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Albanese's new year blues as union boss calls for his sacking

Politics

A prominent union official is calling for Labor to dump Anthony Albanese as leader ahead of the next election.

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New polling suggests Labor could be on track to lose the Hunter Valley federal electorates of Shortland and Paterson.

CFMEU national political organiser Elizabeth Doidge, a close ally of outcast union boss John Setka, believes Tanya Plibersek would be a better chance to lead Labor to victory.

“We definitely want a change of leadership,” she told The Australian on Monday.

“I’m not necessarily saying it needs to be Plibersek but it definitely needs to be someone other than Anthony Albanese.

“He can’t unite the party, he can’t unite the unions, he doesn’t have the leadership the party needs to win a federal election.”

The union has been locked in a long-running row with Albanese since he campaigned to have Setka expelled from the Labor Party.

But outspoken figures from the party’s right faction have also long been concerned Labor is drifting away from traditional voters in heartland seats.

Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon, from the seat of Hunter, quit the shadow cabinet last year over concerns about climate and energy policies.

Fitzgibbon played down the prospect of switching leaders but argued the party needed to change.

“I am far more concerned with the message than the messenger,” he told the Seven Network.

“But it is apparent that unless the Labor Party recalibrates its language, policy and narrative, then it’s going to continue to struggle in the electorate and in particular, in traditional seats like those in the Hunter Valley and in central Queensland.

“So it’s up to the party, we start thinking more about our traditional base, start putting labour back into the Labor Party, or think about losing more elections. A simple equation.”

The union-commissioned polling shows Labor’s primary vote in the coalmining electorate of Shortland has dropped 13 points since the election to 28 per cent, trailing the Liberals on 45 per cent.

In nearby Paterson, Labor’s primary vote has fallen to 30 per cent, compared with 43 per cent for the Liberals.

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