Television Interview with Michael Usher – Sunrise – Friday 20 May 2022

FRIDAY, 20 MAY 2022

SUBJECTS: Election campaign; Labor’s plan for a better future; costings; unemployment rate; Scott Morrison is out of touch and out of time.
MICHAEL USHER, HOST: Welcome back. We’re in the final hours of the election campaign and with an advertising blackout in force, the leaders are out and about today blitzing key electorates. The polls have really bounced around all week. But as we know the only poll that counts is your vote tomorrow. Joining us now Labor campaign spokesman and Seven News election night panellist Jason Clare joins me in the studio. Jason, good to see you.


USHER: Anthony Albanese, he’s had a few stumbles along the way, some would say not the best campaign for him. Is he tired at this point in the campaign? Or is this the sort of Prime Minister we’re going to have with Anthony Albanese?

CLARE: I think Anthony has had a fantastic campaign. He’s visited the whole country setting out our plans for a better future. You can see that Australians are yearning for change, that Australians have had a gut full of Scott Morrison. You know how you can tell that, Michael? There’s hundreds and hundreds of pre-poll polling booths right across the country. Not one of them has a poster of Scott Morrison put up by the Liberal Party. They can tell that Scott Morrison is toxic, that people want to get rid of him and Australians are desperate for something better, and they can have something better tomorrow. But you’ve got to vote for it. 

USHER: But key stumbles along the way from Anthony Albanese, including borders yesterday, why did he make those mistakes?

CLARE: Well, the borders have been shut for a long time, two years or so. And we’re still dealing with the after-effects of that. We don’t have as many skilled workers or backpackers or international students here as we would have had if the borders hadn’t been shut. We had that story yesterday about Metricon, that big construction company that’s struggling at the moment. They’ve got a problem with a lack of skilled workers. Unbelievably, there are fewer apprentices and trainees in training at the moment than there were 10 years ago when this mob were elected. You know, that’s just plain old neglect. It’s why we’ve said if we win the election tomorrow, we’ll create 465,000 free TAFE training places where we’ve got skill shortages. It’s one of the big problems that employers are dealing with at the moment.

USHER: If you win the election, your costings are out, there’s a deficit of an extra $7.4 billion over four years to pay for some of your policies. For the undecided voters who are worried about the debt burden already in Australia, that’s not an attractive proposition. 

CLARE: Well, that’s investing in helping mums and dads to work more and earn more by being able to get to work rather than having the kids at home, because they can’t afford childcare, or because it costs more to go to work than to take the kids to childcare. It’s about funding policies that will make your electricity bill go down, and it’s about those TAFE places as well. This government has spent $80 billion in the last six months. This is one tenth of that. So, I think we need to put that in perspective. One more, Michael, you know, that child care policy, $5.5 billion that will help mums and dads to work more. The government $5.5 billion on a submarine contract that they ended up ripping up. And that’s this election in a nutshell, we’re going to help Australians, they just keep wasting and rorting your money.

USHER: Scott Morrison said yesterday 3.9 per cent unemployment employment rate, which is significant and impressive. That’s proof of his economic policies working can Labor guarantee that rate will stay low if you’re in government?

CLARE: That number doesn’t tell the whole story. You’ve got about a half a million Aussies out there that are working three jobs or more. Now you know this, you don’t work three jobs or more because you want to. You do it because you have to, because you can’t get full time work or you’re not getting paid enough. And we saw another number out this week, Michael, that said we’ve got the worst wages growth in more than 20 years. That’s the real story out there. People watching at home, know that things are tough, the bills are going up and wages are going down. And if Scott Morrison doesn’t get that, then he’s out of touch and out of time.

USHER: Quick question, Jason on this news breaking this morning about COVID and the legal challenge about people who might have COVID and won’t be able to vote on Saturday. What do we do?

CLARE: This is ridiculous. You know, there’s potentially –

USHER: Potentially 200,000 people.

CLARE: There’s potentially 200,000 Aussies who won’t get to vote on the weekend. Who are on the roll and want to vote, because they got COVID on the weekend, last weekend or Monday or Tuesday, and the government is saying to them that because you haven’t signed up for a postal vote, you can’t vote by phone. But if you’ve got COVID today, you can vote by phone. Now that that’s ridiculous. I think the government needs to show some common sense. Allow people to vote by phone. Australians out there expecting to turn up at polling booths tomorrow and vote, and just because you got COVID last weekend, you shouldn’t be denied that basic Australian right to vote.

USHER: Alright. Look forward to your company tomorrow night on our election panel.

CLARE: It’ll be a big night.

USHER: Settle in. It’s going to be a long night.