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Anthony Albanese could not state the national unemployment rate or the cash rate during a disastrous first press conference of the election campaign.
The Labor leader was asked if he knows what the cash rate is but dodged the question by saying: ‘We can do the old Q and A over 50 different figures’.
The rate has been at a historic low of 0.1 per cent since November 2020.
Anthony Albanese (pictured on Monday) could not name the national unemployment rate or the cash rate during a disastrous first press conference of the election campaign
Mr Albanese was later asked what the national unemployment rate is. He tried to guess but got it wrong.
‘The national unemployment rate at the moment is… I think it’s 5.4… sorry. I’m not sure what it is,’ he said.
The unemployment rate is four per cent, the lowest since 2008.
Journalists quizzed the Labor leader on the figures in a press conference in the marginal seat of Bass in northern Tasmania, a day after the election was called.
Shadow Finance Minister Katy Gallagher was able to answer both questions correctly.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in the southern NSW marginal Labor seat of Gilmore with Liberal candidate and former state minister Andrew Constance.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in the southern NSW marginal Labor seat of Gilmore with Liberal candidate and former state minister Andrew Constance
Asked the same questions, he said: ‘0.1 per cent is the cash rate, it’s been there for some time.
‘The unemployment rate I’m happy to say is 4 per cent… it came down from 5.7 per cent when we were first elected.’
Mr Morrison falsely claimed the unemployment rate has hit a 50-year-low. In fact it was also four per cent in 2008.
The Prime Minister was also grilled about his disastrous visit to the nearby town of Cobargo where he forced an upset local woman to shake his hand after the 2019 bushfires.
Asked if he would apologise, he said: ‘I already have. That was a difficult day.
‘As I moved through that community. It was in trauma. It was shell-shocked.
‘There were those exchanges that day, but there are many other exchanges that day which were very different.’
Labor is ahead by six points on a two-party preferred basis, according to the latest Newspoll.
The gap has already tightened from 10 points three weeks ago.
Australian Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese pads schnoodles Jack and Gus as he speaks to the owners Brian and Sue Gavin after doing the round of morning TV interviews
The Prime Minister fired the starter’s gun on the federal election campaign after a 20-minute meeting with the Governor-General on Sunday morning.
He has opted for the latest possible election date to give him extra time to recover his poll deficit and engineer a come-from-behind win.
Mr Morrison acknowledged his personal approval rating is dire after several mistakes including a holiday to Hawaii during the 2019 bushfires and a botched Covid vaccine rollout.
Politicians mucking up on the figures
Former PM John Howard in in 2007 couldn’t tell Tracy Grimshaw on A Current Affair what the cash rate was.
He lost the 2007 election with the Reserve Bank raising rates in November 2007, same month as election.
In 2015, Queensland Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk in an FM radio interview couldn’t recall the GST rate being 10 per cent but she went on to win the election after just one term in Opposition.
Earlier this year Scott Morrison couldn’t state the price of bread or a pint of milk, admitting he doesn’t do his own shopping
But he trumpeted Australia’s economic recovery after the pandemic, which has seen unemployment drop to four per cent, the lowest rate since 2008.
‘Our government is not perfect – we’ve never claimed to be. But we are upfront and you may see some flaws but can also see what we have achieved for Australia,’ he said.
He finished his pitch focusing on the economy, saying: ‘Only by voting for the Liberals and Nationals at this election on May 21 can you ensure a strong economy for a stronger future.’
Meanwhile, Mr Albanese touted his vision for a ‘better future’ with cheaper childcare, action on climate change and free TAFE courses.
Analysts say the six-week campaign will focus on the personality and character of the two major party leaders because neither are proposing any major radical policies.
With inflation running high and wage growth low, the cost of living is set be to front and centre of the campaign.
National security is also a key issue with war in Ukraine and China increasingly flexing its muscles in the Indo-Pacific.
Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National Coalition has 76 seats in the House of Representatives, the exact amount needed for a majority government.
Labor has 68, meaning it needs to gain eight seats to form a majority.
There is a real possibility that nobody wins the required 76 seats, resulting in a hung parliament with independent MPs as kingmakers.
Mr Albanese has been in Parliament for 26 years and served in cabinet for six years under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.
He is from the Left faction of the Labor party but has styled himself as a non-radical centrist proposing ‘renewal not revolution’.
Labor is not proposing any new tax policies except for crackdown on multi-national companies that has not been fully announced.
This map shows some of the key marginal seats held by Labor (in red) and the Coalition (in blue) with the percentage margin. There are other seats in contention, too