Daniel Andrews defends Anthony Albanese after the PM was criticised for spending more time at the tennis than Alice Springs
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has defended Anthony Albanese’s work ethic after the premier was criticized for the time he spent at the Australian Open.
Mr Andrews stated on Tuesday that Mr. Albanese, his friend of three decades, “works hard every day” and described the Melbourne Park tournament as a “meaningful event”.
Mr Albanese watched three nights of tennis in Melbourne, including the men’s final and a semi-final and the women’s final.
His appearance at the Grand Slam on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights came the same week he spent just four hours on the ground in Alice Springs amid a crime crisis.
Stream more about politics with Flash. 25+ news channels in 1 place. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer ends 31 October 2023
Mr Andrews told reporters “how things look is a matter for others to judge” and that Mr Albanese “travels all over the country”.
“His work is a pretty full week in my experience. I often talk to him very late at night about work, about very important reform,” the Premier said.
“I have known the Prime Minister for 30 years running and in my experience you will not find a harder working person.
“So people can form their own views, but what I know, not a matter of perception, a fact, is the prime minister works hard every day.
“There’s no time off when you’re the prime minister and he’s all about getting things done and all about making sure that all the commitments he made at the election are fully met.”
Bill Shorten, Minister for Government Services and NDIS, who Mr. Albanese, who replaced him as federal Labor leader, also jumped to the Prime Minister’s defense on Tuesday.
Mr. Shorten was asked by Sky News Australia host Peter Peter Stefanovic if Albanese had misplaced his priorities.
“His priorities are to make sure that Alice Springs the community there is safe,” said Mr. Shorten, the member for Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s north-west, said.
“The problems in the Northern Territory and especially Alice Springs, I think are 25 years in the making. What we see is all the failures of previous policy and the rebuilding of community there is going to take time and that is the Prime Minister’s priority.
“But it’s really quite irrelevant of the Liberals to criticize him for being at the tennis, the reality is he was at Alice Springs. It’s a big issue for him.
“As for visiting the tennis, he goes every year. It’s nothing new. And he’s also one of the hardest working guys I’ve ever met.”
Paul Fletcher, manager of opposition business, criticized the timing of Mr. Albanese’s tennis trip is in question due to the pressing issue of rampant crime in the Northern Territory.
“It’s a perfectly reasonable question. The Prime Minister has spent a lot of time at the tennis … but there are pressing issues regarding the safety of Indigenous Australians in Alice Springs,” Mr Fletcher told Sky News Australia on Tuesday.
“Let’s see some focus from the Prime Minister on this pressing issue of public safety.”
Melbourne radio presenter Neil Mitchell was even more scathing while interviewing Mr. Shorten interviewed, and compared the behavior to that of Scott Morrison’s terribly timed Hawaii trip.
“I’m not denying he should go to tennis, that’s a good thing. But three days and a few hours in Alice Springs. We’ve got a real crisis there,” Mr Mitchell said on 3AW on Tuesday.
“The Prime Minister must do something and he must be seen to do something. At least ScoMo paid his own way to Hawaii, we paid for Albo to go to tennis.”
Indigenous senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price told The Herald Sun she found images of Mr Albanese “chugging beer” and eating ice cream at the Australian Open an “insult and a kick in the gut”.
“For the people of Alice Springs to see the PM spend more time relaxing and sipping beer at the tennis than he did on the ground in Alice Springs,” Senator Price said.
The Prime Minister was not the only famous face to attend Sunday’s spectacular Djokovic v Tsisipas final, with opposition leader Peter Dutton, Bill Gates and former pie boss Eddie McGuire also in the crowd.
Mr Albanese visited Alice Springs on Tuesday afternoon following community outcry and national coverage of rising crime in the town, and threw his support behind a number of Northern Territory government measures.
The pressure led to the re-introduction of a ban on the sale of takeaway alcohol on Mondays and Tuesdays over the next three months, as well as the restriction of transactions for customers.