The Opposition leader who last night fell short of winning the Prime Ministership for the second election campaign in a row relinquished control of the party in conceding defeat.
He is now said to be backing his deputy leader Tanya Plibersek for the leadership, The Australian reported on Sunday night, citing senior Labor sources.
Labor members also said Mr Shorten could stay on in politics and serve as a frontbencher in the new look Opposition team.
Ms Plibersek is from the left faction of the party and Mr Shorten’s endorsement would likely bring the backing of the Victorian Right with him.
Ms Plibersek, who holds the seat of Sydney, has not officially announced a tilt at the leadership but reportedly met with Jim Chalmers from the Queensland right about a potential ticket. However at this point it remains unclear whether Ms Plibersek will throw her hat in the ring.
This afternoon Anthony Albanese, the Opposition’s spokesman for infrastructure and also from the left of the party, announced his intention to run for the leadership.
Mr Albanese became the first to officially announce his run at a pub in Balmain, in Sydney’s inner west, this afternoon.
Mr Albanese was full of praise for Mr Shorten, who will remain in an interim role until his successor is chosen.
“He has fought a tough campaign, he has led our great party for six years. He has been an inclusive leader and is someone who has campaigned on a policy agenda in the interests of working people, and is someone who has my respect,” Mr Albanese said.
More to come.