2SM Marcus Paul in the Morning

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Monday, 7th June 2021

2SM Marcus Paul in the Morning

Discussing the vaccine rollout, the need for national quarantine centres and more.

SUBJECTS: Newspoll; Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown; vaccine rollout; need for national quarantine centres; next Federal election.
 
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Let's talk a little politics. Albo is gaining while things are lockstep in the latest Newspoll. The Coalition is currently level with Labor on a two-party-preferred basis for the first time since February. But popular support for Scott Morrison as Prime Minister has plunged following Victoria's latest COVID-19 lockdown extension. According to an exclusive Newspoll conducted between June the second and June the fifth for The Australian, the two major parties are in a 50-50 deadlock on a two-party-preferred basis. But what might be concerning for the Government, the Coalition is up a little after sediment from the May 11 Budget, but Scott Morrison's approval rating is down. Anthony Albanese's is up. Albo joins us on the program. Morning.
 
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning, Marcus. It's good to be with you.
 
PAUL: Yes. You too. Last time you and I were on the program together there was no COVID lockdown in Melbourne. As you and I both know, Victoria is pretty much a turbocharged economy here in Australia. Victoria plays a major role in this. The route of action, probably at least until Thursday, it is concerning.
 
ALBANESE: It certainly is Marcus. And these outbreaks will continue to occur while we don't get quarantine right and we haven't rolled out the vaccine effectively. This lockdown, of course, began with an outbreak from hotel quarantine in Adelaide. It's another reminder that hotels were built for tourists, not for medical quarantine.
 
PAUL: But apparently, they're 99.9 per cent safe according to the Prime Minister, Albo.
 
ALBANESE: Well, he does say that in the Parliament. And what he doesn't go on to say is that every single outbreak, and there have been 21 of them, has resulted in real consequences for people's health, for the economy and for people being able to go about their way of life. This particular outbreak, of course, has led to the shutdown of an entire state for two weeks, at least. And that is the concern here, it is that when you have purpose-built facilities, as there is at Howard Springs, whereby you have people housed in cabin accommodation where there isn't ventilation flowing through and spreading the virus through hotels, then you've had zero outbreaks. But every outbreak can lead to a spread, as we've seen here with one that began in Adelaide and has spread all the way across to Melbourne. And the people of Victoria have paid a price for that. And indeed, our national economy has paid a price. People's mental health has paid a price. And this complacency from this Prime Minister, who only ever acts too late when there's an absolute crisis, and in this case, he's finally last week agreed to the idea of a purpose-built quarantine facility in Victoria, is something that increasingly characterises this Prime Minister.
 
PAUL: So in other words, we've been far too reactive rather than proactive. I mean, hasn't the Government had a report sitting on people's desks, including the Prime Minister's, for more than 15 months now, Anthony?
 
ALBANESE: Well, Jane Halton did a very comprehensive report last October. It was given to the Prime Minister and to the Government. It spoke about issues of ventilation in hotels. It spoke about the need for purpose-built facilities. It named places like Exmouth in WA, which is essentially up the coast and isolated from the CBDs of our capital cities. And the fact is, this Government has been very slow to act, or in some cases, like purpose-built quarantine, hasn't acted at all. It's just like they said that every aged care worker, as well as residents, as well as people in disability care, would be vaccinated by Easter. We know now that we're in June and that hasn't occurred yet. And they said there'd be then 13 purpose-built places of vaccination centres for aged care workers. And we know there are three, not 13. None of them are outside of Sydney. This is a Government that has now responded to its failure by not setting targets, by not telling anyone when Australians will be vaccinated. It's not good enough.
 
PAUL: On the weekend, Albo, I couldn't help but notice an article in the Nine Fairfax press. And I'll just read a little here. 'That relative stability, a generally well-received Budget that cauterised political wounds, vaccine rollout that is slowly gathering pace, and the boost of the pandemic is giving incumbents across the country means Labor has a mountain to climb to win the next election. A fourth term in opposition beckons.' Now the story in the Sunday Age and the Sun Herald apparently spoke to 15 of your Labor colleagues in the Federal Party, including backbenchers who feared losing their seats under Anthony Albanese, those who believe the leader is doing a good job in tough circumstances, through to senior figures who argue quietly for now that a change of leader may be Labor's only chance of victory. I don't get this. I really don't get this. Again, there are these pieces that are written in the press. They don't name anybody. They could be making them up for all we know. James Massola has done this little hit piece on you, Albo. Finally, once and for all, do you have the support? And will you lead Labor to the next Federal election, whether it's in December or earlier, maybe August or December, or even January, February of next year?
 
ALBANESE: Absolutely. And my team are focused on winning the election. And that's been the focus from day one. We've had a plan. We've had a strategy. I've spoken about it. I've spoken about it on your program many times. And quite frankly, we are, at worst, competitive. And polls come and go. There's no movement at all in today's poll on the primary vote. Our polls consistently show one thing, which is that our vote is up from the last election. And that's a good thing. And I think at the next election, when this do-nothing Government are looking for a fourth term having had no legacy, no reform legacy whatsoever, nothing to look back on their first three terms, this Government will be regarded as the Fraser Government has been by history. A Government that got rid of some of Labor's reforms but didn't put in place any positive change for the nation. They have no vision for the nation. We do. A plan for better and more secure work. A plan for lifting wages. A plan for dealing with the challenge of climate change. A plan for dealing with the crisis in aged care. A plan for more affordable childcare. A plan to not leave people behind. And we have, of course, immediate, a four-point plan that the Government should have put in place for COVID-19. Fix the vaccination rollout. Make sure we have purpose-built quarantine facilities. Have a public information campaign that's appropriate to support the rollout of the vaccine. And manufacture mRNA vaccines right here.
 
PAUL: All right. They're the talking points. And if you keep spruiking them, it needs to cut through. It does need to cut through. And certainly, there's enough spin out there coming from the Federal Government still even over the weekend. I don't know, Albo, you're going to need to really push it. Mate, thank you very much for joining us on the program. As always, I look forward to our next chat.
 
ALBANESE: Thanks very much, Marcus.
 
ENDS

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Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Road
MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Office

PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8562

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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