Sep 2, 2020







SUBJECTS: National Accounts; Tony Abbott’s comments on aged care; COVIDSafe app; Government always there for the photo-op but never there for the follow-up; Richard Colbeck’s performance.


ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: The National Accounts will confirm today that Australia is in the first recession in three decades. And still, we don’t have a jobs plan from this Government. The Government needs to address the fact that there’ll 400,000 additional unemployed, on top of the one million who are unemployed between now and Christmas. And the Government still fails to come up with a jobs plan. They push through legislation through Parliament, which could see low wage workers paid less than JobKeeper, a $300 cut, potentially, in their wages. And that is a real concern, as well. And then lowering JobKeeper and JobSeeker prematurely, what they’re doing as well is taking money out of the economy, which will, of course, lead to a deeper and longer recession. I want to also comment on Tony Abbott’s regrettable appearance in the United Kingdom last night. The fact is, there are over 450 Australian families who are grieving lost ones, who have lost their lives while being residents of aged care to COVID-19. Tony Abbott was never known for his compassion. This is a new low. This is someone who was a member of the Morrison Government and had the privilege of being the Prime Minister of our country. And to make the comments that he did, I think, will cause a great deal of hurt for Australians who read those comments, particularly the families of those who have been impacted by COVID-19.


JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, if you were Prime Minister now, having spent millions of dollars on the COVIDSafe app for contact tracing, does it check out?


ALBANESE: Quite clearly, this is another example of the gap that is there between what the Prime Minister promised, and the reality. The Prime Minister said we should all get out from under the doona if this app was downloaded. I downloaded the app. As did millions and millions of Australians. And the truth is, it has been a dud.


JOURNALIST: Have you still got it?


ALBANESE: I’ve still got it. I’ve still got it, but I know that many Australians have asked themselves, ‘What happened to the Government’s rhetoric?’ I still have it and I still hope that they get the technology better. But they paid a company from overseas for this app and it simply doesn’t work.


JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)?


ALBANESE: Well, that’s a decision for the Government. But this is a Government that consistently had issues where they say one thing, they’re very good at marketing, and the Prime Minister is always there for the photo-op but never there for the follow-up. The Prime Minister nicks off once the Nikon stops clicking. And that’s something that characterises this Government. There are gaps between big announcements. We heard yesterday that the more than $300 billion support for the economy, according to Josh Frydenberg himself during Question Time, was more like $85 billion that has actually flowed. We know we’ve got HomeBuilder, we know Michael Sukkar has been busy on other things. But we know that HomeBuilder essentially hasn’t had a dollar go out the door. We know that the bushfire $200 million that was allocated for recovery and for resilience, none of that money was spent in the last financial year as well. This is a Government that has got to have a look at what actually happens rather than what it says will happen. Thanks very much.


JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)?


ALBANESE: Well, it will be not much solace to the millions of Australians who are unemployed. And it certainly isn’t solace to those people who suffer from the failures of the Government when it comes to aged care, for those people who look at Richard Colbeck and his performance yet again in the Senate yesterday. Richard Colbeck left the Senate rather than listen to Penny Wong speak about his failures last week. He should have kept walking out of the Senate doors, into his ministerial office and packed it up. Because Richard Colbeck should not be a minister. And I think that those on the backbench will be asked themselves, ‘What is it that ministers have to do to lose their job in this Government?’ Angus Taylor is still there. Michael Sukkar is still there. And Richard Colbeck is still there as well. Thanks very much.