News Election 2019 Election 2019: The jockeying begins to fill Bill Shorten’s shoes

Election 2019: The jockeying begins to fill Bill Shorten’s shoes

Tanya Plibersek might gain a leadership edge from Labor's emphasis on equal gender representation. Photo: ABC
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At least three candidates have emerged as possible leaders for the Labor Party following the Opposition’s shock federal election loss.

Labor deputy Tanya Plibersek was the first to indicate she was considering seeking the leadership.

“I’ll talk to my colleagues today but, of course, I’m considering it,” Ms Plibersek told Insiders.

The ABC has confirmed frontbencher Anthony Albanese will today announce his candidacy.

Anthony Albanese won the rank-and-file vote when Labor last picked a leader. Photo: AAP

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, the architect of Labor’s contentious tax plans, is also considering running.

Incumbent Bill Shorten on Saturday night announced he would not be recontesting the leadership after six years at the helm.

Labor had started election day expecting to seize victory, but by 11:30pm, Mr Shorten had conceded victory to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who defied polls and expectations in getting the Coalition re-elected.

Replacing Mr Shorten is likely to be a lengthy process because of the rules that govern leadership elections.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd changed the way the party elected its leader in 2013 following the instability of the Rudd-Gillard years. Contenders must win support of both party members and the Labor party room. That process took about five weeks in 2013.

Ms Plibersek has been the deputy leader for six years and held the foreign affairs, and more recently, education portfolios.

“We have an obligation as Labor Party people to keep fighting for a fairer Australia, for a strong economy and a fair society,” Ms Plibersek said. “We’ll keep doing that.”

Labor’s likely contenders

Mr Albanese ran for the party’s leadership against Mr Shorten in 2013 and won the rank-and-file membership vote. Mr Shorten won the caucus vote and when the two were combined, he was the victor with 52 per cent of the overall result.

Both Ms Plibersek and Mr Albanese are in Labor’s left faction.

Chris Bowen is playing his cards close to the chest. Photo: ABC

Another contender could include environment spokesman Tony Burke, Labor’s chief tactician in the House of Representatives. He and Mr Bowen are in Labor’s right faction. They along with Ms Plibersek and Mr Albanese all live in Sydney.

Labor sources have said finance spokesman Jim Chalmers and defence spokesman Richard Marles are among the names in the mix for the deputy leadership.

Mr Bowen refused to be drawn on his intentions last night.

“I’ve got to talk to my wife and my family before I talk to any colleague,” he told Channel Seven.

Thirty minutes later, having talked to his wife, his intentions remained unclear.

“I’ve had two conversations with my wife since but neither were definitive.”


How Labor will pick its leader

  • Bill Shorten will stay on as acting leader while the Labor national executive starts the process of finding his replacement
  • All shadow ministers will remain in their current portfolios
  • Nominations open at a parliamentary party meeting (caucus), and remain open for a week.
  • Contenders need to get support of 20 per cent of caucus to get nominated. If there is only one nomination there is no ballot
  • If there are two or more nominations there is a ballot of both the parliamentary party and grassroots members
  • Ballot is open to all financial members of the party, with no restrictions on time served
  • Each of the two voting blocs is weighted equally in determining the winner. That is, 50 per cent each. Last time Anthony Albanese won the grassroots vote but didn’t get enough caucus votes, making Shorten the winner.
  • The organisational ballot takes 20 days
  • During the ballot process the two candidates can campaign and debate
  • It is expected there would be a candidate from Right and Left factions
  • About 30,400 members voted in 2013
  • Once the postal ballot is over, the caucus votes