TUESDAY, 12 APRIL 2022
SUBJECTS: Election campaign; Labor’s plan for a better future.
DANICA DE GIORGIO, HOST: Returning now to one of our top stories, Anthony Albanese’s campaign has got off to a shaky start as he struggled to remember key economic figures at his first media conference. Joining me now live is Labor campaign spokesperson Jason Clare. Jason, good morning. How does Labor recover from this?
JASON CLARE, LABOR CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON: What you had yesterday was a bit of honesty. We haven’t had the leader of this country be honest in a long, long time. Albo made a mistake. We all make mistakes. But what you saw from Albo yesterday was he owned it. He took responsibility for it. That’s character. I think most Australians would respect that. Scott Morrison never admits he makes a mistake. Never takes responsibility for anything, always says it’s not his job. Going to Hawaii when Australia was on fire was a mistake. Not ordering enough vaccines when we were in lockdown was a mistake. Yesterday, the Prime Minister was asked a question on morning television about half a million dollars of taxpayers’ money being paid in compensation to a former Liberal staffer, because of actions of his Cabinet Minister, Alan Tudge. Scott Morrison’s answer was ‘it’s not my job to know about this’. Whether it’s the bushfires, whether it’s vaccines, or whether it’s that, it’s always ‘not my responsibility, not my fault, blame somebody else’, or say that it’s not his job. Now, that’s just not right, Danica. What we’ve seen over the last 24 hours is the comparison and contrast between Anthony Albanese who will always step up and say, ‘I admit I made a mistake, and I’ll take responsibility for it’ and Scott Morrison, who never takes responsibility for anything and always blames somebody else.
DE GIORGIO: Okay, but if he didn’t know what the unemployment rate is. How can you say that wages will go up? Because the two are tied.
CLARE: Politics is not a pop quiz. Leadership is not a pop quiz. This is not a game between journalists and politicians here. What leadership is about is identifying what are the problems in our country and coming up with solutions for them. One of them is wages. Wages are going backwards and they have for the last nine years under this Government. For most of this Government – it’s been a deliberate policy of this Government to keep wages low. It’s why you’ve got almost a million Aussies today working two jobs and still struggling to pay the bills. At the moment, you’ve got the cost of almost everything going up and wages going down in real terms. The cost of petrol is about 1000 bucks more for the average family with the average car this year than it was last year. The cost of childcare is about $800 more this year than it was last year. And the cost of rent, and more than 2 million Australians Danika are paying rent, now the cost of rent has gone up by on average $2,000 this year than last year. They’re the real numbers that people around the kitchen table are worried about, and they’re struggling to pay for at the moment.
DE GIORGIO: Okay but aren’t people sitting around the kitchen table also worried about the state of the economy as well? So, the comments yesterday, surely, they don’t wash with the public. Has the damage been done? This was day one of your campaign, has the damage been done?
CLARE: Look at the scoreboard. Compare the former Labor Government with this Government. This Government taxes more than the former Labor Government. The former Labor Government had on average, lower unemployment than this Government, higher wage growth than this Government, and higher economic growth than this Government. So, if you want to compare the economic records of the two parties, then have a look at the scoreboard. What I think Australians will be looking for here, as they sit around their kitchen table looking at those bills and thinking how are they going to pay for them, is which party has a long term plan to help them. Now in the Government, you’ve got a Budget that is all short term fix, no long term plan. As soon as the election is over, all that help disappears like that. Labor that has a long term plan here, to cut the cost of childcare, cut the cost of electricity, fix aged care, strengthen Medicare, help make it easier for people to buy a home, build more affordable homes, provide free TAFE for people that are struggling to get the skills they need to get a job, as well as set up a National Integrity Commission. And given all that we’ve seen in the last three years when it comes to trust and integrity, and the lack of it in this Government, that’s something I think Australians are screaming out for.
DE GIORGIO: But is Anthony Albanese on tenterhooks now? He can’t put a foot wrong for the rest of this election campaign.
CLARE: I think you’re wrong there, Danica. Don’t overplay this. I think Australians, in what they saw yesterday, is a leader being honest. Now compare and contrast that with Scott Morrison, who never takes responsibility for anything, always says it’s somebody else’s fault, and always says that it’s not his job. I think Australians took Scott Morrison on trust three years ago. They gave him a shot. But they’ve been disappointed. Worse than that, I think they’re angry. Whether it was with bushfires, vaccines, or floods, all they’ve seen from this Prime Minister is failure. This is an old government. It’s almost a decade old asking for another decade in power and they’re running out of puff. Worse than that, they’re fighting amongst themselves. And if there’s one thing that Australians really hate from politicians is when they’re not focused on the Australian people, and they’re fighting amongst themselves. That’s what you see almost every day from this Government.
DE GIORGIO: Well, there’s no doubt it’s going to be a busy few weeks ahead. Jason Clare, we have to leave it there. Thanks for joining us.
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