Business groups welcomed the pivot from the “top end of town” attacks that characterised Mr Shorten’s tenure, labelling them “disturbing and upsetting”.
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said it was “good to hear pro-growth agendas are now supported on both political sides”.
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson said it was time to end the “confected conflict”. Mr Albanese’s comments were “an opportunity to reset the relationship”.
Katy Gallagher and Clare O’Neil are firming as candidates for Dr Chalmers’ current role as finance spokesman or Dr Leigh’s former position.
Mr Bowen is tipped to move into infrastructure, which will be a key domestic portfolio as the government prepares to spend more than $30 billion on tackling congestion.
The new economic team’s first challenge will be the Coalition’s $158 billion package of income tax cuts. The government is refusing to split the seven-year, three stage package. Stage one, which Labor supports, would deliver a $1000 tax cut for most workers from July.
Stage two, beginning in 2022, would increase the upper threshold of the 32.5 per cent tax bracket to $120,000 from $90,000. Stage three, starting in 2024, would reduce the 32.5 per cent rate to 30 per cent, meaning all taxpayers earning under $200,000 would pay only 30¢ in the dollar.
The caucus is torn between resisting the whole package because it delivers tax cuts worth up to $11,000 for high-income earners in the middle of the next decade, or supporting the bill to avoid being accused of blocking tax relief for low- and middle-income earners.
Mr Pearson urged Labor to back the tax cuts amid a slowing economy, with figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday showing weaker than expected business investment and building approvals, raising expectations of another poor quarter of economic growth.
“It will put more money in people’s pockets,” he said.
Labor will be seen as pro-business as well as pro-worker.
Mr Albanese again said one of the reasons for Labor’s election loss was “conflict fatigue”, in a hint that he may be more willing to compromise with the Coalition on key policies, including tax cuts.
“They [voters] don’t want to see us yelling at each other for the sake of it. They want unions and business to be able to work together in the common interest. They want an economy that works for them, not the other way around,” he said.
“Labor supports economic growth as the core part of our agenda. Because jobs are always first, second, and third priority of this great party,” he said.
Labor’s shadow cabinet will have its first meeting on Tuesday.
Eryk Bagshaw is an economics correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.