Albanese backer warns against putting Shorten in top job
ELECTING Bill Shorten as Federal Parliamentary Labor leader, with no rank-and-file vote, would be the worst outcome for the party, an avid Anthony Albanese backer said on Wednesday.
Luke Whitington, who said he was "one of many sunburnt workers" who helped the party during election weekend, set up an "Albo4Leader" Facebook site last week.
Since September 6, the site has garnered more than 1500 "likes" from party members and the general public.
Mr Whitington, who described himself as an activist for democratic processes within the party, said Mr Albanese was a natural pick to lead the party, having held the Deputy Prime Minister's office,
He said Mr Albanese - who has yet to announce whether he will stand for the leadership - was the "best parliamentary performer" and had held the party together in the past three years.
"I don't know how many of the Facebook supporters are party members, but I would suspect he's got overwhelming support from the majority of the rank-and-file," he said.
"I'm 100% behind having more involvement from the membership in leadership decisions - we need more democracy and more member involvement is we are to beat the division of the past."
Mr Whitington said that following the party reforms by Kevin Rudd, it was time to have "an open, democratic contest" for the leadership.
He said the idea that such a contest would be bad for the party was "the biggest furphy" since the election.
"I can understand that after the division, people would think that, but there's an important difference," Mr Whitington said.
"In the previous fight, it was an internal, backgrounding Canberra fight - this would be an open fair fight, and whoever wins, everyone can shake hands at the end and back the new leader."
While Mr Whitington said he had tweeted Mr Albanese urging him to run, he had no discussions with the NSW MP otherwise.
"If Shorten won through a real party election, I'd be happy to support him, but I'd be very disappointed if we weren't given a choice, and if he was simply installed, that would be the worst outcome for the party."