The Project host Waleed Aly has had a huge clash with Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese on air during Wednesday night’s episode.
While discussing the federal budget, things got particularly heated.
Welcoming the politician on the show to discuss what went down, Carrie Bickmore kicked off the conversation.
“You must be happy to finally see a Labor budget?” she asked after the big-spending plan was revealed on Tuesday.
“It is not a Labor budget because it doesn’t increase wages. It doesn’t lift living standards,” Mr Albanese began. “It is not a Labor budget because it doesn’t set Australia up for the future.”
“It has been a particularly tough year though,” said Bickmore. “They’ve had to navigate their way through a pandemic. Realistically, what could have been done differently?”
In response, Mr Albanese explained how when the global financial crisis occurred, the country had invested in infrastructure and things like paid parental leave.
“With this government, in spite of the massive expenditure, they’ve cut infrastructure investment over the next four years by $3.3 billion, but they’ve also set-up these little slush funds. They’ve set up with 21 separate funds, they have $4 billion attached to them and there is $9 billion in the budget over the next short little while which is decisions taken, but not announced,” he said.
“It is your money, taxpayers, but they won’t tell you what it will be spent on and you have got to suspect it will be very much devoted to the political map rather than people’s needs.”
Aly cut in, saying: “That’s a common line item in the budget, though.”
“I have never seen anything like it. I have been here a while. It is not common to have $9 billion,” an annoyed Mr Albanese answered.
“The amount, you can argue. It is not a scandalous line item. That’s a common one,” said Aly.
“It is not actually, but we’ll keep going,” said the Labor leader.
“Billions has been added to the NDIS, which you were saying was a Labor legacy,” Aly continued.
Mr Albanese responded: “They cut $4 billion in the budget just a little while ago. So put some of that back. That’s true. Some of the areas.”
“More than some. They put more than $4 billion back,” argued The Project co-host.
After a back and forth, Aly thanked the Opposition Leader for joining them on the show, seemingly sarcastically adding that they should have him on the show more.
After the politician left, Bickmore awkwardly asked if they could go to a break.
“Yes, I concur,” stated Aly.
Viewers on Twitter expressed their thoughts on the interaction, with many disagreeing with Aly’s approach.
I get you need to ask tough questions of all politicians, but that was a bit average then Waleed. #TheProjectTV
— Wonder Llama 🦙 (@SirWonderLlama) May 12, 2021
No Walid you are so wrong! Stop defending $10b hidden funds in Morrison LNP #Budget2021 Labor has NEVER been as secretive or cagey & most so called benefits won’t occur until AFTER the election. Albo’s arguments were entirely valid. #TheProjectTV#auspol#abc730@AlboMP
— 💧RonnyB (@MsRonnyB) May 12, 2021
I love Waleed and The Project but seriously that Albo Interview was ridiculous. So Simon Birmingham had a light and fluffy interview and Albo got a full on interrogation. #theprojecttv
— melanie aucott (@melaucott) May 12, 2021
Albo talking facts and sense, Waleed trying to cut him off and cut him down… And failing miserably. Bit different to jolly ol chat with Birmingham. #TheProjectTV
— Shane (@shayendexter) May 12, 2021
— Keith Harkins (@HarkinsKeith) May 12, 2021
Originally published as Waleed blows up at Albo on The Project