Albanese owns up to unemployment mistake

by | April 11, 2022 15:23 | News

Anthony Albanese has owned up to not knowing critical economic figures during a press conference, saying that everyone makes mistakes.

On the first full day of campaigning for the election, Mr Albanese was asked at a press conference in Launceston what the official interest rate and unemployment rate was.

After first attempting to avoid the question, he got the figure wrong and admitted to not knowing the figure.

“The national unemployment rate at the moment is, I think it’s 5.4 (per cent), sorry, I’m not sure what it is,” he told reporters in Launceston.

The latest unemployment figure is four per cent, while the official interest rate is 0.1 per cent and has not changed since November 2020.

With the government pouncing on the error, Mr Albanese said he accepted responsibility for the gaffe.

“People make mistakes. That happened. I’ve faced up to it,” he told Sky News on Monday.

“I accept it, I own up to it, I’m not blaming anyone else. I’m accepting responsibility, that’s what leaders do.”

Labor’s campaign spokesman Jason Clare said the acknowledgement of the mistake was the sign of leadership.

“What you saw today was a leader of this country being honest, Australians haven’t seen the leader of their country be honest in a long, long time,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“Politics is not a pop quiz, leadership is not a pop quiz.”

Mr Albanese was campaigning in Bass in northern Tasmania, which is held by the Liberals on the razor-thin margin of 0.4 per cent.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was able to state what both economic figures were when he was asked at a press conference while campaigning in the seat of Gilmore on the NSW south coast.

“0.1 per cent is the cash rate, it’s been there for some time. The unemployment rate, I’m happy to say is four per cent, falling to a 50-year low,” he said.

“It came down from 5.7 per cent when we were first elected.”

Liberal campaign spokesman Simon Birmingham pounced on the slip-up by Mr Albanese.

“If you don’t know what the interest rate is, you can’t be trusted to put the right policies in place to keep them low,” he said.

“If you don’t know what the unemployment rate is, you can’t be trusted to keep Australians in jobs.”

Mr Morrison spent the day campaigning in Gilmore on the NSW south coast alongside Liberal candidate and former NSW transport minister Andrew Constance.

The prime minister confirmed embattled MP Alan Tudge would return to the frontbench should the coalition win the federal election.

Despite the prime minister indicating last month Mr Tudge would not make a comeback to cabinet, Mr Morrison said he had a place on the frontbench should he wish to return.

Mr Tudge stood down last year amid allegations of an abusive relationship with a former staffer. 

He has strenuously denied the allegations, with both parties maintaining that their affair was consensual.

While the coalition remains behind in the polls, Mr Morrison sought to emphasise his party’s economic record.

“This election on May 21 is all about a choice, elections are always about choices,” he said.

“It’s a choice between the strong economic management and the strong financial management that has ensured Australia has been able to come through this pandemic … that contrasts to a Labor opposition who Australians know can’t be trusted to manage money.”

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