In a bid to clear the air on what has become the main talking point of day one of the election campaign, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has again addressed his unemployment rate gaffe in an extended interview with Sky News.
Asked by Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell how the misstep occurred, Albanese said it was a mistake and “I’ll own it”.
“You can come up with a whole range of reasons. There’s a whole lot of figures around,” he said. “Of course, the average unemployment rate under this government is 5.7 [per cent]. Under us it was 5.1.”
Clennell: “I don’t want to get melodramatic here, but is this the day you lost the election?”
Albanese: “You are being melodramatic, Andrew. People make mistakes.”
Earlier today in a press conference, Albanese was left stumped when asked to cite the national unemployment and the Reserve Bank’s official cash rate. Unemployment is at 4 per cent, and the RBA cash rate is at a historic low of 0.1 per cent. The latter has not changed since November 2020.
Albanese sought to use the Sky News interview to frame the blunder as a test of character.
“The key test of character, Andrew, is that when you make a mistake, do you own it? Do you set about fixing it and then do you accept responsibility for it? I accept responsibility.”
The interview also included a light exchange between the pair, as Clennell asked when Albanese would release the details of his plan to tax multinational companies – the only tax reform measure Labor says it will pursue if it forms government.
Albanese: “We’ll announce that Andrew. We’re at day one. We’ve got six weeks and we’ve got to fill the six weeks Andrew. Otherwise, you’ll be bored after a few days.”
Clennell: “Well pretty good start today.”
Albanese: “We want to keep you interested. We want to keep you focused.”
Clennell: “I’m interested, don’t worry about that.”