In the wake of the elections favouring Tony Abbot’s government as ruling party the opposition has been going through a period of reassessment. Leftwinger Albanese – deputy leader of the Labor Party (ALP) – has been uncertain about whether or not he should stand and party sources were still unclear of his plans as of Wednesday morning.
Bill shorten – leader of the right-wing Labor Unity faction – is expected to make his announcement today, but his spokesman, while confirming him as a candidate, has said that he wouldn’t be holding a formal press conference to declare a leadership bid.
Albanese will have to state his position soon as the pared-back Labor caucus meeting is being held on Friday in Canberra.
If more than one candidate is present in the race, the new rules – introduced by Kevin Rudd – to include the party’s rank and file membership in the ballot would take effect in an almost month-long process and would make it difficult for the Labor factional chiefs to ‘do the numbers’.
Shorten has said to colleagues that he would prefer to not have a ballot and some inside Labor have urged for a consensus candidate to emerge instead of any potential further division in light of the recent electoral defeat.
Rudd’s new process involves two ballots each worth 50%: one for the parliamentary caucus and one for the wider membership of the ALP. Shorten is likely to win the majority of votes in the caucus as the left historically do well in rank and file ballots. Furthermore, under the new process the party ballot would happen first.
Reportedly there have been unsuccessful attempts for the two candidates to come to an agreement about who should stand and who should be deputy.
Both camps unsurprisingly say that their candidate would be the best option in a post-Rudd/Gillard era of politics. Either way one of the biggest decisions for the new Labor leader is going to be whether they will oppose the Coalition’s ‘first order of business’, the abolition of the carbon tax.
The dominant view of Labor is that the party should oppose the repeal. Shorten has said that “there should be a price on carbon tax”. similarly Albanese stated “there is a cost to carbon. There is a cost. The question is: do we pass it on to future generations or do we, as this generation, take responsibility?”
“I could not look my son in the eye and walk away from taking action on climate change.”
With both Shorten and Albanese keen to see Labor not allowing the Coalition to rewrite their party’s record in office or erasing its achievements we will have to see how is chosen for leader.
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