Australian PM pledges reform in speech marking 100 days in power

CANBERRA (BLOOMBERG) – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has promised a shift to an era of “reform and renewal” for his government once the period of Covid-19 recovery is over, in a speech marking 100 days since he took the top job.

Mr Albanese said he saw Australia’s journey through the Covid-19 pandemic in three stages: beginning with response, then the current phase of recovery and finally leading to reform.

“Whether it’s wages or skills, national security or energy, we will act with urgency when urgency is required,” he said at the National Press Club in Canberra on Monday (Aug 29).

“But we will never take our eyes off the big prize, the future, the chance to secure a new generation of prosperity and fairness for all Australians,” he added.

Since winning elections in May, Mr Albanese’s government has focused on delivering on its campaign promises, including greater action on climate change, boosting Australia’s diplomatic footprint and growing workers’ wages.

Among the opportunities for future reform that Mr Albanese mentioned were increased health and education funding, greater use of renewables and improving gender equality.

Mr Albanese is bringing Australian political, business and unions leaders together for a jobs and skill summit in Canberra starting from Thursday (Sept 1), which he is hoping will produce “immediate actions”.

“Of course, none of us imagine that a two-day summit will entirely fix wages and job security – or any of the other urgent economic challenges facing the country,” Mr Albanese said.

He said the government was working on an employment white paper, which would be partly informed by the outcomes of the summit this week. His government is expected to deliver a mid-year budget in late October.