Where’s Dutton? PM says NSW campaign a ‘no-go zone’ for opposition leader

Where’s Dutton? PM says NSW campaign a ‘no-go zone’ for opposition leader


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says Dominic Perrottet’s NSW government has reached the end of its life as he encouraged people to dump the Coalition from its last remaining state on the Australian mainland.

Speaking on Friday from the inner-Sydney seat of Balmain, held by retiring Greens MP Jamie Parker, Albanese said Peter Dutton’s absence from the state campaign was indicative of a dysfunctional Liberal Party, describing NSW as a “no-go zone” for the federal opposition leader.

“[He] wasn’t even at the campaign launch of Dominic Perrottet, and hasn’t been seen with Dominic Perrottet since last October,” Albanese said.

NSW Labor leader Chris Minns and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese enjoy a drink at the Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain on Friday.Credit:Brook Mitchell

“The truth is that the Liberal Party are a dysfunctional party … They’re not fighting for the people of NSW because they’re too busy fighting each other.”

Albanese asked voters to return the electorate to the Labor Party, which is fighting to form a majority government at the state election on March 25.

“There comes a time where a government reaches the end of its life. And this [Coalition] government in NSW is showing all of those signs,” Albanese said.

“I do want Chris Minns to win because the signs are there that it’s a tired government that’s seeing senior ministers leave the Perrottet government one after the other – and Chris Minns will lead a very good government.”

NSW Labor leader Chris Minns has accused Perrottet of wanting to sell off Sydney Water, a claim the premier has repeatedly denied. But that did not stop the prime minister from using the media opportunity to double down on the accusation.

“We need to stop the privatisation of water. We need to stop selling off all of our assets, and we need a government that will work the federal government to deliver services in NSW,” Albanese said.

Anthony Albanese and Chris Minns with Balmain Labor candidate Philippa Scott. Credit:Brook Mitchell

“I do have a constructive relationship with Premier Perrottet, but I do want a government that isn’t going to privatise essential assets. I live in NSW – I don’t want to see Sydney Water privatised.”

And Perrottet’s newly announced future fund policy was also condemned by Albanese, who said he did not believe it was a progressive idea.

“The biggest beneficiaries will be those people with parents … able to make a contribution. It just reinforces inequality rather than addresses what is needed,” he said.

Albanese shared a drink with Minns, Balmain Labor candidate Philippa Scott, transport spokeswoman Jo Haylen and Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne at the Unity Hall Hotel, where the first ALP branch met in 1891.

The prime minister said he would be campaigning in western Sydney on Friday next week and handing out pamphlets in Balmain on election day for Scott, who is running against Greens candidate Kobi Shetty and the Liberals’ Freya Leach.

Polls indicate Labor is on track to win government for the first time since 2011, but it needs to pick up nine seats to form a majority in the Legislative Assembly.

The seat of Balmain is historically a Labor stronghold but was held by independent and Olympian Dawn Fraser from 1988 until 1991. The Greens have held the seat since 2011, when Labor lost in a landslide.

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