Who’s woke? Anthony Albanese versus Scott Morrison

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is being criticised for allegedly saying he’s “not woke” during an interview with Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. It’s sparked criticism of Albanese but there’s no evidence he actually ever used the phrase.

The front page news story published on Wednesday features an interview with News Corp journalist Joe Hildebrand who sat down with Albanese at his Marrickville home.

The Daily Telegraph’s front page sees Albanese declaring “I am not woke”, the same interview appeared in Melbourne’s Herald Sun with the headline “Woke-up call” proclaiming that Albanese has vowed to the “shun loony Left”.

In the interview Albanese is described as telling the newspaper that a Labor government “will be the party of mainstream Australia — not the woke left — and a friend to business and aspirational Australians.”

Despite the headline and the descriptions in the article, OUTinPerth could not detect any instances of the Labor leader actually using the term “not woke” to describe himself or the Labor party. Both the print and online version of the article does not include any direct quotes of Albanese using the phrase.

In the interview Albanese pledges to be as strong on China and national sovereignty as the Coalition, and describes the Labor party as representing mainstream Australians.

Albanese is reported as saying that the views of people of faith needed to respected even if they clashed with progressive values, and cites his own support of marriage equality being in conjunction with his support for a conscience vote on the issue in parliament.

“Labor has a view and I have a view that I respect every individual for who they are but that has to apply across the board,” Albanese said.

“I was an avid supporter of marriage equality but I also supported a conscience vote at the same time.”

“You have to respect diversity in all its senses, not just when it’s convenient.” Albanese said, adding Labor needed to “embrace” people of faith.

Elsewhere in the interview the Labor leader said his party would not form a coalition with The Greens, would bring an end to the “Climate Wars” and would be a supporter of both business and workers.

Alongside the interview a series of Albanese responses to a series quick-fire questions were presented. Asked if men could have babies, Albanese said “No.” While he answered “three” to how many properties he owns, “more” on whether defence spending should be increased, and “keep” on the future of negative gearing.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s recent accusation that he was “gutless” for avoiding accusations of bullying involving Senator Kimberly Kitching, Albanese said: “Australia needs policy leadership not random personal attacks.”

This morning during an appearance on the Today show Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded saying Albanese was woke, and he was not.

“I don’t have to do interviews running around telling people I am not woke, people know that is not the case and leopards don’t change their spots,” Morrison said.

Whether Albanese is woke or not woke, has spawned a series of responses ranging from The Guardian‘s First Dog on the Moon comic which mocked Labor’s ‘small target’ political strategy, to Pedestrian who accused the Labor leader of tolerating hateful opinions.

Youth title Junkee described the interview as cringeworthy and accused Albanese of fence-sitting on every issue, while Vice‘s John Buckley summed up the interaction between the two leaders as adolescent.

“Heading into the final stretch of the federal election campaign, Albanese and Morrison have become indistinguishable, like two teens fighting for the attention of absent parents,” Buckley said.

The sad reality is the election hasn’t even been called yet.

Just Equal call on Albanese to meet advocates from the transgender community

Rights advocates from Just Equal says Albanese’s comments are disappointing.

“Trans community advocates want federal Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, to meet everyday Australian trans folk following his declaration that he is not woke and men can’t have babies,” the organisation said in a statement.

Spokesperson for Just.Equal Australia, Sally Goldner AM, said Albanese’s comments erased sections of the trans community, were unhelpful in regard to inclusive health care and were in conflict with federal anti-discrimination law that the ALP introduced and passed in 2013.

“It’s very disappointing that Mr Albanese is not fully affirming vulnerable Australians and not calling out the phony ‘culture war’ against us.”

“During the US presidential campaign Joe Biden made strong statements in support of trans rights and won the election convincingly. Mr Albanese needs to show a similar level of allyship to trans and gender diverse people and our families.”

“I call on Mr Albanese to meet with everyday trans and gender diverse Australians so he can hear about our real needs and concerns.”

“Next week’s International Trans Day of Visibility would be the perfect opportunity for Mr Albanese to show he is above cheap political shots at the expense of trans people and to outline his policies for trans people such as inclusive health care.”

What Albanese previously told us about transgender health care

OUTinPerth asked Anthony Albanese about his position on Medicare funded health care for transgender people back in 2019 after he was first elected as his party’s leader. Here’s what he said.

“What we should be doing is providing appropriate health care for those who need it, and that should not be on the basis of some health care is more legitimate than others.

“Clearly people who are going through transition, it’s a very difficult thing. I don’t think anyone does that because it’s easy, I’ve know people, friends who’ve been through that process, and it’s an incredibly difficult time. I think we need to look at the level of support, there shouldn’t be a financial restriction on people. That should be a principle of our health system.” Albanese said.

Graeme Watson

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