PAUL MURRAY: Albo's heading for same ditch as Shorten
NEW Labor leader Anthony Albanese is out to show he's different from two-time election loser Bill Shorten, but his latest efforts might show us he's headed for the same ditch.
The Victorian boss of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, John Setka, was the focus of a media hit job this week.
It was claimed he said men's rights have gone backwards since Rosie Batty's efforts to combat domestic violence were mainstreamed by the government and by the wider community.
Now I'm no fan of Setka and think he's done more harm than good to Labor's image over the years, but there is no evidence suggesting that Setka actually made these statements.
Albo also seems a little too trigger happy to throw people like Setka under the bus.
The problem for Labor is they have to back the leader and, therefore, will inevitably kick Setka out of the party.
However, it won't come without a cost.
The CFMMEU gives the party some serious money and provides muscle on polling booths at every election.
Many in Labor will hate the "captain's pick” nature of Albo's call to boot Setka out.
The party doesn't really work like that.
The factions pick the MPs and the front bench and going after a factional player will come with retribution further down the track for the leader.
By the end of the week the government had pounced, promising to bring back laws that will go after dodgy union officials and give greater power to break up unions who are on the wrong side of the law.
However, rather than supporting a standing cop on the beat, Albanese said he'd fight the laws and accuse the government of always going after unions unfairly.
The problem for Albo is his stance on Setka and the vague accusations that triggered his decision to boot someone from the party.
Why wouldn't he support laws that hold union officials to higher standards when these laws seek to weed bad officials and bad unions out of the system?
Albanese was clever to pounce on Setka in the short term, but he's getting burnt in the long term.
Some wise heads in Labor are surprised that Albo is off to such a bad start.
He's taking on too much personal power without doing much to dump some of the awful ideas the party took to the "unlosable” election.
Whyalla is surging back from wipe-out
We took my TV show, Paul Murry Live Our Town, to Whyalla in South Australia this week.
It's part of a monthly celebration of the great places that make regional Australia special.
The city is famous for making steel, but the strongest industry there is that of its locals and their determination.
Like many places around the country, Whyalla has had its fair share of ups and downs, but the downs have been particularly bad for this region.
A few years ago the steelworks looked like they would close, which would have been the end for the city.
But where others saw defeat, British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta saw opportunity.
After substantial investment the steelworks are pumping, and the town is readying for a population boom.
The confidence of the people in the town was infectious and made me feel even better about fighting for some of the smaller places on the map.
If you'd like us to visit your town, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org