Australian Prime Minister Television interview – Weekend Today

Prime Minister

Meanwhile, Dunkley in Melbourne’s east is a political epicentre this morning as voters head to the polls for a highly anticipated by-election.

CLINT STANAWAY, HOST: The result there expected to come right down to the wire and as seen by many as a litmus test ahead of next year’s Federal election. The Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, joins us live from Frankston. PM, good morning. Look, before we talk politics, happy birthday.


STANAWAY: Did you get much sleep last night?

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you so much, guys. We had a very nice dinner, myself and Jodie, here in Melbourne. But we’re up pretty early. And here in Frankston on the beautiful foreshores, chatting to people as they go for an early morning run and as they enjoy this wonderful foreshore.

AZZOPARDI: Well, it’s quite the birthday present you’re looking for voters.

PRIME MINISTER: You’ve even got a song for me.

STANAWAY: We’ve got it all.

AZZOPARDI: We don’t do things by half here on Weekend Today, PM.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, guess what I want for my birthday?

STANAWAY: A Rabbitohs premiership.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I want that. But I also want my second favourite Jodie to have a win today.

AZZOPARDI: Don’t get greedy now, Prime Minister. Look, this is a seat that you, Labor, hold by around six per cent. But it does have the potential to be a long night for you. How worried are you about this seat?

PRIME MINISTER: Look, it’s in the hands of the voters today, really, Jayne. We’ve put forward, I think, very clearly the best candidate in Jodie Belyea who will carry on the work of the magnificent Peta Murphy. Of course, no one in this local community wanted this by-election because Peta Murphy was taken from us too soon at age just 50, sadly, to cancer. And yesterday we lost another Victorian member, in Linda White, to cancer. It’s been a really tough time for the Victorian Labor family, but a tough time for this local community as well. One of the things Peta did was recruit Jodie Belyea to the Labor Party to carry on her legacy of strong advocacy and working for this local community. And I’m very confident that Jodie Belyea will do just that. She’s a local mum, she’s not a career politician, she’s got a mortgage. She understands this local community.

STANAWAY: Okay, polls now open there in Dunkley. If Labor is defeated, PM, is that a sign that the Australian public are potentially losing trust in your Government?

PRIME MINISTER: By-elections are tough for governments. And the average swing in a by-election is against the government of 7.1 per cent. We hold the seat by 6.3, so you can do the math there. It’s pretty easy. But Jodie Belyea is a great candidate. We’ve put forward a positive position as well. What we’re doing with fee free-TAFE, cheaper child care, the Medicare Urgent Care Clinic that’s open here in Frankston, the tax cuts for every single taxpayer in Dunkley, and indeed every single taxpayer watching this program right around Australia, as opposed to just some. So, we’ve got a positive plan for the nation. We’ve seen real wages increasing. We know people have done it tough through cost of living pressures, but we’ve been prepared to take action, decisive action, to alleviate that. We know there’s more to do, but the alternative, Peter Dutton, is just saying no to everything. He’s got a candidate who’s supported three rate increases, the maximum amounts, three years in a row here for the local community. And it’s just all negative, the campaign. What we’ve run as a positive campaign. You can’t change the country for the better by just saying no to everything and not offering any alternatives.

AZZOPARDI: Prime Minister, to be in Melbourne for the by-election, you are missing one of your favourite Sydney events tonight, the Mardi Gras. But the feeling is very different this year. There is a lot of tension between police and the community at the moment. What are your thoughts on the decision to allow police to March in the parade but not wear their uniforms?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think it’s a good thing that they’re marching. Mardi Gras first began back in 1978. And that was a time where people were arrested for being who they are and locked up in Darlinghurst police cells. Now, Australia has moved on from that. And the relationships between the police and the community have much improved over a period of years. And this is an opportunity where members of the gay and lesbian members, who happen to be police officers, get to march. I think that’s a good thing. And their allies as well, marching with them to show their support. So, I think it’s good that that decision was reversed. It’s a matter, of course, for the Mardi Gras community and the discussions that took place with the police. But I think it’s a positive thing. This is an inclusive event. This is about bringing people together. A moment of unity rather than division.

STANAWAY: Prime Minister, thanks so much for joining us ahead of a very important day in Dunkley. And happy birthday.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you so much. And thank you so much for the very warm wishes. It’s very kind of you.

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