Election results 2019: Anthony Albanese in pole position for Labor leadership after Jim Chalmers withdraws

| 23.05,19. 04:13 PM |

Election results 2019: Anthony Albanese in pole position for Labor leadership after Jim Chalmers withdraws

Photo: Anthony Albanese looks likely to become the next Labor leader. (ABC News)

Queensland MP Jim Chalmers has declared he will not run for the Labor leadership.

Mr Chalmers wrote on Twitter that he had given the possibility very careful consideration, but had decided against it.

"I spoke to Anthony Albanese this morning and told him I will enthusiastically support him and work tirelessly with our team to give Australians the Labor government they need and deserve at the next opportunity."

He also said that if he did win, "the extra responsibilities of leadership would make it much harder to do my bit at home while the youngest of our three little kids is only five months old".

Mr Chalmers has been shadow finance minister and was the party's campaign spokesperson for the 2019 election.

Earlier in the week he said he was considering running.

His Queensland ties had been considered a potential asset, given Labor's struggles in the state.

"I do want to play a substantial role in rebuilding, renewing and refreshing our party and its policies after Saturday's stinging defeat, and as a Queenslander I want the best state in Australia to have a more prominent voice in the alternative government," he said.

Mr Albanese said Mr Chalmers would have a key role in the parliamentary Labor Party, should he be elected leader.

"In the short time he has been in Parliament, he has made an outstanding contribution to the cause of Labor and he will make an outstanding contribution in the future, not just in opposition, but in government," he said.

Four-day wait to find if Albanese will be unopposed

Other senior Labor figures such as Tanya Plibersek and Chris Bowen have already withdrawn from the race.

Mr Chalmers' announcement leaves Mr Albanese as the only person to nominate.

Under the leadership ballot rules brought in by Kevin Rudd in 2013, a four-day window for nominations formally opened this morning.

If no other MP nominates before Monday morning, the path will be clear for Mr Albanese to succeed Bill Shorten as Labor leader.

There is a growing consensus among Labor members that there will not be a ballot for the leadership, and Mr Albanese will be elected unopposed.

Others to jostle for deputy

The jostling for deputy leader of the party, chosen only by parliamentary members, will now begin in earnest.

Mr Chalmers could emerge as a candidate for that role, alongside other senior MPs including Richard Marles.

With Mr Albanese leader, Tanya Plibersek would not be able to continue as deputy as she is from the same faction and state.

Labor figures, including National President Wayne Swan, have dismissed suggestions having two men serving as leader and deputy would be a bad look for the party which celebrates women in senior roles.

This morning, Mr Swan pointed to senior women occupying spots on the party's frontbench and in the Senate, such as Penny Wong, as an example of its strength in female representation.

It is understood former New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally could be in line to become deputy Senate leader behind Senator Wong.

Mr Albanese said he would not cut deals with politicians eager to become deputy leader of the party.

"I think that is really important for the integrity of the process," he said.


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