Anthony Albanese
Anthony Albanese Trevor Veale

Macklin backs Albanese while Howes supports Shorten

Updated: 15.37 TWO key labour movement figures threw their support behind the opposing candidates for the Labor Party leadership on Thursday.
Victorian right figure Bill Shorten - a former head of the Australian Workers' Union - has secured the backing of his former deputy, AWU national secretary Paul Howes.
Mr Shorten's competitor, Anthony Albanese, also secured the backing of the Victorian left's Jenny Macklin on Thursday.
Ms Macklin has joined former climate change minister Greg Combet in backing Mr Albanese, who is tipped to secure majority support through the party rank and file.
A statement from Ms Macklin's office said she believed Labor could win the next election under Mr Albanese's leadership.
She wrote that the former deputy prime minister was a proven parliamentary performer, a skilled communicator and a "passionate advocate for working people".
Mr Howes on Thursday fronted the cameras in Sydney not only to pledge his support for Mr Shorten, but also distance himself from a potential contest for Senator Bob Carr's seat.
While Mr Carr has not announced he will stand down from the Senate, Mr Howes said the labour movement was "no good at keeping a secret".
Mr Howes said he would not contest the seat, should it become available, to avoid more "divisive, disruptive" factional fights within the labour movement.
He said he believed Mr Shorten was best placed to lead the party after he was "never gun-shy and never scared" in his role as the head of the AWU.
The campaign for the Labor leadership continued on Thursday, with both Mr Shorten and Mr Albanese speaking at public events.
Mr Shorten told the media he believed Labor needed to reposition its brand to focus on science, after Prime Minister Tony Abbott did not name an individual science minister on Wednesday.
Mr Albanese told the party faithful in Melbourne that the campaign needed to be a positive one, reiterating a competition of ideas over personality.

Earlier:

FORMER families minister and Victorian left figure Jenny Macklin has thrown her support behind Anthony Albanese for the Labor leadership.

Ms Macklin was the latest Labor figure to back Mr Albanese's tilt for the party's top job, after former climate change minister Greg Combet launched the contender's campaign pitch earlier this week.

A statement from Ms Macklin's office said she believed Labor could win the next election under Mr Albanese's leadership.

She wrote that the former deputy prime minister was a proven parliamentary performer, a skilled communicator and a "passionate advocate for working people".

"Anthony is a product of Labor values. He has the tenacity and the vision we need in Opposition to fight for the big Labor reforms in disability, climate change, education and broadband," Ms Macklin wrote.

"His record in Government - as a cabinet minister and as the Leader of the House - make him the best candidate to hold Tony Abbott to account over the next three years."

Mr Albanese is contesting the Labor leadership against Victorian right figure Bill Shorten, in the first leadership campaign of its type under recent party reforms instigated by former prime minister Kevin Rudd.



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