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Albanese locked in as new Labor leader


New Labor leader Anthony Albanese has promised to hold Scott Morrison to account “strongly, forcefully”, but he’s also said he won’t be a Tony Abbott-style opposition leader.

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Nominations for the role of federal Labor parliamentary leader closed this morning and, as expected, Albanese was the only person to put his hand up.

“I have been elected to lead but I pledge to always remember that we are also here to serve, to serve all Australians,” Albanese told reporters in Sydney after the nomination period ended.

He wants to reach out to the one-in-four voters who didn’t vote for Labor or the Coalition at last Saturday’s federal election.

“Both of the potential government parties in this nation need to acknowledge there’s a weakness in the system when the level of the vote is that high,” Albanese said.

The Labor leader congratulated Morrison on winning the election.

“I will hold his government to account, strongly, forcefully,” Albanese said.

“(But) I’m not Tony Abbott. People want solutions, not arguments. They have conflict fatigue. Some reforms require bipartisan support.”

That includes finding a bipartisan way to recognise indigenous Australians in the constitution and to deliver business certainty on energy policy.

“The time for the ongoing conflict on these issues surely is over,” he said.

Albanese said unions and businesses had common interests in a strong economy, and he supported job creation as a core issue for governments to achieve.

But he said Australia couldn’t judge the economy separately from the people it was meant to serve.

“I believe in an inclusive society, one that looks after the most vulnerable,” he said.

Victorian MP Richard Marles is in line to be his deputy, again being the only person with his hat in the ring for the job today.

Both men have promised to talk to voters who didn’t vote Labor in a bid to make sure they understand last Saturday’s shock election loss.

“It’s really important that we understand what happened at the election. It’s important we make sure we’re talking to the widest range of people we can,” Marles said on Sunday.

Labor has had a man and woman in the leadership team since 2001, except for a three-month stint in 2013 after Kevin Rudd got his revenge on Australia’s first female prime minister Julia Gillard.

But Victorian MP Clare O’Neil dropped out of the race for deputy after her colleagues told her she needed more experience bringing the party together behind a leader.


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