Albanese’s hypocritical stadium cash splash

The Federal Government has many important jobs. Subsidising the AFL is not one of them.

Everything we have heard about the state of the budget makes clear that this is not a time for stimulatory spending, but for major budget repair and discipline to spend taxpayers’ money only on the essential, core priorities for the Federal Government. The Albanese Government’s decision to give in to the AFL’s demands for hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds is completely at odds with its own words about the state of the budget.

You can’t on one hand say there’s no extra money for defence, not enough money for aged care or health or housing or the NDIS, but on the other hand find $240 million for a stadium.

This is a Labor Government which on one day says it won’t increase the defence budget despite its own review finding our defence forces are not fit for purpose in the most dangerous time in living memory, and the very next day plants media stories that they will splash $240 million on a stadium.

It’s a Labor Government which promised to reduce the cost of living, yet the price of electricity, rent, groceries and essential items continue to skyrocket.

The Albanese Government has told everyone who will listen that the budget is in dire straits and that difficult decisions will have to be made in health, aged care, the NDIS, defence and other core priority areas. It has announced that it will be slashing defence programs in order to pay for others. Yet on Anzac Day we found out that the Prime Minister has found a quarter of a billion dollars for a stadium simply because the AFL demanded it.

It says a lot about Julie Collins and Brian Mitchell that they are the only two Tasmanian MPs who think that the best use of $240 million for Tasmania is for a stadium.

Throughout this process, the AFL has treated Tasmanians with contempt with its demands, threats and emotional blackmail over an AFL team. The Albanese Government has now rewarded that behaviour by a multi-billion dollar organisation by giving it the hundreds of millions of dollars of public money that it demanded.