Earlier today, the following exchange between Barrie Cassidy and The Hon. Anthony Albanese took place about loyalty on the ABC’s Insiders program, in relation to The Hon. Kevin Rudd and the overthrow of Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard earlier this year. This statement by Mr Albanese is in stark contrast to his comments on the night of the 2013 Federal Election, about Former Prime Minister Gillard’s disposal back in June.
BARRIE CASSIDY: Further on the question of loyalty, can you say hand on heart you knew nothing of the destabilisation and the undermining that was going on against Julia Gillard?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Of course not. Everyone knew about it Barrie, it was in the paper.
BARRIE CASSIDY: Yes but you knew beyond what was written in the paper and you knew who was doing the undermining?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Everyone knew what was going on, Barrie, everyone knew it. The question is do you involve yourself in it? And certainly I didn’t. I was of the view, I was of the view very strongly, that we should concentrate on taking up the challenge to the opposition.
And I think now what we need to do is actually look to the future. We need to draw a line in the sand under this and we need to unite and move forward with whoever is the leader Barrie.
BARRIE CASSIDY: OK, but you say you knew it was going on. You heard talk of the cardinals, the group that called themselves the cardinals, Kim Carr, Joel Fitzgibbon and Richard Marles, that was Rudd’s core group of supporters. Why didn’t you go to them at some point and say “This has to stop”?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Barrie, the fact is, going over history, everyone knew this was going on. What my job was, each and every day, Barrie, I was leader of the house, minister for infrastructure and transport, minister for regional Australia and local government. I frankly, Barrie, had enough on my plate arguing against our political opponents. That was what I concentrated on each and every day.
What we need to do is to make sure that every member of the caucus moving forward does just that, Barrie.
BARRIE CASSIDY: You could have done more surely. And the suspicion is you didn’t want to because, as Pam Williams wrote in the Financial Review, that you were a secret cardinal. What do you say to that?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Barrie, that’s just not the case. Pam Williams didn’t bother to speak to me about any of those articles.
Now this is a particularly interesting series of commentss by Mr Albanese, given that at the Cyprus Club in Stanmore on Election Night he confirmed off-the-cuff on stage and on camera, that he had purposefully been undermining former Prime Minister Gillard in the weeks and months prior to her removal from the ALP Leadership only a couple of months ago. Needless to say, the campaign to replace Prime Minister Gillard earlier this year was anything but positive, according to Mr Albanese.
Mr Albanese: One of the lessons the Labor Party needs to learn and needs to show in the coming weeks, days and weeks, is that when we talk about ourselves, people switch off. We need to talk about Australians and what is of interest to them. And when we are not united, when we are not united, we will be punished for it.