Will the real Albo please stand up?

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If the Albanese Opposition continues to let the Morrison Government run over them without a real fight, the Labor faithful have yet more pain to endure, writes Tarric Brooker.

IN HIS 23 YEARS in parliament, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has earned a reputation as a firebrand figure of the Labor Left. A politician who had a history of fighting for what he believed in, regardless of what position the Labor leadership took on the issue.

With a commitment to left-wing principles, Albanese won over a large majority of the rank and file members of the Labor Party, ensuring that during the recent leadership ballot he would run unopposed.

Given Albanese’s reputation as a highly principled and equally aggressive figure within the Labor Left, his ascension to the leadership gave many in the party hope for a better future after the shock defeat of Bill Shorten in the recent Federal Election.

Yet, in the six weeks since he became Opposition Leader, the fearsome firebrand side of Albanese has been nowhere to be found, leaving members of the Labor Party asking, Will the real Albo please stand up?

While a certain amount of caution is expected from a newly minted opposition leader, especially after a shock election defeat, a large part of the Labor Party’s pre-election agenda has already been effectively jettisoned in favour of political expediency.

This move has left political commentators and supporters of the Labor Party scratching their heads, wondering why the Labor leadership would throw away key parts of the pre-election policy book in favour of a clean slate when the next election is still almost three years away.

If Australians weren’t already shaking their heads wondering what was going on within the Federal Labor Party, they certainly were after the farce that was Labor’s 11th-hour support of stage three of the Morrison Government’s proposed tax cuts.

In the space of fewer than 24 hours, Labor’s stance on the issue shifted from supporting the stage one and two of the proposed cuts, while fighting to have the third stage cuts voted on as a separate bill. And finally, to completely caving on the entire legislation including the stage three cuts, encompassing $158 billion of tax cuts over ten years that would largely benefit high-income earners.

But perhaps the most harmful betrayal of the Labor faithful and the downtrodden peoples of Australia came when Labor was asked to vote on Greens Senator Rachel Siewert’s non-binding motion (effectively a symbolic vote) to raise the rate of Newstart Allowance.

Rather than taking their chance to stand up for the "little guy" and display their new leader’s genuine commitment to old fashioned left-wing values, not only did they not vote in favour of the motion, they chose to vote with the Coalition to defeat it.

Labor and its new leadership are seemingly so shell-shocked by their unexpected election loss that they have at times abandoned even the guise of actually being a party that acted in the interests of the Australian people.

In the last two months, left-wing Australians and the supporters of the Labor Party have had their worlds turned upside down with the "climate change election" that was supposed to deliver to the Coalition a crushing generational defeat, not eventuating.

Instead of providing the party with some rousing rhetoric and coming out fighting in order to inspire the Labor faithful, they have given the public a master class in caving, to the point when the next time a soccer team is trapped in a Thai cave, perhaps they should send Anthony Albanese and Richard Marles to rescue them instead?

If the Labor leadership continues to let the Morrison Government run over them without a real fight and until the Albanese Opposition finally finds out what they actually stand for, the Labor faithful have yet more pain to endure in their future.

Leaving them wondering why exactly they supported Albanese for the leadership in the first place and hoping that the "real Albo" will finally once again stand up.

Tarric Brooker is a freelance journalist and political commentator. You can follow him on Twitter @AvidCommentator.

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