ANTHONY ALBANESE – TRANSCRIPT – TELEVISION INTERVIEW – SBS WORLD NEWS WITH BRETT MASON – WEDNESDAY, 15 APRIL 2020
ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
SBS WORLD NEWS WITH BRETT MASON
WEDNESDAY, 15 APRIL 2020
SUBJECTS: Coronavirus; Government response to the coronavirus; impact of coronavirus on the economy; Ruby Princess debacle; racist attacks due to coronavirus; return of NRL.
BRETT MASON, HOST: Anthony Albanese, welcome back to SBS.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Thanks for having me on, Brett.
MASON: How many marks would you give the Government out of 10 for its response to the COVID-19 crisis so far?
ALBANESE: Well, I think certainly it has picked up its game. Originally, we were very concerned that up until a couple of weeks ago, in fact, people were arriving at Sydney Airport, not getting so much as temperature checks, let alone other health checks of any substance. So, we are pleased that has happened.
MASON: Who do you blame for the Ruby Princess debacle?
ALBANESE: Well, this has been a diabolical circumstance. The State Government blames the Federal Government blames the State Government back. What we need is for people to put their hand up and accept responsibility. Scott Morrison, days before the Ruby Princess docked in Sydney, said that cruise ships would not be allowed to dock. And we know that since Federation, one certainty about our Federal-State relations is that the Federal Government have control over migration and over who is allowed to enter Australia.
MASON: Did the Government moved quickly enough to secure Australian borders?
ALBANESE: Well certainly, the border closure with China was one of the successes. But, at the same time, people who were coming in from the United States, which we know now has more people who have caught this disease than any other nation on earth, and whose death toll is reaching into the thousands a day, they were not even being tested, let alone the borders being closed. So, I think that common sense tells us that there could have been action earlier.
MASON: We have seen some fairly unsavoury instances in recent weeks of Australians attacking other Australians on the streets.
ALBANESE: That is not on. That is not the Australian way. What we need is tolerance. Can I just say to people, that we are a multicultural nation and we should be proud of our diversity. It is part of our strength. And we need to respect each other, particularly at this difficult time.
MASON: Do you think the economic assistance package the Government has announced has flowed quickly enough?
ALBANESE: No, I don’t. I think what people needed was immediate support. We are also concerned about the 1.1 million casuals who currently will not be provided with assistance. We are also concerned about visa holders. What does someone who is here who has no income do to survive?
MASON: Finally, as a self-confessed NRL tragic, do you share Scott Morrison’s enthusiasm for the return of competition?
ALBANESE: I have been a lifelong NRL supporter and a lifelong supporter of the South Sydney Rabbitohs supporter. But there should only be a recommencement of the competition if the health authorities say that it is okay to go ahead.
MASON: Anthony Albanese, thank you very much.
ALBANESE: Thanks very much, Brett