Former Coalition Prime Minister John Howard has come to Anthony Albanese’s defence after the Opposition Leader faced criticism during his first official day of campaigning on April 11.
In a press conference in Launceston, Albanese was asked what the current unemployment and interest rates were but was unable to give the correct response – two factors important to voting constituents.
“The national unemployment rate at the moment is, I think, it’s 5.4 … I’m not sure what it is,” Albanese answered.
Labor’s finance spokeswoman, Katy Gallagher, took over to provide the correct answer.
“The reserve bank’s current rate is 0.10. And the unemployment rate is at 4 per cent,” she said.
I’m #LIVE from Launceston with @RossHart4Bass , Labor’s candidate for Bass, and @SenKatyG to announce Labor’s plan for better care for children with hearing loss.https://t.co/XrbWwsxZtV
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) April 10, 2022
On April 11, Howard was asked by reporters in Perth if he thought Albanese’s incorrect answer to unemployment rates was unsatisfactory.
Howard promptly dismissed the reporter’s question, jumping to Albanese’s defence.
“Is that a serious question? Okay, well Anthony Albanese didn’t know the unemployment rate. So what?,” Howard said.
Howard himself had a similar pre-election bungle over interest rates in 2007, in an on-air interview with A Current Affair.
He answered the question inaccurately with: “It’s 6.25 per cent.”
The Opposition leader at the time, Kevin Rudd, correctly answered the question saying it was at 6.5. Rudd went on to win the election.
Albanese has since come out and apologised for his oversight, saying he will work to correct his mistakes.
“Earlier today I made a mistake. I’m human. But when I make a mistake, I’ll fess up to it, and I’ll set about correcting that mistake,” Albanese said.
“I won’t blame someone else, I’ll accept responsibility. That’s what leaders do.”
Earlier this year, when addressing the cost of living, Prime Minister Scott Morrison came under fire for not knowing the price of milk and a loaf of bread.
“I do my job every day to ensure that those things are as affordable as they possibly can be for Australians every single day,” he said.
When asked about Morrison not knowing the price of common grocery items, Albanese was stunned.
“I’m happy to know that the last time I filled up that petrol was $2.20. I know how much the price of bread is. I know how much a litre of milk is,” Albanese said.
“I know about those things that affect ordinary people.”
Election campaigns are officially underway for both Morrison and Albanese after Morrison announced the election date for May 21 on April 10.