The union leader was not present at the conference on Saturday, confining himself to online sledges against Mr Albanese and Mr Marles, with Mr Setka taunting the leader for his conference no-show and urging Mr Albanese to ‘grow some balls’.
CFMEU delegates walked out of the conference room as Mr Marles took to the podium to make his speech to hundreds of Labor delegates at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Saturday.
Mr Marles said the election review published this month was a ‘turning point’ for the party and that the time for soul searching and ‘what ifs’ was at an end.
“Our primary job as a Labor opposition is to become a Labor government at the earliest possible opportunity,” Mr Marles said.
“We’re going to build an agenda which will enable us to tell the story that we need to tell to the Australian people so we can win.
“An agenda which has at its heart, a credible economic policy, the centre of which will be genuine wage increases.”
Mr Marles said Labor must now turn its attention to the Coalition, attacking the government over the economy, drought management, aged care and foreign policy.
“This is a government that is idle, that is doing nothing, except for re-writing the book on smugness,” he said.
But Mr Marles and Mr Albanese were also on the receiving end of some attacks on Saturday as Mr Setka took to Twitter with his opinions of the Labor leadership team.
“[Mr Albanese] says he supports the working class yet he doesn’t have the decency to show up and face the workers reps at the ALP state conference,” Mr Setka wrote on Saturday morning.
“I’m growing a mo for Movember – how ‘bout you grow some balls Albo.”
Mr Shorten, presenting motions to the conference on his portfolio responsibilities of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the government’s ‘robo-debt’ welfare clawback, told the delegates that Labor had to be the party of the vulnerable.
“I couldn’t agree more that what matters is the next election, but what we need to do between now and then is realise that you can’t fatten a pig on market day,” the former leader told the conference.
Noel Towell is State Political Editor for The Age