Albanese sidesteps Plibersek Labor leadership claims
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has brushed aside Tania Plibersek's suggestion she would have become Labor leader in 2019 had she nominated for the role.
The federal environment minister has revealed in a new book that her daughter Anna's trauma as a result of an abusive relationship was the reason she withdrew from the contest, and that she believes she would have won the party's top job had she run.
Extracts of the biography, Tanya Plibersek: On Her Own Terms, were published on Saturday in Good Weekend magazine.
Asked about the claims while campaigning for April's Aston by-election in Melbourne, Mr Albanese stepped around the issue.
"She's been a friend of mine for a very long period of time," he said.
"I was elected unopposed after the 2019 election and I won in 2022, and I'm very proud of the amazing team that I have."
Taking the deflection a step further, the prime minister said one of the differences between his own team and that of the opposition was that it was being led by Peter Dutton "because they can't find anyone better".
"They reluctantly chose him, even though half his colleagues don't like him at all," he said.
However Mr Dutton's deputy and opposition spokeswoman for women Sussan Ley took the opportunity to side with Ms Plibersek.
"As a woman and a mother, I was incredibly touched by Tanya's story and I particularly want to praise her daughter Anna, who so bravely articulated her story," she said in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
"There is no doubt in Tanya Plibersek's mind that she would have won the Labor leadership in 2019 and looking at the first nine months under Prime Minister Albanese, there's probably not much doubt in anyone else's mind either."
Ms Plibersek took to Twitter to explain she and her husband had been devastated to learn about what had happened to Anna and had decided to share the story following the setting up of a volunteer organisation to help other domestic violence victims called Survivor Hub.