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Sunrise hosts clash with Anthony Albanese over next debate with Scott Morrison


Anthony Albanese has been put on the spot, with all the major networks vying to host leaders’ debates. Credit: Seven
Anthony Albanese has been put on the spot, with all the major networks vying to host leaders’ debates. Credit: Seven

Anthony Albanese has been put on the spot over which televised leaders’ debates he will take part in.

The Labor leader did the rounds of breakfast television on Seven, Nine and the ABC on his first morning out of Covid-19 isolation, with each network vying to host a contest between him and Scott Morrison.

Interviewed on Sunrise, Mr Albanese was asked whether he would agree to debate the Prime Minister on Seven next week.

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In a back-and-forth with hosts David Koch and Natalie Barr, Mr Albanese said he had a “longstanding” commitment which meant he would be unavailable on Thursday night.

“Look, Scott Morrison has been trying to say, ‘I’ll decide when every debate will be.’,” Mr Albanese said.

“I’ve given a range of dates to Channel 7 in which I’m available.”

Koch said: “Well we will get our people to talk to your people and ScoMo’s people because I think we need a debate”.

When Mr Albanese said he had never broken a commitment to appear on Sunrise, Koch countered by saying “You take a while to get back to us sometimes”.

Mr Albanese laughed, saying “That’s not right. I’m desperate to be on Sunrise.”

Anthony Albanese has been grilled on breakfast television about what leaders' debates he will agree to. Picture: Sunrise
Anthony Albanese has been grilled on breakfast television about what leaders’ debates he will agree to. Picture: Sunrise

Koch persisted, saying to Mr Albanese of his co-host Natalie Barr: “You knocked her back. A regular spot. You knocked her back a couple of weeks ago.”

Mr Albanese laughed as Koch said: “We will talk about that off air”, without making it clear what exactly he was alluding to.

A short time later Mr Albanese was asked a similar question on Today, given that Mr Morrison has agreed to participate in a prime-time free-to-air debate on the Nine network on May 8.

“I’m happy to have debates, but what Scott Morrison has done is go off and negotiate himself as if it is a one-side debate,” Mr Albanese responded.

“Scott Morrison doesn’t decide where and when each debate will be. I’m certainly up for more debates. I won the first debate, why wouldn’t I want more.”

The Prime Minister – who lost the first leaders’ debate on Sky to Mr Albanese – has indicated he wants debates on the Nine and Seven networks next week now that his opponent has emerged from isolation.

Mr Albanese won the Sky News debate in the official audience vote when 40 people chose him while 35 favoured Mr Morrison and 25 were undecided.

The ABC and the National Press Club have also requested to host debates between the two leaders.

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