Flat White

Albanese: putting Australia last?

Joel Agius

Getty Images

Joel Agius

12 July 2022

7:00 AM

In the lead-up to the federal election that resulted in him becoming Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese made a speech in Parliament where he said the following:

If I’m Prime Minister, I won’t go missing when the going gets tough, or pose for photos and then disappear when there’s a job to be done. I’ll show up, I’ll step up, and I’ll work every day to bring our country together.’

As Prime Minister, he has already broken these promises, leaving Australians high and dry (well, not so much ‘dry’).

The day after he was elected, Albanese exited the country to attend the Quad Leaders’ meeting. He returned to Australia for a little while until petrol prices soared and the cameras started to circle. Then he hopped back on a plane and left for what could be likened to a ‘world tour’.

In addition to his departure, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, and Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek all headed off on overseas trips, leaving Australians scratching their heads wondering who the hell was running the country…

When they are not napping in the VIP lounge, ministers in the Albanese Labor government pose for photos as a sort of ‘proof of life’ that they are actually working. The Minister for Climate Change, Chris Bowen, appears particularly fond of ‘Instagrammable moments’ during his ‘Climate Change’ work.

If you’re not seen to be working, are you actually saving the planet?

This continued on Labor’s (climate-friendly?) overseas trips. Plibersek was pictured in Lisbon with President Emmanuel Macron as his guest at the United Nations Oceans Conference. Despite Plibersek stepping off a plane, Macron declared that Australia was back in action on ‘Climate Change’. Plibersek followed this with a flurry of images of her meeting with various politicians and bureaucrats. Since her return to Australia, it has been photo-op after photo-op with people around the Murray-Darling Basin. Although no one is photographing her carbon footprint…

Albanese has visited many nations including Indonesia, Spain (for a Nato summit), France, and Ukraine. On his trip to Kyiv, he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, posing for a photo (of course), and announced Australia would be giving Ukraine another $100 million.

Meanwhile in Australia, parts of New South Wales were busy vanishing underwater in what was later declared a natural disaster.

While Albanese gave astronomical amounts of money to a country that has already been given billions by the world, his country – the one he is supposed to be leading – has urgent economic woes of its own that aren’t improved by politicians throwing public money away abroad.

Australia is struggling through a cost of living crisis with inflation driving prices up, petrol costs climbing, and food insecurity nibbling at the edges of supermarket chains. Seeing this mess, the Reserve Bank of Australia has, counter-intuitively, raised interest rates in a futile bid to stall and reduce said inflation. This is set to trigger another financial disaster as the (unusual) cause of inflation is being made worse by interest rate hikes – not better.

All the while, Australians have been asking the same question – where’s Albo?

Well, the Prime Minister was kind enough to grace us with his presence last week. After hopping the border from Ukraine to Poland, Albanese returned to tour the Hawkesbury area with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet to view the flood damage. While there, he was called out by a local who told Albanese he wasn’t doing enough to help.

‘There’s a lot of speaking happening, but this time this is where with the Hawkesbury, we’re a bit over it. We need action.’

But before he could ‘help’ those impacted by floods, Albanese had an important meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who had travelled to Australia. Ardern met with Albanese in Sydney where the two discussed an unpopular policy. The Prime Minister announced that he would be asking a Parliamentary Committee on elections to look into and consider allowing New Zealanders who live and work in Australia to vote in our elections.

That’s right, Albanese wants to let non-citizens vote.

Albanese might call it a re-setting of their relationship, but many Australians see it as a betrayal.

For many decades, Australia has valued citizenship as the required commitment to unlock voting rights – something which is especially important with such a large percentage of temporary visa holders making up the population. Those who wish to have a say in the Australian political system must first permanently pledge their allegiance to Australia. Paying tax has never been a qualification, given many individuals, guests, and companies pay tax without holding voting rights.

The argument of ‘reciprocation’ because ‘New Zealand does it’ is not an argument based on merit. Copying foolish policy spreads foolishness to other nations.

While those who support the policy have said that not supporting it would be ‘authoritarian’ and ‘against democracy’ making the point that these people live and work in Australia so they should be given the right to vote here, many understand that this is not how the system works.

The simple fact is, if you want to vote in Australia, you should be a citizen of the country. Albanese has no right to meddle in the democratic system that put him in office and gave him power.

Much like individuals who voted for Joe Biden, I’m sure at least some people who voted for Anthony Albanese would be having buyer’s regret. He is a man attempting to change the rules of the game before he has put the work in to govern.

While Albanese jets off again, this time to Fiji, we are all left wondering – if this is what has happened in just a month and a half of the Albanese government, how much worse will it get in the remainder of its three-year tenure?

Joel Agius is an independent writer. If you would like to read more of his work, you can do so at JJ’s Outlookor check out his new podcast The Agius Hour.

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Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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