Anthony Albanese has defended his handling of the cost of living crisis as he reports on his government midway through Labour’s current term.
Speaking at the Lionel Bowen Dinner in Sydney on Tuesday evening, the Prime Minister also pointed to Labor delivering on its promises 18 months after winning the May 2022 election.
Labor put an end to a “wasted decade” under the coalition government as the government ran away after taking office.
“One of our biggest priorities – every day – is taking action on the cost of living,” he told party faithful in the ALP’s safe federal electorate of Kingsford-Smith.
The Prime Minister defended his government at the halfway point of its term. Pictured with partner Jodie Haydon arriving in Delhi for the G20 India Summit in September
“We know the world is constantly challenging Australia and Australians are feeling the impact.”
Albanese stressed his government’s commitment to increasing real wages, saying the Liberal Party “absolutely went crazy” over his support for a $1 an hour wage increase for the country’s lowest-paid workers.
He praised the record number of women working full-time and the narrowing of the gender pay gap, which is now at a record low, as well as Labor’s support for a historic 15% pay rise for aged care workers.
“We are turning promises into reality for Australians,” Albanese said, amid a fall in Labor’s majority vote in numerous polls.
The Prime Minister then listed the Government’s actions to introduce legislation on cheaper medicines, cheaper childcare and additional free TAFE places.
He also said the government was introducing energy bill relief – an extremely pressing issue given the rise in energy bills over the past year – for households and small businesses.
Albanese stressed his government’s commitment to increasing real wages
Albanese backed Labour’s economic performance, pointing to a $22 billion surplus for 2022/23 compared with the coalition government’s forecast of a $78 billion deficit.
“Since work is the natural home of fiscal responsibility and sound economic management, we are restoring the budget to a sustainable footing,” he added.
“We keep our word by turning our words into deeds and our actions into results.”
Turning to foreign policy, Albanese said the government had restored Australia’s relationships with partners and trading partners, including China and France.
He compared Labour’s approach to the climate change challenge to former Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s remarks that he did not believe in science.
The Prime Minister presented the government program, legislation regarding climate goals, support for renewable energy projects and electric vehicles.
He said the greatest economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution was underway. “That’s why Australia needs the Labor Party – the only party that has never been afraid of the future, but looked at it with optimism and bright eyes,” he said.
Taking aim at Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, Albanese slammed the Queensland MP for claiming to be a Conservative while trying to “destroy our institutions”.
“A man who talks about the importance of social cohesion but does everything in his power to divide us as a society,” he said. “A man who talks about the importance of lowering the temperature is adding fuel to the fire.”
Speaking earlier in the day in Victoria, Dutton slammed the prime minister for soaring energy bills and persistent inflation that have strained household budgets.
“Many families are scratching their heads wondering where the Anthony Albanese they voted for is,” he said.
“Anthony Albanese is unrecognizable now compared to the guy they voted for 18 months ago.”
Tuesday marks 18 months since the election of the government and this is half of its current term.