9 Sep 2013

Leadership hopefuls learn from Australia

12:00 pm on 9 September 2013

The three contenders for the Labour Party leadership say the main lesson from the Australian election result is that the party must be unified to succeed.

David Cunliffe, Shane Jones and Grant Robertson are in the final few days of campaigning to be chosen as David Shearer's replacement.

Australia's Labor Party was tipped out of office at the weekend with its worst election result since 1934.

Mr Cunliffe says the Australian party started its slide when it reversed its stance on the emissions trading scheme.

The three contenders for the Labour leadership.

The three contenders for the Labour leadership. Photo: RNZ

He says a lesson for his party is that it must be true to its values and policies.

The Australian Labor Party suffered from internal wrangling over its leadership, and Mr Robertson says its defeat shows the importance of being unified.

"The public won't elect a party that can't get its own act together. Labour knows that, I've certainly given that message already to the caucus," he says.

Mr Jones agrees with the need for party unity and says Labor in Australia made other mistakes which can be learned from too.

"Don't try and be all things to all people, and I think that was a failing in terms of how lots of Aussies ... felt and voted accordingly," he says.

The three MPs have been touring the country speaking to party members in their bid for the leadership and will appear at the final meetings in Blackball on Monday and Christchurch on Tuesday.

It will then be up to the caucus, party members and affiliated unions to cast their votes before a result is declared on Sunday.