ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
SATURDAY, 4 JULY 2020
SUBJECTS: Eden-Monaro by-election.
JAYNE AZZOPARDI, HOST: Labor Leader, Anthony Albanese, is facing his first big test today as voters go to the polls in the Eden-Monaro by-election. It is expected to be a tight race. The Opposition Leader has taken time out and he joins us now. Good morning to you, Anthony. There has never been a by-election like this.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning. Greetings from Merimbula.
AZZOPARDI: Gorgeous Merimbula.
ALBANESE: It is beautiful.
AZZOPARDI: No debates this time, no meetings, no handshakes or baby kissing allowed. This has been a Labor seat. Could you lose it?
ALBANESE: Well, it is an election. No-one will know the outcome until after 6 o’clock tonight. What we know is in Kristy McBain we have the best candidate. We know that this is an opportunity to send a message that people have been left behind during the bushfires. They have been left behind during the pandemic as well. JobKeeper is due to be withdrawn in September but the Government won’t tell people the details until after they have voted today. And I think that people, if they want to send a message, they have the opportunity through Kristy McBain, in sending a champion, frankly, to Canberra. She was a champion during the fires each and every day.
AZZOPARDI: They could also choose to send a message, by that argument, to you by not voting for her?
ALBANESE: Well, I think that Kristy McBain has been out there each and every day. I have been with Kristy the last few days. She has been incredibly well-received wherever she has gone throughout the electorate, whether it is Yass, Batlow or Snowy or here on the coast around Merimbula, Bega, Tathra. These communities that are still doing it really tough. We visited a home yesterday, or a former home, just outside of Cobargo where people have lost absolutely everything. They are living in a caravan six months later. It is a bit chilly here in the morning. And overnight it is even chillier. And the fact that people are still waiting for debris to be removed from their land six months later really is not good enough. Australians really got stuck in and gave money and gave their commitment to people who were doing it tough over January. And for so many people, though, the message is when the cameras withdrew, so did Government support. Really, we are a better country than that. And I think these people are deserving of support. It is good that the by-election has focussed some attention back on here.
AZZOPARDI: There is no doubt that that region has suffered and there are going to be lots of local issues at play there. But this is a national program. You are the national Leader. You have been very front of mind in that seat. Are you worried personally that if this doesn’t go your way it will reflect poorly on you?
ALBANESE: No, my concern is for the people of Eden-Monaro. That’s what I am about and that’s what Kristy McBain is about. That’s the focus here. I just hope, regardless of the result today, I hope that Scott Morrison actually visits Cobargo or visits Merimbula, visits Narooma, visits these communities that have done it tough. Sit down with people like young Zoey, the young mum who greeted him in Cobargo asking for more RFS support. Sit down with her. She has now given birth to her young son that she was pregnant with when she met Scott Morrison. She is living in a van with her young son. She is asking for more support for this community.
AZZOPARDI: All right. Mr Albanese, thank you for your time this morning. The only certainty, it seems, is that this seat will be held by a woman after today for the first time since Federation. So, it will be a milestone.
ALBANESE: That’s right, and that’s a good thing.
AZZOPARDI: Thank you very much
ALBANESE: Indeed. That’s a very good thing. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.