It is difficult for Labor to change its spots.

And Penny Wong thought it was all about ideas.

What an interesting weekend.

Left-wing unions push for posts on Labor's powerful national executive
BY: JAMES MASSOLA From: The Australian November 30, 2011 12:06PM

THE heads of four of the nation's biggest left-wing unions are making a play for posts on Labor's powerful national executive in a move that could transform the party's top decision-making body.

The Australian Online has learned manufacturing union secretary Dave Oliver, public sector union chief Nadine Flood, United Voice secretary Louise Tarrant and construction union boss Michael O'Connor have all nominated for positions.

The move comes as the Right's Natalie Hutchins, a Victorian state MP, firms to replace Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten on the 20-member executive.

Ms Hutchins is the wife of former NSW senator Steve Hutchins, who took a swipe at the “faceless men” of the Labor Party in his valedictory speech to the Senate earlier this year.

The number of Left nominees currently outnumbers the faction's nine positions on the executive body, but the faction is expected to cull its list of contenders by tomorrow afternoon.

The tussle comes amid suggestions that senior left-wing cabinet ministers Anthony Albanese and Kim Carr could step down from the body to make way for new blood.

All national executive positions will be voted upon on Friday on day one of the party's national conference in Sydney.

Ahead of the conference, the Labor Right has also finalised its 20-point plan to seize back the party reform agenda from the Left and empower the party's rank-and-file.

The plan, revealed by the Australian Online last week, would allow prospective members to sign up to the party online and join issues-based “policy action caucuses” rather than local branches.

It also calls for the nine-member national policy committee, currently chosen by the national executive, to be replaced by a 60-member national policy forum.