With talk growing of a snap election possibly as early as August, The Bug sat down with Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese in his Grayndler electoral office in Sydney to find out whether he and Labor are ready to hit the hustings. We began by asking whether he had his full suite of policies ready to take to the people.
Albanese: Yes, our full tranche of policy was set in stone some time ago now. Late last year in fact.
The Bug: Policy?
Albanese: Yes, we learnt our lessons from 2019 about the dangers of having a whole raft of plans and promises. We won’t be doing that again. Boy, the lies they told about just about everything we offered. It made our Medicare scare from a few elections back look like a push and shove at an under-10 footie match!
The Bug: One policy sounds a bit risky, surely?
Albanese: Yes, it still gives Tim Wilson the chance to embark on a taxpayer-funded parliamentary road show to debunk said policy and raise money for the Libs, so obviously no policies would be better. But Morrison won the last time with one policy – the radical flattening of the income tax rates – so we’re going to run with just the one too.
The Bug: And that being?
Albanese: Our commitment to a net zero emissions target for 2050 provided we can find a pathway to that which is agreeable to the people of Australia, not too damaging to the economy and doesn’t let the mainstream media rip into us unmercilessly.
The Bug: Just like Morison has now hinted at?
Albanese: That’s right. We’re in total lockstep with the government now on the complete package of promise we’ll be taking to the people.
The Bug: But hold on. Aren’t you on record as saying you’re still opposed to that third round of changes to the income tax brackets – the one that benefits rich people – even though you were horribly wedged on them last year and got conned into voting for them even if you could have taken a principled stand and opposed them as they would have still gotten through?
Albanese: That’s them. No, the shadow cabinet had a chat last night and after I again told Tanya to pull her head in we voted to fully support the entire government plan to flatten the tax scales meaning governments in future won’t have the dosh to fund services that Australians used to expect. We simply couldn’t afford for Morrison to repeatedly whack us over the head with that old “We want Australians to keep more of their own money” line. Very effective.
The Bug: So you’ve ditched franking credits reform?
Albanese: That’s right. Gone.
The Bug: Negative gearing and other property tax reforms?
The Bug: Free dental care for kids?
Albanese: How could we afford that now that we’re foregoing the billions in franking credit savings?
The Bug: The firefighting aircraft fleet? They’d be handy right now over in WA.
Albanese: Permanently grounded. We needed the negative gearing savings for that.
The Bug: Good point. How about that target of 50% of new vehicle sales being electric vehicles by 2030?
Albanese: Actually we’d like to keep that one. We’ll add it to our list of policy on one condition.
The Bug: That being?
Albanese: That Morrison makes it a promise too.
The Bug: Boy, you guys seem determined to make this election as level a playing field as possible with not a bee’s dick between your two policy.
Albanese: Thank you, That’s right. We’re in lockstep with the government.
The Bug: If not completely in lock, stock and pork barrel. Sorry, just a little joke. Your turn will come. We see the reasoning behind your strategy but how do you then get voters to differentiate between the two sides and vote Labor?
Albanese: Well, with all the same policy, the people will just have to judge the PM and I on who can look more comfortabe driving a truck, shearing a sheep, tossing a bale or a schooner, kicking a ball or playing a tennis shot.
The Bug: And that’s it?
Albanese: Of course not. We’ve also got a fresh new slogan – Jobs. Jobs Jobs.
The Bug: You do know that Michael McCormack has started using that?
Albanese: Shit! Well, we’ll just had to wait and see what the Liberals come up and use that too.
The Bug: Still not sure how being a virtual shadow of the government is going to get you across the line?
Albanese: I’ll talk to the voters on a spiritual and philosophical level. I’ll talk emotionally about the light on the hill that has guided Labor for decades.
The Bug: And if that doesn’t work?
Albanese: I’ll just have to rely on them knowing that I’m a much nicer and kinder and more decent person than Scott Morrison.
The Bug: Who isn’t? Lots of luck with that approach and thanks for your time today.