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Labor shadow minister Bill Shorten has had a fiery exchange with a reporter on morning television after it was claimed Anthony Albanese is ‘threatened’ by one of his frontbenchers.
The ex-Labor leader said reports Tanya Plibersek had been sidelined by Mr Albanese because she might steal his limelight were a ‘storm in a teacup’.
Ms Plibersek has been conspicuously absent from appearances alongside Mr Albanese and has had only one official transcript released to the media in the election campaign.
‘Sorry, Albo is threatened by Tanya. It is very, very clear,’ Today Show reporter Chris O’Keefe pressed.
Mr Shorten (pictured) fired back at claims Labor leader Anthony Albanese was ‘benching’ certain MPs who might steal his thunder
‘Just like you Bill were threatened by Albo back in 2019. You know how it works!’
Mr Shorten tried to brush off the comments saying ‘Australia is a big place’ and Labor MPs just happened to be campaigning in different regions to Mr Albanese.
‘Nobody here is believing that you guys are sitting at the coalface and just chipping away at votes in your electorate. Please!’ Mr O’Keefe interrupted.
‘This is politics. It is an election.’
‘Albo is looking over his shoulder at Tania going, I hope this election goes well and Tanya is sitting there doing the numbers about what will happen if it doesn’t go well.’
‘She will be the leader of the Labor Party. We all know that, Bill. Stop pulling our leg!’
Tanya Plibersek (pictured) is considered one of the most popular Labor frontbenchers but she has been absent from high profile election campaign appearances
A clearly irked Mr Shorten then fired back that the claims were ‘sensationalist’ and he was ‘calling it out’.
‘You want to get the punch in and the boxing gloves on. Good on you, son,’ Mr Shorten said.
‘Maybe go and do some boxercise. We’ll get you down to class and you can work it out of your system’.
Reporter Chris O’Keefe said it was ‘clear Albo is threatened by Tanya’
Deputy Labor leader Ms Plibersek is the MP for Sydney while Mr Albanese is the MP for the neighbouring seat of Grayndler in Sydney’s inner-west.
Both are from the left faction of Labor and had vied for the party’s leadership back in 2019.
Ms Plibersek eventually pulled out of contention, leaving Mr Albanese to duke it out with right faction hopefuls Chris Bowen and Richard Marles.