Albo Likely to Lead Labor
As voting continues and the chance that the Coalition will have 78 seats in the House of Representatives increases, Labor begins the thankless task of finding a new leader and rebuilding its policy framework. 48 hours after Bill Shorten conceded defeat a new Labor Party is emerging: the NSW Labor Right has decided to endorse a member of the Left faction, Anthony Albanese, rather than a senior right candidate like Chris Bowen or Tony Burke. The Secretary General of the NSW Labor Party, Kaila Murnane, carries immense weight within the national Labor Party, which makes it unlikely that Albo will face a challenge from NSW. At the moment there are no leadership contenders from Victoria and the only name being mentioned other than Anthony Albanese’s is that of Dr Jim Chalmers the Shadow Finance Minister, who is from Queensland. But Jim Chalmers is just 41 and has served only two terms in Parliament and while there is an allure about younger leaders like New Zealand’s Jacinda Adern and France’s Emmanuel Macron, the wise heads believe that he needs more experience before taking on a politician as wily as Scott Morrison. So what will ‘Albo Labor’ look like? In his interview with Leigh Sales on Monday night he indicated that Labor needed to reconnect with working class Australians which would start with listening to their concerns. Earlier he had indicated that he would either drop or modify the franking credits policy. Anthony Albanese has made it clear that he is going to end the politics of division, particularly the class warfare based economic policy. As he told Leigh Sales economic growth is as important as redistribution when it comes to economic policy. This implies that the new Labor economic policy will place less emphasis on redistributive taxes that have a negative impact on growth and greater emphasis on growth promoting policies such as infrastructure spends. On the other side of the political spectrum, Arthur Sinodinos has been spruiking the need for more consensus politics on issues such as the NDIS and climate and energy policies. Mr Sinodinos doesn’t see the need for a policy shift on the NDIS but the need of the Commonwealth to work with the states to improve service delivery during the period of transition of disability support from the states to the NDIS. He also argues that the Coalition needs to modify its climate and energy policies to adopt a more centrist approach because the transition of the Australian energy system is inevitable and it needs to be managed to ensure that disruption is minimised. This implies a recognition that as renewables investment increases emissions will go down probably by more than the current Coalition target. It will also require considerable expenditure on the electricity grid and other system costs. There are tentative signs that a bipartisan policy could emerge out of this. Arthur Sinodinos also believes that the Coalition should adopt some of Labor’s policies when fiscal circumstances permit. The two policies that he referred to in an interview with Sky’s David Speers on Monday were funding for cancer treatment and free dentistry. For those people who are hoping the 46th parliament will be a more co-operative and productive place, then an Albanese leadership will be a good sign.