Underfire Labor leader Anthony Albanese announced the team he thinks can win the next election. His list had a hidden dig against his main rival.
Underfire Labor leader Anthony Albanese announced the team he thinks can win the next election. His list had a hidden dig against his main rival.

Hidden detail in Albo’s power move

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has dropped a big clue on who's who in the leadership zoo with leadership rivals sliding down the pecking order in a new power ranking.

Tanya Plibersek, a former deputy leader, has been dumped to number 9 in the official seniority ranking of shadow ministers that is decided entirely at the whim of the Labor leader.

That's raised eyebrows as a perceived slight, given she is now behind shadow minister for Sport, SA powerbroker Senator Don Farrell.

It follows claims Ms Plibersek has been positioning herself as an alternative leader in regular talkback radio spots and newspaper op-eds.

In the previous power ranking list that Mr Albanese released in November, 2020, Ms Plibersek was ranked as Number 7 and Senator Farrell was 13th in the pecking order. He's now number 6.

As a powerful figure in the Right faction, the SA Senator could be crucial to shoring up Mr Albanese's leadership in the event of a challenge.

Mr Albanese confirmed a big shake-up of his frontbench on Thursday that includes a COVID-19 reconstruction super portfolio for his deputy Richard Marles and stripping responsibilities from leadership contender Tanya Plibersek.

Ms Plibersek will retain the education portfolio but lose skills to build a super portfolio for Mr Marles. She gains the women's portfolio.

Meanwhile, the treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers, traditionally regarded as one of the most senior members of the team, has been listed as Number 7 by Mr Albanese. He was previously Number 8.

The power ranking is traditionally determined entirely by the Leader of the Opposition when announcing his new shadow cabinet.

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Tanya Plibersek is now a long way down the ‘power list’.
Tanya Plibersek is now a long way down the ‘power list’.

 

While tradition dictates that members of the leadership team including Labor's Senate leader Penny Wong and Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke are listed ahead of other senior frontbenchers, the decision to slide Ms Plibersek and Mr Chalmers down to Number 9 and Number 7 respectively has raised eyebrows.

Mr Albanese did not mention Ms Plibersek by name as he ran through a lengthy list of shadow cabinet ministers and when asked about her recent ideas for COVID-19 economy he changed the subject.

"Would you expect that posturing to stop as a result of the reshuffle and given we are potentially in an election year?,'' Mr Albanese was asked.

"I looked at Tanya's comments today. Look at my speech, it is available to all of you in this room a year ago,'' he replied.

He went on to suggest it was Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles, not Ms Plibersek, who will be in charge of pandemic recovery policy.

His new COVID economic reconstruction portfolio will be focused on creating jobs and include national reconstruction, employment, skills, small business and science.

"In terms of the post-pandemic recovery. This bloke here has got the job of looking after employment and that sort of activity along with Ed Husic and our economic team led by Jim Chalmers,'' he said.

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Tanya Plibersek is positioning herself to take over the Labor leadership. Picture: Adam Yip
Tanya Plibersek is positioning herself to take over the Labor leadership. Picture: Adam Yip

The Labor leader has also confirmed on Thursday that one of his most loyal left-wing factional "mates" Mark Butler will be ejected from the climate change portfolio, a role he has held since 2013.

Just months ago, Mr Albanese insisted he would not be shifting Mr Butler from the portfolio after calls from him shifted to cool internal tensions over energy policy and coal.

His replacement, Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen today rejected claims he would be embracing the Coalition's climate change targets or run dead on the issue or that he would be following rebel Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon's advice.

"He's been for 18 months arguing, in effect, that we should have the same policy as the government. Joel is entitled to that position, I disagree," Mr Bowen told ABC radio.

"I think that the government's approach is one which is destroying jobs, avoiding the opportunity to create jobs for our kids, good jobs in new industries in growing industries and to ensure a sustainable and clear energy supply for manufacturing and traditional industries."

RELATED: MPs savage Albo's 'f***ing disaster' idea

Albanese’s time as Labor leader appears to be under threat. Picture: NCA Newswire/Gary Ramage
Albanese’s time as Labor leader appears to be under threat. Picture: NCA Newswire/Gary Ramage

Labor's Senate leader Penny Wong compared Mr Fitzgibbon's to maverick Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce.

"Joel is a backbencher, just like Barnaby Joyce. And just like Barnaby Joyce he engages in a bit of commentary,'' she said.

"That's up to him. But I'm not going to respond to all of his commentary. The facts are, Labor's got a very clear position on climate. It's a position that aligns with that of the newly elected President Biden, of net zero emissions by 2050."

Originally published as Hidden detail in Albo's power move


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