The three contenders vying to replace Bill Shorten as Labor's new leader.

– With AAP

With Bill Shorten officially stepping down as Labor’s leader following Saturday’s election, the Labor Party faces the task of choosing a new leader to take on the reinstated Coalition government.

“While I intend to continue to serve as the member for Maribyrnong, I will not be a candidate in the next Labor leadership ballot,” Shorten told the Labor crowd in Melbourne on Saturday night, after losing two elections in a row.

Image: Getty.

The final election result defied every poll in the lead-up to the election, with Mr Shorten expressing confidence on Friday that he could form a majority government.


Instead Labor lost seats in Tasmania, NSW and Queensland, nullifying the gains the party made in Victoria.

"Labor's next victory will belong to our next leader and I'm confident that victory will come at the next election," Mr Shorten said after conceding defeat.

Senior frontbencher Anthony Albanese announced on Sunday he will run for the Labor leadership, with other potential contenders deputy leader Tanya Plibersek and shadow treasurer Chris Bowen expressing interest too.

Another contender in the race may also be Tony Burke, Labor's chief tactician in the House of Representatives. ABC News reports finance spokesman Jim Chalmers and defence spokesman Richard Marles could also be in the mix for the deputy leadership.

According to The Australian, Shorten is backing his deputy leader Tanya Plibersek for the leadership. The publication has cited senior Labor sources who said Shorten could stay on in politics and serve as a frontbencher in the Opposition team.


While Plibersek is from the left faction of the party, Mr Shorten’s endorsement would bring the backing of the Victorian Right with him.

Here's what else we know about the three widely considered to be frontrunners for the position of the next Labor leader:

Anthony Albanese

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Albanese, 56, ran against Shorten for the leadership in 2013 after Tony Abbott defeated Kevin Rudd. He won the grassroots vote at the time but did not succeed in getting enough caucus support.

On Saturday night, the NSW MP said the whole Labor team had worked hard.

"As part of that team I must accept, as we must collectively, responsibility for the fact that the many people who rely upon us will be disappointed that the outcome tonight is uncertain," Albanese said.

"But what I am absolutely convinced about, and have been convinced about since I joined our great party when I was still at school, is that this movement is much bigger than any individual."

Albanese (universally known as Albo), 56, is the passionate face of Labor. Like Plibersek, he represents an inner Sydney seat and is a leading figure of the Left.

His political life started in university politics and he went on to work for Labor minister Tom Uren and the NSW party machine before winning the seat of Grayndler in 1996.


Three years later he was in the shadow ministry and, after Kevin Rudd became leader, manager of opposition business in the house. When Labor came to power in 2007 he became Infrastructure minister.

Albanese was emotionally upset by the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd bloodbaths, although after Rudd's brief return to leadership in 2013 he became deputy prime minister.

After Labor lost office he and Shorten contested the leadership. He won the popular vote.

The Labor stalwart threw his hat into the ring after describing the election outcome as a "devastating result" for the Australian Labor Party.

"I am today announcing that I will be a candidate for the leader of the federal parliamentary Labor party," Mr Albanese told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

"I believe I am the best person to lead Labor back into government."

Albanese called for Labor to work more closely with business and ensure it better connects with people who are not union members.

Tanya Plibersek

tanya plibersek
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Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek is also considering a run, one backed by Shorten himself.

"I'm certainly considering it ... I'll talk to my colleagues today," Plibersek told the ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.

"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.

The current deputy leader, Plibersek, 49, has represented the seat of Sydney since 1998.

She is the daughter of Slovenian migrants (her father worked on the Snowy Mountains Scheme) who joined the Labor Party at 15, took degrees in communications and politics and worked for Senator Bruce Childs, a leading figure on the Left in the 1980s.

Plibersek held shadow ministry positions from 2004 and was a minister in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments between 2007 and 2013. Her portfolios included housing, status of women and health.


In opposition, she was elected party deputy leader and shadowed foreign affairs and education.

Plibersek, as a woman from the Left, was regarded as an effective counterpoise to Shorten, a warrior of the Right. She was also impeccably loyal.

Chris Bowen

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Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen is seen as another potential leadership contender, but was unwilling to give much away when he appeared on a television election panel on Saturday night.


"All of us need to reflect on our roles in rebuilding the Labor Party," Bowen said.

"For some of us that will be running for leader. For some of us it won't be. We all have to, you know, just take a bit of time to think it through."

Bowen, 46, was politically precocious, harassing his local council and devouring books on politics while still in primary school.

He did an economics degree, became Mayor of Fairfield and in 2004 was elected to the seat of Prospect (now McMahon). He was on Labor's frontbench within two years.

In government, Bowen, a prominent member of the Right, held several economic portfolios as well as immigration and tertiary education.

He was a player in the Rudd-Gillard rivalry and went to the backbench after an abortive attempt to bring Rudd back in March 2013. When Rudd finally prevailed three months later, Bowen became treasurer.

As treasury spokesman in opposition, he was a key architect of Labor's contentious negative gearing and imputation credit policies.

A Labor national executive meeting will be held on Monday to start the process to elect a new leader, with Bill Shorten remaining interim Labor leader while the ballot is conducted.

A Nine poll taken on Saturday found 50.4 per cent support for Albanese, with 39.2 per cent backing Plibersek and 10.4 per cent in favour of Bowen.