Anthony Albanese has responded to reports his leadership is under threat, after a new book argued Labor’s chances winning the next election were slim.
Anthony Albanese has shrugged off speculation that his leadership is under threat.
The comments come after a collection of essays released this week from a number of prominent Labor members argued Labor’s chances of regaining power were looking increasingly futile.
The new book features opinions from the party’s right faction, including ALP national president Wayne Swan and Queensland senator Anthony Chisholm, who wrote about the need to strike a balance between supporting jobs in coal mining and greater climate change accountability.
Rivals have jumped on the debate, insisting the published views are evidence the Opposition Leader, who is from Labor’s left faction, faces a leadership revolt.
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Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who failed in his own bid to replace former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull, declared “Albo is on his last legs”.
“That is the reality of it coming into the killing season,” he told the Today show on Friday.
But Mr Albanese brushed the speculation aside on Saturday, telling reporters in Brisbane internal debates were healthy.
“It‘s a good thing that people in the Labor Party are interested in ideas and the future of our country,” he said.
“Labor has policies and has thoughtful processes, the Liberal Party have slogans and marketing.
“Perhaps if we had a government that was less concerned about slogans and marketing, we’d be better off.”
In the collection of essays, The Write Stuff: Voice of Unity on Labor’s Future, Mr Swan said the Morrison Government had successfully made the climate change debate within Australia as being either for or against jobs in mining.
He said Labor needed to find a more productive balance between supporting the sectors that relied on exploratory industries and a sustainable path to reduce emissions.
“It is possible to support blue-collar jobs and reduce emissions across our economy but proposals that talk about shutting down the export coal industry or demonise entire sectors instead of focusing on the hard and tough policy, which includes reducing emissions across the whole of our economy, are entirely counter-productive,” Mr Swan wrote in his essay.
Under a glaring hot sun in Brisbane, Mr Albanese rejected the notion this represented a division within his party.
The Opposition Leader said the ALP national president’s essay was consistent with the findings of a review into the party’s 2019 federal election loss, which had been adopted by him and other party leaders.
Mr Albanese’s whirlwind tour of Queensland comes after the Sydney-based Labor leader was locked out of the Sunshine State during Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s successful election campaign.
He said he wanted to make up for lost time in 2021 and focus heavily on supporting childcare as well as manufacturing jobs in regional Queensland ahead of a likely federal election in 2021.
Alongside MP Anika Wells — who holds the seat of Lilley in Brisbane’s north by a slim margin of 0.6 per cent — and her newborn twins, Mr Albanese said Labor would focus on “bread and butter issues”.
“That‘s why we’ve been in the budget reply concentrating on cheaper childcare for 97 per cent of families, which is an important economic reform to improve women’s participation in the workforce,” he said.