As the defeated, diminished and demoralised Labor caucus met for the first time since the election today, Anthony Albanese is struggling with his most important immediate challenge: party management.
Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi says he’s delighted that Scott Morrison’s Coalition won this month’s election and says if Albo doesn’t heed the message the electorate has sent him and the Labor Party, they are destined to spend a very long time in opposition.
The Australian reports, Kristina Keneally did not have support in Labor’s national Right faction to roll Don Farrell as deputy Senate leader. Nor did she have the numbers in her own NSW Right faction to join the frontbench. None of that mattered because Albanese made it clear her faction had to elevate her.
Ed Husic generously exited the shadow ministry to make way for Keneally. This is a terrible decision and it reflects poorly on Albanese – the first time he has taken a stand on anything as leader. Husic is one of Labor’s most promising MPs – Paul Keating regards him as one of the party’s greatest talents.
Nobody says this about Keneally. In 2011, as NSW premier, she led Labor to its worst election defeat. She became premier only because she had the support of sub-faction boss Eddie Obeid, now in jail. She failed to win the Bennelong by-election for Labor. And her constant presence next to Bill Shorten during the campaign did him no favours.
Albanese’s difficulties do not end there. He also needs to work out what to do with his predecessor, who has support in the Victorian Right faction to become a shadow minister. Shorten may see this as the first step towards a future comeback.
Senator Bernardi told Paul Murray Live on Sky News they need a jackhammer to get to the fossilised DNA of the once-proud Labor Party which ignores facts and common sense policies for irrational experimental ones.