Labor leader contender Anthony Albanese is currently running unopposed for Opposition’s top job. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Labor leader contender Anthony Albanese is currently running unopposed for Opposition’s top job. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Albo on collision course with ScoMo

LABOR'S leader-in-waiting Anthony Albanese has identified the policy difference that will trigger his first fight with Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the new Parliament.

It comes as Queensland MP Jim Chalmers is facing stiff competition to be Labor's deputy, after choosing not to contest the leadership ballot "this time around".

Mr Albanese gave a leadership-style pitch yesterday afternoon after Dr Chalmers' withdrawal, in which he promised to call out unions if they stepped out of line, and to show respect for people regardless of faith, where they lived or their sexuality.

 

While he has overwhelming support in Caucus, Mr Albanese said he will not get ahead of the process and await close of nominations on Monday before taking further action.

On the Government's proposed tax cuts, Mr Albanese would only commit to passing the offset of up to $1080 and not later reforms to stop bracket creep.

"Can I say we are preparing to support the first tranche, which is about lower and middle income earners," he said.

"The idea that you make a decision in 2019 about what happens in the middle of the next decade is quite frankly a triumph of hope over experience and reality."

It sets Labor up for an immediate conflict with the re-elected Morrison Government.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already said the tax cuts would be put through Parliament as a matter of urgency, while Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Bill would not be split.

It means it will likely have to negotiated with the crossbench to get through the second and third stages of tax reform, which will raise the income threshold for tax brackets and drop the rate.

Mr Albanese said he recognised the magnitude of the challenge Labor faced in rebuilding after Saturday's loss, but if elected leader he would take an approach of respect.

"Respect for people wherever they live. Respect for people, whatever their faith. Respect for people, whatever their sexuality and lifestyle," he said.

He is expected to walk back the class-warfare approach taken by outgoing Opposition leader Bill Shorten, having spoken against it during the previous term.

Dr Chalmers made it clear he would not contest the leadership today, after days of speculation and urging from his some of his colleagues, but flagged he would seek a senior role in the new Opposition.

Shadow Finance Minister Jim Chalmers will not contest the Labor leadership but could be in line for the deputy position. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP
Shadow Finance Minister Jim Chalmers will not contest the Labor leadership but could be in line for the deputy position. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP

"I do want to play a substantial role in rebuilding, renewing and refreshing our party and its policies after Saturday's stinging defeat, and as a Queenslander I want the best state in Australia to have a more prominent voice in the alternative government," he said.

He threw his support behind Mr Albanese for the leadership, and cited his young family as one of the considerations for his decision.

While the final vote for deputy will be up to Caucus, with a Left leader it will essentially be up to the Right faction to choose a deputy through an internal ballot.

As well as Dr Chalmers, Victorian Richard Marles is understood to be a strong contender for the deputy position, though does not have the united support of the Victorian right faction.

Labor's financial services spokeswoman Clare O'Neil is considering her options.

Senior Right figure from NSW MP Tony Burke has ruled himself out from the contest for deputy.


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