Sky News host Paul Murray has slammed Anthony Albanese for being overseas, demanding that he ‘get on with running the country’.
Mr Albanese has been dubbed ‘Airbus Albo’ by critics for the number of days he’s been overseas since winning the May 21 election – spending one-third of his time in power in different countries.
His overseas trips amidst NSW being hit by a fourth flooding crisis has been compared to Scott Morrison’s trip to Hawaii at the height of the 2019 bushfires.
The political commentator unleashed on the prime minister for his trips on his program Paul Murray Live yesterday night.
Sky News host Paul Murray has slammed prime minister Anthony Albanese (pictured here with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy) for spending time overseas
Murray claimed the Prime Minister is ‘all excuses, all window dressing, no action’.
‘He’s spent a third of his time as prime minister overseas, bringing with him $100 million cheques to have a selfie with Volodymyr Zelensky,’ he said.
He then pointed out that Mr Albanese was preparing to go overseas again at the end of the week to Fiji to attend a forum for Pacific Nations.
‘Now remember when, a prime minister who was not there on the sidelines filling the sandbags, was a national disgrace?’
‘If you’re in a position to make someone’s life better and easier, do something! Speak up, make decisions.
‘You would have thought the opportunity to go to Ukraine would have been cut short because yet again there are once in a century floods happening right now around the country.’
Murray went on to highlight a clip from Anthony Albanese, where he said he ‘has not had a day off for a long period of time’.
‘Oh darling, you haven’t had a day off, if only there were recent examples of people who were pilloried when they did take a day off. When there was a national scandal when somebody took some time off with their family.
‘Welcome to the reality of the job, pal. The job that you applied for, the job that you were obsessed with getting that you got fit, and you did everything you could to get it, and you won the trust of the Australian people.
‘I don’t care that you have not had a day off in six weeks, toughen up, princess. It’s the big chair. You will have the rest of your life when your prime ministership is over to have a nap. Until then, you’re in charge of the joint.
‘This bloke is honestly really full of himself at the moment, but I’m sorry pal, if you’re starting to sook in six weeks, let’s meet again in six months.’
In early June, he went to Indonesia to meet with president Joko Widodo.
In the past week, Mr Albanese travelled to Spain for the Nato summit, France to meet president Emmanuel Macron and repair relations between the two countries, Ukraine to meet president Volodymyr Zelenskiy amidst the war with Russia, and the United Arab Emirates to visit Australian soldiers stationed in the country.
The conservative political commentator (pictured) demanded the prime minister ‘get on with running the country’ and respond to the NSW floods crisis
On Wednesday, Mr Albanese reacted furiously to the accusation comparing his trip, which has been largely for important international matters, to Scott Morrison’s Hawaii holiday.
‘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.’
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 said.
‘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.’
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 100 ADF on the ground very, very quickly, was pleasing.’
He admitted the relationship with the previous Coalition government had struggled at times to effectively bring the help required as needed.
‘I’m always going to 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.’
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.’
Criticism of the prime minister’s time spent overseas comes as opposition leader Peter Dutton has taken two weeks off to go on holidays.
Mr Dutton’s office announced that he was going on leave on Sunday, with Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley taking over until his return later this month.