ALP Leadership Challenge Talks 'Overblown': Shorten
The Labor leader says his Party is united.
Bill Shorten has hosed down Coalition claims that his colleague Anthony Albanese has begun campaigning for the Labor leadership.
But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the ALP's "anti-business agenda" is tearing the Party apart.
Speaking on Sunday in the seat of Longman ahead of the by-election next month, Shorten told reporters nothing had offended him in the Whitlam Oration delivered by Albanese on Friday night.
"I encourage my members of the united Labor team to put forward their views on the fair go," the opposition leader said.
"I just want a fair go for everyone, and I think that was what was motivating Anthony's speech aswell."
Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne had claimed Albanese directly contradicted Shorten's "war with business" approach and placement of unions at the centre of public policy by outlining a reform agenda for the ALP, broadening the party's appeal to non-unionists and the business sector.
"Anthony Albanese has fired the starter gun on the Labor Party leadership contest," Pyne said.
But Shorten said he had an "amicable chat" with Albanese after reading his speech.
"He (Albanese) actually said to me he thought this whole debate was a bit overblown. And I thought he was right."
"I'm not anti-big business, I'm just pro-worker. I'm pro-small business, I'm pro-farmer, I'm pro-pensioner ... my priorities are the priorities of everyday Australians."
Speaking in Sydney on Sunday, Mr Turnbull said the Labor Party had strayed from its roots of "trying to encourage everyone to have a go and get ahead" and it was no wonder Albanese was "tearing his hair out".
"That's what they used to be about. Now they say aspiration is a mystery and they want to wage a campaign on aspiration, on investment, on jobs . . . it is a party that has basically abandoned everything it stood for," Turnbull said.