Bill Shorten triumphs
Bill Shorten has recommitted to fighting the Abbott government's carbon plans after narrowly winning the job of Opposition Leader. He triumphed even though rival Anthony Albanese easily won the backing of Labor Party members.PT2M43S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2vgri 620 349 October 13, 2013
Bill Shorten has promised to be ''less relentlessly negative'' than Tony Abbott was as opposition leader but will not wave through the repeal of the pollution tax, setting up a showdown over carbon pricing within months.
Mr Shorten, 46, was announced as Labor's 20th parliamentary leader on Sunday after an exhaustive double-blind ballot of branch members and MPs, in which six out of 10 ordinary ALP members opted for Anthony Albanese.
But Mr Shorten, who entered Parliament only in 2007, secured the bulk of the caucus votes which, under the twin-ballot system, were worth about 350 ordinary branch votes.
No hard feelings: Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese after the result of the ballot was announced at Parliament House. Photo: Andrew Meares
''This ballot has been historic,'' Mr Shorten said, also calling it ''inspirational'' and ''transparent''.
He said that as opposition leader he would not be drawn into a daily commentary on every issue but wanted it known that the carbon price was not negotiable.
''On something as important as putting a price on carbon pollution, I've stated during the leadership campaign that I believe it is important to maintain a price on carbon pollution,'' he said in Canberra.
Mr Albanese, 50, announced he would not recontest his position as deputy leader, leaving the way open for the rising star, Tanya Plibersek to step in. Mr Shorten has endorsed the Left-aligned Sydney MP, offering the party a cross-factional, cross-state, and cross-gender leadership duo.
Chris Bowen, the interim leader since the election last month, will be shadow treasurer, matching him against Joe Hockey.
Labor's 86-strong caucus will meet in Parliament House on Monday morning to formally elect a deputy leader and frontbench. Mr Shorten will allocate frontbench responsibilities on Friday.
Jockeying for positions is already intense amid suggestions that rising stars such as Ed Husic may be overlooked as factions again flex their muscles.
Fifty-five MPs backed the Right-aligned Mr Shorten compared with 31 for Mr Albanese as some on the Left of the parliamentary party switched to Mr Shorten late in the
30-day election period. Mr Shorten received the support of 63.95 per cent of his parliamentary colleagues which, when combined with rank and file support of 40.08 per cent was enough to give him an overall proportion of 52.02 per cent.
A total of 30,426 party members voted, representing 74 per cent of the rank and file. Mr Albanese attracted 18,230 rank-and-file votes to Mr Shorten's 12,196.
Supporters said his stronger than expected showing in caucus overwhelmed Mr Albanese's vote of more than 60 per cent from branch members.
Mr Shorten's election prompted the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, to offer to resign. She is the mother of Chloe Bryce, Mr Shorten's wife. But Prime Minister Tony Abbott declined the offer and asked her to serve the rest of her term, which ends in March.
''The Governor-General offered to leave office early to avoid any perception of bias, but due to the fact that she will retire in March next year and that the government commands the House of Representatives with a significant margin, I have thanked her for her magnanimity but declined to accept her resignation, instead asking that she conclude her full term,'' he said.
ALP national secretary George Wright said the two candidates spent about $75,000 each on their campaigns, with two-thirds provided by the party and the rest raised from private sources - thought to be mainly unions.
Labor MPs across the board lauded the new mechanisms for electing the leader, despite the appearance that the rank and file vote was overwhelmed by the expression of factional discipline within the caucus.
Asked whether the result provided an argument for the leadership to be determined entirely by party members, Mr Bowen said he believed the new system struck the right balance. ''I think this process is now here to stay,'' he said.
''This is a very tight result but it's a result that has the support of the entire party.'' Under the system, each vote in caucus was worth 354 votes from ordinary members.
with Dan Harrison