Interview on Mix 106.3 Canberra

ROD CUDDIHY: Its Canberra Wrapped. Rod with you for your run home, Haylee is here, Lewis returning shortly after he set the cat amongst the pigeons a couple of weeks ago when he pointed out that he had visited his local Member, requesting an update to the photo of the Queen that he has hanging in his house.

HAYLEE POTTS: Which he had requested years prior.

CUDDIHY: Well, we’ve learned that it’s our right as members of the Commonwealth to actually have a photo of the head of the Commonwealth. It’s always been the Queen, and now it’s King Charles. And my daughter heard this conversation on the radio. Indiana is eight years old, and for the last two weeks, she has been asking, where is her photo of the King?

POTTS: Begging for it.

CUDDIHY: She’s owed it. So, we’re going to our local Member for Murrumbateman, at least, anyway, the Member for Eden-Monaro and Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain. G’day.

KRISTY MCBAIN: Hello. How are you guys?

CUDDIHY: We’re well. My daughter, on the other hand, she’s waiting. Do we have an ETA on when you and the other members will be getting the photos?

MCBAIN: Having three children myself, and knowing how hard it is when they put the hard word on you for something, you’ve got to deliver. Recently, I’ve been in the bad books for a few months because I was unable to deliver Taylor Swift tickets to my daughter, along with the majority of parents across the country. We’ve still got some portraits of the late Queen available because she was such a constant figure in so many people’s lives, but we’re still waiting on that official portrait of the King to come through.

POTTS: Have you noticed an uptick of requests at least since we spoke about it on air a couple of weeks ago?

CUDDIHY: Good question.

MCBAIN: I’d like to say yes.

POTTS: You could lie to me.

MCBAIN: But no.

CUDDIHY: Okay, well lucky my youngest daughter, Indiana, is flying the flag, literally and metaphorically. She’s very intelligent and she has marvelled for the last little while at how Murrumbateman Primary got turned around in less than a year. Yet we continue to drive past the road that we’ve been driving past for a few years. Now, we did open the left lane heading into NSW, so that is a start. How do you feel when people ask the question, are Transport for NSW having a lend?

MCBAIN: It’s very exciting to actually see some work happening on that Barton Highway duplication. It’s been about three decades since the community started asking for the duplication of that highway. Great that the $150 million that the Australian Government committed, which complemented $50 million from the NSW Government has been put to good use.

CUDDIHY: Are you happy with the timeline, though? I mean, we’re a year late at the moment on the original ending of stage one.

MCBAIN: We’d all like these things to be done much faster than they are done. I’m not a road maker by trade, so I can’t comment on some of the things that have held them up.

CUDDIHY: Kristy, that’s the best part about not being a road man. That’s why I comment all the time, like, well, I don’t know how to build a road, but of course I could do it quicker. This is the best spot to be in.

MCBAIN: It’s good that we’ve now got that first stage open. Looking forward to continuing to work with NSW to see that full duplication take place. There’s six stages, so hopefully we see those six stages roll out sooner rather than later.

CUDDIHY: Crikey. Well, as a Murrumbateman resident, we’re happy just to take stages one and two. For those in the Yass Valley they’ll be looking forward to stage six, which I would hope would actually get us to the moon. But whatever it takes, we’ll just take them as we can get them. Speaking of NSW, you’re in this interesting spot because in ways you would have to describe yourself as a Canberran. And obviously all your constituents, whether or not we’re south in Queanbeyan or we’re north in the Yass Valley, we use Canberra as our spot. Now, we know the Chief has spoken with Chris Minns about expanding the ACT border. When are you joining the team? When are you becoming officially a Canberran?

MCBAIN: Absolutely, the Chief Minister and the Premier of NSW have had those conversations. Those conversations started with former Premiers Berejiklian and then Perrottet before that.

CUDDIHY: I think it started when people were asking for a duplication of the Barton 20 years ago.

POTTS: Yeah, 30 mate.

CUDDIHY: Good point, but now I suppose it’s just more important than ever, isn’t it?

MCBAIN: There’s particular issues, especially with the developments that are taking place in Canberra around Strathnairn, where there are parts of NSW which are only accessible via the ACT, which is quite an interesting situation to be in. Whether those things happen or not will be a matter between the ACT and NSW. Quite interestingly, in my role as Minister for Territories in the Federal Parliament, it’s one of the things that does come across my desk as well, because there’ll have to be the Federal Government sign off on all of it.

CUDDIHY: You are in such a spot. You’ve got one leg either side of a fence. And it’s one of the toughest gigs, not just in Australian politics, but in world politics. You’re doing an amazing job. Are you a Waratah or a Brumbie?

MCBAIN: Definitely a Brumbie. Although I would have to say, Union’s not the number one sport in my household. So, it’s definitely Raiders.

CUDDIHY: Right. Good. Okay. And coming full circle, Team King Charles or Team Harry and Megan?

MCBAIN: I’m going to be really controversial and say, look, I’d rather go with Fred and Mary.

POTTS: But what about their marriage? It might be on the rocks now.

CUDDIHY: Have you heard about that?

MCBAIN: All gossip column, right? I mean, they met in a pub in Sydney, what’s not to love about that story?

CUDDIHY: It’s the most Aussie, Danish story you’ll ever get. Second to Haylee. Haylee is a Dane from Adelaide. There’s nothing more Aussie than that as well. Thank you, Kristy. I know that we’ve covered a lot of ground today. We will catch up again, if not before Christmas, in the New Year. Is it too early to say Merry Christmas?

MCBAIN: Never.

CUDDIHY: Merry Christmas. Thank you, Kristy.

POTTS: Merry everything.

MCBAIN: Thanks guys.

ROD CUDDIHY: We’ll talk again.