Bob Katter backs Albanese’s bid for top Labor job
ANTHONY Albanese will harness the power of Bob Katter to make the case that he's a Labor leader who can speak to regional Queensland and secure the support of the state that turned its back on the ALP on Saturday.
Mr Albanese will run for the Labor leadership on a platform of job creation, in a bid to recapture the swathes of working class voters who swung towards the Liberal party in electorates across the country.
The maverick Queensland MP and Katter Australia Party leader - who increased his margin in the seat of Kennedy by 2.6 per cent - will publicly back Mr Albanese as the leader for a Labor Party that needs to recapture its working base.
Mr Albanese was on Monday night the frontrunner in the race for the Labor leadership after failed leader Bill Shorten's deputy Tanya Plibersek pulled out citing family reasons.
Members of the Labor right - Chris Bowen, Jim Chalmers and Joel Fitzgibbon - are still considering tilts, which will influence how the powerful right faction behaves in a ballot.
As Mr Shorten attempted to adjust back to post-politics family life - carrying in the shopping which included a box of Rice Bubbles - at his Melbourne home on Monday, Mr Fitzgibbon declared on 2GB that he wanted the party to move "back to the sensible centre", saying he wanted it "re-engaging with our blue collar base and more rural and regional Australia".
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Albanese also said it cannot be "business as usual" for the party, which he said needed to focus on wealth creation as well as distribution.
He told how he believed there was a need to reset some of the party's policies in consultation with the caucus, yet still stay true to Labor values.
Mr Albanese specifically flagged a willingness to wind back Labor's controversial franking credits tax grab, saying it was rejected by voters who felt it was taking money from people who "weren't that wealthy".
He said the party could have considered capping the policy at a certain level.
"What's clear is that even people who weren't affected by it were (bothered by it)."
However he was more supportive of the party's negative gearing policies, citing the grandfathering arrangements.
He said there was "no need for despair - there is a need for determination," saying the party could still take up the fight to the Morrison government in its new term.
"We need to firstly listen to people who have sent us a message on the weekend," he said. "We need to talk to people in suburbs or regions where we did have swings against us."
Mr Albanese said the graphic image of a map, published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, which showed how seats right across the west of Sydney had uniformly swung from Labor while seats to the east had swung towards Labor was "stunning".
"Our values are about assisting people who most need the support of government, who most need the proper funding of public schools and public hospitals and public transport," he said.
Mr Katter - who was scathing of Mr Shorten - said he was stunned by the economic and social nous of Mr Albanese when he visited his electorate in 2017.
"Albo has been an ordinary worker. As have I. The night I saw him at the Hughenden pub I was amazed. Graziers, knockabout blokes, they were all equally at ease with Albo," he said.
This visit by Mr Albanese to Mr Katter's northwest Queensland electorate - where a massive wind and solar project is underway - has become emblematic of the inner Sydney MP's views on climate change - that Australians will back action when it drives economic activity and employment.
Mr Albanese said he believed Australians wanted action on climate change but it needed to happen in a way that supported jobs and economic activities - not just in cities but in regions as well.
Mr Katter heaped praise on both Mr Albanese and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who he said both had Queensland interests at heart.
He was dismissive of Mr Albanese's competition for the Labor leadership including Mr Chalmers, a Queensland Labor frontbencher.
He said Mr Albanese understood Queensland's economy and could deliver for the state as a Labor leader.
"He wouldn't have made the criminal mistakes Labor did in this election," he said.
He added that those mistakes included "attacks on faith".
Mr Albanese also outlined how he believed Labor could bring on a strong attack against the Morrison Government.
He said wanted to hold them to account on such things as "water buy backs, on inland rail and on their lack of energy policy."
QUESTIONS FOR GETUP WITH $13M FED FOLLIES
Getup failed to rob the Coalition of an electoral victory despite the activist group amassing a $13 million poll war chest and thousands of volunteers in the last year alone.
Donations for the leftist lobbyist were still flying through as the polls came to close with almost $1.7 million donated throughout the federal election campaign.
The activist, who waged a war on the Coalition to remove the "hard right's divisive grip on power", knocked on the doors of 36,315 houses, recruited 9433 volunteers and made 712,039 unsolicited phone calls.
But in the end its only scalp was former PM Tony Abbott who, political experts say, may have lost his seat of Warringah regardless of the GetUp campaign.
GetUp national director Paul Oosting on Monday attempted to spin his failure to dethrone Peter Dutton from his Brisbane seat of Dickson in a positive light saying his organisation loosened the Home Affairs Minister's grip on the electorate.
"People talking to other people to cut through Tony Abbott's cashed-up smear campaign is what helped topple the most powerful climate denier in the country," he told The Daily Telegraph.
"The hard work of so many GetUp volunteers ensured that Peter Dutton failed to benefit fully from the statewide trend.
"We had 1556 people give their time to ditch Dutton. These same people will be working hard to hold Peter Dutton and his colleagues to account in whatever form this new parliament takes."
However, Sydney University's Policy Lab director Marc Stears said Mr Abbott's loss was probably more due to "generational issues" and the changing demographics of the Warringah electorate.
"It was a very specific case and Mr Abbott was thought of for being responsible for a lot of internal issues in the Liberal Party which really hurt him," Mr Stears said.
"The electorate has also shifted on generational demographic points and the doubling up of these two arguments made him just so vulnerable and it was a difficult campaign to run.
"GetUp played a part in the loss but they were not the only factor at all. And on a larger scale throughout the whole election activists from all sides will be asking questions why things didn't go as expected."
Institute of Public Affairs director Evan Mulholland described the GetUp campaign as "abysmal" saying it was evidence it had overplayed its degree of political influence.
"They are completely out of touch with mainstream Australia," he said.
"They go around describing MPs as 'hard right' but it is their policy agenda that is hard left and radical, it is not supported outside of the Greens political party.
"In Dixon there was a swing towards Peter Dutton despite supposedly a massive campaign against him."
He said that GetUp's campaign might even have hurt its campaign in Dickson by being too aggressive.
"Using terms like 'hard right' to describe Peter Dutton, an MP who has served his electorate for decades, doesn't go down well with locals, especially when many GetUp activists were bussed in from out of town."
- Exclusive, Jack Houghton
TOUGH TALLIES IN FIGHTS FOR FINAL FIVE
Only 26 votes separate the Labor and Liberal candidates for the NSW seat of Macquarie after three days of counting in the knife-edge northwest Sydney electorate.
Liberal Sarah Richards has been slowly gaining ground on Labor incumbent Susan Templeman and edged ahead by just 0.01 per cent on two party preferred with 85.8 per cent of the vote counted.
The tight contest is one of five incredibly close tussles across the nation, including the northern Tasmanian seat of Bass, Chisholm in Victoria, Lilley in Queensland and Cowan in Western Australia.
In Bass Liberal Bridget Archer is leading Labor incumbent Ross Hart - who conceded on election night - by just 459 votes with 83.9 per cent counted.
Meanwhile, Labor candidates are marginally ahead in Cowan and Lilley. Liberal Gladys Liu is clinging to her Victorian seat of Chisholm by just 591 votes after suffering a 2.5 per cent swing away from her to Labor's Jennifer Yang.
- Clare Armstrong