Shadow cabinet members to retain portfolio

by | April 11, 2022 12:36 | News

Labor leader Anthony Albanese expects members of his shadow cabinet will retain the same portfolios in government, should the opposition win the federal election.

While in Launceston in the northern Tasmanian seat of Bass on the first full day of election campaigning, Mr Albanese said he had a united team behind him.

“I have full confidence in all of my team, including Jim Chalmers as treasurer and others in their respective portfolios,” he told reporters on Monday.

“My team are doing a good job, my team have confidence in myself as leader … none of my team are heading for the exit door in the middle of an election.”

He conceded there was the possibility some shadow cabinet members may not want a particular portfolio in the future or turn down the offer to be minister, with Mr Albanese noting that scenario happened from time to time.

“I expect that everyone will be in their current jobs. That’s my starting point,” he said.

Mr Albanese was in the electorate to announce $6.5 million in funding for better care for children with a hearing loss.

He pledged $1.5 million to fund the development of the digital HearHub platform, an online service that will deliver hearing tests and support for families.

Labor will also establish two new Shepherd Centres, which run the platform, in Launceston and Hobart with $2.5 million of funding behind them.

A new Shepherd Centre in Sydney’s southwest will also receive $2.5 million.

However, the first full day of campaigning was not smooth sailing for Mr Albanese, after he admitted he did not know the official interest rate or the national unemployment figure.

Mr Albanese was asked by reporters to name key economic figures.

After initially hesitating to answer the question, he conceded he did not know the answer to what the Reserve Bank’s official interest rate was or the national unemployment rate was.

“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.

Labor’s campaign spokeswoman, Senator Katy Gallagher, did provide the correct figures when asked moments after the opposition leader was questioned.

The government quickly pounced on the campaign slip up, with Liberal campaign spokesman Simon Birmingham indicating the error meant the Labor leader was not across the financial situation.

Earlier, Mr Albanese attempted to sidestep the question when asked by reporters.

“We can do the old Q and A stuff over 50 different figures,” he said.

“The truth is that … the Reserve Bank have said that there’ll be multiple interest rate increases, regardless of who’s in government.”

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