Incoming Labor leader Anthony Albanese has won the first test of his authority with shadow minister Ed Husic stepping aside to allow former NSW premier Kristina Keneally to sit on the opposition's frontbench.
Mr Albanese insisted Senator Keneally go into the shadow ministry, against the will of some of her NSW Right faction colleagues who wanted Mr Husic to stay on.
The NSW MP said while he had loved being a shadow minister he would not be running for the role and stood aside on Wednesday.
"Instead I'll be backing my great friend Kristina Keneally for that spot. We need to ensure someone of Kristina's enormous talents has the opportunity to make a powerful contribution on the frontline, in the Senate," Mr Husic said in a statement on Facebook.
With Bill Shorten quitting the leadership following the party's May 18 election loss, Mr Albanese was the only nominee for the top post and Victorian MP Richard Marles will be endorsed unopposed as his deputy.
Mr Albanese arrived back in Canberra on Wednesday for Left and Right faction meetings and the first post-election caucus meeting on Thursday.
The caucus will pick the 30 members of the shadow ministry, but Mr Albanese will allocate portfolios - expected to be announced on Sunday or Monday.
There is speculation shadow treasurer Chris Bowen will make way for Queensland MP Jim Chalmers in the key economic portfolio, with Mr Bowen taking on another frontbench role.
Mr Shorten, who led the party for six years and opposed Mr Albanese's elevation to the role, is understood to be seeking the disabilities portfolio.
Mr Albanese said he would treat the former leader with the "appropriate respect".
"I have no doubt that the team that we assemble will be balanced ... in terms of gender, in terms of state representation and I expect that it will be a very good team who will hold the government to account," Mr Albanese told reporters.
Victorian senator Kim Carr's decision not to seek a shadow cabinet post opens another vacancy for Mr Albanese to fill.
In the outer ministry there are two vacant positions with NSW senator Doug Cameron and Queensland senator Claire Moore retiring from parliament.
Question marks hang over factionally unaligned ACT MP Andrew Leigh's future on the frontbench.
Some caucus members are concerned about a shortfall of women in top posts, with Tanya Plibersek having stepped down from the deputy role.
There is a push to restore gender balance with Senator Keneally installed as deputy leader in the Senate, working alongside Senate leader Penny Wong, but there is resistance from the current deputy Don Farrell.
Mr Albanese said any decisions would reflect the fact the "caucus is supreme".
"I'm talking to caucus members not with hats on, I'm talking to them about the Labor interest - not any factional interests, not state interests but the Labor interest," he said.
"What I want is after the next election, when I first visit Parliament House, to drive up through another entrance ... the ministerial wing.
"And we can only achieve that if we have the best team, if we're united, if coherent in the views that we put forward and I'm very confident that we can do that."
The new shadow ministry will meet for the first time next week.
Australian Associated Press