Joyce plays down NT senator’s loss | Liverpool City Champion

The impact of Northern Territory Senator Sam McMahon walking away from her Nationals ties so close to a federal election has been played down by party leader Barnaby Joyce.

Senator McMahon is a member of the nation’s Liberal Party, but she had sat in the Nationals party hall.

“Sam is still in government and that’s very, very important,” Mr Joyce, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Nationals, told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda.

“We’re talking about something very close to the end of parliament before going to the election. I don’t think it’s a dramatic issue.”

But Senator McMahon’s decision comes at a time when polls show the government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison losing popularity.

Mr. Joyce lent his support to Mr. Morrison.

“What other prime minister has had to deal with a pandemic?” he said.

“I think the Australian people are ultimately going to have to make a choice between secure management… and Mr Albanese who is one person in Mackay, another person in Melbourne, another person in Gladstone, another person in Grayndler.

“In the meantime, he just moans and comments on how terrible we all are… I want to hear his positive message.

Mr Albanese did his best to do just that in an interview on ABC’s Insiders programme, announcing that funding for aged care will be increased if Labor wins the election due to be held in May.

He also thinks that every budget should consider improving the JobSeeker benefit payment rate.

At the same time, the Labor Party wants to ensure that essential medical supplies are made in Australia.

“One of the lessons of this pandemic is that we need to be more self-sufficient,” Mr Albanese said.

A Labor government would ask the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund to make medical technology a top priority.

“During this pandemic, we haven’t had enough PPE equipment, we haven’t had enough ventilators, we haven’t been able to produce rapid antigen tests, and we still aren’t producing vaccines at mRNA,” he said.

Mr Albanese also believes fiscal repair should have started before now.

The Labor leader said it was entirely appropriate to spend and stimulate the economy during the pandemic, just like during the global financial crisis.

“What’s not appropriate is the pork barrels and trash we’ve seen,” he said.

Some $20 billion was wasted on the JobKeeper scheme, where the money went to companies that didn’t need it and instead boosted their profits, Mr Albanese said.

He said there was $16 billion on the books of the government for decisions made but not announced for political decisions.

“They won’t tell taxpayers what they will be spent on,” Mr Albanese said.

“This kind of reckless misuse of taxpayer funds needs to stop and we will stop it.”

Australian Associated Press

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