There's no question about that.

Dave, the problem I see with both sides of politics and this has been the case for the better part of 30 years. This is not necessarily the fault of you, the politicians, us, the people. We always ask what's in it for us? When are we going to ask what's in it for the country?

Yes, and I think the overwhelming narrative about this budget and we'll see when it's actually delivered today. This budget isn't actually about what's in it for us. This is much about what's in it for the Morrison government. This government is only starting to pretend to care about cost of living pressures because an election has to be called within the next fortnight or so. For me, I mean, all the warning signs here are basically of a desperate government that's prepared to spray money around in their own political interests. So when we talk about budgets being all about us, that ‘us’ is much narrower in this context.

TAYLOR: If I may, responding to that, as the energy Minister who's worked incredibly hard over the last four years to get energy prices down across most of Australia except the ACT where they make it impossible. We've seen energy prices fall by over 8% in the last two years under Labor it doubled. For David to say that we're only now focused on cost of living. Give me a break. We've been absolutely focused on those essential services that Australians buy. I mean, with childcare, we've made significant reforms. This has been a focus for us for some time, and it will continue to be. And this budget is about Australians. It is about Australians. And you'll see that in the budget tonight.

Let's end on a positive note, Dave. You've been involved in the 'March on' initiative from Soldier On. Explain to us how that works. You basically got to walk the distance of the Kokoda track. Is that right?

Yeah, that's right, Stephen. It's 96 kilometres. And I've been part of a group, the Stomp Dogs who are actually out today walking up Mount Stromlo. So thank you for giving me a good reason - sorry not Mount Stromlo - to not go up Black Mountain today. And we've had a group of 20 led by Ivan Slavic and we've been walking up ten peaks around Canberra. In the end, the whole aim is to raise funds to support veterans, not just here in Canberra, but right around Australia.

It's a great initiative. I congratulate you for doing that. I may bump into you down on the Hill later. Or up on the Hill, I should say, later this morning. Angus and Dave Smith. Good to talk to you this morning.

TAYLOR: Thanks, Dave.

All the best. The Minister for Energy and emissions reduction, Angus Taylor and the member for Bean, Dave Smith.