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Labor to begin choosing new leader


The top brass of the federal Labor Party will meet for the first time since their election drubbing, in an effort to come to grips with the result.

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Labor leader Bill Shorten stood down on Saturday after conceding to the coalition and is reportedly backing deputy Tanya Plibersek to take over as leader.

He has since called a Monday meeting of the party’s national executive, made up of senior Labor MPs and the leaders of the party’s organisation, to begin the formal process of choosing a new leader.

Shorten’s former leadership rival Anthony Albanese has thrown his hat into the ring, talking up his authenticity, listening skills and capacity to unite different tribes.

“What you see is what you get with me, for better or worse,” the NSW MP told reporters on Sunday.

Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek will formally announce on Monday that she will also contest the leadership after receiving significant support from colleagues, senior Labor figures and rank and file Labor members.

Her website and social media channels have been inundated with messages urging her to run.

“My determination is to ensure that we’re in the best place to win in three years’ time, that we continue the discipline and the unity that we’ve shown in the last six years, and that we continue to offer Australians real options,” Plibersek told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

The Australian newspaper cited senior Labor sources as saying that Shorten is backing Plibersek to replace him as party leader, likely bringing the backing of the Victorian right with him.

It also reported that Shorten was considering staying on as a frontbencher and that Plibersek had spoken with finance spokesman Jim Chalmers about running on a joint ticket, with him to potentially be her deputy.

Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen is also expected to contest the party leadership.

Labor national president Wayne Swan says the party will be taking a close look at its policies and campaign strategies after its failed attempted to form government.

“The result is deeply disappointing and our party has a responsibility to analyse the result and to respond maturely,” he said in a statement.

“The party has got to dust itself off, rethink and reorganise.”

Neither Shorten nor Albanese were willing to be drawn on what they think went wrong, but Plibersek was more open.

“Our policy agenda – it was big, it was bold. But I think perhaps we didn’t have enough time to explain all of the benefits of it to the people who would benefit.”


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