MEMBER FOR RANKIN
MONDAY, 23 MAY 2022
SUBJECTS: 2022 Election, Josh Frydenberg, Swearing in of the Albanese Labor Ministry, Labor’s Economic Plan
TRISTAN MACMANUS, HOST: Now Australia has a new Prime Minister and a new Government. Anthony Albanese will be our 31st Prime Minister getting sworn in at Government House later this morning.
SARAH HARRIS, HOST: And the incoming treasurer is Jim Chalmers. And he joins us now from Canberra. Congratulations on your win. Massive.
JIM CHALMERS, TREASURER ELECT: Very kind of you, Sarah. Thanks for that. Hi to both of you.
HARRIS: The real hard work, it does start now, right? The country is being squeezed by inflation. We've got a record trillion dollars worth of debt. So where do you start? What's your first order of business?
CHALMERS: You're right, there's no shortage of economic challenges at the moment. We've got inflation going through the roof. We've got real wages going backwards. Interest rates are on a trajectory upwards already. And we do have that trillion dollars in debt. So, no shortage of challenges. The work has begun already. I got briefed yesterday in my home in Logan in Queensland by the Treasury Secretary about these challenges, and also the very uncertain international environment. And so the work has begun already. Anthony Albanese and Penny Wong are also off to meet with some of our most important allies and friends in the region. We are doing our best to hit the ground running.
MACMANUS: It was a really big weekend, you would have learned a lot from the weekend as well. The two main parties were the losers. What lessons does Labor take from that resounding slap in the face by the electorate?
CHALMERS: You learn the lesson from every election. And we lost a couple of outstanding colleagues and Terry Butler and Kristina Keneally. And we will feel their absence very heavily. And there are lessons for all the parties in what happened on the weekend. We are obviously very pleased with the national outcome. But we need to learn the lessons of what happened in different parts of Australia. And so our message to people is whether you voted teal or green or orange or yellow or blue or red, we want to govern for the whole country. Anthony Albanese wants to bring people together again, after what has been a pretty bruising decade and a bruising election campaign, that's for sure. And I want to be a Treasurer for the whole country as well. I want to provide a voice for outside of the Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra triangle, for example. But all of us need to try and bring the country together again. And if we do that well, and if we govern well, the electoral politics will take care of themselves.
HARRIS: We saw a real large Teal tsunami on Saturday night, didn't we? Will you be able to work with these Teal independents?
CHALMERS: We're hoping to govern in majority and there is still a decent chance of that. But we will work with anybody who wants what we want, which is a better future for Australia. Cleaner and cheaper energy. Cheaper childcare. Skills and training to address the skill shortage. Investment in advanced manufacturing and the care economy. These are our priorities in the economy. We've laid that out in some detail. We've got an ambitious economic agenda. And we will work with anybody who wants to work with us to implement our commitments.
MACMANUS: There's been a wind of change. Our country spoke. It looks like former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is now unemployed. Do you feel any sympathy for him?
CHALMERS: A little. I spoke to him yesterday. We had a good, reasonably long chat yesterday. I messaged him on Saturday night when the result was looking clear. And we had a conversation from our homes yesterday afternoon. I’m not the kind of person who wants to dance on somebody's political grave. We had our differences of opinion. We had a few big clashes, over the last few years in particular. But on a personal level, I respect him. I was able to convey to him privately the same thing that I say publicly now, which is that I wish him well. And nobody could doubt the amount of work that he put into the role. I wouldn't have done everything that he did, the same way that he did. But he was away from his family a lot and making lots of sacrifices for the country. And I pay tribute to that.
MACMANUS: Good on you. Very well said. And we're fully behind you now as well. Who do you think will be the Opposition Leader now? Are you prepared for opposition leader Peter Dutton?
CHALMERS: Is the country prepared for that? I haven't been focused on it. I think our assumption when Josh Frydenberg didn't get over the line on Saturday, I think our assumption would be that it's Peter Dutton. But to be honest with you, I am focused on numbers, but I'm not focused on numbers in the Liberal and National Party rooms. They will sort that out. We will get on with the business of governing.
HARRIS: You’re being sworn in by the Governor General David Hurley later today. You’re a young dad from Brizzy. Tell us what this means to you, Jim.
CHALMERS: It means a lot. I'm really, really grateful for the opportunity. My local community sends me to Canberra to represent them and I take that role very seriously. And what I said to my local supporters on election night, is I don't want to be a Treasurer that just happens to be from Logan, I want to be a Logan kid who happens to be the Treasurer. This opportunity means a lot to me. I feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders. We've got a lot of challenges to deal with. And I'll do my best.
HARRIS: All right, Jim Chalmers, pleasure to talk to you this morning. Thanks for your time.
CHALMERS: Thanks, Sarah. Thanks Tristan.