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Waleed Aly has again unleashed on Labor leader Anthony Albanese for not knowing Australia’s unemployment or cash rates, blasting his ‘lack of competence’.
It was the second night running that the Project Host ripped into a Labor Shadow Minister over Mr Albanese’s shocking gaffe on Monday.
Mr Albanese referred to his lack of knowledge as ‘a mistake’ 15 times during a press conference on Tuesday.
Aly asked Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers if he could see that Mr Albanese’s gaffe might be ‘not an error or a failure of memory, but it might reveal a lack of competence?’
Waleed Aly (pictured) has again unleashed on Labor leader Anthony Albanese for not knowing Australia’s unemployment or cash rates, blasting his ‘lack of competence’
It was also put to Mr Chalmers that Mr Albanese did not know ‘the most basic fact’ in making the ‘mistake’ that has set the tone for the election on May 21.
But Mr Chalmers just used the same tactic as his leader, saying ‘I think it’s been admirable yesterday and today to see him own this mistake’.
He recovered a bit of composure, though, by turning it into an attack on the government.
‘The mistake that Anthony made yesterday pales in comparison to the mistakes that Scott Morrison has made when he stuffed up the rapid test rollout, when he stuffed up the vaccines, when he stuff up purpose built quarantine,’ Mr Chalmers said.
Aly then turned up the heat, saying that by ‘calling it a mistake you minimise what it might have been’.
‘Perhaps it wasn’t a mistake – perhaps it was a lack of knowledge and perhaps it was a lack of knowledge about something that is really, really fundamental in the economy and should be the most basic fact that you would know if you’re going to launch a policy based on jobs,’ The Project host said.
Mr Chalmers seemed taken aback by the strength of the attack on Mr Albanese and said he would ‘leave that kind of analysis of it to you’.
‘Nobody is contesting that it’s an important number,’ he said.
Anthony Albanese is pictured with his partner Jodie Haynon. The Labor leader’s gaffe over Australia’s unemployment rate has dominated the full two full days of the federal election campaign
‘It tells part of the story of the labour market. But the rest of the story of the labour market is even with unemployment at 4 per cent, we still haven’t got real wages moving sufficiently to keep up with the skyrocketing costs of living. We’ve still got skills shortages which have been left unattended.’
Mr Chalmers said the government wants to focus on Mr Albanese’s because they don’t want to talk about the cost of living pressures.
Aly replied that the government was ‘not only focusing on that, they are focusing as well on costings, you might have heard today, so they’ve attacked you over your own policy’s costings’.
‘They are focusing on Labor almost exclusively, Waleed, that’s my point,’ Mr Chalmers said.
Aly said Mr Chalmers was using ‘a longstanding tradition in politics’ by trying to avoid the question.
‘You’ve spoken to us a lot about Scott Morrison and we’ve been asking you about Anthony Albanese,’ he said.
A defensive Mr Chalmers replied ‘But I’ve been running through our plan for the economy, too, Waleed.’
He said the Coalition’s estimate that Labor’s policies would cost $300billion over 10 years was ‘entirely fictional’ and ‘another desperate beat-up to avoid their own responsibility for $1trillion in debt’.
Aly then used that as an opportunity to ask Mr Chalmers what was the correct figure if the government’s number was wrong.
Mr Chalmers said Labor would ‘release our costings in the usual way at the usual time in this election campaign’.