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Albanese: no plans to challenge Bill Shorten

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Anthony Albanese says he has no intention of challenging Bill Shorten for the party’s leadership.

The Labor frontbencher used a sporting reference on Monday to rule out such a challenge in the short term.

“You don’t even consider changing who the captain is during extra time,” he told the ABC.

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“Extra time” was a reference to the electoral deadlock that has followed Saturday’s close result. The count is ongoing, and it is looking increasingly unlikely that neither major party will secure a majority to govern in its own right.

Mr Albanese said Labor was in the position where it may well form government in the next few weeks, and so it would be ludicrous to consider changing leader.

He was then asked if he thought Mr Shorten would remain the leader indefinitely.

“Well, no-one’s leader indefinitely, we’re a political party more than 100 years old. But certainly, I think we will continue forward with Bill Shorten as the leader and I’ll be playing a role as part of the team,” he replied.

Mr Albanese also seemed to hint at the possibility of a hung parliament, or an electoral rerun.

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we’re back at the polls not in three years time but well before then.”

Mr Albanese is currently the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

He has long been the rival of Mr Shorten. He unsuccessfully challenged Shorten for party leadership in 2013 — and was touted as a replacement when Shorten’s approval rating fell in late 2015.

Under rules imposed by Kevin Rudd in 2013, party leaders must be elected by a vote of the party caucus and rank-and-file members.

– with Jackson Stiles, Anthony Colangelo and AAP

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