Labor’s Penny Wong lavishes praise on Anthony Albanese at campaign launch

Anthony Albanese launching his campaign with Penny Wong at Vic on the Park Pub in Enmore. Photo: Christopher PearceFederal election 2016: Video, news and analysisYourVote: Are you voting for the right party?Bowen’s blunt admission on the AAA

If Anthony Albanese ever decides to put his hand up for the Labor party leadership again he’ll have a ringing endorsement from his left faction colleague, Penny Wong, to wheel out.

Senator Wong, the ALP’s Senate leader, lavished praise on Mr Albanese at the launch of his campaign in the inner west Sydney electorate of Grayndler on Thursday night, calling him the ” finest and toughest politician of our generation”.

If that weren’t enough to bring a blush to his cheek, she went on: ” There is no-one, no-one, in the parliament or in my political life that I would rather have by my side than Albo”.

“Whether its on climate change, or renewables, or water policy, or infrastructure or marriage equality … and all the things a Labor government has so far delivered to ensure greater rights for the LBGTI community, that would not have happened but for the man standing next to me.”

Mr Albanese, surrounded by campaign workers braving a chilly night on the outdoor deck of Marrickville pub Vic on the Park, was just as effusive.

Describing Senator Wong as “my dear friend and comrade” he said she was a person who “if I walked into a room and I hadn’t heard what the debate was or the issues were, and Penny Wong’s hand was in the air, I would put my hand in the air.”

There was one fleeting reference to a “Shorten Labor government” in the speeches given by the pair.

Mr Albanese narrowly lost to Mr Shorten in Labor’s post 2013 election leadership ballot, winning a majority of the membership vote but losing out to Mr Shorten on caucus votes.

He now faces stiff competition from the Greens for his seat which has been made more marginal after a recent redistribution. Mr Albanese said that  “what the polling shows is that a majority of people do want Labor to win this seat.”

The danger for him was that “they think they can get the best of both worlds” through  giving Labor preferences rather than their primary vote, he said.

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