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Interview with Deb Knight, 2GB

28 September 2020

Interviewer: 
Deb Knight

Subject: 'Pollie Pedal' cycling fundraiser, facebook advertisements

E&OE

DEB KNIGHT: Now, if you live near Canberra, the ACT, or south-western New South Wales, you might have seen recently, over the last couple of days, a pack of MAMILs go by. And by MAMIL, I mean ‘Middle Aged Men In Lycra’. Because it is the annual Pollie Pedal, where the pollies zip up the lycra, hop on the bikes, and raise money for a very good cause. And the leader of the pack - he's front of the peloton, I'm told - is our good friend Energy Minister Angus Taylor. He's on the line for us now. Angus, hello.

ANGUS TAYLOR: G'day Deb, how are you?

DEB KNIGHT: How's the lycra feeling?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Good, good. It's not all middle-aged men, by the way.

DEB KNIGHT:  [Laughs] Oh, good.

ANGUS TAYLOR: We've got some fantastic female veterans - we're supporting Soldier On - and we've got some great veterans riding with us of both sexes. The women are good riders too!

DEB KNIGHT: Yeah, well, they'll give you the run for the money, I'm sure.

ANGUS TAYLOR: Yes.

DEB KNIGHT: Now, tell me about the Pollie Pedal this year because it is different with COVID. It's not as big in terms of the group, but you're still managing to get a good group together.

ANGUS TAYLOR: Yeah, that's right. We would normally have 40 or 50 riders - we're down to less than 15 because of COVID. And of course, people haven't been able to cross borders so we miss regular riders like Kevin Andrews and others, Andrew Wallace from Queensland who is a keen rider. But we've got a terrific group still. Our founder and patron, Tony Abbott, it's good to see him back on the bike. He had two weeks of quarantine. I think it was pretty tough getting onto the bike after that after returning from the UK.

DEB KNIGHT: But I hear that he's caused some dramas around Tumut way with a punctured tyre?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well, we're running a little bit behind because Tony managed to puncture his tyre, but we got through it all. But he's riding okay for a bloke who had two weeks in quarantine.

DEB KNIGHT: Oh very good.

ANGUS TAYLOR: Look, fantastic few days starting out near south-western Sydney, Balmoral where there were those terrible fires back in December, and deaths nearby at Bargo. And we came down through the Southern Highlands, down to Goulburn, and now we're down today at Avon Creek, which is where the fire that went through the Snowy Mountains started. We were right at the start of that fire. And spending time with the rural fire brigade units, just incredible people that didn't get the gratitude they deserved given COVID came so quickly on the back of those fires, and we really wanted to celebrate and thank those wonderful fire service units for the extraordinary work they did over the summer.

DEB KNIGHT: Absolutely, which is phenomenal. And it would have been cold this weekend? There's been snow falling in the high country. It would've been a chilly Pollie Pedal.

ANGUS TAYLOR: It was very cold. We had about 65km/h winds against us riding south on Saturday, and sadly because it was in my electorate I had to sit on the front-

DEB KNIGHT: [Laughs] You had to cop it.

ANGUS TAYLOR: But look, for a good cause. You know, Pollie Pedal has raised $7 million since 1998. Ridden over 20,000 kilometres, Deb.

DEB KNIGHT: Phenomenal.

ANGUS TAYLOR: And for the last three years, it's been Solider On, our veterans, we've been focused on. And of course, the fire service this year as well, we've been supporting. And it's just a great way to get out into the community, talk to the wonderful people around our state and country. And of course, provide some support to those great causes.

DEB KNIGHT: Yeah, a wonderful cause, that is true. Just before you go, I know that you're good on social media, but this news of the ads, for Facebook ads that pollies have been forking out for. Do you really need to spend money to get the message out on Facebook?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well, we've got to get the message out any way we can, and one way is getting on 2GB, and we love to do that. I'll jump on anytime-

DEB KNIGHT:  We don't pay you for that though, but if you're paying Facebook-

ANGUS TAYLOR: No, no, no. But we have to advertise. I mean, we all advertise. We send out letters. All of your listeners will have received letters from pollies. They're far more-

DEB KNIGHT: But nearly $13,000 on 27 ads?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well, if I want to send a letter out to all of my constituents, that'll cost me close to a $100,000. So, there's lots of ways to communicate with our constituents. We have to do it. It's part of the job. Let them know - particularly over recent months with - you know, some of the real challenges we've been facing. It's been very important for us to get out to our constituents. We do that. And we'll continue to do that. We have a budget to do it, it's part of the job, and it's important we keep doing it.

DEB KNIGHT: Alright. Well, make sure you put a picture up of you and the rest of your pollie peddlers so we can put it on our pages as well, because as you say, terrific cause. And no doubt you'll be glad to be on terra firma, off the bike after you've had a couple of days in the saddle. Are you a bit sore at the end of it?

ANGUS TAYLOR: You're always a bit sore, and tired more than sore frankly. But anyway, it's all for a great cause.

DEB KNIGHT: It certainly is. Good on you Angus. You couldn't rustle Joel into doing it next year?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Oh look, I'm working on that. I've invited him. He hasn't come through with the goods yet, but we'll keep working on it, Deb.

DEB KNIGHT: Yeah, good on you. Angus Taylor there, and he is participating in the Pollie Pedal, and it is wonderful. You can see a pic of Angus leading the Pollie Pedal pack, it's now on our Facebook page, just search Deborah Knight Radio. And yeah, as he said, raising wonderful money, $7 million they've raised for charity and cancer research, and it's a terrific cause.

ENDS