From left, Max Schroedl, 23, Danielle Butler, 25, Troy Harris-McMillan, 21 and Mitchel Edwards, 21.

From left, Max Schroedl, 23, Danielle Butler, 25, Troy Harris-McMillan, 21 and Mitchel Edwards, 21. Photo: Jay Cronan

It's an image and a phrase that's dogged the Labor Party for 50 years.

In the autumn of 1963, Labor leader Arthur Calwell and his deputy Gough Whitlam were photographed waiting patiently outside the Kingston Hotel while indoors party powerbrokers met to decide the policy they would take to an election.

Papers coined these decision makers the ''faceless men'' as a stab at the unelected representatives holding up the ALP leadership. Half a century on, lunchtime patrons at the historic Canberra pub were happy to finally see the back of them, as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd hopes his party reforms to determine and protect future leaders will achieve.

Sent outside ... Gough Whitlam and Arthur Calwell waited outside the Kingston Hotel while party powerbrokers decided policy.

Sent outside ... Gough Whitlam and Arthur Calwell waited outside the Kingston Hotel while party powerbrokers decided policy.

As well as making it much harder for caucus to oust a Labor prime minister or opposition leader, the reforms will allow party members a 50 per cent say in who is elected. Max Schroedi, a 23-year-old student, said it makes him more inclined to vote Labor. "I think it was unfair how they could change leader without going to the people. It's a better way of doing it," he said.

Apprentice electricians Troy Harris-McMillan and Mitch Edwards said they think Labor's heading in the right direction. "I'm happier with Rudd over Gillard,'' Mr Harris-McMillan said. ''The reforms sound a lot better. They're doing more right things, rather than stuffing up more and more.''

Mr Edwards said the leadership merry-go-round has damaged Australia's international standing.

"What has happened has made Australia look like a bit of a joke around the world, so it's good he's doing something," he said.

But not everyone is so quick to trust Labor again.

69-year-old retiree and former Labor voter Jennifer Fox said the party hadn't changed enough to get her vote. "I've already made up my mind," she said. "Ultimately I don't see what difference the reforms make. I want something fresher and younger with more imagination."

Kambah resident Dani Butler remains cautious of the reinstalled Labor leader.

"He's a bit of a snake in the grass, having come back and stabbed Julia Gillard in the back," she said. "I'm not sure I can trust him."