Laura Albanese did not attend the televised debate last night. I spoke to her campaign manager, Guy Bethell, to find out why.
Bethell said it was his decision to not have her go; he said there was “a whole number of reasons” and gave me two.
First, Ferreira, he said, didn’t debate in good faith at the Learning Enrichment Foundation. Ferreira accused her of missing a vote on hydro bills, but, according to Bethell and Albanese, she was recovering from surgery. Ferreira was, “trying to be cute, like Jack Layton in the federal debate. It ended up being a cheap shot.”
Second, Albanese was busy meeting voters at the door. She broke her elbow a few days ago, and, he says, lost some time campaigning so “she wanted to meet voters face to face”.
I told Bethell that my readers had left many comments expressing disappointment at not being able to see Albanese, and I asked him what he would say to those who had been looking forward to the debate. He said, “There were three debates that people could have attended. They could have come out to those debates. Two days before the election, she’s talking to as many voters as possible at the door.”
Paul Ferreira has been in touch to defend himself against Bethell’s allegations. Ferreira said that he stands by what he said; Albanese did skip the vote in question. He told me, “She was in the house. She was there on the transcript. I looked it up myself. For her campaign manager to come out and say that it was cheap is beyond the pale.”