Anthony Albanese says he no longer supports free rapid antigen tests for all Australians

The opposition leader made free RATs a Labor policy in January, at the height of the nation’s Omicron wave.

But “times have changed”, Albanese has said.

Anthony Albanese sorts through jars of jam on the campaign trail in Launceston. (Alex Ellinghausen)

“At the time there was an urgent need to get RATs out to people,” he said at a press conference in Launceston.

“The government was too slow to order vaccines, and it was too slow to organise rapid antigen tests.”

Minutes earlier, Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.

Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten.
Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten. (Alex Ellinghausen)

Shorten tweeted about the positive test earlier today.

“Never good timing for anyone so will be in iso for a week and then free for final week of the campaign,” he tweeted.

“A good reminder to take care of ourselves and one another, distance where you can, open the windows and do regular RATs.”

Thirty-three people in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria have died with COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

NSW reported 11,671 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a rise from yesterday’s 10,995 infections.

Victoria has recorded 9365 new COVID-19 cases overnight.

Queensland has recorded 6662 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a drop from yesterday’s 7040 infections.

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