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Albanese And Shorten Meet In ALP Leadership Debate

The two contenders for the ALP leadership have met in a televised debate tonight.

Debate

Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten took questions from an audience of ALP members in Sydney. Each man made opening and closing statements. The debate was moderated by former Keating government minister Michael Lee.

  • Listen to the debate (62m)

Whilst Albanese demonstrated his strong parliamentary style, Shorten emphasised new areas of policy for the ALP to pursue.

Shorten repeated his Whitlam era point that the debate is about the party first, then the policies, and finally the people. He said Labor needed to be “brave” and needed to talk about the future. “The era of the messiah is over,” Shorten said.

In his remarks, Albanese said his objective was not just to lead a parliamentary party but a movement. He said the reform to give the membership a vote on the leadership was here to stay and was an opportunity to move on from the divisions of the Rudd-Gillard era.

Shorten

Labor has tended to look inward, Albanese said. He argued the party needed to develop new policies on childcare, sustainability and fairness. Labor needed to defend its legacy, even when that was politically hard.

Asked what kind of prime minister they would like to be, Albanese said he’d like to be remembered as an infrastructure prime minister. Shorten said he’d like to be a prime minister “for the powerless”.

One question from the audience asked about how the ALP could engage with disengaged young people. Shorten said he wasn’t pessimistic about this and that the party had to be meaningful for young people. Albanese said young people were onside on issues such as broadband and climate change but they weren’t getting on the electoral roll.

Albanese

An audience member drew applause from the audience when he asked whether either man was prepared to lose an election on a more humane policy on asylum seekers. Both men agreed that Labor was pro-immigration and pro-refugee. “We are the nation of the second chance,” Shorten said.

Ballot papers for the leadership election will be posted to ALP members tomorrow. The Caucus will meet on October 10 to cast their votes which will be equally weighted against those of the membership. The result will be announced on October 13.

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