Speaking of Anthony Albanese, the federal Opposition Leader has also been doing the media rounds this morning along with the Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister.
The Labor leader spoke to Patricia Karvelas for her first official day as Radio National’s breakfast co-host. During the interview, he insisted the Morrison government’s policy of 10 free rapid antigen tests for every concession card holder doesn’t “torpedo” his latest line of attack that “it’s easier to catch COVID than it is to catch a RAT”.
“[That’s because] for so many pensioners … they’ll rock up to the local chemist and there won’t be a rapid antigen test available,” Mr Albanese said.
“It’s quite extraordinary that on the day in which pensioners are eligible to receive a RAT, so many of them won’t be able to find one.
“And what we heard from Barnaby Joyce [earlier] was him blaming the Australian people for the unavailability of rapid antigen tests here in Australia. His government was warned about [that] many, many months ago.
“We all knew that once we opened up, there’d be an increased number of infections. And rapid antigen tests would be an important part of the response to keep people safe. And the government simply didn’t do anything about it.”
The Opposition Leader wouldn’t put a figure on how much it would cost taxpayers to fund free RATs for all. However, he said the cost to the economy of not providing everyone with RATs (for when they return to school, work or childcare) “will be more”.
“People are voting with their feet by staying at home,” he said. “That has an economic consequence, which is why we’ve seen less economic activity in recent weeks.”