ANALYSIS

Federal Election 2022: Is Anthony Albanese up for the job of prime minister?

Anthony Albanese takes a sip from a bottle of Mount Franklin water.

Perhaps the Labor leader just wants to keep hydrated. He is rarely seen without a bottle in hand as he continues to recover from his untimely bout with COVID-19.

Or maybe he wants a brief moment to gather his thoughts and calm himself before confronting the media pack waiting outside the food pantry at Addison Road Community Organisation.

These daily duels with the media who are trailing his federal election campaign have been the scene of his major stumbles.

As it was again on Thursday, when Albanese was unable to recite the six points of his party's plan to reform the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese visits Addison Road Community Organisation on Friday morning. Picture: AAP

Labor leader Anthony Albanese visits Addison Road Community Organisation on Friday morning. Picture: AAP

The blunder overshadowed a press conference which Labor hoped to use to promote its climate and clean energy ambitions. The Labor leader had stood in front of an electric truck and delivered his gag about EVs not ending the weekend, , after Scott Morrison warned they would during the 2019 campaign.

He shouldn't have bothered. The NDIS dominated the nightly news.

Albanese has sought to cast himself as the victim of journalists seeking a "gotcha" moment to run on their bulletins, newspapers or websites.

One Labor supporter literally "yahooed" at her leader as he pushed back against reporters during Friday's press conference.

This sentiment was echoed across social media and might well have been in lounge rooms across the country.

Some might have nodded in agreement when Albanese, during an appearance on ABC's Q&A program on Thursday night, offered "gotcha" journalism as among the reasons Australians felt repelled from modern politics.

He might have a point.

But set aside the debate about journalism and consider the political consequences of these stumbles.

That is what's relevant for a man whose trying to win an election in a fortnight's time.

Whether you believe an inability to recite a policy or bullet point is a black mark against a potential prime minister's name, the blunders have undoubtedly left Albanese vulnerable to attack from his opponents and media critics.

Scott Morrison has tried his best to paint Albanese - a former government minister and veteran of 25 years in the Federal Parliament - as a novice, particularly on the economy.

Albanese's stumbles have played right into his hands.

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On Friday while campaigning in WA, Morrison said: "I think Australians are really starting to ask the question - is Anthony Albanese really up to this?"

A few unnamed internal critics aside, Albanese has the support of his colleagues. This close to an election, they probably have no choice.

Elections aren't pop-quizzes and Albanese isn't auditioning to appear on Sale of the Century, Labor deputy Richard Marles said, attempting to play down the implications of his leader's latest gaffe.

"At the end of the day, Albo is a person who stands up when it is counted, Albo is a person who takes responsibility when it matters," Marles told reporters in Sydney.

"And that stands in stark contrast to Scott Morrison, who always goes missing."

In a campaign devoid of policy debate, it's seemingly been reduced to this.

Can Scott Morrison be trusted to show up? And is Anthony Albanese up for it?

This story Is Anthony Albanese up for it? first appeared on The Canberra Times.