Jan 9, 2021







SUBJECT: Car accident


ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Yesterday afternoon I was travelling from my electorate office to my home in Marrickville when I had a serious car accident on Hill Street, Marrickville.


In that accident I incurred some injuries both external and internal and that required support here at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and which will require some ongoing assistance as an outpatient.


The accident occurred yesterday afternoon and the police have advised me that they have issued an infringement notice for negligent driving to the young man involved in the accident. I hope that this experience leads to this young man to commit to becoming one of the safest drivers that Australia has ever seen in the future. I acknowledge that he apologised at the time.


I want to take the opportunity to thank firstly the paramedics and the police that attended. The paramedics were fantastic, they issued some pain relief treatment on site and they looked after  me on the way in here in the ambulance.


Before they arrived, one of the witnesses to the accident happened to be an off-duty nurse here from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Ally. I want to give her a shoutout. I want to give a shout out to all nurses. These are people who are never off duty, they provide assistance when needed. And Ally certainly gave me a lot of comfort as well as medical advice, on the spot at a time where I was suffering from significant shock, as to the nature of my injuries.


I want to also thank all those staff here at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. We are very fortunate to live in a Nation with the best health care in the world. With Medicare and public health care as its cornerstone, and so for the Doctors, the Nurses, the Radiographers, the Assistants, the Cleaners, who I’ve experienced. Whether it is the overall cleaning of the hospital on a regular basis for COVID19, they are taking particular care in all hospitals all around Australia in a Nation in a COVID pandemic.


I want to thank all of those that cared for me over the last 24 hours and those providing ongoing advice when I return as an outpatient. I think we can be very proud in this country of our health care system.


The great thing is too, and I make this point I’ve made before about others, and now I make it about myself. When Kerry Packer had a heart attack, he turned up here in emergency at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. When my mum, a single mum, an invalid pensioner, had a few health needs and crisis, she turned up here in emergency and got the same level of care. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pensioner, you get care under our system and that’s something I’m very proud of my party for, for having created Medibank and then Medicare and I have been determined to support universal health care as one of great differences, the great distinctions, between our society and some others.


Can I thank all those that sent their best wishes, I’ve had many wishes from relatives I haven’t heard from for some time, I have messages from school friends, from parliamentary colleagues from across the political spectrum. I thank them for the well wishes I’ve received.


I’ve also received some well wishes from some people who are pretty well connected, Father Frank Brennan, Reverend Bill Crews, and Archbishop Makarias, the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia. They are a pretty good trio to have praying for you and I thank them for their prayers and the wishes that they have given me over the last 24 hours.


We all hoped I think that 2021 would be better than 2020, and I was certainly, like all Australians, hoping that. I was always very confident that I could deal with anything, any of the challenges which 2021 threw up.


After yesterday, I’m not just confident, I am absolutely certain that I can meet any challenge that is before us. And I intend, after a suitable period of rest, upon medical advice, I continue to, one, hold the Government to account, and two, put out an alternative to this Government. A better plan for a better recovery for our Nation.


We have done a lot, just in the last week in terms of holding the Government to account. The bring forward of the rollout of the vaccine, it’s something that we’ve argued for, campaigned for and have been right on, and it’s good that the Government, however reluctantly, adopted Labor’s position that that vaccine rollout needed to brought forward to be brought closer to when the TGA
grants its approval.


This week also, I was out there talking about Labor’s plan for cheaper child care. It’s part of our positive initiative that we rolled out in the budget reply last year. I have also been talking about a future made in Australia and job creation here in Australia. And I will continue to advocate for that prior to the resumption of Parliament.


It was my intention to head to Canberra tomorrow for quarantine preparations for Australia Day in the Parliament, but I am obviously not in a position to travel tomorrow. I will take medical advice, but I fully intend to be there when Parliament resumes to take up the challenge of holding the Government to account and putting forward Labor’s better vision for our Nation.


I may be able to take just a couple of questions very quickly if there are any.


JOURNALIST: Can you talk about your recovery, your type of injuries, and the medical advice you’ve been given for recovery.


ALBANESE: I have some external injuries due to the nature of the accident. When you have a look at what’s left of my car, I say this, that modern technology, as someone who was Transport Minister for 6 years, concerned about road safety. If this accident was 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be speaking to you here. The technology that makes a difference, the front end of that car, a hybrid car, a Toyota, as well as the new seat belt technology that basically hugs you immediately upon impact has made an enormous difference. However, there is pain in my neck, my back. I have had previous accidents in the 1980s, and going back to 1982, I had a serious accident, so I do have a starting point of having issues. There is some swelling of some of my internals, more details than you need, I won’t go into that, but what is an understandable response to what was a very considerable impact with a range rover in terms of the circumstances which occurred in that. So I have to come back, there are further MRIs, which I require and I will require, obviously I’m on pain killers now which I why I don’t want the press conference, who knows what I could say in the circumstances. I can confirm that part of the recovery is just trying to control the pain. It is expected that the next 24 hours won’t be very comfortable for me. I have every confidence in the medical advice and in science, whether it be science here, science in climate change, I’m pretty consistent about backing science and the Doctors here and the Nurses have done a tremendous job.


JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, there is an issue and the question has been raised about the issue of speeding, you as the local member, are you going to get something done about that?


ALBANESE: Hill Street has a number of road safety measures in place already, I don’t want to go into too much detail because it will be the subject of some legal consequences for the other driver and therefore I have faith in the nature of (inaudible) It’s fair to say I am very familiar with that street because I live very close to it and travel on it regularly, but if people follow road rules, and a bit of common sense, then there shouldn’t be incidents but obviously giving this that it was a very serious accident.


JOURNALIST: (INAUDIBLE) a 17 year old driver I’m sure (INAUDIBLE) when the person injured is the Opposition Leader.


ALBANESE: I don’t think my title matters, what matters is there could have been very serious consequences for another human being and the young man apologised at the time. I hope, as I said, in my opening comments that this experience and the consequences of it could have been far more serious than they are. I expect to be able to resume my duties very soon, but I hope that is causes him, I don’t know the young man, all I know is that is showed some character, the fact that he apologised while I was still stuck in the car and unable to move at that point in time. And I hope that that’s a sign that he takes this experience and becomes the safest driver that Australia has ever seen.


I thank also the media for the way they’ve worked in a sensitive way with my office in respecting privacy issues  and I would ask that privacy continues to be respected.


Thank you very much.