Anthony Albanese has delivered a withering attack on Opposition leader Peter Dutton – and warned what he believes Australia would look like under a Coalition government in a speech to the Labor faithful.
The Prime Minister was the guest speaker at the Lionel Bowen Dinner celebrating a decade of service by Matt Thisthlethwaite, who is the MP for Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith and Assistant Minister for the Republic, on Tuesday night.
Mr Albanese brushed away a series of disappointing polls to deliver an impassioned and at times fiery speech designed to remind Australians why they voted Labor after nine years of Coalition rule – and draw attention to their doubts of Mr Dutton and the Greens.
‘What have we put behind us?’ he posed to the crowd.
‘I’ll start with a joke I heard: A Health Minister, Trade Minister, Industry Minister, Home Affairs Minister, Treasurer and Prime Minister walk into a bar. And the bartender says, ‘Just the usual, Scott?’
The Prime Minister was the guest speaker at the Lionel Bowen Dinner celebrating a decade of service by Matt Thisthlethwaite, the Kingsford-Smith MP and Assistant Minister for the Republic
The joke makes light of perhaps Morrison’s biggest scandal that was revealed after the election – that he’d secretly sworn himself into several major portfolios during the Covid pandemic, without telling either the ministers involved or the Australian public.
Mr Albanese then turned on Mr Morrison’s successor, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.
‘And now we have Peter Dutton,’ he said.
‘A man who claims to be a conservative – but tries to trash our institutions.
‘A man who talks about the importance of social cohesion – but does everything he can to divide us as a society.
‘A man who talks about the importance of lowering the temperature – then throws fuel on the fire.’
Mr Albanese claimed that Mr Dutton would, within the next year, begin working toward overhauling his reputation ahead of the next general election, due to be held in early 2025.
‘We’ll start hearing about Pete’s kind heart, his cuddly nature. We might even get a glimpse of a smile – it’s amazing what they can do with AI these days.
Anthony Albanese snaps a selfie at the Lionel Bowen Dinner
‘But there will never be any such thing as Dutton 2.0.’
Mr Dutton wasn’t the only one in the cross hairs of the PM. Mr Albanese also mocked the Greens’ staunch opposition to Labor’s housing policies.
‘He (Dutton) is such a development-free zone, I’m worried that the Greens political party will start taking a shine to him,’ he said.
‘They are so against homes being built, they are trying to stop an empty chicken farm in Brisbane from being turned into housing by that most ruthless of mega property developers, the Uniting Church.’
Mr Albanese conceded that these are the two other major parties competing for everyday Aussies’ votes.
But he said they should not be considered an ‘alternative’ government.
Mr Albanese claimed that Mr Dutton would, within the next year, begin working toward overhauling his reputation ahead of the next general election, due to be held in early 2025
‘All the Coalition and the Greens can offer are a dead end – or, at best, a roundabout without an exit. Movement without result.
‘If you want the road ahead, you need Labor.’
A Roy Morgan poll this week put Mr Dutton’s Coalition ahead of Labor for the first time since the election.
Labor’s slump in the polls also coincides with the controversial High Court ruling that’s set free 93 asylum seekers, including murderers, rapists and paedophiles.
The poll represents the third in a row showing a significant decline in Labor’s primary vote.
On primary vote, the Coalition is now on 37.5 per cent, up 1 per cent from a week ago, and significantly ahead of the ALP on 29.5 per cent, down 0.5 per cent.
Support for the Greens is sitting at 13.5 per cent, up 0.5 per cent, while support for One Nation is also up 0.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent.
Mr Albanese brushed away a series of disappointing polls to deliver an impassioned and at times fiery speech designed to remind Australians why they voted Labor after nine years of Coalition rule – and draw attention to their doubts of Mr Dutton and the Greens
The survey on federal voting intention was based on 1,401 Australians from November 13-19.
Mr Albanese made several references to his commitment to the cost of living crisis.
He referred to his election commitment to increase the minimum wage by $1 per hour.
He said: ‘$1 an hour for the lowest-paid workers in Australia, some of the heroes of the pandemic. I said absolutely. And the Liberals went absolutely berserk.
‘They said it was loose, they said it was irresponsible, they said the sky would fall in.
‘They carried on so much, that I carried a dollar coin with me for the rest of the campaign. And guess what – when we backed a decent pay increase for working people, the sky didn’t fall.’
Mr Albanese said to this day, he keeps that coin in his desk at Parliament House.