ABC News Breakfast

Share This

Transcripts

Friday, 4th February 2022

ABC News Breakfast

Discussing calls for the resignation of Richard Colbeck, aged care crisis and more.

SUBJECTS: Labor calls for resignation of Richard Colbeck; aged care crisis; Morrison Government’s failures during the COVID-19 pandemic; cost of living; text messages concerning Scott Morrison; Federal election.
 
MICHAEL ROWLAND, HOST: Let's bring in the Federal Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese. Mr Albanese, good morning to you.
 
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning, Michael. Thanks for having me back on the program.
 
ROWLAND: We had the Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, on the program as well, about an hour ago. He told us, in his view, Scott Morrison was neither a psycho, nor a fraud. And we may never find the identity of the leaker. Is it time now to simply move on?
 
ALBANESE: Well, it's time for someone just to come forward and fess up as to who sent that text message. We know that one-half of the exchanges was Gladys Berejiklian. And, for me, it wasn't the personal abuse that is there and the character assessments. The most damning indictment of the Prime Minister was the Premier of New South Wales at the time who was doing her job each and every day on the bushfire crisis, saying that the Prime Minister was more concerned about politics than he was about people at that time.
 
ROWLAND: Politics, as you know, you've been it for a long time, Anthony Albanese, is a brutal, a robust business. Did you have a, ‘but for the grace of God, go’ moment when these texts were released?
 
ALBANESE: No, not at all, Michael. From time to time, you have exchanges but what we're seeing here, and this is a real problem, is that the disunity and chaos in the Liberal Party and in the Government is meaning they're not actually doing their job. They're not governing. We've got an aged care crisis in this country. We have older Australians who are locked in their rooms, who can't get access to appropriate food and water, who aren't having wounds tended to. We have a circumstance whereby we have some 14,000 aged care residents and 17,000 workers have contracted COVID. And the Minister goes missing. And when he does turn up, it's to say it's all going exceptionally well. The former New South Wales Premier before Gladys Berejiklian called for the army to be brought in, a long time ago now, to assist making beds and looking after older Australians. Mike Baird is now a senior person in the aged care sector. He knows that there's a crisis. This Government seems oblivious. They're just obsessed by each other. The Liberals don't like each other. The Nats don't like each other. The Liberals don't like the Nationals. The problem here is, though, that Australia is not getting the Government that they deserve at this critical time.
 
ROWLAND: I want to talk more about aged care. It's an issue we've been focusing on very heavily on this show over the last week. Labor wants the Government to put a submission into the Fair Work Commission wage case for aged care workers. And I think everybody would agree, these people, these aged care workers, who have done so much over the last two years, deserve more than roughly $21 to $23 an hour they're getting. How much would you like to see their pay increased?
 
ALBANESE: Well, that's up to the Fair Work Commission. It's not up to the Government to put a figure on that.
 
ROWLAND: But you want them to put a submission in. You must have a figure in mind?
 
ALBANESE: No, I don't, Michael. I've been asked this. And I give the same answer I gave yesterday. The Government should put in a submission supporting a wage increase. That's what we did when we were in Government for social and community service workers. And that led to a substantial pay increase, which has led to retention in that workforce. If we don't deal with the issue of wages, then we won't be able to retain a workforce in the aged care sector. The other thing we need, of course, is we need more workers and more carers. But we need a nurse in every nursing home, 24/7. We used to call them nursing homes for a reason. Because nurses were there. It's extraordinary that we have these aged care facilities that can go for considerable periods of time without having a nurse right there when they're needed.
 
ROWLAND: But not putting a figure on a proposed wage increase, isn't the Prime Minister right when he says nobody knows how much it will cost the Government and therefore taxpayers?
 
ALBANESE: No, the Prime Minister is not right. The Prime Minister is wrong. The Prime Minister is wrong by not supporting a nurse being in every nursing home. The Prime Minister is wrong by not saying to the Fair Work Commission that he supports a wage increase for the aged care workforce. The Prime Minister is wrong by not having 80,000 aged care residents get their booster shots. The Prime Minister is wrong by not ensuring that every aged care worker and every aged care resident who needs one can get access to a rapid antigen test. This is a crisis in the sector. And this Minister has failed before. And he continues to fail. What do you have to do to lose your job under this Government? If Richard Colbeck had any integrity, he would resign. But if the Prime Minister had any leadership, and wanted to actually show some instead of always going missing and always blaming someone else, he would sack this Minister and put someone in charge who wants to do the job.
 
ROWLAND: The Prime Minister is keen on creating new jobs in Australia. He used his Press Club speech to say he was aggressively going to go for a jobless rate below four per cent. Would the Labor Party support that aim?
 
ALBANESE: Well, of course we support people being in jobs. That's a core function of Labor. The issue here is, though, that too many people are in insecure work. They might have been doing three or four part-time or casual jobs. Now, they're doing just one or two. And they're struggling to get by. The problem here is that wages are not keeping up with the cost of living, with inflation. And as a direct result of that, we're seeing people's living standards falling. And the Prime Minister is not addressing issues like childcare that he could address if he adopted Labor's position.
 
ROWLAND: Before we go, Peter Dutton on 7.30 last night took a shot at you. He said that you've been in politics for a long time, you've been Deputy Prime Minister, but he said you've never held a national security or economic portfolio. And he argues you are ill-equipped to be Prime Minister. What do you say to that?
 
ALBANESE: Doesn't that say it all about Peter Dutton and this Government? He doesn't think that Minister for Infrastructure for six years is an economic portfolio. Infrastructure drives the economy and drives productivity. It's the key, one of the keys to driving productivity. Look, I have been in politics for a while. I've been the Deputy Prime Minister. I've been Leader of the Government in the House of Representatives for six years. I chaired the Parliamentary Business Committee. Every single piece of legislation that was debated in the Parliament during the Rudd and Gillard years, I was responsible for putting through the House of Representatives. And I've been Acting Prime Minister on two occasions, unlike the current incumbent who has been acting as the Prime minister for four years, not fulfilling his job. And Peter Dutton, of course, wanted to lead the Liberal Party. I understand his disappointment. I understand he's out there undermining the Prime Minister at the moment. And we see the chaos that's there. It will be an interesting couple of weeks. I'll say that, Michael, when everyone gathers in Parliament. There'll be the little discussions in the corner. It's all there, the disunity, for all to see, not just in the New South Wales branch, but in the Caucus as well.
 
ROWLAND: Anthony Albanese, thanks for joining us this morning.
 
ALBANESE: Thanks very much, Michael.
 
ENDS

Sign up to get the latest news from Anthony

See the latest News
About Anthony
Meet AnthonyAnthony's Story

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

DisclaimerPrivacyTerms

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

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which our offices stand and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the sorrow of the Stolen Generations and the impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We also recognise the resilience, strength and pride of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Authorised by Anthony Albanese. 334a Marrickville Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204.