Labor MPs back Bill Shorten’s leadership


Senior Labor MPs have dug in behind leader Bill Shorten ahead of a handful of crucial federal by-elections.

The opposition is in a tight battle to hold the Tasmanian seat of Braddon and Longman in Queensland after the sitting MPs were forced to resign over dual citizenship.

Despite suggestions losses in those seats would spark leadership tensions for Mr Shorten, Labor is presenting a unified front.

Frontbencher Brendan O’Connor said during his 17 years in parliament he had never seen Labor so united.

“Let’s be honest, when we were defeated back in 2013 we were divided and demoralised and we were indeed bereft of coherence,” Mr O’Connor told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

But since that defeat Labor has become coherent and united, Mr O’Connor said.

“That’s in large part due to Bill Shorten as leader. He’ll be leader into the next election.”

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne likened the opposition leader to the villain from Harry Potter stories.

“Bill Shorten is about as popular as Voldemort at the Hogwarts Christmas Party,” Mr Pyne told 5AA.

The man touted by some as a potential leadership challenger, Anthony Albanese said Mr Shorten had presided over 37 consecutive opinion poll victories.

“Bill Shorten has also had a whole section of the media being critical of him,” Mr Albanese said.

“But the fact is that he leads a team that is ahead in Newspoll yet again.”

© AAP 2018



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