The Prime Minister’s fury boiled over during Question Time on Wednesday – with Mr Albanese shouting at the Opposition Leader in a way which he rarely has since becoming PM.
Mr Albanese slammed Peter Dutton, saying he ‘didn’t think he could go this low’, after the leader of the Opposition tried to move a motion through the House tying together two of the big issues of the week.
Mr Dutton accused the government of failing to stand up for Jewish Australians and displaying weakness over the crisis in the Middle East.
Mr Dutton also railed against Mr Albanese’s plan to fly to the United States for the APEC summit on Wednesday evening, days after the landmark High Court decision resulted in the release of asylum seekers including a paedophile who raped a 10-year-old in western Sydney and a murderer.
In response, a furious Mr Albanese said Mr Dutton’s Coalition had been responsible for the country’s immigration system for more than a decade – including six years with Mr Dutton as the home affairs minister.
Since its inception, APEC has only ever been missed by one PM, Julia Gillard, when her father died.
‘The opportunism of the leader of the Opposition has been exposed for all to see here today,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘I didn’t think he could go this low as to link these two issues, to try to link these two issues.’
Anthony Albanese ‘s voice has quivered with rage as he defended his longstanding support of Palestine and a two-state solution in Parliament
The Prime Minister’s fury boiled over during Question TIme, noting he ‘didn’t think [Opposition Leader Peter Dutton ] could go this low’
Mr Albanese yelled that he made ‘no apologies for standing up against anti-Semitism’ and noted that ‘Jewish Australians are fearful at the moment.’
‘The sort of activity that is occurring is scaring them – and I stand with them. No-one, no-one should threaten people because of their religion or race in this country.
‘But it is also the case that Arab Australians and women wearing hijabs in the streets of Sydney and Melbourne are being threatened and I stand against them again.
‘The idea of selective human rights is on that I stand against – so I’m opposed to any innocent life being lost, whether it be as a result of the terrorism of Hamas in Israel… Innocent babies, I’m against being killed in Gaza.’
Mr Albanese said he would continue to stand up for the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis during his trip to San Francisco for the APEC summit.
Mr Dutton on Wednesday repeatedly urged the PM to cancel his travel plans in order to ram through legislation to detain the 83 people released after the High Court decision. (The number released by the government increased from 81 to 83, the government announced today).
The Opposition leader’s calls came as a surprise to some insiders, given the Coalition have long considered APEC one of the most important summits for Australian leaders to attend.
In 2007, prime minister John Howard described APEC as ‘an unrivalled opportunity for bilateral exchanges’.
Later that year, he said ‘APEC is hugely significant to Australia, both from an economic point of view and also from a strategic and security point of view.’
And in 2018, then-prime minister Scott Morrison said APEC was an ideal opportunity for independent sovereign states to ‘keep getting on with each other’.
‘Under APEC, we have seen more than a doubling in the real GDP of these participating economies. This is an organisation that has got some good results, that has really increased the prosperity of our region.’
After calling time on Question Time, the PM was pictured making a dash for the airport, where he was seen boarding his plane to San Francisco.
After calling time on Question Time, the PM was pictured making a dash for the airport, where he was seen boarding his plane to San Francisco
Mr Albanese said he would continue to stand up for the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis during his trip to San Francisco for the APEC summit
Mr Albanese took particular issue with Mr Dutton’s apparent attempt to conflate multiple separate issues
Mr Dutton said that the Opposition would work through the night with the government to get any legislation over the line.
‘Prime Minister, don’t leave Canberra and don’t leave this parliament until legislation has been passed which will give effect to providing safety to the Australian people,’ he said.
Shadow Immigration Minister Dan Tehan added: ‘We’re prepared to stay here Friday, Saturday, Sunday, to make sure that this legislation is brought.’
Mr Albanese took particular issue with Mr Dutton’s apparent attempt to conflate multiple separate issues.
He said: ‘The opportunism of the leader of the Opposition has been exposed for all to see here today, but I didn’t think he could go this low as to try to link these two issues.’
The motion was also slammed by Teal MP Allegra Spender, who said the Coalition should have focused solely on issues concerning anti-Semitism.
‘To watch the Opposition deliberately try and politicise this issue and conflate it with the Prime Minister’s travel schedule, in order to score political points, is disgraceful,’ she said.
‘I sought to amend the motion to focus purely on antisemitism, which would have been wholly appropriate.’
Meanwhile in the Senate, the government confirmed it is working on a quick turnaround solution to the High Court’s controversial decision.
The widespread criticism of the Labor government in the wake of the decision has sparked deep frustration for the government.
Until now, ministers have felt their hands were tied – as the High Court has not released the specific reasons for its decision, which could take months.
Without this information, the government will find it tricky to address the court’s decision and introduce legislation to detain the asylum seekers.
But Senator Wong revealed in Question Time on Wednesday ‘the government intends to introduce legislation shortly to further respond to the decision of the High Court.
‘We look forward to the Opposition assisting with passage of that legislation as soon as possible.’