Sunrise Interview

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Wednesday, 12th January 2022

Sunrise Interview

Discussing the failures of the Morrison Government during the COVID-19 pandemic and Labor's plan for disaster readiness.

Novak Djokovic; COVID cases increasing; Omicron variant; healthcare; failures of the Morrison Government during the COVID-19 pandemic; Labor’s policy agenda; Labor’s plan for disaster readiness.
 
MATT SHIRVINGTON, HOST: I'm joined by Opposition Leader Good morning. What's your view on the way the Novak Djokovic situation has been handled?
 
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: It is just a mess, isn't it? Everyone can see that. The Federal Government is the body that issues visas to Australia. And it is yet to explain how it is that a visa was granted if the conditions had not been met. And what we see here is just another failure, a problem becoming a crisis before the Government actually acts. And when you look at the issues - the vaccines, testing, tracing, and when it comes to quarantine, that is a grand-slam of failures that this Morrison Government has presided over. It is a very embarrassing situation for Australia, given this story has been the biggest story in sport for months.
 
SHIRVINGTON: If you had the power right now to deport Novak Djokovic would you do it?
 
ALBANESE: What I would have done was make sure that if the visa requirements weren't met, the visa would not have been issued. And that is what should have occurred here. Now, we have a circumstance whereby we have an intervention, which is one of the biggest stories in the world at the moment, and it is all of the Government’s own making.
 
SHIRVINGTON: I did a grocery shop overnight and did not get any meat products. High-level talks were held overnight with the Federal Government about the supply chain crises. Do Australians need to stop panic buying now?
 
ALBANESE: Well, I think what Australians need to do is to get through this crisis. It was anticipated as well. The national plan said once we started to open up there would be an increase in cases. But what we have seen is a failure to plan. And if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. So, we have seen booster shots delayed, we have seen booster shots delayed, we have got kids who cannot get their first shot, we have got testing that is just a mess and people are unable to get it, they cannot get a PCR test, then they are told to get a rapid antigen test. People are telling me in this community here in North Queensland that they cannot get a test, they cannot find a rapid antigen test. I had a doctor last night who runs a medical centre saying her staff cannot get tests at that medical centre. It is a major problem. And of course, there is no food on the shelves. People need to be sensible, of course, and not stock up, but this is an issue of supply of basic food and vegetables to our stores.
 
SHIRVINGTON: Hard to catch a rapid antigen test at the moment, that's for sure. I wanted to talk about this, Labor is improving its disaster readiness with $2 million per year. How will that money be spent?
 
ALBANESE: You need to prepare. And the Government three years ago created an Emergency Response Fund of $4 billion. That fund is now $4.7 billion. Because it has got $750 million of interest. But they have only spent $17 million and there isn't a single disaster readiness project that has been completed, not one. So, what we will do is create a disaster readiness plan. A fund that will provide $200 million every year to prepare for floods, cyclones, natural disasters, to get ahead of it, including here in Mackay, for a flight levee at the Pioneer River. These are issues that are so important.
 
And a shout-out to our magnificent first responders who are once again with the floods around Maryborough. There has been tragic loss of life. But our first responders are always so good, whether it is bushfires, floods, cyclones, they just do a fantastic job. And they are heroes.
 
SHIRVINGTON: They are certainly dealing with a lot at the moment, as you said. Anthony Albanese, thanks for your time.
 
ALBANESE: Thanks very much.

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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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