Labor's political body was still warm when returning - she said "hopeful" - Canberra Labor senator Katy Gallagher tiredly reflected on a bittersweet result for her party locally.
"Happy that the result here in Canberra was positive but obviously we didn't win the big event on the night," Ms Gallagher said.
"It's a mixed feeling."
The Coalition is close to forming government after a surprise result in Saturday's federal election which was predicted to be a Labor win.
Labor took all three lower house seats in the capital and one of two senate seats, but failed to win majority nationally, a result uniformly described as "disappointing" by Labor's ACT candidates on Sunday.
Labor MPs Anthony Albanese has declared he will run for the Labor leadership, and Tanya Plibersek will launch her bid on Monday morning.
Ms Gallagher said she would prefer a female Labor leader.
"I like women leaders. I think they do well," she said.
"I think Tanya's done a really good job but equally Albo (Mr Albanese) would have strengths ... that are important for us going forward as a movement as well."
Ms Gallagher said there were local voters who didn't like her party's policy agenda.
"I don't think we can be complacent either," she said.
The Coalition's proposed $1.5 billion cut to the public service meant there were "dangerous times for us ahead," Ms Gallagher said.
Ms Gallagher said a party without a policy agenda won over a party with an ambitious opposition on Saturday.
"I would hate to see the case that it was really, if you promise to do nothing then you're going to do better," Ms Gallagher.
New Labor MP for the seat of Canberra, Alicia Payne, agreed with Ms Gallagher, pointing to Labor's climate change policies.
"Those are the things that Canberrans have vote for and I'm keen to keep up the fight," Ms Payne said.
She was "thrilled and honoured" to be representing Canberra but said Labor's federal result was disappointing.
Ms Payne didn't back either Labor leadership hopefuls, saying they were both great, but she would like to see a woman lead.
Ms Payne's fellow lower house colleague, Labor MP for Fenner Andrew Leigh, said it was too early for leadership speculation.
"We thought it was 1983 but it turned out to be 1980," Mr Leigh said, referring to Labor-leader Bill Hayden's shot at then-unpopular Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.
The next election in 1983 would see Labor leader Bob Hawke win in a landslide.
He credited Mr Shorten with uniting the party "around a tremendous set of policy ideas".
He said the potential public service cut would mean job losses and shot down any attempt to describe the Coalition's win - with the promise of tax cuts - as a win for Canberra.
"I don't think the planet wins if emissions rise. I don't think Canberrans win if public service jobs are cut. I don't think our kids win if our schools are underfunded," Mr Leigh said.
Bean Labor MP David Smith also said it was a disappointing night, blaming the result on a "horrible and cheap scare campaign".
"Obviously locally, a very strong result, our campaign's worked hard and they cut through quite well," Mr Smith said.
He wouldn't reflect on who should take the party's top job.
"I haven't thought about that at all. One of the fortunate things that federal Labor has is a wealth of leadership talent," Mr Smith said.
But he said he hoped Liberal senator Zed Seselja would now stand up for for Canberra.
"It's frustrated that he won't actually represent the interests of his electorate," Mr Smith.
He said the community benefited from a strong public service.
"We'll be on the front line defending, not just the impact on Canberra from those cuts, but also the impact on good government overall."