Australian Prime Minister Television Interview – Today Show

Prime Minister

Prime Minister, good morning. So, what did happen?

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, good to be with you. Well, what was important yesterday was that the organisers throughout the country deserve credit for organising these rallies. I was happy not to speak, I was happy to speak. It was about raising awareness of the issue, but a call to action by all governments. Quite clearly, we need to do more. It’s not enough to just have empathy. The fact that one, a woman dies every four days on average at the hand of a partner is just a national crisis. So I’ll be convening the National Cabinet on Wednesday. We’ll talk about what more we can do. Clearly, governments need to do more, but as a society as well we need to acknowledge that we need to change behaviour, we need to change attitudes, we need to change culture, because it is completely unacceptable.

KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: You were called a liar. How does that sit with you?

PRIME MINISTER: I’m focused on the issue, Karl. It was an emotional day for people and I get that. What is an emotional issue, because women were saying yesterday, enough is enough. Right around the country over the last three days we’ve seen tens of thousands of people demonstrate, women and men, girls and boys, all coming together on this critical issue. And we do need to do better as a society, Karl. All of us, I think, know someone who’s been directly impacted by this. The fact that this is a scourge. We’ve put some $2.3 billion in our first two budgets into action. Additional community service workers, we’ve introduced legislation and passed it for ten days of paid domestic and family violence leave. One of the reasons why I was so passionate about extending the single parenting payment so that people could get that payment until their youngest child turns 14, is that Anne Summers did a lot of work showing that this was an impediment to women leaving violent relationships. So, we need to look across the board at all of the policies and what we can do to make a positive difference.

ABO: I think, PM, people are obviously very grateful, you know, for the record funding that you’re pouring into this space, right. But yesterday, what we saw was emotion, as you mentioned, but also frustration that we’ve had 27 women allegedly killed here at the hands of men. It’s just not good enough. And we saw that those scenes repeated right across the country. I mean, you’ve called an emergency National Cabinet, but the concern, is you might be pessimistic, but it’s just going to be another talk fest.

PRIME MINISTER: Well I agree, Sarah, that we need to do more and that’s what women were calling for yesterday and that’s what their allies were calling for as well. And we quite clearly the situation, in spite of the fact that this is an issue where I think governments of all persuasions want action. If you ask anyone in this building here at Parliament House, right across the spectrum, everyone would agree we need to do better. So, we need to discuss how we get there. What are the practical measures that we can do? Now that goes to ensuring that women can have somewhere to go safely, for example. So we’ve had our Housing Australia Future Fund have a portion of that, 4,000 additional homes for women and children escaping domestic violence. Those measures are important. But what the National Cabinet is about, of course, a lot of these issues go down to the states and territories. The laws, legal enforcements, the courts, community services by and large, are run by state and territory governments. And that’s why a range of the premiers approached me and asked for a special meeting. We’re doing that on Wednesday morning and we’ll be discussing what practical measures we can take to make a difference on this issue. You can’t solve it overnight. This isn’t an issue just for governments, this is an issue for men and their behaviour. It’s an issue for society’s culture. It’s a matter of being prepared to call it out, violence in relationships when it is seen. And it’s a matter of looking right across the breadth of policy issues in order to make a difference.

STEFANOVIC: All right, PM, we’ll see what happens with all that this week. And there’s certainly a fair bit of pressure being brought to bear. Just quickly, Aussies are staring down the barrel of three interest rate rises, according to one expert earlier on our show, and that is going to be a massive hit to household budgets. You have, or were a mortgage holder, I’m not sure where you stand now. But that would be catastrophic for a lot of families. It’s not exactly controlling the cost of living, is it?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we need to do more on cost of living, but that’s why my Government turned a $78 billion deficit that we inherited into a $22 billion surplus. That’s why we’re producing responsible budgets, having budget policy or fiscal policy work with monetary policy with their mortgage rather than against it.

STEFANOVIC: It’s not helping people with their mortgages.

PRIME MINISTER: No, and inflation though, to be very clear, inflation is moderating, real wages are increasing, unemployment still has a three in front of it. Those key indicators are very positive. If you get five economists, you’ll get five opinions, Karl.


PRIME MINISTER: And I assure you, I assure you of that. But what we are doing, if you look at inflation, we inherited 2.1 per cent in one quarter before were elected. The March 2022 quarter was where it peaked. It’s now at an annual figure of 3.6. Now that is a significant achievement, putting that downward pressure on inflation. So, the task for us in the Budget is how do we assist on cost of living without putting upward pressure on inflation? And that’s precisely what we’ll do.

STEFANOVIC: That’s a lot at stake. Good on you, PM. Thanks for being with us. Appreciate your time, as always.

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