Anthony Albanese was secretly handed notes by one of his advisors in the middle of a press conference when he he struggled to outline one of his key policies – just hours after insisting he does know what he’s doing in a fiery TV interview.
In another car-crash run-in with journalists on Thursday morning, the Labor leader could not outline his six-point plan on the NDIS when asked.
After a few more questions, he went off camera and journalists saw an advisor hand him a document.
Earlier Mr Albanese had accused Ally Langdon of ‘reading from Liberal Party notes’ when she accused him of not being across the detail of his policies.
The Today show host pressed the Labor leader on why he frequently defers questions from journalists to members of his team instead of answering them himself.
This week he passed questions on the economy to shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers and questions on housing – including an awkward one about his own property portfolio – to shadow housing minister Jason Clare.
‘You want to be the Prime Minister. Shouldn’t you also know the answer?’ Langdon asked Mr Albanese.
He insisted he does know the answers and said it was normal to let shadow ministers speak about policy details – but Langdon pressed him further.
‘The thing is, you say you know the answers but I think people sitting at home go: ”I’m not sure you do”.’
An irate Mr Albanese replied: ‘No, they don’t, Ally’ and claimed Scott Morrison can’t appear with key members of his team because they don’t want to be seen with him due to his unpopularity.
Langdon continued to probe, saying: ‘The question is, though, you want to be the next Prime Minister. You want to run the country. Shouldn’t you be across your briefs?’
The Labor leader firmly replied: ‘I am, Ally. I am. Stop reading from the Liberal Party notes that they send through to people all of the time, Ally. This is just an absurdity.’
Langdon (pictured) pressed Mr Albanese on why he defers questions
Langdon denied that claim, saying: ‘Anthony, I am basing this on what I’ve seen this week, just watching your press conferences this week, Anthony Albanese.
‘I think your problem is after the stumble in week one when you didn’t know the cash rate or unemployment rate, any time you do defer it suggests you don’t know.’
Mr Albanese replied: ‘No, Ally. That’s nonsense. Your viewers are smarter than that and your viewers know that I lead a team. I’m the captain. I’m proud of my team.’
He said none of his team were in ‘witness protection’ in reference to Education Minister Alan Tudge who has been temporarily stood down after being cleared of abusing his former staffer Rachelle Miller with whom he had an affair.
Mr Albanese came under fire from another reporter in a press conference later on Thursday morning.
Asked to outline his six-point plan for the NDIS, Mr Albanese failed to specify the points and only said: ‘We will put people a the centre of the NDIS’.
The reporter yelled: ‘You do not know your own policy Mr Albanese.’
Reporters then accused the Labor leader of being handed a policy document which detailed the plan off camera while Chris Bowen was speaking.
‘You’ve just been handed a policy document,’ one journalist said.
‘Is that is the six point plan there,’ another asked.
‘That’s not right,’ Mr Albanese said with a wry smile as he shuffled his papers. He then read out the six point plan.
One journalist asked the Labor leader if it was a deliberate tactic to defer to tough questions to his team because he does not know the details of his policy.
The Labor leader successfully reeled off his five-point plan for aged care when asked.
The clash came ahead of a keynote speech in which the Labor leader will spruik his plans to radically overhaul childcare, comparing it to other universal services such as Medicare and the NDIS.
Labor has pledged to increase childcare subsidy rates for every family earning less than $530,000.
The policy would save families between $600 and $2,900 a year and cost taxpayers $6.2billion over four years.
All parents in Australia could get 90 per cent off their childcare bills paid for by taxpayers if Anthony Albanese (centre) wins the election
But Mr Albanese also has an aspiration to give every family – including millionaires – a 90 per cent subsidy for childcare regardless of income.
It would be implemented after a Productivity Commission review to see if it is beneficial for the economy.
Labor has not revealed when the policy would be implemented or how much it would cost – but the Government claims the price would be an extra $63billion over the next 10 years.
In his speech, Mr Albanese will say the policy is needed to encourage mums into the workplace.
‘One of most effective ways we can boost participation is by getting rid of the complicated mess of payments that put hurdles in the path of parents wanting to return to work,’ he will say.
‘We will increase the maximum childcare subsidy and make it cheaper for 96 per cent of families, and will ask the Productivity Commission to investigate moving to a universal 90 per cent subsidy.
‘This will provide immediate and lasting cost of living relief for families.’
Mr Albanese will say the policy would ‘stop workplaces being deprived of the skills and knowledge and experience’ of mothers who are currently disincentivised from working.
‘Building a childcare system that works for families will boost workforce participation and turbocharge productivity,’ he will say.
‘Early education is also an investment in our children’s future.’
Mr Albanese will compare the landmark change to previous Labor reforms.
‘Our child care plan fits within Labor’s history of pursuing reforms that are good for the economy and that give people the confidence to pursue their aspirations and fulfil their potential,’ he will say.
‘We will proudly add it to Labor’s legacy of reliable, affordable, universal services. Medicare. Superannuation. The NBN. The NDIS. And universal child care.’
One of Labor’s most significant policies is to increase childcare subsidies for all families earning less than $530,000