Albanese presser
Albanese presser

Aldi bag of cash a blow for Albo

When a much younger Anthony Albanese moved into Labor's Sussex St state HQ in Sydney, he knew that as the left's representative he was among the enemy.

And the new assistant general secretary (1989-1995) soon had that demonstrated for him.

He one day made the mistake of going out for a while. When he returned his right-wing factional foes had completely dismantled his office, making clear with the remaining void he wasn't wanted and would be given no role in a power structure run by The Machine, as the right liked to call itself.

There was much laughter, but these days Mr Albanese, now federal party leader, might be forgiven for chuckling.

The personnel involved in the office renovation have long gone, but so have the power, effectiveness and authority of the NSW right and its Sussex St fort.

The extraordinary story of the $100,000 donation presented in a plastic Aldi bag now being told to the Independent Commission Against Corruption underlines that evolution.

The bag was handed over in April 2014 but only now are the consequences gathering force.

"This behaviour is completely unacceptable to me, and I find it quite shocking the revelations that have been made before the ICAC this week," Mr Albanese said yesterday.

"The average ALP member … knew nothing about this.

"Why is it that we have structures in place, including an administrative committee and other people in the party, who also weren't aware of this?

"What clearly needs to be examined is, quite frankly, a review of how this occurred and structures put in place to make sure it can never occur again."

The clumsy and possibly illegal fundraising farce carries a danger beyond the processes and people of Sussex St.

That average ALP member and voters who consider voting Labor will be the prime concerns of the federal Opposition Leader.

Labor has to maintain or improve its NSW holdings to have any chance of winning the election scheduled for 2022.

And at the moment it doesn't look like a party that will attract NSW voters.

So whatever schadenfreude he might be feeling, whatever enjoyment he might privately have over the humiliation of the right faction, he would know there is a lot of repair work needed to get the NSW party in working order.

The Chinese billionaire bagman and the $100,000 that found a home in Sussex St in the end brings no joy for Mr Albanese.