Transcript - ABC Radio Brisbane Breakfast (1)


MONDAY, 30 JULY 2018

SUBJECT: Byelections

CRAIG ZONCA: We have put in calls to the LNP President Gary Spence – its twenty minutes past seven on ABC Radio Brisbane – but Wayne Swan has been happy to take the call. He is the current Federal Member for Lilley, of course, for the Labor Party and the incoming National President of the ALP. Wayne Swan, how do you describe the weekend’s results?

WAYNE SWAN, MEMBER FOR LILLEY: Very encouraging. Definitely a very encouraging result, a tremendous result for Susan Lamb. The result in Longman is actually a stronger result than we had when we were elected to Government in 2007. So that’s a highpoint for Labor in Longman. And the really good thing about the Longman result – I mean, I spent some time on Bribie Island on Saturday – is that we won most booths across Longman. We haven’t done that for a long time. And in particular, we were doing very well in places like Bribie Island. So it was a strong result right across the seat, in all areas of the seat from rural, right through to Bribie Island. I think we even won the Woodford booth. So our people were very pleased. It’s a strong result for Susan Lamb and a strong result for Bill Shorten who also spent an enormous amount of time there.

REBECCA LEVINGSTON: What do you think were the deciding factors, Wayne Swan?

SWAN: Look, I think it was the overall proposition that the LNP are putting, which is essentially that the solution they see to everything in the country is tax cuts for large businesses and very high income individuals. But of course in Longman, what they could see is that if you do that than you are going to starve funding from vital health and education services. And the issue of the Caboolture Hospital was a very important symbol of the general approach of the LNP, which is they’ve been cutting money in health and education. And people, I think, voted very strongly for local services over tax cuts to say the big banks.

ZONCA: Wayne Swan, how much do you owe to the unions for this result, because their presence seemed to be quite heavy through the seat of Longman?  

SWAN: Look, they were a part of what was a very strong campaign.

ZONCA: But they weren’t actually saying, ‘vote for Susan Lamb’. They were just saying, ‘don’t vote for the LNP, Trevor Ruthenberg’. And also with the image of Malcolm Turnbull.

SWAN: Well they were saying all of those things – as was our campaign. I mean, they were pointing out – as I have pointed out many times – that this alliance, if you like, this lock out if you like, that what One Nation and the Liberal Party are trying to do to the Labor Party was very obvious to people. They pointed out the consequence of voting for One Nation which was a reflection of the LNP.

LEVINGSTON: Someone has just texted in saying, ‘for crying out loud, history dictated Labor would be a shoo-in’.

SWAN: [Laughs] I don’t think anyone was saying that for the last three months Bec! It was a long campaign, as you know, and I’ve been listening to your coverage of it for months and months and I am sure most people are actually pretty sick of the by‑election. So I don’t think anyone thought, during that period, that Labor was a shoo-in. I know a lot of people want to rewrite history, but we don’t take anything from this in the sense of saying that we will win the Federal Election. We are not that arrogant. I think the people of Longman spoke pretty emphatically about some issues, and it’s up to the Labor Party now to go out across the whole of this country and the rest of Queensland and make this argument as persuasively as we made it in Longman. But we don’t take the support of people for granted at all, and we certainly didn’t take it for granted during this campaign. Susan Lamb was out there all of the time. Bill Shorten virtually lived in Longman; he was there an enormous amount of time. And the Prime Minister turned up at the end and said it was going to be a test of leadership – well we’ve seen the result of that.

ZONCA: Well we certainly saw politicians and senior politicians from both sides; multiple visits from the Prime Minister, from other senior Government Ministers, along with the ALP frontbench. The grassroots campaigning someone told me was something like 35,000 doorknocks and 70,000 phone calls. You can do that when it’s a one seat campaign, you can’t do that in a general election. So how does it change your strategy?

SWAN: Well I think you will find that we will be able to mobilise what I call ‘people power’ right around the country. Basically Craig, people are very, very unsettled around the nation and that comes from a number of factors. They see and feel growing inequality in this country and that tends to be reflected in two areas in particular with wage stagnation. Up in Longman, the median income in Longman is $43,000 a year. Its $10,000 a year less than it is across the country and there are plenty of people up there who have not had a wage increase, their real living standards have gone backwards, and also there you’ve got a lot of low-income retirees who have been the subject of very substantial cuts from the Federal Government over the last four or five years. And I think those people all feel that the growing inequality in this country is not solved by offering a large tax cut to multinational companies and some of the highest income earning individuals in the country.

LEVINGSTON: Wayne Swan, should the Coalition dump their company tax cuts before Parliament sits again?

SWAN: Well I don’t know what they’ll do for an economic policy because they’ve got all of their eggs in what I call the trickledown economics basket, and if they drop that, basically they are saying that everything they’ve been doing for the last five years is worthless. So if they are going to cut and run on company tax, what they are effectively saying is that their whole economic strategy is a shambles.

ZONCA: And Wayne Swan, what do you say to Anthony Albanese this morning?

SWAN: Well I say we are making really good progress to winning Government and I am looking forward to seeing Anthony be a senior Minister in that Government.

ZONCA: Wayne Swan I appreciate your time, thank you.

SWAN: Thank you.



Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra