Albanese's Batman gibe raises leadership questions

February 20, 2018

Senior Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has dismissed former SAS soldier Kevin Bailey running for the Australian Conservatives in the federal seat of Batman as a "minor party candidate".

Mr Bailey is standing against a political "drift to the left" in the March 17 by-election for the marginal, inner-Melbourne seat which Labor is fighting to retain.

Today’s The Australian reports Mr Bailey’s nomination comes after the Liberal party confirmed it would not run a candidate, leaving the field open to Labor to try to hold the marginal seat against the Australian Greens.

Mr Albanese said, "There's always going to be some minor party candidates in the election. There's no doubt in a by-election votes tend to spray around and minor parties will get votes."

Australian Conservatives leader and South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi said from those comments he wasn’t expecting to hear from Mr Albanese requesting Australian Conservatives preferences.

But he questioned why, saying, “Are you just hoping you lose the seat to damage leadership of Bill Shorten?”

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