Shorten admirable but Albo FTW

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With everybody else giving us an opinion on who they think should lead the ALP, Party member and former state candidate Peter Wicks tells us who he is backing and why.

Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten (All caricatures in this piece are by John Graham / johngraham.alphalink.com.au)

THE LABOR PARTY faces an important election at the moment — one that will surely set in place the direction the Party will take over the next decade.

Labor members have been inundated with emails, texts, and Facebook requests and it seems everybody has an opinion to share, so with that in mind I thought I’d share mine.

I will be supporting and voting for Anthony Albanese for leader — 120 per cent.

Although I have nothing but respect for Bill Shorten, I do not believe he is the person to lead the Party through the reform process.

As most of us know, deep down, the Right faction of the Labor Party has done it few favours lately. Think Eddie Obeid, think Joe Tripodi, think the whole sordid saga of the knifing of Kevin Rudd and then Julia Gillard, think ICAC in NSW, and think the culture of the “Faceless Men”.

Maybe it’s past time we passed the torch over to the Left hand side...

Some of you may have read a post I put up recently about the upcoming war that the Coalition will no doubt declare on the union movement, and the possibility of a Royal Commission on union corruption. This action is likely to be brought on by the upcoming court cases related to the HSU and the Labor Right powerbroker Michael Williamson, but will also delve back into the AWU Julia Gillard affair.

Kathy Jackson

Bill Shorten, who for six years was general secretary of the AWU, is vulnerable to attack in both these cases, whether rightly or wrongly, as he has been heavily involved in both of these unions. And we have seen Kathy Jackson attempt to drag Shorten into the HSU saga time and time again already.

When the war on unions that Coalition members are already talking about occurs, it will not be a good look to have our leader being constantly dragged before corruption enquiries and senate hearings as a witness, as they would no doubt ensure Bill Shorten would be.

In politics, perception is everything — it is what wins and loses elections.

One can only imagine the meal News Corp and Abbott would make out of Shorten's union connections under those circumstances.

From an ALP standpoint, unless you live in a bubble, you would be only too aware of how much the Party needs to reform.

A bloody big broom needs to be put through Sussex Street and the recent reforms that were put together by whatever spin doctor had Kevin Rudd's ear that week need turfing out and a total rewrite.

We desperately need to cut down the powers the unions have in regards to proxy voting and on the Administration Committee so that the true rank and file can take the Party back.

Unions should and always will play an important role in the party, but at the moment the tail seems to be wagging the dog.

These are very people that Shorten relies on for support, which means that under Shorten true reform is most likely a pipe-dream.

Then there is the whole betrayal of Julia Gillard earlier this year, which resulted in Kevin Rudd version 2.0 in the PM’s chair. Call it whatever and however you like, but there is no doubt at all how the public perceived Shorten's last-minute change of sides in the leadership battle.

As I said, I have nothing but respect for Bill Shorten — he has been a fantastic Minister and, as far as career politicians go, he is one of the best.

However, a career politician is not what the Party needs now, particularly one that has publicly stated, what seems like a gazillion times, they do not want to lead the Party — ever.

If Shorten wins, we can expect to see those clips on high rotation.

If you think I’m being harsh by bringing up these issues, it ain’t nothing compared to what the Coalition and News Corp will do should Bill become leader; in fact, if Bill Shorten wins this election, I don’t think even he will be as happy as Tony Abbott will be.

However, choosing a leader should not be all about the negatives of one candidate, it should be about the outstanding qualities of the winning candidate.

If there ever was a candidate with outstanding qualities, it is Anthony Albanese.

As a Minister For Infrastructure, Albo’s list of achievements is as long as your arm; he planned for, organised, delivered and oversaw over $36 billion worth of investment into Australia’s infrastructure needs.

He doubled the Federal Roads Budget, and rebuilt one-third of Australia’s vitally important rail freight network. Both of these make up the life-lines of Australia’s freight industry and are vitally important to business, big and small, across the country.

While the Liberals talk about cutting costs and ending waste, Albo just does it. By cutting down on the regulatory bodies bogging down our transport network ‒ a hangover from the indolent Howard era ‒ Albo has saved the country an estimated $30 billion over the next 20 years.

To save these sort of dollars Albo, didn’t have to keep the children of struggling families out of university as the Liberals plan to do, he just trimmed the fat of 23 regulators down to just three — a cut of around 87%.

As Leader Of The House, Albo was a fearless fighter both under the leadership of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

While in this position, it was his job to ensure legislation was delivered through both houses of parliament. This is a high pressure and, at times, excruciatingly painful job without the added burden of having to negotiate through a hung parliament and an, at times, hostile Senate. Albo managed to do that 543 times under Julia Gillard, making Gillard the highest achieving Prime Minister ever in terms of the average number of pieces of legislation passed per day as PM. By contrast, the last government Tony Abbott was a part of, the Howard government, don’t even make the top five.

As Albo himself puts it:
“Fighting Tories, that’s what I do...”

(Image via Political Asylum)

If this election can be summed up in two words, they would be admiration and inspiration. Bill Shorten is a politician whom we can all admire, whereas Anthony Albanese is someone who truly inspires. As a Party, I don’t think we’ve ever been at a point where inspiration was so desperately needed.

If there is one thing that I didn’t agree with Albo on, it was his choice of whom to back when Kevin Rudd first challenged Julia Gillard for the leadership; I have always been a Gillard supporter.

However, the way that Albo announced his support (video below) of Kevin Rudd for the leadership was such an emotional and passionate speech, it was impossible not to respect his guts in coming out that way, and the way he handled the matter in private with Gillard before the presser.

It was also hard to fault his reasoning for backing Rudd. What happened to Kevin 07 in 2010 was inexcusable and was the start of the parties fall from grace to where we are now.

The decision to overthrow a sitting Prime Minister by a few factional kingpins was a disaster of epic proportions.

As a Party, we expected the media and the opposition to show Julia Gillard respect because she was Prime Minister.

We were dreaming...

Why would they show respect? As a Party, we showed how much respect we had for the Office of Prime Minister by knifing a sitting PM and a popular PM at that. To show we’d learnt from our mistakes, we did it again this year in a desperate bid to save a few seats.

As Albo pointed out in his speech at the press conference, this was his chance to show that he had strongly opposed the behaviour of a few who thought they knew better and had taken the decision of leadership out of the hands of the caucus.

And if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, they then had union leader Paul Howes announce the change of Prime Minister on ABC Lateline and why it had to be done. A union leader of all people?

This was a change of regime as far as the public were concerned and they despised Labor for it.

Now the ALP have the opportunity to vote for Bill Shorten a leading member of that regime to be our leader. If you think the knifing of Kevin Rudd was handled well and made us look good as a Party, I’d suggest you vote for Bill.

Alternatively, you can show you don’t approve of this type of behaviour and do what I’m doing, voting for true reform.

Voting for Anthony Albanese — Australian prime minister 2016.

Creative Commons LicenceThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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