Anthony Albanese is considered the frontrunner. Picture: Bianca De Marchi/AAP
Anthony Albanese is considered the frontrunner. Picture: Bianca De Marchi/AAP

Albanese’s bizarre speech: ‘I’m not Tony Abbott’

ANTHONY Albanese answered a question nobody was asking, with the new Labor leader claiming: "I'm not Tony Abbott."

In his first pitch to the public after securing the ALP top job uncontested, Mr Albanese vowed to hold the government to account "strongly (and) forcefully" but promised Prime Minister Scott Morrison he would not oppose every solution to every issue.

"I'm not Tony Abbott," he said. "People want solutions not arguments, they have conflict fatigue, some reforms require bipartisan support."

Mr Albanese, who will be confirmed as leader by the Labor caucus on Thursday, said he wanted to reach out to voters who wanted to support his party but felt they couldn't, as he laid out a platform that was at times reminiscent of his failed predecessor Bill Shorten.

"I understand that it is a big mountain that we have to climb," he said.

Mr Albanese said he would be a "consultative" leader as he name-dropped former Labor prime ministers including Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Paul Keating, all of whom Mr Albanese said he had spoken to in the past week.

"Julia and Kevin remain very close friends of mine … I think both those governments will be recorded well by history, but because we weren't long-term governments, some of the reforms put in place weren't entrenched," he said.

Mr Albanese claimed he won’t be Tony Abbott. Picture: Tim Hunter
Mr Albanese claimed he won’t be Tony Abbott. Picture: Tim Hunter

 

Bill Shorten quit as the Labor leader after losing the federal election. Picture: Kym Smith
Bill Shorten quit as the Labor leader after losing the federal election. Picture: Kym Smith

But when asked to clarify Labor's stance on the future of the coal industry and Adani's Carmichael mine project in Queensland - an issue that cost the party crucial seats in the Sunshine State in the federal election as Mr Shorten equivocated on the issue - Mr Albanese would not give a clear answer.

"We will go through in terms of our processes, all of those issues, but the truth is that the Adani coal mine has been approved at the federal level by the (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act)," he said.

"Then there is the other issue with regard to Adani, and indeed to the whole issue of the Galilee Coal Basin, is the issue of the economics of it. The basic cost-benefit ratios."

Mr Albanese would not give a clear answer on where he stands on the Adani mine project in Queensland. Picture: Hollie Adams
Mr Albanese would not give a clear answer on where he stands on the Adani mine project in Queensland. Picture: Hollie Adams

Mr Albanese's incoming deputy, Richard Marles, yesterday attempted to walk back previous remarks he had made welcoming the demise of the coal industry, calling the comments "tone deaf".

Mr Marles told 3AW radio he was sorry for saying the collapse of the coal market was a "good thing".

"I regret them and I was apologising for them within a couple of days of making them," he said.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan called Mr Albanese's speech a "Belgian breakfast cafe" as it was full of "waffles".

And he said Mr Albanese's response to Adani showed Labor had "learnt nothing" from their shock election defeat.

"Mr Albanese couldn't bring himself to say he supported the Adani project, and instead questioned its economics, the cost-benefit ratio of the project," he said. "Instead of providing assurances to the people of Queensland about their job security, all Mr Albanese and Mr Marles offered were weasel words."



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