Capricornia Labor candidate Russell Robertson and Labor leader Anthony Albanese at Bartlett's Tavern on Saturday.
Capricornia Labor candidate Russell Robertson and Labor leader Anthony Albanese at Bartlett's Tavern on Saturday.

‘Bulls--t propaganda’: Albanese on housing, Greens in Rocky

Anthony Albanese stopped in Rockhampton on Saturday to meet about 40 constituents at Bartlett's Tavern on Kent Street and talk Labor policy.

With him were Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke, Queensland Senator Murray Watt, and Labor's federal candidate for Capricornia, Russell Robertson.

Applause greeted the Labor leader, who stayed for perhaps 10 minutes and spoke about housing, workforce casualisation, the decline of real wages, and Mr Robertson's candidacy.

There was time for two questions from the audience: the first had to do with Labor's support of the Migration Amendment Bill 2021, which passed parliament during the week; the second asked what to do about the Greens, which the questioner said was a poor influence on Labor's image.

Greens deputy Senate leader Nick McKim said during debate of the migration bill that it would "make life far more difficult and potentially put refugees' lives at risk".

Mr Albanese called the Greens' perspective "bulls--t propaganda" and said the broader perception problem could be dealt with by "calling out bulls--t when it's bulls--t".

Mr McKim replied: "If you're too gutless to stand up for refugees and climate, at least be honest about it.

"People have a right to be disappointed that Labor voted with the government to further strip away protections for refugees, and use public money to fund new coal and gas.

"It would be good to see Anthony Albanese channel some of that frustration at the Coalition, instead of people who are calling Labor out for voting with the government yet again."

Before his pub stop, Mr Albanese spoke to media at a public housing construction site in Frenchville, flanked by Mr O'Rourke, Housing and Homelessness Shadow Minister Jason Clare, and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga.

He reiterated Labor's public housing policy, outlined in his recent budget reply, and the associated construction jobs.

He said renters in Rockhampton were under "enormous pressure" given the region's low vacancy rate.

Mr O'Rourke described housing as "the principle of life".

"We need to make sure that we create prosperous communities, and that's about having affordable housing where people are welcome, are able to get jobs, have dignity in their lives," he said.

About the affordability of housing in the area, he added: "The Queensland Government has an investment of $1.6 billion in public housing, which is the second biggest building program to World War Two.

"We've also seen here in Rockhampton Regional Council boundary area, last financial year, there was $65 million in residential construction.

"Through to January this year, it's $125 million, so we will see some dwellings coming back onto the market or coming in to the market, which would make it a little bit more affordable."

Originally published as 'Bulls--t propaganda': Albanese talks housing, Greens in Rocky