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Labour Has Been Briefed On Winning Elections From Australia's Centre-Left Leadership

Labour Has Been Briefed On Winning Elections From Australia's Centre-Left Leadership
3 min read

Exclusive: The Shadow Cabinet was briefed by strategists from the newly elected governing Australian Labor Party last week as Keir Starmer seeks to become the first Labour leader to win a UK general election in 17 years.

In May this year, Australian Labor leader Anthony Albanese led his party to power, succeeding Liberal party Prime Minister Scott Morrison to become the country's first Labor Prime Minister since 2013. 

Keir Starmer's Labour has consistently led popularity polls in the UK in recent months in the wake of successive government scandals. As the Conservative party fight it out to elect a new leader after Boris Johnson was forced to resign last week, Labour hopes to capitalise on the Tories' bruised reputation in order to win the next election, which must be held by the end of 2024. 

Paul Erickson, the Australian Labor Party's National Secretary, led a virtual briefing with UK shadow ministers on how his party won Australia's general election in May.

Erickson explained how Albanese focused on the economy, and refused to get caught up in "culture war" debates, in order to defeat Morrison's conservative coalition.

Starmer's Labour is looking at the recent success of its Australian counterparts as a blueprint for its own electoral strategy heading into the next election.

A senior Labour source said the parallels between UK and Australian politics were "amazing".

Julia Gillard, who was the Labor Prime Minister of Australia between 2010 and 2013, is also set to meet members of the shadow cabinet next week while in the UK.

The party is in a strong position to win the next general election, with with one recent opinion poll by Savanta ComRes putting Starmer's party 15% ahead of the Conservatives.

However, Labour is preparing to face a new Prime Minister, with Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt currently seen as the frontrunners to replace the outgoing Johnson.

At her leadership campaign launch on Wednesday, Mordaunt said she was the Conservative party's "best shot" of defeating Labour in 2024 and the candidate Starmer "fears the most".

Sunak's campaign also claims he poses the greatest challenge to Labour, with backer Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, claiming on Tuesday that the former Chancellor was the only candidate who could defeat Starmer. Recent polling suggests Sunak is the only Tory leadership candidate who could win the next general election.

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis will be the biggest challenge waiting for the new Prime Minister when they enter 10 Downing Street, with energy prices set to continue rising later this year.

Labour is seeking to use the tax row that has dominated the Tory leadership contest so far to demonstrate that the Conservatives cannot claim to be the party of economic responsibility.

Speaking on Wednesday, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said candidates were indulging in "fantasy economics" by promising unfunded tax cuts.

“Over the last decade, Tory mismanagement of our economy has meant not only that growth has plummeted, but that living standards have fallen and real wages have failed to rise," she said.

“Instead of presenting the plans we need for a stronger, more secure economy, the Tories are spending every waking minute indulging in unfunded fantasy economics.

“Any lingering sense that the Conservatives are the party of economic responsibility has been shredded to pieces."

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