Government could fail surplus 'test' says Labor – politics live

By Amy Remeikis

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Labor has also been rumbling post-election with a succession of rightwingers having views about how to do a redux on climate policy and the shadow minister, Mark Butler, gritting his teeth and saying we are not going to shrink from doing what needs to be done.

We know that Fitzgibbon and some others in the right of Labor think the ALP has to do more to appeal to their traditional constituency rather than being seen to sign up, exclusively, to progressive values in the city.

We know that Fitzgibbon has positioned himself as the key person to carry this message post-election.

Commonsense tells you he’d be assembling a caucus of opportunity to better express this view internally.

But the crux of this story remains in development. If there is to be a fight, the fight doesn’t happen in a Kingston restaurant, when factional folks meet for dinner. There are factional dinners every week parliament sits. The argument happens in the shadow cabinet and the caucus.

The rubber is going to hit the road when Labor fleshes out its climate policy. The party (as Anthony Albanese told Radio National this week) has already started trying to put that picture together – but there’s a way to go.

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Morning all.

“The only breakaway I’m aware of is the Otis breakaway,” chortled Scott Morrison to the reporters stopping him after a Women’s Day breakfast in the parliament.

The prime minister is referring to a story broadcast on Ten last night concerning a group of Labor rightwingers dining together at a Kingston restaurant, presumably called Otis.

At one level, this story is nothing at all – “Labor rightwingers in Labor rightwingers eat dinner shock”.

At another level the anecdote tells you something of what’s going on inside Labor at the opening of the new political year.

Let’s work through this. The Otis group is largely comprised of conservative rightwingers in the small states.

The NSW rightwinger Joel Fitzgibbon was also in attendance at this week’s dinner. We know that both the government and Labor are having difficulties trying to land positions on climate change that are sympathetic to sensibilities in coal communities and in the cities. Both sides are having difficulties because this is a really difficult task. Liberals and Nationals have been in open disagreement during the past fortnight.

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Anthony Albanese questioned over 'Otis group' faction meeting

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