Television Interview – Sunrise | Prime Minister of Australia
NATALIE BARR, HOST: Anthony Albanese joins us now. Good morning to you.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Good morning.
BARR: Prime Minister, did you get an idea last night of what it would be like to be a rock star?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, it was quite an extraordinary evening. I’ve got to say, I had a bit of a preview when I was in Ahmedabad in Gujarat in March with Prime Minister Modi at the beginning of the fourth cricket test. We went around the stadium there with 80,000 cheering people. And last night, that fervour was brought to Sydney. The passion that was there and the energy in the room was something quite extraordinary. And, indeed, Prime Minister Modi is such a welcome guest here in Australia.
DAVID KOCH, HOST: Not to put a downer on it, PM, but like a lot of Australians, I was wondering how can this bloke have 80 per cent popularity in his own country? Extraordinary, and I started to look and it got me a bit worried. He’s sort of reduced press freedoms, he discriminates against minorities, he’s accused of watering down democracy. He sort of, he seems a bit of a tyrant?
PRIME MINISTER: Well India is of course the world’s largest democracy. It’s the world’s most populous nation now, and one of the things that has happened in the last decade, in particular, is an extraordinary level of lifting people out of poverty and creating opportunity. The economic growth that we’ve seen in India is extraordinary. And Prime Minister Modi is certainly popular, not with everyone, it’s a democracy, but he’s popular with a majority of people.
KOCH: So he’s had to be tough to do that, in other words?
PRIME MINISTER: Look, I don’t pass, it’s not up to me to pass a comment on some of the internal politics in India which, as a democracy, has a range of views, which is a good thing. But there’s no doubt that the economic growth that we’ve seen in India, the opportunity, the lifting of people out of poverty, the access to energy that has occurred there. I went to India backpacking in 1991, a long time ago.
PRIME MINISTER: I’ve been back there a few times since. When I went back there just a few years ago, before I travelled in March, to travel on the Delhi Metro, to look at the economic growth and the economic advancement that was there, is quite ordinary. And there’s no doubt that it’s one of the success stories in the world.
KOCH: Yeah, it’s an economic miracle, there’s no doubt about that.
BARR: And certainly a lot of support for him.
PRIME MINISTER: It will be the third largest economy in the world in coming years. The third largest.
BARR: Yeah, and a lot of supporters in Australia. Back home now, there are fears this morning more aged care homes across the country could close. Twenty-three have shut up shop in less than a year. The Opposition says your 24/7 mandatory nurses in homes requirement is to blame because you’re bringing it in too quick. Are you? And will you provide more money for that sector?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, we have provided massive injection of funds for that sector. For a government that presided over the debacle that was exposed by the Aged Care Royal Commission, where we had a mistreatment of our oldest Australians – who deserve respect and deserve to live their later years in dignity – who didn’t bother to implement the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission, we make no apologies for implementing the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission that said that these things needed to happen in order for people to live with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Older Australians built this country. They deserve to be looked after. And the idea that putting a nurse into a nursing home, from my perspective, is something that, how is it that you have nursing homes without nurses in them? And one of the things that that will do as well, instead of people having to go off to an emergency department of a hospital, if they can get the care from a nurse, as an aged care resident, on the spot, then what you’ll see is less acute health issues arise. And we are implementing it, overwhelmingly, 90 per cent plus are ready to go on that issue.
KOCH: Yeah, fair enough. Just quickly, the Victorian Budget came down yesterday. Finances are a mess, the business community in Victoria is saying the feds need to come and help the Victorian Government get its budget back in order. Will you help?
PRIME MINISTER: The Victorian economy is growing, the Victorian economy is bouncing back after the pandemic like the Australian economy has done so. We’ll always cooperate with all of the state and territory governments right around the country. But I have every confidence in Premier Andrews and the Victorian Government. They have done an enormous amount to invest in infrastructure, the Victorian economy is growing again, and that’s a good thing.
KOCH: Okay, you’ve got confidence in the coach. Good to hear.
PRIME MINISTER: Absolutely.
BARR: And just quickly, while we’ve got you, disgraced entertainer and convicted sex offender Rolf Harris has died at the age of 93. Any thoughts on this?
PRIME MINISTER: Well my thoughts are with those people who today will be a difficult day. Because it will remind them of the trauma that they went through. That’s who my thoughts are with today.
KOCH: Yeah, well said. Prime Minister, appreciate your time. Thank you.
PRIME MINISTER: Thanks very much guys, always good to talk with you.