Anthony Albanese Calls On Labor To 'Bring People Together' For Australia's Sake

Labor frontbencher uses key speech to call for 'respect' of business community.

What you need to know
  • Anthony Albanese has spelled out his vision for Australia's future
  • The Labor veteran wants to see the party work closer with business.
  • Albanese has been touted as a possible challenger to Bill Shorten.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has urged his party to work more closely with the business sector and appeal to aspirations of workers outside the union movement.

Delivering the Gough Whitlam address on Friday night, Albanese said Labor needed to bring Australians together and forge new support from a wide cross section of voters, not just union members.

“Our job is not to sow discord,” he said at Club Shellharbour on the NSW south coast.

“Labor doesn’t have to agree with business on issues such as company tax rates, but we do have to engage constructively with business large and small.

“We respect and celebrate the importance of individual enterprise and the efforts and importance of the business community.”

The Labor veteran's speech come amid fierce criticism of the government's attempts to secure support in parliament for a corporate tax cut.

It also follows the passage of the coalition's $144 billion income tax cut package, which was passed this week, despite opposition from Labor.

Albanese said that while Labor didn't have to back the corporate tax break, it should engage more closely with large and small business.

He also told party faithful that it was Labor's job to "bring people together in the service of the national interest".

“We are not a single issue party that puts abstract policy ahead of the working lives of people. We are not bitter, frightened xenophobes," he said.

“As Gough Whitlam understood, if changing lives for the better is your ambition, Labor remains the only game in town, the party of mainstream Australia, the party of courage and ambition for our nation, the party of the fair go.”

In addition to representing the inner Sydney seat of Grayndler, Albanese has been touted as a possible challenger for opposition leader Bill Shorten.

Albanese, or "Albo" as he's affectionately known, also cultivates an image as a knockabout Aussie bloke who's even had a craft beer named after him.