Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek will not run for the Labor leadership.
Ms Plibersek said that while she had received support from across the party to be elected leader, she had decided not to enter the race after all, citing family reasons.
“Now is not my time,” she said in a statement on Monday afternoon.
“At this point, I cannot reconcile the important responsibilities I have to my family with the additional responsibilities of the Labor leadership.
“I know some people will be disappointed with this decision.
“I intend to continue as deputy leader until the leadership is determined.”
The departure of Ms Plibersek, 49, leaves her fellow left factional colleague, Anthony Albanese as the only candidate to have officially announced he will contest the leadership.
Her decision came only hours after The Sydney Morning Herald had reported Labor sources claiming that former prime minister Julia Gillard had endorsed Ms Plibersek for the race.
The Australian also reported that outgoing leader, Bill Shorten, had told colleagues he would back Ms Plibersek’s bid for the top job.
— Tom McIlroy (@TomMcIlroy) May 20, 2019
Once the leadership was determined, Ms Plibersek said she would “serve in whatever capacity my colleagues best think can help Labor return to government”.
“Whatever my colleagues decide, I will play a role in taking our economic and social policy agenda to the next stage.”
Speaking on ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, Ms Plibersek said of a bid to replace Mr Shorten: “I’ll talk to my colleagues today – but, of course, I’m considering it.”
Not a done deal
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, from the Labor right, is still considering whether he will run.
Labor’s national executive committee met on Monday to lay out the framework for the leadership ballot.
The full Labor executive, comprising senior MPs and key party officials, will meet on Wednesday.
The search for the next leader is expected to take about one month.
Rank-and-file members will first cast their votes, followed by the federal Labor caucus, before the results are averaged out and a winner is crowned.
Mr Albanese, who came second in the 2013 leadership ballot 2013, believes Labor needs to listen to people in the outer suburbs and the regions to understand why the party lost the election.
“What we need to do is never forget the economy is central and jobs are central and we need to talk to people about what their issues are, and what our plan for jobs is,” he told Adelaide’s 5AA Radio.
Opposition frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon believes the party has drifted too far to the left.
“We certainly have to get back to the centre and we have to reconnect to our working class base,” he told ABC Radio National.
“Someone needs to indicate that they are the person who is prepared to put us back on track. And if someone’s not prepared to do that, well, I might just do it myself.”
Doug Cameron, a leading figure in the Labor left who retired from the Senate at the election, disagrees.
“This is not the time to panic and move to the ‘centre’ as a proxy for abandoning progressive policies and capitulating once again to neoliberalism,” he tweeted.
“There was no Morrison miracle, only a scare campaign prosecuted by the billionaires who control the media and the mining industries.”
Mr Fitzgibbon suffered a big swing against him in the NSW mining seat of Hunter, with voters favouring One Nation’s pro-coal candidate.