Labor leadership candidate Anthony Albanese has said he is best-placed to democratise the party. Photo: Andrew Quilty
Labor leadership contender Anthony Albanese has sought to position himself as best placed to democratise the party, contrasting his opponent Bill Shorten's ''newfound commitment'' to reform with his own ''record of action''.
Labor MPs will meet in Canberra on Thursday to cast their vote, while the deadline for 43,000 party members to return their ballots is Friday. The caucus and rank-and-file votes will be weighted equally and the result will be announced on Sunday.
Interviewed on ABC Radio on Wednesday, Mr Albanese was asked about his commitment to party reform, including the recommendation by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks, former NSW premier (and current Senator) Bob Carr and NSW Senator John Faulkner that the rank and file be given the power to elect delegates to party conferences.
''I give more than a newfound commitment. I give 30 years of practice,'' Mr Albanese said.
''I wrote an article in 1991 calling for direct participation, direct democracy, direct election of national and state conference delegates, of party officials. It's something I've campaigned on and acted on, for a very long time, since I was the convener of the campaign for Labor democracy in the 1980s. I do have I think a record of action on those measures.''
Mr Shorten supports the recommendations of the Bracks, Carr and Faulkner review ''in principle'' but has not committed to allowing members to elect conference delegates, saying his priority is to grow and diversify the party membership.
Asked about how he would lead Labor if elected, Mr Albanese spoke of the need to defend Labor's achievements, such as the better schools plan, the National Broadband Network, and the DisabilityCare scheme.
''We have a good legacy. We need to defend that, but we also need to develop the next big ideas. It's only ever Labor that comes up with the big reform ideas,'' he said.
Mr Albanese pledged to lead ''a constructive opposition''.
''I was very critical of Tony Abbott for changing the Coalition into the noalition as I put it – they just said no to everything,'' he said.
''What we need to do is to support measure where they're positive . . . but stick to our position where our position is right. We don't support the notion that climate change stopped on September 7.''
Asked who was funding his campaign, Mr Albanese said he had personally bankrolled it until now. The Labor Party made an equal amount of funding – believed to be about $50,000 – available to both candidates to cover campaigning costs such as mailings, travel and accommodation.
Mr Wright has confirmed the party has received donations on behalf of both candidates but has declined to provide details.
The proceeds of a fund-raising dinner to be held in Sydney on Wednesday night will be split between the two candidates.
Mr Shorten has admitted to receiving donations from ''some unions''.