Greens Challenger Jim Casey Slams Anthony Albanese's 'Socialist' Comments

28/01/2016 2:56 PM AEDT | Updated 10/02/2016 3:38 AM AEDT
Fairfax Media

Anthony Albanese's Greens opponent for his inner-Sydney seat has hit back at criticisms of his socialist background.

Albanese, the member for Grayndler, on Thursday announced he would renominate for the seat. In speaking to media at Balmain's Unity Hall Hotel, known as the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party, Albanese spent almost as much time talking up his track record as he did rubbishing the resume of Jim Casey, his Greens opponent and former secretary of the NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union.

"The Greens political party candidate who has been chosen in this electorate has spent more time in the international socialist organisation than he has in the Greens political party, and if if he was fair dinkum he'd run as an international socialist and see how many votes he got there," Albanese said.

"It's unfortunate that the Greens have been captured in this area and in NSW by people who have a history in the socialist party of Australia or the international socialists or the socialists workers party and want to use the Green banner to advance an agenda that's about anything but the environment."'

Albanese -- the Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Cities -- went on to claim Casey had "no local involvement, no local record, nothing to point to whereby they've engaged in the local community".

"I've never seen him at any event or anything else but then again, I haven't been to international socialist demonstrations against global capitalism in the last few years so maybe that's why I've missed him," Albanese joked.

When contacted by The Huffington Post Australia on Thursday, Casey made no bones about his past affiliation with the International Socialist Organisation and pointed out what he saw as hypocrisy from Albanese.

"I make no apologies for my socialist ideals. It is a bit sad [Albanese] is running away from this; he’s happy to DJ songs by Billy Bragg for his mates but when it comes to a political context he's channelling Joe McCarthy," Casey said.

Albanese has famously spun sets as "DJ Albo" and guest-hosted music video show Rage, with his playlists including famed British activist and confessed socialist Billy Bragg.

"Albanese is happy to identify as a left-winger when it suits, him, but it's sad he wants to play this Robert Menzies 'reds under the bed' routine. I'm a local firefighter and a family man," Casey continued.

He said he had hoped for a clean campaign against the Labor party heavyweight, but said Albanese's comments had put paid to that wish.

"I was hoping for a clean contest but that might be a struggle now. I want to talk about the crisis in housing and public transport that Sydneysiders face, and climate change. As a firefighter, I've seen first-hand what climate change means, and it's not enough to have the mealy-mouthed approach from the major parties," he said.

"I stand by my record in the local area. I’ve been running into burning buildings as for a decade. [Albanese] has been doing good things, so have I. We want to do a positive campaign, and look at the climate solutions that are possible, sustainable and fair."

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