Surprising new contender for Labor
As Labor prepares to replace Bill Shorten in the wake of the party's shock election loss, an unlikely contender is considering entering the race.
Hunter representative Joel Fitzgibbon, who hung onto his seat despite a 10 per cent swing, said he was not prepared to rule out running for the leadership if Labor didn't match his concerns about representing the regions and its working class base.
"The Labor must reconnect with its blue-collar base and get back to the centre, and be less ambitious in its pace of change," Mr Fitzgibbon told ABC radio this morning. "People are inherently conservative in Australia and any change has to be orderly and steady, and needs to be explained to people.
"We need to stick to the sensible centre and push reform in an incremental way and in an orderly way and properly explain why change is necessary to people. You've got to be able to take people with you."
Mr Fitzgibbon managed to retain his seat, which he has held since 1996, with 32,000 votes.
The coal-country NSW seat saw the highest One Nation vote in the country, with more than 18,000 voters - roughly 20 per cent of the NSW electorate - voting for the far-right party's candidate Stuart Bonds.
This was barely 2000 votes less than the Nationals candidate Josh Angus.
Anthony Albanese and Tanya Plibersek are now the two main frontrunners for the Labor leadership.
Ms Plibersek will today declare she will be a candidate for the party's top job - less than 24 hours after Mr Albanese officially announced his run.
"I believe I'm the best person to lead Labor back into government," Mr Albanese said yesterday.
"We've lost three elections in a row. That has an impact on those Australians who rely upon us to improve their education, to look after their health care, to build public transport infrastructure.
"What you see is what you get with me, for better or worse."
Yesterday morning, Ms Plibersek told ABC Insiders she was "considering" running for the job, with Mr Shorten reportedly backing her.
"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," she said.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen is also considering a bid for the party's top job.
Neither Mr Albanese nor Mr Shorten would be drawn on what they think went wrong for the party after their shock election loss, but Ms 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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