Bill Shorten announced in his concession speech last night that he would step down, after Labor’s humiliating and unthinkable loss to the Coalition.
“While I intend to continue to serve as the member for Maribyrnong, I will not be a candidate in the next Labor leadership ballot,” Mr Shorten said.
But it was before he’d delivered his speech that the hot favourite to replace him made what sounded very much like a pitch for the job.
Anthony Albanese spoke to the Labor Party faithful in Sydney in what was a rousing speech about values and the future.
“As part of that team I must accept, as we must collectively, responsibility for the fact that the many people who rely upon us will be disappointed that the outcome tonight is uncertain,” Mr Albanese said.
“But what I am absolutely convinced about, and have been convinced about since I joined our great party when I was still at school, is that this movement is much bigger than any individual.”
Mr Albanese, the Opposition’s spokesman for infrastructure, was the rank-and-file choice over Mr Shorten in 2013 after Kevin Rudd’s defeat.
A rule change determining how the Labor leader is picked — 50 per cent from Caucus and 50 per cent from the membership — saw Mr Shorten ultimately picked.
It’s now expected that Mr Albanese will try his hand again and should received wide support due to his popularity.
He also worked hard during the campaign, focusing on marginal seats and visiting more than 60 electorates across the country to spruik policy and candidates.
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Tanya Plibersek, who served loyally as Mr Shorten’s deputy, will also run, Sky News political editor David Speers reports.
Appearing on ABC’s Insiders this morning, Ms Plibersek confirmed she was considering it.
“I’m certainly considering it,” Ms Plibersek told ABC show Insiders. “My determination is to ensure we’re in the best place to win in three years’ time.”
It’s crucial for the Opposition to continue its focus on “discipline and unity”, she said.
“I’ll talk to my colleagues today but of course I’m considering it.”
Her vote in the seat of Sydney increased substantially yesterday, making it now one of the safest in the country.
Ms Plibersek, the shadow spokeswoman for education, also has a good public profile and broad appeal.
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Chris Bowen, shadow treasury spokesman, is also expected to throw his name in the ring.
He was part of Mr Shorten’s inner-circle and was singled out in his concession speech last night as one of those who was his main confidants.
Mr Bowen said he would consult with his family before making any decision about his leadership ambitions.
But the fact that he was the architect of Labor’s key policies, overwhelming rejected by voters last night, will hurt.
It’s unlikely he’ll even continue as Shadow Treasurer.
Mr Albanese, Ms Plibersek and Mr Bowen are all Sydney MPs on healthy margins.
There are a couple of outside chances being discussed too, including shadow finance spokesman Jim Chalmers, who served as campaign spokesman.
The Queensland MP is viewed as a rising star in the party and is a former party official who commands considerable factional power.
It’s understood he’s considering a tilt.
However, he is entering only his second term and could be viewed as too green for the mighty role of defeating the Coalition in three years.
Another name being bandied about is Richard Marles, who last night declined to say whether he was interested in running.
“I’m not going to get into that,” Mr Marles told Sky News.
The Victorian MP has a somewhat rising profile across the country, thanks to his increasing media presence, but is unlikely to be seen by his colleagues as a viable option.