Property mogul Paul Blackburne says Albanese has chosen the right to ‘disconnect from reality’

Cheyanne Enciso
The Nightly
2 Min Read
WA property developer Paul Blackburne.
WA property developer Paul Blackburne. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

Property developer Paul Blackburne has blasted Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s running of the country as “disconnected from reality”, particularly new laws cracking down on workplace communications after business hours.

Mr Blackburne, owner of his eponymous luxury development group, said he was “absolutely certain . . . in five years we’ll look back at a disastrous Prime Minister (that) caused a lot of damage”.

“This the first time that I really have a problem with the Federal (Government), and it’s not Federal Labor, it’s probably more Anthony Albanese,” he told a recent business boardroom lunch.

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“As running a business, it is just absolutely ridiculous the things that are happening. Cost-of-living is what people care about . . . but (these are) ideologically-driven, disconnected from reality decisions.

“On the front bench, I’ve only learnt this, none of them have ever run a small business and that’s the leaders of our country . . . they’re totally disconnected.”

Pictures of Paul Blackburne in Subiaco, Perth.
Paul Blackburne also took aim at the Federal Government’s new ‘right to disconnect’ rules. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

Mr Blackburne also took aim at the Federal Government’s new “right to disconnect” rules — part of the Closing Loopholes Bill — which will enable workers to ignore unreasonable calls, emails or messages from employers outside of work hours without punishment.

“If the theory is that you can’t call someone after 5pm, does that mean that they can’t take a call at work from their wife, or their kids,” Mr Blackburne said.

“I can see what they’re trying to do but they’re implementing policy on thought bubbles without consultation.”

Blackburne last year celebrated its 20th year since inception, with the business now dominating the luxury apartment sector across Perth’s premium suburbs, including the 24-storey One Subiaco and $500 million West Village projects.

Mr Blackburne has previously said he was considering undertaking similar projects in the Eastern States should the right opportunities arise.

Mr Blackburne also recently came in at 200th on The Australian’s list of the country’s 250 wealthiest people in March.

Labor’s Closing Loopholes Bill — introduced last September — passed through the Senate in February after the Government stitched up deals with crossbench senators Jacqui Lambie, David Pocock, Lidia Thorpe and the Greens.

The second tranche of the Bill included changes to the definition of casual employment, minimum standards for gig workers, as well as the right to disconnect.

The latter in recent months has sparked controversy because they will cause headaches for WA-based businesses communicating with east coast staff and customers, especially during the six months of daylight savings where there is a three-hour time difference.

Other business bosses including BHP Australia president Geraldine Slattery and Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Scott in the past have hit back at the changes.

Mr Scott said the “right to disconnect” laws were an unnecessary addition to an already complex industrial relations regime and could hurt customer service levels.

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