Monday 31 January 2022

First Newspoll for Australian federal election year 2022 - questions concerning leadership

Newspoll,  survey conducted Tuesday 25 to Friday 28 January 2022 from a sample of 1,526 respondents, 30 January 2022:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government is fighting for political life according to Newspoll with popular support plunging to the lowest levels since the 2018 leadership change.

After a horror summer marked by rising Omicron cases, hundreds of deaths and fury over a shortage of rapid antigen tests, voters have turned on the government with a sharp drop in support.

The Prime Minister is expected to hold an election in May. While March remains an option, today’s Newspoll is unlikely to prompt the PM to go to the polls anytime soon.

According to Newspoll, Labor’s primary vote lifted three points to 41 per cent, it’s highest result since 2018.

For the first time, the Coalition is also behind Labor on the question of which party is deemed better at leading Australia’s recovery out of Covid-19.

In the first Newspoll of 2022, support for the Prime Minister has been smashed with the combined Liberal-Nationals primary vote falling two points to 34 per cent.

On a two-party-preferred basis, Newspoll delivers Labor a winning margin of 56-44 – the largest margin for the opposition since the leadership change in September 2018.

Labor would wipe-out the Morrison Government’s majority if those results are replicated at the election with the potential loss of up to 25 seats and a landslide victory.

This is the worst Newspoll result for the Liberal Party since September 2018 and is worse than previous plunges in support after revelations of his secret Hawaii holiday during the 2019 bushfires, Brittany Higgins allegations in 2021 and anger over the vaccine rollout......

Byron Bay area's median house price was up $550,000, the largest price hike in dollar terms and topping Sydney's record $1.6 million median - up 33.1 per cent last year.


Australia-wide House & Unit purchase price growth December Quarter 2021

DailyTelegraph, 28 January 2022:

House prices in pockets of regional NSW are rising at a faster rate than in Sydney, as ongoing demand from sea and tree changers pushes prices to record heights.

Prices across a string of local government areas have jumped by more than a third year-on-year, new Domain figures for the December quarter reveal.

The Snowy Monaro Regional Council area recorded the largest gain, with the median house price climbing 50.8 per cent to $585,000.

It was closely followed by the Kiama and Byron local government areas, where house prices rose about 48 per cent, to respective medians of $1.495 million and $1.7 million. The Byron area's median was up $550,000, the largest price hike in dollar terms and topping Sydney's record $1.6 million median - up 33.1 per cent last year.

Kiama's neighbouring council area of Wingecarribee, which takes in Bowral, was also among the strongest performing markets, with the median up 37.2 per cent to $1.18 million. As were the Ballina, Tweed and Lismore regions, which all saw prices rise at least 32 per cent over the year, as the rapid price gains seen in Byron rippled out across the state's north east.

Domain's chief of research and economics Nicola Powell said regional NSW price rises had picked up momentum last quarter, with house prices up 12.5 per cent to $720,000 - taking annual growth to 27.5 per cent. It marked regional NSW's strongest quarterly price rise on Domain records and was also more than double the growth seen in the previous three months.

An increase in sea and tree changers looking to leave city living behind during the pandemic, and the rise in remote working, had been driving strong demand and price growth in regional markets, Dr Powell said. As had an increase in cashed-up buyers looking to purchase holiday homes, while international travel remained off the table.

A post-lockdown spike in market activity was likely key to the record growth seen over the past quarter, Dr Powell added.

Tree and sea changers, who had been renting in regional areas, may also have opted to buy as time passed and they committed to a permanent relocation.

Increased demand has seen houses in the Snowy Monaro Regional Council area - including towns such as Jindabyne, Thredbo, Berridale and Cooma - jump $197,000 year-on-year to a median of $585,000 recorded over the six months to December. Prices there have now more than doubled over the past five years.

First National Real Estate Kosciuszko principal Gordon Jenkinson said an influx of tree changers and holiday home buyers from Sydney and Canberra had been the key driver of rapid growth. However, Snowy 2.0 and a shortage of new homes and land in Jindabyne, as developers await a new master plan for the Snowy Mountains precinct, were also playing a role.

"COVID-19 has been a huge influence ... we're getting heaps of the younger demographic, especially guys into outdoor activities, who can now work remotely," he said. "If you're really keen on a sea change there are plenty of coastal towns that offer that beachy feel but alpine and subalpine areas are few."

Mr Jenkinson said land had been selling for outrageous amounts, noting two vacant blocks in Jindabyne recently sold for more than $650,000 and had traded for between $220,000-$240,000 about two years ago. A waterfront block in East Jindabyne that traded for $650,000 18 months ago had resold for $1.455 million.

Sunday 30 January 2022

COVID-19 Global Pandemic State of Play: New South Wales & Northern NSW 28 January 2022


By Wednesday 26 January 2022 only est. 78.25% of the entire Australian population (ABS pop 2021) had received 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine & none those were aged between 0-11 years. Only 27.58% total pop had received a booster shot

As at 3pm on Friday 28 January 2022, a total of 29,982 new confirmed COVID-10 cases have been reported in Australia, along with 97 COVID-19 related deaths.

A total of 4,953 COVID-19 cases were hospitalised across all states and territories, with 142 in intensive care units (ICU).

Nationally there were approximately 393,038 active cases, i.e. infections which had occurred in the last 1-7 days.

The national diagnostic test positivity rate was 3.1% on 28 January and, as at 27 January nationally the source of all infections recorded over a 24 hour period was Overseas 0.6% and Locally Acquired 23.8% with the remaining 75.6% of cases remaining under investigation.

Currently SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern Delta and Omicron, along with Omicron BA2, are active in the Australian population.


In the 24 hours up to 8pm Friday 28 January 2022 there were 13,354 confirmed COVID-19 cases, along with 49 COVID-19 related deaths; 28 women and 21 men.

Of the 49 people who died; two people were in their 60s, 10 people were in their 70s, 17 people were in their 80s, 19 people were in their 90s, and one person was aged 100 years old.

There are currently 2,693 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospitals across the state, including 186 people in intensive care, 73 of whom require ventilation.

Of the 13,354 positive test results in the previous 24 hours: 1,841 are from South Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD) (1,141 PCR and 700 RATs), 1,720 are from Hunter New England LHD (1,075 PCR and 645 RATs), 1,646 are from Western Sydney LHD (1,047 PCR and 599 RATs), 1,504 from South Eastern Sydney LHD (864 PCR and 640 RATs), 1,283 from Northern Sydney LHD (660 PCR and 623 RATs), 993 are from Sydney LHD (609 PCR and 384 RATs), 782 are from Illawarra Shoalhaven (511 PCR and 271 RATs), 684 are from the Central Coast (416 PCR and 268 RATs), 665 are from Nepean Blue Mountains LHD (413 PCR and 252 RATs), 529 are from Northern NSW LHD (274 PCR and 255 RATs), 471 are from Western NSW LHD (282 PCR and 189 RATs), 434 are from Murrumbidgee LHD (194 PCR and 240 RATs), 323 are from Mid North Coast LHD (96 PCR and 227 RATs), 247 are from Southern NSW LHD (152 PCR and 95 RATs), 30 are from Far West LHD (13 PCR and 17 RATs), 15 are in correctional settings, and 187 are yet to be assigned to an LHD (166 PCR and 21 RATs). [my yellow highlighting]

The diagnostic test positivity rate for NSW was est. 3.1% on 28 January 2022.


As at 8pm 28 January 2022 there were a total of 529 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were recorded across the 7 local government areas in the Northern NSW Local Health District, along with one COVID-19 related death.

There are 36 COVID-19 positive patients in hospital in Northern NSW, with 6 of these in ICU.

The daily infection spread breakdown was as follows:

Tweed Shire – 218 cases with one death of a person in aged in his/her 80s.

Ballina Shire -77 cases

Clarence Valley - 67 cases

Byron Shire - 61 cases

Lismore City - 60 cases

Richmond Valley - 41 cases

Kyogle Shire - 5 cases


NOTE: Marked under reporting of new daily cases impacts on data produced at federal, state and local government area level by government agencies and, on any given date statistics compiled by federal agencies may be incomplete for the dates stated.


Time for that annual warning about the folly of over-developing Australia's coastline due to increased flooding, erosion and sea inundation. A warning that all three tiers of government have blithely ignored for too many years


Science and climate modelling has been informing people living in Australia's coastal zones that global warming-induced sea level rises, along with changes in east & west coast current speeds, more erosive wave patterns & increased flooding, will make living along the coastal fringe highly problematic the deeper the earth moves into this era-long climate change.

Coastal residents have been warned every year since at least 2006 and 2022 is no different.

This is the message in 2021-22.

What the NSW Government’s ADAPT NSW has to say about climate change-induced sea-level rise along the state’s coastline:

Projected sea level rise along the NSW coast

There is a direct relationship between climate change and sea level rise. As our climate warms, sea level rises mainly because of thermal expansion (when water warms up, it expands) and melting of snow, glaciers and ice caps (which increases the volume of ocean water). However, sea level rise is also effected by local oceanographic processes (e.g. changes to ocean currents) and changes to land levels.

Sea level rise is projected to accelerate over the 21st century. The most recent sea level rise projections are from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report. The IPCC predict a likely sea level increase on the central NSW coast of

between 0.21m and 1.06m by 2100, and

between 0.28m and 1.95m by 2150.

This is dependent on the level of future greenhouse gas emissions.

IPCC modelling suggests slightly higher sea level rise to the north of the state and slightly lower to the south. These projections do not include processes associated with the melting of ice sheets which for NSW could result in sea level rise of up to 2.3m by 2100 and 5.5m by 2150.

In the longer term, the IPCC show sea level is committed to rise for centuries to millennia due to continuing deep ocean warming and ice sheet melt, and will remain elevated for thousands of years.

If warming is limited to 1.5°C, global mean sea level will rise by about 2 to 3m.

for 2°C, 2 to 6m is expected, and

for 5° 19 to 22m is expected.  

This is the current seawater inundation scenario message in Predicted Coastal Flooding Resulting from Climate Change, based the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report Update 2021.

Examples from Coastal Risk Australia 2100 interactive mapping tool using IPCC scenarios for the period 2021 to 2100.

Sometime in the next 79 years this is what two small coastal towns will probably look like from the air.......

Ballina, New South Wales - blue area seawater inundation at 0.8m

Yamba, New South Wales - blue area seawater inundation at 0.8m

The Daily Telegraph on 18 January 2022:

The Coastal Risk Map shows what Australia will look like if sea levels rise due to climate change, showing how much extra water will filter into our cities and suburbs and the impact it will have on our way of life.

The map was originally created by spatial mapping company NGIS with non-profit partner Frontier SI in 2015, but has recently been updated with new data from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report.

The sea level projections show that if greenhouse gas emissions are moderated, the ocean may rise by 0.84m by 2100.

But a global rise approaching 2m by 2100 and 5m by 2150 would be possible under a very high greenhouse gas emissions scenario- much higher than first thought.

NGIS Executive Director Nathan Eaton said the aim of the map was to illustrate the data and give Australians a better understanding of how sea level rises could impact their lives.

Previously the map showed a rise of 0.74m at it’s lowest, that’s since changed to 0.84m,” Mr Eaton said.

Now less than a metre doesn’t seem like a massive difference to someone, but in low lying areas, even 10 centimetres can make a huge difference.”

Geobiology, archaeology and sea level expert Dr Ben Shaw said the map could be a “wake up call” for authorities on the urgency of curbing climate change.

It’s phenomenal to see how impacted parts of Australia will be … a real concern for people living in Sydney, across NSW and around Australia, our coastline will look very different and there could be a serious environmental disaster,” Dr Shaw said.

We will see the impacts of climate change regardless, but if we put the policies and strategies in place now to curb it … it can make a huge difference over generations and decades to avoid something like this.”

Otherwise things like our water sources, our infrastructure, our suburbs and way of life may have to change drastically.”

The Daily Telegraph has analysed the Coastal Risk Map to see just how much a five metre rise in sea levels would impact NSW - here’s what we found and how it will affect you.


Under the current worst case projections, if sea levels rise by 5 metres by 2150:

FAR NORTH COAST (Tweed Heads and beyond down to Coffs Harbour)

Most of Coffs Harbour will feel the impact of rising sea levels. Residents living in the vicinity of Boambee Beach out to North Boambee Valley and in and around Park Beach will be impacted, with water set to flow into the CBD.

Moonee Beach and significant sections of Woolgoolga and Emerald Beach will disappear or become a small set of islands as water flows above the shoreline. Other beachside areas like Red Rock, Wooli and Sandon will be overrun and become lakes or bays.

A major new lake system will be established flowing more than 60km inland from Yamba to Grafton if sea levels rise.

Areas like Grafton itself, Cowper, Townsend Harwood Island, Talumbi and Yamba and Wood Head will cease to exist, forming a large lake with a the village of South Arm in the centre.

A similar large harbour will be carved out between Evans Head and Lennox Head, swallowing up Ballina, Wardell, Broadwater, Coraki, Woodburn and as far down as Bungawalbin, with waterways also swelling to impact Lismore.

Directly along the coastline, the enclave of Byron Bay will be completely awash, as will every other settlement stretching up to Kingscliff and past the Queensland border.

Water will overtake Brunswick Heads, New Brighton, Pottsville, Hastings Point, Casuarina all the way up to Tweed Heads, flowing inland to inundate areas like Murwillumbah, and creating another large lake.

Down near Byron, Mullumbimby will also be severely impacted.

Saturday 29 January 2022

Cartoon of the Week

Cathy Wilcox

A picture is worth a thousand words in an election year

Essential Research uses statistical analysis to examine, interpret and report on survey data which is collected via a fortnightly online omnibus active from the Wednesday night of each week and closing on the following Sunday. The target population is all Australian residents aged 18 of age and older. Participants are invited to participate and completed the survey online without an interviewer present and incentives are offered for participation. The response rate varies each week, but usually delivers 1,000+ interviews. Quotas are applied to be representative of the target population by age, gender and location. 

This is one of the graphs contained in the Essential Report published on Tuesday, 25 January 2022 - in response to the survey question asked on 24 January: "Overall, how would you rate the federal government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak?" 

The percentage breakdown was 35% of all survey respondents thought the Morrison Government had done "Quite/Very Good" and 38% of all survey respondents thought the Morrison Government has done "Quite/Very Poor".

Broken down by state, the percentage of respondents who answered that question favourably had fallen across all states since 13 December 2021, with the exception of Queensland where the number of survey respondents who thought their state government had done "Quite/Very Good" rose 3 percentage points to 46% on 24 January 2022.


Friday 28 January 2022

Koala rescuer Maria Matthes named Ballina’s Citizen of the Year in 2020 Australia Day Awards

Echo, 27 January 2022:

Ballina Shire Citizen of the Year 2022 Maria Matthes with Ballina Mayor Sharon Cadwallader. Photo supplied.

Koala conservationist Maria Matthes was named Ballina’s Citizen of the Year in yesterday’s Australia Day Awards, which were closed to the public but livestreamed from the Lennox Head Cultural Centre.

MC Sandra Jackson joined special guest Liz Ellis in presenting the awards, along with nominees, guests, and local councillors, led by new Ballina Mayor Sharon Cadwallader.

The two new Greens councillors were not present. Cr Simon Chate told The Echo, ‘While we congratulate those people who attained Australian citizenship today, Councillor Dicker and I chose not to attend today’s Australia Day ceremony as January 26 has become a day of loss and mourning for our indigenous community and we feel it is inappropriate to celebrate this date.’

In all, thirty nominations were acknowledged across the award categories of Sports, Young Citizen, Senior Citizen, Environmental, Community Event, Arts/Cultural and Volunteer of the Year.

Koala. Photo Tree Faerie.

Citizen of the Year Maria Matthes has been a threatened species ecologist for more thirty years, with a particular interest in koalas, ecological communities including koala habitat and fire ecology, recovery planning and education.

In 2016 she became a koala rescuer with Friends of the Koala. Ever since she has been on call 24 hours a day to conduct welfare checks and to rescue sick or injured koalas and transport them to the Koala Hospital in Lismore.

Ms Matthes said the award was unexpected and she was ‘a bit embarassed’ to be nominated again. ‘But with consideration I thought that it’s a reflection of the value and importance that the community places on our koalas and the effort I am putting into recovering them… it has been a really tumultuous four years for them.’

She spoke about losses of koalas due to drought, car accidents, dogs and disease, and her fears for koalas living along the planned Barlows Road bypass, but said the wet weather was helping the species come back from the brink in the wider Ballina area.

Ms Matthes said she looked forward to government at different levels doing more to protect koalas......

Read the full article here.


Calls for a royal commission into the Morrison Government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic are not going away


Crikey, 27 January 2022:


Three Coalition senators have broken ranks to side with Labor (and the crossbench) in questioning the government’s pandemic approach, Guardian Australia reports.

Nationals Matt Canavan and Sam McMahon along with Liberal Gerard Rennick are backing a royal commission or inquiry into the Coalition’s handling of COVID-19 (incidentally, those three also crossed the floor to vote against vaccine mandates, as Sky News reported). Independent Rex Patrick wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week to ask for one, while independent Zali Steggall is working on draft terms of reference.

It comes amid warnings that the rapid antigen test shortage could stick around for “many months” — industry heavyweights told the SMH this morning that we could make two million of the RATs a week by spending $20 million — chump change for the government — on production lines. Pathology Technology Australia’s boss added that 99% of RAT kits sold here are imported, even though Australian companies Ellume, Lumos Diagnostic, and AnteoTech have all developed tests (which are sold overseas).

Also this morning the National Retailers Association says staff are only trickling back into work amidst the relaxed close contact rule for essential workers, The Australian ($) says. Employees are returning to distribution centres at a rate of 2% a day, while about 30% of staff at meat processing centres remain absent at the moment. National cabinet is meeting today to discuss supply chain issues, as well as the country’s rate of hospitalisations and deaths.


Thursday 27 January 2022

Opposition Leader & Labor MP for Grayndler Anthony Albanese at the National Press Club of Australia on 25 January 2022

I acknowledge that tomorrow is a very difficult day for our First Nations people.”  Anthony Albanese, 25 January 2022. IMAGE: YouTube video snapshot 


Leader of the Opposition & Labor MP for Grayndler since 1996, Anthony Albanese’s Press Club Address, at the 'unoffical' commencement of the parliamentary year, 25 January 2022, transcript:

Australia’s best days are ahead of us.

Not just the better days that we’re all hoping for right now, but the best our nation has ever seen.

Together, we are ready for it.

Australia Day is a good moment for us to reflect; to consider our blessings as a nation and to celebrate them. Perhaps that is more important now than it has been for decades.

We have been through a time so challenging, none of us will ever forget it.

I know, as we enter the third year of the pandemic, a lot of Australians are exhausted. Worn-down by bad news, uncertainty, inconvenience, disruption and separation from loved ones.

And we look forward to the day when we can put all this behind us.

My argument to you today is that if we get this moment right, Australia can emerge from this once-in-a-century crisis better, stronger, more fair, and more prosperous.

My case for government is that we must learn the lessons of this pandemic in order to build a more resilient Australia for the future.

What stands before us now is the opportunity to build on the best qualities that characterise Australians, and to realise our potential as a people and as a nation more fully than at any time in our history.

The chance is ours to seize.

But it requires courage.

It requires vision.

It requires leadership that brings Australians together.

And it demands a government that steps up to its responsibilities and fulfills its most fundamental roles: to protect our people, to act as a force for good, and to change people’s lives for the better.

Just ‘pushing through’ this pandemic is not enough. We need to learn from it, we need to use what the last two years have taught us to build a better future.

Paul Keating once said the lesson of the First World War was a lesson about ordinary people – and the lesson was they were not ordinary.

We’ve had that same truth brought home to us these past two years.

I say it every chance I get – the Australian people have been magnificent during this crisis.

Calm in the midst of turmoil, looking out for each other in tough times.

If I’m elected Prime Minister of this great country of ours, I see it as my deep responsibility to repay these sacrifices, to reward these efforts, to prove worthy of the generosity and bravery of the Australian people.

And that means building on the lessons of this pandemic:

  • One, a strong, properly funded public health system, with Medicare as its backbone, is vital to every aspect of our lives.
  • Two, the rise of insecure work has undermined too many families’ confidence in their future.
  • Three, stripping our TAFE and training sector of investment over the last decade has led to crippling skills gaps and worker shortages.
  • Four, the need to manufacture more things here in Australia – to be more self-reliant – and to back Australian businesses, so our fate isn’t held hostage to global supply chains.
  • Five, the need for a high quality NBN - because this is not an optional extra, it is fundamental to working from home, building a small business, education for our children, and vital medical consultations.
  • And six, affordable childcare – because this too isn’t a luxury. It’s an essential part of family and working life.

In a recent profile, when asked to reflect on his time in office, Scott Morrison suggested he is not interested in leaving a legacy. For him, leaving no legacy is a conscious choice. I find this remarkable.

If given the opportunity, I want to make a real difference for the people of our nation – and to strengthen the nation itself.

I want a better future.

And if I’m successful, the future we are working toward will be demonstrated to Australians by the end of Labor’s first term.

An Australia with rising living standards, lifted by more secure work, better wages, better conditions for small business, stronger Medicare, and more affordable childcare.

An Australia with more secure jobs in both existing and new industries – industries that will be reaping the benefits of cheap, renewable energy.

An Australia that is secure in our place in the world, standing up for Australian democratic values and for human rights on the global stage.

An Australia with robust funding for the Australian Defence Force, which rebuilds our diplomatic service, revitalises our international aid program, and works closely with our American ally and regional partners in the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead.

An inclusive society, where gender, race or religion are no indication of a person’s opportunities or possibilities.

An Australia reconciled with ourselves and with our history, and with a constitutionally recognised First Nations’ Voice to Parliament.

The desire to deliver that legacy for Australians, with the lessons of this moment at its core, will be a driving force of a Labor government.

Lessons Not Learnt

Of course, the greatest crisis we have faced since the Global Financial Crisis is the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

It is beyond comprehension that this Government has actively refused to learn from this pandemic.

This Government has failed repeatedly on testing, tracing, vaccinations and quarantine – it is the Grand Slam of pandemic failure.

A Prime Minister who is repeatedly warned by experts about what is coming and given the opportunity to plan ahead – but repeatedly fails to listen, and more importantly fails to act.

And while Mr Morrison talks drivel at the cricket and shows off the contents of his kitchen, Australians are being confronted by empty supermarket shelves.

And contrary to Barnaby Joyce’s statement yesterday, Australians are dying from COVID in record numbers – over 900 lives lost in the first 25 days of this year.

Never before has Australia had a Prime Minister with such a pathological determination to avoid responsibility.

He declares:

It’s not my job.

It’s not a race.

It’s a matter for the states.

He doesn’t hold a hose – and he doesn’t give a RATs.

Every action, every decision has to be dragged out of him – and so often, after all the build-up, he gets it wrong anyway. And it’s always too little too late.

Australia needs leaders who first show up and then step up.

Not a Prime Minister who goes missing and thinks that “getting out of the way” helps Australians manage an unprecedented crisis in the midst of uncertain, difficult times.

For all their talk of less government, they are Australia’s biggest government in three quarters of a century – with the largest deficit since World War II, the largest debt and, outside of the Howard era, our highest taxing government in modern Australian economic history.

Creating the Way

Australia needs good government now more than ever.

A country and a people as extraordinary as ours deserve a government to match.

A government of competence and integrity.

A government that doesn’t get out of the way but helps to create the way.

A real government is the steering wheel of a nation, not just a bumper sticker.

A country and a people as extraordinary as ours deserve a government to match.

Since Federation, we have been united from our Pacific coast to the Indian Ocean.

To use Edmund Barton’s phrase – ‘a nation for a continent and a continent for a nation’.

On the eve of Australia Day, consider just how remarkable that is.

Some talk about Federation as a mere administrative change – but it was so much more than that.

It was fuelled by a belief that we could be more than the sum of our parts.

And an ambition to do things better – and differently.

When you consider how much we have achieved since Federation, that belief has been justified time and time again.

Yet, as we begin 2022 there is an obvious need to bring the nation back together again.

To treat the states with respect, rather than simply as objects of political opportunity or attack.

To be as concerned with the regions as with our biggest cities.

We cannot be complacent in our good fortune.

Even Australia is not immune to the forces of division, whether it’s ideology, political opportunism or cynical self-interest.

We have seen how this plays out across the world.

This is not the path I will take.

I choose the path built on the lessons that the pandemic made so clear to us: that we are stronger together.

More resilient together.

Better together.

And that is a truth that guides me as someone who now puts himself forward to be Prime Minister.

It is why we need federation reform.

After decades of moving toward more national consistency - with technology helping us steadily overcome the distances on our vast continent - what we’ve seen in recent times is a reversal of that once inexorable trend.

More differences. Less cohesion.

I will change that. I will work with all state and territory leaders, to advance Australia’s common interest for the benefit of all.

Backbone of Public Health

As the pandemic has so forcefully reminded us, our togetherness is underpinned by our universal public health system.

Perhaps the greatest lesson we can take from these last two years is what a grave mistake it would be to take our public health system and Medicare for granted.

Right now, our health workers are paying the price for some of the most serious public policy failures our country has seen.

They are overworked. They are exhausted.

We might roll our eyes about wearing a mask to the shops – they suit up in full PPE for 10 hour shifts.

Like firefighters during the Black Summer, they put their own wellbeing on the line for their fellow Australians.

They embody the best of the Australian spirit.

We owe it to them to study what the pandemic has revealed about the vulnerabilities of our public health system – and strengthen it for the future.

At the heart of it all is Medicare – a proud Australian achievement. Medicare is part of who we are. It makes our way of life possible.

With its green and gold, it is the most patriotic piece of plastic you can have in your wallet.

Medicare was established by the Hawke government, building on years of work by Bill Hayden.

Bob Hawke’s government never hid behind the cowardly pretence of ‘getting out of the way’ – they knew good governments made the way.

Bob’s first instinct was to bring Australians together. Under him, Labor built Medicare not just as a safety net but as a conscious act of nation building.

Right now, we could strengthen both the safety net and our sense that we are all in this together by making rapid antigen tests available free to every Australian through Medicare.

That is what a Labor government would have done at this moment.

Because Labor will always strengthen Medicare. We know there is nothing more central to our families, our communities, our schools and our economy than our health.

A Labor government will deal with the damage inflicted by nine long years of neglect from this Liberal Government.

Protecting the health of Australians will be a defining issue in the upcoming election. And a critical choice will be this: who do you trust to keep Medicare safe?

Australians know where Labor stands.

Labor built Medicare. Labor has always fought for Medicare. And only Labor will protect Medicare.

Back on Track

The past two years have been hard for all Australians, but I think all parents know that our children have done it especially tough.

Remote learning, exam chaos, cancelled sport, and now the delays in vaccine supply, have turned what should be some of the best years of their lives into a cascade of stress and uncertainty.

Some children have fallen behind academically, and many are struggling with their mental health. And so many are just missing their friends.

Parents are stressed from home schooling; anxious about the weight the pandemic has put on their children’s shoulders, as well as their own.

Over the past two years, time-starved parents put aside their own needs to support their children.

Homes have been reconfigured into classrooms, while parents sit with the quiet heartbreak of knowing this wasn’t the childhood they had hoped to give their precious children.

They want to do the right thing, to keep their children safe and make the best choice. They are looking for guidance from their federal government.

But they are waiting in vain for Mr Morrison to come good on his vows.

The man who stood before the country and promised a national plan for getting our children back to school – but didn’t deliver one.

He promised a national approach in which his government would work with the states – instead he did what he always does: he palmed off his share of the work on to the states.

The states have done a great job in picking up the slack from the slackest government in living memory.

But this is not how it is meant to be.

Like a heart that decided to give itself a bypass, this government has decided to outsource responsibility for the fulfilment of its core obligations to the Australian people.

It has run from its responsibilities to schools for nine long years - since Tony Abbott’s horror first budget in 2014.

Education is fundamental and essential to the jobs, productivity and prosperity of the future.

And education is the biggest and most powerful weapon we have against disadvantage.

Labor sees education as about creating opportunity. Liberals see it as about entrenching privilege.

It’s why Labor remains committed, working with state and territory governments, to getting every school to 100 per cent of its fair funding level.

And it’s why today I‘m announcing Labor’s plan to help our schools and students bounce back.

Our plan starts with the Student Wellbeing Boost. It will provide funding for school activities that get children back on track.

This could mean more funding for school counsellors and psychologists, and for camps, excursions, sporting and social activities that improve children’s wellbeing.

Every Australian school stands to benefit from this investment. And the schools themselves will decide how to use the extra money to best help their students.

Our plan will fund a free mental health check tool. Schools could choose to use this to help quickly identify students who may need extra support.

Our plan will direct the Education Department to conduct an urgent review of the impact of COVID on students with disability, so they get the support they need.

These children have been among the most vulnerable during this pandemic, and they deserve a government that prioritises their protection along with their education.

The other element of our plan is a Schools Upgrade Fund, which will provide much needed support for improving ventilation in schools and creating outdoor learning areas.

Both are key to managing the spread of Covid. Just as they will be valuable for schools in a post-Covid world as well.

This is something the Morrison Government should have already been doing to make sure schools are safe for our kids and teachers to return to.

And not just for this term.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly tells us that Covid will be with us for some time, so we need to act and adapt.

That means making our schools safer and better prepared for what’s ahead.

Mr Morrison never thinks as far ahead as next week, but the very business of a Labor government is to plan for the future.

This is what good government does – it plans ahead instead of waiting for a crisis before acting, and then doing too little, too late.

It’s one more pandemic lesson Scott Morrison hasn’t learnt – but we have.

Plans for a Better Future

Throughout the pandemic, Labor has developed a series of plans that share a common spirit: to avoid repeating the mistakes of the present, and allow us to build the very best version of Australia possible.

To imagine a better future and then set about creating it.

Covid has made it clear that being at the end of a global supply chain is a precarious place to be. We must be a country that manufactures things here.

Our plan for a Future Made in Australia, with our National Reconstruction Fund at its heart, will propel our growing self-sufficiency.

It will work alongside our plans for Secure Australian Jobs and a Better Life for Working Families to give Australians the tools they need to shape the lives they want and deserve.

We’ve already announced a number of key policies that set us on this path:

  • Our Buy Australian Plan – because government should back our businesses;
  • Our creation of Jobs and Skills Australia and our Made in Australia Skills Plan offering free TAFE places in areas of skill shortages – because these shortages are hampering our recovery and wasting the potential of our people;
  • Our plan for Secure Work – because casual jobs disappeared without warning during the pandemic, and it isn’t the Australian way to leave each other so vulnerable;
  • Our Cheaper Childcare Plan – because working families need the support – especially women. It will give families more choice, it will strengthen the economy, and it will be good for future generations;
  • Our longstanding plan for the NBN – because high speed internet, as originally conceived by Labor, is vital to work, school and family life;
  • And our Disaster Ready Fund, because Australians deserve a government that looks forward and plans to mitigate the impact of natural disasters.

Our plans add up to a better future in which Australia stands on its own two feet, self-reliant and self-assured.

A country that embraces its place in Asia, the fastest growing region of the world in human history; forging deeper relationships in the region as the tyranny of distance gives way to the privilege of proximity.

A country that is smart, innovative, and adaptive, where businesses find a partner in a resolutely pro-growth, pro-employment, pro-investment government.

A country with secure, good-paying work – because a job is about so much more than a wage. It’s about identity, community, connection – and giving your family the standard of life that you aspire to.

A country with world class health care, education and child care – so that at every stage of life our people have all the opportunities and tools they need to succeed and thrive.

A country that treats its natural environment as a national asset to be protected – not only because it supports communities and local economies, but because of our moral obligation to preserve our land and water for future generations.

I also see us as a country that uses its abundant natural resources to drive new industries and become a renewable energy superpower, creating jobs as power prices fall, and writing a new chapter in Australia’s proud energy story.

Our Powering Australia plan will reduce Australia’s emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, putting us on track for net zero by 2050.

It’s a plan with economic growth at its heart: creating over 600,000 jobs, attracting $52 billion of private sector investment, spurring new industries and cutting power bills by $275 for the average family.

Unlike Mr Morrison’s glossy pamphlet, Powering Australia is underpinned by the most extensive independent expert modelling ever done for any policy by an Opposition.

Our plan has the backing of the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the ACTU, the National Farmers Federation, and a range of non-government organisations.

That is just one practical example of how I will bring Australians together, united by a common vision and a national partnership for progress.

We can – finally – put the climate wars behind us.

How We Do It

Setting Australia on a path to a better future is not just about what we do. It also matters how we do it.

It was here at the National Press Club that Paul Keating first said if you change the government, you change the country.

My team and I want to change the government – and we want to change the way government operates and the way government is perceived.

I don’t expect to make Australians fall in love with Question Time – but I do want more people to have greater faith in the integrity of our parliament and its representatives.

Australian democracy is a great national achievement.

But our system is no more immune to the threat of extremism and polarisation and the decaying, corrosive influence of corruption and cynicism than other democracies around the world – many of whom are grappling with these very challenges.

The best way to make democracy stronger is to make government work better.

That’s why I will advocate for federation reform, with greater co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States – to be true to that vision of Australia as so much more than the sum of its parts.

And we need a National Anti-Corruption Commission – to restore faith in government and trust in our public officials.

We will end this government’s culture of rorts – because public money should not be splashed around in cynical vote-buying exercises.

And just as I want to encourage the Commonwealth and state governments to work together better, I want to encourage business and unions to work together, because ultimately they share the same interests: a stronger economy, increased productivity, more good jobs.

We can create a better deal for workers and grow our economy at the same time, with leadership that brings both together.

For our country to advance together, as one, we must advance equality for women.

We need to respect women across all elements of our culture – at work, at home, in schools and in our community. Women’s safety must be an absolute national priority.

And on her final day as Australian of the Year, I’d like to take a moment to thank Grace Tame for her extraordinary courage and fierce advocacy.

Grace, you’ve inspired countless Australians and you’ve earned enormous respect.

The events in parliament that were revealed last year constituted a powerful wake-up call. But we have had so many wake-up calls. We have no excuse to wait for another.

Every time I look around our Caucus Room and see my colleagues such as those here today – Tanya Plibersek, Linda Burney, Katy Gallagher, Kristina Keneally, Michelle Rowland - I am reminded of a simple, powerful truth: that our country will be so much closer to what it should be when women enjoy true equality.

We cannot look to our future without also reflecting on the past, including injustice to First Nations’ people.

Until a nation acknowledges the full truth of its history, it will be burdened by its unspoken weight.

We must acknowledge the wrongs, learn from them, and look for ways of healing.

Truth-telling can be confronting – but it need not be grounds for conflict.

We should come to this process not armed for battle in culture war, but with an open mind – and far more importantly – an open heart.

With the lessons of our history and our enduring Australian values, we can forge an inclusive, sustainable, and fair social compact.

With the lessons of our history and our enduring Australian values, we can forge an inclusive, sustainable, and fair social compact.

And a key part of that is to keep heading down the path to become a country deeply proud of being home to the oldest continuous cultures on Earth.

A nation that takes up the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its gracious, patient call for Voice, Treaty, and Truth.

A powerful and inspiring new chapter in a 60,000 year story.


This crisis has shown us we are stronger together.

But that truth is older and runs deeper than this pandemic.

Tom Uren was the closest person in my life I had to a father figure.

He fought in World War 2. He spent most of it as a prisoner of war.

And he always said his fellow Australian prisoners survived because of a simple code:

The healthy looked after the sick, the strong looked after the weak, the young looked after the old.

To me, that’s always been the best of Australia.

And those are the values I want to bring to the job of Prime Minister.

Leadership that brings people together in a spirit of compassion and decency.

A government that seeks to unite the country – that earns the respect of Australians by treating them with respect, by dealing with them truthfully, by taking responsibility.

One day, the COVID-19 pandemic will be written about in the past tense.

We all hope that day is soon.

By then, I know that, as Australians, we will have done so much more than get back on our feet.

Beyond the recovery, I see renewal and rejuvenation. An Australia rebuilding on the foundation of its people’s greatest strengths and best qualities.

An Australia that is worthy of our people – and their potential.

An Australia where no-one is held back and no-one is left behind.

Our best days are ahead of us. Together, we will get out of the pandemic and chart a path to them.


Questions from journalists and Anthony Albanese's replies begin at 34:49 mins into this video.

Anthony Norman 'Albo' Albanese

Born 2 March 1963 in Sydney and raised in the inner western suburbs of that city.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Economics (University of Sydney).

Elected to the Australian Parliament House of Representatives as Labor MP for Grayndler, New South Wales, in 1996. Re-elected 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019.

Leader of the Opposition from 27.5.2019.

Former ministerial appointments

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government from 3.12.2007 to 14.9.2010.

Cabinet Minister from 3.12.2007 to 18.9.2013.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport from 14.9.2010 to 18.9.2013.

Minister for Regional Development and Local Government from 25.3.2013 to 1.7.2013.

Deputy Prime Minister from 27.6.2013 to 18.9.2013.

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy from 1.7.2013 to 18.9.2013.

Connection to the Northern Rivers region in NSW – holidayed here in his youth & in 2007 spoke in support of Northern Rivers communities’ strong opposition to the Howard-Turnbull plan to turn one or more of the state's northern coastal rivers inland, for the intended benefit of business & industry in Qld & NSW sections of the Murray-Darling Basin to the detriment of our region.