Labor leadership race begins in earnest as Albanese joins three-way tussle

| 20.05,19. 04:14 AM |

Labor leadership race begins in earnest as Albanese joins three-way tussle


At least three candidates have emerged as possible leaders for the Labor Party following the Opposition's shock federal election loss.

Anthony Albanese is the first to officially enter the race, while current deputy Tanya Plibersek has confirmed she is considering seeking the leadership.

"I believe I'm the best person to lead Labor back into government," Mr Albanese said.

"We've lost three elections in a row. That has an impact on those Australians who rely upon us to improve their education, to look after their healthcare, to build public transport infrastructure."

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

The Sydney MP confirmed early on Sunday morning she was a likely contender for the leadership.

"I'll talk to my colleagues today but, of course, I'm considering it," Ms Plibersek told Insiders.

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

Incumbent Bill Shorten last 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.

Mr Albanese was deputy prime minister when Kevin Rudd briefly returned to the prime ministership in 2013.

He has held the infrastructure portfolio for Labor in Opposition.

"What you see is what you get with me, for better or worse," Mr Albanese said.

"I am a bit rough at the edges, but I think that Australians don't want someone who just utters talking points."

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.

The process took about five weeks in 2013.

Ms Plibersek was a cabinet minister and held a range of portfolios when Labor was last in government.

"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."

Likely Labor leadership 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.

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."


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