Swan backed me for his job: Albanese

Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and then treasurer and his predecessor in the deputy’s job, Wayne Swan. Mr Albanese says Mr Swan supported his bid for the role. Photo: Alex EllinghausenA big winner from Labor’s leadership change to Kevin Rudd, Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese revealed his predecessor in the job, Wayne Swan, supported his bid for the job.

Mr Albanese discussed the deputy leadership with his ”great friend” Mr Swan, who he succeeded in the post.

”I’d made it clear that if he was a candidate I would not be a candidate,” Mr Albanese said. ”He made it clear that he wouldn’t be a candidate if there was a change of leadership (and) . . . that he would support my candidacy.”

Mr Albanese was one of several Labor members interviewed for an ABC Four Corners program on events leading up to Kevin Rudd’s return as prime minister.

Meanwhile, union boss and key Gillard backer Paul Howes has broken his silence on the Labor leadership, saying the ALP is united behind Mr Rudd.

Mr Howes was a prominent supporter of Julia Gillard when she toppled Mr Rudd as Labor leader in 2010, and steadfastly supported her despite bad polling until she was deposed last month.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the leadership coup, the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) national secretary said it was ”clear the party was uniting behind Kevin Rudd’s leadership”.

”That’s a good thing,” he told the Seven Network on Tuesday morning.

”There’s a lot at stake in 2013 for what the Labor movement stands for . . . and Labor needs to be united to have a fighting chance in this election,” Mr Howes said.

He said he hadn’t spoken to Mr Rudd since he became prime minister, but would if the opportunity arose.

The AWU boss denied snubbing an invitation to attend a barbecue with Mr Rudd, saying he couldn’t attend because of ”personal commitments”.

”Sometimes personal commitments and your personal life means that even prime ministers have to take a lesser level of priority,” he said.

Mr Howes said he didn’t consider the decision to remove Mr Rudd as Labor leader in 2010 a mistake.

”I’m proud that I personally and that our union supported Julia Gillard’s leadership, I don’t think that was the wrong call.”

Mr Albanese also told the program that he was surprised the ballot went ahead.

”If I thought I was going to be part of a caucus ballot for leader and then a candidate for deputy prime minister I probably wouldn’t have been on the football field in the early hours of that very cold Canberra morning,” he said.

He had played in the federal members of parliament state of origin touch football match that morning.

”I was not expecting there to be a ballot that day,” Mr Albanese said.

A loser from the change to Mr Rudd, former education minister Peter Garrett, said the behaviour of Labor caucus members during the recent leadership coup has undermined the integrity of Australian politics.

The former rock star and staunch supporter of former prime minister Julia Gillard told Four Corners that he accepted the final result of the caucus ballot that ousted her.

But Mr Garrett, who has stepped down from the ministry and will retire from politics at the election, said the process had been ”corrosive” in terms of respect and integrity for politics.

”We see a great deal of activity and behaviour which ultimately is lessening . . . the integrity of the institutions that we’re serving,” Mr Garrett said.

He said he entered politics hoping to raise standards.


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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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