Labor Leader Anthony Albanese gives his 'headland' speech on Sunday (Image: AAP/Dean Lewins)

After a year of a growing insistence from commentators that Anthony Albanese had to urgently step up, cut through and get aggressive right now -- even as Labor developed a substantial polling lead -- the Labor leader has finally launched his own election campaign.

Yesterday's speech -- equal parts John Howard-style "headland speech" and policy address -- was designed to define both the package and the salesman on offer from the opposition after allowing the government to keep the spotlight on itself in a disastrous end to the parliamentary year.

The salesman pitch seeks to make a virtue of Albanese's lack of cut-through: "I may not always be the smoothest talker, but I can promise you I’ll always tell it straight."