Albanese spruiks Labor achievements at term mid-point

Anthony Albanese has defended his handling of the cost of living crisis while delivering a report card on his government, halfway through Labor's current term in office.

Speaking at the Lionel Bowen Dinner in Sydney on Tuesday night, the prime minister also pointed to Labor's delivery on its promises 18 months on from its May 2022 election victory.

Labor had put an end to a "wasted decade" under the coalition when the government hit the ground running upon taking office.

"One of our biggest priorities - every day - is taking action on the cost of living," he told the party faithful in the safe ALP federal electorate of Kingsford-Smith.

"We know that as the world keeps throwing challenges at Australia, Australians are feeling the impacts."

Mr Albanese underlined his government's commitment to real wage growth, saying the Liberal Party went "absolutely berserk" over his support for a $1 an hour pay increase for the nation's lowest-paid workers.

Anthony Albanese holds a one dollar coin.
Anthony Albanese makes his point on wages by holding up a $1 coin during the election campaign.

He touted the record number of women in full-time work and a narrowing in the gender pay gap which is now sitting at a record low, and Labor's support for a historic 15 per cent pay rise for aged care workers.

"We’ve been turning promise into reality for Australians," Mr Albanese said, against a backdrop of a fall in Labor's primary vote across multiple polls of voters.

The prime minister went on to list the government's move to legislate cheaper medicines, cheaper child care, and extra fee-free TAFE places.

He also said the government was delivering on energy bill relief - a hot-button issue given the rises in power bills over the past year - for households and small businesses.

Mr Albanese backed in Labor's economic performance, pointing to a $22 billion surplus for 2022/23, against the $78 billion deficit forecast by the coalition government.

"Because Labor is the natural home of fiscal responsibility and sound economic management, we are getting the budget back onto a sustainable footing," he added.

"We keep our word by turning our words into action, and we turn our action into results."

Turning to foreign policy, Mr Albanese said the government had restored Australia's relationships with partners and trading partners, including China and France.

He contrasted Labor's approach to the climate change challenge to remarks made by former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott that he didn't believe in the science. 

The prime minister laid out the government's agenda, its legislation of climate targets, support of renewable energy projects and electric vehicles. 

He said the biggest economic transformation since the industrial revolution was underway.

"That’s why Australia needs Labor - the one party that has never feared the future, but looked to it with optimism and clear eyes," he said.

Taking aim at Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, Mr Albanese slammed the Queensland MP for claiming to be a conservative, while trying to "trash our institutions".

"A man who talks about the importance of social cohesion – but does everything he can to divide us as a society," he said.

"A man who talks about the importance of lowering the temperature - then throws fuel on the fire."

Anthony Albanese passed Peter Dutton during a division in parliament.
Anthony Albanese attacked Coalition Leader Peter Dutton for trying to "trash our institutions".

Speaking earlier in the day in Victoria, Mr Dutton lashed the prime minister for soaring energy bills and persistent inflation, which were biting household budgets.

"There are many families who are scratching their head wondering where the Anthony Albanese they voted for has gone," he said.

"Anthony Albanese now is unrecognisable compared to the bloke who was voted in 18 months ago."

Tuesday marks 18 months since the government was elected, and the mid-point of its current term in office.

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