Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called out opposition politicians who’ve critiqued him for going overseas during the NSW floods. Beyoncé, start playing ‘Deja Vu’.
ICYMI, Albanese’s been jetting off around the world since he became PM. First he traveled to Tokyo for a Quad Security Meeting, then to a NATO summit in Europe and most recently, he’s been visiting war-torn Ukraine where he was under radio silence for safety measures.
I mean, that all sounds pretty legit to me. But he’s been ripped into by opposition pollies for scooting about, particularly because of the NSW floods.
Albanese has since defended himself against the critiques, labelling them “beyond contempt”.
On Wednesday he held a press conference with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet to discuss the active flooding emergency in NSW. They also visited areas of Sydney which have been affected by the floods.
Per The Guardian, Albanese explained that because of the situation in Ukraine, he wasn’t able to use electronic equipment to communicate.
“That was a matter of keeping us safe, but also keeping safe [Ukrainian] president Zelensky and the Ukrainian people that we were meeting with,” Albanese said.
“There is a war going on and apparently that should have been dismissed.”
Albanese said as soon as he left Ukraine he got in touch with Perrottet, as well as acting PM Richard Marles and Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt to ensure “every support was being offered”.
“I was fulfilling a responsibility that I believe that I had, of travelling to Ukraine. And to compare that with a holiday, I just find beyond contempt frankly.”
The critiques of Albanese largely centred on the devastating floods in Sydney and wider NSW.
Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor had told radio station 2GB on Monday that Albanese was “more concerned about his reputation on the global stage than… making sure people in NSW have a place to sleep”.
Taylor also claimed that Albanese “has only just picked up the phone to [NSW Premier] Dominic Perrottet to ask if he needs a hand”.
Have crossed into Poland from Ukraine and left radio silence. My first actions were briefings by @murraywatt and @Dom_Perrottet on NSW flooding and ensuring Federal Government assistance is being provided.— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) July 4, 2022
In a very similar vein, Shadow Immigration Minister Dan Tehan implied Albanese was prioritising international affairs.
“What we’re seeing from Mr Albanese is very much a focus on everything international and we’re starting to see serious drift when it comes to incredibly important domestic issues, like energy, like skills shortages, like these floods we’re now confronting on the eastern seaboard,” Tehan said, per the ABC.
In perhaps the wildest critique, Nationals Leader David Littleproud (of course) essentially compared Albanese’s travel during the floods to Scott Morrison scooting on holiday to Hawaii during the Black Summer bushfires.
He reportedly told Today on Tuesday that Labor was very keen to slam Morrison for his holiday.
Look Dave, let’s be honest here. Going to a load of big international conferences and then visiting a war-torn country isn’t quite the same as scooting off on holibobs.
“They were pretty quick to throw a few grenades at Scott Morrison,” Littleproud said.
“Yes, he was on holidays. But again, let’s get the facts out there, let’s understand, but at the core of this has to be the victims.
“We can sit down, throw political barbs at one another but it is those men and women, kids whose homes have been inundated are the most important thing today and NSW is leading the charge on that.”
Perrottet defended Albanese’s actions in their joint press conference.
“From my perspective the Federal Government needs to balance international concerns and domestic concerns but as soon as he could, he picked up the phone to call me,” Perrottet said.
He then described the response between the federal and state governments as “pleasing”. Okay secret Harry Styles fan!
So yeah, maybe not quite the same as going on holiday.