National Security

Alice Springs: Senator James Paterson slams PM Anthony Albanese amid Red Centre curfew

March 28, 2024

Thursday 28 March 2024
Harry Brill
Sky News

Prime Minster Anthony Albanese has been accused of spending more time with pop stars than on the ground in Central Australia by a federal colleague.

The criticism came after Chief Minister Eva Lawler announced that Alice Springs would be placed into a 14 day lockdown due to violent scenes that erupted in the troubled town this week.

On Wednesday afternoon, Liberal Senator James Paterson claimed Mr Albanese had spent more time with American pop queen Katy Perry than in the Red Centre.

“(Senator) Jacinta Price has been calling this out now for a long time – crying out for the desperate law and order attention that Alice Springs needs,” he said on Sky News.

“We know the Prime Minister has paid lip service to the seriousness of this problem and really isn’t interested at all.

“He spends more time with Katy Perry and other pop stars than in Alice Springs.”

Mr Paterson’s comments come after the Prime Minister attended a private Katy Perry show at a mansion owned by the family of late packaging boss Richard Pratt in February this year.

Asked if the Coalition agreed with the curfew, Senator Paterson said the “radical” move may be necessary.

“(It) is a radical move, but maybe that is what’s needed, because the scenes we’ve seen in Alice Springs are totally unacceptable, absolutely shocking” he said.

“And frankly, I think if that had happened in Melbourne or Sydney, I’m not sure it would have been tolerated for as long as it has been in Alice Springs and I think it needs to come to an end.”

Earlier in Canberra, Solomon MP Luke Gosling delivered a speech to Parliament House in which he said the Albanese government had visited the Territory more than multiple predecessors combined.

“Territorians have seen a step-up in PM and ministerial visits since we came to government less than two years ago,” he said.

“The Prime Minister has visited the Territory on no less than nine occasions – as many as three predecessors over almost a decade.”

In Question Time on Wednesday, Mr Albanese defended his record after Opposition Leader Peter Dutton asked when the Prime Minister planned to return to Alice Springs.

“Just last week, Mr Speaker, I took the entire cabinet to the Northern Territory and we had ministers in Alice Springs, in Katherine, in remote Northern Territory as well, and I visited a remote community to commit $4 billion to remote housing,” he said at the time.

He added that he would “continue to be a regular visitor to the Northern Territory.”

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