“Powerful vested interests campaigned against us, through sections of the media itself. And they
got what they wanted.”
“I understand that neither of these challenges disappeared on election night. They’re still out there for us to face. It is important we face them with courage and honesty, with principle, and unity.”
Mr Shorten was widely expected to win last Saturday’s election but Labor went backwards against Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Coalition. A blame game has erupted inside the party over who and what were to blame for the result.
Labor’s caucus formally endorsed Mr Albanese as its new leader on Thursday, along with Richard Marles as deputy. Penny Wong will remain as Labor’s leader in the Senate, supported by former NSW premier Kristina Keneally as deputy.
Mr Shorten will remain on Labor’s frontbench and made a point of publicly endorsing Mr Albanese as the party’s 21st leader despite the pair’s longstanding rivalry.
“I am ready to help you with uniting our party and carrying the case for Labor values to the Australian people,” Mr Shorten said. “Congratulations and well done.”
“Apart from Chloe and my family, this party, our collective cause, is my life. I love the Labor
Party. I love the Labor movement – always have and always will. What I love most about our movement is the ideas we champion and the people we empower. Our Labor mission goes on. Our ideas, our values, endure.”
Mr Albanese, who attempted to become Labor leader in 2013 but lost to Mr Shorten following a ballot of rank and file members as well as caucus members in Parliament, pledged to be a consultative leader.
“It is time for us to use this period to listen to what people are saying to us about how we can improve our performance,” he told MPs. “Because we do need to, as I said before, hasten slowly. The next election is three years away.”
While Labor’s left and right factions get to select who serves on Labor’s frontbench, Mr Albanese has the right to determine their roles.
Victorian Andrew Giles, WA MP Matt Keogh, Queensland senator Murray Watt, NSW MP Pat Conroy and ACT senator Katy Gallagher will all be promoted to the frontbench.
Bevan Shields is the Federal Editor and Canberra Bureau Chief for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.