Australia

'Got it wrong': New Labor leader Albanese distances himself from Shorten’s tactics

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Labor leader Anthony Albanese is further distancing himself from Bill Shorten's policies and tactics as he bids to win back votes in Queensland.

Anthony Albanese has made his strongest break yet from Labor's policies and tactics under Bill Shorten's leadership, revealing he was arguing against some of them last year.

But he still refused to support or condemn the Adani coal mine, which Coalition figures believe helped win a swag of seats in Queensland in the federal election.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese speaks with in Queensland.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese speaks with in Queensland.
AAP

The Labor leader-elect was in Caboolture on Tuesday to start his listening tour of the Sunshine State, where he said he didn't support all of Mr Shorten's policy platform.

"I've said very clearly that I think Labor got some of our positioning wrong. I'm not saying that after the event, by the way," Mr Albanese told reporters.

"Go back and have a look at my Whitlam Oration or my John Button Lecture or other major speeches that I gave in 2018 where I raised those issues."

In the Whitlam Oration last June, Mr Albanese said he supported Labor's negative gearing changes and tax reform packages, which were widely credited as costing votes last Saturday.

Bill Shorten is urging all Labor supporters to get behind the new party leadership team.
Bill Shorten is urging all Labor supporters to get behind the new party leadership team.
AAP

But he also urged stronger engagement with businesses and white collar professions, arguing they are the successful result of Labor's 1970s policies to lift people out of poverty.

In the Button Lecture he pushed Labor to speak to people who disagree with them - a contrast to Mr Shorten, who refused to speak to media outlets he didn't like.

Mr Albanese spoke to conservative radio host Alan Jones on Tuesday, as he made another break from Mr Shorten's tactics.

"We disagree on a number of issues, Alan, but I hope we can always have respectful discussions," he told 2GB radio.

But he followed Mr Shorten's line in refusing to fully back or condemn the Adani mine proposal, saying markets decide whether mines are built, not politicians.

Anthony Albanese says Labor got it wrong going into the election.
Anthony Albanese says Labor got it wrong going into the election.
AAP

"It's not up to government to determine that, it's up to markets themselves," he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

He said the people of central Queensland want "certainty" on the mine.

"They want to know 'is this project going ahead?'," he said.

"They want the environmental decisions to be gone through with rigour, and that is perfectly reasonable for them to want that, and I want that too."

But he conceded jobs were a vital part of the debate.

"On climate change, the science is in. We need to act. But to reduce it to a debate about a single mine is in my view very unproductive, it does nothing to advance the debate," Mr Albanese told ABC radio.

"Good policy is about jobs, as well as about clean energy, as well as about making sure that we take the community with us."

Queensland Labor senator Murray Watt said his party had been clear the federal process for the Adani mine was now over.

"(Adani's) not a matter for anyone in the federal parliament," Senator Watt told ABC TV on Tuesday.

Voters had also been made aware that job security in mining was important to Labor, he said.

"Coal is an important industry for Queensland ... and we support the jobs that are in the coal mining industry."

Labor's caucus will meet on Thursday to decide who will be in the shadow cabinet, but Mr Albanese said portfolio decisions would not be made that day.

With AAP...

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