Labor wants to talk the economy, but details get in the way
Analysis by political reporter Tom Lowrey, who is following Labor on the campaign trail.
Anthony Albanese has made his economic pitch to some of the country’s top business figures at a lunch in Sydney, arguing he can strike the balance they are looking for – growing the economy, without further pumping up inflation.
And the reception from the room was pretty warm – fielding questions on issues like manufacturing and tax policy.
This week’s interest rates hike means that, somewhat unusually for a Labor campaign, Mr Albanese is happy to keep economic management front and centre.
Labor knows the cost of living is front of plenty of voters minds, and they’re keen for things to stay that way right to polling day.
But this morning’s press conference got derailed from that message, over a question on Labor’s NDIS policy.
Mr Albanese was asked if, given he had referred to Labor’s six-point plan to reform the NDIS yesterday, he could list those points.
While not admitting so, it became clear he couldn’t off the top of the head, though he did try and address the policy’s central themes.
Later in the press conference, a campaign staff member quietly handed him a policy booklet – and when asked again if he could recall the points, he listed them.
A photographic memory is not a prerequisite for the Prime Minister’s office.
But the question came from a suggestion made that the Labor leader is not across the detail of some of his key policies, after occasionally passing questions in press conferences to frontbench colleagues.
It is perfectly reasonable to refer questions on policy detail to those directly responsible for the policy.
But it’s expected a leader is broadly across the policy, without necessarily remembering every detail.
That’s why the decision by campaign staff to try and quietly slip briefing notes into his hands might speak to a nervousness in the campaign, that these sorts of moments leave Mr Albanese looking vulnerable.