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Head-to-head contest to lead Labor

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Albo for leader?

Kevin Rudd's deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will reveal today if he will nominate for the Labor leadership.

PT0M0S 620 349

Bill Shorten will promise reforms to make it easier for supporters to join the Labor Party and influence policy decisions in his attempt to succeed Kevin Rudd and draw a line under Labor's era of leadership tensions and internal divisions.

Mr Shorten expects Anthony Albanese to nominate for the leadership when Labor MPs meet on Friday for the first time since the election drubbing on Saturday, triggering a membership ballot that will take weeks to resolve.

Labor MP Anthony Albanese arrives in Canberra and keeps his leadership intentions to himself.

Labor MP Anthony Albanese arrives in Canberra and keeps his leadership intentions to himself. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The contest could require the two to put their case to the party's rank and file in live televised debates as the party seeks to engage members in the contest.

Mr Shorten would start favourite to win the caucus ballot and Mr Albanese favourite to win the membership ballot, with each counting 50 per cent towards the final vote.

Declaring his candidacy on Thursday, Mr Shorten vowed to reignite Labor's base and build its membership if endorsed by the combined caucus and membership votes under new rules introduced by Mr Rudd.

Bill Shorten: expects Anthony Albanese to nominate for the federal Labor leadership.

Bill Shorten: expects Anthony Albanese to nominate for the federal Labor leadership. Photo: Mal Fairclough

Although he expressed confidence he would prevail, Mr Shorten said Mr Albanese was an outstanding MP who would serve Labor well if elected leader.

He urged the party to embrace ''a new civility'' in the conduct of the ballot, saying the public was interested in ideas.

''They don't want to hear us talking about ourselves and certainly not disparaging each other,'' he said.

Mr Albanese will announce his intentions at the meeting and is widely tipped to have more grassroots support than Mr Shorten.

If Mr Albanese does not stand, Mr Shorten will become leader and Tanya Plibersek is tipped to become the deputy leader.

On Friday, Mr Albanese was tight-lipped when he arrived in Canberra before the caucus meeting.

When asked if he was running for the Labor leadership, he replied: ''That's a matter for the caucus, rather than for you, with due respect.''

''One of the things that we have to do as a Labor party is to actually run our internals,'' Mr Albanese told reporters. ''There's a reason for that word. It's called internal.''

If Mr Albanese stands, nominations will remain open for seven days and the ballot will be conducted after the membership vote, which would take a fortnight. It is likely MPs would not know the outcome of the membership ballot when they cast their votes.

Ms Plibersek, the former health minister, will support Mr Albanese, a factional ally from the Left, if he contests the ballot.

Although Mr Shorten, backed by the Right, declined to expand on his ideas for reform, he has previously argued the case for making it easier to join the party.

''What organisation in the world encourages members but says you can only join during one hour on the third Wednesday each month at a particular location?'' he has said.

He has vowed to make the party more ''encouraging and welcoming'' to members and to give them more say on policy.

Citing his role in building support for DisabilityCare as an example, he said: ''Labor can win the battle of ideas if we are sincere, if we're authentic and if we encourage people to get involved with the Labor Party.''

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95 comments

  • Good ideas Bill and about time, I'm thinking of joining myself.

    Commenter
    SteveH.
    Date and time
    September 13, 2013, 6:36AM
    • If only they'd kept Julia Gillard - we'd be off to the polls tomorrow, and the leadership rules of the ALP wouldn't have changed.

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      September 13, 2013, 8:06AM
    • SteveH 6.36am: : Go Albo. Shorten is electoral poison - and you, SteveH, know it. He is the author of our downfall. Most Labor voters remember the unedifying picture of him skulking in a Chinese restaurant - phone to ear - happily organising Rudd's assassination. He's split the party in two.

      Commenter
      EBAB
      Location
      St Lucia
      Date and time
      September 13, 2013, 8:37AM
    • Bill Shorten is mates with big business and IPA (Labor's sworn enemy). Only Albo or Kelvin Thomson can get Labors primary vote up mid or high 40's.

      Commenter
      Malcolm
      Location
      Brunswick
      Date and time
      September 13, 2013, 8:54AM
    • EBAB, I'm afraid for the rest of Australia The Rudd Wars are now over,
      I'll be happy to take accept your surrender EBAB.

      Commenter
      SteveH.
      Date and time
      September 13, 2013, 9:15AM
    • Please, please,please choose Shorten.

      Now that Labor is down for the count he's just the man to put the boot in and send it to total political oblivion. How could Labor consider anyone else that isn't a backstabbing, turncoat, factional, unionist for the job?

      If a sensible, communicative and centred politician like Albanese gets the nod Labor may have a slight chance of engaging with the 84% of Australians that are not union members.

      Bugger that!

      Commenter
      Blue Tie
      Location
      Liberal Land
      Date and time
      September 13, 2013, 9:34AM
    • Albo seems a genuine aussie bloke, and is one of the great debaters in the Labor party that is not afraid to stand up to confrontational hostile people like Abbott. He doesn't back down and I think he would make a great opposition leader and future PM.

      Commenter
      Ozz
      Date and time
      September 13, 2013, 9:55AM
    • Gee Blue tie, haven't you read any of the splenetic bile that SMH columnist Paul Sheehan has gone about re Anthony Albanese?

      Commenter
      Tony's Pants On Fire
      Date and time
      September 13, 2013, 9:58AM
    • SteveH 9.15am: Shorten represents the problem (far more than Rudd) because he CREATED it. It could, more credibly, be called the Shorten wars.

      Commenter
      EBAB
      Location
      St Lucia
      Date and time
      September 13, 2013, 10:02AM
    • Malcolm it is thinking like yours that will keep Labor in opposition. Its no secret the most successful Labor leader was close to business. Bob Hawke.

      Commenter
      mh
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      September 13, 2013, 10:08AM

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