Anthony Albanese has pledged to rebuild trust with Australians saying he doesn’t share the same ‘self-loathing’ ideology as Scott Morrison.
In his first speech to the National Press Club as Prime Minister, Mr Albanese came armed with a long list of his government’s achievements in its first 100 days.
Key achievements on climate targets, flood support, minimum wage increases and the start of paid domestic violence leave were celebrated as proof that Labor had ‘kicked on’.
“Our government is only 100 days away from this journey, but we are committed to the destination of a better future,” he said.
The prime minister set out his vision for renewal and reform, saying the upcoming jobs summit this week was just the start of the government’s focus on building a better Australia.
“Whether it’s educational skills, healthcare or elderly care, we can’t just stem the bleeding and hope for the best. We can’t go back to business as usual when we know that business as usual just wasn’t good enough,” Mr. Albanese said.
But he noted to do so that he needed to rebuild trust after a decade of a government that had to “be ashamed of doing the bare minimum at the last possible moment”.
“My colleagues and I do not share the strange self-hatred of our predecessors, who rage against the role of government while they are in government,” Mr Albanese said.
“Australians have placed their trust in our new Labor government and I thank them for that. We are determined to return that trust by demonstrating a commitment to transparency and integrity.
Although the Prime Minister did not refer to Scott Morrison by name, he did make a number of references to his predecessor’s secret ministry scandal, once again accusing him of trashing cabinet processes.
“The Cabinet is not the power point presentations of the pollsters. This is a serious policy review based on advice from the public service. I think it will take time to rebuild,” Mr Albanese said.
Former High Court judge Virginia Bell has been asked to lead the inquiry into Mr Morrison’s decision to secretly appoint himself to the Health, Finance, Resources, Home Affairs and Treasury portfolios in March 2020 to May 2021.
Mr Morrison reportedly agreed to cooperate with the investigation, but refused to apologize to the Australian public in a series of lengthy Facebook posts.
Legal advice given to Mr Albanese concluded that Mr Morrison’s actions were legal, but that the power grab “fundamentally undermined” the principles of responsible government.
The prime minister said Australians expected his government to hold “a higher standard of behavior than ‘it’s not illegal'”.
On reform, the prime minister acknowledged that a major issue this government will need to address is how it will pay for commitments made to the national disability insurance scheme and an overhaul of care for the elderly.
“If you look at the projections of what will be needed over a period of time, with the increase in defense spending, the NDIS, a range of other spending that will be needed, we need to have a debate about how we pay for that,” says Mr. Albanese.
“The work of reform is never finished. It’s not a date you come to here at the National Press Club, and I’ll have a mission accomplished sign in the back that says we’re done.