Senior Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese will run for the party's leadership following its "devastating" election loss promising to be a leader who can "take on the other side of politics in a vigorous fashion" while staying true to the party's values.
Mr Albanese faces at least two and possibly as many as four challengers for the position with deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, treasury spokesman Chris Bowen, Tony Burke and Richard Marles all considering their options.
Bill Shorten will remain as interim leader until the ballot process has finished, saying he would "do everything I can to ensure our great party is back stronger, wiser and united to ensure we can deliver a fair go for all".
Mr Albanese, a senior figure in the party's left, announced his candidacy on Sunday afternoon at the Unity Hall Hotel in Sydney's Balmain, the birthplace of the Labor Party.
Mr Albanese said Saturday night's result was "devastating" and he had a "responsibility" to run for the leadership.
"I am someone who can take on the other side of politics in a vigorous fashion," Mr Albanese said.
He would not be drawn on where the party went wrong in its campaign but listed tax reform, stagnant wages, entrenched disadvantage, and infrastructure as key areas for the Labor Party to focus on.
"We need to reexamine our policies but not our values. Our values are eternal," he said.
Mr Albanese made a pitch for the leadership as someone who is "a bit rough around the edges" but has "an affinity with working people".
"What you see is what you get with me, for better or worse. I am a bit rough at the edges, but I think that Australians don't want someone who just utters talking points. So from time to time, I will not be as articulate as someone who is simply reading from a script," Mr Albanese said.
Ms Plibersek, who is also the party's education spokeswoman, confirmed on Sunday morning she was considering running for the leadership and outlined her thoughts on why Labor was defeated at the weekend.
"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," Ms Plibersek told the ABC's Insiders program.
"I think the investment in health and education, a real plan to tackle climate change, a real plan to lift wages, these are all absolutely critical to our chances of winning next time and making sure that we're explaining those policies is critical too."
Mr Shorten announced on Saturday night he was stepping down as Labor leader when he conceded the party had lost the election. On Sunday afternoon he said he had asked the party's national secretary to convene a meeting of the national executive to start the leadership process.
However, the time it will take to elect a new leader means Mr Shorten is still likely to be leader when Parliament returns in June.
Under leadership rules introduced by former prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2013, leadership contenders must win support of both party members and the Labor party room.
When Mr Shorten ran against Mr Albanese in 2013 the process took about five weeks to resolve. Mr Albanese won the rank-and-file membership vote but Mr Shorten won the caucus vote and, when the two were combined, he was the victor.
Ms Plibersek and Mr Albanese are both from the party's left while Mr Bowen, the shadow treasurer, and Tony Burke, come from the powerful NSW right faction. All are from Sydney.
Other possible leadership contenders include defence spokesman Richard Marles, a Victorian, and finance spokesman, Jim Chalmers, a Queenslander.
Some inside the party have questioned whether Mr Bowen is too damaged by his close association with the party's tax and franking credits policies which the Coalition campaigned against so effectively.
- SMH/The Age