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Albanese insists Labor’s values are sound amid Queensland fears

MPs say Mr Albanese’s position in the top job is not under threat but the opposition will need to “sharpen up the message” in a potential election year.

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In a new book featuring essays from prominent Labor Right-faction figures on the future of the party, Queensland senator Anthony Chisholm warned the party would need a climate policy that reassured regional Queensland they would have nothing to fear from an incoming Labor government.

Senator Chisholm writes in The Write Stuff: Voices of Unity on Labor’s Future that the message needed to be: “We will protect your job and livelihood, but we also want to ensure your grandchildren have the same opportunity to live and work in regional Queensland which is why we need to take action to create a better future for them.

“We must not let these factors come into competition – because when they are, we lose. In the short term, the biggest threat to good, well-paid resources jobs in regional Queensland is not Labor’s wild plans. It is automation and insecure work, evidenced by the increasing use of labour hire in the industry.”

ALP national president Wayne Swan, who has urged the party to be relentless in its pursuit of a return to government, warned that while the federal government lacked credibility on climate change, it had a “clearly articulated PR strategy” to use climate as a wedge aimed not only at coal miners but working people more generally.

“It is possible to support blue-collar jobs and reduce emissions across our economy but proposals that talk about shutting down the export coal industry or demonise entire sectors instead of focusing on the hard and tough policy, which includes reducing emissions across the whole of our economy, are entirely counter-productive,” Mr Swan wrote in the book.

Responding to Mr Swan’s essay, Mr Albanese said he was “all about jobs” following the COVID-induced recession and would continue to promote the participation of women in the workforce.

He said Labor’s vote was up in both private and published opinion polls since the last election.

“We’re here talking about education and early childhood education. Our plan for the budget reply had two key themes – our childcare boost and our Future Made in Australia, making sure that we prioritise manufacturing jobs, including high-value jobs right here in Australia,” he said.

“I will be out and about in Queensland. And I’ll be out and about talking to workers, talking about their needs.”

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