Eggs Over Albanese No Way To Start a Morning


Sometimes, apparently, you can over-egg a pudding. The outcome – according to an inexplicably heated debate on – is a ‘strange eggy flavour’ which leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

I was reminded of precisely this earlier today, after logging onto my Facebook page to see a post by Opposition spokesman on Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese.

How ‘Albo’ and I came to be besties, I cannot explain. We’re not friends, and I haven’t liked his page. At least I don’t recall liking his page (and will deny it to the grave if I actually did). Whatever the truth, waking to one-line drivel from Labor Party automatons is not how I plan to start my mornings.

Albanese’s posting turned out to be a brief (thankfully) piece of self-promoting guff from his appearance this morning on Channel 9’s Today Show. Albanese had gone head-to-head with the Silver Fox, Malcolm Turnbull, himself an unsuccessful leadership contender, and was keen to share it with his followers. Or rather, he was keen to share SOME of it with his followers.

The actual debate ran for almost seven minutes, but Albanese posted just 38 seconds of it. Even so, it was enough to expose Albanese’s love of puerile one-liners – the type for which Tony Abbott is consistently being crucified.

In the space of 30 seconds, Albanese makes no less than five references to the federal budget being ‘unfair’, lending considerable weight to the theory that nothing comes out of Albanese’s mouth unless it has first been vetted by Labor Party hacks and pollsters, who are locked in a permanent hunt for phrases that ‘resonate with the man on the street’.

“The white flag has gone up on fairness on this budget. Joe Hockey’s been out there trying to sell what is a dog of a budget saying that it’s fair,” Albanese said.

“People know it’s unfair. It’s unfair on those people who are pensioners, those people who need to go to the doctor those people who want to educate their kids and their grandkids.

“This is an unfair budget and all of the rhetoric is blown away that Malcolm just said by the fact that they’re introducing a paid parental leave scheme that costs about five and a half billion dollars every year.”

A screen grab from Albanese's Facebook page.

Sadly, this is the flavour of Australian political discussion these days.

Politicians for at least the past two decades have been stuck on ‘phrases that resonate’. But where Albanese is aiming even lower is through ham-fisted video editing, mixed in with some good old fashioned political dishonesty.

Accompanying the video is this message for Albo’s fans: “Watch me tell Malcolm Turnbull why the Budget is unfair. He couldn't bring himself to disagree!”

Really, Anthony? Malcolm couldn’t bring himself to disagree? You sure he just didn’t have time…. Because the words that immediately followed your 30 second pollster-approved-drivel were from the host Karl Stefanovic, along the lines of: “Alright we’ve got to go, the World Cup is on.”

Granted, the camera cuts to a shot of Turnbull looking either confused, constipated or both. But when, exactly, he was supposed to jump in and deny the ‘unfairness’ of the budget given the show was ending remains unclear.

What is clear, however, is that Albanese only stuck up the portion of the video that would help pour fuel on the leadership speculation fire by suggesting Turnbull was uncommitted to defending the federal budget.

Here’s the whole debate, in which Turnbull clearly argues for the budget.

Turnbull: “Well look, it’s a tough budget. There’s no doubt about that.  But the fact is this: Labor left us with revenues below expenditures, deficits as far as the eye could see, heading to $667 billion of debt within the decade. So something had to be done. Now we’ve set out a range of measures, cutting spending, raising taxes, to bridge the gap. And the real challenge for Albo and Shorten is this: Unless you believe that you should leave this massive load of debt to our children and grandchildren, and unless you believe that fiscal responsibility is irrelevant, then what is your alternative plan? Because if Labor don’t like the spending cuts we’ve made – and they clearly don’t – then they’ve got to tell us what are the additional taxes they would raise to make up the difference?  Because the onus is on you Albo.”

Followed immediately by this, from Stefanovic: “Your 10 second response Albo, because we’ve run out of time.” Cue the Cliché Man….

Turnbull may well be eyeing off the leadership of the Liberal Party, but no amount of overblown rhetoric and cheap digital trickery from Albanese – or any other member of the Labor Party cliché factory – is going to make it any easier for him to get there.

The fact Albanese's post has had more than 500 shares at last count doesn't lend any credence to my theory that most punters see through this rubbish. But surely everyone knows that Turnbull’s greatest hope at a leadership tilt lies with the leader himself.

Tony Abbott’s complete inability to utter anything that doesn’t remind us of the haplessness of George W. Bush is what Albanese and co should be focused on. Leave the video trickery to the political staffers.

New Matilda is independent journalism at its finest. The site has been publishing intelligent coverage of Australian and international politics, media and culture since 2004.