AWU leader supports Rudd's reforms

Kevin Rudd.
Kevin Rudd. Blainey Woodham

FACTIONAL heavyweights, including Australian Workers' Union leader Paul Howes, have backed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Labor Party reforms aimed at bringing stability around leadership issues.

Mr Rudd announced the reforms, which would prevent the kind of leadership spill he used to take back his old job, on Monday night.

The reforms would include an equal weighting given to the parliamentary caucus and the party membership in any party leadership vote.

Mr Howes on Tuesday told Channel Seven he supported the reforms, characterising them as smart, necessary and important.

The union leader, a key player in the ousting of Mr Rudd in 2010, has now fallen in behind the new parliament leader.

"I think that electing the leader through a different mechanism is something that has to happen," he told the television network.

Mr Howes' comment came on the same day Education Minister Bill Shorten told ABC Radio it was time to modernise the party.

Mr Shorten was a key player in both the 2010 change of leadership to Julia Gillard, and the return of Mr Rudd to the prime ministership a fortnight ago.

He said the party had learnt it needed to be "very transparent" about party stability and the leadership, coming after years of internal divisions.

"I think it's also important that for people who are interested in politics that there is a meaning to them getting involved in a political party," Mr Shorten said.

"Being able to have a say in terms of the leadership of the political party I think means to a lot of people who thought why would they bother getting involved in politics?"

Topics:  australian workers' union bill shorten kevin rudd paul howes reforms

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