Anthony Albanese’s VERY emotional ‘pandemic leave’ tweet comes back to haunt him – as he says Aussies don’t need $750 payments when workers are WFH
- Anthony Albanese stands firm on maintaining pandemic furlough pay
- The Labor Government is under pressure to extend payments as Covid cases rise
- But the prime minister stuck to the measure on Friday morning
- Mr Albanese is due to hold a national cabinet meeting on Monday
Anthony Albanese is firm against a plan to extend ‘pandemic leave’ payments amid a winter wave of Covid hits – but an uncomfortable tweet has returned to haunt him.
Mr Albanese’s government has opposed plans to bring back the $750 payment for seven days’ furlough, citing strains on the federal budget – but he is under pressure from some state leaders and Labor backbenchers.
The Prime Minister said there were many workplaces that were already offering employees paid leave to isolate due to Covid-19.
“The idea that nobody is on sick leave right now is not the case,” he said.
“Good employers recognize that people are continuing to work from home while they have Covid and are getting paid as a result.”
However, he had a slightly different tone on the issue in August 2020, when the then-opposition leader tweeted an emotional message about the need for a pandemic holiday.
Anthony Albanese is pushing for an extension of the federal government’s pandemic furlough scheme, with the Labor government citing budgetary pressures
“Do I go to work and make my co-workers sick, or do I stay home and starve my kids?” he previously tweeted.
“Nobody should have to make that choice – and paid pandemic leave would ensure they never have to. The government should just do it.’
Supporters of extending paid leave broke the news on Friday to slam Mr Albanese.
The nation’s leader said Friday the pandemic payments were introduced by his predecessor Scott Morrison – and it was her decision to end the scheme.
However, several prime ministers have urged the government to keep the payments going.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff have called for payments to be extended amid the current wave of Covid-19 cases.
NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet has been pushing for an extension of pandemic furlough payments – as has Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszczuk
Labor MP Mike Freelander broke ranks on Thursday and urged the prime minister to extend support measures, followed by fellow backbencher Michelle Ananda-Rajah.
Health Secretary Mark Butler said the government is closely monitoring the situation but cautioned that large disbursements would be needed to end after mandates related to the pandemic were revoked.
“The list of valuable, important things that we could spend the money on in the healthcare portfolio is endless, but the money has an end,” he said.
“The Australian community understands and indeed wants the country to move into a new phase in the fight against this pandemic.”
While the government said the June 30 end date was set by the coalition when they were in office, the opposition accused Labor of hypocrisy for not opting to extend the payments.
Opposition foreign policy spokesman Simon Birmingham said the government must agree with its advice.
“You have to hold yourself to the same standard as the previous government and be transparent about what the medical advice is,” Senator Birmingham told Sky News on Friday.
Opposition health spokeswoman Anne Ruston said it was clear why the pandemic furlough measures were not extended.
“I want the Government to let Australians know why they thought it was a good idea to remove these particular supports now, while also letting Australians know that we are aware of another very serious wave of the virus,” she told ABC Radio.