Anthony Albanese has blasted the ‘Airbus Albo’ critics of his overseas trips, branding them ‘beyond contempt’ and adding: ‘They didn’t get the memo about the new politics.’
The prime minister has come under fire for jetsetting around the globe since the May 21 election, notching up more than 55,000km and spending a third of his time in power overseas.
He returned at the weekend from a trip to Europe where he was invited to the NATO summit followed by meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and a trip to war-torn Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Anthony Albanese has blasted the ‘Airbus Albo’ critics of his overseas trips, branding them ‘beyond contempt’ and adding: ‘They didn’t get the memo about the new politics’
It follows earlier trips to Japan for the Quad summit meeting in Tokyo just after he was elected, and a trip to Indonesia to meet President Joko Widodo.
The jetset politicking while New South Wales was hit by another flood crisis has been compared to former PM Scott Morrison’s trip to Hawaii at the height of the 2019 bushfire disaster.
But on Wednesday, Mr Albanese reacted furiously to the accusation.
‘I was fulfilling a responsibility that I believe that I had of traveling to Ukraine,’ he said. ‘To compare that with a holiday is beyond contempt, frankly.
‘And it says a lot about the people who made those comments.’
Anthony Albanese’s jetset politicking while New South Wales was hit by another flood crisis has been compared to former PM Scott Morrison’s trip to Hawaii at the height of the 2019 bushfire disaster
He said the new government was delivering on their promise of a change of attitude.
‘Some people apparently didn’t get the memo about the new politics,’ he said.
‘New politics is about getting things done and achieving outcomes and working together in the interests of the Australian public. That’s my objective.’
Mr Albanese was accused of not even picking up the phone to call NSW Premier Dom Perrottet as the state sunk under yet another rain deluge at the weekend.
But he said he had to be smuggled into Ukraine, along with national security protection and media, without any phones or internet devices to avoid detection.
‘We didn’t have any electronic equipment – no phones, no internet, no communication with the outside,’ he revealed.
‘That was a matter of keeping us safe, but also keeping safe President Zelensky and and the Ukrainian people that we were meeting.
‘Because obviously there is a war going on – [but] apparently that should have just been dismissed.’
He insisted he made contact with Premier Perrottet as soon as he returned from Ukraine and arrived back in Poland.
‘I immediately spoke to Premier Perrottet, I spoke to [federal emergency] minister [Murray] Watt, I spoke to the acting Prime Minister Richard Marles and made sure that every support was being offered,’ he said.
‘We were acting. We are not a one person show.’
PM Anthony Albanese insisted he made contact with Premier Dom Perrottet as soon as he returned arrived back in Poland from Ukraine (pictured with SES Commissioner Carlene York)
Mr Perrottet also leapt to the PM’s defence and welcomed the new relationship between the federal and state government.
‘I know in some quarters the Prime Minister has been criticised for being away,’ he said.
‘What I would say is from my perspective, the federal government needs to balance international concerns and domestic concerns.
‘But as soon as he could, he picked up the phone to call me.’
He added: ‘What we have seen here is a great coordination from the Commonwealth and the state government.
‘To have the ADF 100 ADF on the ground very, very quickly, was pleasing.’
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (right) also leapt to (left) PM Anthony Albanese’s defence and welcomed the new relationship between the federal and state government
He admitted the relationship with the previous Coalition government had struggled at times to effectively bring the help required as needed.
‘II’m always going to say how I say it as I see it,’ he said.
‘I had a very constructive relationship with the previous government but that doesn’t mean we always agreed on various things. I think people know that.’
But he admitted the new Albanese government had helped bring a quicker response for residents hit by the flood disaster around Sydney and the Hunter region.
‘We don’t have the bureaucracy getting in the way of ministers actually understanding and coordinating and communicating what the issues on the ground are,’ he said.
‘So you get better outcomes. You get a faster response when ministers are contacting each other directly, understanding the needs and concerns on the ground and responding effectively.’
Flood-affected residents will be eligible for $1000 disaster payments for adults and $400 for children, which will be transferred into bank accounts as early as Thursday (pictured, an ADF Bushmaster drives through flooded streets in Sydney’s McGrath Hills)
The comments came as it was announced flood-affected residents will be eligible for $1000 disaster payments for adults and $400 for children, which will be transferred into bank accounts as early as Thursday.
Eligible local government areas include Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Canterbury Bankstown, Campbelltown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Kiama, Lithgow, Liverpool, Northern Beaches, Penrith, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Sutherland, The Hills, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly and Wollongong.
The population of the eligible LGAs combined is 3.67 million.
The disaster payments are in addition to initial assistance flagged by the federal and NSW governments announced earlier this week.
‘We know this is having a real impact on people. We want to make sure the supports are available as soon as possible,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘That’s why we’ve been very quick to act in partnership with the NSW government and it is pleasing that we’ve been able to work together so strongly. We know that these circumstances have impacted people there in the area where you are.’